Posted on January 15, 2005
Our I.T. Guru came into my office the other day and said, "Hey, check this out!" as he commandeered my PC and brought up Mini-ITX.com. After viewing a number of the projects, he suggested that I needed to build something to submit. I suggested that he do it instead. Then, he pointed out that I'm the one with too much time on my hands. Since he was right, I started thinking about what could I build that hasn't been done. As I was staring out my office window, an idea hit me. I have three gumball vending machines on the windowsill and the "Skittles" machine sales have not done well. (I collect gumball machines of various vintages and clean them up for display, and the occasional candy fix.) Now that I had a start, I began a list of the components I would need. At the time, all I had was a Gumball machine, a spare 10 Gb Western Digital hard drive and the usual stuff everyone has in the "I-can't-throw-this-away-I-might-need-it-later" spare parts box. So, the list was easy to complete, I needed everything.
I took the Gumball machine home, got online and started shopping. But, where to start. In the background one of those William Shatner/Leonard Nimoy commercials was on the TV. I heard Shatner's voice and heard "Captain Kirk" saying, "Power Scotty! I need power!" OK! Let's start with a power supply. My choice was based more upon dimensions than output. I found a 250W supply that was 5" deep x 3" wide x 2.5" high. Next, I had to "Put it on the viewer, Lt. Uhura." A nice 17" flat-panel LCD would be great. I haven't heard of "Rosewill" monitors, but the price was right. And, since I was boldly going where I haven't gone before, nothing short of a cordless keyboard and optical mouse would do. (Ok, Ok. No more "Star Trek".) The "Logitech" Cordless MX Duo fit the bill perfectly. Oh Yeah! And, the thing that started this in the first place, the MII-10000 Nehemiah 1Ghz. Within a few days, everything was delivered. Now all I have to do is put it together. The easy part, right?
First, the case. This is a "Northwestern" vending machine from the front...
From the back...
And, from the top.
The Nehemiah 1Ghz with 1Gb RAM.
The smallest power supply I could find was still too deep to fit entirely inside the case. Using my Dremel with a metal-cutting disk, I cut out an opening that would allow the power supply to expose a little over an inch outside the case. Cleaned up the sharp edges with a grindstone.
Next, I had to fabricate a mounting device for the power supply. I made a template from posterboard. I added an extra inch to the middle of the bottom in order to make a "Z" fold. This "Z" fold creates strength by adding two additional layers of material across the one-inch fold. Then, I traced the template on some tin, used tin-snips to cut it out and folded it into shape.
The mounting bracket complete, holes were drilled to attach the power supply.