Posted on Jan 19th, 2006
The Keyboard Surround
The keyboard that I bought came with an integrated mouse. It was a little more expensive than the USB wireless version, however I prefer a PS2 connection as it always works. Working with Aluminium was important as I felt if I made the case totally of Aluminium, then it would reduce heat build up better than a steel case.
Once I had welded the surrounds on to the keyboard, I measured it on the case and trimmed and bent it to shape.
The keyboard in place.
I stripped down my donor monitor and made sure everything worked. Then I mounted it inside the Aluminium frame I had made for it earlier. I made my own VGA cable as all the monitor cables I had seen were too bulky.
The reverse of the monitor before the plastic back cover was put on. The USB wireless was originally inside the main case, but I moved it into the monitor section to improve reception.
Here’s the laptop closed with the plastic cover in place. The hinges were quite a bit of work and are all hand made from sheet mild-steel and some stainless nut and bolts welded together. The nyloc nuts give enough friction to hold the screen in place. You can also see I have a key lock switch that isolates all power with the turn of the key.
OK, so it does look a bit ‘Rufty Tufty!’ but I worked on armoured tanks in the military and most of my spare time is spent grinding the rust of my old Camaro... my tools in the shed are more ‘industrial’ than pokey little ‘dremel multi-tool’ sized.
The Completed Project
The future of this project includes a new SATA drive so I can use the hardware raid on the board, a new keyboard and top, and if I can find a 'nipple/trackpoint' mouse unit, I will cut a sheet of aluminium with space for a nice ultra flat keyboard and mount the nipple nicely on the cover. I would also like to mount a 19" screen and better speakers, but I want to be careful that it doesn’t turn out to look like a desktop computer on its side!... Oh, and I put a dremel multi tool on my Christmas list :-)
Finally I would like to say a huge thanks to everyone at Mini-ITX for giving all of us all the opportunity to make these projects. Certainly a lot of the cool computers that you have on your site, built by fans of Mini-ITX would not be possible without the stuff in your store, and the positive design/building community that you create on your site.