Posted on September 29, 2003
The spider case was a creation which took about a month of 12 hour work days to complete. The first two weeks were for finding the right parts and the last two were for building. As I rushed to get it completed for a certain case contest *cough TechTV*, I cut some corners and strayed from my original plan. The template I went off was a digital artwork piece by Giorgio Camnasio of a mechanical spider. Inspired by it's mean look, I figured I could produce something similar with a computer inside. So here's how it came together:
The "Spider Case"
I took an old oil bucket (the thing you use when draining oil from your car) and lopped off the top and bottom. This was the only thing I could find that remotely resembled the body of the spider. It wasn't nearly big enough or even the right shape for what I wanted so I went to the autoparts store and bought some fiberglass jelly, fiberglass, and loads of bondo.
After hours upon hours work and a lot of sanding, I had something I was proud of. Attached to a 1/4" clear acrylic base, I had a decent spider body going. I had to also make sure the external Phillips Jackrabbit 24x cdrw fit and without any problem (luckily I had just enough room with everything else inside).
After cutting openings for the legs, I had to figure out how and what to make the legs with. Originally I had planned for the aluminum look but finding a cheap CNC cutter + blocks of aluminum in only a few days seemed nearly impossible. So I decided to go with my reliable source of acrylic at www.tapplastics.com. Since there was a local store within a mile of my house, I quickly made some templates and ran off to get some acrylic. About halfway through cutting the legs out, I stuck my middle fingertip into a table saw and found out first hand why people wear gloves. One stitch and 3 hours later I was back in the garage cutting again. I'll spare you the pictures. The thighs were 1-1/4" thick and only 6 were made at the time because the template picture I was going off showed only 6 legs on the spider. Later I changed it to 8. As I was cutting the lower portion of the legs, I routed my thumb and figured out for the second time why I should learn things the first time (wear gloves!!!@#). Since I couldn't use my right hand for the last few leg parts, I took them to Tap Plastics and they gladly cut out the shapes I needed cheap. This was after they laughed at me for cutting my hand for the 2nd time.
As everything was crammed inside, I had to ditch the PCI riser and USB2 card I had originally planned for due to height restrictions. So the CDRW runs off USB1 till I get some money for a new mini-itx board. All in all I managed to fit in a Epia 800, 384MB PC133 RAM, 30GB HDD, and the 24x (functioning at 4x for now) CDRW. Since I didn't have it nearly done for the TechTV contest, I lost (although I did enter). After the deadline passed, I was able to work on it without staying up till 4am worrying about finishing. A few days later I finished, minus an automotive paintjob (anyone need a pint of metallic gray for their BMW Z4? :-D).