wooden case with optimal airflow (my first silent PC)

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MattP
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wooden case with optimal airflow (my first silent PC)

Post by MattP » Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:57 am

I've been a lurker on these forums, but this is my first post, so greetings :)

I've always been averse to the noise PCs usually make, and always endeavoured to make something really quiet. So I recently built myself a wooden PC, with a more efficient airflow than a typical ATX case. Nothing new for people who know a thing or two about silent PCs, I suppose, but this is my first silencing project.

A picture is worth a thousand words, but a video is even better ;) so please have a look and tell me what you think! :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CB-_JIjhAyA
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KadazanPL
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Re: wooden case with optimal airflow (my first silent PC)

Post by KadazanPL » Fri Nov 16, 2012 7:10 am

Nice, you've got a DIY Fortress FT02 ;) I like the... uhmm... upholstery :D

I have to ask though... as much as I understand the need to build things just for the pure pleasure of creation/tinkering, I don't quite get the logic behind investing both time and money in a near-silent case and then tucking it away in a cabinet. :)

MattP
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Re: wooden case with optimal airflow (my first silent PC)

Post by MattP » Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:52 am

I had no idea that a case such as the FOrtress FT02 existed, haha! I do think mine's still more efficient air flow wise, however ;)

I can understand your question. I actually didn't originally plan to have it up in the cupboard, though I had always planned the ECU. Having the case up in the cupboard mainly keeps it out of the way, with the added bonus of there being absolutely no noise audible. It's quite something. :D

If I'd not made it near silent, I think it would be pretty audible still, and the threshold between silent and audible is oh so small :)

Thanks for your comments!

TalkinHorse
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Re: wooden case with optimal airflow (my first silent PC)

Post by TalkinHorse » Tue Nov 20, 2012 2:44 pm

Very impressive rig, and an interesting video! It's worth watching because you've done things very differently from most of what we see, so this is food for thought, even if few people are ambitious enough to follow this path.

Presumably the big fans are rotating quite slowly for maximum silence. You didn't mention components; I chose components for minimum wattage in my latest build (e.g., Ivy Bridge!) so as to have fewer watts heating up the box. But you mentioned overclocking, indicating your priority was speed rather than cool-running.

Ha ha, should I point out that you ought to put the PC box on the floor, since the convection means the box is wallowing in the waste heat of everything in the room?

Anyway, very impressive!

mkk
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Re: wooden case with optimal airflow (my first silent PC)

Post by mkk » Tue Nov 20, 2012 10:35 pm

A good video is efficient for both information and presentation. Well done. Hope to see that control unit later.
Some light fabric could be applied to the underside to act as dust filters. I've hobby-restored some furniture in the past and working with cloth gave me a lot of new inspiration on ways to make improvised constructs. Sewing is well worth learning.

MattP
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Re: wooden case with optimal airflow (my first silent PC)

Post by MattP » Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:20 am

TalkinHorse wrote:Presumably the big fans are rotating quite slowly for maximum silence. You didn't mention components; I chose components for minimum wattage in my latest build (e.g., Ivy Bridge!) so as to have fewer watts heating up the box. But you mentioned overclocking, indicating your priority was speed rather than cool-running.
Yes indeed! The fans are very slow, and sometimes stop entirely when the comp isn't doing anything demanding. The components aren't particularly low wattage though. There's an i7 2600k @ 4.4GHz in there, and a GTX 460 (which is surprisingly very quiet).
Ha ha, should I point out that you ought to put the PC box on the floor, since the convection means the box is wallowing in the waste heat of everything in the room?
Haha, good point... :mrgreen: thankfully it's a hallway, and a cool one as it never gets the sun.
mkk wrote:Some light fabric could be applied to the underside to act as dust filters. I've hobby-restored some furniture in the past and working with cloth gave me a lot of new inspiration on ways to make improvised constructs. Sewing is well worth learning.
Hmm, that's a good idea. Is there any kind of fabric that you would recommend?

By the way, the next video about the external control unit has been uploaded (I've recently decided that "External PC Control Hub" is a better name for it). I didn't cover the inside of it, as not too many people will be interested in that, but I will cover it at a later date.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hP0NFD6 ... ature=plcp

xan_user
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Re: wooden case with optimal airflow (my first silent PC)

Post by xan_user » Thu Nov 22, 2012 8:54 am

WOW! :D

WELCOME TO SPCR!


Thats one cool little control unit! Nice build!

mkk
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Re: wooden case with optimal airflow (my first silent PC)

Post by mkk » Thu Nov 22, 2012 5:11 pm

MattP wrote:Is there any kind of fabric that you would recommend?
Well sure, pantyhose. :) Anything reasonably strong while thin and resembling net/mesh will do well. Like insect net, but not the ones with too tiny holes in it. One could find thin metal mesh at some hardware stores I guess, if really sturdy material is desired.
Image

lowmotion
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Re: wooden case with optimal airflow (my first silent PC)

Post by lowmotion » Sat Nov 24, 2012 12:21 am

The hard drives are not mounted in the correct angle.

sanse
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Re: wooden case with optimal airflow (my first silent PC)

Post by sanse » Sat Nov 24, 2012 1:45 am

very nice setup. thanks for sharing.

MattP
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Re: wooden case with optimal airflow (my first silent PC)

Post by MattP » Sat Nov 24, 2012 6:00 am

mkk wrote:Well sure, pantyhose. :) Anything reasonably strong while thin and resembling net/mesh will do well. Like insect net, but not the ones with too tiny holes in it. One could find thin metal mesh at some hardware stores I guess, if really sturdy material is desired.
Image
Ah, thank you! I will definitely add something like that to keep the dust out! :D
lowmotion wrote:The hard drives are not mounted in the correct angle.
No worries...

Hitachi:

"The drive will operate in all axes (6 directions). Performance and error rate will stay within specification limits if the drive is operated in the other orientations from which it was formatted."

Western Digital:

"Physical mounting of the drive: WD drives will function normally whether they are mounted sideways or upside down (any X, Y, Z orientation)."

Maxtor:

"The hard drive can be mounted in any orientation."

Samsung:

"As long as it is securely attached to the chassis, hard disk drives may be mounted either horizontally or vertically depending on how your computer's case is constructed."

Irrelevant
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Re: wooden case with optimal airflow (my first silent PC)

Post by Irrelevant » Sun Nov 25, 2012 1:05 am

Fabrics and meshes make crap filters. They're fine for removing big stuff like hair, but the 3D structure of foam allows it to capture far more and far smaller particles. Buy some air-conditioner filter foam sheet and cut it to size. The stuff's cheap (I got enough for a dozen 120mm fans for $1.50), much easier to work with, and far more effective. With a bit of stand-off from low-flow fans, the extra restriction won't be a problem.

lowmotion
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Re: wooden case with optimal airflow (my first silent PC)

Post by lowmotion » Tue Nov 27, 2012 12:28 am

lowmotion wrote:The hard drives are not mounted in the correct angle.
No worries...

Hitachi:

"The drive will operate in all axes (6 directions). Performance and error rate will stay within specification limits if the drive is operated in the other orientations from which it was formatted."

Western Digital:

"Physical mounting of the drive: WD drives will function normally whether they are mounted sideways or upside down (any X, Y, Z orientation)."

Maxtor:

"The hard drive can be mounted in any orientation."

Samsung:

"As long as it is securely attached to the chassis, hard disk drives may be mounted either horizontally or vertically depending on how your computer's case is constructed."[/quote]


On the picture the angle seems to be higher/lower than 90°. This is the important part.

MattP
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Re: wooden case with optimal airflow (my first silent PC)

Post by MattP » Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:11 am

Hmm, yeah.. I wish I could get hold of some of that air cond. filter that cheap here in the UK. :| Looks like it would be perfect.
lowmotion wrote:On the picture the angle seems to be higher/lower than 90°. This is the important part.
Why? If it's okay at vertical, and okay horizontal, then it's going to be okay in-between. :wink:

I guess we could theorise about it all day, but in reality it's working fine. :)

Irrelevant
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Re: wooden case with optimal airflow (my first silent PC)

Post by Irrelevant » Tue Nov 27, 2012 1:47 pm

MattP wrote:Hmm, yeah.. I wish I could get hold of some of that air cond. filter that cheap here in the UK. :| Looks like it would be perfect.
Oh. Right. The UK is frigid all year-round. Forgot about that. :lol:

However, any form of reticulated foam with 30-60 ppi ("pores per inch") will do. PuraPC sells stuff intended specifically for computers, and there's also outdoor furniture foam, aquarium filtration foam, and even puppetry foam (have no idea why reticulated foam is better for puppets, but apparently it is). Probably more expensive to source, but not terribly so.

N7SC
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Re: wooden case with optimal airflow (my first silent PC)

Post by N7SC » Tue Nov 27, 2012 7:43 pm

MattP:

Since some people in the UK probably have forced air heating and cooling systems in their houses, there are likely a number of good air conditioning filters available. The link below is to the type I use in my air conditioning system. Select the link for "Best 1" Air Filters."

http://www.filtrete.com/wps/portal/3M/e ... talog-Air/

These filters work a treat in my A/C system. They claim to have electrostatically charged fibers in them that grab all sorts of microscopic nasty things that would blow right through a normal filter.

They are pleated to increase the surface area available for filtration. If you can manage to work a 1" (25.4mm)thick filter under your intake fans, that would be great. If not, then you can always take some of the material and flatten it out. If possible though, it is best to use the filter while it is still pleated. The added surface area will let it collect more dust and things over a longer time, and you won't be having to worry about changing it so often.

The ones that I use are 20" X 20" by 1" thick, cost about $15 to $18 USD, and last about 3 months in our A/C system. Keep in mind that a central A/C system moves much more air through it than a PC does, probably several orders of magnitude more. And, here in Florida, the A/C will run literally constantly, day and night, at times in the summer. Thus I take the filter's ability to last 3 months under those conditions as an indication that it has a very high capacity before it clogs up.

If you can't find these in the UK, you can always search for a filter that is similar in construction.


PS: Your idea for the external control unit for the PC is pure genius. How were you able to extend all the cables that you needed to extend 5 meters? Did you need any signal boosters, or did just long cables work? And, may we assume that you simply extended the mouse, keyboard, and monitor cables the same way, or was something special needed there.

With eager anticipation I will await your video that explains the making of the external control unit, and the cable (I hope).

xan_user
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Re: wooden case with optimal airflow (my first silent PC)

Post by xan_user » Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:05 pm

The hard drives are not mounted in the correct angle.
On the picture the angle seems to be higher/lower than 90°. This is the important part.
drive orientation concerns went out the window around the turn of the century.

.....

now back to our regularly scheduled, great airflow design, that can also be placed in the next room, first thread awesomeness by MattP...

(you've got my vote for best first thread by a new member for 2012!)

Cistron
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Re: wooden case with optimal airflow (my first silent PC)

Post by Cistron » Mon Feb 18, 2013 4:24 am

Any update on how you wired up your ECU?

MattP
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Re: wooden case with optimal airflow (my first silent PC)

Post by MattP » Mon Feb 18, 2013 5:24 am

I've been working on the final video over the weekend, which covers how I wired it - not finished with it yet though, but will be soon. I'll make a post about it when it's up. :)

N7SC
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Re: wooden case with optimal airflow (my first silent PC)

Post by N7SC » Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:45 am

Thanks Matt. That is perfect timing, all the cables that are needed just shipped out to me. In about two to three weeks all will be ready. All that is left to do is design and build the box for it.

There is also a bunch of 1/4" and 3/4" maple plywood sitting around here that is begging to be used to build the box. And a slab of nice, solid, tung oiled cherry too. :wink:

MattP
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Re: wooden case with optimal airflow (my first silent PC)

Post by MattP » Mon Feb 18, 2013 8:09 am

Great stuff! You'll have to do a build log as you go along. :) Looking forward to seeing what you come up with, design wise!

Cistron
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Re: wooden case with optimal airflow (my first silent PC)

Post by Cistron » Mon Feb 18, 2013 8:31 am

MattP wrote:I've been working on the final video over the weekend, which covers how I wired it - not finished with it yet though, but will be soon. I'll make a post about it when it's up. :)
Waiting eagerly. Are you opposed to giving us a little write-up preview?

N7SC
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Re: wooden case with optimal airflow (my first silent PC)

Post by N7SC » Mon Feb 18, 2013 9:39 am

MattP wrote:Great stuff! You'll have to do a build log as you go along. :) Looking forward to seeing what you come up with, design wise!
A build log is a great idea. With photos, of course. The design depends on a number of factors, one of which is whether or not I can easily and inexpensively get any Gaboon Ebony or Spalted Maple (links to photos below). "Inexpensive" in the same sentence as Gaboon Ebony creates an oxymoron as it sells for around $100 for 1 square foot, 1" thick.

Gaboon Ebony, the black wood in the foreground.

Spalted Maple.

Later on I may post some drawings of the design ideas that I have.

MattP
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Re: wooden case with optimal airflow (my first silent PC)

Post by MattP » Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:18 pm

Cistron wrote:Waiting eagerly. Are you opposed to giving us a little write-up preview?
Not really, it's just that it'll take time away from making the actual video. I'll be covering every little thing in the video though, and it should allow me to explain things a bit more clearly than otherwise.

N7SC wrote:A build log is a great idea. With photos, of course. The design depends on a number of factors, one of which is whether or not I can easily and inexpensively get any Gaboon Ebony or Spalted Maple (links to photos below). "Inexpensive" in the same sentence as Gaboon Ebony creates an oxymoron as it sells for around $100 for 1 square foot, 1" thick.

Gaboon Ebony, the black wood in the foreground.

Spalted Maple.

Later on I may post some drawings of the design ideas that I have.
.

Lovely wood! I like that you're going with hardwood, rather than veneer. It should allow you more flexibility regarding design.

Make sure you get everything planned out perfectly. With wood that expensive it wouldn't be good to miss something.

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Re: wooden case with optimal airflow (my first silent PC)

Post by Chris Beard » Tue Aug 13, 2013 1:50 pm

Wow - just wow. Thing of beauty; nice videos on youtube too!

cordis
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Re: wooden case with optimal airflow (my first silent PC)

Post by cordis » Tue Aug 13, 2013 9:05 pm

Yeah, with the expensive wood, you should probably get some cheap wood and do a prototype with that first. Then when you have any tricks and dimensions worked out, go with the pricey wood. That's what I did with my big brass box (viewtopic.php?f=14&t=59803), did it first with cheap roofing steel and then used brass. Although I keep meaning to rebuild that with a wood frame instead of the steel. It would probably get bigger, though. Although my wooden version was smaller (viewtopic.php?f=14&t=61400), but the big brass box has a dual xeon motherboard and 20+ hard drives in it now, so a wooden version would have to be bigger.

But good build. It looks like you got the cables routed nicely, that's good. I put the psu and the hard drives on the back so I could route the cables under the bottom and around the sides, but that doesn't go super smoothly sometimes. I like the remote box for the buttons and the optical drive, that is a good idea. Upgrading that stuff separately from the main box would be pretty slick. Although I'm guessing that you're using usb for the optical and cards, so that could limit your speed. I guess you could do the buttons and leds with just regular wire, unless you have something more complicated going on. And I guess you're doing the video separately, so that makes things simpler. But a remote unit plus a machine far away makes for a quiet setup. Great work!

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