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Thread: My Test Bench Mod

  1. #1

    My Test Bench Mod

    I had made the "Rescue PC" to make it easier to travel to other peoples homes but this time I wanted something for my house.
    This test bench would serve me two purposes.
    One it would allow me to check mine and friends hardware at my home with ease.
    Two it would also allow me to test review hardware we get.

    Yes I could have bought a test bench that has everything out in the open air, but why?
    I wanted something that would simulate a PC case, but be easy to access when needed. So this is what I came up .....

    I wanted it to be as lite as possible so I decided to use 1/2 inch angled Aluminium.

    The corners needed to be smooth and with no sharp edges.
    I do not have a welder that can do Aluminium so I will have to bend it.
    I figured out where I wanted the bends, marked two 45 degree angles, and cut it with a jig saw.

    The Aluminium needed to be notched in a few more places to make the frame shaped
    the way I wanted.

    Slowly bending the metal together I was able achieve the corners I wanted.
    If you bend it too much and to hard you can crack the aluminium.

    Here is the first piece done. It is the top main frame for the Test Bench.

    A second piece was made, but it was just two simple corners and it would be the base which the hardware would rest on.
    Sorry I must have lost the pics for this piece.

    Not wanting to ruin the smooth corners buy sticking the uprights on the outside of the second frame piece.
    I decided to notch the inside of the frame and slide the legs thru them.
    This would keep the look and help strengthen the frame.
    Using a dremel I was able to cut out the grooves to allow the struts to pass through.

    Its now time to start to assemble the frame. I liked the notch idea so much that I took the horizontal piece of the frame,
    notched and drilled holes for the Stainless Steel nuts and bolts.

    After installing all the nuts and bolts you could see that they were to long so out comes the Dremel to cut them to the correct size.

    This is what it looks like up to this point in the build. The basic frame is done and is super lite.

    You will see that during this build that some of my ideas changed.
    What sounded great at the time just did not seem to be right.
    I am not going to edit out the "mistakes" as this is a real build
    and it will help show the thought process, or the lack

  2. #2

    My Test Bench Mod

    hmm..very nice! can't wait to see more...

  3. #3

    My Test Bench Mod

    The test bench will have two shelf and I went with some store bought
    90 degree angle brackets.

    This part of the build was changed later on...

    So my idea is to have the testing part the bench simulate a PC case. This meant that it needs to be enclosed and I went with 1/4 Lexan to do this. The top would have to be able to move out of the way so that I could check the hardware and switch things around. Making it clear means that I could watch how the hardware would look and work in a case.

    I took a large sheet and cut it to the size of the frame. I clamped it so that I could heat it up and bench it to the shape of the test bench.

    I started using a heat gun but quickly found that I could not get enough heat over the Lexan all at the same time. I could heat up one area but the other area would start to cool down. This meant more heat! I grabbed my portable tourch and began to really apply some heat to it.

    This took a while but I was able to get the Lexan to soften up and I was able to get my bend.
    Once I did that I place it on the bench and maked where the MB would sit and cut out the place for all the expansion cards and ports could be located on a mother board.

    Not to bad...but not good....if you look at the top right in the above pic you can see that the edge got to hot and bubbled. This has OK as I could do something to hide that, but what I found out later was that having to lift the top on and off like a lid was a real pain the butt! This would later be changed to a much better idea as you will see.

  4. #4

    My Test Bench Mod

    AF now I understand why allot of folks build these because over the last week I have been fiddling with my three PC's and this little setup would have been perfect for that.

  5. #5

    My Test Bench Mod

    yep :wink:

  6. #6

    My Test Bench Mod

    As you can see in the earlier pictures the mother board sits towards the outer edge.
    The was done so the card tabs could extend far enough down, it would stay within the "simulated case"
    idea and I could make a bracket to hold the cards in place.

    I took a piece of the aluminium, cut most of one side it off and bent it to make the braket.

    This is what it looked like when I installed it. I later found it looked good but not practical.
    I made it to fit this mother board and well... all mother boards are not the same...

    You can see that I have the mobo and power supply placed where I wanted them.
    The PSU needs to be able to slide in and out. It also needs to exhaust out like a real case.
    I cut a piece of Lexan to the size I need for the left hand side.
    I measured and marked out where I wanted the PSU to go.

    Using a jig saw I clamped the piece down. To get a nice straight line I set it up so that the wood that is holding
    down the Lexan to be my guide. All I would have to do it keep the saw
    against the wood and it would help me make a straight cut.

    Here it is cut and set into place. I think this will work just fine.

    With the basic layout of the test done I need to start working on how the items would attach and detach.
    I did not want to hard mount the hard drives and I did not want them to inside the "case area".
    I decided I would make them slide in and out of place.

    I took some scrap aluminium marked where the holes would be for mounting the drives
    and made a simple shape.

    I cut out the pieces with tin snips, filed the edges and drill the holes.

    I then took it to my sheet metal bending jig and bent them at a 90 degree angle.
    The large part would attach to the hard drives and the small part will go into the slide rail.

    I will be using thumb screws to help hold the drives to the brackets.
    This makes it much easier to swap out stuff.

    Now if I just had some where to put it.

    I found some doors seals that help keep drafts and bugs from coming around your doors.
    I removed the rubber and TA-DA I have my HD slide tracks.

    The brackets on the HD will just fit into the groove into the new slides for a nice tight fit.

    I flipped over the test bench, figured out where I wanted it mounted and I pushed the slides onto the brackets leaving just a bit of play so that they would slide easy. I then mounted them into place.

    OK now I got someplace to put them, how do I get them in there? From the back, I don't think so.

    A notch was cut out of the front to allow me to add or remove them from there.

    So far, so good.

  7. #7

    My Test Bench Mod

    pretty clean looking . what esle you got planned for it

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