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Project Name: Lumberjack's ITX
Year: 2020
Sponsors: MSI, Silicon Power, Alphacool, Noctua, Seasonic, Cooler Master

Lumberjack's ITX... Chop, chop...

My second project. Initially started as an idea to fit a whole PC inside a Jack Daniel's metal gift box. However, due to the fact that it was practically impossible to do so, because of the box's rounded corners and top and bottom double walls, I decided to build my own case. Therefore, Jack's ITX became Lumberjack's ITX.

I had to come up with a way to build a sturdy enclosure. Had to make sure that all the hardware fit, so, as with any other project, this too began with a SketchUp project. I cut out a sheet of aluminium and bent it, then crafted a motherboard mount that I later attached to the aluminium sheet. The motherboard mount also has enough room for the CPU cooler mount and the M.2 NVMe beneath. Used 4 standard motherboard standoffs to mount the board.

The PSU is one of the heaviest pieces of hardware inside a PC, so it had to be properly mounted, to avoid any possible breakage/damage in case of shock to the case. I made a small mount out of cut and bent aluminium to hold it in place.

As for the GPU, the PCI mounting bracket is probably built out of one of the most toughest materials out there. It took forever to bend and make it possible to fit inside the case, while also providing good mounts directly to the case.

After some more drilling and cutting through the box, to fit the 40mm Alphacool triple radiator and 3 Noctua fans that are to cool the CPU, I needed to enforce the case with 2 pillars made from aluminium profiles. These will enhance the case's toughness and also provide stability as the case is supposed to stand vertically.

While browsing through my accesories stash I found an EL wire which happened to be orange. I tried to put it through the GPU's radiator and I immediately knew that I had to use it with my project. As many of you know, the 12V power supply makes a pretty annoying sound, so I closed it inside a small wooden box.

I cut the wooden panels that are to cover the case and tested them out to see if they fit properly.

I also mounted 3 metal profiles that will hold the side panel with magnets.

Knowing that my fiancée enjoys painting stuff, I decided to take a short break and allow her to stain the wooden panels. As for the perforated aluminium sheet, I spray painted it myself, because she doesn't like the smell. 😅

Once the box is finished, I can now start setting up the hardware.

Noctua's NT-H2 is an amazing thermal compound, and it does its job flawlessly. I also linked together the 3 40mm Noctua PWM fans and put together Alphacool's Eisbaer Solo (LT) with their 40mm tripple full copper radiator.

Assembled the hardware and did a few tests. Everything turned out perfectly. Temperature wise, while in idle, the CPU would not exceed 35°C.

After putting it all together, I also glued the 12V power supply for the EL wire to the case's front wooden panel. Cable management was the best I could do without custom cables.

All of the wooden panels were then mounted with screws, except for the side one, that stays in place with neodymium magnets, for easy access inside.

And it's done! The project came out even better than I expected, and the way that the stained wood stands out is amazing. I really like its industrial looks.