Scratchbuilt PC - Materials, Donor Cases and Ports

Written by Antony Leather

April 19, 2012 | 08:40

Tags: #itx #itx-case-mod #itx-pc-mod #modding-guide #scratchbuild #small-form-factor-case #watercooled-itx #zotac-z68

Companies: #bit-tech

Use a donor case

One of the best things you can do to same time, money and also to make your case look more professional, is to use an existing case a donor for various components. This can range from power buttons and lights to sections of the case itself such as drive bays or the motherboard tray.

Scratchbuilt PC - Materials, Donor Cases and Ports Use a donor case Scratchbuilt PC - Materials, Donor Cases and Ports Use a donor case
Click to enlarge

Scratchbuilt PC - Materials, Donor Cases and Ports Use a donor case Scratchbuilt PC - Materials, Donor Cases and Ports Use a donor case
Click to enlarge

Here we decided to use both the power and reset switches and lights as well as the motherboard tray section from an old case. You can buy all these separately from etailers such as Kustompcs.co.uk, but if you have a spare case then you can save some cash by chopping it up. The motherboard tray is particularly useful because cutting the I/O panel and lining up the motherboard and stand-offs requires millimetre precision - were not saying you can't do it manually but doing it this way will save a lot of time and fiddling. Using a ready-made motherboard tray will allow you align things up perfectly, meaning all you need to do is secure it to your case and cut the I/O panel hole.

Scratchbuilt PC - Materials, Donor Cases and Ports Use a donor case Scratchbuilt PC - Materials, Donor Cases and Ports Use a donor case
Click to enlarge

You can even use the USB ports and audio jacks, but for this example we'll just be extracting the buttons and light from this old Akasa Omega case. Above you can see our motherboard fitted to the old motherboard tray. Most cases will just need the removal of a couple of screws and glue, and the buttons and lights should pop out. You may also want to cut out their housing for use in your case as it may provide a sturdy, ready-cut mount for them.

Scratchbuilt PC - Materials, Donor Cases and Ports Use a donor case Scratchbuilt PC - Materials, Donor Cases and Ports Use a donor case
Click to enlarge

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

The old tray came equipped with a rear fan - as we won't be needing this, we've trimmed the rear section here down to the bare minimum to not have lots of unsightly grey steel spoiling the look of our sleek acrylic case.

Of course, if you're making a larger case, then the addition of PCI expansion slots on your donor motherboard tray will probably come in very handy - yet another thing you won't have to worry about.

All that's left to do is to cut the hole for the I/O panel and while you're there you may as well measure up and cut the holes for the PSU and graphics card too.
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