Hypercube² Part I

Written by Gert Swolfs

December 20, 2004 | 00:00

Tags: #andrzej-sekula #case #custom #film #hypercube #led #vincenzo-natali #white-led

Companies: #mod

Hypercube² Part I Introduction


I got my first real PC (a pentium 166) when I was 19 years old. From that moment on it occured to me how hard it was to keep up with the ever upgrading hardware. Whenever I bought a new PC, a few weeks later it was already old. The only thing that didn\'t change that much was the encasing of the PC. I have a collection of old AT and ATX cases, and they all look the same.

Only in recent years have manufacturers seen that there is market for cases other than the traditional \"boring beige\" ones, mainly because people were personalising their cases, and technology shifted from being merely functional to also needing to be aesthetically pleasing - just look at the various products that Apple make these days!

I too found this phenomenon very interesting and wanted to try it for myself. My day-job in Belgium is as an architect, so how would an architect mod his case? Would he even mod an existing case? Why not start with a blanck canvas and start designing from scratch? This is were it all began. I wanted my very own custom case and I was gonna build it myself. The idea was something I couldn\'t get rid of; it stuck in my mind ever since. After a month of thinking about this I decided to go along with it.


For a first project, designing a case from scratch seemed very hard because I had no specific concept yet, no knowledge whatsoever about the internals of a PC - I had never even touched a soldering iron before July 2004. At this time I started to look for inspiration. It had to be something architectural, modern, and a little futuristic. These were my three keywords to start looking. It didn\'t take me long to end up at Cube2 : Hypercube.

I\'ve always been a fan of the movies from Vincenzo Natali, and have his first film, Cube, in my DVD collection. Recently I bought the second part, thinking it was also from this director, but I received something of a shock. It wasn\'t directed nor written by Natali as the original was, and it doesn\'t even come close to the first film.

My brainstorming session had brought up the first Cube movie, but I decided very quickly it was going to be to hard to pull it off. Then I remembered the sequel: a brightly lit white cube with a very symmetrical composition, and a design that would be possible to adapt and make a case out of it.

A cube is an excellent example of an architectural element which is in balance. All the sides, corners, angles and areas are the same.

The space that was created in Hypercube (the movie) is for me a perfect example of this balance. Everything is the same; it\'s perfectly symmetrical in every direction. When watching the movie I always wondered what the outside of this giant cube would look like.

Hypercube² is my interpretation of how the outside could look.


I started to study the design, the proportions of the different elements and how it was built.
I had to give myself a few standard rules that I had to follow through the whole process to keep it coherent, like the use of color and materials: white, grey, black, and stainless steel, aluminium and plexi.

The basic measurements of the case are based on the measurements of a square micro ATX motherboard. (244mm x 244mm)
The whole PC had to fit in a cube of this size. 244mm + (2x15mm) for the frame = 274mm.
After this descision I started drawing in a CAD program for a month, I made several 3D models to see what it would look like and I even made a cardboard model on scale 1:1 (which I have already thrown out and forgot to take pictures of. How could I know this log was gonna be an article on bit-tech?! wasn\'t it obvious folks? -Ed).

When I was sure I took everything into account and was satisfied with the design I could start the modding process. It took me another month to get everything I needed (hardware, plexi, stainles steel, dremel and other tools...) Somewhere in July I could start to make my dreamcase come true.

Hypercube² Part I Introduction

I used these pictures for my inspiration on the design of the case. It was very obvious I wanted to make a sort of replica of the Hypercube that would look like the one in the movie, but this would only be possible on the outside of the case because the inside would be packed with hardware. How would I design the inside of this case...
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