When I built my media playing machine, I swapped the motherboard of my previous media playing machine into my home server and added a two terabyte hard-drive. Due to the increased processor heat, I put in a fan which did a great job for quite a few months. Recently, the fan began to fail in a very noisy way and instead of replacing the fan, I decided to just build a new case.

Lady at thrift store: oh, your buying the nice clock
Jezra: Yea, I wouldn't call it nice.

The clock in question was twenty-five dollars of cheap wood and a fancy yet broken clock mechanism.

Originally, I wanted to put the guts of my little ARM based pogo plug in the clock and have a sweet working clock / status.net server combination.

Fortunately for my "tic-toc" hating self, the clock was broken.

Clean It Out

First thing first: remove all of that ticky tocky stuff from the clock.

It was during this part of the process that I realized just how poor the quality of the wood used to create this clock was.

The parts that weren't glued together were fastened with small flat-head screws. yuk.

Oh hey! look at that. An empty clock frame and a pile of clock crap.

Yes, I Sometimes Shave

What is that design called? Art Deco perhaps?

Oh who cares. All I know is that I didn't want the ugly design painted on the glass to ruin the look I was going for.

Using my trusty razor, I shaved all of the crappy paint off of the glass. Let me tell you, it made a noise like fingernails on a chalkboard... and it was worth it.

Drill Some Venting

For some reason, I decided that as a computer, the clock would be better if it were upside down and I wanted to drill some large vent holes in what would become the top of the computer.

Peek-a-boo, I see you. Oh, that's kinda creepy.

The OS Hard Drive

The Machine is running Debian Squeeze from a 4 Gigabyte partition on a 60 Gig IDE laptop hard drive; the other 56 Gigs is for file storage.

The OS drive is mounted to the side wall of the clock case. Two smalls strips of plastic were screwed to the bottom of the drive and then screwed to the wall of the clock.

Although the OS is on a 4 Gig partition, only about 1.5 Gigs are used. Not that you care.

More Storage

The majority of storage on the server is handled by a 2 Terabyte SATA drive.

Using some wood bits that I removed from the inside of the case, and some left over clock gears, I make mounting brackets for the big drive.

Oh how very steam punk of me.

I actually really like this look, and it makes me want to build a nice wood and brass computer case from scratch. Who am I kidding? That would take way more effort than gutting a broken clock.

Small 5Volt Fan

Seriously, all I really needed to do was put this thing in the old case and everything would have been fine. It wouldn't have been as much fun, but it would have been fine.

This fan caused me a bit of a problem in regards to a power source. The fan is 5 volt, but the CPU and system fan power sources on the motherboard are 12 volt. I ended up getting 5 volts from the S/PDIF connector on the motherboard.

A bit of baling wire, two thumb tacks, and two hair elastics later, the little fan (which came from a busted Sega), was cooling that CPU properly.

Everything in Place

Alrighty! Everything is in place and running properly.

Did you think I was joking about the thumb tacks and hair elastics? Oh wait, they are sideburn elastics.

A couple of zip ties keep the cables manageable.

On The Wall

And there she is, miniserver mounted on the wall and looking good.

The system specs are:

  • 1 Ghz VIA Processor
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 2 TB Storage

The motherboard has another free SATA slot and I am tempted to put another drive in the case. If I do, it will have to be a laptop drive due to limited space.

Now quit reading, and go hack some hardware.

2012-04-16 browner:
sick hack! looks like it was fun to pull together.
2012-04-16 jezra:
There were extra wooden supports in the case that held clock components. Knocking the supports loose with a hammer was probably the most fun part of the build.

Fancy clock + hammer = fun times
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