Drive Cage Beginnings

posted Jan 6, 2014, 3:40 PM by Andrew Stock
It's been woefully long since my last update.  Family and holidays will do that, I suppose. I've made a few tiny bits of progress that I will share, anyway! Hoping for a free day sometime soon so that I can keep moving on this... otherwise it's going to go on for 2 years instead of just 1!  

Anyway, I've pressed forward with designing and preparing for the drive cage that I eluded to in my previous post. I did quite a bit of thinking on just how I was going to go about doing this, and I think I finally have a design and process now!

I started out with pencil and paper drawing a few concepts and getting the measurements right. You can see the different phases of the design on the sheet on the left. Once I settled on one that worked / I liked, I did a "final draft" to-scale on paper to get the measurements completely solid (on the right):

Next... I started with wood. Yes, wood! 

I cut some blocks out of some spare wood that I had laying around, and glued them together in a "U" shape. 

I plan on sanding down the corners of this wooden U to make the basic shape of the drive enclosure. This will ultimately be a "bending mold" that I will use when shaping my acrylic housing.

Next, I drew out my drive cage pattern in detail on the paper backing of the acrylic:

Once it was all drawn out to my satisfaction, I used a jigsaw to cut out the pieces. I could have used a table saw, but the jigsaw felt much more accurate... and with these tight fitting pieces, every half-millimeter counts! Once cut out, I put them on the drill press to get some pilot holes created for more jigsaw work:

After that, I took some blocks of wood and clamped it down to my table saw, then used the jigsaw to cut out the four ovals. These ovals will ultimately become "air vents" between each hard drive, through which exhaust air will pass into the body of the case, for expulsion by the rear case exhaust:

First a rough cut... the jigsaw couldn't quite make the turn necessary to complete the whole cut:

Next, I used my dremmel with the router attachment to round out the corners:

One side done!

And that's about as far as I've gotten.  Lots more to do on this (obviously), but hopefully I'll get a little more time soon!

Until next time.. Happy Holidays!