Still working on my case design... it would probably help if I had any sort of training in mechanical engineering.
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The whole thing is a little smaller in all dimensions than my ThinkPad T400. The giant hole you can see is to fit a ThinkPad USB keyboard. There will probably be a bracket under it for support as well.
Anyway, my current thought is to do a thick-ish (maybe 3-4mm) aluminum band as the main support material- that's the light color in the image above. It should be easy to mill the port holes from a piece of (long, narrow) flat stock, then bend it into the rounded rectangle. Bending might be tricky, but it should be doable with the help of a jig or two.
The top and bottom panels of the base I'm still thinking about. I don't want to use aluminum because of the whole "electrically-conductive" thing. So far delrin/acetal and carbon fiber are my two thoughts. Acetal I can definitely work with, and it looks like carbon fiber wouldn't be too awful.They'd be pretty thin (2mm?) to save on weight, but I'm thinking I could put in ribs to make it rigid enough. You can see two of them in the image above- a small one that would fit under the board, and a larger one that would go all the way up to the keyboard.
Anybody have insights on this? Pros/cons, experiences with either one, etc.? Other materials I should consider?The best calculations I can come up with show that unsupported carbon fiber 2mm thick would probably be more flexible than I'd like, but I have no clue how to model the ribs- I assume that would help immensely. Both acetal and carbon fiber are expensive enough that I'd like all the knowledge I can get before buying a chunk or two to mess around with.
Also, cooling... I'm thinking of a heatpipe from the CPU and sticking it to the back of the aluminum part of the case. No idea how well that would work, but it seems like it would be better than the heatsink that came with the Novena, given that it would be completely sealed up with no airflow. With the chunk I've ordered, it would cover maybe half of the back of the case.
Hinges I'm still working on, as I am the lid. I'll probably end up getting some replacement hinges for some laptop or other and adapting my design to fit them, unless somebody has a better idea.
Thoughts? If anybody has experience in something that might help, I'd love to hear it. I'm mostly concerned with making sure everything is rigid enough while keeping bulk and weight to reasonable levels, but if there are other things I should consider, I'm all ears.