The invisible case

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getting cagey with my drives

I built the drive cage out of thinner acrylic that I had left from doing windows. I used the drive cage as a “practice"piece for gluing the case pieces, and learned a tremendous amount in the process.

test fitting the pieces with tape

The drive cage needed to be the right width to accommodate my DVD drive, but deep enough for a hard drive and the PSU in addition. I used two normal 1¾” bays, plus a deep 2½” bay to accommodate the PSU board.

gluing the drive cage together

The outer shell got clamped into corner clamps and glued. One mistake I made that you should avoid is using masking tape in addition to the clamps. I had adhesive work under the tape by capillary action, and it left marks on the acrylic. The following picture shows my completed drive cage with the tape holding all the pieces in place while the adhesive cured.

As you can see above, I left the top and back of the cage open for access, and used two separate strips across the front of the cage for mounting it to the front panel of the case. I had drilled my sides for the drive screws before assembling the cage, but the mounting holes for the hardware in the front didn’t happen until the end–it took me a long time to settle on a method of mounting the cage that looked good enough for me.

test fitting the gear in the cage

I had seen the professional clear cases use long screws to mount a 3½” disk in a 5¼” bay, with clear spacers around the screws. I liked that look a lot, so I used 3/16″ rigid aquarium air tubing as spacers on long M3 screws to mount the hard drive in the cage.

looking down on the cage

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