Build A Temporary Computer Case Out Of The Motherboard’s Cardboard Box

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Step 5: Power it up

Now it’s time to add a power supply. I chose a corner location for ease of access to cooling and exhaust—I don’t want the PSU venting into the interior of the box. Then I made more marks and cuts into the box, and eventually got the PSU all situated.

This was probably the trickiest step, because I wanted to use screws to hold the PSU in place. I initially punched holes in the wrong locations, because I had my paper marking the holes reversed. Oops. Getting the small screws through the cardboard and into the appropriate hole on the PSU can also be a bit of a pain. And yes, my cabling needs work.

It’s times like this that I gain a better appreciation for everything that goes into making even a cheap PC case. You can’t be even 1mm off and still have everything link up properly.

Image 1 of 3 Weirdest fan mounting ever. Fullsize imageImage 2 of 3 Behold my cable management. Fullsize imageImage 3 of 3 At least it’s spacious in here. Fullsize image

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The Cardboard Box of Ultimate Power!

There’s something about cardboard that’s inherently appealing. I have three children, and for the first several years of life, they were all more interested in the boxes their Christmas and birthday presents arrived in than in the actual toys. Even today, my six- and eight-year-old sons love taking my discarded boxes and turning them into playgrounds for their stuffed animals, Lego, toy cars, and more.

That’s part of the appeal of the Labo, and in the process you gain a personal relationship with whatever you create. But building a PC in a box? It’s perhaps even more complex.

I’m a bit ashamed to say that it took more than four hours to get everything put together. And I would take a cheap $20 case over this cardboard monstrosity. Even the worst case is likely less of a risk to personal injury as well. I cut myself (badly) on an Antec case six years ago, trying to remove a metal cover blocking access to a 5.25-inch optical drive bay. I’m really proud that I managed to assemble this cardboard PC without ever slicing my hand or finger with the sharp box cutter, or getting a single papercut—it was a definite risk!

Now that the system is up and running, I’ll probably leave it that way for a while. Because, even if it looks stupid, it’s my creation, and I’m proud of it. Or something. My wife thinks it’s ugly and wants it out of the living room. My boys think it looks like a great place to stow their stuffed animals. This probably isn’t going to end well if I leave it powered up.

In the meantime, I have a GTX 1080 Ti I need to swap in so I can run some more CPU benchmarks.