How to build a wooden computer case

Written by mike andrews
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How to build a wooden computer case
(Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Modern computer cases are designed to be stylishly attractive to consumers, but many computer users want to personalise their computers with customised, home-made cases. While some users choose unusual materials for their cases like cardboard or plastic building blocks, many customizers choose to make wooden cases for their safety and durability. Building a wooden case does present some unique challenges though as cases without adequate ventilation can cause their computers to overheat dangerously. Fortunately for these custom builders, wooden computer cases can be easily modified to prevent such a fate.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Measuring tape
  • 1 8-foot by 4-foot sheet of one-inch plywood
  • Pen or pencil
  • Jigsaw
  • Circular saw (optional)
  • Protective goggles
  • Drill with drill and screwdriver bits
  • Wood glue
  • 8 wood screws
  • Paper
  • Paintbrush (optional)
  • Paint or stain (optional)

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Measure your computer to determine its dimensions. Note the computer's width, length and height, then add one inch to each measurement to accommodate your computer.

  2. 2

    Mark off a top, bottom and three side pieces on your plywood according to the measurements you've recorded. Measure off each piece's dimensions, then use your measuring tape as a guide to draw straight cut lines for each piece.

  3. 3

    Put on your safety goggles and cut out the pieces of your case according to the lines you've marked out. Be careful to follow your guidelines to make straight cuts and squared corners.

  4. 4

    Use wood glue along the ends of the "side" pieces (or top and bottom if your computer stands vertically) to attach the "sides" together. Then, holding the"sides" tightly together, use one wood screw through each corner to hold the pieces securely as the wood glue dries.

  5. 5

    Place some wood glue along the tops of the side pieces and attach the larger top piece (or "side" for vertical-standing computers) to the framing sides. Again, each corner should also be attached by one wood screw to keep the joints secure while drying. Repeat for the second large piece, unless you're leaving the bottom open on a horizontal case to accommodate the computer.

  6. 6

    Disconnect your computer's cables and place it inside the case and note where openings will need to be cut for the computer's fan, cables, buttons, disk drives and ventilation openings. Mark each necessary cut on the inside of the case. (Alternately, measure out the dimensions of each necessary opening on the computer, and transfer the appropriate marks to the outside of the case for cutting).

  7. 7

    Drill an starting hole for each necessary opening into the case and cut out the indicated portions with your jigsaw. At a minimum, you should have openings cut for the power button, disk drives, cables, fan and vents. Some builders also drill holes for all the computer's indicator lights as well.

  8. 8

    Place the computer inside the case and reconnect all the necessary cables. Check to see if all of the openings are the correct dimensions, or if some will need to be expanded slightly to accommodate disk drives, cable heads, etc. Complete any necessary adjustments and replace the computer inside the case.

  9. 9

    Paint or stain your case as desired to match your decor or express your computer's new personality.

Tips and warnings

  • Some case builders create a final wood piece to completely enclose the computer. Doing so requires cutting holes for all cables, buttons and ventilation.

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