Alexander Gomez: My Story

About a year ago, I took a bunch of standard PC components, and built a cylindrical case around it. I considered where to put the MOBO/GPU/CPU and cables; I thought about thermals and ease of accessibility. I even went so far as to have my friend CAD design a prototype, mill the aluminium, and build a case. Only, it didn’t meet my one directive – a case that was more appliance than cable monster.

Stage 1: Prototype 1 (Standard PC Parts) – January 2015

Stage 1 1024x576 - DuneCase

Parts:

  • Silverstone 450W SFX PSU Gold
  • MSI 780 GTX Gaming
  • MSI ITX motherboard
  • 16 GB Ram
  • 500 GB 2.5 inch Segate HDD
  • intel i7 4770k CPU

We measured each part, loaded them into CAD and milled the aluminium. The process took a long time. Biggest challenge was to remove visible lines from the top of the case; which we overcame using a combination of methods. We then installed the parts in the case and stress tested it using Prime95. The result: we needed a fan to aid airflow; we needed a better way to manage cables.

Stage 2: Prototype 2 (Fine Tune) – April 2015

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Parts: Same as Prototype 1 plus a new 140mm Thermalright fan

I took the outer case we built and redesigned the inside. I used a 3D printer to do the front panel, and painted it gold. I then installed a 140mm fan on top of the case and noticed an immediate improvement in internal temps. Hot air naturally rises; a fan at the top pulling it upward accelerated the natural process – hot air was coming out quicker.

But, I still wasn’t happy. The case was too tall and didn’t look right. While it was nice to have a full size GPU, more powerful mini-ITX cards (like the 970 GTX) were coming out and it was time to integrate them into my thinking.

Stage 3: Prototype 3 (Making it shorter) – June 2015

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Parts: Same as Prototype 2 but removed 780 GTX and replaced it with mini ITX 970 GTX

I reached back out to my CAD buddy and asked him to recalculate every part. While he was doing that, I had an idea for managing the cables. What if we mounted the GPU on to a door, so when you open the door you have access to everything else – HDD, cables for power and SATA?

It changed everything. The inside of the case became so much more appealing! As far as I know, no other case has this feature.

We had another go at the design and once we finished another prototype, I was finally satisfied.

Stage 4: Final Version – September 2015

Stage 4 1024x576 - DuneCase

Parts: Same as Prototype 3

We did a quick 3D print of most of the parts and CNC’d a new case and bottom. I asked my buddy to make the door’s contour match the round top. We sanded down all the parts and put it all together.

The result was amazing. We continued to tweak the internal design – creating a special container for the power supply which helps direct the air from the bottom, leaving no place for hot spots.

Next step – create a polished version that we would paint, assemble and test.

Stage 5: Final Version Part 2 – October 2015

Stage 5 1024x576 - DuneCase

Now that we had a working version we all liked, we needed to recreate it with precision. After a year of design, redesign, testing, tweaking, and modifying, Dune Case is here. I love the design and that I can customize it how I want with mini-ITX components. It’s upgradeable, and the premium quality materials we used (high-grade aluminum, electronic paint finish) give it the look I set out for – an aesthetically pleasing computer case that’s as comfortable in a living room as a gaming system or in an office as a workstation.

This project has been a labor of love, and I’m very grateful for all the support I’ve received throughout the process. For a look at how it all turned out, please visit my Kickstarter http://kck.st/20G8cr2 or www.dunecase.com.