Duct tape – an introduction
Duct tape is probably one of the most geeky materials known to man. We have a history of working with duct tape that includes some fairly impressive constructs, as well as several contest victories for creating purpose-built structures in a short timeframe.
In February of 2007, we decided to put our skills working with DuctTape into a long-term, practical project. We wanted to build something that could really be useful. We decided on a computer case.
Our objective was not to create a working computer out of tape and computer parts, but rather to create a case which could be used to house any computer with a small form-factor motherboard.
A plan for greatness
Our first task was design. The most difficult part of the design was developing methods of structural support which did not rely upon the computer parts themselves. We finally settled on this plan:
A set of rolled duct-tape ‘poles’ would serve as a hexahedral frame in which the components could rest. Stiff duct-tape panels would be attached to this frame to create the box.
We decided we would place the heaviest component, the PSU, in the bottom of the case. We wanted it to rest on two poles that would serve as ‘rails’ which would keep it off the floor of the case. Next to it, the Hard Drive could rest on the same rails. The Motherboard would hang from two of the horizontal rails along one side. Finally, the Optical drive would sit, on end, on a shelf on the opposite wall. We decided that for this proof-of-concept project we would not need expansion cards or a floppy drive.
Once we had the plan down, we had to craft the basic components. These were essentially the raw building blocks that we would eventually use to create the finished case. We found, after counting, that we would need:
- 2 15×15″ panels of commercial-grade, grey tape to form the side walls
- 3 15×7″ panels of commercial-grade, grey tape to form the top, back, and bottom walls
- 2 7×7″ panels of decorative silver tape for the front vent and door
- 1 1×7″ panel of decorative silver tape to complete the front wall
- 16 15″ poles of industrial-grade, grey tape for structural support
- 8 7″ poles of industrial-grade, grey tape for structural support, including optical drive shelf
- 1 1.75×8″ board of industrial-grade, grey tape for optical drive shelf
- 1 hollow tube of commercial-grade, grey tape for the door hinge.