This part is probably the hardest part of putting together the mining rig, but it can also be fun. Just take your time and think about different options before you go forward, no need to rush. Its also a chance to get creative and have fun thinking about different ways to do things. I am using almost all of the parts from the guide found here.
Basically, the idea is that we need to assemble our components in a cheap, yet effective case that maximizes airflow. Here is the end result of what mine looks like:
Edit: After thinking about this, I’m not sure if a box is the best thing to sit my stuff on, in the second crate. I suggest you use something less flammable, just to be safe. If sparks fly for whatever reason (and it happens sometimes), it could be kindle for a fire.
Some Ground Rules
There isn’t really an exact science to this, but rather some general rules we should follow. So before we get started, let me explain some of them.
Maximize for Airflow
We want to maximize our airflow and heat disbursement for the rig. So we want to space our cards out well and try to keep them level. Heat rises, so we shouldn’t have the outtake of our cards pointing towards the ground. Don’t block any of the vents. The reason I had to go with the white bar is because the black rim was blocking too much airflow.
Plan for Security
We want our cards to be secure so they don’t fall and get damaged or damage your components. This means using proper ways to secure your cards and components. If your miner was bumped and it would cause damage to your rig, you need to think about setting it up differently.
Examples of How to Secure Cards:
Be Careful not to Harm Your Parts
We want to make sure we don’t use any components that are conductive or prone to static discharge. Don’t use conductive metals or high static discharge materials like polyester for placing your motherboard or graphics cards on. Make sure screws that you use aren’t in contact with any circuitry. After you make cuts into the crates, make sure you get rid of any excess plastic bits that come off. We don’t want these making their way into our computer parts and melting. I’d recommend having your case 100% ready to go before putting any parts in it, it can be a really big pain to make changes after you have assembled everything.
Be careful that you don’t statically shock your components. If you are noticing that you seem to be giving off static electricity, try to find ways to stop it first. Avoid wearing high percentage polyester shirts or clothes that seem to be generating static. I have never shocked any of my components, but there is always a chance and you should try to avoid it. Since we aren’t using a metal case for this rig, using a static wristband isn’t really going to help, but if you are really paranoid you can go with some Anti-static Working Gloves
. If you set your components down, it is good to put them back into the antistatic bags, or cut the bags in half (so you can set the part on the inside of the bag). The outsides of these bags don’t do anything.
Be Careful not to Hurt Yourself
We want to be safe and not hurt ourselves in the process = ). Here are a few recommendations here. Don’t cut towards you, this is really dangerous. Always cut away from you so there is no chance of slipping and accidently cutting yourself. If you have protective eyewear, I’d recommend it as well, it may seem ridiculous, but there may be bits of plastic flying about. If you are using a blade that closes, don’t use it in such a way that it would fold back towards you, like poking holes, etc. Find a different tool.
Preparing the Case
1. Swiss Army Knife -- I used the saw component to cut off the majority of the plastic I wanted gone. Be sure to read safety tips.
2. Drill - I used a drill to drill in the top support bar that I ended up going with, may not be necessary.
3. Screwdriver -- To poke holes in plastic for cable ties to go through.
But you can get by with less… my other rig I just used a steak knife to cut and some clip ties to hold things together.. so you can get as fancy or lazy as you want. You also may want to use some gloves, my hands were pretty sore after this.
Crafting the Masterpiece…ish
This can vary a lot in how much effort you decide to put into it. It can go from ghetto rigged to pretty awesome. My first rig I went closer to ghetto rigged, and with this one, I spent more effort into it, and got a much nicer setup going. So don’t stick to this guide exactly because it might not exactly work with your stuff, but perhaps it can give you ideas on how to proceed.
So, we decided to put our mining rig in milk crate case, using 2 milk crates we grabbed from Amazon or elsewhere. I grabbed mine at Office Max in a 3 pack for around 15 bucks. Just make sure they are the ones with square holes and not circular ones, as these are much easier to modify.
Step 1, Cut the Lining
The first thing I did was cut the plastic canvas to fit the crate. We will make some more cuts later so that some of our cables can go through.
Step 2, Video Card Placement
The next thing I wanted to do is find out where I was going to put my video cards, because to accommodate this, it will require the most drastic changes to your milk crate. I simply start out like so:
1. I placed the bar to hold my video cards towards the top. Making sure to use a slot that wouldn’t block the PCIE connector’s from connecting to the video cards and making sure the bar wouldn’t slip backwards and allow the video cards to fall.
2. Once I did this, I started get a feel for how my cards will be placed above your motherboard and how much cutting I would need to do.
Take awhile to think about this, because it is probably the hardest part of making the case, but once you do this, the rest is pretty easy.
So looking at it, it was clear that the inner lip was going to give me some problems:
and the top bar would block the airflow for the card, since it is at the top. Highlighted is where the bar would have been:
So I could have tried to cut more precisely and taken out everything below the black bar, but its easier said than done. So instead I thought it would be better to merely take out the whole front of the case.
I started looking around my house for anything I could use to replace this, and ended up finding some old blinds that had a nice heavy plastic bar at the bottom and decided to use that.
So, using my minisaw from my swiss army knife, I cut it out like so:
Then I drilled the plastic bar to the crate, like so:
And lucky me, I could use the other half of the bar to hold my cards in place, instead of using the wooden bar:
So I secured the lower bar by using a screwdriver to stab through it, and cable ties to hold it in place. Don’t fully secure your lower bar until you have added in all your components later.
I could have went with a few different options here, but a few factors that made me go with what I did was:
1) Didn’t want to point my cards downwards.
2) Didn’t want to block any of the front of the cards’ ventilation.
3) Wanted to set my cards higher so they had more room to cool off.
For 4-5 cards I probably would haven taken off the top whole front area. Just be sure to leave the corners so you can fasten the top bar down.
The only problem left I had was that the cards had 1 vent being blocked by the white bar, so I opted to cut a line through the bar and put the cards through it, like so:
I had to unscrew the top bar to fit the cards into the slot.
Fitted in, it looks like this:
This also gave it added security and made sure none of the ventilation was blocked.
With the front bottom lip of the card in front of the crate, and the top lip being held in place by the bar, these cards aren’t going anywhere.
Step 3, Cut Area for USB
If you make the same mistake that I did, you won’t be able to access any of your USB ports, and you really don’t want to do this after everything else is put together, so I’d advise that you do it now.
Make sure that your USB ports are facing the same side that your graphics cards will be facing (The side you cut for your graphics cards):
And cut out the area in red (smaller if you just want USB), being careful not to cut too much, because we need to leave as much support for our cards as possible.
You might need to take your motherboard out and place it in the crate to get a feel for where to cut, but it will look like this:
For the top milk crate, that should be it for now, but we also want to make it easier to access stuff in the bottom crate, where the power supply and hard drive will sit. I cut out my bottom like so:
So the case is ready, now we want to put it all together. Part 2 of the guide can be found here.