High explosives PC case


[Ilias] let us know about his new HTPC case mod.  He took a surplus Ammo-case and with a bit of work turned it into a livingroom eye-sore masterpiece. His build has some nice touches, including a slot-fed DVD player, switch-based fan control, and key-and-button “nuclear launch” type power-on controls.

A few things to learn from this project: Cleanly cutting holes in a steel case for the connectors is tough.  You can see that [Ilias] did a pretty good job with it and in several cases used rubber gaskets to cover the rough edges. Secondly, the slot fed DVD had to be mounted upside-down.  We assume this will be fine, but we’d like to hear a follow-up after a few years of heavy use. Finally, the GFAF (girlfriend acceptance factor) ran very close to critical on this build as [Ilias] didn’t clean up the metal shavings on his porch and ended up with rust stains everywhere.

Case mods are an enjoyable hobby. We hope this will inspire you to take the leap.  If you do, don’t forget to send your completed project into our tip line.


  1. monkeyslayer56 says:

    hehehe now have it explode if the right password isn’t entered…

  2. risu says:

    Aww… I was expecting a PC that exploded if security was breached.

  3. rallen says:

    This is quite a bit better than my milk crate mod several years ago (everything zip-tied in). The GFAF tipped into critical on that one…

  4. Wolf says:


    Awesome case mod, but you got our hopes up with that headline.

  5. Hackius says:

    @risu: Mee too :(

  6. VIPER! says:

    You don’t know a guy named Drain Dude? Do you.
    He had several orange Milk Crate PCs he zipped together, up at UAF in Fairbanks Alaska.

  7. DarwinSurvivor says:

    I hope those AA battery-spaces don’t leak. I have a bunch of old batteries in plastic containers (need to take a trip to the recyclers some time) and about 20% of them end up leaking.

  8. strider_mt2k says:

    That’s VERY nice!

    Thiose cases lend themselves to SO many cool uses.

    I built a ruggedized portable un-interruptable 12VDC power supply into the same kind of case, only I managed to find one that originally contained explosive bolts for the navy in gray.

    I made a control panel to fit on the inside so you had to have it open to use, but it could get rained on pretty good with no problems when it was closed up. :)

    Nice work, but yeah clean up when you’re done.
    It’ll count towards keeping your girl happy.

    -and when the Queen is happy, the LAAAAND is happy! :D

  9. Jack says:

    Just a comment for anyone working on a project like this: If you attempt any project like this where you need to drill nice round holes in thin metal, use a step bit. Depending on the bit, they can drill a wide range of hole sizes from about 1/8″ up to about 1″, and they come out nice and smooth. Harbor Freight usually has them pretty cheap, or you’re sure to find them at any local hardware store.

  10. Haku says:

    I envy those who have the time to build such “works of art” PCs, I seem to be spending too much time working or too tired to attempt a unique case mod – my choice would be a http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_(game) as I’ve got a spare original one kicking around.
    http://www.mini-itx.com has tons of cool case mods with lots of pictures & info of the builds.

  11. xrazorwirex says:

    Just a hint of criticism: I’m not sure where the “high explosives” comes from – it’s a standard surplus ammo canister…

  12. xrazorwirex says:

    I see – it was an artillery canister.

    I was expecting some kind of pc build that could ‘withstand’ high explosives or something insanely cool like that – but a miniITX build is fine too…

  13. barry99705 says:


    But it’s cool drilling triangular holes with a normal bit!

  14. Louis II says:

    I have a friend who had a VIA Mini ITX board at least 4 years back yet had no case for the thing. He asked me for suggestions and I gave him an ammo box… yes, the ammo box computer was completed back then, with wireless g (by pcmcia card), 2.5″ HDD, DVD Burner, swivel mounted LCD screen and fold-able keyboard that could be put inside the box for transport… might have had a wireless mouse too, but I forget. It was all shock mounted and sound dampened for fairly strait forward reasons.

    He used my dremel and went through about 50 cutoff wheels… insanity.

    I can’t find the pictures any where, but we did have them hosted for a while some where out there.

    It was pretty kickass… then he sold it to some one else.

  15. d34th_tr1p says:

    i made one of these – the cd part 3 months ago

  16. LinuxPS2 says:

    That is the exact ammo case i use for my wardriving rig!… picked it up at a surplus store a few years back for around $10

  17. Those batteries were a rather foolish choice to use for spacers at the bottom of this otherwise fine project. I am betting they will rot.

  18. and i agree with the guy who talked about using a “step bit”

    not only will you get cleaner holes, but you can size them more accurately and the edges will be far smoother than what this guy ended up with.

    and you should lightly tap a center point for your hole before drilling so that it doesn’t wander before sinking.

  19. me says:

    Pick up CLR in the cleaning aisle. It will take away those rust stains. Stands for Calcium-Lime-Rust (remover).

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