My Little Stealth, Epia Mini-ITX Silverware Case Mod

Posted: Saturday 27 April, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

Okay, here’s one of my fav’s & not the type of mod you usually see?

I’d had this antique silverware box for a long time- can’t recall where I got it from, probably a flea market or garage sale. I have a soft spot for things like this- buy it, put it away, remember I have it, try to think of a use, then put it away again- lol.

At any rate, I’d been reading (at the time) about the mini-itx form-factor motherboards and- zing! Finally! I knew something cool would pop up if I gave it enough time…Just so happened that I also had been playing with a lot of the smaller Linux distros about the same time- and (the clincher)- had been given a dremel tool set for that year’s b’day. So, I got to work!
Silverware Mod-box photo 1-Silverwaremodbox.jpg

Measuring & cutting out the rear of the case & the lid was a bit nerve-wracking.

Rear Cut-outs photo 2-Modbox-cutouts.jpeg

Next, came the fit-out of the PSU & the board. It was really difficult to get the backplate lined up. I had to use washers on the brass stand-offs to get the right height.

PSU/Board test-fit photo 3-BoardampPSUtestfit.jpg

I think the hardest part was drilling the holes for the fan & motherboard as I had to measure exactly–> from the outside. I didn’t want to drill from the inside & splinter the wood.

Case fan   switches   standoffs photo 4-CaseFanampSwitches.jpeg

Everything fit in- I never bothered with an optical drive because I had an external (even then!). But looking at those PSU wires was killing me.

Top, front photo 5-Top-frontview.jpeg

I tried to find dark blue tape to wrap & hide the wires- but had to settle for hideous, tarp-blue instead.

Almost done, wires wrapped photo 6-NearlyDone.jpg

Here’s the rear of the case, finished.

Case rear finished photo 7-CaseRearw-hinges.jpg

So basically, I cut out the back, rearranged the hinges, then drilled the mounting holes. I used momentary switches from Radio Shack for the power & reset buttons. I dropped one side of a couple of jumpers over each of the power pins- and fed a piece of bell wire to the other side to provide power. Lastly, used a hole saw to cut out a spot for an adjustable case fan to keep things cool (putting the case on rubber feet gave it some place to pull air from).

It’s totally silent & no one would ever suspect what’s inside? Fast-forward to today & I still have it & it’s still fine as a web browser/light work unit. If I ever wanted to resurrect it, I could go PATA-SATA adapter & SSD.

Epia Mod Complete w/Linux! photo 8-ModcompletewithBeatrIXLinux.jpeg


  1. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    My gosh, you’re so CLEVER!

    No. 1, I love your eye for something of value, picking up years ago & forgetting you even had it!! This is just fantastic – so impressed. You’re a Supermum. I wouldn’t even know how to turn a drill ON.

    • Tracy says:

      I was one of those kids who used to take everything apart (phones, radios, etc). I’ve always liked knowing how things work. Later in life, I worked at a hardware shop- so I know my way around most tools, now.

      The most harrowing part was making that first cut & hoping I’d measured it all properly (no 2nd chance!). My next idea is to build an entire computer inside of an antique, secretary’s writing desk (the sort that has a drop-down writing area).

      I’d router a channel along the rear legs to hide all wires & mount the monitor inside. The KB/mouse can be wireless & put away- or can mount the KB to the inside of the drop-down door…The motherboard & related bits can go into a drawer. That way, when not in use, it simply “disappears” from view. Still looking for “the” right piece. πŸ™‚

      • WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

        You are AMAZING, Tracy – I’m so impressed!! Just fantastic.

        Your parents I imagine would be proud of you. Your skills are just precious.

  2. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    Hey Tracy, thinking of you. I do hope you’re well & okay.

    I know when people don’t post for a while it can because they’re LIVING!!!! πŸ™‚ So that’d be all good. But do hope you’re well.

    • Tracy says:

      Hey there N’n. Hope you’re enjoying a restful weekend? Yeah, everything here is interestingly chaotic with just a hint of boredom- lol. I’ve been semi-busy with work- always happy about that one! Trying to reach new customers is tough- so am testing another avenue of advertisement in the local rag for the next 6 weeks. Wish me luck! πŸ™‚

      • WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

        LUCK!! πŸ™‚

        Thank you so much for letting me know I was actually wondering about you. I even checked my ‘notifications’ tab because I thought I wasn’t hearing of your new posts!!

  3. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    Hi Tracy – Hell I wonder how you are!!

    I’m sure you’re too busy for blogging (obviously) but just wondering, you know. So hope you’re all good, & life is okay.


    • Tracy says:

      Hey there N’n!

      Yep, you hit it on the head- I’ve picked up some more work & have been “nose to the grindstone” for a few weeks. Basically, I drop everything to take a call & mostly all else sort of gets re-prioritized to the back burner in favour of the income, know what I mean?

      In addition, I’ve been doing local speaking engagements that have netted me more clients- which is awesome as my NEIS pymt. ends next month. Time to sink or swim!

      I’ve kept your recent blog posts to read– maybe tomorrow if I get everything tended to.

      Thanks for thinking of me- very sweet of you,

      T πŸ™‚

      • WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

        Tracy, VERY glad to hear from you – thanks for responding.

        I’m thrilled all that work – AND speaking engagements. Wow, you must be one of those braves. Public speaking…

        I am truly so glad, after what shit you’ve been through. Really happy at this update – thank you πŸ™‚

  4. Tracy says:

    The last engagement had a projector set up to their laptop as a tool for me. I unplugged theirs, plugged it to mine, and did about 20 mins. on introducing Linux Mint to the seniors there who were still using XP (as XP reaches official end-of-life next April). I hadn’t planned it, but it filled part of the hour. Actually, if the room hadn’t been needed for the next group, I’m sure we’d have easily gone another hour, there was that much interest (lots of questions from the audience).

    Public speaking isn’t as big a deal if you’re talking about something you know well. My problem is that many times it’s a group of older folks who attend knowing that they ought to be more aware of tech (for their own sake/uses)- but I can tell that they have no prior knowledge base on which to understand a lot of what I’m trying to impart. I do get some glazed eyeballs during the technical parts of the talks- lol.

    However, in the end I pass out a pile of biz cards & I’ve already done a job for the pres. of the probus (pro business group) nearby. Every little bit, right?

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