Around four months ago I 3D printed a small form factor (SFF [ITX]) PC case and have been daily driving it since. Today I’ll be taking a look at it for the first time to see how its holding up. Will the 3D printed case adventures continue?
A quick overview of the PC
For the case, I chose an existing design I found on Thingiverse and made a few adjustments to it to better fix my needs. Afte printing the case and I knew the parts fit the work was done. I’d say more time was spent on waiting for the parts to show up and the 3D print itself, rather than getting the design to work with the parts I chose.
I decided to print the case in PLA, which wasn’t really a choice I made as it was the only material I had lying around. After printing it and seeing a few concerns around it warping with the heat on Reddit, let’s see if these concerns have materialised?
How the PC case is holding up
The case is holding up better than I could have imagined. (This is V2 of the case, which fixed an issue splitting issue along the layer lines.) From the outside the case looks perfect, the plastic shows no signs of heat damage and hasn’t split in any areas.
The only part that has deformed, which is being improved in the next version, is the flimsy rear plastic part used to help hold the motherboard in place. A single layer of plastic has delaminated itself and has a slight bend in it. This could be due to it being used as a way to pry the top cover off overtime.
The dust build up on the CPU fan is fairly minimal considering there is not filter covering it. This is likely due to it being oriented upside down and underneath my desk where dust isn’t falling on it thanks to gravity.
Taking a look at the inside after removing the motherboard, the motherboard mounting points look great with no signs of damage or cracking. Taking a look at the screw holes made by the table mounting brackets is another story. The screws have split the plastic along the layer lines, resulting in cracks forming. They don’t look too bad at the moment and don’t seem to affect the structure of the case. I do plan on improving this aspect of the case however.
3D printed PC is a win
I’d say the case has been a great success so far. Nothing has gone catastrophically wrong and the case still works to this day, especially as its mounted upside down. The PLA used to print the case is still holding up well with the only issue around it being due to not being designed correctly and screws splitting it. For these reasons I will continue to use PLA.
What’s next for the 3D printed PC?
After taking it a part and inspecting it, I’ve come up with a list of improvements and changes I want to make to the next version. More information on the next version will be shared soon after I finalise the changes and ensure they work correctly. The changes so far are as follows:
- Strengthen the rear top bar
- Remove the power button hole
- Improve the strength of the external mounting points
- Add rubber to the mounts to reduce vibration noise