The Glass PC

The Glass PC, in mortal flesh

How I built it

In December of 2004, I went to [SCRAP] and got a small pile of colored glass. I didn’t know exactly what I’d do with it, but it was pretty and, after a while, I decided that it would make a nice case for yet another Mini-ITX system.

[Parts is parts]

I’ve built a few cases already, so this one was pretty simple to prepare the parts for. I cut the glass to size, prepared a bunch of maple and cherrywood framing parts, then started gluing it all together. This case doesn’t have a CD-rom or floppy disc drive (I don’t tend to put them into PC cases these days; for the times that I need them, I just use USB drives or pop open the case and hand-attach IDE drives.)

[Dust Mite helps glue the sides into place] [propped up before gluing]

For the top of the case, I used a piece of some reddish tropical wood (I don’t know exactly what kind of wood, because I got it in a box of scrapwood from a local furniture maker (The Joinery, which makes and sells hideously expensive handmade furniture. I bought a couple of pieces of furniture from them years ago, before the bottom fell out of the US computer industry; nowadays, all I buy is boxes of leftovers which I use in other projects) with a bit of ornamental screen set into the middle for ventilation purposes.

the lid, unfinished

I didn’t actually decide what the back panel would be until I was about to glue the top and bottom of the box together. I’d been waffling about either using a solid wood backplate, a wood backplate with a cutout for an AT backplate insert, or a wood backplate of either sort with a cutout at the top for some green glass, but the weekend before I glued this thing together I’d found some pieces of clear acrylic sheet at SCRAP, so I decided to use it instead. I drilled, sawed, and sanded holes into the acrylic sheet for the backplate for the PC, then I lightly sanded the sheet with 1500 grit sandpaper to very lightly cloud it.

The backpanel, grouted into place

The bottom panel of the PC is just a piece of furniture-grade plywood, with braces glued onto it to support the motherboard and hard disk shelf. The pieces of glass and acrylic are mounted with regular old window grout (which takes forever to dry, but that’s okay because I built this PC with the help of the pedestrians of the apocolypse, so forever was not a great constraint on my time.

The computer hardware isn’t nearly as interesting as the case. I’m using a VIA ME-6000 motherboard and an Ituner teeny power supply to drive it. It’s got a quietquietquiet Fujitsu hard drive in it (or not in it, as the case may be; the first thing I used the PC for after I finished it was to do data recovery from the hard disk of a virus-infected PC – see below for what it looked like while I was doing the data recovery) and a USB irda dongle so I can use a Palmpilot as a remote control for it.

It's data recovery time!

Parts List

  1. The case is wooden scraps from The Joinery, glass, acrylic sheet, and ornamental screening from SCRAP, grout from the hardware store, and little rubber feet from the parts bin.

  2. The system board is a VIA ME6000 (, which has a VIA C3 running at, not surprisingly, 600mhz.

  3. The system board is outfitted with 512mb of memory and, at least most of the time, a Fujitsu MHT2020AT hard disk drive.

Later additions

A few days ago, I discovered a chain of blue LEDs in a casemod parts kit I had lying around – these LEDs were intended to go into clear plastic feet under a commercial PC, but I thought they might look pretty inside the Glass PC.

putting on the bling

The blue LEDs shine out the front of the case, but are blocked by the red glass in the sidepanels. I’m currently working on a way to permanently mount them (they are just tossed into the case right now, which is not the most stable way to set them up) so they’ll make the case look nice without being 4 little bright blue fireballs.