The oggOmatic

![the oggOmatic] (jukebox_finished.jpg =281x215)

The first try

This case started out as a Sony CD-Rom case, but by the time I saw it it was merely a gutted shell sitting in the Weird Stuff warehouse in Sunnyvale, CA. I’m not sure exactly why I bought it (I may have wanted the power supply for some never-completed project), but when I bought my first Mini-ITX motherboard this case got tapped for it.

[Barely room to spare]

I got far enough along to install the motherboard, hard drive, and a CD-Rom drive (which was quite loud when running) before deciding I wasn’t happy with a 1024x768 flat-panel, reverting to a SGI 1600SW, and building the workstation that I’m now using at home.

Before I gave up

This case was filed away, waiting for inspiration to strike, and there it sat for almost a year.

The second try

After finishing my workstation, I commissioned a local woodworker to build a case for a Advantech SBC. This gave me enough enthusiasm to go back to this case, even though I wasn’t quite certain what I wanted to do with it. I’d changed my mind about some parts of the design; for instance, I no longer wanted to use a CD-Rom drive in the case because slim CD-Rom drives all seem to be pretty loud (if I loaded software over the network or from a USB-connected CD-Rom drive, this wouldn’t be so much of a problem.) I thought about putting a volume dial onto the case, but eventually figured that I’d be better off putting an IR port into the case and controlling it from a palmpilot.

Since I wasn’t planning on using a CD-Rom drive, that meant I could turn the motherboard 90 degrees and not worry about carving out a back panel with a cutout for the ATX backplate. And, if I did this, I could make it look more like a piece of audio equipment.

the case + a power supply

I chopped a hole for the ATX backplate into the new back of the case, fitted a couple of pieces of black walnut to make the new sides of the case, and fitted the Morex D2D that didn’t have enough power to be used in the other case..

the case + disk shelf

I drilled and grommeted a hole in the center of the front to hold a little green power LED, replaced the power connector for the Morex D2D, dug out a power supply (the power brick from a Tadpole Sparcbook which I don’t use much anymore), built a hard disk mounting shelf (from a couple of PC card slot covers; those things make a very useful shelf for mounting small light objects) for a quietquietquiet Fujitsu hard drive and test-fitted the whole thing together.

lots of room inside!

Painting (and unpainting)

I was planning to paint the case either gold, copper, or black. After consultation with Russell and Silas, copper was chosen. So I disassembled the box and, remembering how stinky the house was the last time I painted a case, took the metal parts outside to paint. I put the first coat of paint on, with a couple of interruptions to wipe dripping paint off and spray a new coat on, set the case in the garage to dry, then came back two hours later for the second coat only to discover that not only had the paint dripped again, but the silly case front was covered with pieces of dust, little animal hairs, and who knows what else. I then wiped off as much of the paint as I could and went to the hardware store to buy a paint stripping wheel for my electric drill so I could strip the paint off and try again.

all parts finished and ready for reassembly

Botching the paint job turned out to be serendipity in action. When I stripped the paint off, I was left with a nice bare steel case, which looks a lot nicer than a painted case. I sprayed on a couple of coats of clear varnish, got out some orange oil to finish the walnut sidepieces, and stacked them on a shelf to dry.


The oggOmatic runs NetBSD, and I’m writing a little music player suite that uses lpr to spool music to the speakers. And until that’s done I’m just telnetting in and using a curses-based freeware jukebox program to choose the music I want to play.

Parts list

  1. The case is an external CD-rom case carcass with end panels made from salvaged black walnut. The pushbutton switch, rubber grommet, and green LED are from the parts bin.

  2. The motherboard is a VIA EPIA 5000, which is a fanless VIA C3 motherboard running at 500mhz. These days, this is Too Slow™, but it’s plenty fast for a music server, even when I’m building postoffice while music is playing.

  3. The motherboard is fitted out with 256mb and it’s got a 20gb Fujitsu MHT2020AT disk to store the music and operating system on.