[Beowulf] Cases for DIY boxen

Lux, James P james.p.lux at jpl.nasa.gov
Thu Oct 23 10:59:44 PDT 2008

> -----Original Message-----
> From: beowulf-bounces at beowulf.org
> [mailto:beowulf-bounces at beowulf.org] On Behalf Of Robert G. Brown
> Sent: Thursday, October 23, 2008 10:19 AM
> To: Peter St. John
> Cc: beowulf at beowulf.org
> Subject: Re: [Beowulf] Cases for DIY boxen
> On Thu, 23 Oct 2008, Peter St. John wrote:
> > On the subject of Doug's "A Case for Cases"
> > http://www.linux-mag.com/id/7164, I had noticed that the
> Helmer thing
> > ("bewwulf in an Ikea cabinet") is not really in a wood cabinet (the
> > steel box can be put inside a cabinet). I'm assuming it's
> unreasonable
> > to actually make a wood cabinet? On account of humidy, or
> just weight?
> > To me it just sounds easy to build a wooden rack for a bunch of ATX
> > motherboards. And it could look nice. Thermal and electrical
> > insulation would be OK, and humidy controlled with a good
> paint job on
> > the interior...?
> What about fire?  Anything electrical can in a worst case pop
> hot/molten metal before frying and/or blowing a breaker.
> Capacitors blow up (literally).  A wire is badly soldered and
> pulls free and grounds out, spattering white hot metal.
> Inside a metal shell, odds are you won't get a REAL fire as
> there isn't much actively flammable around.  In a wooden box,
> carefully dried by six months of 50C heat... it wouldn't take
> a lot to get real flames, especially if the box had e.g. a
> cooling fan mounted to actively fan a hot coal into flames.

Well.. This *is* why if you're in a regulated environment, wooden boxes aren't as popular.  However, consider that plastic is commonly used in all manner of electronic equipment that gets a UL listing. Typically it requires careful design (since UL labs will try to set it on fire).. Such things as a metal floor plate might be required. (there's also the whole brominated flame retardant issue)

On the other hand, at home, maybe this is just an example of "dual function".. Supercomputer by day, room heating woodstove by night.


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