3D-printed "adapter frame" to easily install popular ARM boards in an ATX case?

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    • 3D-printed "adapter plate" to easily install popular ARM boards in an ATX case?

      Hello,
      I searched the Thingiverse to no avail. Are there any 3D printing enthusiasts out there?

      Many of us have an old PC with an ATX case in the closet or garage. Then we drool over some new ARM board and buy it, which oftentimes has no case. What if a 3D-printable adapter plate was available (as an STL file) on Thingiverse, which, when printed, is the size of a normal ATX motherboard, (having mounting holes in all the normal places), then it also has holes (possibly raised a bit, in a standoff-like way) in carefully chosen places that correspond to the mounting holes for many of the common ARM boards out there (which are not the size of a standard Raspberry Pi)?

      This would let you easily mount any ARM board (or even maybe 2 or 3 ARM boards) in an ATX case. This adapter plate would be the thing between the ARM board(s), and the ATX mounting holes (for an ATX motherboard) in the ATX case.

      I have no 3D printer myself, and am a total non-expert in 3D CAD design. I have no clue where to start, and I'm in Linux.
    • I currently do not have a 3D printer anymore. But I have had 3 differen ones, two of them were built up by myself from the beginning. From all my printings this project would be definitely my biggest in size:

      ARM Board size: 305 × 244 mm

      So i honestly think this would be no good idea. What i can imagine, small holders in shape of the letter X where you can use at least 2 screws to attach ich to the ATX holes. That said i can imagine that any backplate available for the different ARM boards as well as a small drill could make a hold for the ARM board that fits in an ATX case.
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    • esbeeb wrote:

      This adapter plate would be the thing between the ARM board(s), and the ATX mounting holes (for an ATX motherboard) in the ATX case
      And this would be not great for thermal reasons.

      The really interesting ARM boards for the NAS use case show a design detail that helps improving the CPU's heat dissipation: they have the SoC on the lower PCB side so the best way to combine an old PC case and such a board is using the case as giant heatsink. You just need a good thermal pad or a copper shim and some thermal grease to interconnect the SoC on the ARM board with the enclosure. No need for an inefficient heatsink or heatsink+fan inside the enclosure.

      Might not look great but why bother? It's inside the enclosure and you can/should hide the enclosure anyway (disks make noise too).
    • I think what you're saying is mount an SBC inside of a normal PC case.

      WastlJ wrote:

      I currently do not have a 3D printer anymore. But I have had 3 differen ones, two of them were built up by myself from the beginning. From all my printings this project would be definitely my biggest in size:

      ARM Board size: 305 × 244 mm

      So i honestly think this would be no good idea. What i can imagine, small holders in shape of the letter X where you can use at least 2 screws to attach ich to the ATX holes. That said i can imagine that any backplate available for the different ARM boards as well as a small drill could make a hold for the ARM board that fits in an ATX case.
      If you were gonna try something like this... I think something like this would be smarter...

      amazon.com/Yootop-Supporting-A…54186080&s=gateway&sr=8-2
      Make the "stem" small enough to fit the mounting holes on the SBC.. then use some double sided tape on the underside of the base and you can mount the SBC anywhere you want.

      Or you could just cut some small squares plate, drill a hole and then thread in some of the standard brass or plastic standoffs (if you use the brass, make sure it doesn't touch the metal case underneath the plate).. Mount the SBC to the standoffs, sticky tape the plate to the case anywhere you want.
      Air Conditioners are a lot like PC's... They work great until you open Windows.

    • tkaiser wrote:

      The really interesting ARM boards for the NAS use case show a design detail that helps improving the CPU's heat dissipation: they have the SoC on the lower PCB side so the best way to combine an old PC case and such a board is using the case as giant heatsink. You just need a good thermal pad or a copper shim and some thermal grease to interconnect the SoC on the ARM board with the enclosure. No need for an inefficient heatsink or heatsink+fan inside the enclosure.

      Might not look great but why bother? It's inside the enclosure and you can/should hide the enclosure anyway (disks make noise too).
      Ok, then how does this idea sound? It combines a little of what was said above. It's some plastic sort of in the shape of a picture frame, being hollow in the middle. There are 4 diagonal plastic "arms" emanating out from all corners, which reach out to the ATX screw holes, so it can be affixed to the ATX case. There are also 4 diagonal plastic arms going inward at the four corners of the picture frame as well. These reach in to the four corners of the ARM board. They have a height well chosen so as to help hold the heatsink-on-the-underside of the NAS-friendly ARM board against the ATX's metal case, for heat dissipation.

      I'll draw a crude diagram:

      The post was edited 1 time, last by esbeeb ().

    • KM0201 wrote:

      I think what you're saying is mount an SBC inside of a normal PC case.

      WastlJ wrote:

      I currently do not have a 3D printer anymore. But I have had 3 differen ones, two of them were built up by myself from the beginning. From all my printings this project would be definitely my biggest in size:

      ARM Board size: 305 × 244 mm

      So i honestly think this would be no good idea. What i can imagine, small holders in shape of the letter X where you can use at least 2 screws to attach ich to the ATX holes. That said i can imagine that any backplate available for the different ARM boards as well as a small drill could make a hold for the ARM board that fits in an ATX case.
      If you were gonna try something like this... I think something like this would be smarter...
      amazon.com/Yootop-Supporting-A…54186080&s=gateway&sr=8-2
      Make the "stem" small enough to fit the mounting holes on the SBC.. then use some double sided tape on the underside of the base and you can mount the SBC anywhere you want.

      Or you could just cut some small squares plate, drill a hole and then thread in some of the standard brass or plastic standoffs (if you use the brass, make sure it doesn't touch the metal case underneath the plate).. Mount the SBC to the standoffs, sticky tape the plate to the case anywhere you want.
      These are all great ideas, thanks. I hope the adhesive on those Yootop mounts is nice and strong, and won't just pop off again in 6 months or a year.

      I've had good success in the past with hobby glue as well (from a hobby glue gun, you know those cheap, small thermal glue guns that you plug in.) If one made little puddles of glue in the four corners where the ARM board screw holes go, then let the puddles firm up, then do it again, making smaller puddles on top of the first puddles, and so on, you can make your own crude standoffs, then finally glue the board to the standoffs themselves at the right height so the heatsink touches the metal case. That might be simplest of all. Just reheat the glue again later, with the tip of the hot glue gun, and it re-melts again, and you can twist the ARM board back off the mounts again.
    • If the adhesive isn't strong enough (considering it is used to mount standard atx boards.. I can't imagine it isn't).. just get a strip of Velcro.. glue one side to the case, one side to the bottom of the standoff. I know Velcro will hold it. :)
      Air Conditioners are a lot like PC's... They work great until you open Windows.

    • OK, I came up with a one-size fits all solution, which might be useful in the case that @tkaiser describes, where you want a way to somehow try to force (if possible) the heatsink on the underside of the NAS ARM board against the metal case.

      This idea tries to use cable ties, sort of like how you secure a tarp over a tent while camping; with a rope on each corner of the tarp, through the grommet-holes, then stake the other ends of the ropes into the ground, pulling the tarp fairly tight over the tent, so it won't flap in the wind.



      Note, perhaps multiple cable ties might need to be chained together, if they aren't long enough. And boosting the ARM board up, say, 1cm or so with copper shims (as @tkaiser suggests above) might be needed to create more of a "tent lump", so there is more forcefulness against the ATX case metal, once the cable ties are tightened enough.
    • This does limit that "big" case to only one arm board. Personally, I would buy some 1 inch standoffs, drill holes, and put a nut on the back of the standoff. Here is everything you need to do that for $10. The 1" clearance would be plenty of height for heat dissipation especially if you had a case fan powered up in the case. That would allow multiple boards even in a small case.
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    • Knowing where to order those things really helps. Thanks, @ryecoaaron! ^^

      My first computer was in an AT case, not an ATX case, and now I'm sort of wishing I hadn't gotten rid of it for recycling. That case had at least 3 5.25" bays, plus a 3.5" bay for the floppy drive. That case would be nice for this sort of thing.

      Rant: ATX cases are so cavernous these days, with really overpowered power supplies. How do you even use 750 watts inside a case these days? With giant numbers of RGB LEDs?

      The post was edited 1 time, last by esbeeb ().

    • I actually ordered some myself. I have an old rack mount case that I might put 4 or 5 small boards in.
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      Please read this before posting a question and this and this for docker questions.
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