With the components laid out in my room I was able to begin the design process. Ironically I decided to design the case in CAD. To begin with, I played with ideas for a case with no actual size relation, just to test out designs. Below is an example of the very first design that I thought of. This design was not at all detailed and was merely a brain storm to see what would look good as a case. I loved the idea of clean lines and a cube shape.
At this point, it's worth mentioning that I neglected to take any photos of the build process. The pics throughout are of the final designs and, ironically, detailed renderings of the build process!
From an early stage I decided that I would not have lighting within the case - I had experimented with lighting in my PC and really did not like the effect. I had also decided I wanted the case to be extremely clean looking with not too much 'fancy stuff', so the '9 GHz' emboss on the side had to go. The metal folds on the case would also not be a practical or easy design feature to have. The great thing about design in 3D is you can see how the case will fit together and whether there are going to be any conflicts in space or design. This allows you to design much more efficiently and effectively, with greater emphasis on aesthetics as the design can be dynamically altered.
Shown below is the way in which the 'L' sections would butt up against each other on each corner.
It was also decided at this stage that these 'L' sections would be pop-riveted onto the panel work for a secure permanent hold, making the case super strong. However, the top and right side panel would not be riveted to allow maintenance access to the insides.
This is an image of the frame that would be pop-riveted onto the panel work - this gives an idea of the amount of space I had to work with.
Final dimensions that would allow everything to be housed and well-cooled were 300 x 613 x 500 mm.