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Those of you won didn't know of the contest, the public submitted their ideas for an Nvidia ION based PC back in August. If their design idea was chosen, they could watch their design become reality by one of 5, professional modders. If that PC design won, the designer took ownership of the PC. The winning PC was ours!

Now I have to figure out how I'm going to ship this to cheaps?!, (I blame it on Cheaps!)

It was a pleasure participating in this competition with Boddaker, Dennis, and TiToN. I hope we can do another Nvidia contest like this again, but with triple-SLI rigs

YouTube Video







Spider-like fan blades shroud the top 120mm Logysis intake fan.


The NVIDIA logo on the base is laser cut from 1/4" thick UV Green transparent cast acrylic.


Powered by ZOTAC 330 ION Mini-ITX motherboard





Left side of NVIDIA Cube with Power Button


Cheapskate's conceptual drawing



I had 2 months to build a PC based on cheapskates conceptual design. Even though we didn't win, I'm confident the Nvidia Cube PC will continue to inspire future PC builders and modders for years to come.

I have more progress to share that my time didn't allow for during the contest.

"The mind of cheapskate must be a very wild and strange place."

The first time I looked at cheapskate's drawing, my head just spun "How will I find TIME to build it?" I started to mentally edit the design to save time, without compromising it. The biggest revision would be the huge multi-layered acrylic base. We can save time by emulating it in aluminum instead of multiple acrylic pieces.

Before I start showing you everything, please understand that I'm a professional PC modder.

I have the resources to build cheapskate's design efficiently, but don't let this deter you from building your own case. There is multiple online communities like this one with members who can help you get started with PC scratch building and modding.

There is also online services and communities of Skilled Trade Professionals that can help you with Laser Cutting, and CNC Machining for Hobbyists

eMachineShop.com is a online machine shop that offers free CAD software that is proprietary to their services. They provide CNC Milling, CNC Turning (Lathe), Rapid Prototyping, Laser Cutting, Waterjet Cutting, Plasma Cutting, Punching, Bending, Casting, Wire EDM, Plastic Injection Molding and more.

Online community forum of cnc machinists, laser/waterjet cutting specialists, and CAD Designers that allow you to post "RFQs" (Requests For Quotes) How to submit to RFQWork

CNCzone is nnother community of skilled Machinists you can join for FREE and discuss or seek help with CAD/CAM software, professional machinery, Electronics, mill conversions, lathe conversions

This laser cutting service will work with PC modders.

Laser Cutting Service, Inc.

803 41st Street North

Birmingham, Alabama 35212

205-595-7070 FAX 205-595-7021


The concept reminded me of when LEGOS started incorporating UV Green parts into their "Space" sets in the late 70s and continue to today.

LEGO Cyber Saucer kit, 1997


UV Green cast acrylic was used for the exterior features




The Zotac Nvidia ION 330 ITX A-U Motherboard is nearly ready-to-run out of the box. All you add is memory, hard drive and O.S. This makes it less intimidating to first time PC builders and more affordable to d-i-y enthusiasts. If you're planning to build a HTPC. It produces a crisp picture @ 1080p HDMI. It has 1.3 output support, optional dual monitor, 7.1 channel uncompressed audio output. Coaxial and optical audio output and Blu-ray decode acceleration. Yes!! If you're PC Modder, the ION 330's small size opens the door to your own creativity.. You don't have to be a professional modder to imagine multiple ideas for your own PC. The 6.7" x 6.7' motherboard allows you to mount it in something fun like an R/C car body or a toolbox. I've seen people install ITX computers in their car.

You can find a large variety of ITX computer cases on the market ranging from $39 - and higher at Logic Supply and Newegg.com

The ION is low power. Our ION PC is very simple. A 90 watt power brick powers the Zotac 330 ION motherboard, LG DVD optical drive, Corsair x64 SSD HD, Logisys 120mm cooling fan, and four 4" cold cathode lights. The lights are not a necessity, but they look cool! You don't need to add anything else. Check out the specs below, you've got six USB 2.0 ports, eSATA, PS2 port, Gigabit Ethernet port. Plus, our pedestal design allows you to rotate the cube 360 degrees, so you can access all of these ports easily. We're using the 5-pin molex connector on the board to power the Corsair x64 SSD drive and lighting.

Here is the specification list of ION ITX-A-U Motherboard

ION ITX-A-U Specifications

Processor 1.6 GHz Intel Atom 330

533 MHz FSB


System Memory, Dual channel DDR2 667 DIMM slots

Up to 4 GB of memory

VGA Integrated NVIDIA GeForce 9400M Graphics

Supported Resolution 1920 x 1440 (VGA)

Expansion Slots PCI Express Mini Card (wireless card pre-installed)

Onboard IDE None

Onboard Serial ATA 3 SATA (3 Gb/sec.) connectors (RAID 0, 1, 0+1)

Onboard USB 10 USB 2.0

Onboard LAN Realtek RTL8211C GbE 10/100/1000

Onboard Audio Realtek ALC662 5.1 channel HD codec

Back Panel I/O 6 USB 2.0 ports

1 VGA port

1 DVI-I port

1 HDMI port

1 eSATA port

1 LAN port

1 PS2 keyboard port

2 S/PDIF-out ports (coaxial/optical)

3 Audio jacks: line-out, line-in, mic-in

1 DC jack

Onboard I/O Connectors 3 SATA connectors

4 USB 2.0 via 2 pin headers

1 RS-232 COM pin header

1 Front panel audio pin header

1 Front panel pin header

2 Fan pin headers

4-pin Molex connector (for peripheral power)

BIOS AMI BIOS 8 Mb flash memory

System Monitoring & Management: System power management, RTC timer

Operating Temperature 0ºC ~ 50ºC

Power DC 19 V @ 4.74 A

Form Factor: Mini-ITX (17 x 17 cm)

Includes Driver CD


CPU fan

90 W AC adapter & cord

Wireless antenna

3 SATA cables

1 SATA power cable

User manual

I apologize for not showing more in-progress photos. I simply didn't have the time to drop what I was doing and take photos. However I do feel that I caught the best highlights.

The is the core of the cube. It looks very simple, but it's actually a very detailed design. It's constructed from 10, individually laser cut 1/4" thick acrylic pieces. Anyone besides cheapskate and myself will need to call OnStar in order to open this PC...lol, j/k.


I chose to cnc mill a 1' x 1', 3/4" thick sheet of aluminum, purchased for $50 locally. I want to take cheap's ideas even further, I want the channels between the squares illuminated Green. My first plan was to mount 5mm Green leds around the inside of the base, but CC lights disperse more light. You need power inverters, 1 per 2x CC lights. We have a total of four 4" cold cathode lights. I had already purchased the 3/4" thick sheet, so the inverters would be relocated inside the cube.




Heres is the base 99% finished, after it was anodized Black, assembled with center pedestal and 1/4" thick sheet of UV green acrylic base plate. It's glowing from the ambient light coming in from the window. Notice the NVIDIA logo silhouette, this was the last detail to be covered with illuminated 1/4" thick UV Green NVIDIA logo.


Our pedestal design allows you to rotate the cube 360 degrees. You can turn the PC for a different look and easily access all of the rear ports.

NVIDIA ION CUBE heat sink inspired case badge

Cheapskate designed a heat sink style plate on the rear of the NVIDIA Cube, it's highlighted Green in photo below.


I thought it would be cool to create a real heat sink from 6061 aluminum, with the NVIDIA logo engraved on it.

An interesting way to create and display a case badge of the NVIDIA Cube.

NVIDIA's iconic logo engraved in 6061 aluminum.



SEM self etching primer, Black. matches type II anodize black perfectly.


Beneath the base, the power brick cord and sleeved cold cathode wiring.


1/4" UV Green acrylic under aluminum base


4" cold cathode light illuminates the NVIDIA logo from beneath.



The core of the NVIDIA cube is constructed from 1/4" thick cast acrylic pieces that were laser cut.





The NVIDIA cube's core is mounted to the top of the pedestal base.


Laser cutting 12" x 24" , 1/4" UV Green acrylic sheet. The file is a pre-outlined lay up of each part, like a model kit.



After peeling off paper backing.


I am ION man!


Assembling 5.25 optical drive & 2.5" SSD tray with Weld-On #3





Corsair SSD!



MB tray installed, Corsair SSD and DVD fit beneath it.



2x cold cathode power invertors


MB tray inside the Nvidia ION cube


Trim piece on the rear of the Nvidia ION cube


Assembly of some the cool exterior features of the Nvidia ION cube.

This is the wheel located on the corner of the shell.


I use scotch green tape 233+ to temporary prop acrylic pieces together as the Weld-On #3 acrylic cement cures. I use this syringe applicator.



Spider-like blades are the grill for the top 120mm fan



It has to be the single coolest feature of the entire PC.




Installing acrylic switch plate for 22mm Lamptron vandal switch


Black anodized aluminum pedestal rod for Nvidia ION Cube


Installing left front exterior trim for optical drive



MB tray for Zotac 330 ION, power switch wiring was shortly after, out of necessity!


1.6 GHz dual core Intel Atom 330 processor with NVIDIA MCP7A-ION chipset and GeForce 9400M graphics.

I love all of the included features on this ITX motherboard.


This is our 120mm anodized black machined aluminum fan grill. This is the first product that Mnpctech started manufacturing in 2001. So for sentimental reasons, it was important that I utilized a part of our product history in this build




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Superb expose of taking a project from concept to reality. Also some great tips and how-to's about materials and suppliers. This unabashed openness and wealth of sharing how something was done, is what makes the mnpctech school one the best in the world (also one of the most admired). It is one of the best ways to get visitors/viewers too, heheh--I learned how to make worklogs here.

Also didn't know you worked acrylic that well and yes, cutting everything by hand would have been a nightmare and leave of legacy of aching fingers and strained eye sight. However, this is required by the concept and specifically asks for it, altho the base is milled metal, admittedly your forte, and as always well done. The base had to have weight in order to hold the cube up cuz you could have done it in acrylic too--practical thinking here.

I'd imagine that cheapskate will be entirely ecstatic with the work--another satisfied customer! Kudos!


P.D. I tried to upload a project but they wouldn't let me cuz I was not a U.S. or Canadian citizen (from Mexico). It would have been great to have one of your creations, heheh.

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