Clean Slate

Dec 19th, 2016

Clean Slate is a concept PC that eliminates the case and replaces it with several small custom protective boxes. Each of the four ventilated boxes covers an air-cooled computer component. The maple base contains the motherboard, SSD and wiring.


Ventilation openings are covered in architectural decorative stainless steel mesh from Banker Wire. Two different sizes of the same style mesh are used to help manipulate perception.


The base is veneered in birds-eye maple with a gloss lacquer finish. The boxes are made of wood painted with a blue slate latex paint. The CPU heatsink cooling fan is a detached 92mm Delta fan instead of the stock attached 120mm unit.


The form factor was influenced by vintage exposed-tube amplifiers like the McIntosh 225. The graphics card I/O plate is custom made from aluminum and includes the system's power switch.


Universal Size Comparator

The slate boxes are friction fit to the base. They don't make any direct contact with the covered component except around I/O plates.

The aluminum heatsink pieces cover electrical components like wiring and fans.

All of the system's components are attached to one or the other side of a single piece of 1/8" 7-ply birch plywood.

The motherboard is suspended upside down from the board so that components project up through the top.

The boxes were designed to allow easy fitment of mesh pieces. This was only important while different styles of mesh were being "auditioned" for the project.

The position of the graphics card, CPU and system memory boxes are permanently set. The PSU box was the only element that could be artfully placed.


Some construction photos:



A comprehensive project worklog of Clean Slate with additional photos can be accessed at Jeffrey Stephenson Design Forum.


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