Serious Mini Server / NAS Case

Serious Mini Server / NAS Case  

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Trusted Member

I spent the winter months designing and printing a mini server/NAS chassis. Not that there aren’t a lot of steel NAS cases available commercially, it’s just that I wanted one I had total control of and could modify and shrink as needed. My major criteria were it needed to be a serious case (not just some 2 drive box) and 100% printable on my Prusa MK2 and/or MK3. When I say 100% 3D printable, I do mean 100% other than a handful of screws for assembly, a lockset, a few magnets and of course the computer related parts. My Internet searches to find a 3D printed case of that class, which someone had already designed and actually printed, were disappointing.

I sent a late stage prototype of my design off to Brian Moses to take a look at and get his comments. Brian will be introducing my design on YouTube on March 20, 2019: . If you’re not familiar with Brian’s works, check out his web site at . He’s somewhat famous for putting together a NAS system every year and then giving it away. As a matter of fact, his “DIY NAS: 2019 Edition” was just posted a few days ago.

Here’s a photo of the prototype (courtesy of Brian Moses) and an exploded CAD image of what Brian will be introducing. I’ll provide more info the case later in the week.

Posted : 19/03/2019 5:59 pm
New Member

I really like that case, it has an awesome retro vibe - I could see it next to HAL9000.

Posted : 20/03/2019 6:07 am
Trusted Member

I really like that case, it has an awesome retro vibe - I could see it next to HAL9000

I guess I can of my design objectives: "When printed in black, it should not be obvious it was 3D printed", but I really
wasn't thinking of going the HAL route. It's just a box that holds a lot of rectangular/square like computer things.

The good thing is, it appears like it works pretty good at holding all those little boxy computer thingies according to Brian Moses:

Posted : 21/03/2019 1:50 am
Member Moderator

Remember to post here when you have the final designs ready for purchase. I have a huge full tower case NAS that is just begging to be put in this.

Posted : 21/03/2019 3:11 pm
Trusted Member

I will post when the case is released. I’m making final tweaks and pulling together documentation for print parameters and such.

Just printing one of these runs in excess of 190 hours and you’ll melt about 2.5 kilos of filament. It is not a project for those that need a chassis yesterday. The disk drive chamber is the largest piece and takes about 44 hours on my MK2S. It also uses almost every centimeter of a MK2 or MK3 on the X, Y and Z. It was however designed to be printed mostly in PLA (about 91% by weight) with several components printed in TPU. All the prototypes were printed using generic PLA, but my PPPR (post-prototype, pre-release) test prints have used a NatureWorks 3D870 Ingeo biopolymer based PLA from 3D-Fuel (outlets and production in both the US and Ireland), which is their Pro PLA (APLA+) line of filaments. I went with that because they actually have spec sheets that documents what you’re buying and the heat deflection temperature is quite a bit better than most PLAs.

While the parts do take a while to print, the printing it is pretty easy. No supports needed, minimal bridging, but the larger/longer prints do need a brim to keep that first layer from lifting over an extended print time.

Posted : 21/03/2019 4:57 pm
Prominent Member

Wow. Initially I thought this was cool, but seeing the details in the blog... Wow

Awesome job and now I'm realizing that my 7 bay Thecus is 10 or 11 years old now 😯 (5 or for 7 WD green drives are still original too!)

I have looked at replacing it a few times, but it sits partially between floor joists which drastically limit my replacement options. Can't wait to see the final details (e.g. outer dimensions) and how you''ll distribute/license it (e.g. if it doesn't fit the space, can I modify it myself). I have a feeling that the way the door opens will make it not work for me as is 🙁

One thing that would be really nice is built in support for installing filters to help control dust. Any time I've looked at non-datacenter storage solutions I've always been surprised they don't think of that.

Really nice work though.

MMU tips and troubleshooting...
Posted : 21/03/2019 8:19 pm
Famed Member

Pretty slick design.

Posted : 21/03/2019 9:09 pm
Trusted Member

GNAT...since you mentioned filters, I also wanted that as well, but it was the lowest on my objectives list. I just decided I needed to get the project done and quit adding and tweaking things.
However, the good news is that they can be custom made at a reasonable price by Demcifilter: .

Here are the features and specs:

• Mini ITX motherboard and SFF height PCI-e cards
• Full ATX power supply up to 165mm deep
• Drive bay will handle 7 x 3.5" disk drives
• Optional brackets for 2 SSDs in motherboard chamber (not for use with conventional drives)
• Dimensional:
 o Approx. Width: 245mm, Depth: 230mm, Height: 360mm (with feet)
 o Motherboard underside to cover underside: 85mm
• Approx. Weight:
 o Empty: 5.5 pounds (2.5kg)
 o Fully loaded: 17-18 pounds (7.7-8.2kg)
 o Up to three 92mm or 80mm cooling fans (2 in rear for drive bay, 1 up front for motherboard). Max fan depth: 25mm
 o Front fan provides air both above and below motherboard
 o Optional support for two 40mm fans on rear panel
 o Allows access to recessed front panel power switch and USB ports without opening
 o Opens a full 180 degrees
 o Grill allows extensive ventilation
 o Keyed door lock (optional)
 o Magnetic door latch (optional)
 o Replaceable/snap-in 3D printed hinges
 o Removes from front after opening door
 o No screws needed and no need to move chassis and fumble around in back
• 100% 3D printable except for screws, door lock, door magnet and (of course) computer related hardware
• Uses just one size screw for chassis assembly: M3x12mm self-tapping truss head
• No exposed screws when assembled and closed, except for back and underside
• Can be printed using PLA (90+% of parts) and TPU filament, PETG optional for one part.
• Does not require supports when printing
• Minimal bridging
• Easy assembly with many snap-in parts
• Minimal post print processing of 3D parts (primarily brim removal on larger parts)

Here are my original design objectives:

Design objectives:
 Must be printable in a 250mm x 210mm x 200mm build area…as in Prusa MK2/MK3
 Must be simple to print, no complex overhangs, no need for supports
 Must use (mostly) PLA to reduce warp, lift, and print failures
 Must look conventional, must look professional. In other words, when printed in black it should be very difficult to tell that it was 3D printed.
• Chassis feature and functionality objectives:
 Use a Mini-ITX motherboard.
 Use a full size ATX power supply. Ended up being able to use a deeper, 165mm ATX power supply in there as well.
 Support smaller power supply formats as well. The design allows for this, but will be in a later release.
 Have 6 x 3.5” Drives (I run a ZFS RAIDZ2 pool under NAS4Free). Ended up getting 7 drives.
 Room for 1 or 2 SSDs as well
 Lockable front door
 Front access to disk drives.
 Easy access to motherboard. This was a high priority. I dislike having to move or fumble around the back of a computer to remove screws just to take the cover off. It seems like I end up dropping them behind the desk most of the time.
 Superior cooling for both drives and motherboard (3 x 92mm fans)
 Optional covered power switch when door is closed. Failed on this…at least for the first release of the design.
Air filter screen for front door. Not sure this will ever be done.

• Additional features included, but not in the original objectives
 80mm fan support
 Built-in wire looms on the drive rails
 There should be enough room for a double-wide SFF PCI-e card (NOT YET TESTED).
 Some good cable management options
 Front door logo bar
 3D printed TPU feet

Posted : 21/03/2019 9:43 pm
Prominent Member

GNAT...since you mentioned filters, I also wanted that as well, but it was the lowest on my objectives list. I just decided I needed to get the project done and quit adding and tweaking things.

Heh. I totally get that 😆

Thanks for the detailed info.

 o Approx. Width: 245mm, Depth: 230mm, Height: 360mm (with feet)

Had to go measure and the space is only 235mm wide 🙁

Even worse the stupid builder apparently didn't use a ruler themselves, so while that spot is 235mm, the area to the right is 265mm and to the left is 280 🙄

Moving the shelf isn't practical though 🙁

MMU tips and troubleshooting...
Posted : 21/03/2019 9:59 pm
New Member

Very cool. Will be printing one when it's released.

Posted : 27/03/2019 1:52 pm
Trusted Member

Social media feedback has been interpreted and the "tweaks" to the server design are complete...publication of the MK735, 100% 3D printed Mini-ITX Server is near. If you care to follow the release or even want to get in on it, you can do so at . You do not need to be a "patron" to follow the status of release.

Posted : 04/04/2019 3:57 am
Trusted Member

MK735 has moved into beta testing. That testing is scheduled to complete around May 15th. Expect release around June 1 assuming no major issues are found.

Posted : 16/04/2019 6:29 pm
Trusted Member

The beta test for the MK735 has been opened to the public for viewing.  You can "watch" the comments and pictures posted by the testers as they print their servers.  More info and "invitation" at .

Posted : 27/04/2019 6:32 pm
Illustrious Member

If you guys get bored, I've been looking for an economical high density 24 spindle box.  Hot-swap carriers, SAS/SATA & power backplanes, the associated hardware is not needed: cooling fans, yes. The desire for a removable bay design would be simply to ease installation of tightly spaced disks.  Hand cabling the drives is fine with me.

So far everything I've found available is rather spendy ($1,000's) or includes hardware I already have and don't want to duplicate.  I just need a nice looking box for organization and to condense space needed for the raid. 

It is always wise to get more than one opinion......
Posted : 29/04/2019 2:18 am
Andrea Guarnaccia
Active Member

@toby-k: any news regarding the release of the files?

Posted : 21/06/2019 2:29 pm
Trusted Member

Beta testing is done and went just great, only a few minor issues with fitment, and those did not happen with all testers.  I did make some minor changes based on tester "good idea"s as well.  One beta tester is already printing his third chassis.  Documentation is being revised with better pictures and some expanded printing and assembly information, which has been the big slow down here, plus the need to get a website up and running.  Beta team member Brian Moses did a blog about his printing and assembly w/some good comments and really good time lapsed videos if you'd like to see that it IS actually possible to make one of these.  So, when?  Maybe the first week of July, but I also thought that I would have it out around the first half of June too.  But to help keep you interested, here are a few photos of the MK735 will be the model for most of the documentation.

This post was modified 1 year ago 2 times by toby.k
Posted : 22/06/2019 2:11 am
Andrea Guarnaccia
Active Member

Thanks for your feedback @toby-k and keep up the good work! I'm eager to put my hands on the STL files and start printing the case, so I really hope you'll release them soon 😊 

Posted : 22/06/2019 12:00 pm
Trusted Member

MK735 Released!
Thanks for sticking around for this!

This post was modified 1 year ago by toby.k
Posted : 06/07/2019 6:47 pm
Andrea Guarnaccia
Active Member

Awesome! @toby-k, just one question, is it possible to use PETG in place of PLA or is there any downside?

Posted : 06/07/2019 8:43 pm
Trusted Member

PETG should work just fine (but to date, we've only used PETG on the motherboard Pan) and you'll have a lot more heat resistance. There are several reason why we designed for PLA:

  • Most people are just more comfortable with it
  • It's a pretty rigid stuff
  • PLAs formulas just keep getting better, but when using PLA, we prefer that APLA+ or HTPLA+ be used (NatureWorks Ingeo 3D870 based) or equivalent 
  • PETG usually has a bit of a gloss to it...but if you can live with, so can we

I would suggest the following however:

  • Several of the objects are 190mm  on the Z-Axis, so protect PETG from drafts (shield the sides).  I do this even with PLA on taller MK735 parts
  • Increase the the infill from 15% to 25% on at least the two major objects, the Drive Chamber and the Power Supply Chamber to make up for the additional flex that PETG has over PLA.
  • You might want to jump up the door frame (both upper and lower) infill to 20%
  • Be careful removing PETG off a PEI build don't want to damage that PEI 
  • You still should follow the recommendations for fans and cooling

That's about it...Looking forward to hearing about and seeing a PETG based MK735!  

Posted : 07/07/2019 12:27 am
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