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2018 Mac mini Cube 200mm Cooling Stand  

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itsage
(@itsage)
Illustrious Member Admin
Joined: 4 years ago
 

The G4 Cube is my most favorite computer design. It's an 8-in cube floating in the air thanks to an acrylic enclosure. The 2018 Mac mini has a 7.7 x 7.7-in footprint so I thought I could replicate the cube looks with acrylic panels. 4 hours and $30 later here is the result.

All hardware parts were from the local Home Depot. Here are the exact part list if you'd like to replicate this build:

  • 2x Lexdan .093 x 8 x 10-in polycarbonate sheet
  • 1x 2.8oz Tranlucent Silicone Sealant
  • 1x Plastic Scoring Tool/Knife
  • 4x M5-.8 70mm Phillips Screws

Cutting the acrylic panels took the most time and effort. I cut three 4 x 8-in panels for the front and side. The rear panel is a left over piece which is about 1 x 8-in so that the top can expose Mac mini rear ports and opening in the bottom for intake.

While the sealant was drying, I mounted the four m5-.8 70mm screws onto the 200mm cooling fan. The footprint of this fan is slightly smaller than the Mac mini so it serves as a perfect platform. I connected the fan through a USB adapter. This same connection was working very well in my ITX tower build with this Mac mini

The original plan was to suspend the Mac mini in a similar style as G4 Cube. Unfortunately I don't have the skills or tools to accomplish that idea. Going with four long screws that serves as legs for the fan was the fallback plan. I wish I made better measurements so that the top of Mac mini sits flush or slight below the top edge of the plexiglas enclosure. 65mm or 60mm screws should lower the platform and achieve that look.

My hope is that someone or Mac accessories vendors with better tooling can improve this idea and offer a 200mm cooling base for the Mac mini. Having front I/Os would be amazing too!

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2020 13" MacBook Pro [10th,4C,G] + RTX 2080 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB3 (AORUS Gaming Box) + Win10 2004 [build link]  


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joevt
(@joevt)
Noble Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

Is there a better way to bond acrylic panels together? The glue method seems a little messy or maybe it needs to dry. Or maybe there exists a more transparent glue than the silicone sealant.

Would shorter screws allow for adjustable height?

To achieve the floating aesthetic, you have to remove the vertical screws. Make them horizontal and attach to the acrylic panels. Perhaps two on the side and one in the rear (a triangle), leaving the front clear. The acrylic is 2.4 mm thick. Maybe the screws can be attached from the inside into holes 1.5 mm deep so the outside surface is unmarred.

Mac mini (2018), Mac Pro (Early 2008), MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015), GA-Z170X-Gaming 7, Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 580 8GB GDDR5, Sonnet Echo Express III-D, Trebleet Thunderbolt 3 to NVMe M.2 case


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Leovinus
(@leovinus)
Eminent Member
Joined: 2 months ago
 

At the risk of waking a dead thread. I've just got to say that this enclosure build looks bloody amazing. If I get the chance I'll try something similar. Who knew a Mac mini investment would lead to a piqued interest in the dark arts of techy arts and crafts...

Rocking a Mac mini 2018/2020 i7-8700B 6C/12T with 32Gb RAM, and a PowerColor 5700 XT humming along in its Razer Core X.

 
2018 Mac Mini [8th,6C,B] + RX 5700 XT @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core X) + macOS 10.15.5 [build link]  


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itsage
(@itsage)
Illustrious Member Admin
Joined: 4 years ago
 

@leovinus, I wish I had better skills and tools to build a better floating acrylic enclosure for the Mac mini.

 

external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

 
2020 13" MacBook Pro [10th,4C,G] + RTX 2080 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB3 (AORUS Gaming Box) + Win10 2004 [build link]  


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Leovinus
(@leovinus)
Eminent Member
Joined: 2 months ago
 

@itsage, I wonder if it'd be possible to heat the acrylic and bend it around some mould or something so that it follows the mini's curvature? At least you'd be able to get around two or more of the joints? I don't know what'd be required for heat-treating though. A pipe of the right radius should do for the curvature, and if you're lucky maybe a soufflé burner would do?

 

Rocking a Mac mini 2018/2020 i7-8700B 6C/12T with 32Gb RAM, and a PowerColor 5700 XT humming along in its Razer Core X.

 
2018 Mac Mini [8th,6C,B] + RX 5700 XT @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Razer Core X) + macOS 10.15.5 [build link]  


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