A LAN Party and Custom Built Computers

You should know that this post was part of another post, but I felt this topic deserved more than just being an additional thought on another post.

This post is about custom building a computer to bring to a LAN party.

If you haven’t ever done so, you might have fun going to a LAN party. My husband, our eldest son, our youngest son and I, all signed up to go to a PDXLAN party (hosted in Portland, Oregon).

OK, yes I did change the face of the guy over by the pillar. That isn’t his real face. Oh the magic of computers and the software called “Paint”.

A LAN party is a place where people go to play computer games with a group of other computer enthusiasts. Typically those who attend bring all of the equipment they need to set up and play video games on their computers.

At the event, a person will play video games by themselves (single player), or in a game with others (multiplayer). They may also participate in side fun games that have nothing to do with computers, (like trying to toss a stuffed animal through a hoop to win a prize).

When you go to a LAN party you bring a lot of stuff. For this LAN party, I wanted to build and bring my first custom computer build. I had been inspired to do so by our youngest son.

A Custom Paint Job

Some time before the LAN party, I watched my youngest son custom paint a tower. The tower had a plexiglass plate on the left side. The plexiglass had a large crack in it. My son removed the side panel, then sealed and sanded the crack in the plexiglass. He spray painted the entire panel, using multiple coats of paint. After a final application of leaves and more paint, he had created the beautiful patterns see in the picture below. He inspired me to do something similar.

A beautiful repair job.

You Can Bring a Store Bought Computer for Gaming to a LAN party or Bring A Home Built Gaming Computer

A person doesn’t have to bring a home built computer to a LAN party. Lots of people simply purchase a gaming computer and use that.

I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to bring my own home built computer because the computer builds were going to be judged. One of the builds there would get a story written up about it in CPU Magazine.

For my build project, I decided to promote a green build. A green build would be a build that helps the environment more than hurts it. My build would qualify as such because I was using primarily used and recycled parts.

The Tower

To begin, I bought a LIAN LI tower from Free Geek in Portland, Oregon (the tower was donated to them). Free Geek is a great place to go to, to buy used computer parts. If you are interested in reading more about them, click this link “Free Geek“.

The logo as seen at the bottom of the tower.

When I saw my LIAN LI tower, it was sitting by the front window with a group of other towers and cases. The tower was huge. It was 9 inches wide, 23 inches deep and 23 inches high. If you will excuse the pun, it towered over all of the other towers that were there.

It was completely black on the exterior. The interior was gutted (an empty shell). Inside it was missing some hard drive racks. On the exterior it had 3 empty bays and no faceplates to cover them. It was also missing one of the four feet that it had on the bottom. It was a sad little orphan.

I fell in love with it. It was excellent, repairable, huge and LIAN LI is a very good brand. I was going to give it a good home. I had great plans for it.

My tower is considered large. If you are interested in a large LIAN LI tower for yourself, I found this unit online. Is almost the same size as my tower. It already has a left viewing window, but the exterior is white and it has a mesh screen in the front with 3 fans facing forward, (my fans are on top and in the back. If you like this tower, it could easily be painted to your desired colors and designs.

Parts for the Tower

I had an old DVD drive to put in the top bay. Yes, I still like DVDs and have a couple thousand movies on DVD.

My husband had a couple of faceplates in our computer parts storage bins. They would work great to close the remaining 2 bays. He also had some spare hard drive racks that I could put in (I mean really, doesn’t everyone have spare computer parts just laying around).

I went online and ordered four new stainless steel feet for my tower.

I love the look of these feet which tie in nicely with the look of the logo.

I went to an electronics store and bought a brand new Corsair RM850i power supply for it (I never mess with used power supplies).

This is a picture of the power supply, after it was put into my tower.

I went to a hardware store and bought a sheet of plexiglass, some silicone glue, some paint and 4 little plants.

Treasure Hunting

I wanted people to be able to see the insides of the computer while it was operating, but this tower wasn’t originally meant for that. I decided to create a viewing window in the left side panel.

I went looking for something that I could use as a window frame. Something that I could insert into a cut out that I would make in the left side wall of the tower.

I went to do what I call “Treasure Hunting”. I didn’t know what (if anything), I was going to find. I actually found several things at a few different Goodwill thrift stores.

I found a metal square frame. It was a bit more than an inch in depth. It was in a square shape (1 foot x 1 foot). It had a design all across the front of branches and leaves with a bird sitting on a branch. The material wasn’t very nice looking, but the design was perfect for what I would call, my “Green Build”.

This is the back of the frame. I’m not sure what that metal is.

I decided I would paint the outside of the frame black to match what would be one of the 2 colors of the tower.

I found 2 rod iron candle holders that someone would normally hang on a wall. Unfortunately, the glass inserts were missing, so I had to go to a couple of other thrift stores in search of 4 glass inserts. I was going to use them as plant holders for the 4 little plants I had bought. By the end of my day, I had all of the treasures I had gone looking for.

Some Risky Modifications to the Side Panels

Any modifications I made to this tower needed to be right the 1st time. If I made an error, I could end up with one or 2 bad looking side panels. Whatever I was going to do, I needed to do it without error.

For the first modification, I needed to have a cut out (the size of the bird frame), in the side of the tower’s left panel. This way someone could view it’s inner workings through the frame, while the computer was running. I determined what I wanted to be seen inside and where exactly the cuts needed to be made. I removed the side panel, measured the area and marked it for cutting.

I took the panel to a workshop where they would laser cut it to my specifications.

I got the panel back from the workshop. I drilled holes into it and added some mounting hardware so I could hang the decorative bird window covering over the cutout. I removed the right side panel and drilled holes to mount the 2 candle holders to the right panel.

After all the cutting and drilling was done, I painted each exterior panel of the tower (including the top), individually. I used leaves from the garden to create a leaf designs on the front and top painted surfaces (using the technique my son had taught me).

I felt the frame (seen below), was an ugly color of bare metal before I painted the exterior of it black.

I love the way it came out.

I cut the plexiglass to size and attach it to the inside of the decorative bird window covering. The plexiglass would help prevent dust from entering the tower.

Silicone was used to attach the plexiglass

At the last minute, my husband surprised me with a new light strip for the inside of the tower. It changes the color of light emitted from the interior (through the bird window decoration). The light strip emits yellow, red, blue, aqua, purple and green light.

Other than the light strip, the plexiglass, the silicon glue and the power supply, everything inside this computer came from leftover parts my husband had that were not slated to be used elsewhere. Those used parts being a mother board, a CPU, a video card, fans, memory and such.

The Finished Computer

This was my very first build. Without my husband’s direction and help during assembly, it likely wouldn’t have been ready in time for the LAN party.

Me at a PDXLAN party with my custom built PC. The light being emitted is blue now.

This is what my tower looked like, after all of the components were put into it and it was set up at the LAN party.

The left side of my, “Green Build”, computer. Right now the light being emitted is green.

This side is the side I mounted the two rod iron plant holders on. Each held one of the 4 plants I bought for it.

The right side of my, “Green Build”, computer.

Again, I called it my “Green Build” computer because it was better for the environment as most of the parts were used and/or recycled.

The top of my Green Build computer. No, those aren’t pot leaves. The leaves I used to create these decorations were lace Maple leaves.

This tower has since become my everyday gaming computer. I literally use it every day while playing one game or another.

There is some risk to using a computer that has some used parts in it, as it is possible that a component might fail. It is crucial for you to back up anything that is very important to you.

For instance, I play games on my computer and there are files deposited into my computer associated to my current games. I could back up my game files.

Additionally, I also offload pictures from my phone into this computer. To ensure I don’t experience a total loss of either, I perform a backup to an external solid state hard drive, periodically.

The LAN Party

The LAN party began on a Friday night and ended on the following Monday night. 500 people signed up to attend. Those who attended brought computers for their own gameplay (and anything else they needed).

Make sure, for whatever games you want to play there, that you install them at home into your computer, before you go to the party.

Basically, you need to bring everything necessary to make your computer useable, (your computer case, monitor, a surge protector, an ethernet cable, all other necessary cables, head phones, a keyboard, mouse and pad). Basically, bring everything needed to make it so you can use your computer for gameplay.

My husband and I both bought foldable wagons for transporting equipment from the car to our assigned table. I also recommend you BYOC (Bring Your Own Chair).

The site itself, provided tables, electricity and connectivity. PDX LAN arranged for side games that people could participate in and prizes that would be awarded to winners. They also held a raffle.

This is a boxed 64 GB thumb drive.
The thumb drive was built to look like a video card, as a joke gift.

Each of the 4 of us were given a unique, limited production quantity, thumb drive. There were only 1080 of them made and we each own one.

It was great fun to see all of the builds at the LAN. Our youngest son built a tower for this LAN party, that was very unique, (I loved this build). It was built with an apocalyptic theme. The majority of one side, looked like it had been either blown out or melted away.

You should see some of the towers he has built. Such imagination and inspiration. He must have his own muse. Maybe that is her, shining above his head.

During two of the many drawings for prizes, our eldest son, won a brand new computer tower, (yep, you understood that correctly, he won two towers while he was there).

Our eldest son. Some serious game play happening here.

We had great fun when we went to that LAN party. It is something you should consider doing, some day.

My husband built a server for our home, after the LAN party. On New Years Eve we invite the kids over and host our very own Family Fun LAN party.

If you are into gaming and need a great Network Switch Ethernet Splitter, click this link for my favorite 5 port splitter.

You should see our New Years Eve LAN parties!!!! I’ll post a picture of one of those events when we get closer to New Years Eve.

Under this table was a door prize.
I won it.
It was a door mat!!!!!

What’s a party without music. My husband has been wanting an amplifier to attach to our in home speakers for years. We decided on this wireless bluetooth audio power amplifier, the 300W 4 channel home theater stereo receiver with USB, AM FM, 2 Mic IN with echo, RCA, LED, speaker selector for our home, for our 2022 New Years Eve party.

If you would like to read more stories about mostly indoor activities, click here.

If you would like more information about the “PDXLAN“, parties, click the link here.

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