Thursday, October 05, 2006

Forest-grown computer case

I saw this site describing how to grow your own wooden furniture (via Wists) and came up with the idea of a grown computer enclosure.

Take one tower enclosure and spray all surfaces with a good coating of rustproof paint. Better yet, choose one made of something rustproof such as aluminum. I'd take off all the actual electronics (power supply and that sort of thing) because they won't want to be out in the elements. All the case penetrations (connectors, ventilation openings, slots for disks and USB, and all that kind of thing) have to be covered over, perhaps with dowels sticking out, so that the plant matter doesn't pierce through where it isn't wanted and so that you can get into these locations afterwards. Also, you will want to plan ahead and cut the bottom out of the case so that you'll be able to get back inside in a few years when the sides are covered with wood. Fill in the cavity with something like a plastic bag that won't degrade so that things won't grow up into there and get in the way.

Now take the prepared case outside and set it where a suitable species of tree will climb up the sides of the case. It seems to me that a strangler fig would do well, and would also make a good talking point when you are through. So go to a rainforest, take a seed from a fig, and set it gently on top of the case, so that its roots will cascade all around and entomb the case. Wait a few years, then the tree down to size. Allow the "knotted and twisted wood" to cure, and then clean it all out from the open bottom and the prepared penetrations. Finish the wood, then install the electronics using the mounting points on the metal case inside.

It might be prudent to set up a few cases at one time this way, in case some of them encounter problems along the way. But if some of them work out, I think they'd look pretty cool!

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