My PC is a Toaster – Literally!

Der Boden ist mit seltsamen Dreiecksschrauben angeschraubt, wahrscheinlich damit Typen wie ich nicht daran rumpfuschen. Dafür habe ich natürlich keinen passenden Schraubendreher. Ein Paar der Schrauben habe ich einfach mit einer Zange losschrauben können. Bei anderen habe ich 3D-Fehldrucke aus PLA angeschmolzen und aufgedrückt. Damit ließen sich die Schrauben dann lösen.

Aus dem Gehäuse konnte ich dann nach etwas Gegenwehr das deutlich kleinere Innenteil entnehmen, das die eigentliche Arbeit macht. Hier gibt es einen Elektromagneten, der den Toasteinsatz unten festhält, und eine Feder, die die Toastscheiben nach oben befördert, wenn sie fertig sind. Beides werde ich für mein Projekt recyclen.

Mit dem Original-Elektromagneten und der Feder

Based on the Mini-ITX specifications, I used Sketchup to design a framework for the PC components and printed it with my 3D printer. But to make the frame fit into the toaster case, the opening in the bottom has to be enlarged. First I tried that with the cutting discs on my Dremel, but that only scared the cat and didn’t help much otherwise. So it’s the angle grinder then. In the back I also had to remove some sheet metal to get to the computer’s sockets. I didn’t realize that the housing of the toaster is really only held together by the four screws in the corners and the sheet metal is under tension.

So now I glued it together again with epoxy glue. I also reinforced the edge of the sheet metal with a  wooden strip.

Then I mounted all components, tried on the case, found out that something didn’t fit, changed the design, and reprinted. A few times.

I also tried the using it in this half-finished condition. By the way., this is how the power lever works:
When you push the lever down, it activates the micro switch and the PC turns on. This also activates the electromagnet that then grabs the bolt. When you release the lever, the spring pulls it up a little bit, so that the micro switch is no longer pressed, but it’s still held by the magnet. When you shut the pc down, the electromagnet also turns off and the spring pulls the lever up.

I also wanted the toaster to glow in the characteristic orange. For this I bought orange LED strips. But I didn’t want them to go on and off instantly, I wanted them fade in and out. Also, the brightness should be adjustable with the knob on the front of the toaster. More by trial and error than by real electronic knowledge I came up with this circuit I built it on a prototype pcb. It doesn’t look too bad at all. With the trimpots you can adjust the speed of the fading and the range of the knob on the toaster.

Speaking of the knob – it’s gone. So I designed a new one and 3d printed it. To make the numbers white, I first greased the upper side to prevent it from taking on the paint, and then I used a touch-up pencil to press white paint into the recessed numbers. After it had dried, I scraped off the excess paint, sanded it down, polished it, and finally sprayed it wit clear laquer. It looks okayish now – if you don’t look so closely. Now I attached my circuit, and the knob to the toaster housing. On this occasion I also glued one of the LED strips to the inside of the housing.

A PC in a toaster case is just begging to have two slot-in DVD drives in the toast slots, don’t you think? Of course they both have to eject their disks when you press the button on the front of the toaster, because that’s what that button is for. Therefore I soldered thin cables to the small board in the front of the drives in parallel to the eject button. They will be switched later with a relay.

So that the part that can be seen through the toast slots is black when switched off, but glows toasty during operation, I made it transparent and sprayed it only superficially with black spray paint.

And now I could start with the final assembly. I am ver happy with how it all turned out.