Genius Meets Computer Case: Jeffrey Stephenson’s Flightline, How He Did It



aNewDomain.net — This story starts down a back road in northern Florida, where a man named Jeffrey Stephenson builds computer cases. Saying that he builds computer cases, however, is like saying that Faberge made eggs. Stephenson is the creator of SlipperySkip.com. This guy has that rare combination of the creative and the practical. His creative mind conceives of innovative designs — and he’s got the skilled hands to bring them to life. This story is about his latest modder creation — Flightline.

Stephenson is a classic modder. He got started with modding when he began to put small computer works into wooden humidor boxes. He soon graduated to building his cases from scratch, drawing inspiration from everything from a vintage Shure microphone to a Mondrian painting. Anyone who has been following his work for the last decade will immediately see this newest creation looks like his best work ever.

Check it out below. Flightline is Stephenson’s latest brainy and beautiful computer case design. Scroll below the fold for deep details on how he created it and on how the Wright Brothers Memorial inspired it.

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Photo credit: Jeffrey Stephenson

Here is the Wright Brothers Memorial in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina below. The art deco pillar of granite was designed by the late architect Alfred Easton Poor — who happens to be my grandfather and my namesake. I should add that, at the 1932 dedication, flight pioneer Orville Wright was the guest of honor at the ceremony. This memorial inspired the Flightline case, according to Stephenson.

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Photo credit: public domain image provided by Alfred Poor to aNewDomain.net

To create Flightline, Stephenson had to figure out how to capture the basic design elements in a small, compact case for a tiny computer chassis. The result was a combination of 167 individually-cut and shaped pieces of wood veneer: quilted maple, maple burl, mahogany and lacewood.

The 1.5-inch thick case is purely decorative, as the computer chassis itself is completely self-contained. The Stephenson Flightline computer case was designed around a Gigabyte Thin Mini-ITX motherboard. Check it out below.

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Photo credit: Jeffrey Stephenson

The Gigabyte Thin Mini-ITX motherboard Stephenson used was additionally configured with an Intel Core i3-3225 processor and 8GB of DDR3 system memory. To save space, he used a 60GB mSATA solid state disk (SSD) drive for storage.

This stunning piece of functional art demonstrates that computers do not have to be relegated to bland boxes built to blend in with their surroundings. As Stephenson put it, the case makes a handsome “executive desk ornament” that is also a fully-functioning computer. Flightline is the perfect example of how you don’t have to sacrifice beauty for brains — or the other way around.

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Photo credit: Jeffrey Stephenson

If you’re interested in the process that Stephenson went through to design and build the Flightline project, you can find his logs at The Mod Zoo and at Overclockers Australia.

For aNewDomain.net, I’m Alfred Poor.

Alfred Poor is a vet tech writer with a long history in tech journalism. He’s written for Family PC, PC Sources, Windows Sources, and Computer Shopper. He’s internationally renowned for his coverage of displays and will be serving as our gadget guy here at aNewDomain.net. Find out more about Alfred at www.alfredpoor.com, follow him on Twiiter @alfredpoor and email him at Alfred@aNewDomain.net.

 

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  • John Pombrio

    Why is it that “beautiful computer cases” never show the myriad of cables that need to plugged in to interface to the computer inside? Not so pretty then, eh? Computers are not nor should they be works of art, they are working machines like a band saw or a CNC machine. You COULD dress up these other machines but why bother?

    Then there are the people who hide that they own a computer, drawers for printers and keyboards, hidden cable runs, and stuffing a heat producing case into a small space (like above). Get over it, it is not a mark of shame to own a computer.
    Soon enough case will shrink so we can stick them in a drawer and use wireless connections. Until then, make the tool useful by being able to access it!
    BTW, nice woodworking!

    • Arthur Clemens

      Valid on one level, but…You got your bandsaw in the living room?
      I welcome the synergy of form and function coming together, and prefer not to settle for less.

    • http://metalfrog.us/ Keith

      Have you never heard of bluetooth? Mini-hdmi or display port, and one power input seems like it would be pretty minimal.

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