RGB LEDs are sooooo 2015 and the “it” thing today is kinetic art. If a blinking LED is the “hello world” of the microcontroller industry, then making something move is the equivalent of finally fingering out how pointers work. So Robert of the Ideal Idea YouTube channel had to learn a lot of new skills to design this PC case with interchangeable kinetic front panels.
Robert was inspired by CyberPower’s Kinetic Series case, which was on display at CES 2022, then CES 2023, and is now beginning to look like vaporware. Robert wanted to upgrade his PC setup and didn’t want to wait on CyberPower, so he built his own custom kinetic case.
Despite Robert’s claims to the contrary, he certainly appears to be a talented mechanical engineer. He created a pair of kinetic front panels and they’re both mechanical masterpieces. The first consists of three circular windows, each with two spinning wheels rotating in opposite directions. Light shines through from the PC to highlight the effect. The second is an intricate matrix of wood pillars that move in and out in an undulating pattern that entrances us.
Both kinetic panels operate using input from a single stepper motor controlled by an Arduino UNO Rev3 board. Robert constructed the panels’ complex mechanisms using a combination of 3D-printed plastic, laser-cut acrylic, and laser-cut wood. The two panels required hundreds of moving parts and a mastery of mechanical design, resulting in an amazing final product.
The best part is the modularity, as Robert can design and swap in a new kinetic panel whenever he wants.