Stand Alone CD Player

Level of Difficulty: Moderate

Duration: 1 day


This is the final stage of the CD Power Adapter Project to make a Stand Alone CD Player. It is basically a sturdy metal case made from recycled computer cases held together by screws.

If you want to know what you could do with your old computer parts and throwing them out is not an option, then could recycle the parts to build this project or a few other cool projects I've done. Here's to name two; the Case/Safe PSU Combo and the EFPU.


To build a sturdy metal case, you will need:

  • large flat sections of sheet metal (such as the doors)
  • the 5 1/4" bay tray (usually holds 3 or 4 optical drives)
  • a CDROM with a play button
  • a CDROM audio cable
  • 3.5mm audio jack
  • plastic or rubber feet recycled from the computer case
  • a material to make the front bezel (I used wood)
  • cardboard (to cover the metalwork in the CD holder space)
  • paint for aesthetics and eye candy (optional)
  • lots of screws

The metal 5 1/4" tray I used can hold up to 3 drives and will be ideal for this project. This one is also held in the case by screws and is easily removed. Most bays are held in place by rivets and can be removed by drilling the rivet heads off.

For the CDROM, if you want to use a headphone to listen music, make sure you use one with a audio jack on the front along with a volume control. Also, it is crucial that the CDROM has a play/next track button in order to play and change the music.

Shaping the metal

To begin the layout, I marked a centreline along the side door to divide it into two symmetrical halves. That means that the handhold indent, or at least that's what I call it, is also divided into half.

To make the most out of the door, I decided to make the top, parts of the sides, and the back of the metal case out of the sheet metal and cut out the excess metal useful for other parts.

The depth of the case is about 2" longer that the CD drive to accommodate the power and audio wires inside the case making it a total length of 9".

Therefore, I used a red marker to note that dimension on the door, i.e, the vertical line at the middle of the above image (pardon the confusing lines made for the cut outs and bends).

The width of the case will be 7 1/2" determined by the side mounting tabs on my 5 1/4"bay tray and the height will be 6" also based on the dimensions of the tray.

After all the dimensions have been marked out, the metal can be cut and prepared for bending. I used two planks of wood the hold the metal in a bench vice and used a hacksaw to make the cut out.

The end flange of the door was spared to use as a mounting face for the front bezel and the hand hold as a feature of the top of the case.

Since I didn't have a metal brake (used to bend sheet metal), I improvised and used planks of wood and a bench vise to do the bending. All bends are made on the bend lines giving it a small bend radius.

Here's the final bend and the final product of the work thus far. Note that this is only half of the case and more sheet metal is required for the other half.

This piece of metal is the remainder of the Dell desktop computer case that was left over from the Case/Safe project. It is a thicker gauge sheet metal because the case was built to support the CRT monitor on top in the good old days of computers. The same process explained above also applies to this piece.

A file is used to remove all the sharp edges from the freshly cut metal to render it safe to touch.

This is what the two halves coming together looks like and will be held together with screws. Note that I also pointed the edge flanges of the lower case to the front to provide a mounting surface for the front bezel.

The CDROM will be mounted at the top of the tray leaving space below for what will become a CD holder for additional disks.

The setup is tested as shown above, to make everything aligns properly.

The gap at the side will be covered by a plastic strip. The unit's power port and audio port will be drilled at the back. Note the indent on the top of the case.

I decided to use three equally spaced screws to hold each side together and three screws on the bottom tab as well. The holes for the mounting of the feet were also marked out in appropriate positions and the holes were drilled.

The case was once again put back together and appropriately sized screws were found for the holes thanks to my previous collection.

To find something to use as the front bezel was particularly tough for me because it had to have the right shape and size the fit the model perfectly. That immediately ruled put reusing any parts of the existing front bezels of the cases I had.

So, as a solution, I decided to make one from wood. The wood I used made the bezel 1 1/8" thick and fully covers the gap between the tray and the case. It also allows a 1/4" thick lip to over hang the case itself.

This mean the pieces will have a groove cut in them and 45degree cuts at the ends to form the corners.

The four pieces are then secured together to form a single piece front bezel.