Enrico Music Server Mod Photos

My friend Jim Wiggins and I have been working on a special case mod for a music server. Here's some photos of the completed computer showing the steps I took during the process of converting an Enrico Bertini accordion into a SUSE Linux RAID5 server to play our library of music from our CD collection. It was a blast trying to figure out how to modify this accordion to fit a computer.

Technical notes on how to set up your own Enrico Linux server

original accordion top view original accordion rear view original accordion front view
the original accordion (top, rear, front views)

The first thing I did was systematically gut the accordion by removing all the reeds, levers, and left hand button mechanics, leaving only the outer shell and the keyboard.

wood base top view wood base front view
wood base (side & front views)

Next I stretched the bellows into a curved shape similar to the first picture above (original accordion top view) and drew the shape onto a piece of 1/2" plywood, where I would be creating a base to mount the hard drives, motherboard chassis, etc.

added mobo chassis/power supply front view added mobo chassis/power supply rear view
added mobo chassis/power supply (front & rear views)

One of the amazing discoveries was that the back wooden plate where the left hand buttons used to be was exactly the same dimensions as a 3U rackmount case! My rackmount case supplier from my DAW business furnished me with a chassis that fit perfectly, along with the hard drive brackets you see in the above pics of the wooden base and an Enermax ultra-quiet 2U 450W power supply.

duct tape front right duct tape side 2
duct taping the bellows to the base (inner & outer edges)

Using a mitre saw, I cut out the back portion of the bellows in order to mount the wooden base to it using duct tape. This way I could keep the airflow controlled and moving from the front of the accordion to the back without leakage.Then I used two white coat hangar wires to reinforce the top part of the bellows so no one would try to squeeze it once I got the computer operational (this was later removed as it proved unnecessary).

hdd bracket 2
added hard drive bracket guides and securing mechanism

In order to secure the hard drive brackets into place, I made guide rails from 1/4" wooden strips and glued+screwed them into place so the brackets wouldn't slide around. I also chiseled out an area on the base and screwed metal strips down so I could slide the metal clip from the base of the bracket into place, thus locking the bracket to the wooden base. Even with that, there was still about a 3/4" gap between the bracket and the top of the bellows so to further secure it, I slid a 1"x3"x5" piece of acoustic foam into this gap so the bracket wouldn't move when I tilted the accordion up to it's display position.

left front view top view right front view
initial case assembly (left, top, right front views)

right side view
initial case assembly (side view)

rear view
initial case assembly (rear view)

Here are several views of the assembled case. Outside of the obvious computer chassis connections in the back, I tried to keep the look of the accordion intact.

keyboard keyboard mechanics
keyboard mechanism

To power up the computer I put in 3 switches in series toggled by three specific keys on the accordion. When all three of these particular keys are presed the computer will boot up.

fan ducts rear view - before
fan ducts - before (rear view)

fan ducts added fan ducts rear view - after
fan ducts added - after (front & rear views)

I had to install two quiet 120mm case fans, so I glued+screwed in place 1/8" thick particle board to seal off the key holes except for the two circular areas where the fans would be.

filled button holes with fake gems

Jim and I had originally talked about doing a color organ in the area of the left hand buttons. I started by using clear tacky glue to place 120 fake gems into the button holes. I wanted the lighting to refract all over the place and this was a cheap and easy solution (outside of the finding the perfect sized gems).

internal lighting
installed three cold cathode lights under button holes

After some research, the color organ scheme proved too time consuming and impractical. I discovered a better solution by purchasing a Sunbeam Lightbus Advanced Light Controller and four 12" colored cold cathode lights (green for the front of the server and red, purple, blue for the back).

mobo top view
micro ITX mobo (top view)

Here I started the final installation of the computer components. The motherboard chassis and power supply were attached to the "button" side of the accordion frame, and the entire computer component assembly was connected together.

RAID5 top view 2
RAID5 hard drives w/quiet fans (top view)

Jim used a RAID PCI card in addition to the motherboard Primary and Secondary IDE connections and placed each of the 4 drives as Master on each IDE channel. This would guarantee that the RAID5 array would work properly. I then carefully ran the loose components through the bellows, secured the chassis to the wooden base with nuts and bolts, connected all the wiring, and tweaked the lighting controller until the lights worked properly.

full assembly front view 1
completed assembly (front view)

Here's the finished server on it's stand. I shaped acoustic foam onto the bases of the stand in order to keep the server steady as it laid on it's side at an angle.

case stand

For the stand I used a hinge and a 1/2" thick birch board to act as a swinging support which gave me more stability with the server perched at an angle. The stand base is birch plywood with 1"x1" birch strips acting as a stopper for the upholstered foam base and the swinging support.

lit up front view 2
lit up (front view)

The cold cathode lighting is set to flicker with the amplitude of the music played on the server. I think it's one of the coolest features on the system.

user interface: main page

Jim programmed the user interface to work in any browser on my home network. I just run an ethernet cable from the server to my network router and then access the server by typing in the host IP address from any browser in the house. We also edited the hosts file located in C:\Windows\system32\drivers\etc folder by adding the IP address followed by the server name. This allows us to just type in "enrico" in an XP web browser and jump directly to the user interface.

stand stand stand stand
user interface: library search engine and player

Here are several views of the library search engine and player Jim put together. See the Technical notes at the top of the page for more information on this.

user interface: ripping and management tools

Jim also programmed tools to rip and convert music CDs into flac format (a loss-less compression scheme which doubles our hard drive capacity). The server can also play wav and mp3 files. Other tools are for moving music to and from our shared folders (in case we have to tweak or copy music files from any of the household computers), and a library status report which tells us the health of the server and where we're at with our hard drive capacity.

Here are some other cool mini-ITX PC mods done by some very clever folks...

The "iGrill" by James Goldsmith

Mini Falcon
The "Mini Falcon" by Sean Wachob

The "Jeannie" by Frank Fitzmaurice

Deco Box
The "Deco Box" by Dave Benz

The "Gramaphone-ITX-HD" by Tony Greenberg

KiSA 444
The "KiSA 444 Surface to Surface PC" by Chris Adams

Spider Case
The "Spider Case" by Alex "Qtip42" Wiley

The ToAsTOr
The "ToAsTOr" by Joe Klingler

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