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 Post subject: Project Little Rascal -A Mini-ITX Gaming Rig *Update 24/4/08
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 3:58 am 
8086
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Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2008 3:59 am
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Hi guys thought i would post my Project Log for a PC mod thats been in planning for a while now and is on some other forums, so i thought i would bring it here and see what you guys think. Without any further adue, heres the log :)


Hey guys i thought id start this Project log rolling seeing as some revived an old project. Instead of carrying on from a project log used for another project which i have put on hold i decided to start this so everyone knows that all that i post in this thread is related to this mod. First off i would like to say that this is my first mod that i will be working on, apart from the odd bit of dremel action on other chassis's

Mod Premise:

A lot of people that start mods have a clear theme that is normally visually represented through the mod, be it from the smallest detail or the case as a whole. My theme however is slightly more different and rest firmly within the Hardware side of things. I want a small custom case that can house a Mini-ITX gaming system. Sadly within the SFF community, which tends to be quite a mod enthusiastic sub culture there are no cases out there that can accomodate what i want, let alone looking the part aswell.

I know i will alienate quite a lot of the Mini-ITX enthusiats out there as with previous mini-itx mods they have been dead small fitting inside Toasters, Windows XP Box or in a case made out of Knex. Whilst all of these mods have inspired me to have a small more compact PC there are just so many limitations that stop a mini-itx gaming system. That said, it doesnt mean it cannot be done, and further more cannot be quiet either.


The Design:

Over the past months this mod has gone through various different design stages, yet they all have one thing in common and that is the perforated front grill which will take up the majority of the front. This will be very much akin to the Lian Li and Apple G5 case style. I have also grown fond of it as it is practical as its stylish if used correctly and also ideal for cooling (especialliy if the whole front of the case is going to be backed by a Dual 120mm Radiator).

Image

Image

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The case will be using a ATX power supply to accomodate for the power consumption of high end graphics cards, i have been asked if this is a waste of space and the short answer would be no. With the ATX PSU removed i only shorten the height of the case by about 5mm. This is due to the depth of the case being determined by the length of the graphics card and the Radiator and Fans. The Width of the case is determined by the height of the graphics card with a watercooling block attached. The Height of the case is determined primarily by the height of the radiator and also the Slimline slot loading optical drive. So i decided to stick with the ATX PSU as if i go for more powerful upgrades further down the line all i have to do is buy an off the shelf PSU rather then wait around for a SFF PSU to be released that can power the system.

Aswell as this, the case will also accomodate 4 Hard Drives that will be in the PC as i need a lot of storage. these will be interfaced via Sata2 connections. Depending on which board i go for, the board will either have 4 Sata2 & 1 IDE or 6 Sata2. So the board is more than capable of handling this amount of Hard Drives. The hard drives will be housed in a custom made caddy that i have designed that can be removed from the case easily so there is more space for myself to tinker with things further down the line. I have also designed the caddy to make the most of the fresh air that will pumped in by the 120mm Fans that sit right next to it (as you can see in the picture below)

Image

With this i didnt want to use the normal HDD caddy which you see in your average case which restricts airflow quite considerably. With my design i wanted it to be very minimalistic yet not so much so that it was unstable. The aluminium is used only where needed and this means that i can have large open gaps in between the hard drives which allows plenty of fresh cool air to flow over every hard drive.

Image

As you can see from the pictures on this post, the majority of the design has been planned for, though there are still things that i am unsure about. For example im not sure which way to put the radiator, either with the barbs at the bottom where the tubing can conflict with the graphics card, or at the top where it takes space away from where i will be hiding excess cables that i dont use from my S12-600w Seasonic. This also means that i dont know where to put the HDD Caddy, it will be in the same space but could be higher or lower in the case. Luckily enough it doesnt really matter as i dont have to accomodate this too much into my design, all i have to do is make sure that there is space there for me to test which is better.


My other problem i have is the Logo. I have no idea what to have for my logo and where to put it. I dont want it to ruin the minimalistic front, though thats where i would prefer it if it can work. I was toying with the idea of doing something that Bill from MNPCTech had done over at The Mod Nation (cant remember specifically which mod it was) but he created a logo for the case which he used on the front and bent it around the front and it overlapped parts of the sides. When ive thought about the logo ive only really had one idea for the design. What do you think of when you hear the term 'Little Rascal' and i think of a Dennis the Menace type kid that caused mayhem. So i was thinking of incorporating that into the name Little Rascal where the first A would be made up of a silouette of a kid with his arms folded and his legs to make up sides of the A.

That said i am not 100% set on that. If anyone has any ideas for a logo, feel free to post them. If i like the design i will use it and of course you will be credited for the artistic work done on the logo :)

Also if i have enough time and money i will be modding my current Mouse and Keyboard (Logitech G7 and a WolfKing/Wolfclaw Keyboard)to fit in with the theme of the mod, one of which will also accomodate the logo. Im still not sure on the extent of the modifications i will be doing to them, but it will be at the very least a respray so that they fit in with the overall colour scheme of the case, which brings me onto the colour scheme.

Visual Design:

The colour scheme of the mod is still slightly up in the air. I have a pretty firm idea of how it will be styled, which will be a mixture of either Black and Aluminium or Gun Metal and Aluminium, with a Black acrylic side panel which will only reveal the insides once the lighting on the inside is turned on. I am still unsure on whether or not to have a Acrylic Metal Mesh side window mod, so that the perforated aluminium which is so prominant on the front is continued along the side and also to the exhaust on the back.

The lights on the inside will be white, though i am not sure of how to go about getting the type of lighting i want without a load of cables running everywhere. Which is why ive been looking at EL Wire/Strips for quite some time. The reasoning here is that theyre not too bright that it makes your case appear like the holy spirit is in your case, yet not too dark that it doesnt illuminate the case enough that we can see through the window. Whatever i decide to use, the lights will be rigged to a button that will turn them on and off when i want them, and it will be next to the Power and Reset buttons which will be located on one of the side panels.

Case feet is something else im still undecided on. With the original Little Rascal mod on the v300 i was going to completely remake the feet so that it accomodated both the aluminium and the acrylic, whilst having a white LED in all the feet to illuminate them. Though im not sure if i should go with one huge footthat would go around the bottom of the case. Though i think this could be overpowering. Whatever i do i still want feet, as i can design them so that they dampen the vibrations of the case even more, let alone the HDDs and the PSU will have vibrational dampners built into their housing.

The Tools:

Since christmas has just past, i had my mum badgering me about what i wanted for christmas. There wasnt anything i really wanted so decided to get some tools that would help me along the way in creating the mod. Sadly ive just taken some photos to show you what i have, but realised that my cameras data cable is back home in Portsmouth, so i will have to upload them on Sunday.

The tools and other equipment I currently have are:
    Protective Eyewear
    60mm Swivel Table Vice with Anvil
    4x 3.5" Spring Clamps
    3pc Steel File Set
    12" Heavy Duty Combination Square
    Hand Rivet Gun w/75 Rivets
    Dremel (though need to cutting discs) :dremel:
    Foldable Workbench with another Vice
    Metal Bending Brake


I will also probably get a 300w single speed Jigsaw, for cutting the aluminium, and also a electric mouse sander to make sanding that little bit easier

The Components:

Motherboard

Ive had this mod idea in my mind for quite some time, and since then some better hardware has come out since then, though the most important bit of hardware will be obviously the motherboard.

The 2 Motherboards that i am going to decide between are:

Portwells Wade 8656 LGA 775 PCI-E 16X Mini-Itx Motherboard
Image

Or

iBases MI900 LGA775 PCI-E 16x Mini-ITX Motherboard
Image

People will notice some problems with these boards, such as they only support upto 1066Mhz FSB and 800Mhz Memory. That doesnt bother me too much, what i would of liked extra of would be memory slots, but then ive got to remember its a Mini-ITX board so there it will be cutting corners somewhere. Though my main gripe is emulated 5.1-7.1 over 3 audio jacks, which puts my 5.1 headset out of the window unless i lose one of the channels or the mic.

One of the things with this build is that i wont be buying these components until the case is near enough completed, which i plan to be in April so i can showcase it at my clans small 24 person LAN. I am hoping with any luck that there might be a updated board, which will incorporate those changes i would like, but if not ill be happy anyway :)

Hard Drives

Im still somewhat undecided on which Hard Drives to go for. I am for the most part a capacity whore, so i doubt i will be having anything like Raptor drives in my system, though that might change over time.

I am looking at kitting out the 4 HDD spaces with either 750GB or 1Tb Drives. Yup you heard my correctly, that would mean i would have anywhere upto 4TB of storage in a gaming PC which is usually unheard of, let alone in a case thats roughly the size of one of my shoe boxes (size 13 feet so its big where shoeboxes are concerned). Im not sure which drives to go for, as im still having a look at reviews for a balance between overall speed and the ssssh factor that im looking for. All that i now for certain is, that these drives will not be horrible load break all the time Maxtors.

Power Supply

As the plan stands i will be using my lovely Seasonic s12-600w PSU. I love this thing, its more than powerful enough and its whisper quiet, whilst having strong rails. Though the one thing that i hate about it is the fact its got ridiculously long cables, cables that i will not use and will take up much valued space. So i might land up going for a Modular later on down the line and move this into a Media PC.

Graphics Card

I will admit it, i am a ATI fan boy. Love the cards and stand by them. Sadly at this current moment in time, they are not the top dog of the graphics world. Sadly Nvidia are, but with a nice card. I wont be going for a 8800Ultra as i have more sense than money, so im currently looking at the 8800GTX. That said the rumour mill has started churning and supposedly there will be a new set of graphics cards that will be released quite soon that will fit in with my completion date. that said if it reaches April and the new cards are only a week or 2 away, then i will wait for them and carry on using my trusty ATI x1900XTX.

It being a small machine i want the most powerful card within reason, as there is never a hope for SLI in this case, let alone i dont think i would ever use SLI.

Optical Drive

One thing i hate about big PC's are the horrible chunky oversized Optical drives, which tend to be quite loud whilst watching DVDs on. To conserve the space of the case i have opted for a Slimline Slot Loading optical drive which will interface with the motherboard via SATA2. Sadly i cant find any links for them as of yet, but i know where i used to work we were able to get them. It will be a DVD writer, though if i can find a HDDVD slimline player (not writer) and if its at a reasonable price i might be tempted to get it.

Cooling

The most important set of components in this PC besides the Motherboard. For any watercooling experts out there, once youve seen the size of this case and what i need it to do, there is only 1 choice as far as the Radiator is concerned, and that would be the [url="http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=4537"]Black Ice Stealth GT II[/url]. Its not overly bloated where dimensions are concerned, and thickness width and length are all at the very minimum they can be. this is a no BS radiator that isnt bigger then it has to be, which makes it 100% ideal for this project. Plus it also offers upto something like 20% better cooling then other radiators on the market.

For pump i am looking for a CPU Block & Pump combo to save on the space within the case. I am still having a gander around the net to see which would be the best for waterflow and for cooling.

With this project, i want it to be dead quiet, even when it is at full load. This means i need fans that have a very low dbA and push a lot of Air (CFM). Originally i was going to only have the 2 120mm fans on the front, but in the past few days i have decided to go for a Push Pull configuration comprising of 2x 120mm Fans on the front as intake, and a single 92mm on the rear of the case as an outtake. Ive browsed the net for quite some time and there only seems to be one type of fan for this job (though im willing to be corrected on this if there are better fans), and the fans would be [url="http://silenx.com/ixtremaprofans.asp"]SilenX's iXtrema Pros[/url]. these fans are beasts for their audible level. Their specs are as follows:

120mm Model:
-72 CFM
-14 dBA

92mm Model:
-42 CFM
-14 dBA

At full load these fans are more then adequate to cool my case, whilst reminaing whisper quiet.

Other Components

The other components arent really set in stone yet, as they dont need to be. Though for anyone that wants to know, i will be going for the fastest 4gb ram that this motherboard can accomodate for.


Anyway i shall wrap this introduction up now as ive been typing this up for quite some time now and im getting hungry.

Hope you all love the idea for the mod and are keen in keeping up with its process.

If you have any more questions, feel free to ask, or if you would like any more renders.

If you like to contact me personally regarding sponsorship or just anything related to this mod feel free to PM me on here or send me an email to:
nixbroderick@hotmail.com

Hope to hear back from you soon, and hope all of you had a good New Year


Last edited by Nix on Thu Apr 24, 2008 4:25 am, edited 6 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 3:58 am 
8086
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Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2008 3:59 am
Posts: 13
Small update for everyone.

Just messing around in sketchup on design possiblities for the side panel. My side panel will have 3 switches mounted on it.
- Power
- Reset
- Light Power

Im not sure whether or not to go for a more minimalistic side panel or to expand more on the project name on the side. Anyway here are the few designs ive mocked up just to get some ideas.

Image

any feedback would be appreciatted :)


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 3:59 am 
8086
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Well guys you know what time it is... yup its update time :)

Sadly this update has been a bit longer in the making, down to me being a bit busy and a bit lazy.

Thanks very much so far for all the comments everyone has left this project on the 9 forums that it is posted on. All the comments have been very favourable and a lot of people have said they will be keeping their eye on it :) That said, a few people have brought a few design ideas and a few faults to my design that i had either overlooked or just didnt notice.

Also with this update you will notice some more work on the theme and some additional ideas i have used. So without further ado, here are the pictures:
Image

Not much has changed, though i am leaning towards the panel design that is on the side on this picture. Some of you will noticed something in the top left of the panel. I have decided to add a VFD/LCD display. I still might mount it top right though to hide away some of the cabling, but still have to do the mock up of it first.
Image

On the back ive designed to allow for a 92mm Fan. I was going to scrap this but decided to add it back in to allow for increased airflow going through the case.

There was a worry about negative pressure due to the flow restriction caused by the GTS 240. Thankfully one of my friends has 2 240 radiators laying about, though not the same model but we strapped them together to take in account the flow restriction and placed a 92mm on the back, and it ran fine. No problems what so ever, so i am quite confident about this now. Though if i land up being wrong ill modify the side panel to allow some ventilation holes (which of course) will match the front to increase air intake into the case.


The PSU will have to be inserted into the case from the rear, where there will be a square cut hole which will allow for this. To fix the PSU to the case there will be a cut sheet of aluminium which will border the psu and will have screws going into the PSU and then into the case. This has been done before with a few mods, especially where the PSU sticks out a fair distance from the rear, and it looks and works fantastically. (Look at Project NLMby JegerJon to get some idea (fantastic mod))
Image

Here is what the bare chassis will look like.
Image

As you can see there will be a shroud that will fix the Radiator in place. This will be removable just as the HDD caddy will be. The Radiator shroud fixes to the right and bottom panels. This will also help brace the chassis to make it stronger.

You can see there are some modifications to the HDD Caddy. It has been made longer so that the case can be fixed to the right panel 2-4 times on each side. There are also struts that fix onto the PSU Caddy and the Radiator Shroud. This was to address a problem someone pointed out, that i overlooked. Originally the case was not going to be a tower, but a desktop, and the caddy was designed for that. Using it as a tower would change the change the positioning of the centre of gravity and could cause the right panel to bend/buckle. The struts were added in to help the load bearing of the Caddy so it could be distributed better over the entire case, whilst still being a removable caddy.

Image
The PSU housing will be rivetted to the case as i will not need to remove this from the chassis. as mentioned with the Radiator Shroud and HDD Caddy, it will help brace the chassis to make it a stronger structure. There is a gap above the PSU. Im planning to put some ventilation holes up there as i dont want pockets of hot unventilated air within the case. Also it gives me the option later on to add a card readers or USB hub or anything quite thin in there. As i probably wont have the money to get a modular PSU straight away it will probably be used to put some of the cables i will not be using.

Regarding the overall theme im going to be having the internal metal components, so everything seen in the bare chassis pictures to be painted either Black or Silver. Im leaning towards black more as it will look better. Also from the front i dont want the v300b effect. With the v300b you have black case but silver internals which were visibile through the perforated grill (like i have at the front) I obviously dont want this to be the case in my case.... pun not intended :)

Anyway guys i hope you all like the pictures. Feel free to leave any comments or questions, as you all help me pickup on things i might of not noticed. Its always nice to have a 3rd opinion :)

Also some extra good news, ive just ordered my electric sander and jigsaw which cost me £13 for both brand new. Bargin if you ask me. I shall get a picture up of the tools when they and the bending brake arrive.

Until next time. :)


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 4:00 am 
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Hey hey everyone.

Sorry for the delay of the update, i have been distracted by things such as my Team Fortress 2 Map, looking for a job, and also someone introduced me to EVE.

Not much has happened work wise. that said the designs are nearly 100% complete and majority of the stuff that i need to start construction has arrived or is on its way :)

For everyone that cares, the Aluminium has arrived. I found a nice little website that i got all my aluminium for around £60.

Image

I decided to get a 2cm diameter aluminium rod so that i can use it for the bend at the top of the case. Sadly it only came in a 2m length, most of which i will not be able to use :(

Image

The case is going to be created from 2 750mmx750mm Aluminium sheets which can be seen above and below. Just so you get an idea i decided to use my shoes to show the scale... which are size 13UK

Image

Im a bit worried about the thickness of the Aluminium sheets. I have planned to use 2mm thick sheets and ive ordered to match, but they just look a bit too thin for the look i was aiming to get. Though i shall slave on and see what it looks like. As it looks right in the model im hoping it will do once its built.

Image

Now onto the Tools. I have most of the tools that i require for the build, though i have just ordered some more to make it. I am still waiting on the the needle files, g clamps, rubber mallet (to help with the bending if needed), unibond double sided tape and masking tape and marker to do the marking up.

The bench isnt much but i havent got much room to work in and i needed something that i could stow away when im not using it. Im hoping it should be enough, if not ill have to buy another one :(

Image

Now onto the modified designs. Ive decided to scrap the knuckle duster designs as it did look a bit over the top and didnt go with the visual clean line look of the overall design. Ive come up with some new designs incorporating the 3 circles for the switch i need.

The left designs are just a window, though the right designs are to incorporate a long vfd if i can find one that will fit. Ive had to mess around with the positioning of the vfd as I was worred (and a few people who commented) on the clearance behind the vfd for the cables.

At the moment i am leaning towards the middle left design as i think the vfd would be more of a gimmick as i wouldnt use it that much. though feel free to let me know what you guys think.

Image

As the main construction of my case will be made by folding aluminium to create a more sturdy and stable chassis, i decided to create a mock layout of the design for the complete case over the 2 sheets of aluminium.

Below you can see the unfolded view of the main chassis and below that you can see how all the designs currently are laid out over the 2 750mm sheets.

Image

From the image below you can also see how the PSU Caddy, HDD Caddy and the Radiator shroud will be cut out and how they will be bent/folded into shape.

There will be seams on the Radiator shroud, and small seams on the psu caddy which will either be rivetted and/or filled in using bondo so they look right.

Image

Ive only set these up today and will most likely change ever so slightly the next time you see them. Im already thinking about adding a 10mm-15mm length along the back, top and bottom of the case that will be folded up to hide the lighting behind and to mount the side panel onto it aswell.

Hope you guys like the update and im hoping to start marking up the aluminium on Monday when the last delivery arrives, which also gives me more time to tweak and double check all the designs and make final decisions before the work starts. Im hoping to start on construction of the case by hopefully Wednesday given that everything goes to plan.

Ive had a conversation with a few guys on [H]OCP about the audio problem that i may face and which 5.1 usb audio card solution i could use which could be mounted within the case and just look like part of the internals. If anyone has got any ideas and suggestions on which ones to look out for and take into consideration i would be thankful.

Another thing im having issues on deciding is Sand/Grit Paper. As i want a very smooth finish, what grit papers should i go from and which grit papers i should finish on. I was looking at 40-80-100-120-140, but im not sure if i will need to go upto 320 grit and space it out a bit further.

Now that Maximum PC are up to date on the latest progress of my project i hope to hear back from you. Anyway, until next time. Feel free to leave comments as they are glady welcome.

-Nix


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 5:34 am 
8086
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awesome idea man! can't wait to see that thing done. I was wondering... could I use parts that you are using to make a car-pc? those parts are pretty small right? and they can handle anything a normal pc can? (to some extend)

thanks for your help.

but anyway, that looks like a really nice build :D


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 11:16 am 
8086
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Yes you can, though i would only really use a Mini-ITX motherboard, everything else is a bit iffy for in car use. Though if you goto http://www.mini-itx.com they have enclosures that are specifically designed for cars.

If i had a car i would do a in car pc project for sure :)


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 1:17 pm 
Willamette
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Can't wait for an update. Good Idea, never knew you could fit PCI-E x16 cards on Mini-ITX.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 6:12 pm 
Coppermine
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Agreed. Awesome idea, just building a case from scratch is just amazing. I can't wait for another update... I'm sure your final product will come out great :)

~| Icarus


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2008 4:50 am 
8086
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Small update for you all.

As i was about to head out to go back to Bristol for the weekend a parcel arrived. 4 days earlier then expected i got the last bits of my tools....

Image

Also a few people wanted updated overall views of the case.... now with added feet :) So here they are

Image

Image

Image

Until next week


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2008 8:39 am 
Little Foot
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Joined: Tue Oct 11, 2005 2:03 pm
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Location: In a Galaxy Far, Far, Away!
Nix,
The Mini-ITX are becoming very nice platforms to work with.
I love the case design, and based on your sketchup drawings, as long as you have good mounting of the rivets or bolts trough the Aluminum that 2mm will be plenty thick / strong enough for this case. As for the sanding If you plan to paint go to a 320 and stop... If you want to polish or anodize step up to 800 or 1000 then polish.

I'm going to keep an eye on this project... Very cool!!!


CrazyBillyBob


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2008 9:33 am 
Klamath
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VERY VERY nice. Good work. Can't wait to see the the final build.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2008 3:11 pm 
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beteks wrote:
Can't wait for an update. Good Idea, never knew you could fit PCI-E x16 cards on Mini-ITX.


word. Make sure that there is enough clearance between the botton of the hard drive rack and the botton of the case for long graphics cards. It would be a real bummer if you got a card that you later found out it wouldn't fit.

Definitely go with the 1st motherboard. Dual gigabit, 6 sata, blah blah blah...

and great SketchUp skills. Did you do that all by your self?


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 10:42 am 
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No this isnt an illusion, i am back and with a small update, though more to follow :)

First off, sorry for the lack of updates, this has been due to the real world getting in the way and a lot less time on my hands thanks to my new job.

There have been a few small changes to the design which was done during the marking out process. The case is now 1cm wider as i was a bit concerned about the prospect of the WC block for the GFX being a bit tight. Also the PSU Structure support has been extended by 1cm on the depth to accomodate for a slightly larger PSU.

Also what im using for the main motherboard has changed slightly. Instead of going with Portwell, i am now going with a new lovely board from Commell, which has everything i need on (apart from 8gb support which im not going to get anytime soon :P) Heres a picture of the beauty...

Image

I took some pictures of the marking up that i done last night, not sure if you will be able to see a lot of the detail but will have some more up this weekend once the cutting has commenced and theres some more detailed pictures of the pieces.

Image

Image

There we some mistakes and sadly i dont have a rubber around so had to go over it in masking tape again. Im hoping i will have some time tonight to start the cutting but im not sure if the blades that came with the jigsaw are for wood or for softmetals, though there are 2 types so i will see if i get on.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 5:38 pm 
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Nice job. I like the metal choice; its looks clean and fresh.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 6:55 pm 
Little Foot
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This looks like a great project so far.

I do have some concerns though. To me, it looks like it is going to be a real pain to wire up. Especially since you mentioned that you are going to put the excess wires up top. Top that off with the tubing for the watercooling, and I believe that it will be a tight fit. Not to mention the clearance you will need for the sata drive cables.

Your drawings also lack the screw mount for, everything. I have built a lot of boxes for stuff other than computers, and I always seem to forget to think about how I will attach everything. If you are going to use screws, then do not forget the clearance for the nuts, washers, etc. A lot of this will determine the looks for the back panel (the one the drive cage is attached to.) Also, this is a good opportunity to make a really cool bracket to hold the vid card in place.

Also, what about the power switch? Power LEDS? etc.


Also, since it looks like the radiator will be the main structural unit in the front, as well as mass with the drives, there will probably be some stress points in the corners. You will need to make sure the the back panel is rigid enough to help alleviate that. the same can be said for the feet. With the holes for the vid card cooling, the bottom panel will tend to bow with the center up.

Of course the build might be light enough that I am just being too cautious. good craftsmanship should be able to take care of all of my concirns.

Good luck, and I hope that my little rant helps.

edit: sorry, after my post I noticed that you are bonding the parts together.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2008 9:08 am 
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deenko wrote:
This looks like a great project so far.

I do have some concerns though. To me, it looks like it is going to be a real pain to wire up. Especially since you mentioned that you are going to put the excess wires up top. Top that off with the tubing for the watercooling, and I believe that it will be a tight fit. Not to mention the clearance you will need for the sata drive cables.

Your drawings also lack the screw mount for, everything. I have built a lot of boxes for stuff other than computers, and I always seem to forget to think about how I will attach everything. If you are going to use screws, then do not forget the clearance for the nuts, washers, etc. A lot of this will determine the looks for the back panel (the one the drive cage is attached to.) Also, this is a good opportunity to make a really cool bracket to hold the vid card in place.

Also, what about the power switch? Power LEDS? etc.


Also, since it looks like the radiator will be the main structural unit in the front, as well as mass with the drives, there will probably be some stress points in the corners. You will need to make sure the the back panel is rigid enough to help alleviate that. the same can be said for the feet. With the holes for the vid card cooling, the bottom panel will tend to bow with the center up.

Of course the build might be light enough that I am just being too cautious. good craftsmanship should be able to take care of all of my concirns.

Good luck, and I hope that my little rant helps.

edit: sorry, after my post I noticed that you are bonding the parts together.


Deenko, im now opting for the 700w M12 Modular PSU from Seasonic.... or the 800w. I currently have the 600w s12 non modular version and its a stunning bit of hardware and dead quiet, though for cables its a bit of a nightmare especially when it comes to a case of this size.

The sata cables i plan to cable tie in some way or form to the caddy so its out of the way. That way all ill have to do is unplug the power, the sata from the motherboard and unscrew it and can take it out easy as pie (mmmmm pie)

Theres a reason the screws are missing from the mark out. The mark out are purely for cutting and folding. The screw placements will be marked when i have the bits of hardware in hand. I dont want to assume that my markings for something as critical as screw placements are perfect and find out when i get the hardware that theyre not. Fear not though, they will be done with as much precision as the rest of the case has had at the moment. On a similar note, im thinking about a raised motherboard tray that will be fixed to the inside of the case, as the last thing i want are screw holes or rivets on the right panel. Plus i want to keep the integrity of the aluminium on the side panel so dont really want to drill holes for mounting and the like and then bondo over it to hide it.

With regards to the hdd caddy there is quite a nifty way round this that i saw on another project log (forget which one) where you basically glue the bolts onto the panel which wont be able to be moved then screw the screws into these bolts.

Power LED's arent needed. Ive always found them annoying. I will know when the case is on as i will be able to turn the LED's that i have inside the case on and off thanks to the side mounted button i will have. I want the front to be uninterrupted (apart from the slot loading drive hole) and this includes LED's.

My PC is in my bedroom so i want to be able to switch all lights off with one button for when i want to sleep. Combine this with the PC being inAudible im hoping i will be able to sleep without having a noise in the background thanks to my pc.

Structure was a big feature when i was designing the case. There are things on this build which if i could get rid of, i would... but it would take away from the structural rigidity of the case. The PSU mounts, HDD Caddy Braces and parts of the Radiator Caddy that help strengthen the case as a whole. Also as you will see from my markouts, the right panel, back, top and bottom of the case are made from the same piece of alumiunium which also have foldup struts to reinforce certain parts of the case. I do have to say though from a design point of view, my case has been severly planned which reasons for each part of the case having a reason to be there.

The bottom ventilation which will be next to the Graphics will be all from the same piece of aluminium and should have enough strength for the case, as the load will be spread out over the case as a whole and not just one piece. The feet have had the least planning (in regards to shape) though the structure have been in my head for quite some time (4-6mmm alumiunium sandwiched between 2 pieces of 2mm thick neoprene sponge sticky back material to dampen sound and more importantly vibrations)

No problem with the 'rant' without people like you on forums Deenko, i could quite easily overlook critical aspects of this mod. Though no matter how much i plan, things will still go wrong or not to plan... but an almost anal take to planning should keep this to a minimum.

Cheers for the reply :)


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 6:46 am 
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Small Update for you guys :)

Currently waiting for my cutting discs and metal drill bits to arrive, in the mean time all i can pretty much do is start filing down which is going to be fun.

That said, it obviously means that ive done the cutting As youll see from below all the parts have been cut (apart from the front) but theres still more that needs to be done but sadly that cant be done until the tools arrive.

So here you guys go

Image

The back wasnt too bad to cut, though due to the size of it when unfolded and only having a small bench, it was a tricky mother.

As some of you might tell theres no curve, which is ok as im going to be doing that with something thats better at doing curves than a jigsaw. Though i am worried that the curve is too small and wont be noticable on the final product. However im not changing it as in the model everything is to scale and it looks like it will be fine *i hope :)*


Image

You might notice that i slightly went ever so slightly into the line on the right side of the hdd caddy, but this will be fine once filing and sanding is done.


Image

The PSU caddy had a small change from the original design as even though i planned for most, there was something i overlooked which i knew would happen somewhere down the line. I added another 1cm wide brace that will be folded round 1 of the struts as i was worried to how they would join and it will also add structural support.


Image

Ths psu back was the easiest part to cut and for some reason one of my fav parts, mainly because this little bit will mean that i dont have to take my whole pc apart to get the psu out, and will mean a lot more room inside to tweak things.


Image

Had no problem doing the rad caddy but it was the most troublesome, though this was down to a sneezing fit i decided to have everytime i was working on this bit.

At the moment im liking the way things are going, though sadly work is meaning that the pace isnt at the speed i would like :(

Im currently planning to markout all these pieces again with fresh masking. You can see the reason for this on some of the pictures. I made the rookie mistake of covering everytyhing in masking and then not marking it out or cutting it for at least another week. Its annoying when youre using a jigsaw and parts of your markouts are peeling off :(

Anyway hope you guys like the small update. Im hoping atm that i can get some sponsors onboard, though that wont be for a bit yet as this is early stages of the project. If anyone knows anyone or any contacts that might be able to help with this, send me a PM... would be greatly appreciated.

Also on a final note, metal metal workshop is great (listening to metal and rock whilst modding) :) think ill start a small thread titled 'Modders Playlist' to see what everyone listens to whilst modding.

Peace out till next time guys.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 10:37 pm 
Northwood
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Location: Gutting an imp with my bare hands.
Nix wrote:
sadly i dont have a rubber around so had to go over it in masking tape again

If I hadn't read the rest, this would be too freakin' hilarious. Nice job, btw.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 3:20 am 
8086
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hey hey hey.

Yup its time for another update. The tools arrived and ive managed to do some extra work on the project. Im hoping to get quite a bit done over the next few days.

First off, the motherboard has been ordered and should be with me on Thursday. Ive also ordered a boat load of stuff such as watercooling stuff like the radiator and tubing and that should be with me sometime this week aswell :)

Well first off, what was i waiting on to arrive before i could do anymore work?

Image

Now that my Reinforced dremel discs, clamps, jigsaw pieces and metal drill bit set have arrived, i could get on with some more metal construction :)

So i decided to start off with some smaller bits of work first. Now that my trusty g clamps were available instead of my crappy spring clamps i could finish doing some jigsaw work without the metal slipping.

First off to go was the rest of the PSU Caddy

Image

To do this i decided to drill 2 holes that would be large enough for the jigsaw to fit into so i could do the straight cuts. As you can see from above it went ok, that said im still having problems with bits of the bloody masking tape masking my view, or slightly flapping once cut.

That said, these problems were small but could cause me drifting into the marking lines, or worse still, over them.


Image

That said, once it had been cut, and the filings and loose bits had been brushed off, it didnt look to bad. Its now starting to look a lot like the mark outs ive done in sketchup.

The PSU Caddy was the easy bit to cut, but the HDD caddy was a little bit more fidly and also had quite a few more cuts to do.

Image

Once again i started out with the drill so i could easily jigsaw away from the inside, but due to the struts being marked up on the inside of the square i had to be careful. So i decided to do what all modders would probably do and call upon thy trusty dremel.

Image

First off i think i need to get a better dremel with more torque as i cant keep the pressure applied to the metal, its all quite stop starty.

Due to there being several parts of the caddy which needed cutting, it required a lot of cutting, then moving and reclamping then cutting again and repeat several times.... sadly this gets quite boring but i know its going to be nothing like the boredom of filiing and sanding *joy*

Image

And after about 20-30mins, the caddy was cut

Image

Thats it for today. Im hoping to start work on some more stuff a bit later today. Sadly ive got to mess with my bending brake though, as i tested it last night and it doesnt do 90 degree bends right, it slightly over shoots it. So depending on how confident i am tonight with the brake. i might have some bending goodness for you.

Anyway heres a pic for you all that sums up the bit of work i done last night.

Image

Anyway, shall hopefully have a post up for you tomorrow.

Hope you all like the post, feel free to leave comments.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2008 6:40 am 
8086
8086

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Update time :)

Well this week has been eventful in more ways than i would of liked. I started work on sanding down the pieces i had already cut (HDD, PSU, Rad Caddies and the PSU Backplate)

I managed to get a jigsaw and sander for like £12 off ebay brand new due to a company going bust, i thought this was a steal and now ill get to see how both of them fair up. Im hoping it will cut down a lot of the build time, but i also know there will be fidly bits which ill have to do by hand with my trusty assortment of files and some hand sanding (note im not using my hand to sand metal :P)

Image

Heres the sander, and the assortment of sandpaper in various different grit grades to test and see what type of finish i want on the panels, as im still not sure if i want a brushed aluminium, smooth solid colour or mirror finish.

So it was time to start the long and arduous task of filing and sanding and sanding and more sanding. The original cuts were near enough spot on apart from a slightly slant on one of the sides of the hdd caddy, which you dont notice until youve been told about it. (like then :D, and its noticable in 1 pic especially) Though there were still a lot of loose bits which obviously needed to go to get the clean line look i am aiming for.

Image

Image
(note that these pictures were still taken whilst the filing and sanding was being done)

I noticed though that i was going to have to get my dremel involved for some cutting action to clean up the slant on the caddy, as there was a bit too much to sand or file away. (Dremel Discs were lost in the production of this picture)

Image

1 and a bit sheets of sandpaper and 30mins later, it was looking a lot cleaner then it had done an hour before. There are times though where im a bit anal about things being 100% perfect, but i started this project knowing that not everything would go to plan.

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This is how it turned out, though this isnt completely sanded down as im plan to attack it with some of the finer sandpaper later on to get it looking near enough perfect. I just needed it to be cut and clean enough so that i could get on with the next bit for the caddy....... the bending.

I was lucky enough to be able to nab a decent* bending brake off ebay brand new, not long after christmas. Ive been waiting a while to be able to test it out and see what its like, as its possibly one of the most critical tools that ill be using throughout the build.

If some of you out there dont know what a bending brake is, well its a bit of hardware that helps you bend metal. What you do is you sandwich the metal between 2 clamps and pull up a plate that bends it.

So now that the caddy was quite tidy, it was time to line it up, clamp it down and bend some metal :D

Image

As you can see here its all lined up and partially bent..... but some of you might notice a slight problem. Lets highlight it...

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Yup thats right, mother-humping slippage. My worst nightmare. Its not too bad as i thought it had bent most of the way i can just hammer the rest over a sturdy edge of a thick table or something, that is exactly what i done and had no problems correcting the problem.

However, i tried it again last night on the other side, and once again it slipped. I done it this time with 4 clamps whichy were hammered shut to make sure they were tight and it still didnt bend properly. I want to try it with a part that isnt lip to bend, though im obviously worried that it could seriously screw it up and ill have to completely redo that bit.

Im wondering if its my clamps that theyre not holding right, but to be honest 4 should do the job. Im going to see if i can nab 2 big chunkier clamps from work today, and if that doesnt work im going to have to rethink the folding part of the mod as at the moment its making me cry deep down :(

Though on the upside......... Christmas has come early \o/
Got into work and look what was waiting for me....

Image

Time for the giddy like a child nerdy unboxing

Image

So what did it contain i here you ask. Well its not any components as of yet but it is some of the watercooling setup

Image


Well thats it for today. Yes i know not the update some were hoping it would be (myself included) but sadly that would be down to the brake. Im hoping to be able to slave on with a lot of stuff this weekend, and hopefully that will include bending.

Hope you guys are enjoying this mod at the moment and please feel free to leave comments.

Until next time.


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