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 Post subject: Project: TroyBoX - Scratch Build mini-ITX HTPC - FINISHED
PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 6:02 pm 
8086
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Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2007 7:08 pm
Posts: 44
This project is already underway, so instead of cut and pasting it all from my site I'm posting a short version, for anyone interested the full worklog can be read in its entirety here: http://www.casemodgod.com/MAME%20PC.htm I'll skip posting pictures of the hardware since you'll see the parts as they are installed and begin with the initial design sketch...

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And a couple quick Google Sketchups, the 230mm sides have since been shortened by 20mm.

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Some Alum Angle and ACRyan MeshX cut and filed, these pieces will make up the bottom of the case.

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I started out by stacking all the components up inside the bottom framework just to see if everything was going to fit... it's really tight but it all does.

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I cut the Alum Angle for the main board back plate first, I used a nibbler so that the lines would be straight.

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I also nibbled out the bottom Alum Angle for the 6" LCD and then set it in to test fit

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I removed the two screw mounts and took the video card entirely off its metal retainer.

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I cut a piece of one inch corner Alum Angle to height and then measured and marked the spots that needed to be removed to fit the video card.

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Last edited by ARTbyTROY on Sun Jan 18, 2009 6:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 6:03 pm 
8086
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Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2007 7:08 pm
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I cut another piece of MeshX for the top and used some duct tape to hold it all together.

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I started throwing down rivets, the bottom section is entirely set to go while the rivet together top is merely set on.

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I cut a couple lengths of Alum Angle to support a drive tray I made from aluminum flashing, drilled my holes and then rivet the whole thing together.

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Below shows the top mocked up with the slot load drive installed

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This next picture shows the back of the 6" LCD monitor rivet into place.

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Back to the top section, the power supply needed to be mounted so I cut and drilled some Alum Angle pieces and rivet them in.

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Below shows the top section with the CDRW/DVD ROM and PSU installed next to the bottom section with the main board, video card and 6" LCD monitor installed.

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I puzzled over how best to install the hard drive before coming up with a simple solution, below shows the top half of the mod wired up and mostly ready, it's going to need some pretty serious cable management before it will fit.

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The entire mod up to this point could be accomplished with a nine dollar nibbler, hand files, rivet gun and a drill - proof that you don't really need a shop full of tools to do this kind of thing.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 3:58 pm 
Klamath
Klamath

Joined: Fri Aug 03, 2007 11:39 am
Posts: 219
That's pretty cool! Not that I have the money, but I've been thinking about a media/lan box. You've worked in some great ideas there.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 6:13 pm 
8086
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Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2007 7:08 pm
Posts: 44
fbaerkir wrote:
That's pretty cool! Not that I have the money, but I've been thinking about a media/lan box. You've worked in some great ideas there.


Thanks, other than the few hundred the hardware cost this mod has been done totally on the cheap, Alum angle and rivets are a true bargain.

As for the ideas I've worked in, the ideas I'm planning for the external part of this mod should rock just as hard, even though I still have yet to plan things proper. I'm going to attempt building a couple home brewed USB MAME controllers out of the following parts...

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If making my own joystick controllers works I'll definitely be making a trackball and spinner controller to go with them.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 6:36 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2007 7:08 pm
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I cut up some more MeshX for the sides and back of the case, the mesh is just mock fit for now and will be among the very last things to be installed. I am using the mesh for cooling (30%) and also for effect (70%), so when I'm done it should be (100%) cool

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Below shows the CD and LCD sides of the mod, the mesh panel on the CD side is there purely for looks and will be a big part of the only lighting feature within the mod... more on that later. Time to remove the LCD and do some more touch up drilling, nibbling and filing to the case, not long now and I'll be able to start on the outside section

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 12:05 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2007 7:08 pm
Posts: 44
OK, I drilled the hole for the power button and HDD activity LED, you can't see it in the picture below but I also nibbled out some mesh on the other side to fit the cable from the LCD.

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The following image is an edited render of how I hope the final cut vinyl for the CD side will look, the areas inside the letters will be masked off so the illuminated mesh can shine through. Time to contact my vinyl guy and see if he can help me out.

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Below shows my lighting idea, it looks way better live. I made the call and I should be able to pick up my blue mirror chrome sticker by tomorrow and then I will begin creating the acrylic outer sections... not far now.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 5:26 pm 
8086
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Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2007 7:08 pm
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I had a half used sheet of AC Ryan Acryl panel kicking around that I covered on both sides with clear contact paper, I then measured my side markings onto it, scored it a few times with plasti-cutter knife and snapped it off.

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The plasti-cutter knife works great for straight line cuts, but won't work for cutting the edge of the piece of acrylic that's shown below. Enter the Dremel with a ripsaw blade, I clamped a piece of Alum Angle to the acrylic as a guide for a nice clean cut edge.

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The following picture shows all of the side acrylic pieces cut to size. I drilled an 80mm vent hole in the video card side acrylic panel, the 'gluttony' mirror fan grills are shown on top and my two freshly cut blue mirror chrome vinyl decals can be seen to the left... not far now.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2008 4:30 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2007 7:08 pm
Posts: 44
I masked off, measured and cut the laser etched top acrylic panel and then duct taped the whole thing together, mainly just to get a better look at where I'm at. I wanted to do more today with it, but lost motivation to Guitar Hero and watching TV instead... maybe I'll get more done on it tomorrow.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 11:51 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2005 8:53 pm
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man that's looking awesome so far, can't wait to see more!!! 8)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 8:41 am 
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Location: Halifax Canada
Very awesome indeed. Makes me want to get off my ass and do something with the HPNetserver case I have been dragging around for the last 6 years. So much potential...

http://www.recycledgoods.com/zoom.aspx?productID=7842


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 1:33 pm 
8086
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Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2007 7:08 pm
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Below shows the case bottom, next to it is the taped together bottom edging that will hold the three acrylic side panels in place. I used a Dremel with a coarse sanding drum to rough up the bottom edges of the case and also inside the bottom edging, I then cleaned all the parts with some alcohol and a paper towel.

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Once everything was clean and dry I whipped up some J-B Kwik and attached the bottom Alum Angle edging. The J-B Kwik will need a few hours to fully cure so it's on to some acrylic work.

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The first thing I did was cut the slot for the CD, I used my Dremel and ripsaw blade with a piece of clamped alum angle for a guide, then finished tooling the slot with a Zona saw and a pair of files. I also cut the mounting tabs off of the gluttony fan grill, installed the TroyBoX vinyl and cut masks for my lettering, the 6" LCD and the top glutton etch.

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It's cold outside, definitely not optimal spraying conditions but I know a work around - I call it the in and out speed spraying technique and it only works when the wife isn't home. Notice that all the pieces to be back painted are setting inside a box...

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The box is taken outside for a quick spraying of Vinyl color and then comes back inside for some speed drying, this is repeated as needed. It stinks to high hell and my wife and kids hate it, to try and keep the stink down I use the inside of the box for painting and the outside of the box for drying.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Nov 13, 2008 4:12 pm 
8086
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Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2007 7:08 pm
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I removed the masking from the panels and found that I had only hit for 50%, the top and blowhole side panels came out great, but I'm calling mulligan and scrapping the LCD and 'TroyBoX' side panels. I was almost going to show them here because they are still useable, but I'll wait until all four sides are perfect instead.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 4:42 pm 
8086
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Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2007 7:08 pm
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Ok, all four panels are finished and even though I still have to clean and polish them they are now fit to be shown. Below is the video card side opening with the mirrored Glutton grill over mesh accent.

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Here is one of the finished re-do panels, I hooked up a handheld video game to the 6" LCD to check how well it lines up and it's spot on, I guess second times the charm.

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The next picture shows the other reworked side panel, it came out way nicer than the one it replaced and even better than I expected.

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Last but not least, the back painted Glutton etched top panel... not far now.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 9:20 am 
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Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 1:22 pm
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Location: In a cage, dumbass.
Lookin sick man!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 1:22 pm 
8086
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Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2007 7:08 pm
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I'm uncertain as to how much cat I can let out of the bag, but a well known magazine wants to feature my work - the "TroyBoX" project now has a January 12 deadline... time to put the pedal to the metal.

I cut all the external Alum-Angle pieces using a hand saw and miter box (mainly just to see how it would go), as expected the adjoining edges are rough and ill fitting... even after filing they still need some serious help. Since they are still salvageable I'll get my table sander out of the tool shed and set about making things right.

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Below is a shot of the disc sander and one of the Alum Angle top edges, the sander made short work of truing up the edges and everything fits great now.

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The TroyBoX side panel had a problem with the light bleeding through where it was brightest - mostly down low near the LED's. I busted out some red mirror chrome vinyl and fixed it, no light will be seeping through now.

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I masked off all of my panels and loose fit all of the Alum Angle pieces together, I then traced the edges onto the masking tape in marker.

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I used a coarse sanding drum on the Dremel and hit the inside edges of the Alum Angle, they got roughed up pretty good.

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I hope every good modder got a Dremel Workstation for X-mas... below shows an acrylic panel that's fixing to get a bunch of holes drilled in it using my 2nd favorite gift this year (1st fave: wii GHWT), all of the panels will be drilled along their connecting edges in preparation for JB Weld.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 2:08 pm 
8086
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Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2007 7:08 pm
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Below shows the case covered with a taped down layer of aluminum foil, all of the side panels with their edges drilled and the outer Aluminum framing waiting for final assembly.

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Here's the assembled outer casing... J-B Kwik is awesome. A little masking, filing, sanding and painting left to go and I'll be ready to install the hardware, not far now.

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The following picture shows the top acrylic casing all masked off, the craft pick sitting on top of it was used to tamp the edges of the masking tape.

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Here's the masked off outer acrylic and bottom case section, both were scuffed up using some steel wool in prep for primer and paint... I'm using gloss black model paint.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 6:17 pm 
8086
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Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2007 7:08 pm
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The bottom of the inner section and the outer edges of the acrylic casing are primed and then lightly sanded.

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Four coats of gloss black enamel plus hours of drying to get to the final step, the gloss coat. It isn't my best paint job ever, but it will do... 29 degrees is not an optimal outdoor temperature for painting.

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The reason the paint job below doesn't look so pretty is that it's the case bottom. I put a small square clear vinyl bumper in each corner to help elevate it a bit.

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Here is the outer casing with the masking tape removed, I have a little bit of touch up and a whole lot of clean up before it's perfect, it still isn't totally dry so I'll have to wait until tomorrow before trying to fix anything.

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Waiting for paint to dry is boring, so I ripped into one of the small USB game pads, just to see what I'll be up against... thankfully it looks fairly simple.

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The bottom section wasn't totally dry either, but I got antsy and started installing hardware anyway... I'll also be touching up a few of the bottom edges tomorrow.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 6:01 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2007 7:08 pm
Posts: 44
I'm really good at changing stuff right at the end of things and the picture below is a good example, I marked out a square in silver sharpie to cut from the VGA side mesh. I will attach the cut piece to the inside of the outer acrylic casing instead of riveting it to the case itself.

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I also changed my mind about riveting down the top section of the inner case, gravity is awesome and is doing a terrific job of holding things tightly together without any rivets, very cool.

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Did I mention that Windows was loading? No. My bad. Ok, it's officially a computer. I still have some cleaning up, final attachments and a couple of joysticks to make, but it's not far now.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 12, 2009 8:33 am 
Klamath
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Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 6:30 am
Posts: 317
Location: Roe Dilund
Lookin' real good! Watch out Sony, Bill Gates Is My Daddy and Nintendo - here comes the TroyBox!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2009 5:15 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2007 7:08 pm
Posts: 44
The picture below shows the paint that chipped because I was in a hurry to get the hardware installed, I bought a bottle of touch up paint and a paint brush to fix it.

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While the paint is drying I took a few pictures of the case without the acrylic cover on, below shows the video card side.

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A "topless' shot of the case front and 6" TFT LCD monitor...

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Below is the slot load DVD/CD burner and the exposed lighting effect...

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Next up is a look at the back side...

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Goo gone to remove all the masking tape residue and some Novus "plastic clean and shine" to polish it, I'll use some Novus scratch remover on a couple bad spots later.

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Here are a few shots of the inner sides and their respective outer sides, video card...

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6" TFT LCD monitor...

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CDRW/DVD and TroyBoX decal side...

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Last up, the back...

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