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Old 6th Aug 2006, 08:09   #1
Constructacon
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The New Black - Faceplate engraving test 01 OCT 06

Sleek. Stealth. Elegance. That's where this case is headed.

I've had the idea of this case kicking around in my head for more than a year now and I'm now in the position to build it. My final goal is to build an invisible case. As much as possible everything will be hidden from view. What isn't hidden will be clean lines and smooth. This will involve touch buttons, tinted windows and slot loading DVD burner for a start. You'll see exactly what I mean a little bit later.

Ok, let's begin. Insert donor case here.... This was a freebie I got from someone throwing out a couple of old boxes. This one came with dual Pentium 2 goodness, about 32MB of RAM, no power supply and no drives. Perfect.


The first items I bought were an 80mm Aluminium fan and an 80mm rainwater downpipe adaptor which I got from my local Bunnings. It even has a flange to bolt the fan to later. Just what I needed.


After tracing the pipe onto the bezel I cut hole and hot glued the pipe into place. Later this turned out to have insufficient stregth and was subsequently bondoed into place which seems to have done the trick.


Using a just a hacksaw blade I then cut off the excess. This did leave some unsightly marks but as I'll be smooting the whole surface this isn't a problem. From my technical drawing days I've always found intersecting curves beautiful. This is the reason I chose this case over others I had. Even though this caused problems later I still think it's the best choice.


The bezel was debadged, had the buttons and LEDs removed and was filled. 3 1/4" drive slot was also removed. You can see some of the scratches around the blowhole.


Primered, sanded and then spray puttied.


Here you can see the first of the problems encountered. The bowhole pipe was only hot glued in at this stage and separated from the bezel. This is what prompted me to aply the bondo remedy to this.


As there were still some pretty major imperfections in the surface that the spray putty did not fill, Stop Putty was then applied to a large porton of the lower half of the belzel. This stuff was setting in less than a minute straight out of the tube and was pretty difficult to work with cleanly as you can see.


A light sand and things appear to be better.


I did say "appear". Another coat of spray putty and sand and we see that all is not well. Where the bondo meets the plastic there is a definate line there and you can feel it if you run your finger along the surface. This is not good enough for the finish I am after. After about another 5 of 6 coats of Stop and Spray putties this effect is lessened somewhat but tiny ridges at the edges of the former power button are still visible. This is frustrating me.


Keep tuned in the next day or so for more of the work that I've done. Various aspects of this mod are up in there air still so input is more than welcom.

Catch you soon.
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Last edited by Constructacon; 1st Oct 2006 at 11:46.
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Old 10th Aug 2006, 06:13   #2
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Nice start. A invisible (but not clear case i supouse) case with touch buttons, would be interesting.
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Old 10th Aug 2006, 06:51   #3
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That's the idea. I guess stealth would be a better term for it.

This will be a metalic black case (I have 3 sample colours I am trying to choose between currently). The space normally taken by the 4 drivebays will be taken up by a sheet of smoked acrylic with a PS1 screen behind it (already obtained). Because of the size of the screen's controller board I've had to get a slimline slot load DVD burner (it arrived today ). The buttons will be illuminated underneath the screen. With the power off it's all black - but comes to life when you hit that power button.

On a down note the charger for my camera battery has borked itself. I'll have to buy another or borrow a camera for now.
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Old 10th Aug 2006, 07:52   #4
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Dude I wanted proxi. sensors for myown mod idea but they uber $100 us. but they woudl look awsome or lack of look would be awsome. Great for drives.
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Old 10th Aug 2006, 15:10   #5
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Nice concept. I like the LCD mod.

I have one 3rd party psone LCD. I've tried the vga mod, but the image is blinking and flicking and... well, you now. I have to try the S-video mod, if i get a diagram of the soldering.

I'm currently using one Slim DVD and have also a Slim combo unit and they works fine for mods.
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Old 16th Aug 2006, 13:24   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hydro_electric_655
Dude I wanted proxi. sensors for myown mod idea but they uber $100 us. but they woudl look awsome or lack of look would be awsome. Great for drives.
I think you'll find that it's the development/trial kits that are about $100. The individual chips are only a couple of $ each.



Well on to the update. Not a huge amount to report though. I took the stripped out case and marked out the area to clear around the front fan.


A bit of speedy work with the Demel gives us this. I decided to leave the section accross the bottom to help maintain a bit of rigidity.


A test fit shows there'll be plenty of clearance once the fan is fitted.


I finally got to use my new compressor for spraypainting. I bought it about 6 months ago for working on my car and today I cracked open one of the spray guns that came with it. It made painting soooooo easy. Going back to cans when I have to will be a drag.


I gave my perfectly smooth bezel it's first coat of black paint and it's starting to look like what I imagined it would. After years of reading car magazines and hearing about the problems associated with black paint I should have been expecting what I found. Prior to painting I would have sworn that my hours of surface preparation had resulted in a perfectly smooth surface but after painting you can (without too much difficulty) see where the old button used to be. If you're painting black - your prep work has to be perfect.


Also this week my new dual layer slimline DVD and adaptor arrived by courier. I knew they were thin but I didn't realise that they were this narrow. This thing is tiny! This will now lead to having to fabricate a way of mounting this to the existing drive cage. I have a few ideas so far but nothing solid.


As you can see, I've also shelled out another $65 to buy a charger for my camera :wince: Well that's it for now. Until next time.....
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Old 16th Aug 2006, 15:08   #7
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I like the paint work. To mount the slim unit mmmm... i wish i had uploaded my update yet to show you it (i'm using a slim unit too)... err.. make a tray with a simple sheet of alu or plexy, don't matter. The slim unit is very light weigth so a coumple of super stick double side tape will fix it well.

To give to it a more regular shape there are 2 pieces, that are commonly used to put slim units in laptops or PCs. Giving to it more screw points. But still small for a 5 1/4 bay.
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Old 16th Aug 2006, 15:41   #8
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If you keep this up this thing is going to look sweet especially with that front panel. Are the curves going to be mirrored in other places? i'll be watching this one.
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Old 16th Aug 2006, 19:22   #9
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Nice one!

As for mounting the Slim drive, how about you get youself one of those !
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Old 16th Aug 2006, 23:17   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greensabbath
If you keep this up this thing is going to look sweet especially with that front panel. Are the curves going to be mirrored in other places? i'll be watching this one.
Probably not as I'm going for the smooth look. There will be a side window but the shape hasn't been determined yet so the theme may continue onto the side of the case.
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As for mounting the Slim drive, how about you get youself one of those !
Thanks for that, I neve knew they existed. Unfortunately the reason I've had to go to the slim drive in the first place is because of the PS1 screen fouling on a full size drive and as that adaptor is exactly the same size...... It looks like I'll be fabricating something.
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Old 17th Aug 2006, 00:57   #11
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Using the compressor when spaying the case was a stroke of genius, the finish looks great and im sure is smooth and layered well with now difference in paint thickness, I hate it when that happens, but the case looks great so far. When its finished it'll be miles away from the drab beige box you started with... Also with the slim line drive in there its going to look sleek, I've seen a few cases that have a slim drive mounted in them and they all looks great... Great work so far
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Old 28th Aug 2006, 19:55   #12
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I see what you mean with your post about my prep work now. It looks fantastic, though. I didn't even know spray putty existed until you mentioned it, and unfortunately I'm already 90% done with mine. Check my reply for more info.

Looks really good though, bro. Interesting to see how it turns out. *subscribed*
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Old 28th Aug 2006, 20:22   #13
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sleek is the word. great job on the front panel so far, waiting for more updates
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Old 30th Aug 2006, 13:13   #14
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Thanks for the compliments guys.

Small update time. I appologise for the lack of focus on some of these pictures. My camera isn't liking the low light for some reason.

After much work I've finally beaten the constantly reappearing shadows of the bondo'd work from underneath the black paint. After each wet sand the outline would emerge when the piece dried out. Believing water swelling to be the cause I let this dry with another coat of spray putty in full sun for 4 days then dry sanded with increasing grits until smooth. Then resprayed black. Not really exciting I know but after doing this about a dozen times I'm glad it's done.


I drilled out all the rivets and dismantled the case then scrubbed all the grime out ready for painting.


The top was the first metal panel to get a touch of the black. I must say the result was great. I'm looking forward to seeing how the rest turns out.


I've cut the piece of 3mm smoked acylic that will be the front display.


PSOne screen stripped ready for installation. After a fair amount of reading I've found that my video card (nVidia 6600GT) doesn't have CSync out so I'll have to build the adaptor to combine HSync and Vsync. Fortunately it's something quite simple so this wont be an issue....... I hope.


The back of the front window is masked up ready to paint. Unfortunately in the middle of the worst drought in recorded history here - it's decided to rain for 3 days straight (but not near the dams). I'll have to wait for the rain to clear up before I can paint it.


While I'm waiting for the rain to clear up I couldn't help but fitting the window for a bit of a sneak peak how this will look like. Obviously the screen will be showing through the acrylic where the tape is.


Also this week I've been trying to start on the circuitry for the lighting (based around a flip-flop) but am having nothing but problems with it. I'm kind of going back to the redesign stage for this circuit.

Well that's it for now. Until next time.....
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Old 30th Aug 2006, 13:25   #15
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the drive how does it connect to your pc does it use ide and molex for its power if not what does it use great work
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Old 30th Aug 2006, 13:28   #16
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For the slimline devices they (normally) use a IDE style (not the same connector) cable which breaks out to standard IDE and power using an adaptor, which is what we can assume he has bought.
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Old 30th Aug 2006, 23:17   #17
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Quote:
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For the slimline devices they (normally) use a IDE style (not the same connector) cable which breaks out to standard IDE and power using an adaptor, which is what we can assume he has bought.
That is correct. If you look at the rear of the drive in this picture you can see the adapter board attached to the drive making it standard IDE and molex. Unfortunately the SATA version which I wanted was about 3.5x the price.
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Old 1st Sep 2006, 03:47   #18
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Nice job so far! I like the concept and it's turing out well. Good to see you have a new project!
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Old 2nd Sep 2006, 07:30   #19
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i wanted to get one of these screens how would i find out if my card supported csync, i also have a 64mb pci card that might support it, thanks
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Old 2nd Sep 2006, 14:03   #20
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Great bondo work man. Love the sleek black look. Question though, at the bottom of the front panel, there are 2 triangular areas that look like they used to have something in them. Are you going to do anything with those?
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