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Old 28th Nov 2012, 00:56   #1
SuicideNeil
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Project: Predatory Instinct- Complete, pending final photos 6/2/13

Predatory Instinct


Introduction:

For many years I wanted one of these cases, if not the whole system ( at the time they were top end systems, and even now current models come in a similar flavour of hardware to what I plan on using ). Anyway, fast forward several years and 5 computers ( 2 custom builds ) later and I finally managed to secure the case of my dreams; from Germany no less ( such is the difficulty in finding one- a money-can't-buy item nearly )...



Can you tell what it is yet? No? Okay then:



Oh yes, an Acer Predator ( G7713 )- completely gutted at some point in the last 2 years and found its way onto ebay; oddly most of the bare cases I found for sale were in Germany, very rarely do they come up for sale in the UK it seems. Now, I know this case has a habit of splitting opinion quite strongly- many guys love the unique styling, others loathe it with a passion. I love it however, hence.
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Old 28th Nov 2012, 00:58   #2
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I'd say the design is a bit "radical" but I'm very interested in seeing how this turns out. I'm also liking that stock blue colour.
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Old 28th Nov 2012, 01:35   #3
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Preparation:

I mentioned the case had been stripped of its guts at some point in the last 2 years, and it seems like for most of that time it was left to sit in a dusty corner somewhere as the thing arrived with an inch of dust in every crevice. Luckily it was largely free of damage other than a few little dings on the underside and a snapped side-panel locking catch/lever ( won't be using those anyway so no biggy ).

First up I removed the stickers & badges:


Stickers came off easily enough with some warm water & a sponge, and some white spirit to remove the glue residue.


The Acer badges had to go as I wanted a smooth front cover, so out came Mr. Stanley ( ) to carefully prize them both off- wasn't sure how they were secured but it soon became obvious- small through-pins that were melted on the other side once inserted to lock both parts together.

With the badges removed I mixed up a batch of car body filler to fill in the holes they left, a slight pain as unlike 2 part epoxy resin in syringe dispensers you have to mix up the whole of both tubes here, though I managed to just use half & half in case I needed any more later on.


I did go a little mad with the amount I used- I was concerned it would contract and need another going over if I scraped it off level, so better to use too much and sand it down flush later.


Perfect, lots of lovely dust though.

After that I went about stripping the rest of blue panels from the chassis & side panels, not too difficult as they are held in place mainly by small retaining clips which I carefully prized back and then unclipped. At this point I discovered the mechanism for slowing the opening & closing action of the front panel & arms; a spring loaded larger spur gear and smaller much stiffer pinion. Dreams of a motor operated front cover swirl around in my mind...


I was thinking about swapping this for a clear window, but I'm starting to like the hex-mesh so may just leave it.



At this point my fears about the other side panel were confirmed- it is riveted to the outside of the chassis and is actually the top and side combined ( a thinner black steel skin over the grey chassis itself ), with the plastic outer skin clipped and screwed to that before hand, making it impossible to remove without de-riveting. Not buying a rivet gun just to put that back on after painting so I will mask off the chassis and paint the side panel in place. Speaking of which, I taped up some newspaper, opened some windows and went to task with the Primer:





And that's where we're at currently, all smaller panels primed, just requiring a quick rub down with fine Scotchbrite pads and another coat or two until I'm happy they are smooth and even, then I can hit them with the gloss White paint. Side panel painting will also start on Wednesday ( nice to have primer that is dry within a few hours ready for smoothing and re-coating ). I'm using the new style Plasti-Kote for priming and painting, ~£7 a can is a bit rich but hey-ho.

More tomorrow
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Last edited by SuicideNeil; 28th Nov 2012 at 21:46.
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Old 28th Nov 2012, 01:38   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mansueto View Post
I'd say the design is a bit "radical" but I'm very interested in seeing how this turns out. I'm also liking that stock blue colour.
The metallic blue is quite nice really, and the metallic orange version is even nicer- it's just a shame they have the 'Aspire' logo all over them really as it is incongruous to the build. I could paint it back to blue or orange but with my current setup White is what I've chosen to go with- can always repaint it in future if I get bored though.
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Old 28th Nov 2012, 05:46   #5
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I want that case too... like years ago..
Still have pictures of it somewhere in my drive. And fall in love with the oranges one.
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Old 28th Nov 2012, 06:24   #6
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it seems really nice and i am waiting to see more but could ya put next pictures even a little bigger then a post stamp :P
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Old 28th Nov 2012, 10:40   #7
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ooo, been looking forward to seeing some modding done with this case! Will definitely be following
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Old 28th Nov 2012, 12:31   #8
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Lovely! I really like this case too! Can't WAIT to see what you do with it, and I'm sure it'll be even better than the original!
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Old 28th Nov 2012, 20:30   #9
SuicideNeil
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Thankyou guys.

Regards image size- just click the pictures to see a full size image. Given how many pictures I'll be posting I don't want to take up peoples monthly download limit in one day ( I'll just post full size images of it when it's finished as such ).

Outside of the case isn't getting anything too drastic done besides a paintjob & a little work done to the 'roof', the inside is going to get much more work done to tidy it up and stealth the wiring ( a challenge given there is no way to run wires behind the mobo tray )....
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Last edited by SuicideNeil; 28th Nov 2012 at 21:47. Reason: click images for full size
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Old 28th Nov 2012, 22:09   #10
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Nowadays, it seems that PC makers are designing interesting cases. Always have been the case with Alienware, but usually not with others PC makers. Have Fun with the case x)
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Old 28th Nov 2012, 22:40   #11
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Wow nice i remember these case's =)
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Old 29th Nov 2012, 17:50   #12
SuicideNeil
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More priming, got everything fully primed now apart from the 2nd side panel attached to the chassis, and the front cover which had few tiny tiny air bubble holes that needed filling & smoothing down again ( curses... ).


And then onto painting. I used an old trick I learnt a while back and sat the spray can in a bowl of warm/hot water for a little while to help it flow more easily- that way you don't end up with horrible blobs and splatter caused by the paint being cold and not flowing properly.


Curses again; the little air bubbles are only the size of a gnats testicle but are highly visible, so out with the poly filler to fix that. I raised everything up on cardboard 'blocks' for painting the final colour, that way it avoids the items sticking to the news paper ( hanging them from hooks would be even better but I don't have ability to do that, so this is close enough ).



Next up is more painting, more priming & more painting After that I can start working on how I want the internal layout and figure out how to deal with the cable tidying / routing...

Oh yeah, here's a little something I knocked up while I was dreaming about the front cover mechanism...

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Old 29th Nov 2012, 21:13   #13
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nice build! havent seen one of these ever custom made =) why dont you just use a 12v servo? a 10 kg servo should fix that and if it doesnt work with one use four!
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Old 29th Nov 2012, 21:40   #14
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good lord. this is gonna give angle OD, atilla and even the best of modders a run for their money... truly epic case... epic case+ amazing modder who has had years to think of the unspeakbly amazing things hes gonna do it...
this.
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a new era of awesomeness in the logs section has begun, ladies and gentlemen...
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Old 29th Nov 2012, 23:06   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kelmannen View Post
nice build! havent seen one of these ever custom made =) why dont you just use a 12v servo? a 10 kg servo should fix that and if it doesnt work with one use four!
Yeah, servo with a suitable sized gear attached was my first thought ( one on either side of the case should be fine ), though there isn't much room internally for the servo as the mechanism is in line with the drive cages- I'd need some kind of 90° gear box to lay the servos flat. It would be an awesome party trick though so I'm still giving it further thought- linear actuators attached to the 'spur' gear via an extended mounting arm would yield similar results, then I could adjust angles and distances so that the end points lined up perfectly with the fully open & closed positions...

Quote:
Originally Posted by siliconfanatic View Post
good lord. this is gonna give angle OD, atilla and even the best of modders a run for their money...

I wish Nah, not quite upto the standards of our top-end members who largely scratch build their cases, though I can certainly give a lot of members a run for their money when it comes to finish quality & attention to detail ( I see many guys rush through builds one after the other and the result is terrible paint jobs and sloppy build quality; quality over quantity is always the way to go ).

EDIT: Heh, I see that the cock-fag 1 star rating gang have been out in force on this thread already & I've barely even started. What was that about not rating a thread if you didn't like it? I suggest the mods get onto the super mods and disable the system before half the forum deserts the place out of protest...
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Old 4th Dec 2012, 20:57   #16
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Finally started on the other side panel today- the weather has been so cold the paint has been taking a while to dry fully...


Took a while to get it all masked up- lots of tight curves and awkward angles around the back edge of the panel that needed to be protected.

I was planning on waiting till payday at the end of the month until I picked up the GFX card, but I couldn't be bothered to wait that long, so...


That'll do nicely

More soon.
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Old 6th Dec 2012, 18:39   #17
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You mod the case that I love since it came out the designer's mind. Waiting for the next update!
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Old 22nd Dec 2012, 00:10   #18
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Update time; been a busy few weeks at work so only made limited progress with the project, but I have made some headway.

Firstly, I started on the leather trim for the roof panel:




Gluing the leather trim in place was not much fun, especially with such tight corner radii ; I actually wanted to feed the trim around the 3 'notches' along each side, but this proved impossible so I gave up on that idea. Once that was glued in place I made a cardboard template for the leather 'pad' that would sit on top, glued some upholstery foam to it to act as cushioning & give the faux leather some form.

Whilst that was drying I set about removing the remains of the SAS drive bay / cages at the front of the case:



My trusty old Woolworths 12v drill with r/c battery upgrade just about managed to drill out the rivets, then I set about cutting away the lower support using my new-ish flex shaft attachment for my Black & Decker Wizard ( Dremel ), using a reinforced cutting disc ( these work so much better than regular cutting discs, even the cheap ones ). I'm not too worried about a perfect straight edge as you'll never see this area of the chassis when I'm done. While I was working though I noticed a neat feature of the case once the drive cage was gone - there is space for a 3.5" HDD ( or a couple SSDs ) in the recess of the side panel; I was tempted by this idea but ultimately there is no real way to mount the HDD without using either sticky pads, velcro or a convoluted DIY mounting bracket. As it is, I need the recess for cable routing later on so decided the best place for the HDD is in the 3.5" mount below the front panel card reader.

I also yanked out the nasty tin-foil PCI slot covers as I have some steel ones I plan to use, then I unboxed the PSU I will be using to take some measurements, to make sure it will actually fit where I plan to stick it It'll just about fit so we're good for that plan, just need to draw up a quick template and transfer mounting holes to the bottom of the chassis, then knock up some mounting posts/ legs.

Currently the new top panel cover is just finishing off drying ( the PVA glue I bought is horrid, like lumpy KYJelly consistency or something, nothing like the PVA we had at school which was like smooth, heavy-ish oil to spread ) still, and the external painting is complete finally, just got to touch up a few tiny spots ( over spray/ paint bleed ). Overall I've managed to achieve a pretty decent paint finish by my standards- some people don't like the 'orange peel' affect but I quite like it; if I wanted perfectly smooth then I probably would have wrapped the case in vinyl instead ( I probably will if I ever decide to change the colour ).

More updates soon
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Old 22nd Dec 2012, 04:39   #19
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Quote:
make sure it will actually fit where I plan to stick it
Ohhhh now i GOTTTA SEE THIS...
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Old 22nd Dec 2012, 04:43   #20
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Quote:
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it seems really nice and i am waiting to see more but could ya put next pictures even a little bigger then a post stamp :P
this is why i love haveing a hd tv as my monitor. gotta set it to cool, though, other wise its redder`n a Russian in Florida
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