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Old 9th Sep 2016, 02:43   #21
EnviousMods
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IKONiK EDITiON:

I've wanted to do a special or limited edition build for a long time now. I felt that it would be fitting being that this build will be primarily high end hardware and exotic finishes. I recently finished up a new design for the Envious Mods logo which consists of an angled “EM.” The EM logo will be used in a couple minor places throughout the build. I will also be adding the, “IKONiK EDITiON” badge under the Be Quiet badge that is mounted on the front of the case. It's the little additions like these that really bring a build together.





Rear SSD Mount:

I more than likely won't be using the single, rear SSD mount but I wanted to do something to dress it up. I made a template for a cover piece and also placed the EM logo for Envious Mods. I intentionally made it small to help keep it within the design for the overall build.



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Old 13th Sep 2016, 21:54   #22
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Silent Wings 3 - 140mm Fan Blade Tests:

I've been wanting to do more to customize the blades of a fan in one of my builds. I took the opportunity to try out a few ideas using vinyl. I have two more ideas to try out before I settle on using one. Once I've determined a final style and layout I will use the vinyl to make a, “mask.” This will allow me to paint the entire fan one color with the vinyl mask off and then paint it another color with the mask off. This is a technique painter's have been using forever. Another way of doing in is to lay down the vinyl and clear coat over the entire piece. Doing so will protect the vinyl and make it more uniform.




Update: IKONiK EDITiON & EM Logos

The first set of EM Logos and IKONiK EDITiON badges were cut in a new textured exotic vinyl I got for this build. I'm almost ready to order the rest of the vinyl needed for the IKONiK build. The order will be fairly substantial due to all the different types and colors needed. After I measured all the placements out for the vinyl I started designing a cut path for the vinyl cutter. I also wanted to try a new technique which makes lettering look like the light is reflecting off of it. The new vinyl has a brushed or drawbenched look to it. I like the fact that you can actually feel the texture when you touch it.

I've weeded or removed the excess vinyl and prepped them to be test mounted. I decided to add the IKONiK EDITiON badges first. I've special ordered chrome mirrored vinyl just for this badge. This will match the Be Quiet badge very well which will make it look like it came from the factory with this badge. The pictured test version will help me to determine the correct size and placement.






Hardware Shipped: EVGA


The long list of hardware from EVGA has been shipped and should be at the shop in the next couple days. I will do some quick unboxing pics of the hardware and share a few of those here. For those of you who love to see a bunch of pictures of the hardware; I will post those on my site and social media. I have some really neat ideas for modding the motherboard and GPU. Some of those ideas will be 3D printed as well.
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Old 16th Sep 2016, 22:07   #23
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EVGA Hardware Arrival:

The hardware from EVGA arrived at the shop today and I'm like a kid in a candy store. They sent me their Classified (known as Classy) lineup which will be integrated into the design. Below I've added a few unboxing photos so that you can see the gear first hand. As some of you know I've been a big proponent of EVGA products for a long time. My first deep dive into custom hardware was with EVGA so they will always hold a special place in my heart. Quickly after opening the boxes you can see and feel the quality that synonymous with their hardware. I haven't had a chance to dig into the PSU yet but, I wanted to post an update with the ones that I had finished. As previously mentioned I took quite a few photos of the entire unboxing process; I posted the main ones here but, soon I will post the rest of them via my social media and site. For those of you who love to see tons of product photos; they will be available soon.



EVGA Motherboard:

Starting off first we have the EVGA Z170 Classified K motherboard. It came unbelievably well packaged. Every heatsink was covered in a protective coating so that it would arrive perfectly to the user. A lot of time was spent on every detail of the design and it shows. I couldn't have picked a better motherboard for this build. It embodies the exact design cues that I'm putting into the IKONiK design.












EVGA GPU:

Next up we have the EVGA GTX 980ti Classified Edition GPUS. This too came very well packaged. Like the rest of the gear from EVGA; you can quickly tell the extremely high quality of the hardware. It came with two power adaptors and a vga adapter. The box was fully stocked with some swag from EVGA as well. This made me very happy as I am the type of person that loves this sort of stuff for the shop.










EVGA DDR4:

The EVGA Superclocked DDR4 is a perfect fit for this build. I will be doing some custom work to these as well as the other hardware sent from EVGA. Each piece will get some custom touches to put the Envious Mods style on it. In the past I've heard of a lot of people who wanted to use this ram on builds but, it was backordered at that time. I'm unsure if this is the case today but, I'm honored to get to use it in the IKONiK build.






Keeping It Classy:

The IKONiK build exudes modern design styling and reaches towards a classy sophistication. Classy is a term commonly used by enthusiasts to refer to the Classified Edition of EVGA's hardware. I felt it was important to tip my hat to this by custom designing a decal that says, “Keepin It Classy” on the cable shroud. This slogan fits the build well and will be recognized by enthusiasts everywhere. The font for this has to be perfect and I've tested out about 25 different variations. Below is a pic of the best fonts so far.


Last edited by EnviousMods; 17th Sep 2016 at 18:58.
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Old 18th Sep 2016, 19:45   #24
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Front Cross Bar Removal:

After debating on whether to leave the cross brace or take it out; I decided it needed to be removed. This brace is here for those of you who may want to use an optical drive. I won't be using one so it's got to go. It's an aesthetic choice and won't make any difference performance wise. I used a hand or hobby saw to cut the pieces out and now I need to file and sand the edges. The lexan fan surround will cover up part of it. Painters tape was laid down so that the saw didn't rub against the plastic causing more work. The area remained rigid, even after removing the cross brace.




Update: Front Lexan Fan Surround

I've finished the updated template for the front fan surround. I always mount my templates using painter's tape. Doing so creates a contrast for the cut line and it also helps to stop the acrylic from melting. Once that was squared away it was time to cut it out on my scroll saw. Having a scroll saw is an important tool for any Modder to have. They are fairly affordable and can be used on a lot of different materials. The one I own was bought used and it's almost 10 yrs old but, it still works great. When I first test fitted the freshly cut pieces I quickly realized that I needed to notch out a couple spots to give it a perfect fit. The majority of this piece of lexan will be covered by either stainless steel or sheet metal. Spots will be cut out allowing the lexan to show through when its edge lit.








Pro Modder Tip: Cutting Acrylics

In order to cut acrylic with a scroll saw or jig saw you need to make sure the acrylic doesn't heat up too much or it'll re-fuse itself back together. There are several methods I use to help counteract this. Painters tape helps a lot. I always place it over the areas I'm planning to cut and then draw my cut line over top. Using a blade with a lot of teeth also helps. One of the main factors is speed. The faster your blade moves; the more heat is created causing the material to melt. Using a combination of these methods will help assure that your acrylics will be cut cleanly.


Mocking Up Hardware: EVGA

Even though it's a bit early to put hardware in, I still like to as soon as possible so that I can make sure everything is where I think it will be. I also like to do it as it inspires me to design the mods that will be done to the hardware. After looking at the cable connections I realized that I'll need to cut a passthrough in the PSU shroud in order to run the 8-pin power cable to the motherboard. This won't be difficult to do once I determine the location that will look best. After checking the rest of the cables I feel that I'm in good shape. Be Quiet did a good job on placing the majority of the passthrough needed to cleanly install a system.





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Old 22nd Sep 2016, 04:01   #25
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Update: Rear SSD Cover

I felt that the SSD cover is built was missing something so I started doing some freehand drawings in order to come up with an additional piece. I will do bare metal finish work with a clear coat for the main base piece and I'll paint match the two additional top pieces in black to match the rest of the build.




LED Testing:

Now that I have my new camera I decided it was time to test out the new LED configuration. I had to move one of the LED strips to give the inside an even glow. When I mocked up the hardware is noticed that the GPU blocked a lot of the light. This caused the lower half of the motherboard to be dark. Moving one of the top LED strips to the side did wonders for it.



https://vimeo.com/183765104


GPU Support Bracket:

I've been wanting to build a GPU support bracket for quite a while know. The only downside is that there isn't much space for creativity other than the fit and finish. Bill from Mnpctech has already perfected the design so it'll be a challenge to figure out something new. It's like trying to reinvent the wheel. I think I came up with a bracket that will work well and look even better.





Acrylic Insert For GPU Support Bracket:

I've come up with the primary design for the GPU support bracket and I designed a piece that inserts flush with the metal side piece. I knew that I wanted it to have the EVGA Logo on it as well as the IKONiK EDITiON badge found on the front of the build. It took me a while to figure out the vinyl details and I ended up coming up with a neat design. It does a great job of drawing attention but, not overdoing it. Two out of the three pieces that make up the GPU support bracket are almost done and I'm about room start cutting the main piece.

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Old 25th Sep 2016, 00:32   #26
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Update: Prototype Support Bracket GTX 980ti Classified

I managed to finish cutting the last piece of the support bracket for the 980ti classified GPU. I also took some time to paint it to match the rest of the pieces. After putting all the parts together to mark it up everything looks great. The front piece is 3D printed and allows for adjustments up and down to change the angle that it supports. I've debated on adding a second piece that would be adjustable as well towards the right side. I'll have to give that some thought but for now I'm going to move forward with the rest of the build and come back to it once I have more of the Interior work done.




Update: SSD Cover Acrylic

I've cut out the 2 additional pieces being added to the SSD cover. These pieces are for aesthetic use only. I went for a very clean, simple design that helps tie in the combination of sharp lines with the occasional rounded lines. Small pieces like this do a great job of reinforcing a chosen design. It's one of those things that doesn't look like much by itself but, when it's all put together it'll make a noticeable difference overall. For now I have painted it black but eventually it'll be painted a little more fancy. This gives me an opportunity to play around with different finishes and shades of color.

After cutting out the template in acrylic I went ahead and sanded/filed them to the exact shape I wanted. A light surface sanding helped to prep them for paint. It took about 3 to 4 light coats to achieve full coverage of the pieces.





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Old 28th Sep 2016, 07:19   #27
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EVGA DDR4 Mods:

I don't have all of the mods figured out for the EVGA Superclocked DDR4 but, I do know that I'll take all the labels and stickers off. They will be replaced with one's that I will design specifically for this build. Small details like this really work to bring the build together. I can't say this enough; the small details that 1 out of 10 people will even notice, makes all the difference.

The design for the new decals is being done right now and I'll update once finished. More than likely I will keep the heat-spreaders with a stock, black base and do some additional.custom paint work. I want to try and mix flat black with a high gloss black for accent or use a black that is a couple shades lighter.




Update: Rear Cable Shroud


Previously I showed the design and templates for the rear cable shrouds. Recently I went to the machine shop so that I could cut out these templates in stainless steel sheets. Stainless is typically pretty expensive and I was able to snag these from another shop at a discount because they had some superficial scratches and staining. I am going to completely refinish these panels anyway so the shape doesn't effect my process.

I will also coat all of the stainless in a heavy duty clear coat once finished. This will help to protect the finish and give it a little more of a shine. I show some of the before and after some simple refinishing. I did this to see how easily the stains and scratches would come out. Almost all of them came out after the Simple refinish; so they'll look perfect once I do the full job.




2 Weeks In The Woods:

Modding is more than a job or hobby for me and I put in 6-7 days a week with no time off unless I'm very, very sick. One time a year I take 2 weeks to go off in the woods and recharge my batteries. I take a few electronic devices so that I can do some design work after being inspired by nature. The majority of the time I don't get cell or Internet coverage; unless I climb a mountain. I might post a few design screenshots while I'm in the forest.

When I get back a lot of progress will be made rather quickly. I've rough cut a lot of the parts for the case so that I can sand and mock them up once I get back. The updates will be epic and I'll also give an update on the scratch built reservoir that some of you have been waiting for.


A Day of Cutting Materials:

I decided to wait until I have a decent amount to cut before I go to the machine shop to do any major cutting. Right now the machine shop and paint booth is about 2 miles away. Once the new Envious Mods HQ is finished it'll be on the same property. I have a bench grinder at my small shop so I could work on cleaning up the rough cuts. This will make it all come together quickly now that most of the tools and machines are setup. Below is added a pic of some of the pieces that were cut but, I'll save the rest until the next update.

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Old 16th Oct 2016, 23:37   #28
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Back From My Trip To Nowhere:

As many of you know I take two weeks off in the begging of October to recharge my modding batteries. My trip starts by wondering into the forest for a couple days to make sure I'm out of range for cellphones and people. I spend a lot of this time playing with designs and modding related ideas I've had over the past year. Nature tends to inspire me a lot; even though my natural building style is quite mechanical. I look for the hidden mechanics found in nature and adapt those into usable creations for my builds.

I focused a good deal of that time on the IKONiK build and I've come up with some really neat concepts that I'll be exploring throughout the 2nd half of this build.  It's good to be back and I'm excited to get started modding again. I ran across an old skidder when I was in the forest and it was a great opportunity to study aged paint and rust growth for paint jobs on future projects. These are great for painting battle hardend cases.



Below I'll go through some of the updates I've determined while away. The rest of the updates will follow over the next week.


Side Panel Ideas & Design:

During my two weeks off I came up with a few ideas for the side panel that has the dual fan mount on it. I wanted something that is classy and gives you that IKONiK feel while still throwing in a bit of my own personal styling. Originally I had planned on back lighting the area around the pop out for the two fans and I think this will work perfectly with the designs I came up with. I put together a Sketchup design of what it will look like which helps me decide if I should move forward or re-design.

Since the design for the side panel looks great in Sketchup, I will move forward with it. Now I'll take the dimensions and make templates that are full scale. Once the full scale templates are mocked up I can start cutting acrylic.








New Sponsor: OCZ "A Toshiba Company"


OCZ will be joining the IKONiK build. They'll be sending memory storage including their new RD400 NVM Express M.2 SSD. These bad boys are known to out perform SATA SSDs by over 4.5 times in sequential read and over 3 times in sequential write speeds. The adaptor is pretty sweet for those who want to wait to do a motherboard upgrade.

I'm very happy to have OCZ join in on another Envious Mods build. They have been a great company to work with and their gear surprises me everything I use a new piece. I will also be using a larger SATA SSD as a main storage center. More than likely it'll be mounted on the rear SSD mount. The RD400 will be used to run OS, system files and a couple other things.
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Old 18th Oct 2016, 16:58   #29
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Great work log. It is appreciated the way you inspire the "armchair quarterback" modders to "just do it!" Congratulations on all the fantastic sponsors, and on the recent move into the new "HQ." Need some pics of your new diggs?
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Old 18th Oct 2016, 19:21   #30
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Great work log. It is appreciated the way you inspire the "armchair quarterback" modders to "just do it!" Congratulations on all the fantastic sponsors, and on the recent move into the new "HQ." Need some pics of your new diggs?
Thank you very much. Inspiring creativity and taking the 1st step is a big part of why I do this. I try to help pass on as much knowledge as possible; especially when it comes to old school techniques. A lot of the old ways of building things is dying off right now and I want to try and keep as much of it around as possible.

Right now I'm using a temporary workspace while the new space is being built. The property that the new shop and HQ will go on has a building that I've started turning into the machine shop and walk in paint booth. Unfortunately we won't be able to break ground on the new building until spring due to the sporadic winter weather we've had over the last couple years. I can't wait to get into the new place. Anything worth having is worth waiting for. Thanks again for reading through the build log!!
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Old 19th Oct 2016, 22:31   #31
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Making a Bevel In Metal: PSU Shroud Pieces

I also want to try making the piece so that the bevel is a different color than the rest of the piece. First off I'll try to paint the entire piece and file off the edges.

Since I don't have a working CNC; I have to make the bevels by hand. This can be very tricky to make sure you have the same angle throughout as well as the same depth. I started this process by using my bench grinding wheel. Doing this first gives me the same angle throughout all of the edges. Then I mark the depth on the outer edges of each piece. The hardest part is the hand filing. I use a very large metal file. Do to the small size of the pieces I run the pieces against the file instead of the other way around. Hand filing is very time consuming and a lot of it comes down to experience. Knowing how to read the metal and applying pressure in specific spots.






Triple Lexan Fan Surround: Final Trimming

I had already rough cut the lexan piece that goes around the front 3 fans. Typically it would be filed and sanded from here but, I want this piece to perfectly match the shape of the Be Quiet Silent Wings 3 fans. They have a very distinctive shape that I really like. To make sure these are perfect I remounted the lexan panel and drew the exact shapes needed. Most of them only needed a small amount taken off but, to get the look I want they have to be exact.





Pro Modder Tip: Sanding Difficult Areas & Shapes

This is one of the earliest tricks I can remember as a child. As far back as i can remember, I loved spending time in both my grandfathers shops. At that age I didn't understand the genious behind all the hand made tools found throughout their shops. The first trick/hand made tool that really made an impression on me was the sanding blocks made from random materials.

Whenever he would need to sand in a place that a typical sanding block couldn't get into he would quickly make a sanding block out of anything the was the correct shape. If he needed a small round one, he would use a large marker and wrap the sandpaper around this. If he ever needed a specific shaped one that he was using for a larger project he would shape one out of a piece of wood. It's a pretty neat and simple trick but, it's come in very handy for sanding the lexan triple fan surround on the IKONiK build.

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Old 26th Oct 2016, 04:01   #32
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Update: OCZ SSD Cover EM (Envious Mods) Logo


I managed to finish the majority of the work on this EM logo. It was especially challenging because it is pretty small and hand cut out of super thin acrylic. Originally I had planned on waiting until me new bandsaw was setup but, I got too excited and cut it out using my trusty scroll saw. It took a while to file and sand it as well. It's almost completely done and ready for paint but, I might try out some new vinyl I special ordered that should be here any day now.





Update: OCZ RD400 NVM SSD Plate:

I've yet to see a modded RD400 SSD and I jumped at the chance to mod one. I wanted to show off the actual drive while making a custom cover for the rest of the SSD. Looking at the box the RD400 came in; I became inspired by the neat design on the front. I threw the box on my photocopier and made a template based off of it. I added that template to the covers template to see what it look liked and I was excited with the results.

There will be two pieces that will makeup the partial cover. The main piece surrounds the drive and will be what the designed piece is adhered to once painted. I cut the main plate and I made sure to take lots of pictures so you can get an idea of the process I typically take. I managed to rough cut the 1st two layers and I'm prepping to cut the 3rd layer which is even thinner than the other 2 layers.

Process of making the SSD panels:






Back Lighting EVGA Motherboard:

I've wanted to back light a motherboard for a couple years now. The main concerns I have are: It doesn't interfere with the PCB, low temperature, the LEDs are soft instead of bright. I decided the best route to go was with waterproof LEDs because they are coated with polyurethane. This assures that it doesn't mess with the PCB or cause shorts. I've also slightly lowered the input voltage which makes them run cooler and helps insure that they are not to bright.

I haven't decided how many strips to run. I'll have to do some further testing to see if one strip in the middle will work or will I need to run 3 strips; 1 across each edge. The reason for my hesitation on running 3 strips is the wiring involved. It's a lot to tuck behind a motherboard. Reguardless of the amount of work needed I'll always go with the best performance or look reguardless of the work involved.

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Old 26th Oct 2016, 14:28   #33
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Looking really good.
I did a backlit motherboard once before and it doe make a lot of difference,

Keep up the great work looking forward on seeing it finished
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Old 27th Oct 2016, 04:49   #34
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Looking really good.
I did a backlit motherboard once before and it doe make a lot of difference,

Keep up the great work looking forward on seeing it finished
Thank you. Ya I've done some mobo back lighting on a past build. Due to the space restrictions I felt it was best to use waterproof led strips as they have a polyurethane coating that protects them from shorting anything. I'm building a partial shroud for the USB etc headers on the mobo so I'll probably buy or make a 3 way splitter so I can run 2-3 strips behind it. Thanks again for checking out the build log.
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Old 29th Oct 2016, 21:41   #35
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New Shop Equiptment: Band Saw

My birthday is on the 30th and I managed to get a gift a few days early which is great. I got a 10" Craftsman band saw. This saw will save me some time; especially with acrylics. It has the ability to accurately angle edges and perform perfectly straight cuts as well as more detailed work. I'll be using it with some thinner, soft metals like aluminum. Anything heavier than that can be cut using my air cutter.

I recommend getting a good set of blades if you buy this saw. The blades that come with it are not real great and a quality blade makes all the difference in the world. I got two different types of blades to use on different materials. One for softer metals and another for acrylic work. Depending on the thickness of materials you'll probably want a 12-16TPi blades. The more teeth the finer it cuts and the thinner the materials you can cut. I added some custom old school style pinstripes to make the saw an Envious Mods saw.




Update: Scratch Built Reservoir

The long awaited update on the reservoir I've been building. As many of you know I'm still settling into the temporary shop being used until my new shop is built from the ground up in spring. It's taken me a while to find some of the pieces I started before I moved. I finally managed to find the reservoir that I have been building from scratch. I had a couple things left to do to it before it was ready to be chemically welded using Tap Plastics acrylic cement. I've just finished drilling and tapping the holes for the fill port, inlet and outlet. This can be very nerve racking as I don't want to crack it when drilling.

Tap G1/4 & 11.8mm Drill Bit:


I've found that it works best if you drill the holes before spending all the time to cut and shape the materials. I used an 11.8mm drill bit to prep for the G1/4 tap. It is important that you use a bit that is exactly 11.8mm. Otherwise the threads won't be right and you won't get a water tight seal. Also when you tap your hole; make sure that the tap is perfectly straight so that the threads are correct. Typically I'll put the tap in my drill press and turn it by hand. This helps a lot. If I don't have my drill press handy I use a laser to tell me where the exact center mark is. When tapping I just make sure the laser stays in the center of the tap.



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Old 2nd Nov 2016, 23:33   #36
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Painting EM Logo & OCZ NVM PCIE SSD Cover:

I decided to make a mask for the 2nd layer pieces that go on the OCZ NVM PCIE SSD. I'll paint the back of the acrylic a color that contrasts with the color on the front. I decided to go with white which will look good with the grey peeking through. When the mask is removed the color on the back shows through to the front making a really neat effect. It's tricks like these that I like the most and I learned how to do it by accident when I was painting acrylic. So far I've just painted the back pieces a light grey. Now that it's done curing I tape it off and started to paint the 2nd color. To tape it off I use painter's tape and an exacto knife. The knife is used to cut the tape at the edge which gives it a clean and sharp transfer between colors.






Parts Ordered:

I recently made an order for some more parts and materials for the IKONiK build. Some of it is starting to arrive. The first thing I ordered is several different types of vinyl. Most of it is exotic or specialty vinyl so it tends to be expensive. The 3 types that will arrive soon are a matte flat grey, silver mirrored chrome and black chrome. I have some really neat ideas for these. Next up on the list is a large electroluminescent panel. These are fairly expensive when you get into the larger sizes; especially when you get the ones that are trimable. This panel can be cut to fit almost any shape.

Another part I ordered was a RGB splitter. This will be used to make two RGB LED strips go behind the motherboard instead of one. This will give it a more uniform look as well as help to keep the wiring nice and clean. The last part I ordered is an aluminum, flush mount led mount and cover. These can be mounted flush in almost any panel. They also come with a diffuser that makes the LED strips give off an even glow. I've been wanting to try these out for builds but, typically they are hard to find. I got lucky and managed to find one to try out.

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Old 5th Nov 2016, 21:17   #37
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PSU Shrouds Side Pieces:

A couple weeks ago I did the rough cuts on the pieces that go on the PSUS shroud. These pieces are part of the styling and it is very tricky to get the effect is want. I've been debating on painting these gunmetal but, I have the black paint right now so I wanted to try something with the beveled edge I hand filed into the edges of these pieces. After I had everything painted up I started to sand and file off the paint on the edges. The hard part is making sure it's even throughout all the pieces.

Now that I had this done I was able to roughly mock the pieces up so I could make adjustments. I only mounted some of the pieces because I need 3m tape to really mock them up and I ran out of the good stuff. After making a few adjustments the pieces look great. Once I get the gunmetal paint I will give it a try and mock all of the pieces up at that time.






EVGA's New Power Link:

After seeing EVGA's new Power Link I knew I had to have it for the IKONiK build. It was a perfect fit. After talking with EVGA, they agreed to send one. Being a designer and fabricator I really look at the effort that goes into solving problems like GPU cables going everywhere. EVGA did a great job of coming up with a solution for that problem. The Power Link wraps around the side of your GPU which gives it a very clean look. Your stock PSU cables plug into the Power Link and it seems to work with almost any 8 or 6-pin configurations.

Even the spacing between the two pin sets is adjustable. Since I inverted my motherboard the EVGA Logo is upside down. I made a thin acrylic piece that will go over the logo to correctly orientate the logo. I decided to make a "PowerLink" logo which lets people know what it is. Every time I post any pics I get several emails saying, "what's that thing called?" It looks really sharp once installed.






Motherboard Mods: EVGA Z170 Classified K

I have spent soo much time trying to figure out how I am going to customize the motherboard to fit the build. Originally I was going to use modern patterns to tie all of the pieces together. I tried about 10 different designs and spent days narrowing down potential candidates. I even had a voting poll to help determine the best route to take.

Yesterday I decided to wipe the board clean and design it from the ground up again. I came up with styling that fits the theme and looks great. I wanted to keep it simple while conveying the themes design cues.The early tests of this look killer (pictured below) and I plan on making a few minor adjustments as well as using a different type of vinyl I ordered.

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Old 8th Nov 2016, 06:57   #38
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Sanding Out Scratches In Aluminum:

Early on in the build process I built the PSU shroud and cut an aluminum plate that goes next to the shroud. I had some hand me down pieces of aluminum that looked like it had been run over. I seen the potential of what it could be with some work. The case is now starting to come together and I felt it was time to do just that. I started off with 180 grit sandpaper because the scratches were very deep. I also knew I wanted to give it a brushed look to match other finished on the build. It came out great and once I get closers to finishing the build I'll start using finer sandpaper to give it an even better look.





Pro Modder Tip: Brushed Aluminum Finishes

Brushed aluminum has started to become pretty popular and it looks great. You can brush your own pieces of metal but, for this tip I focus primarily on aluminum. The real trick behind giving something a brushed look is the precision and technique behind the use of sandpaper. You have to give the piece long even strokes without wandering in any other direction. I usually use a sanding block and a guide that runs the direction of the brushed look I want. A guide can be made up of anything that's straight and can be used to make sure you lines are straight. I use a piece of square metal stock or anything else I have laying around at the time.

You'll also want to make sure you start your sanding stroke before the aluminum piece starts and continue that stroke past the other end of the aluminum. This makes a big difference. I've found that not doing this; gives the edges weird marking that make the entire piece look amateur. Start with around 180 grit if you already have scratches in the aluminum. If it's a new piece you can start with 220 grit or finer. The more fine grit the sandpaper is the finer the brushed look will be. Usually after using a 220 grit I'll work my way up to 1000 grit but it's not required as 500 grit is usually fine enough. The first few times I tried this technique is started by practicing on some old scraps of aluminum before doing the actual piece I was working on.

Here's the before and after sanding out the scratches and giving it a brushed finish:


Last edited by EnviousMods; 8th Nov 2016 at 18:14.
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Old 11th Nov 2016, 04:27   #39
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Top Layer: Front Triple Fan Surround

I've spent a good deal of time on the pieces for the front surround. It takes a lot of work to get the lexan to exactly match the fans intake shape. Especially due to the super thick lexan I decided to use. Now that I have the shape of the lexan exact I can move on to making the template for the metal top piece. This piece will cover the majority of the lexan. I left a couple spots open and all of the edges around the fans will be viewable. Once I edge lit the lexan it will look epic. I waited until the lexan piece was finished before working on the metal piece because it allows me to make sure the metal will be an exact match. Below you can see the template for the metal piece laying on top of the acrylic piece.






OCZ 480gb Vector 180 SSD:

I managed to get my background back in shape so that I could take some pics of the 480gb Vector 180 SSD sent for the build. The RD400 NVM PCIE SSD will be used primarily for OS and other installation files while the Vector 180 will serve as a main storage. This is my 5th SSD from OCZ and I love them. They are affordable and give more expensive SSDS a run for their money. Definitely the best bang for your buck when it comes to reliable storage. Below I've added a few pics to show what comes with the SSD.






Last edited by EnviousMods; 11th Nov 2016 at 19:47.
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Old 19th Nov 2016, 22:32   #40
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Motherboard Input/Output Shroud:

The EVGA Z170 Classified K motherboard has all of the plugs for the USB and other headers at the bottom of the motherboard. Usually these can be tucked out of the way but, with the motherboard inverted it's more front and center. I decided to make a wrap around shroud that covers these headers. This will help to protect the wiring as well as keep them clean and organized. It will also make the motherboard look much more clean which lends itself to the modern feel I'm going for. I might tie in the motherboards back lighting into this piece as it could be a neat feature if done correctly.

For now I marked out all the holes that will need to be cut in the top of the PSU shroud. This will allow fan cables and the 8-pin motherboard power cable to run cleanly.




PSU Window Cutout:

One of the neat ideas I've had for years was to cut out a portion of the Dark Power 1,200 watt PSU and insert a special type of acrylic. This acrylic is commonly used for security windows. It looks like a mirror normally but, becomes transparent when backlit. Be Quiet does some beautiful work inside their PSUs so I felt this was a good opportunity to show it all off. I buy my acrylics from Tap Plastics; they have a store that's fairly close to the shop and they offer up enthusiastic employees who have a genuine interest in what your building. Tap Plastics also has an online store that you can order all different types of acrylics and other materials from.



2 Way Mirrored acrylic: (with protector cover on)

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