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Old 10th Dec 2008, 21:27   #1
Kumo
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KNS-04: Cube

I know, i know... So looooong since my last modding project. But i'm back with a real project. I've just started it, but as you can see, it's taking shape. It is a PC for downloading and other auxiliary tasks, as others projects of mine that you might have seen on this forum, but more sophisticated, not in components (nothing very special), but in design.

The Cube
I found this lighted CD storage in a shop. And spent some days thinking about it. And after return to the shop with a measuring tape, i had to buy it. The design is cool and i've wanted, since my last projects, to build a red computer (Primary) because my other mods are mainly dark colored.







By the moment, i'm not going to use the lights board that you can see in the pic below, but i want to light the case with red lights to get an effect close to the original lightning (first pics). The board looks very simple and upgradable, so perhaps i will use it in another porject. Below that, you have a comparison between the original board, and the Epia board, for this machine.





The Mod
The firs step is to make some room for the components. So, after removing the original board, i cut the bottom of the inside cube. That way i can operate parts easily and venting all casse with a single big fan at the front/top.
Cutting the inside cube isn't easy. You don't have many space to maneuver with the (fake)Dremel and the low visibility inside. So, after cutting, i had to retouch and file edges, a lot. Anyway, without the bottom side, the duty is easier.







Now, you can figure how it will looks at the end and the visibility of the components (althougt front/top mesh and fan will cover them a lot). Some red lights are required (in the To-Do list)
To reach that last photo with the cube's inside view showing the board, you need to make the base, before. The base is made of plexy also, but factory black and silver painted (i have to fix that). At the final stages of the project it will need more work, but by the moment, only the basis is needed: Holes for motherboard screws and a big one for wires.



The board is not centered on the base, i left more room in one side to put controls (buttons and others) and let the PCI slot be still functional.

The first auxiliary work i've done is to make/adapt a fan speed regulator, for the main fan (120mm) placed in the cube's hole.
It is a cool mini-project by itself, to test my (a bit rusted) skills with the soldering iron.
The origins are in a cannibalised 3 channel AKASA fan control. By one side, for this mod i only need one regulator. On the other side, the needed parts were there and i didn't have to buy anything.







Basically, all the job is: 1) Desoldering the part from the original board. 2)Estudying how the circuit is routed. 3) Attacht them back in the most compact and nice way that you can achieve. 4) Put an extra wire for the RMPs meter. 5) Your personal touches... Heatshrink, painted edges... All you want.
It's a small job to make a full guide so, if more info needed, just ask me

And that's all, by the moment. Althoug this is not a very long and complicated project, it will take me some time, because i need to get some componets and over all, some time to get a quality finish. I hope you understand it. As soon as i'll have more pics of the following steps, i'll publish new posts.

Last edited by Kumo; 22nd Mar 2010 at 22:12.
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Old 11th Dec 2008, 03:24   #2
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I'm interested to see where this goes. The red cube and led board look great, but i know you can make this more awesome.
I think the Zotac MicroItx board with integrated wifi would have been a great choice, but it may be a bit overpowered for what you want to do. Maybe a Touchscreen on the face of the cube to drive your downloading OS of choice if you aren't going headless.
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Old 11th Dec 2008, 03:39   #3
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We are so close to needing a sub forum for mini-ITX and smaller! Very nice.
I watch.


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Old 11th Dec 2008, 04:12   #4
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wow looks like it will make a great case cant wait to see where this is going
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Old 11th Dec 2008, 15:37   #5
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Thank all for your replies.

@500mhp I had the Epia laying around so, that was the reason of my choice (it's a cheap project). But i'm planning to add a WiFi USB dongle or and PCI card. And also a Bluetooth USB dongle for more connectivity.

In the To-Do list are some items, like to get a suitable PSU (Mean small size and low power) and decide about storage (Sata 2.5" drive, SSD, CF with adapter...). Also, i want decent good looking mesh for the front/top.

I write "front/top" because, in my mind the design could be rest right on the desktop or be fixed to the wall, i.e..
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Old 21st Dec 2008, 19:25   #6
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Slow, but go on.

I bought this for the case:



2 120mm fans and a SATA 2,5"/ 250GB Samsung drive. 2 fans because i didn't know which could render better. The red and black one is silent and good looking (i have one on my desktop rig and performs very well) but maybe better for an industrial looking mod. While the dark red (a little pink on the pic) is lighted and blows more CFMs. Anyway, you never have to much fans, not for this case, but for another one
I know Epia boards doesn't need too much venting, but I like to use fans, just in case, and is useful to fill the gaps (That's is so big as 120mm, I installed smaller ones in others Epia projects). You know, bigger fans, more CFMs and more silent, usually.

Mesh
Resuming the works, I've done the mesh for the fan in the main hole. Actually, is bigger than the fan (120mm) as it has to cover all the opening (130mm). It's made from a portion of A.C. Ryan mesh that I grabbed from an laptop cooler dock (That's another history). I used pliers and hammer to shape it.



That's how it render in the hole. I like the black / red mix and the mesh fits perfectly,



At the end, I chose the dark red fan (dark when lighted). It works OK with the speed control (lights are also dimmed) and blows OK (up to 49.58CFM) noiseless, at any speed (up to 1200RPM). You can see the good effect with mesh and lights. For the test, I've used the bottom of the cube that I cut on my previously post.



Supports
I've had 2 ideas about fixing the fan to the case. I show you the first one, but is discarded. I'll use the second (in following posts) but I leave it here just to show you the development. And maybe someone will find it useful



The idea was to fix 4 plexy dices in the corners, but as they was too tall, I thought to lower them, with a better shape (and make them cooler). To get the shape, has to remove a lot of plexy with the (F)dremel.







The problem is that I cannot achieve, with my current tools, the precise shape i want (although the piece isn't so bad) IMO. In add, my second idea is better. I could put the fan as lower as the edge of the case is, and fill the gap between the inner cube walls and the fan.

On the other side, i almost choose a Pico-PSU as PSU for the mod (with an external AC/DC converter, like in a laptop). And if i can find something in eBay, it will has an optical drive (slim slot-loading, is the target).
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Old 21st Dec 2008, 20:05   #7
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very nice work with the meshX..

you can use the pico-psu.. i have one, and it's great!

keep up the good work!
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Old 21st Dec 2008, 22:28   #8
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I like the mounting idea but, as you say, you'd be there forever trying to remove the material properly with a dremel. Pico-psu's are great so very useful and tiny with added bonus of the heat from the ac-dc conversion being away from the case.
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Old 24th Dec 2008, 00:50   #9
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where the pics at?
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Old 24th Dec 2008, 01:13   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jodah175 View Post
where the pics at?
I thought I was the only one unable to view the pictures.
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Old 24th Dec 2008, 01:53   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inf3ction View Post
I thought I was the only one unable to view the pictures.
Nope - Gone

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Old 24th Dec 2008, 08:04   #12
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Fixed! Sorry. I had a problem with the hotlinking protection.

News: I've already ordered the Pico-psu
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Old 24th Dec 2008, 08:04   #13
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Just a quick pic:



Testing parts with a bootable USB with Debian Netisnt.

Last edited by Kumo; 25th Dec 2008 at 21:53. Reason: Updated
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Old 2nd Jan 2009, 21:51   #14
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News!

Today, the Pico-PSU kit has arrived. It's really small and cool. The brick has a cord with an USA type plug, so I have to get a Europe type cord or replace the plug.




Closer view.


Quick test to check if it works OK. It's just what i was expecting, small and almost without wires.

About the fan support. i've been working on the new pieces (second idea, in the last post). It's more complex (more parts) but it will look better once finished.

Cuts. I have to sand and file them to get a perfect fit.


Explain. The fan, fitted between the transparent spacers, will be fixed with screws to the bottom plate (Front face in the cube's hole). The red piece, is a frame to close the support and get a better look. I'll also re-do the meshX to fit there.


I'll post more pics, when the fan will be on place.
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Old 2nd Jan 2009, 22:50   #15
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Looking good man, keep up the good work and i'll be checking back frequently.
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Old 6th Jan 2009, 14:35   #16
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looking promising so far

can you please write the name of that cd box, or where did you get it?
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Old 6th Jan 2009, 15:27   #17
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Thanks both, Inf3ction and Gigik.
I'm cooking the next update. I've glued some parts, but i want to redo the front plate, because cuts doesn't satisfy me.

@Gigik, I don't know the name, but i bought it in a shop called The Glow Store (it's a Franchise). I'll check the board label later. If i find the name, I'll post it here.
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Old 20th Jan 2009, 20:07   #18
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@Gigik, No luck with the PCB. No brand on it.

Short update...



I've got the case's feet. They are 4 Shuttle's case feet, made of alu and with the rubber tip.
Maybe I'll have to paint them black, but I'll see it further.
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Old 8th Feb 2009, 11:54   #19
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Previously on This Mod...

I had some problems with the fan fixing, but the are solved now. In add, i found the perfect feet for the mod. So, it's time for new pics.

I've finished the front plate, where fan and mesh will be fixed. This is the second I've done, since the first plate didn't satisfied me. By now, only rest to find a bunch of nice black screws to put there.





Need that screws... Meanwhile, let's back to the base, already done. And it doesn't need more work.

The original base plate + circuit board were thicker. So, to get a perfect fitting and a better quality finish, i did a second layer plate. The second layer, made of black plexy as the front plate, was made and almost finished separately, then i glued it to the fist layer, to finish both at the same time (Filing and sanding, holes for venting and fixing...).







To fix the PSU plug, I did a bracket. With a hairdryer, I bend a piece of plexy and then glued it to the base. That gives me enough room to pass and plug, the PSU brick cord under the case.



Next step, feet and wallmount... yes, wallmount
I've already show you the feet. They are from Shuttle and are sweet. They are fit in a more or less tight holes, in a sort of self-tapping action. A little amount of teflon tape, makes them fit better.




You can see the embedded heads of the motherboard allen screws.
The wallmount (I hope it will be enough strong!) is made with a plexy dice (with several holes) so you can use (if you really want to hang the case on the wall) screws or wires. The dice is double fixed to the base with glue and a screw. In the last pic, you can see the idea, more or less.







Mobo on place. I've sleeved the PSU wire and fixed it to the bracket.






In the to-do list, still left some important jobs: HDD caddy. Control panel. Wiring and USB devices.... Step by step...
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Old 11th Feb 2009, 21:18   #20
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A wall is a good place to place a pc. Looks good and inspiring.

How did you get that effect on the mobotray with the circle, the third picture from the last?
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