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Old 3rd Aug 2009, 03:50   #1
charles_h
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Daniel’s murderbox – 008 / Final Abridged Version (page 1 loaded w/ images!)

















Hey Guys,

I’ve always enjoyed coming here and going through the amazing worklogs; this place has such a positive vibe and really inspires creativity. I’d like to become more active here and thought I’d introduce myself by posting a recent project - some of you may have seen the original worklog on another site. My goal here is to whittle the whole thing down to one page… albeit a very long one!

While this build is finished, I thought some might like to see how it came together… in an abridged presentation if you will. This project was quite an undertaking and spanned a six month period beginning in January and only just wrapped up last week. The following are portions of the original worklog that I’ve edited down to 20 Chapters – essentially featuring the build process. Some of the text may seem odd – you’ll have to remember that this build has already taken place. If you’re impatient, you can scroll to the bottom of the page and see how it turned out (after all 271 images load of course). I resized most of the images to assist with loading – they can be seen at their full size by clicking them.

Ok, enough gum-flapping – here’s Daniel’s murderbox – with a sLight Twist… the abridged version…

Cheers.


Chapter.01 – The Plan

We were asked to do something a bit different with a murderMod TJ07 and thought some might be interested. Our Customer, Daniel, masterfully secured 3 Matrix Orbital PLEDs which are no longer available. Daniel wanted us to incorporate the 3 displays somewhere in the case, viewable from outside.

What exactly are PLEDs you ask?

Quote:
Polymeric Light Emitting Diode (PLED) displays employ an advanced new electro-luminescence technology to produce one of the brightest displays commercially available. This new display technique virtually eliminates the concern about ghosting at high refresh rates and it allows you to be able to read the display from 160 degrees. The PLED display accomplishes all of this while lowering your power consumption as it does not require a backlight. Our PLED displays also offer extra features with standard and advanced General Purpose Outputs (GPO) as well as the ease-of-use with serial communication via RS-232, I2C and USB protocols.

The objective is to design and produce a mounting structure for the 3 PLEDs, install radiator(s), pump(s), reservoir and plumb the LC loop up through the midplate. Once complete, the case will be shipped to Daniel in Germany and he will finish the build by installing all his components.

In addition to the PLED project, there will also be a little surprise (hopefully). We’ve been working on a new concept and hope to feature it in Daniel’s build – more on that later.


WORKLOG EDIT: This plan evolved into doing the entire build.




The 3 Amigos – Made in Canada, shipped to Germany, back to Canada, and when installed in Daniel’s murderMod TJ07, back to Germany they go!




The first step is to remove the drive bay mounts and cover the screens with lo-tack protective film (after all, these are irreplaceable).





Next, we’ll have to ditch the honkin’ big external USB cables and replace them with custom made internal cables (that we’ll sleeve of course).




Ahhh… that’s better!


Ok, time for some destruction…




Oops… not quite yet. I’m pleased to say that “The RotoZip of Destruction” (RZoD) will be used in this project – later.




“Say hello to my little friend...” I just wanted to show you the business end of this puppy. At 30,000rpm, this 6amp bad boy goes through aluminum like hot butter through a stack of pancakes! (errr... ) Anyway, it’s pretty much my most favorite thing in the whole world. Think of a Dremel - all doped up on goofballs…


Finally, here’s the concept for the PLED mount.




We used a shot of FC’s murderbox build and did a 3d camera match to create a visualization of what the PLED mount design will look like.




From the exterior – same deal; 3d camera match. We may choose to extend the main window forward or go with this design. We'll see...


The idea is to try to keep things very clean and minimal. Measurements indicate that there should be enough room on the exterior side of the front HD structure to enclose the displays. This location will allow us to conceal wiring.





The challenge will be to design the mount so it can easily be removed for access to the HD structure behind. That would be easy if we thu-bolted from the outside… but since when is easy any fun.

Last edited by charles_h; 29th Aug 2009 at 22:37. Reason: added a few final pics :)
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Old 3rd Aug 2009, 03:51   #2
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Chapter.02 –Measurements & Design

Next, we’ll mock-up and do some measuring - then we can design the PLED mount, generate some 3d cad drawings and have the parts fabricated. We’ll actually have two parts made; one for the outer layer that will be seen, and one that will serve as the underlying structure, attached to the existing vertical drive structure and have the PLEDs mounted into. As mentioned, the design needs to permit access to the drive bays. While it may be easy to gain access while there’s nothing in there, it would be nice if Daniel could change drives without needing a cutting torch to get the PLED mount off.

Ohtay, pics time.




Hey, I know you…

Will you be a kind TJ07 or fight me every step of the way?


I need to take a moment and pay tribute to the Lucky Zen Frog – his blessing will provide the positive chi needed to perform a successful build. Bat$hit crazy? I’ll let you decide.




The #6x32 screw is there for scale - in case you thought he was huge… but then I couldn’t carry him in my pocket… “Is that a porcelain frog in your pocket, or are you…” Ok, I stop now.


Now that I’ve brought my sanity into question it’s time to move on.


The next step is to carefully put the side panels into their protective sleeves. Why orange you ask? Well, when I bring them to have the windows cut; they stand a better chance of survival if they are easily seen. Things have a tendency to disappear in metal shops and the next thing you know you’re standing in front of a guy shrugging his shoulders; which is never good.







Once the side panels are safe, I can relax a bit…


Ok, time for some destruction…




Doh… not yet…


Next, we’ll put the PLEDs in place and get a feel for things.




That’s working…




Yikes, that’s going to be a tight fit. Question: why does such a tiny little thing need so much, errr… butt? Are two PCBs really necessary? Well, it is what it is so we’ll have to press on.




Let’s see what the minimal clearance is from the bottom to the top…




23.5mm – Ok…


Now let’s check the available space.




We’ll measure from the closest potential point of contact. We also have to keep in mind that the side panels have grooves at the front edge that need to slide into place, just inside the unibody.




Gah… That’s not much room to work with. We’ve also got to consider the 3mm of clearance we’ll need for the side window. We could go with a thinner window but best not to; it would be more susceptible to cracking. No, we’ll have to figure this out factoring a 3mm window.


Ok, time for some 3d software seat time.

Everything is measured up and we’re ready to click the “make art” button and export some dwg files for laser cutting. We’ll go with 1.5mm (.060) Aluminum – it’ll do the job nicely.




A basic drawing of the part - we’ll have two made and use one for the outer aesthetic piece, and the other will serve as the structural mount.




After being laser cut, the piece will be bent to provide a clean front edge that will meet up with the outer edge of the existing vertical drive structure. Another reason we chose 1.5mm Al; once powder coated, the two should join together nicely to finish the look.
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Old 3rd Aug 2009, 03:52   #3
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Chapter.03 – Fabrication & Rotary Destruction

Got the parts back from laser cutting and bending. I'll use one as the structural mount and the other as the facade. The facade will only need slight modification while the structural piece will get heavily worked over by the RZoD. I probably could have had it made closer to its final form but needed a little quality time with my RotoZip - the kind that involves copious amounts of material destruction…








I will now destroy this innocent piece of Aluminum (sensitive viewers may want to avert their eyes).




The aluminum plate that will be used to fabricate PLED structural mount.


The first step is to prepare the internal plate by removing the angled edge – it’s not needed.

Cylindrical aluminum standoffs will be used to mount the internal plate to the existing TJ07 vertical structure.





Since the closest length is 1” and they’ll need to be shorter, they’ll have to be filed down a bit – more on that later.


We’ll start by cutting the angled edge off the plate with a jigsaw. I’ll secure the plate and freehand cut this sucker.





Sometimes I’ll use a cutting guide but this cut is pretty simple – I’ll take my time so as to avoid a Freudian slip.




Oh no; he didn't just say that...


Ok, enough foolishness... time to get down to business.








Once the cut is done, I’ll clean up the edge with a bastid of a file and Emory cloth.


The next step is to build a template for the PLED mount holes. For this I’ll use a piece of clear Plexiglas.





I carefully measured the PLED mount holes and created an accurate paper template which I then transferred to the Plexiglas. The next step is to overlay the template onto the plate and lineup the grid with the opening.





Once the plate is marked and triple checked, I’ll drill the PLED mounting holes. No need to show drilling shots – I’m sure you guys know what that looks like.





Since we’re short on available space yet want to use a clean front facade, I’ll oversize the display openings in the internal plate. This will provide the clearance needed by allowing us to countersink the top black portion of the PLED flush with the outer edge of the internal plate - thus gaining the critical 1.5mm needed.





Confusing? I show.


I’ll start by setting up the plate and preparing it for the operation.





Next, I’ll grab my trusty Dremel…





I’ll use the wood as a guide and carefully…





Wait a minute!


Mr. Dremel, you are too puny…

This task calls for pure rotary destruction... the kind that only the RotoZip can provide.




Oh hells yeah.


Now that I'm using the RZoD, I really need to make sure the cutting guide is accurate. With the right bit, a RotoZip is pure destructive pleasure but you cannot freehand cut a straight line - unless you're a brain surgeon maybe!





Now we're ready!








Sorry, no live action shots - I can't RotoZip with one hand (well, I probably could but I don't want to end up with one hand!).




One line down, 11 to go…




The first one is done.




All done!


Ok, time for a cigarette (even though I don’t smoke). I’m a simple man of simple pleasures; using the RotoZip is one of them. The one downside is of course the cleanup. While mostly contained, I do find frags as far as 10 feet away.




ShopVac... front and center - Stat!


Next, I’ll countersink the mount holes and test fit the PLED using temp bolts.





I’ll use rubber grommets as spacers for now, these will likely be swapped for nylon spacers later.







That’ll work!





Finally, I’ll lay the facade in place to get an idea of final look.





Well, that’s all for now; the next step is to mount the internal PLED plate to the existing vertical structure and attach the facade. This should complete the mockup and fabrication of the PLED mount - then I can get the measurements needed for the side panel water jet cutting. The next phase will be to design and construct the lower section of the LC loop and then it’s off to powder coating. Somewhere in there lies the new concept that I’m super excited to reveal!

Last edited by charles_h; 3rd Aug 2009 at 04:39.
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Old 3rd Aug 2009, 03:52   #4
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Chapter.04 – PLED Structure Assembly

Now that the PLED is in place and the display screen is flush with the plate exterior, I’ll get a reading of the minimum clearance, Clarence.







23mm; Ok.


And the standoffs…




25.4mm… I’ll have to remove about 2mm of material.


I could use a grinder but like doing it old school – with a piece of Emory cloth. I have more control this way and can give myself a fairly decent manicure while I’m at it!




Using Emory cloth will allow for greater control of the amount of material removed while keeping the end flat.


After a few minutes of vigorous… errr… stroking…





Bingo! - Now I just have to do the same for the other five.


The next step is to drill the mounting holes. I’ll keep the vertical positions consistent with the PLED mount holes. Horizontally, the three sets of holes will be positioned to make the best contact with the existing TJ07 vertical structure – while not getting in the way of mounting hard drives. I don’t want to limit Daniel’s drive mount options or interfere with the location of the optical drive. A bit of measuring and figuring will do the trick. Once completed, I’ll drill the six mounting holes and then countersink them.




In case you’re wondering, the notch in the bottom left corner is to accommodate a threaded fitting in the corner of the midplate – you won’t see the notch when the piece is in place.





Next, I’ll install the standoffs.




The black “washer” looking thingies were provided by Nils (called brainwashers). Because of having to countersink the screws, I needed something on the backside to offset the small portion at the base of the tapered screw head that came through the hole. Without them, the cylindrical offsets would contact the base of the screw head before the plate. These little fellas saved my bacon. (Thanks Nils!).




The PLED mount is pretty much done.


Now, I’ll move to the facade piece (not to be confused with codpiece). Since the angled edge is longer than needed, I’ll remove the excess material. The goal is to end up with the short, right angled section of the facade making flush contact with the outer edge of the existing TJ07 vertical structure.





I’ll overlap the facade with the TJ07 part and mark it for cutting.











Before cutting, honor must be paid to the Lucky Zen Frog (I know, I know…).





After cutting and cleaning up with my ******* file…




Sweet success!


Next, I’ll secure the facade to the PLED mount by using 4 countersunk flat head M3 screws. They’ll be placed at the top and bottom and should be discreet when all is done. On the back of the PLED plate, I will epoxy 4 nylon locking nuts so that Daniel can remove the whole unit from the outside.










Once powder coated, the screws should blend nicely.


The next and final step is to line up the standoffs and attach them to the TJ07 vertical structure. I’ll use a paper template to transfer the standoff positions; then I’ll mark and drill the holes.




All six holes are drilled.


Wouldn’t you know it! My camera battery died just as I was going to take shots of it all together. Tune in tomorrow to see how it turned out!

Ok, that was cruel – I did manage to squeeze off one shot before it croaked – from the inside.


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Old 3rd Aug 2009, 03:53   #5
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Chapter.05 - PLED Structure Mounting

I’ve got everything ready for final mockup before powder coating. I just need to make a few minor tweaks but wanted to at least give you an idea of what it looks like. I’m still waiting for my fasteners to arrive so I’ll have to use temporary ones for now. The finals will be black oxide w/ flat head Phillips drive.











Next, I’ll install the PLED mount plate. Again, temp fasteners.








Finally, it’s time to slide the facade in place… But wait; since I don’t have the nuts epoxy’d to the back yet, I’ll have to remove the PLED mount plate and attach the facade first.





Now I can attach the whole enchilada to the TJ07 vertical piece – moment of truth time…










Joy!


Next, I’ll break it down and make the minor tweaks needed. Then, I’ll prep the case parts for powder coating by designing and mocking up the LC loop and drilling the cable management holes. Once that’s done, I’ll send out the parts for powder coating. Before that however, I’ll have to measure up the side panel for its custom water jet cutting. This is the part of this project I’ve been dreading – the window locations for the PLEDs will have to be perfect and there can be no do-overs. I’ll measure and then measure again. Then I’ll start over. For this part of the process to work out, I think I’m going to need a bigger Lucky Zen Frog.
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Old 3rd Aug 2009, 03:53   #6
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Chapter.06 – Side Panel PLED Window Mockup




Since its imperative that the side panel works the first time, we're really going to take our time to get it right. Making a mistake with the cuts would basically represent $400 since TJ07 side panels aren’t available individually - meaning we'd have to buy a new case. What we’re attempting is going to require perfect measurements to get each of the three window holes centered and lined up properly. It would be easier to make one larger hole for the three displays but after much deliberation, we decided it simply wouldn’t look as appealing.

The first step is to see how much space there is between the inside of the side panel and the facade – I know there’s at least enough for the 3mm Plexiglas window but beyond that I’m not sure.








7.4mm – that’s more than I thought it would be. Now the potential issue is that with tight individual window cuts, the displays may not be completely visible when viewed at an angle. The distance between the inside of the panel and the actual PLED will affect how visible the display will be when viewed from say, a 45 degree angle. We’ll have to cut the holes slightly larger than the size of the facade holes, but how much is hard to say. The only way to be sure is to make a mockup side panel and find out.

I’ll use black picture frame matte which is pretty thick and sturdy.





Once the piece is made, I’ll test fit it before cutting the display windows.








Next, I’ll measure and cut the windows. I’ll make them 2mm larger than the facade windows. This should be enough to allow reasonable display visibility from about 45 degrees off center. I won't bother with rounded corners for this exercise.











The next step will be to fit a scrap piece of Plexiglas in place. This will help simulate the final look.





Now we can get an idea of how the windows will look when 2mm oversized and viewed from off center...











Looks like it should be alright. We may decide to go to a 3mm oversize just to be safe. Since Daniel will likely not be viewing the PLEDs from straight on, we have to make sure he can see them from at least a 45 degree angle.

Now that I’m feeling more comfortable with the concept, the next step will be to essentially put a $400 side panel in serious peril. If all goes as planned, the result should be good. If you never hear from me again – well, you’ll know how it went…
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Old 3rd Aug 2009, 03:54   #7
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Chapter.07 –Side Panel Window Cutting

Well, the worst is over – the side panel has finally been cut!

Billy, the Master water jet ace has come through for me once again. The process took 4 hours (mostly spent measuring and re-measuring) and I'm very pleased to report that the result is perfection. We made two test pieces; the first to verify the window sizes and relation to each other and the second to verify the location of the three windows in relation to the PLEDs position. Obviously, it’s critical that the windows are centered around the PLEDs so we really wanted to take our time. As stated previously, there could be no do-overs. Since you’ve probably already jumped to the pics I’ll conclude by saying what a relief it is to finally have these little buggers cut!

On to the pics – and there are a lot of them!




I love this warning label – Classic! We’ll revisit it later.


The first photo series illustrates the fabrication of one of the two test cut pieces. We’ll use this one to verify the measurement of the three windows.




















And finally, the part is cut from the larger piece.





I snuck this little guy on while Billy wasn’t looking. He wasn’t needed for the test piece but I wanted to be sure he had a home for the real deal later…





After completing the two test pieces, we’re ready to move on to the side panel!




Here, Billy makes adjustments to the cutting program.


Part of the process involves zeroing the nozzle by placing it in the top right corner. Based on the data entered about the panel size, the program will then make the cuts in the correct locations… hopefully.





This is the most stressful moment – after hours of measurements, calculations and my bad jokes, it’s finally moment of truth time.




DOOO EEET!










The Lucky Zen Frog doin' his thang...




Woot! Success! You can see the very fine media that’s mixed with the water to act as an abrasive.


Next, we’ll move on to main window. For this process, I got a lot more shots because I was actually able to breathe.

While you’re looking at these, remember the warning label…




























The first time Billy smiles all day...


Why?

Because he’s done!




Here you go Daniel!

Ok… I’ll clean it up a bit first…


There’s still the mounting of the Plexiglas and the powder coating of the facade but I wanted to at least give you an idea of how it turned out. I’ll post better pics when it’s all done.





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Old 3rd Aug 2009, 03:54   #8
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Chapter.08 – Side Panel Window

The Plexiglas window has been created and installed which concludes this portion of the build. The whole interior needs to be powder coated before we’ll get a final look at the PLED mod but I thought I’d post a few progress pics in the meantime. Beyond that, there’s still the lower LC section to assemble and hopefully, the “slight twist” to reveal. Once these tasks are complete, all the internal case parts will go for powder coating and then everything will be reassembled and then packed and shipped to Daniel in Germany. Once there, Daniel will complete the build by installing his components and finalized the LC loop and wiring. It’s likely I’ll send the Lucky Zen Frog along to help Daniel complete the build – provided of course he promises to send it back when he’s done!

WORKLOG EDIT: This evolved to doing the entire build


Side panel progress pics – interior still to be powder coated.











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Old 3rd Aug 2009, 03:55   #9
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Chapter.09 – Cutting the Cord

Still wrastlin' with the sLight twist. In other news, I received the three custom PLED cables from Matrix Orbital. Unfortunately, they were thicker than I wanted; especially since they'll have sleeving. Nothing a little minor surgery can't fix...




After sleeving, these puppies would be too rotund to effectively conceal.




Under the knife...




We got a bleeder!

hehe, just kidding.




ewww....naked!




ahhh.... that's better!




sleeving makes teh happy.


Now to do the other two…
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Old 3rd Aug 2009, 03:55   #10
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Chapter.10 – Let There Be sLight!

There’s still a bit of tweaking to do but we thought rather than make you guys wait another week, or three, we’d at least finally reveal the “slight twist” in Daniel’s build.

It’s actually a slight twist on internal lighting.

Personally, I was never a big fan of CCFLs or strips of LEDs; there had to be a more elegant lighting solution that blended with the evolving direction of style and aesthetics. It struck me one day; one of the most flattering and dramatic light sources is the photo studio softbox – why not install a softbox within the computer. The TJ07 was the perfect case to test this concept on by designing and installing a softbox right on the midplate. The objective was to create a diffused, evenly lit panel that radiated light and could be drilled through for LC hoses – all while providing just the right amount of illumination to the contents of the upper section... without being overwhelming.

After extensive design and prototyping, we feel we’ve nailed it. Although the light panel looks very simple, there’s actually much more to it than meets the eye. There’s a special material within the outer box that provides the diffusion. Essentially, the outer surface is for looks; oh and to keep the highly toxic "light emitting" chemicals contained safely within which is why nobody should ever attempt to take one apart! Doing so may result in impotence or in some cases, an erection lasting longer than 4 hours.

Just kidding!


While this is still a prototype, we’re pleased to say that we’ll be offering these yet to be named err… sLight Panels at our shop. Obviously these models are designed for TJ07s but if there’s interest, we’ll also offer them for other cases in the future. More details and completed build shots to follow.

I will say that the luminous effect on internals surpasses my expectations – especially things like hoses that pass through it and CPU blocks and motherboard bits and ram and sleeved cables and, well, everything lit by it looks pretty sweet!

Without further gum flapping, we present the first glimpse at Daniel’s sLight twist...
















It'll look better with all the innards installed and internal case parts powder coated black, but at least the wait is over!
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Old 3rd Aug 2009, 03:55   #11
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Chapter.11 – Paint it Black

Powder coating has been done and I was anxious to assemble Daniel's PLED mount and make sure there were no unwelcome surprises. Fortunately, it all went together perfectly which of course was a big relief.

What's an update without pics...


Back side of PLED mount plate










Front side of PLED mount plate




Attached to TJ07 vertical drive structure




Being held over edge by fool




Front facade plate attached










Daniel, I'd like to say it was a stunt double I was holding over the edge but I'm afraid it was yours. Now that I think about it, had my hand spazzed out or a horny Seagull flew by and spooked me, it would have fallen 300 feet. Probably not the smartest thing to do but I'm pleased to report that it is now safe and well protected - wrapped in a blanket of foam. No more shenanigans... promise.
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Old 3rd Aug 2009, 03:56   #12
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Chapter.12 – sLight Panel in Action

The sLight Panel is done and I'm very happy with the result. There was actually a funny moment earlier tonight as I was taking a few quick pics. My wife came in and said: "wow, that's really cool". Here's the thing - she's never done that before which either means I'm really onto something or you guys will hate it!

Still waiting on the Mips chipset blocks that Kirk is having Nickel plated but I thought I'd at least give you guys a peak at what the illumination does to a motherboard - keeping in mind it's recessed...





I think once all the innards are installed, it's going to be really something!


The custom res holders are in final production after a round of revisions - hopefully pics in the next few days. The other custom job is the SSD mounts which have yet to go to production. Truth is I'm still wrastling with the concept. I'm hoping to spend some time on the design over the next few days. The rad has been mounted and once the Mips blocks arrive, I'll work on the loop and drill the holes through the murderLight for the hoses. I'm really anxious to see how that looks! :yepp:

Short and sweet update…
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Old 3rd Aug 2009, 03:56   #13
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Chapter.13 – Blocks & Fans

Daniel’s build has evolved to completing the build and then shipping it essentially ready to run. This is great because now I’ll have the chance to take shots of the finished product in its entirety! The only concern of course is that it will have to be properly packed to survive the rigors of transport – more on that later.


First we’ll start with the motherboard and blocks. The board of choice for this “Black ‘n Blue” themed build is the ASUS WS Revolution.








While the board looks great with the blue heatsinks, Daniel chose to go with the gorgeous Mips blocks instead. To stay consistent with our color theme, Kirk came up with the idea to have the blocks Nickel plated along with the EK Supreme LT Daniel wanted to use. Kirk got the CPU block while Daniel ordered the Mips blocks and had them shipped to Kirk where he then had the lot plated locally.











They all turned out fantastic – nice job and great idea Kirk!


Next, it’s off with the blue and on with the new!





Seems a shame to cast these aside, perhaps they’ll be used somehow on a future build – or they could be used for something else… who knows where they might pop up.








Oh yeah… that’s the stuff!


Hold on though; what’s this?








They’re not sitting flush… hmmm. They seem to be hitting the caps on the right. Well, I guess some dremelling will be needed to remove enough material to allow them to clear the caps.

Orrr…





I could place them the right way around!





LOL… Dummy Dumbnuts over here just assumed the straight edge of the blocks went on the side with the vregs. Boy would that have been embarrassing had I ended up dremelling the blocks to fit the other way around. I should have known something made in Germany wouldn’t be out of sorts. Oh well, at least I gave myself a good chuckle.

Next, I’ll extend the rad fan wires, sleeve them and then attach the fans to the rad! I know what you’re thinking; pretty exciting stuff…

Ok, if you make it through, I promise a bit of a treat at the end.

To extend an existing fan wires, you can go two ways – either add wire and crimp new connector pins or recycle a connector you’ve already got. Luckily, I’ve got a barrel of 92mm fans on hand with 3pin connectors. For this task, I’ll lop off the ends of the 92mm fans since I can’t think of anything else to do with them. 92mm fans anyone?





When splicing wires like this, I find it helps to stagger the joins so that you don’t get a big lump in the sleeving (known as snake/prairie dog syndrome). You just have to take care that the wires all end up the same length so the pins line up and go into the connector.


The next step is to position the three wires so they don’t tangle when sleeved. If they overlap, you’ll get a sleeved mass of lumpy bumps and not a smooth, sexy result – if such a thing is possible. This is also a good time to orientate the pins so they go into the connector the right way. Once the sleeve is on, it’s very hard to twist the wires.





Next, I’ll carefully feed the sleeve over the wire while maintaining tension. This will help keep the individual wires lined up and prevent tangling.





Next, I’ll use a box cutter to oversize the narrow groove that the wires slot into. After that, I’ll install the connector – be sure to put the heatshrink on first!





I hold the connector angled down before heating the shrink so that it stays as close the connector as possible after shrunk. After heating, rather than wait till the shrink cools, I use small clamps to hold the sleeve in place while I pull it tight in preparation for heating the other end.





For the end closest to the fan, I’ll use enough shrink to cover the portion of wires that run up to the fan motor area. Nils hates when I leave these exposed so I’ll be a good boy and do it up proper. The trick is to shape the shrink before it cools – this is especially relevant when needing a right angle like here.





What’s that sticker say?





I think it means “don’t attach this fan to anything with wheels” - I don’t know…


In any event, we’ve now got a lovely extended fan wire; all sleeved with no lumpy bumps.





Time to install the fan onto the rad…





Very nice… and now the lot.








Ok, if you made it this far, here are a few pics I took of the frosted res holder w/ final mounting hardware. Still waiting on the color versions but will post pics as soon as I’ve got them in hand.









Last edited by charles_h; 3rd Aug 2009 at 04:09.
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Old 3rd Aug 2009, 03:57   #14
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Chapter.14 – Assorted Stuff



Daniel, meet your brand spanking new processor - I'll leave you two to get better acquainted.

Seriously, now it's time to turn some screws and button the puppy up. A few final parts being powder coated and the SSD mounts still needing a bit of work but pretty much everything else is ready for final assembly. I may post a shot here and there before it's all complete but will likely hold out till everything is together for maximum impact. Cruel - I hope not.


Ok, here's a taste of the lower section...





Friday I get the final pieces - one being a last minute faceplate/mount for the aquaero that's being powder coated and the other is the SSD mount structure. The SSD mount almost did me in! Hopefully, it will be worth the grief and ultimately serve to offer balance to the overall design. I won't say more on it - best to just wait and show.

The Aquaero mount is intended to blend the unit more than simply mounting it with the existing brackets and faceplate. Being that it's inboard and not facing out the front (Kirk's great idea) I thought it would be enhanced by extending the facade down to include a base for mounting to the midplate. This will help further conceal wires and clean the look in general. The angle should assist with visibility of the display through the side panel window. I took a quick shot before bringing it to the Powder Coater's - I guess it won't hurt to show.





Still finalizing some of the wiring and of course, there's miles of sleeving to be done. Fortunately, I've been working on that for the past few weeks here and there so there's just a few bits left to complete. The plan is to do the final assembly this weekend once the last two pieces are ready. I thought about showing more progress shots but decided I'd rather reveal the machine in its entirety - hopefully sometime next week (weather permitting for pics).

This machine is way beyond anything I've ever done and it's going to be an emotional time when it's finally altogether. This project started 6 months ago and has mutated many times since. I'm very excited to reveal this machine as it's the total culmination of everything I've learned in the last few years and more importantly, the collaboration of many highly skilled individuals. Most importantly, I wouldn't even be in this position or have the opportunity to create something without limit or restriction had it not been for one person - I'm referring to Daniel of course. We're days away now my friend...

Here are a few shots of the internal mockup. Everything is planned out and test fitted before final drilling of the sLight panel. I used ½” ID Tygon hose to design the main loop as it was a heck of a lot easier than going through the process with the 3/8” ID Primochill stuff that will be used for the final.











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Old 3rd Aug 2009, 03:57   #15
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Chapter.15 – SSD Mount Structure & Loaded Mobo Tray

Final assembly has begun - lots of tweaking, wiring, pondering and dremmeling going on. Ok, maybe not a lot of dremmeling but a wee bit. This thing is like a Chinese puzzle! In some cases there are four "layers" that have to all fit together in a specific order (and more importantly, is able to come apart). Taking my time - don't want to goof up now! The Lucky Zen Frog is on duty of course - doing what he does best... Actually, that's about all he does - attempts to put him on cleanup duty failed miserably!

I hope to have things wrapped up in the next few days. I feel like a Muttonhead not posting any pics so here are a few that will likely create more questions than answers... Sorry!











On this shot there appears to be a missing hole in the 4th drive sled - I assure you it’s there - it’s just shy of breaking through the surface.


Had a productive weekend - got most of the wiring done and the SSD mount unit installed. I also installed the USB hub - there are 5 USB devices so Daniel came up with the idea to use a hub rather than run all that extra wiring to the mobo USB headers - great idea! I mounted the hub on the side opposite of the PLED mount - this will be the best spot since all the USB devices are in the vicinity.

A bit about the SSD mount - the drives are attached to sleds (as previously seen) and then slid into their shelves from the front of the case - accessed by removing the faceplate. While there are three drives now, a forth can easily be added as its shelf will already be wired for action. The idea behind the design was to create clean, "floating" shelves that were flush with the back edge of the existing TJ07 drive structure and helped balance the build. SSDs are so tiny, I thought it would be interesting to create a mount design that added a bit of substance without being too monolithic. There's more behind the concept and I'll discuss it further when the build is complete. While the drive "sled" mounting design is a bit complex, the reason for doing so will be evident when the SSD mount's best feature is revealed in the near future. All I can say is it will be an illuminating experience. Ok, that was weak... Anyway, I'll wait till the build is complete to showcase the lighting feature.


A few pics fur yer viewing pleasure...

















Next up is the installation of the loaded motherboard tray and then the fittings above and below the sLight panel will be connected. Then its final wiring followed by filling and bleeding the loops - that's the bestest part! Once that's complete, I'll install the PSU and connect 'er up. Then it's time to hit that power button!


Loaded motherboard tray... ready for action!








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Old 3rd Aug 2009, 03:58   #16
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Chapter.16 –Vinyl Makes a Comeback

This build has definitely pushed me to my limits and now that the finish line is so close, I'm starting to get a bit emotional (for those that know me: even more than usual). I just connected the last fitting and I'll tell you - my thumbs are aching from forcing 3/8" ID Primochill Pro LRT tubing over 1/2" OD Bitspower fittings. Anyone who's done this knows how difficult it is. Well, this build has a whopping 29 such fittings! Anyway, it'll all be worth it in the end and even though my thumbnails will likely fall off, they'll grow back…

WORKLOG EDIT: Next time I’ll boil the water instead of just using hot water to soften the hose!


The loops are done. Unfortunately, the weather sucks outside today so pics will have to wait. There are still some finishing touches to complete but barring any major dramas, the build should be complete within a few days. There'll be a smallish update to the worklog later today... nothing too exciting - just a little something I did yesterday.

Life at murderbox isn’t all red carpet gala dinners or Celebrity Pro-Am Charity golf events, in fact – it’s none of that stuff. It’s more about late night trips to Home Depot; trying to find something that can be pounded or dremeled into something else. I think I know the location of every single item at Home Depot… not to mention those in a few other stores.

Anyway, in today’s installment of Project: Daniel’s murderbox, I’ll demonstrate a small yet important step in building a murderbox. Once again - it’s all about the little details!

Today I’ll prepare an optical drive.

We were very pleased to discover that Pioneer uses the same chassis for their top of the line, blu-ray burner as they do for the CD/DVD DVR-216 model – which is what fits the murderbox|murderMod faceplate. Availability was an issue here in Canada so Kirk graciously sent me one – thanks Kirk!








As you can see, the issue is all this beige plastic. The outer metal pieces can be powder coated but what to do with the portion of interior frame that’s visible from the back? The answer is to cover it with vinyl.





For this type of work, I choose matte finish over gloss– especially when covering surfaces that aren’t perfectly smooth or have imperfections.





Once the piece is cut and carefully placed on the surface, I push out any air bubbles. It’s best to do this before wrapping the vinyl around the edges.





Next, I’ll wrap the vinyl around the edges and use a smooth plastic tool to make sure it’s properly stuck to the sides. Consider where the external casing will go and make sure the vinyl will be well behind it and not just at the edge.








Once that’s finished, it’s time to carefully cut away the excess vinyl. Sorry, no action shots here... needed both hands!





It’s great when you have powder coated pieces ready to go – in this case I’ll use parts from another drive to save time.





Make sure you stick this thing back inside. I have no idea what it does but it’s probably needed. I mean why else would it be there?





Now I’ll screw it all back together. Unfortunately, the drive comes with yucky silver screws but guess what… guess which black screws also fit? That’s right – the screws that come with a Hammond box! I mean – what can’t the Hammond box do?








Now that it’s all back together, let’s have a look…





There’s still some plastic visible up inside there but that won’t be seen when the drive is installed. The important thing was to cover the back which has now been done.

… and that back edge…





Very nice…





The drive is now ready for active duty!


Ok, if you made it through that, here are a few WIP pics with the internals installed…














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Old 3rd Aug 2009, 03:58   #17
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Chapter.17 – All Done & A Few Words of Appreciation

Daniel's murderbox is finished.

While the following photos mark the conclusion of this project, they represent not simply the work of one person, but the collaboration and contributions of many – most of whom I’ll attempt to pay tribute to by name. First and foremost is Daniel Secrieru. Daniel challenged me as a craftsman, and more importantly, as an Artist. Thank you Daniel; your fantastic attitude and infinite patience made this possible. I hope you enjoy your machine and while doing so, know that nothing was left on the workbench… you got everything that was within my capability to deliver. So much so in fact, I have no idea how I’m going to top this… but as always, I look forward to the challenge.

Nils Papke (Dualbrain) – Nils pushes me to be my best – pure and simple. Thank you Nils!

Kirk Olson (BlueAqua) - Kirk has been a massive contributor and my “level-headed” associate – always the voice of calm and reason. Thank you Kirk!

Billy T, Zenon C, Linus S, Ross F, Scott S, Cameron S, Daniel B, Rocky S, James G, Shaun G, Jesse P, Simon B, Jason M, Greg M, Len C, Damon D, Chris M, Ernie, Robert, Lloyd, Peter J, Ron, Sean K, Bruce, Allan H, Sharon D, Par, and of course, my wife Linda. These are more than names – these people are my lifeline and without them, this machine would simply never have happened. Thank you guys – I’m forever indebted.

Now on behalf of everyone involved - I’m very pleased to present, Daniel’s murderbox - Cheers.
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Old 3rd Aug 2009, 03:59   #18
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Chapter.18 – Final Build Images






























































































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Old 3rd Aug 2009, 03:59   #19
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Chapter.19 – Crate That Sucker Up!

Whelp, the machine is now out of my hands… bit of a bitter sweet moment really.

The crate is on its way to the Vancouver Airport as we speak and will be flying out, direct to Frankfurt Saturday. From there, it will clear customs through the broker and be delivered to Daniel on Tuesday. That’s the plan anyway.

I’ve done everything in my power to assure that the machine arrives intact and ready to run. I’ve even gone to the lengths of soliciting the help of special celebrity… more on that later. I will showcase the crate process and forgo the packing of the machine within its case - I will let Daniel explain that from his end. I will say that it will likely take him a few hours to get all the material out… sorry Daniel… better to be safe than sorry my friend!

Ohtay, here we go… with the phenomenal help from Scott at Denbigh Design, I’m sitting here as confident as a person can be under the circumstances. I may get even some sleep this weekend. Scott answered all fifty thousand of my questions and is without question an absolute PRO – thank you Scott!


Daniel, meet your new murderCrate ~










The soft foam will slide out for easy removal of the inner box.




The murderCrate has handles built in but is intended to be moved by forklift/palate cart. The thing weighs a ton. The handles are really on there for convenience in shifting the crate into position.


Oh, who’s this now… Zen Frog - is that you? Where do you think you’re going?





Yes, of course… you must go to ensure safe transport of Daniel’s machine. Sit tight now, we will make a spot for you later.




“I’m the King of the World…” Oh boy, I’ve freakin’ lost it.


Let’s get back to business…





Here, Scott and Luke do final preparations on the inner box.


Next, it’s time to load the box into the crate.










Perfect fit!


“What’s that” say’s Luke; "a space for what?"

“A Lucky Zen Frog” I says... “he’s gotta go to make sure the machine arrives safely”.

“Uhh… ok…” say’s Luke as he slowly backs away...








“Make sure you cut it deep enough… we don’t want his face chaffing on the lid”





That’s the stuff!




“Take good care if it Lucky Zen Frog!” Ok, that was too much.


Now it’s time to seal ‘er up!








…and some sanding of the corners to reduce drag…





Presto! Uno murderCrate!





This is cool - it’s a shock sensor. Don’t know what we do if it’s triggered really but I like the idea. Perhaps someone should make one that in the event someone drops the crate and sets it off, a stink cloud is released and gasses the dood what dropped the thing. I know… dumb.








Next stop, Frankfurt Germany!
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Old 3rd Aug 2009, 04:00   #20
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Chapter.20 – Final Words & Full Breakdown (not mine thankfully!)

Well, now I can finally exhale… Daniel received his machine and it’s in one piece and working!

I’m so relieved that the machine is finally safe in its new home. It’s been an awesome journey these past months – Daniel, I thank you for your faith in me and I’m so pleased to hear you’re happy with your murderbox. Without question, a big part of me is in that machine and I will have a hard time letting go, but I know she’s in good hands and will hopefully be enjoyed for years to come. I thank you for the opportunity to create this machine and also for bringing out the best in me.


WORKLOG EDIT: I hope some find this build summary useful – I’ve been inspired, not just by the amazing work I’ve seen here over the years, but also by the enthusiasm of those choosing to share their work others. I plan to relax during August and hopefully take some time to work on new designs. I look forward to creating my next worklog here… don’t worry though – it won’t all be crammed up in one page!

Cheers All.



Parts/Components

Silverstone TJ07B w/o window
Asus P6T6 WS Revolution Motherboard
Intel Core i7 Extreme Edition 975 CPU
EVGA GTX285 GPU – x2
Intel X25-M 160GB SSD – x3
Kingston HyperX DDR3 12GB
Silverstone Strider 1200W PSU
Pioneer BDR-203BKS Blu-Ray DVD Burner
Feser One X-Changer Quad 480
Feser One X-Changer 120
Swiftech MCP355 Pumps – x2
EK-DDC X-Top Rev 2 – x2
EK-Supreme LT CPU Block /Plexi+Copper (Nickel Plated)
MIPS Chipset/Mosfet Freezer POM (Nickel Plated)
EK-FC285 GTX GPU Blocks /Plexi+Nickel – x2
EK-Multioption Res 150 – x2
Primochill Pro LRT Black 3/8” ID 5/8” OD
Primochill Pro LRT Clear 3/8” ID 5/8” OD
Sythe S-Flex SFF21G 120mm fans – x4
BSP G1/4" Triple Rotary 90 Degree Barb Fittings – x4
BSP G1/4" Triple Rotary 90 Degree Male to Female – x3
BSP G1/4" Rotary 45 Degree Fittings – x3
BSP G1/4" - 1/2" High Flow Fittings – x22
BSP G1/4" Stop Fittings – x6
BSP G1/4" Thermal Probes – x2
BSP G1/4" "T" Fitting – x1
BSP G/4" - 1" D-Plug Set – x1
AC Aquaero 4.00 USB Thermal Controller
Matrix Orbital PLED MX-2 Displays – x3
I-ROCKS IR-4660 7-Port USB hub
MDPC-X Sleeving & Heatshrink
Feser One UV Blue Coolant


Custom Stuff

murderMod TJ07
PLED mount & façade
Aquaero faceplate/mount
Midplate sLight panel
SSD mount structure w/ illumination
Side panel window cuts
Res holders
Light switches mount

Last edited by charles_h; 3rd Aug 2009 at 05:24.
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