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Old 25th Apr 2011, 19:53   #1
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Metaversa 2.0: Even More Messing about with concepts...

Metaversa 01 has been a good workhorse, able to keep up with the best of current machines, but in some respects it is showing its age. It is time to start thinking of a new build... and a new modding project.

My inspiration has been anything from Confederate Motorcycles to antique microscopes, to Babbage's Difference Engine to anything that is Victorian scientific engineering. 'Cause I like the look of Steampunk, see?

Another inspiration has been my passively cooled HTPC. There is something really cool (pardon the pun) about switching on a PC and hearing... nothing. Just a power LED and some subtle chittering of the hard disk to indicate its heart beat. Silence is golden, so I have been wondering if it is possible to design a capable system around the Alphacool Cape Cora passive radiator system. Tricky, because a decent array is huge and would dominate the design of the case.

The problem has been to design something that works (obviously), looks fairly elegant and can be fairly easily manufactured from brass and aluminium. This is not as easy as it seems... some rules have to be obeyed. The reservoir needs to be at the highest point in the loop, the pump as low as possible. Weight distribution needs to be even --a beefy PSU weighs about 2kg at least, but so does a Cape Cora radiator filled with 2+ litres of fluid.

Another consideration was that I want to get away from the same old square box. Problem is: most PC components are designed to fit in square boxes. Not only that, but in specific locations and orientations in those square boxes. You see the problem...

The most important consideration is: aesthetics. Metaversa 01 was a long time ago, when 12V pumps for PC watercooling did not yet exist (I improvised with a car booster pump) and, well, my humble attempts with aluminium shrouds and GPU support brackets still impressed. The project logs I see on Bit-Tech nowadays blow my old mod clean out of the water. Modding has become a lot more sophisticated and the quality of the work has been raised sky-high... I would have to pull something mega-awesome out of the hat to compete...

With that in mind, this is what I came up with messing about in SketchUp so far...

Design 1:



Nice idea, but no good spot for the reservoir. Weight distribution would also be uneven.

Design 2:



I like this one, but it would be huge. The pump is in the bottom of the reservoir. The HDDs at the back of the mobo have a clever self-clamping mechanism. However it is getting a bit complicated to build...

Design 3:



Inspired by Carlo Bugatti's furniture (seriously, have a look at his stuff!). The mobo tray (not modelled here) would tilt forward on a big circular hinge (which at the back houses the pump, at the front would house the panel with power button, indicators etc.) to allow access to the connectors at the top. Still, not quite what I was looking for.

Design 4:





This is the current state of play... Metaversa 02 Cathedral "Camille". I quite like this design but although most parts consist of simple aluminium tubing (with some brass milled collars) and flat laser-cut aluminium parts, there are a few parts that would need CNC'ing, particularly the curved legs, the reservoir clamps at the top and the brass reservoir end caps. Not something I could do myself, and I can see the manufacturing costs mount... still, I may explore this idea a bit further.

What do y'all think? Would it work? Would it not work? Is it just plain ugly? Those of you who have l33t CNC and milling/lathing skills, do you spot anything that would be a nightmare (or very expensive) to produce? Your thoughts and considerations are eagerly solicited.
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Last edited by Nexxo; 10th Nov 2013 at 13:02.
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Old 25th Apr 2011, 20:12   #2
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I like the centralized look of the res as in the 2nd design, but overall the 4th design looks to be the most pleasing. I especially like the look of the legs!

What I find particularly appealing is the color contrast between the brass and white-painted aluminum in the render. I don't think you'll be able to achieve the same effect with brushed or even polished alum.

I'm not a machinist, but nothing in your proposed build looks impossible to fabricate.
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Old 25th Apr 2011, 20:16   #3
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Why not take the side arm in 2 and extend it to make part of the legs?

EDIT:
or extend the scroll in 3 to form a foot?
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Old 25th Apr 2011, 20:22   #4
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I liked 2. It looks quite interesting...
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Old 25th Apr 2011, 20:22   #5
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I like the elegant scroll shape in design 3 but I don't think it relates to the rest base of the design particulary well. Myself I would maybe continue designing 3 some more however how they are now I agree with above 4 looks the best.
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Old 25th Apr 2011, 20:49   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo View Post
With that in mind, this is what I came up with messing about in SketchUp so far...
you call that messing about?! your design is a masterpiece! i cant wait to see it underway!
btw personally i like the 3rd design, but as Archtronics said, the base would have to be redesigned a bit.
respect man, nothing more to say.
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Old 25th Apr 2011, 21:17   #7
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Brass, wood and leather would work very well, you know. As well as not be as expensive to produce.

Besides, you should anodize those radiators to look brass. It'll look badass.
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Old 25th Apr 2011, 21:35   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexxo View Post
What do y'all think?
GODLY!!

You may have just re-booted my design thinking too. I've been working along the 'simplify and cheapen' route so much lately that it's killing my mojo. Feel free to build ALL of them.

As far as seeing problems... I'd need to see more details first. Routing and assembly are usually where the trouble comes up.
4 looks the hardest to mill. It has a lot of parts that would need to be flipped and custom mounting made just to cut it.
3 is the simplest at a glance, but boring holes on the inside of the curved frame will make most machinists 'splode.
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Old 25th Apr 2011, 23:31   #9
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very interesting, i really like the 2nd and 4th !
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Old 25th Apr 2011, 23:46   #10
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Build em ALL ! I need to spend some more cycles on this thread. Awesome thinking going on here.

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Old 26th Apr 2011, 10:27   #11
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ouaouh great design on 2 !!
for me, the design N2 let me thinking about a motor.

i love it
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Old 26th Apr 2011, 11:13   #12
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I like the second one. anyway, this is deadly steam punk and I'm lovin' it . Great job
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Old 26th Apr 2011, 11:45   #13
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Old 26th Apr 2011, 13:16   #14
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Not a fan of steampunk but these do look tasty! Kudos for great SU technique. I can see a thousand pounds or more, worth of milling for any of those designs. Unless of coarse you've used some standard tubing etc. Can I book a front row seat for the show?
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Old 26th Apr 2011, 15:55   #15
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Thank you all for your comments. Design 3 indeed needed some work on the base. The problem was that I could not see how to continue the curve without it interfering with the PSU. Design 2 was abandoned because it was quickly becoming complicated to build --lots of complex parts that would drive the price up...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheapskate View Post
4 looks the hardest to mill. It has a lot of parts that would need to be flipped and custom mounting made just to cut it.
3 is the simplest at a glance, but boring holes on the inside of the curved frame will make most machinists 'splode.
4 has only 12 parts that would need CNC'ing as such, and all of them are repeats. Really there are only five different shapes, four of which need to be made twice and one four times.

The rest is standard 3/4" diameter aluminium rod that needs a bit of lathing at the ends and twelve 2D shapes that can be cut from 5mm aluminium sheet (and six from 10mm thick aluminium). There are also 12 identical brass collars and some brass rings which are not very complicated. I'll do a sketchup of all the parts laid out soon.

Quote:
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Not a fan of steampunk but these do look tasty! Kudos for great SU technique. I can see a thousand pounds or more, worth of milling for any of those designs. Unless of coarse you've used some standard tubing etc. Can I book a front row seat for the show?
Yeah, I think it is going to be in that price range too...

And of course you, Atilla, can have the royal box! I'm not worthy, I'm not worthy...
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Old 26th Apr 2011, 17:54   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KayinBlack View Post
Brass, wood and leather would work very well, you know. As well as not be as expensive to produce.

Besides, you should anodize those radiators to look brass. It'll look badass.
I've been playing in my head with some wooden box designs. Nothing that looks as good as project Quitessence though.

Agreed on the radiator. They come in silver or black. I wonder if silver anodised aluminium could be re-anodised in brass/gold.
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Old 26th Apr 2011, 18:28   #17
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Old 26th Apr 2011, 19:07   #18
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Quote:
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Agreed on the radiator. They come in silver or black. I wonder if silver anodised aluminium could be re-anodised in brass/gold.
A good bath of lye to remove the anodize, then a new coat of anodize, then a proper dye and finally sealing. If the alu is thick enough the anodize can be taken off. The dye should not penetrate beneath the alu-oxide.
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Old 26th Apr 2011, 19:28   #19
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Wood (Ebony or hazelnut) and brass would be lovely. There's also good paint with corroded metal aspect (brass, copper, bronze...)
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Old 26th Apr 2011, 19:29   #20
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CHRIST MAN! Any of those would look great, design 4 catches my eye more though.
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