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Old 15th May 2013, 12:43   #1
Ocelot
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Unnamed Aluminium mITX Scratch Build - Update 12 May 20

Hey everyone, today I'm starting my first work log. This is also my first scratch build and the first time that I'll be using proper water cooling. I've done some minor mods before but this is a completely different level for me.

Initially The idea was to make the smallest water cooled mITX case possible without compromising performance. However during the design process I decided that if I was going to do water cooling I might as well do it properly. So the design I eventually arrived at is more mid-tower sized but with cooling equipment that probably wouldn't fit in the average mid tower.

Here's a screen shot of what it hopefully will look like at some point aside from a number of details that I'll might change during the build process.



Case material will mostly be 1.5mm and 3mm aluminium sheet metal and acrylic for the window. The bent sheet metal parts will be joined with rivets, rivet nuts and screws.

Cooling will be handled by one 3x120mm and one 2x120mm Aquacomputer AMS radiators one of which will have an integrated Laing D5 pump. The only vents are located on the bottom and top.



The case has a few fairly unique features such as a graphics cards that will be mounted parallel to the motherboard and connected via a PCI-E ribbon cable. This will hopefully make it less of an obstacle to the air being pushed upwards from the radiator below it. Also I always find it unfortunate that in the traditional layout the water block is facing downwards and is hidden from view.
The PSU will be mounted in the top right corner of the case, venting upwards and connected internally to a socket in the back of the case.
All sources of vibration will also be mounted with special rubber grommets that work like rivet nuts.



Here are some more screen shots.







A number of parts are already done and I will be posting my progress here shortly.

I would appreciate any feedback on both the case and the log negative as well as positive. Things like should I post more or less pics for each step, or more or less text and so on...

Anyways, Thanks for checking out my thread and I hope this will be interesting to you.

Last edited by Ocelot; 20th May 2014 at 17:24.
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Old 15th May 2013, 15:30   #2
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Update 1

Before I started making the parts I asked Waynio how he transferred his drawings onto sheet metal and he said he used printable adhesive sheets. For some reason I wasn't even aware there was such a thing. I copied his technique and it turns out it works really well. I'm pretty sure everything would have been much less precise if I had drawn everything on by hand. So, thanks to Waynio!

Unfortunately, having the drawings printed onto A2 or even bigger adhesive sheets was not an option since print shops seem to have minimum order quantities of 100 or more per drawing.

So I ended up joining together A4 sheets that I printed out with the Adobe Readers poster feature. Which worked better than I expected.



Once I had the drawing in the right position I fixed it in place with some tape, turned it over, removed the protective cover and carefully turned it over again.

I then cut it out with a jigsaw on a guide rail.



Drilling pilot holes for all the cutouts.



More jigsaw action. This time free hand.





Into the bend brake...



...and done.



The process was then repeated for the second part using highly advanced paint bucket based stabilization technology.









I was pretty happy with the result at first but then I did some measuring to see how far off I was from the intended dimensions. Unfortunately on both parts the flanges and the distances between the flanges were consistently about 2mm to big. Two millimeters isn't that much of course but because I also measured before bending I knew that the source of the error wasn't in the manufacturing but in the planning. I also didn't like the idea of having to adjust every new part to these two. That seemed like a good way to run into trouble further down the line.

It turned out that the source of the error was the bend radius and bend deduction. When I tested the bend radius my new bend brake produced, I used small strips of sheet metal which resulted in a bend radius of approximately 1.6mm. The problem is that when you bend bigger pieces the brake itself flexes so much that the resulting bend radius is more like 3.5mm on the edges and 4mm in the middle. I adjusted my bend deduction accordingly and redid those two parts. I was very relieved to see that the dimensions where almost prefect the second time.

More updates coming soon.
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Old 15th May 2013, 15:42   #3
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Nice work so far man. I like that it's an aluminum scratch built by hand
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Old 15th May 2013, 16:36   #4
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Quote:
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Nice work so far man. I like that it's an aluminum scratch built by hand
Same here, since I like aluminum as a construction material I'm really interested to see how this will progress.

Keep up the good work!
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Old 15th May 2013, 21:49   #5
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Nice start. Will be watching this one. Good job.
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Old 15th May 2013, 22:36   #6
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Note to self: Get printable adhesive sheets!

Looking good so far What type of brake do you have?
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Old 16th May 2013, 08:53   #7
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Thanks everyone for commenting!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Meelobee View Post
What type of brake do you have?
I use this one:



A good thing about it is that it's designed to be used in a vise so it doesn't take up a lot of space. I think there are three versions of it 450mm, 630mm and 1000mm. I got the 630mm version from ebay for about a hundred EUR.

It's easy to underestimate the kind of forces that are at work when bending. Even though this one feels quite solid it still flexes more than I would like it to and I have to correct most bends manually with the vise.

Next update coming later today btw.

Last edited by Ocelot; 16th May 2013 at 09:25.
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Old 16th May 2013, 11:45   #8
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Update 2

The next part I worked on is the inner of the two panels that are going to form the top of the case. The two cutouts are for the 240mm radiator and the PSU.



I can't use the guide rail for the cutouts because the pilot holes don't allow me to position the blade correctly, so I cut them out free hand leaving a little space that I later remove with the file.









In this picture you can see how the flange kind of bulges to the outside. Also on the edges I went a little over 90 degrees. This can be corrected later with the vise though.



Learning from past mistakes, I didn't just make the rivet holes all at once but first in on part and then traced them onto the second.



Luckily, the mess in the workshop isn't the only thing that's continuing to grow.



Made this little bending thingy for the small flanges. It didn't work very well though. The hinges are made from some extremely soft steel. Forgot to take pictures while using it too.
As you will see in future updates I found a way to modify my actual bending brake for making bends like this.



Since my bending thingy was kind of a failure I had to hammer this flange into submission. I wasn't really worried about dents since this part won't be visible when assembled.



This one was the first part that turned out acceptable after the first try.



Thanks for reading and expect more updates soon.
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Old 16th May 2013, 16:03   #9
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Looks good thus far! Keep us updated!
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Old 16th May 2013, 17:24   #10
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You've got a great design there, loving the cable/tube management you've got built into it!
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Old 16th May 2013, 17:30   #11
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Really nice work on this Ocelot, you've set yourself quite a challenge doing the big 1 piece too, mad how much it varies on the bend radius for entry brakes, got it nicely accounted for though.

Mines terrible & varies along the full length of it so rarely use mine.
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Old 16th May 2013, 17:38   #12
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Scratch built aluminium case by hand...! man after my own heart! great work so far man, love the little micro brake!
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Old 16th May 2013, 17:46   #13
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Looking good, dude.
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Old 16th May 2013, 18:11   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WaRn00b™ View Post
Looks good thus far! Keep us updated!
Thanks, and I will.

Quote:
Originally Posted by biojellywobbles View Post
You've got a great design there, loving the cable/tube management you've got built into it!
Glad you like it. Good eye btw, I hope the routing works out as planned. I was honestly too lazy to model all the tubing and cables.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Waynio View Post
Really nice work on this Ocelot, you've set yourself quite a challenge doing the big 1 piece too, mad how much it varies on the bend radius for entry brakes, got it nicely accounted for though.

Mines terrible & varies along the full length of it so rarely use mine.
Thanks man. I know the brake seems kind of like a toy in comparison to professional ones but I'm actually pretty happy with the results now that i got the bend deduction worked out.

Also bending is one of the more fun part of the build imo. It's always interesting and surprising to see how much the overall rigidity improves after bending.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Editor22 View Post
Scratch built aluminium case by hand...! man after my own heart! great work so far man, love the little micro brake!
Thank you. Unfortunately mini-brake has been permanently retired but i liked the way it looked too.

Last edited by Ocelot; 16th May 2013 at 18:24.
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Old 17th May 2013, 07:42   #15
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This is frighteningly similar to my own SFF scratch build idea, only you've got one fewer GPU and 120 more rad space. I will be watching this with interest good sir, and look forward to seeing how it all turns out!
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Old 17th May 2013, 09:33   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBEG View Post
This is frighteningly similar to my own SFF scratch build idea, only you've got one fewer GPU and 120 more rad space. I will be watching this with interest good sir, and look forward to seeing how it all turns out!
That's interesting, at some point in the design process I was actually considering to make the case compatible with mATX and two GPUs too. I look forward to seeing your design. Will be interesting to see how similar it will be.
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Old 17th May 2013, 17:59   #17
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Update 3

Another update, another part. This time it's the bottom panel.



This one required a lot of marking.



I bought this 20mm hole saw for making the fan grill. When you use it right it makes really neat holes with almost a polished finish and very little burr. It seems to work best at low RPM and with ethanol as lubrication.



Time to cut out the slots. I cut inside the line and removed the excess material with the file. It's a lot of work but the result is better than doing everything with the saw.







Looks like it fits.





All that's left to do is to file the slots down to size.



I tried to make a bigger effort this time to avoid scratches by putting clear tape all over the adhesive paper and also on the back. Removing all the glue residue was a damn pain though. Ethanol does not work well at all. I was going to try acetone but I recently discovered that soaking the residue in WD-40 and then cleaning everything off with hand wash paste works really well.

That's it for this update. More to come soon.
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Old 18th May 2013, 19:51   #18
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Update 4

This update covers two parts, the front and the back panel. This is mainly because I got kind of lazy with my picture taking. Also I didn't make all the cutouts yet so both of these didn't take as long to make.



Drilling the front panel.



As I said, I got lazy with the picture taking.



As I was fitting the front panel, I noticed there were some dents in the bottom panel. Apparently I tightened the clamps to much. Oh well, at least I know what to look out for in order to avoid this when I make the top panel.



For the back panel I chose 3mm sheet metal because there is only one panel there and It has to support the weight of the graphics card by itself. I didn't realize though how massive 3mm feels in comparison. The cutouts for the graphics cards are just placeholders btw. I will probably need to make some sort of bracket for holding the card.




My bending brake is rated for aluminium sheets of up to 1.5mm but I figure that's for pieces that are close to the maximum width of the brake and the widest 3mm pieces I'll be bending are about a third of that. It seems that assumption was right but ~210mm wide parts are really the limit of this brake.
Oddly though the bend radius didn't increase with the 3mm material.



I had to take another millimeter or so off the bottom and motherboard panel but now it fits nicely.



That's it for now. The next update will come soon and be much more detailed.
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Old 18th May 2013, 21:20   #19
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Not bad !
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Old 19th May 2013, 10:37   #20
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That is awesome work.. Keep it up, looks really good.
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