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Scratch Build - In Progress ⭐ Aluminium and Carbon Fibre from scratch.

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by andyja, 27 Mar 2018.

  1. andyja

    andyja Member

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    Here is my custom build from scratch enclosure project. I started this project in June 2017 because I wanted a case that could take a full size ATX motherboard, power supply and full size graphics cards. However with no 5 1/4 drives, optical drives or water cooling to keep it small, light weight and quiet. Since a case that met these requirements did not exist I decided to design and build my own.

    Prototype 1

    CAD model.
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    Rendering in Keyshot. This one had three front fans but I decided to go with two since I was limited by the number of motherboard fan headers. I decided early on to try to use carbon fibre sides.
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    The aluminium panels 2.0 mm thick 6082 T6. This is a hardened grade it gives a nice machining finish but is challenging to bend without cracking. I have a StoneyCNC JBEC router and use a 3.5 mm diameter cutter since this gave me the best bending results by cutting recess at the fold lines. Due to the inclusion of the rear perf it takes about 8 hours to run a full set of parts.
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    The corner extrusions from 1" square aluminium bar stock. I install M3 Tappex Inserts at the screw points. These take two days to machine a set of four parts.
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    Next Step was to bend the front, rear and chassis sheet metal parts. I use a magnetic box pan folder for this.
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    Install PEM Standoffs using a 3 ton manual press. These are M3 concealed standoffs so they are not visible from the outside of the enclosure.
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    Machine cast acrylic front cover panel and trim with vents. The trim is made from two pieces of glued together. One is 10 mm thick and one is 15 mm.
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    Assemble to do fit check.
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    Front panel PCB from Alibaba.
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    Install components for more fit checking.
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    Overall I was happy with the stiffness of this prototype but I was not happy with the fit of the parts. Some gaps were close to 1 mm in places. On examination the parts were slightly trapezoidal. My theory is that the pink expanded polystyrene sacrificial foam I was using was under the sheet metal during CNC was deforming slightly. Since the cutter runs in different directions along each edge it was making the parts about 0.5 mm out of shape. I decided to make a new prototype and correct this issue by using a solid plastic sheet as my sacrificial layer.

    Additional changes for next proto
    Front and rear parts would not have a reverse bend in the corners this would reduce machining setup and make the parts higher tolerance.
    Reduced number of screws and standoffs.
    Changed to M4 Tappex Inserts in the extrusions as I kept breaking the installation tool for the M3 parts.
    Add more space behind the main chassis for cable routing.

    Prototype 2 started Jan 2018
    Making a new set of sheet metal parts. Eliminated the trapezoidal problems with Proto1.
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    After some bending.
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    At this point I decided to remake the front panel and move up the front fans to be centred.

    First assembly fit check.
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    The door panels are slightly bowed in this picture because they do not have the aluminium extrusion stiffening parts installed yet.
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    I was really happy with the fit of all these parts so I took them for powder coating. I was thinking of doing black but when I visited and saw this nice dark grey with metal fleck I changed my mind and went with it.
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    The feet were some I had lying around from a previous project. I will have to get them modified to add a recess for a rubber pad.
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    This door now has the stiffening parts installed.
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    Cable grommets from Alibaba
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    Machined carbon fibre sides. For this I had to build a shallow water bath to keep the dust out of the air. I also used a cutter designed for composites and fixed the CF down by using some strong double sided tape. This meant I had to use IPA to loosen it after the machining was done.
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    The CF panels fit really nicely and make the whole enclosure even stiffer and lighter.
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    The front panel is held in by ball detents.
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    Here is a video of


    I have been building a website that allows you to configure 3D models of an enclosure as I am planning to make these. Please check it out I welcome any feedback from this community.

    www.pcdesignfoundry.com

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. _Prometheus_

    _Prometheus_ Active Member

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    :jawdrop:Oh my god! :thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb::thumb:
     
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  3. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    Lovely work. Your mill setup is pretty awesome too.
     
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  4. andyja

    andyja Member

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    I'm not really happy with the power button so I think I will remake it. The icon it too thick (2 mm wide) and letting too much light through. I will need to get a smaller cutter though.
    Also I need to engrave some icons for the audio In and Out. I will leave the USB icon off as everyone know what it is.

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  5. _Prometheus_

    _Prometheus_ Active Member

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    Very nice work... :dremel: very nice...:dremel: very :dremel:
     
  6. 23RO_UK

    23RO_UK Hasta Mañana

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    I'm liking what I see here, food for thought for sure... :grin: :thumb:
     
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  7. andyja

    andyja Member

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    Here is a new power button.

    Made from 5 mm thick clear cast acrylic. Painted with primer both sides then a black top coat on the front side. Machined with a 2 mm router bit to cut out the button shape. A recess on the back to align it to the switch on the front panel board.

    There was too much light bleed through on the old button. So I used an engraving bit to get the icon to be 0.5 mm wide by 0.5 mm deep. Looks much better now.

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    Next task is to remake the front cover to allow more air to the front fans and change the look to show two glowing rings where the fans are.
     
  8. andyja

    andyja Member

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    Here is a new front panel I machined and mostly updated internal components.

    CPU: Intel Core i7 8700K
    Motherboard: ASUS ROG STRIX Z370-E
    Cooler: be quiet Dark Rock Pro 3
    Memory: 16GB (2x8GB) Corsair DDR4 Vengeance LPX Black, PC4-19200 (2400)
    M.2 SSD: Samsung 250GB 960 Evo PCIe NVMe
    GPU: ASUS STRIX GTX980 4G DirCU2 OC
    PSU: Seasonic PRIME Ultra 850W 80+ Platinum Power Supply

    Fans
    1x Corsair 120mm ML Series ML120
    2x Corsair 140mm ML Series ML140 Pro LED White



    The front Panel has recesses on the rear at the edges to allow air flow in through the whole of the 2 mm reveal perimeter. There is now only a 1c rise in GPU temp and no CPU temp change running 3DMark with the front panel installed.
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    Front Panel has two thin rings machined to match the front fans.
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    Using a uniform light source the rings are really nice.
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    Once installed the rings are not quite so bright and uniform. They change depending on the viewpoint since the fans are not uniform brightness.
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    I have added an LED strip and made a diffuser for the rear IO area. It sits inside the enclosure since the sidewall of the IO area is clear acrylic. This just makes it so much easier to plug in cables. I think ASUS could do a better job of aligning some of the connectors to the cutouts in their own motherboard fence!
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    I have added some acoustic foam to the inside of the carbon fibre door panels.
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    New CPU, motherboard, M.2 drive and PSU installed. I'll hold on on new GPU for a while as the GTX980 does what I need for now. I have done some work to tidy the cables but I am thinking of doing my own sleeving as the final update.

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  9. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    Love the light effects.
     
  10. 23RO_UK

    23RO_UK Hasta Mañana

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    Now that I like, ALOT :thumb: :grin:

    You have the option of rounded edges on your site to don't you?
     
  11. kim

    kim Active Member

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    very nice case, simple and classy :thumb:
     
  12. andyja

    andyja Member

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    Yes. I can make the corner extrusions with large 18 mm rounds instead of the chamfers. Rendering below.
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    I machine it in two passes. First pass is a 6 mm end mill then using a 6 mm ball nose cutter to do a finishing pass. Here is a test part.
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    Started with a 1" square section. Added 18 mm radius. Cut the ends off with chop saw.
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    After a bit of sanding and painting.
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    My plan is to get the extrusions tooled to save a huge amount of machining time if I ever need to make larger volume.

    Teaching myself to code X3D. ASP.NET and JavaScript to make the 3D site actually took more time than making the enclosure.
     
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  13. 23RO_UK

    23RO_UK Hasta Mañana

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    Thank you for that ^^^ much appreciated :thumb:

    More food for thought :naughty:
     
  14. DÈF¥âÑt¸.·´¯`¤

    DÈF¥âÑt¸.·´¯`¤ Active Member

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    Look out Parvum! here comes andy :thumb:
     
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  15. cobalt6700

    cobalt6700 Active Member

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    :jawdrop:

    Dude that is some seriously nice work!
     
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