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Scratch Build – In Progress Aperture Science HTPC Worklog - UPDATE 09.05.10

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by PapaRubbery, 2 May 2010.

  1. PapaRubbery

    PapaRubbery New Member

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    Hi my fellow modders!

    First up, this is first post on bit-tech. After lurking for months, I am finally in a position to actively contribute something to this very talented community. My name is Alex, I'm 20 and from Melbourne, Australia.

    This project is not my first attempt at modding per se (having put together computers for a while, and having done minor alterations - painting, cutting holes for cables, etc), but it is my first major project.

    I have my own small website ( www.circleofzinn.com ), so updates will be found there and amongst a couple of other forums I frequent. But enough of the formalities, onto the modding!

    [​IMG]

    About a year ago, I made the change from a E6200, 2GB RAM, 8800GT (starting to show it's age) gaming rig to a AMD 945, 4GB RAM, 275GTX for some extra power. Everything was running smoothly - so smoothly in fact, I considering selling off the old rig. But then the need for a media server overcame the family and the old girl now resides as a torrent box/home server for us. I ended up changing the 8800GT to a 4850 as we toyed with some light LAN gaming, and really needed the HDMI connection to the TV. Now that that has kind of died off, it's resumed it's place as a media server.

    However, a full tower chassis next to a TV is unsightly, loud, and really bloody big! So the goal of this project is to stealthy hide it amongst the Xbox360, Wii, Amp and DVD player. However, the cabinet has a lot of height restrictions - namely it won't accept anything taller than 130mm. Not a lot of area to play with - especially for a ATX motherboard, and full sized PSU! While I hope to get them all in such a restricted space, I have my doubts and may start the search for a SFX PSU and mATX motherboard sometime soon. But until then, progress - for the good of all of us (except the ones that are dead);

    [​IMG]

    What you can see above is the mounting plate for the back of the chassis. The MEDIA piece will wrap around a Lian Li motherboard tray I picked up on sale from PCCG here in Melbourne.

    Above that is the front panel - those Aperture Science logos are 120mm wide and look dead sexy with some blue LED 120mm Nexus fans behind them. They should draw sufficient airflow into the case, and are silent (always a plus when watching the quiet scenes of films to not have it ruined by WHUUUUUUURRRRRRRRRRR IM A FAN). The Aluminium angle is an idea I am toying with - to make an alu frame to really accentuate the timber and aluminium fusion that will be seen from the back panel.

    I am trying to use my CNC for as much of the work as possible, as then I can run it for an hour or so it let it cut, and continue on my merry way with other things, such as procrastinating about studying. Also, it makes a hell of a lot of noise, so working in the shed whilst it's running is damn near impossible, even with noise cancelling safety ear muffs. My poor neighbors!

    [​IMG]

    (Yes, I need a case for the CNC-computer - that's another mod for another day!)

    [​IMG]

    The above will act as the side panels and should be sufficient to vent out the heat. They were relatively simple to machine out of 12mm plywood, and as you can see, fit the Lian Li 80mm fan from the motherboard tray. For the more astute readers, they would have picked up on that meaning I bought two motherboard trays. In my defense; they were on sale and who can resist having another tray for build testing? Better to be sure nothing is dead on arrival before pouring hours into getting everything working and just right.

    [​IMG]

    Followed up by marking out some Aluminium angles to act as more aesthetic bracing to the front panel. These will wrap around the aforementioned panel. I draw the lines, then start with a hand file. That gives a sufficient grove for the Dremel to cut into and follow a straight line - at least that's the theory. The right angle is there because I'm pedantic, and a little crazy for ordered systems!

    [​IMG]

    As you can see from the rear of the panel - I've done a very messy job! However, this wont be seen, and the grooving was to allow me to get a dremel in to clean the CNC cuts. This front panel was the very first thing I cut on the CNC, and was cut from scrap panel. I could re-cut it and make it perfect, but even then it would lose all it's appeal. Sometimes things are better if they aren't perfect, yaknow? :D

    [​IMG]

    While sitting on Ebay looking for a bargain cheap scroll saw ($90AUD!) I happened to come across an auction that was ending in 20 minutes. After securing, paying, and having it sent the next day, the hard work of the seller and AusPost was undone by a delivery person (not my usual delivery man - he's a champion and wouldn't let this happen) dropping the box as I was coming to the door. The fracture on the neck renders this useless and the dent on the motor casing is really just aesthetic; but either way, I'm one tool less in my arsenal.

    Until next time; thanks for reading!
     
    Last edited: 9 May 2010
  2. PapaRubbery

    PapaRubbery New Member

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    Apologies for the delay. Had computer troubles - does anyone know how to get the Win7 they preload onto netbooks to recognise an XP network and Map network drives? I gave up in frustration last night, and that prevented me sending the pictures from the netbook to the server, then to my main computer to upload them and post. Argh!

    But onto the update;

    Between computer troubles, midsemesters for Uni, and work I've managed to progress pretty far since last update.

    [​IMG]

    A cleaned workbench is needed to lay out all the parts, and give me a sense of a fresh surface to work from. Really depressing coming into spare time to work on modding and spending the first twenty minutes cleaning up because I was too slack to since last time.

    [​IMG]

    The parts have been stained. As you can pretty clearly see the larger piece has been stained a different colour. I know, I was pissed off too. Turns out that although it was exactly the same brand, same name, same colour number, the newer bottle is much more diluted. So much for consistency. Doesn't really matter too much because it's not the roof. It's simply the floor. That will be face down onto the cabinet and won't be seen; so not all is lost. Still annoying - even though the colour is pretty nice!

    The timber used is just cheap plywood from Bunnings. Nothing special at all - as I don't really know exactly what I'm doing here, I didn't want to use a good expensive hardwood!

    [​IMG]

    As you can see - that's the butchered Lian Li removable motherboard tray that I mentioned earlier. Comes up pretty well, and importantly fits right perfectly (well, near enough!). The floor piece has had a few channels routed out to allow the motherboard to drop into it, and for the additional contact space to the sides. The front was almost held in by friction alone - so that's a good sign!

    [​IMG]

    That lip of Aluminium that surrounds the front panel and sticks out from the side panels by 5mm was a design feature to kind of show off the bracketing and tie in with the rest of the aluminium features at the back of the panel, and the switches on the front panel (soon to come).

    [​IMG]

    All I'll say about this piece of acrylic is that the holes line up with the motherboard mounting screw holes. To anyone that can guess it's purpose, they'll win, umm, ahhh, a drunken photo of yours truly?

    [​IMG]

    These vandal-resistant switches will sit at the front of the case - but I'm having real trouble with wiring them. Does anyone know a wiring diagram? I can get the LED's to wire up easy enough - but can't seem to work out which combination of the six pins I should wire the positive and negative leads to?

    [​IMG]

    This update has been proudly sponsored by Melbourne University and their branded water bottles. Just kidding! But seriously; we have branded water?!?

    Cheers,

    Alex
     
  3. gurboura

    gurboura TopLevel Computers

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    I'm liking where this is going.
     
  4. StEm

    StEm New Member

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    the back should be marked out, if not it is something like this.

    1..........4

    +..........-

    3..........2


    The + & - is for the LED and 1 & 2 are for the Power header on the mobo. As its a momentary switch you can connect the power either way around on the 1 & 2 poles.

    Hope that helps.
     
  5. sk8roy

    sk8roy Member

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    That switch looks just like the one I got for my mod. Does it have 8 connectors total? 2 on the outsides for the led and then 2 rows of three. The top row the first 2 pins is where the power switch leads will connect. as far as which is +/- if I remember right it didn't matter.

    --ooo-- Top row use the first 2
    o------o outer for led
    --ooo-- bottom row
     
  6. PapaRubbery

    PapaRubbery New Member

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    Thanks mate for your kind words. I hope I don't disappoint!

    StEm - thanks mate; but the layout is much more like sk8roy described.

    sk8roy - Yes 8 connectors. I'll try wiring up just the first two and see how we go! Thanks! I couldn't find wiring diagrams and it was driving me totally insane.

    I'm waiting on stock to arrive before I can get a Silverstone SG05/SG06 and take the PSU from it to power this. The 05/06 can be easily modded to accommodate an ATX PSU so I'm not too worried. More concerned about trying to get the PSU to fit nicely!

    Thanks again guys for your support; means a lot to hear positive feedback on my first mod.

    Cheers,

    Alex
     
  7. sk8roy

    sk8roy Member

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    anytime, when I got my switch like that I had the same problem. Hooked it up like Stem said because most diagrams I found were similiar to his suggestion, but as soon as I plugged the power cord in the PC kept turning on and off. Played with it a while before i found out the right combination...
     

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