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Scratch Build – Complete Deep Blue (formerly G-Frame) - Scratch Build (completed)

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by InsolentGnome, 29 Sep 2017.

  1. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Member

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    Well, the aluminum milling for the blades is done. As usual, it all went pretty smooth til the last piece and then it went to ca-ca.

    My method involved clamping the material down, milling the inside, and then moving the clamps to the inside so I could mill the outside. I usually try to catch it when it's knocking out the holes for the threaded rod so it wouldn't run over the clamps when it started on the outside edge. Did that, turned around and started sweeping the shop and then a horrible grinding sound. Uh oh.

    Well I managed to forget about the tray area where I've got some holes to attach mod blocks. I totally put the router through one and was in time to watch the collet nut turning orange from grinding against an adjustment bolt on the clamp. Whoops!

    Luckily the inside was done so I could line it up with it's twin blade and cut the exterior by hand and file it to match. In order to hold it and put it somewhere I could work on it, I had to get creative.

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    But the results were worth the effort.

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    They're so good, that now I think I need to do the rest of the pairs like this. Dang!

    But with the last aluminum blade finished, I can piece it together and start to get an idea of what I'm working with.

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    I like how the differences in the blades give it a profile. All these straight, flat pieces, but still it's got some shape.

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    And as far as size...well...it's huge. I've got a Meshify C I'm working on, which is a pretty compact mid tower, and here's the comparison shot. If the tray area wasn't there, the Fractal would fit inside it.

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    And width-wise, well, it's gonna grow. I've got another inch of acrylic panels to add in plus whatever the veneer will add. I might have to clear off a little more desk space by the time this thing is done.
     
  2. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Member

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    So I got my veneer in...

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    I love the look of it, now just to get it put onto the panels.

    First order of business, get it cut down into a manageable size.

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    Roughly 2'x2' sheets, separated to keep things matched up right. Don't want to flip a piece and have it look totally different from the rest.

    I set up a form so that I could keep things square, but as per my usual, I didn't cut the veneer perfectly square, so I basically used the form as a straight edge.

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    This go around with veneer I decided to try the applied PSA backing rather than a glue. I have had good luck Heat-Lock, a heat setting glue, but since I don't have any bends to work around and worry about popping up, I thought this might simplify the process. It made the whole job incredibly simple.

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    Once the veneer was applied, just flip the panel over and trim off the excess.

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    I used razor knife to cut the veneer which isn't really a good choice but I didn't really see a good way to use a veneer saw on the inside corners. It makes for a rough cut from the back side so the edges, well, need some love. The plan is to go back and peel a few mm of veneer from the edge to give it an aluminum border. That should clean up the edge and give it a bit of style. It also takes care of the sandwiched look on the edges.

    Before applying the veneer to the opposite side, I had to make sure to punch my holes through the veneer. I did this by taking a 1/16" bit and poking a pilot from the back, then using the correct size from the front to keep from blowing out the veneer. A little cleanup with an exacto knife and it'll be serviceable. Also, you can see a bit of the chipping on the edges that occured because of cutting from the back with a razor knife in this pic.

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    And, as usual, I couldn't not put it back together to get a look at the transformation the veneer gave the case.

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    I'm still planning on dying it once I play around and find the color I want, but even naked, I love it.

    Thanks for following along! [​IMG]
     
    neSSa likes this.
  3. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    I'm guessing cutting was a single pass on a semi-soft surface? (Not a veneer expert, but I'm a veneer panel-splicing machine.:lol:)
     
  4. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Member

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    From the face side, 5 or 6 moderate pressure passes gave a nice cut. From the back, nothing really worked great. Couple of hard passes with a sharp blade gave the same results as multiple easy passes. Made the cuts on a cardboard surface, though looking back, a harder surface would have probably been better for the cuts from the back side. Pinch the veneer between the blade and the surface so that it can't chip. Too late now but I'll try it when cutting up some pieces for dying. I'm curious now.
     
  5. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Member

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    Cut some more of the veneer on a hard surface, that was totally the way I should have done it. Nice clean cuts with a razor knife. But oh well, on with the update.

    With the veneer on, it's time to figure out what I'm actually going to do with the veneer as far as a finish. From what I've read, tinting dyes really bring out the chatoyance, or the shimmer that you see in this maple that is perpendicular to the grain. So let's try out some dyes.

    Cut up some scraps of the veneer to try out a few colors and combinations.

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    When I ordered the veneer, I also picked up a few colors of dye that I thought might be interesting: coffee brown, vintage maple, black and blue.

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    I mixed up some batches, thinning the dye 1/2 oz to 14 oz of alcohol. That's pretty close to the recommended ratio of 1 oz to a quart. I'm using alcohol in the hopes that it dries quick enough not to pop up the grain of the veneer.

    1st pass. Basically wipe the dye on, wipe off the excess. The color is there, but there's still a lot of natural maple color showing.

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    Second pass. Now it's starting to look like something. Every pass, the grain picks up a bit more dye so the colors begin to pop.

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    For clarification, clockwise starting at the top, black, vintage maple, coffee brown, blue. The blue and black are pretty obvious, but my scrawls of the names on the browns aren't that clear. You'll notice I'm keeping track of the coats as well. I want to get shots of the process so that if at a later date I'm looking for a certain color or look, I can replicate it.

    3rd pass on the main colors, decided to try a couple of combinations. The new combos are different passes with different dyes. So the new blue combo is a blue pass, followed by a black. The one below it is a coffee pass, followed by a vintage maple pass, then another coffee pass.

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    To show the variation you can get with different passes, let's pick on the blues for a sec.

    One pass with blue.

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    3 passes with blue

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    5 passes of blue. I think you sort of hit a wall of what the veneer can take in at 3 to 4 passes.

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    Blue pass then a black pass.

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    Blue pass, then black, then 2 more blue passes.

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    I think the addition of the extra blues on that last one is really interesting because, not only did the last 2 passes add blue, but wiping the excess of those passes also picks up a bit of the black. So it's not as dark overall, but the figure(the cross grain pattern) held onto the black, making it really stand out vs a blue only piece.

    I also did similar black combinations with the coffee and the vintage maple, starting with black, then 2 passes of the color and the effects were very nice. I makes the colors sort of moody.

    Black plus coffee.

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    Black plus vintage maple.

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    So eventually I had 8 different trials.

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    This is from the other side of the table so from the top left: coffee, blue, coffee+vintage maple, black+coffee, black+vintage maple, black+blue, black, vintage maple.

    This whole process unfortunately has not made my choice any easier, so I coated them with either lacquer or clear coat to get that wet look and an idea of what they would look like finished.

    coffee

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    vintage maple

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    black

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    blue

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    black+blue

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    black+vintage maple

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    black+coffee

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    And finally, coffee+vintage maple

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    Now I get to go stare at them for a couple of hours deciding which one I like best for the build.

    Thanks for following along!:)
     
  6. daniduarte

    daniduarte New Member

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    I have a similar project but it never went out of the paper ... Yours is getting very nice.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. DÈF¥âÑt¸.·´¯`¤

    DÈF¥âÑt¸.·´¯`¤ Active Member

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    WOW! seeing it assembled on the work bench for the first time really gives me the sense of just how spectacular this is going to look :rock:

    My eye keeps going straight to the blue.... but any of them will look amazing :clap:
     
  8. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    Can I make 2 votes for blue-black if I cross forum post?
     
  9. cobalt6700

    cobalt6700 Active Member

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    I think this is the best colour I have ever seen wood ever. Nice! :thumb:

    The black + blue and the coffee + vintage work well. I don't envy you having to make the choice :lol:
     
  10. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Member

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    Thanks! You might be ahead of the game, it's a bit of a pain to work on, LOL!

    It's soooo hard to chooose!

    I'll allow it.

    It makes me want to put this on more things...I see my laptop getting fancier soon.
     
  11. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Member

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    Alright, back to business. Time to make some panels pop. First thing is sanding the veneer down to a nice smooth finish and getting the edges nice and smooth. 220 grit hand sanding on the veneer face, but I wound up going with the mini polisher on the edges.

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    Final decision on color was just a straight blue. I did make a more concentrated batch of dye/alcohol for a deeper blue color. My original mix was too light and approached a baby blue after sanding. Starting to dye the panels.

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    And everything finished after about 6 passes with the dye.

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    On a side note, I snagged some insulation stays when I did a little soundproofing in my shop and had a ton left over. Cut at 16" and a decent gauge. Pretty handy for hanging stuff up to dry or for painting.

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    After giving the panels some time to dry it was time to seal it with de-waxed shellac. Gave it a light once over to knock any raised grain down and then sprayed it with 4 light coats.

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    A good start, but then I gave it a light sanding and another 5 quick coats of shellac. Since I was spraying it, they were pretty light coats, but it kept me from having to fight brushing it on. If it's anything like lacquer, and it sounds like it is, brushing it on can be a pain.

    Then I was about ready to throw it back together to see the progress, but I need a couple of acrylic panels pocketed out for lighting. I had one ready to go, but still have another to knock out.

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    Still need to hit it with a router to get my wire channels in.

    And then the blades put together, minus the one acrylic panel. I can't cut my threaded rod till all of the panels are done, so I'm still stuck with them running wild.

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    Next up, the final acrylic panel and to start mapping out the interior pieces. Thanks for following along! [​IMG]
     
  12. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Member

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    Yeah, so I've been a bit distracted lately. An InWin 301 project, two 303's, a trip to Taiwan and then Indiana(talk about polar opposites), starting a new fiberglass repair business, aaaand cleaning out the shop behind my house to move my business to so I can stop paying rent for where I'm at now. Jesus, I'm going crazy.

    Slowly but surely I've been working on getting the side panels just right so I can continue on with the frame project.

    QuakeCon being in a month is definitely a motivator now as well.

    So let's get into the build...I liked the panels. But with just the shellac, they weren't shiny enough. And you know, who doesn't want to spend a month spraying clear and sanding?

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    That was the first coat of I'm not even sure how many coats. Three, maybe four rounds of clear with a sanding in between the coats. Why so many coats? There were a few high spots here and there and I wanted to fill in any chips, etc. What really added to the time was laying them down and only clearing one side at a time, but this also allowed me to really lay on the clear.

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    And the color was looking awesome. After getting all the coats I wanted on one side, I taped it off so I could clear the other side without dealing with a lot of overspray.

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    In between coats I was using 220 and 320 grit paper to knock the clear down fast, on this last round, it was pretty smooth to start with so I went with 800 for my first pass. I figure less chance of missing scratches that compound won't get out.

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    After the 800 grit, I went to 1000 grit and 3000 grit with my new toy. I've got an air 3" polisher, but it was so nice not having to listen to the compressor kick on. My new fiberglass repair business has it's perks. Now don't worry, after all that sanding, I'm totally going to hit them with some compound to get them sparkling, but for now, they're shiny enough. And I need something to do while the router is running later anyways.

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    While getting the panels ready, I re-thought my threaded rod idea. It's just such a pain to thread everything on and I figured there had to be a source for 1/4" studs out there. While looking, I ran across 1/4" set screws which hadn't even crossed my mind, but they're perfect.

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    Now with everything sanded and the set screws in hand, I can do some assembly and get some measurements for the next pieces I have to make.

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    The thing is turning into a monstrosity, but at least it's a good looking monster, LOL!

    Thanks for following along y'all! :)
     
  13. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    Welcome back. :D
    Monstrosity? This from a guy that built a centipede. :lol: It's turning into your tastiest build to date.
     
  14. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Member

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    Thank you sir!
     
  15. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Member

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    Oh boy, how does this work again? *thump thump thump* Is this thing on?

    So it's been a while and I figured I should probably up date this beast. While working on the polishing, etc., I reached out to Swiftech for some possible water cooling goodness. They did me a solid and hooked me up with the good stuff.

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    First off, a SKF CPU block. I have the heirloom version on Shinai right now and I'd just carry it over, but it being red meant that it didn't really match the blue. The straight black and silver will match where I'm going with the motherboard.

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    Next up, an ECO block for the 1080ti that I'm currently running stock. I've always loved the look of this block.

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    And the part that I had to have no matter what because it just fits the case, a new Maelstrom 300mm reservoir. I knew as soon as I saw these come out that I was using one in this case. This thing is ginormous, so it fits right in with the case.

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    With the wc parts in, it was time to start putting it all together. You'll notice there are some extra holes on my panels...

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    I knew I was gonna need some interior panels to hold everything so these holes are for the mod blocks to attach those panels. For the front and top locations of the radiators, I went with .05" aluminum since it would be enough to hold the rads and fans, and for the bottom panel .09" aluminum since it would be holding 300+mm of reservoir and pump.

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    And with all the mounting figured out and the panels installed.

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    I also needed some panels to cover the gap between the front and back of the motherboard tray, which also help stiffen it up as well.

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    I'll be going back in to cut some wire pass throughs once I figure out where all the wires need to go, LOL!

    I knew the layout of the interior I wanted, but I needed to lay it all out and get my positioning just right with the radiators and the reservoir.

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    Part of this was to get the look right, but I also wanted to make sure that I got the top fitting from the res lined up with my radiator outlet so my tubing would be easier down the road. With that figured out, I could mount up my rads.

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    I considered doing something funky with the cutouts but since this was all in a bit of a time crunch and they were set deep in the front and only visible from straight on, I went functional over fancy.

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    I laid out my rads with some Bitspower Leviathan 360's I had from previous builds. A nice slim rad with a useful multi port setup. Unfortunately that multi port is a problem when mounting them to a flat panel. The plugs for the extra ports keep them from setting flat on the panel. My hope of using some of the parts I had laying around to 1) use up some of the stuff and 2) save some change wasn't gonna fly. But more on that later.

    Thanks for following along! [​IMG]



    Thanks to my sponsor as well:

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  16. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Member

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    The next part of the project was probably the hardest. In order to continue on, I had to take apart my baby, Shinai. It's been through a few variations, but it's still my favorite build.

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    Down to the rads, fans, res and pump. It's definitely getting a place on a shelf though, I can't NOT display it.

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    With the hardware pulled, I could start working on mounting it in it's new home.

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    But first, I've got to do something about that red and white accent on the Gigabyte G1 Gaming board.

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    That's better. And with a bit of sanding, I got the anodized finish off the top of the sinks, leaving the black in the crevasses.

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    This will work much better. And frankly, isn't gaudy. I'd already gotten rid of the I/O shield, now it's transformation to an adult's board is complete.

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    And then to do the layout on the back. Originally I was going to hide the SSDs between the tray panels because I was looking at a GTX980Ti SLI setup. Luckily, I stumbled across(ie won in a raffle) a 1080Ti. This made the cabling easier and my frames better but left me with a lot of space to fill on the back side. So SSDs, meet back panel.

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    I'm a big fan of having the option to upgrade in a mod, even though most of the cases I've done have no possibility for upgrades. But this is my personal rig and I plan to use it for at least a couple of years, so upgrading is important. So to mount all this hardware on the back of the tray without punching a bunch of holes in it that I'd have to figure out how to cover later, I decided to take a blurry picture...of an intermediary panel. This panel will allow me to mount everything without tearing up the veneer and tray, so if I ever want to change the layout or hardware, I just cut a new aluminum panel.

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    Before I get too far into mounting things, I did have to slap on some blocks.

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    The Swiftech SKF with MNPCTECH fittings. I still love those things.

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    And the ECO block on the 1080Ti.

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    To mount the GPU, I did have to "modify" the backplate that came with the Swiftech block. I plotted out some locations for mounting studs that gave me the most clearance from the board.

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    Then I drilled out the holes and countersunk some flat head screws, screwing them into standoffs that I can then mount to my panel.

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    Using a similar technique with standoffs on the SSDs, I was ready to go. And voila!

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    Also got the mb mounted.

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    A lot of the rest was just figuring how to mount things up. Next was mounting the PSU with a piece of angle aluminum and a tab to hold the front side down since the V1200 is a bit heavy and mounting it with angle only gave me 2 screws to work with.

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    And then mounting that giant res was pretty straightforward. Drill holes, tap, mount.

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    You might be wondering now how I was expecting to run the extension cable for the GPU. And so was I. I didn't have time to order one so I started digging around and came up with a 400mm that would reach. The one good thing about building a couple crazy mods here and there is you wind up with some unusual stuff that just might come in handy. The only problem was the connector. It would have to go through the panel the GPU was mounted to and through the veneered panel as well. First task was getting it through the panel. I took a step bit, drilled a couple of holes and then connected the dots.

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    And with that done, it was time for a break. Thanks for following along!

    And thanks to my sponsor:

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  17. DÈF¥âÑt¸.·´¯`¤

    DÈF¥âÑt¸.·´¯`¤ Active Member

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    This is starting to look amazing! another pro mod by a master :D
     
  18. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    "Safe for future upgrades," Is such a dirty thing to say.
    It's looking tasty, though. I feel like the ssd plate needs shaved down to maximize blueness.
     
  19. _Prometheus_

    _Prometheus_ Active Member

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    No, it I... I say it about all dirty... I already was even banned once. :grin:
     
  20. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Member

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    Thanks man! If I only had your acrylic skills. :)

    Thanks Cheaps! The mounts are all on the edges of that panel so I can't shave a lot off of it. I thought about that too, all that work just to cover up the panel.
     

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