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Scratch Build – In Progress Diesel Engine (ITX / SFF / Console)

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by ChrisHowell, 1 Mar 2016.

  1. ChrisHowell

    ChrisHowell Member

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    Thanks guys!

    I've bought some antiqueing fluid from a metalwork shop. It contains chemicals that 'attack' the surface of the metal leaving it quite dark. The plan is to then take some wire wool and sand papers to some areas to reveal brighter sections. Hopefully it'll work out...


    Ah man! - I didn't realise I'd used chopped tomatoes.. How embarrising. Then again, I never see the tomatoes and the meatballs in the same room together...
     
  2. ChrisHowell

    ChrisHowell Member

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    [​IMG]

    Supports + Brackets

    So - I spent a bunch of time trying to get the front panel I/O assembly right and trying to get the USBs and power button to line up perfectly. I changed the design a few times after trying different options that appeared OK in the 3D model but had movement when built for real.

    I also designed a few pieces to form a bracket that pins the PCI-E Riser to the bottom of the case and also supports the furthest end of the graphics card.



    Remember this? it turns out, the smallest stand-offs I could find (5.5mm) were too big.
    Additionally, I found that attaching the cables via the back of the connectors and then
    bending the cable into place was swiveling the front of the USB out of place!

    [​IMG]


    So I came up with a design that provided more support and sandwiched the USBs together.
    3mm acrylic sheet in the middle and 4mm sheet on the bottom. Secured with a single 30mm PC case screw

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    It wasn't a big deal to create the shape in CAD and go through some trial and error
    if the thickness wasn't perfect first time

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    And.... assembled. Looks like this is going to work
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    I may also finish the assembly with 3M tape or adhesive to align the pieces together
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    Here are the pieces I created for the PCI-E cable bracket
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    A test fit using an old cable. Looks like they will do the job
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    The thick strip will be covered in self-adhesive foam strip (3mm thick) to stop the screws from interfering
    with the Graphics card and also provide support

    [​IMG]



    That's all I have for now. I've been waiting to get access to a milling machine to get the brass sheets engraved. I also need to sort out some finances and then I'll order all the components :) Soon!...
     
  3. ChrisHowell

    ChrisHowell Member

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    Finishing the Brass Panels


    After waiting for a little while to get access to a milling machine, I decided to grab some engraving bits for the Dremel and do it myself. I already had my font and the antiquing fluid to finish the panels. So here goes...



    I used a paper template to guide my engraving
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    The engraving bit set that I had ordered. Worth noting that this is a first time for me
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    Mid-progress
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    And when result when I was done. Fairly happy with my frst attempt. I'ts reasonably neat!
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    I quite like the contrast of the polished panel against the rough text
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    When I was done, I moved onto antiquing the panels with this stuff
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    I filled a baking dish with a 1/10 solution of fluid and water.
    this shows the panels just as I added them in

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    The panels after 2 minutes
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    The panels after 5 minutes! They went dark super quickly
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    This is what they looked like straight out of the solution. And actually the colour is totally awesome. This would be perfect for some kind of destroyed/apocalyptic style build
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    I returned the next day and found a lot of the cool colour had flaked off, leavng a black and copper style colour
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    FINALLY - I used steel wool to rub away sections of the surface to reveal the shiny brass underneath
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    The colours are washed out in this photo, but here are the side panels. I can't decide if I prefer the weathered panels or the completely polished ones.
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    I gave the brass bolts the same treatment. 2 black (left) and 2 after the steel wool (Right)
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    Next Up - I glued the threaded spacers onto back of the brass panels and left them overnight
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    A Close Up
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  4. ChrisHowell

    ChrisHowell Member

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    Assembling the case​


    With the panels finally ready, I was able to build the case and get it ready to receive components! Very exciting times :)

    Let's took a look at the thing assembled for the first time.



    The Front view
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    Left side
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    Right Side
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    Back
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    Top
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    I'm really happy with the crisp edges and how well the panels lined up with the lid and base
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    The slots at the back are begining to call out for components for sure
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    So! - I'm nearly there. I'll be ordering my components very soon. Over all I'm really pleased with how it's looking. The lack of visible screws and simplicity of the panels makes it look like a real console - rather than a PC case conversion. There is also a certain charm that the real brass and real wood have that I can't capture on the camera. The pine still smells great and the thick brass panels are cold to the touch and give the case a really solid feel.

    I'm really looking forward to getting some components in there and will update back here soon!.
     
  5. Supercluster

    Supercluster I dream in G-code

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    Tastefully simple.

    What I see here has little to do with diesel engines and consoles alike.

    Having said that it simply exudes style. Reminds me of antique cigar boxes or perhaps jewellery caskets. :hip:
     
  6. ChrisHowell

    ChrisHowell Member

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    Component Test Bench​


    So, the last few weeks I've been waiting for my components to arrive and then testing them out before I build the console. I had a bit of trouble with the power supply, which why it's taken so long. Anyway here's the update :)


    My Flex ATX power supply. Gold Rated 400W
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    A Z170 chipset motherboard. The ITX version of the pro gaming series by Asus
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    Online pictures don't do these components justice. So tiny! (and well built too)
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    Low Profile Ballistix DDR4 - 2400Mhz. 2 x 8GB sticks. Plenty for gaming
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    Intel Skylake i7 Processor. 6700K. I wanted to the push the console boundaries with this one and I've seen others have successfully built similar systems with this chip
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    And to cool it... A Noctua LH-N9i. Again, read lots of reviews of successful setups that combo this cooler with the 6700K
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    Height and width scale of the cooler itself.
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    Storage - I chose the 256GB M.2 drive from Samsung. The chipset will make the most of this super speed drive. Also... It's sooo freakin' tiny!
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    Graphics - Please excuse the poor photo here. I went for the R9 Nano. I mean, I had to atleast try it right?
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    A scale photo. The card is almost exactly the same length as the power supply (15cm)
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    Started to built it. The cooler fits perfectly into clearance area. You can see the cable pinned in here against the RAM
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    I connected everything up and. IT LIVES!
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    The Win10 installation onto the M.2 drive from a USB went really well. I'd seen lots of articles about it being a massive pain in the ass, particularly if you have other storage connected. But with just the M.2 drive, I was booting into the OS within 30 minutes. I also wanted to get this far before I started connecting the graphics card
    [​IMG]



    Now. I actually forgot that the Power supply didn't come with a PCI-E connector and had to order a 4-Pin molex adapter for the graphics card. If you've ever seen the adapters like this, they take power from two 4-pin connections and output a 6-pin or 8-pin PCI-E power. But... the ONLY two 4-pin molex from the flex ATX power supply were running from a single cable, so trying to draw the GFX power down that cable was likely not going to work.

    Sure enough, I gave it a shot and while I was able to install the card drivers and get it running. It dropped the display signal whenever I ran a graphics stress test - the card was clearly underpowered with the single connector - Do'h!


    The supply has a set of SATA power connectors which I plan to harness, I just need more adapters to try it out!

    Lastly, it turns out that the supply uses two 12volt rails instead of the mostly desired single rail. I don't know enough about power supplies to determine if this is the cause. So while I wait for the SATA power adapaters, I've also ordered another FLex ATX supply from another company that has a PCI-E connector as standard and appears to be single rail. I'll just have to see how that goes.
     
  7. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    I do love how this came out. The metal stain looks perfect next to the wood and the wood looks like buttered toast. -I may just be hungry...
     
  8. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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    Oh yeah, super tasty! :cooldude:
     
  9. BeauchN

    BeauchN Active Member

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    The case looks great, I hope you can sort out the psu easily
     
  10. f001

    f001 New Member

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    Looks awesome, good log too, great to see the progress.
     
  11. ChrisHowell

    ChrisHowell Member

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    Power and GFX Driver Troubles​


    So, I managed to resolve my power problems - which was great :) It did turn out to be a result of the dual 12v rails on the Power Supply. The primary rail was supplying the CPU and the secondary rail was supplying everything else, including the graphics card; whereas ideally I would want the Graphics card to have a single rail all to itself. So, I removed the connector on the CPU power and re-pinned it into an 8-pin PCI-E power configuration. Then I spliced some spare cables (Molex mainly) into a new EPS 12V connection for the CPU.

    I'm happy to report that it not only booted fine but then allowed me to play 30 minutes of a game! I have run a series of tests and haven't seen the same behaviour since I made the change. I ran OCCT 3D stress too, to check it out and it's looking good. Wahoo! :)


    DRIVER ISSUES - BAH! - So, something which made the power diagnosis harder was a symptom where installing the graphics card drivers was causing Windows to fail to boot. After playing around with EUFI settings, recovering Windows and trying a different driver version just to have the same thing happen again. I found the solution that the BIOS "Secure Boot" and Digital Driver Signing was unhappy with the AMD driver and stopping it from booting, forget displaying a messaging to tell me that 's what was happening! After disabling secure boot and disabling the Digital Driver Enforcement, I was back on track. For some time I really thought that I had a faulty graphics card there...


    Case and Components together at last​


    Some pictures of everything installed and running :) Before you take a look, I need to confess that I didn't just make one console case :D The nature of the way I designed it, meant that I could try several different materials and just put them through the machine. This one is made with brushed aluminium panels and glass-like Perspex. I wanted to be able to show the components easily in the photos, which I why I installed the parts into this case first.

    I give you, the Diesel Engine case - modern edition
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    The anchor points along the front of the case served thier purpose and allowed me to fix a majority of the cables there
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    A close up of the power cable, USB + PCI-E power
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    The card was a little fiddly to get in, but sits nicely in the slot once in place
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    The 24-pin cable for the Mobo was way too long, sometime in the future I will undertake the task to chop it down to a smaller length and re-pin the connector back on. On the subject of the power supply, this one is remarkably quiet. The only time that it has got really hot and loud so far, was after playing the new DOOM for about an hour. I'm pretty sure this is just the mess of cables blocking the fan intake.
    [​IMG]

    I hope you like the photos. I'm super happy that it's functioning correctly - it looks like such a beast:D I still need to run more heat tests on the case when under load. Normal operation seems to be absolutely fine, but I'd like to atleast try it out on a 4K monitor at my work.
     
  12. amagriva

    amagriva Member

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    Bellissimo!
    Really like the new "version" but I think the techie in me had better like a completely transparent lid that let see the "entrails"and the incredible job you have done stuffin' all these things in a so little package.
    :clap::clap::clap::clap::clap::clap:::rock::rock::rock::rock::rock::rock:
     
  13. Mosquito

    Mosquito Active Member

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    Both turned out really cool, in their own ways
     
  14. phinix

    phinix RIP Waynio...

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    Oh my.. I love it :jawdrop:
     
  15. Badger

    Badger New Member

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    The wooden version has a much larger wow factor for me

    Good job all round :)
     
  16. ChrisHowell

    ChrisHowell Member

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    Final Pics + On Sale

    I'm Done! So - In the end I made 3 cases: The Antique One, The Black One, The Modern One. Additionaly, something I didn't mention before. I actually ordered 20 cases along with 20 Premium Shielded Li-Heat riser cables to go with those cases.


    From today, I'm super happy to announce that anyone wanting a Diesel Engine case for thier very own, can contact me directly and order one!
    .

    The first 20 come with a FREE premium shielded riser cable bundled in, so all you need to do is add the components - no modding required (unless you really want to ofcourse :) ) Cases support any ITX motherboard, any FlexATX power supply (150mm length) and graphics cards up to about 150mm. There is room for mounting an SDD above the power supply and enough clearance for M.2 drives for an ultra-compact build. The Diesel Engine lid design means that you have easy access to all of your components and the cable mounting positions along the front of the case make cable management easy and neat.

    Diesel Engine Case - Modern Edition (with free bundled Li-Heat riser) - £149

    Diesel Engine Case - Black Edition (with free bundled Li-Heat riser) - £149

    Diesel Engine Case - Antique Edition (with free bundled Li-Heat riser) - £199



    Enquires + Orders, please either PM me or email me at this address: chrisjohnhowell@gmail.com




    The first 20 cases, fresh from manufacture
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    These premium shielded riser cables have outstanding build quality + re-enforced connectors
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    Having these cables bundled with case, means no more high postage charges for a single cable - It's probably the most cost effective way to build small with riser cables
    [​IMG]


    ------------------------ Final Pics ------------------------


    Firstly - The Antique Edition

    Hand stained sun-burst pine, panelled with 3mm Brass plate
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    No vinyl in sight. This is real pine (it smells great)
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    Weathered and hand engraved brass plate covers three sides of the console
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    Laser etched design provides a stunning finish against the bright wood
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    Secondly - The Black Edition

    A smokey black acrylic lid and base gives the black version a semi-transparent look
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    Glossy black acrylic panels cover the side panels of the case, laser engraved with the name
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    The black edition provides the most traditional sleek and stylish design
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    The name is laser cut to precision in the front panel
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    Lastly - The Modern Edition

    Made of 'glass like' acrylic and 3mm brushed aluminium panels
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    The modern edition is the slimmest of the three editions
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    Show off your hardware with an edge-to-edge window on both the top and bottom of the case
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    Laser etched name in the lid of the case
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    All cases are marked with a number on the bottom
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    All component slots are standard fit
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    An optional fan bracket (2 x 40mm) is provided to help cool performance parts (fans not included)
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    Thanks!


    I hope everyone enjoyed the build log. I certainly enjoyed building the prototype - what a beast! In time I'll setup a Facebook page and an Ebay page for the cases. But if anyone does have interest, please feel free to contact me.
     
  17. storm-83

    storm-83 Member

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    Really wish i had gone for a itx board when i last upgraded, this case is really nice and feature rich! :thumb:

    But then i would have a hard time fitting my asus 780 (28cm) card in the case...
     
  18. sk8ter646

    sk8ter646 Member

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    Absolutly fantastic work.

    Currently looking to take on a very similar project to this myself so its given me some really good inspiration.

    Thanks!!!
     
  19. sk8ter646

    sk8ter646 Member

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    Is their any chance of a video that shows the noise these PSUs make as im able to find any.
     
  20. ChrisHowell

    ChrisHowell Member

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    [​IMG]


    Diesel Engine v2 Update


    Hey - A small update. After finishing the case I wanted to expand the support for different hardware in the case, specifically for the graphics card. Many people asked me about whether I had tried nVidia cards and expressed indifference towards the expensive AMD R9 Nano. After a short time, I redesigned the front of the case, scrapping the front USB ports and freeing up another 3-5cm of space for the graphics card. This also meant I was able to use a single piece of brushed aluminium to wrap around the entirety of the front of the case.

    After installing a Zotac GTX 1060 mini, I've been playing Forza Horizon 3 happily for a couple of months in my living room - and absolutely loving it. It sits next to my consoles, the only difference is that I can crank those graphical settings right up! Loves it.

    The revised case is now back up for sale on eBay @ £99. Updated pics below...


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