Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by EnviousMods, 7 Jan 2016.
The Digital Voltmeter mount looks great, I love the carbon effect.
Very nice man, as usual! I sure wish I had your skills. I'd love to be able to whip up a mounting plate for meters that easy! That would come in very handy right now.
Thank you very much Juzzerman! I'm about to post an update to the voltmeter mount.
I'd love to be able to just whip one up too. I worked on it during my breaks from working on the display case. It's a lot of trial and error to get the right look. As always, thanks for the comments buddy.
Side Panel Work:
It has begun. The side panels are one if my favorite parts of the design. Theres a lot of thought that went into them. The windows are placed in specific locations to highlight the motherboard, GPUs, water-cooling and other hardware. Depending on the angle you get to spot neat details. When the top to panels open; its time to shine. The two top panels are designed to open out and up similar to a gullwing door or a bird. The bottom two panels open the opposite (out and down.)
I started cutting the main pieces for the side panels. I have scale templates drawn for all of the side panels except 1 which will be finished soon. There is a lot of inside cuts required which takes quite a bit of time to do. Once I have everything rough cut I will hand file all of it to perfection.
Here's one of the side panels that is rough cut. This also gives you an idea of where the surround or bezel goes.
There are a couple pieces of acrylic that will need to be cut for the windows as well. My last build, “StarCraft Day Zero” didn't have any windows so I thought it would be neat to do something different.
New Acrylic For The Voltmeter:
I cut a few more pieces of acrylic for the voltmeter mount. I also had enough time to test paint and mount them. I went with a flat black. The acrylic pieces help to give it more style that fit in with the theme. After mocking them up I took some quick pics. I still have a bit more to add to this panel as well as some vinyl work that I'm currently designing.
Update: Display Case
Ive made some progress on the display case. The bomb on the front is all painted and re-mounted. I also managed to cut, weed and mount the OCZ logo as well as the BeQuiet logo. I decided to use the companies tagline as well which became very tricky due to the tiny letters.
I also cut the Printrbot badge/logo out of vinyl but I haven't mounted it yet. The RantoPad logo is being prepped to be cut and it will go up at the same time as the Printrbot logo.
Update: Work Continues On Side Panels
I've done some more work as well as cut more panels for the side of the case. I've also started working on making templates for the acrylic pieces I will go on the side panels. The acrylic windows will more than be held in place by allen headed bolts which will help carry the theme. This method will also help to keep the side panels light and rigid.
I decided to double check where the two panels met in order to make sure that they were perfect after I cut the top one. I re-took measurements and they needed very little modifications to be exact.
Acrylic Strips: Side Panels
The acrylic strips for the side panels will be cut soon. Right now I'm finishing up the templates to cut them. There are about 8 strips in total that are about a half inch or less. These will be painted to match the build once they are cut and welded together.
Side Panel Surrounds:
Ive started re-checking the measurements for the surrounds or bezels that will go on each side of the case. The doors open out of the bezels instead of just having one piece that moves together. Having several separate doors gives me the ability to open the door I need opened. Once I'm done with the measurements I will make a cardboard or cardstock template of the bezel to make sure everything fits correctly.
After cutting out some foam board I was able to see where the bezel would sit and its a little bit too low. I want the motherboard and main components to be easily seen so I decided to move it up. The pictures show the first mounting location. About a half inch around the inside will also be removed. I only need a slight under-lap of the bezel so the panels sit correctly when closed.
Theres a small list of little things that I need to order for this scratch build. I am awaiting a reply from a manufacturer that builds the gas struts. I already have the large struts but, I need to special order the smaller set. I managed to find some SATA cables with 90 degree fittings for the OCZ SSDs. Another set I ordered was some vinyl; ice green and a few others were ordered for this build.
The other Vandal switches were also ordered. I bought some that are a little different from your typical Vandal switches. I will try out a couple to see which will fit this build best. Looking into replacing the PSU cable ends with P-079 and C-079 pieces. They look sharp and can help to give the build an original look. The parts to make the Xbox 360 power ring were also ordered. These parts will make the power ring function as if it was still connected to the Xbox.
Update: 3D Printed Hinges
A while back I test printed the hinges for the doors. At that times I decided that the design needed to be scaled up slightly. When I get closer to having a side panel rough cut I will re-print another set of hinges.
Right Side Panel: Rough Cuts
I managed to make some time to do all the rough cuts on the main right side panel. This panel shows off the large Lexan water path that I will build. It also has a cutout for the SSDs.
Rough Cuts: (Right) Lower Panel
I decided to cut out the main shape of the panel that has two 120mm fans mounted on it. I still need to make a template for the fan cutouts. I will use foam board to make a mockup of the surround for this side as well. The surround is much thinner on this side.
I managed to take some pics so you could see my air cutoff tool. Its essentially a Dremal on crack. It uses 4“ reinforced disks and chews through just about anything you can throw at it.
Sata Cables: 90 Degrees
I ordered Sata cables that have a 90 degree bend on one end of the connectors. This will allow me to come of the edge OCZ Vector 180 SSDs correctly. I still need to order thicker Telios sleeving so they can be wrapped to match the rest of the wiring.
GPU Backplates: Original Design
Below you can see the original design that I was going to use. It was going to made out of all acrylic and would have looked neat. I decided to explore other ideas because, I want people to see something new. On the next update I will post the progress of the new GPU backplates.
Update: GPU Backplates
Ive been playing around with ideas for the GPU backplates for sometime now. I will probably come up with multiple versions to get an idea of what I like. Its important to me to build backplates that are functional as well as original. Theres a lot of very similar GPU backplates and I love the majority of them but, its time to do something that hasn't been seen.
GPU Backplate Idea #1:
The first idea was one of those that is fairly complex and needs to be built to really see what it will look like. I started by cutting a solid lexan piece and painting it green. I then put a sweet pattern together so that it could be cut. I had enough time today to get the first layer on. The plan is to add a couple more layers of vinyl that will be cut in different colors.
GPU Backplate Idea #2
This idea is a little more traditional than the others. I made a sketched template to scale. The main portion of the design follows along with the design cues found throughout the scratch build. Two versions of this idea were sketched out but, I also want to try a iteration that is a combination of both of these.
GPU Backplate Idea #3:
I couple weeks ago I started cutting the main structure of an acrylic backplate as well as some pieces of thin metal to give it depth.
As of now this backplate will be made from several different materials. The main piece is made of lexan which will help distribute the weight of the GPU evenly. The top pieces are made out of thin metal which adds depth as well as strengthens the lexan. Currently I'm designing the vinyl graphics that will be added to the top. With the weather being nice I took the opportunity to paint the metal piece black. Theres a lot more that needs to be done on this version in order to get it where I want it.
Update: (Left) Side Bezel/Surround Mock-ups:
Now that I have the test piece of metal cut I can mock everything up for when my new sheets of metal arrive. This will allow me to figure out exactly where every hole will go. Once I have the new metal I will use this as a template to transfer over the design. There will be a little bit of trial and error getting this fit correctly.
Everything is either very close or exactly where it needs to be. Doing this mockup helped to re-assure that all the hard work will pay off. I also mocked up some of the doors that will open. The top panel opens upward towards the top and the bottom panel opens downward towards the ground.
Painting The Bezel:
I couldn't help but, paint the bezel. The side panels need their holes drilled around the window cutouts so I will wait on those. I like the industrial look of hexed headed bolts surrounding the lexan windows. It helps to add depth as well as rigidity to the doors.
Acrylic Work For The Left Side Panel:
On the left side panel there is a few acrylic strips that are black in the CAD design. They meet up at a bunch of different angles. I cut them out of 6mm acrylic. I intentionally cut them about a mm larger then they need to be so that I could hand file them to exact dimensions. This helps to insure that they are all the exact same width.
To accomplish this I start by making sure one side of each strip is perfectly flat using a hand file. Once I have one side flat I will clamp them all together and file the other side so that they are within spec.
Tip For Filing Multiple Edges Flat:
Another trick I learned is to use a marker across the top edge of the acrylic. Once it dries you file across that edge. Any places that are high or even will sand off and it will stay where the low spots are. It gives you a quick visual of how much you need to sand/file.
Lexan Windows: Side Panels
As mentioned I am cutting the windows for each cutout. I am using hex headed bolts which need to be ordered due to the amount of them required. I was going to use a bolt every 30mm going around the perimeter but, I realized that it would require an insane amount of bolts so I changed it to every 60mm.
Now that I have all the windows cut out I went ahead with filing and sanding them to perfection. The back sides of the windows wont really be seen but, just in case someone decides to look; they'll be just as beautiful as the rest of the case.
The window for the OCZ Vector 180 SSDs is a bit thicker and will be mounted on the outside of the case using small standoffs. It will add some dimension and depth to the panel. The cutout for the water path will be tricky because some of the tubing comes slightly outside the panel. I will carefully cut clearances for the tubing.
Painted Top Panel: Flat Black
I finally had a few days of nice weather so I could paint and cure the top pieces. They are painted flat black to match the rest of the case. In combination with the side bezel you can start to get an idea of what the case will look like.
That top panel looks great!
Thanks. It's really starting to come together. Once the side panels go on it'll be all downhill.
Experimenting With Acrylic Cutouts:
I made a few designs for acrylic panels that carry the design cues well. I have a couple different locations that they could be mounted but, I'll probably wait until the left side doors are mounted. These acrylic cutouts were also done on my scroll saw and filed to perfection.
Prepping & Painting The Doors: (Left Side)
Now that I have the acrylic strips mocked-up I can prep and paint the side doors. The lexan panels were removed and I used 220+ grit sanding sponge to rough it up for paint. I will wash the panel with water and light detergent before using a tack cloth. Tack cloths are great for getting any little fragments or dust of right before primer.
Drilling Holes & Mounting Windows:
I already market out where all the holes need to be drilled for the hexed headed bolts. I started by drilling pilot holes in the metal panels and then fit the lexan windows behind them using the metal panel as a template. I only bolted every other hole due to the amount of hexed headed bolts I have. Once I can get more I will drill out the rest.
Part way through drilling the acrylic I had one of my famous arm ticks and cracked one of the lexan panels. You can understand why no one likes to mod with me due to my arm randomly jerking while using power tools. However it does make life more interesting. Of course it had to be one that I used the last of so I will use it as a template for when its replaced.
Mounting Lexan: SSD window
Now that the lexan is cut and files for the SSD window I can start drilling out my pilot holes. Small stainless steel tubing is being used as standoffs for the lexan window. I made 4 standoffs by cutting one piece into 4 even pieces. These little stainless steel tubes came off of a outdoor solar light that I salvaged about a yr or so ago. The stainless steel will go perfectly with the other stainless on the case.
Soon I will be announcing a couple new sponsors for the build. Stay tuned for more information on that.
Update: Finishing Acrylic Strips on The Side Panels
Now that I have the strips at the same width, its time to make sure they fit exactly where they are supposed to. When I hand cut acrylic or lexan I always make sure to cut it a tiny bit larger than needed. That allows me to make adjustments during mock-ups. This method has served me well and I almost never have a need to re-cut. They are now sanded and ready to be painted flat black.
Update: Re-assembling Top Left Door
Now that all the paint is cured I can mount the lexan windows and mock-up the black acrylic strips. Im still waiting for the rest of my bolts so I have every other one being used. I couldn't be happier with the way it looks and the door isn't even finished yet. Theres more work to be done on it but, I will continue work on the door below it for now.
Testing LED Mounting Locations For The Left Side:
Now that I have the main work done on the left side of the case I'm going to start trying out different locations to mount the LEDs. I think the best spot will be inside the frame rails pointing across the side. Another part I need to consider is the LEDs for the 3X OCZ Vector 180 SSDs that are mounted on this side. I want them to be easily viewed when the side doors are open or closed. To pull this lighting off I special ordered some new LEDs that I've never seen before. I will update with more information when they arrive at the shop.
Update: Bottom Door (Left Side) Re-assembled
Now that I have the bottom door mocked up and re-assembled I can start working with the custom hinges I'm going to make. I mocked up both the bottom and top doors to get an idea of what they will look like and I'm extremely happy with the way they look.
Part Arrivals: Special Ordered Mini-Gas Struts & Vandal Switch
I was happy to see that the mini gas struts I special ordered had arrived at the shop. These two gas struts are for the bottom two panels. Two new vandal switches were ordered as well. The first one to arrive has the power symbol that lights up blue. The second vandal switch is the blue ring that matches this one.
I thought it was only right to show my Modding Mascots. The one closest to the screen is mine and the other one is on loan for the next two weeks. My pup is constantly with me while modding or fabricating. Believe it or not, sometimes she makes the final call on wether something stays in a build or not.
Update: Custom Hinges For The Doors
Ive 3D printed the new, larger hinges and I'm very happy with the size. They take a bit longer to print but, they're much stronger. The length also makes the door come out from the case when its open which looks sweet. I still need to purchase some more hardware to mount it but, I'm using temporary hardware so I can place everything how I want it.
In the picture you can see the size difference between the original size and the new larger hinge. There is 6 more hinges that need to be printed. I will finish sanding and prepping this set over the next few days. Once they are painted; they will look like they are a mass manufactured hinge.
Inner Door Panel:
The inner panel still needs to be built but, I wanted to wait until the doors are on before making the inner panel. The reason I make an inner panel is to give the back side of the door a much cleaner look. Most builders don't care much about the back side of a door due to the fact that it is never seen.
Test Mounting Door & Hinges:
Today I was able to test mount the top door, one set of hinges and the long gas strut. Everything went together very well and I am happy that I wont need to make any adjustments to the mount. The side surround will need a few mm shaved off of it but, I knew that I would need to do this. This is needed to make room for the bolts that mount the lexan side windows.
3D Printing More Hinges:
I decided to go ahead and print a couple more sets of the custom hinges I designed. I need 6 more complete hinges which are each made up of 3 parts. One complete hinge takes about 17 minutes to print using my Printrbot Plus with the new UBIS 13s and a 1mm nozzle. I also added a picture of the program Repetier which monitors and translates the, “Geode” to movements. It shows you the layers its doing in realtime which is very convienent.
New PSU Cable Route:
The cables from the PSU will now go down into the frame behind the PSU and come out below the motherboard tray. The plan is to route them up the back of the motherboard tray and behind the cable management cover.
I made a new piece that covers the back of the PSU. I also added a custom cut piece of lexan as a spacer to give some of the cables room to be routed under the mount. It'll look really slick once its all together.
I special ordered a set of new true RGB LEDs. After testing these out I can definitely tell that they are well made. The entire LED system is fully modular. I will run all the wiring inside the frame rails to give it a very clean look. I will lay everything out first and test it to make sure the positioning is right before drilling/cutting the frame.
The majority of builds use PSU shrouds which I like. However I like to try and push myself. Another factor is showing off the PSU. It is very well designed and looks like it should be in this build, right out of the box.
The fan side has a one of a kind grill that just looks sweet. I decided to use some chrome strips off of a 1950s car that I had laying around. I made two bends in the strips in order to carry on the design elements from the PSUs grill. It fits it very well and does a great job of echoing the design cues.
Overlap Plate: Top Door
I built the first of two overlap plates for the left side doors. This is primarily aesthetic but, it also helps to keep the doors closed in the correct order. When opening the side panels; the top panel opens first and closes second. The overlap plate assures that this is done every time. For now I've painted it black but, I will be doing some vinyl work to it as well.
EMI Design is a great company in Europe made up of some talented designers and fabricators. They will be laser cutting a couple parts for the build. Using a laser cutter on these parts will allow me to create an effect that would be impossible using the tools I have available. One of the panels is already designed and the other piece will be an addition to the design; so you'll have to wait and see (it'll be awesome.) I want to thank EMI Design for supporting the Dark Matter project.
Another new sponsor is ENsourced. As you may know they have some sweet sleeved cables, DIY gear and cable combs. I came up with a really neat idea for the sleeved cables and its definitely different from what you usually see in builds. Originally I had planned on doing the usual cable combination by mixing the main colors used on the build for the sleeving.
Sleeved Cables: (ENsourced)
I originally planned to do the typical green, white, black and grey. After spending some time on the cable design I decided to go a different route. I wouldn't be able to pull of this new design if it wasn't for the large selection of sleeving that ENsourced has. I will update with cable info and pics once they arrive.
Those doors/panels looks awesome, and specially a very interesting design/function.
Are you going to use a motor or some sort of servo (servos are used in RC-racing) to open/close them?
Cheers! And I wish you a continued happy building
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