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Case Mod - Complete ⭐ Fusion [Final Pics]

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by InsolentGnome, 15 Feb 2019.

  1. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Active Member

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    fu·sion
    Dictionary result for fusion
    /ˈfyo͞oZHən/
    noun
    noun: fusion; plural noun: fusions
    1. 1.
      the process or result of joining two or more things together to form a single entity.
      "a fusion of an idea from anthropology and an idea from psychology"
      synonyms: blend, blending, combination, amalgamation, joining, bonding, binding, merging, melding, mingling, integration, intermixture, intermingling, synthesis


      It's time for a new personal build for me. I know I just finished up my H-Frame inspired Deep Blue, but it's just not doing it for me. Don't get me wrong, I really do like the case, but not enough for it to have a spot on my desk as a daily driver. Whenever I look at it things just stand out that bug me either in the design or the fabrication. I've gotten to the point that I have a mental checklist of things that bother me.

      Size - It's fooking huuuuge. I like big cases with room for things to have their own space, but this thing is a big case plus a 1.5-2" border all the way around. It's too much.

      Water Cooling - The bends aren't bad, but they aren't perfect and I know it and that bothers me. And if I did it again, I'd probably go stainless. And, though I like the look and the idea of water cooling, and I freaking love the Maelstrom res that Swiftech gave me, it's pointless for me. It's total eye candy. I barely overclock the CPU and don't touch the GPU, so I wind up with more maintenance, risk of catastrophic failure, and PIA upgrades so that the CPU and GPU don't thermal throttle at levels that I rarely run at. Most of my time is spent on the internet or gaming at 1080p 144MHz, I think a 6800K and a 1080Ti can handle that on air.

      Color - I love the blue dyed curly maple...but...on my desk where there isn't crazy amounts of light, it's just blue. No grain, no shimmer. Just blue. If I had large flat areas where it could catch the light, it would look gorgeous, but it doesn't and that's a shame.

      Overall Look - This is a cool case at a LAN where you can take it all in, but with my desk setup and the way the acrylic panels are held on, it reminds me of the TT wall mount computers and that just aint right. It bothers the eff out of me to be honest. With the meh look and the meh string of 100's of P whatever TF mods which were only distinguished by what color and how many curly q's were in the hardline, I'm not down with that comparison in my head. Something has to change. On top of that, there are way too many straight lines. It feels sharp and angular and I don't want that next to me all the time.

      So, I like it, but I don't love it, and I want a computer that I love to look at on my desk. Starting with these issues with Deep Blue, I began a design, smaller, air cooled, no finned panels, and some curves to soften it all up.

      [​IMG]





      But I also wanted to incorporate some different materials. Two of these materials are part of what give Fusion it's name, they're composites, carbon fiber and plain old, generic plywood. The rest of Fusions name comes from fusing these two very similar yet very different materials together with some aluminum to create a single case.

      Now that I've given you a glimpse of my artsy, poetic side, it's time to get to bashing some metal into shape.

      I'm gonna start with some aluminum, some very fried components, and a hammer.

      In the aluminum department, I'm going with .08" or 2mm 5052 alloy. Strong but it allows me to puts some bends in where I want them. The fried components are a poor TUF X299 board and GTX1080Ti that suffered catastrophic failure due to water cooling. Stuff got wet, stuff died. Thank god it wasn't mine. They're stand-ins for my actual working hardware for the time being. The hammer, well it's just a hammer.

      [​IMG]

      The design is based on attaching everything to a single aluminum panel the size of an ATX board. Since I've done this before for my Twelve 80 build, I knew where I was heading, though I wanted to add a new touch along the way to make upgrading easier.

      Topside layout.

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]

      You might notice the aluminum bracket there. In Twelve 80, I used two of these, which attach at the standoff locations, to hold the graphics card. Although it works, it is a bit problematic mounting the GPU to brackets using the backplate, and swapping GPU's means you get to do it all over again. My new plan of attack is to use the bracket as a stand to keep the GPU from sagging but not to actually attach the GPU to it. I'm going to bend up a bracket in the back to actually hold the GPU.

      [​IMG]

      All laid out.

      [​IMG]

      And cut out

      [​IMG]

      Before I started bending, I went ahead and drilled and tapped my standoff locations so I wouldn't have any drill clearance issues next to the GPU bracket.

      [​IMG]

      And now the hammer comes into play.

      [​IMG]

      Using the vice as a brake to bend out the tab for the GPU mount.

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]

      Now I don't know if you noticed the problem that I was about to have, but I sure didn't at the time. Turns out the space between that bend and the next bend for the bracket was too tight for my brake and also wouldn't fit in the vice. The solution was to mount the piece in the brake upside down and backwards and use a hammer to bend the Al against the brake bed. It wasn't pretty. I'll spare you the carnage.

      But what came out wasn't bad, just had a few dozen extra hammer dings in it and a bit of a weird wave that I'll need to straighten out. Or not, but I'll get into that in a bit.

      [​IMG]

      And then mounting the hardware.

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]

      [​IMG]

      With a short riser cable, this is a tight and tidy setup and there is still some rounding of corners to smooth up the design. The CPU cooler should work with this since the edge of the card is lined up with the top PCI bracket.

      Now all that's left of the heart of the build is to mount the rest of the hardware on the bottom of the panel. Or is it...

      Don't you hate it when you get a panel designed...and laid out...and cut out...and bent...and the hardware installed...and suddenly into your head pops this voice saying, "Hey, you know what would have been cool is to add a couple of bends to the other side of the panel to mount your switches into. You know, since you've been wondering how you were going to work them out."

      So yeah, I'm planning on remaking the panel incorporating something like a C-channel or maybe just a tab on what would be the right edge of the panel in the pic below.

      [​IMG]

      Luckily, I've got a template, that I know works, drawn up that I can pull all the measurements off of, and maybe this time I can bend things in the proper order and not have to pull out the Hammer of DOOOOM!!! to make things work. But that's for next update, until then I'm gonna be looking for some cool switches and stuff I can mount to offset the extra work I'm making for myself. Until next time! Thanks for following along!
     
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  2. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    BOO! :lol:
    3 or 4 horizontal fins on one side of the missing faceplate would really make a striking look.
     
  3. DÈF¥âÑt¸.·´¯`¤

    DÈF¥âÑt¸.·´¯`¤ Active Member

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    I remember cutting and pasting that exact same dictionary blurb back in 2005 when i did a fusion mod :)


    I like this one better :) it wont break your back :lol:
     
  4. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Active Member

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    Nope! It would look good and cover up some of the hardware but I'm anit-fin on this build...OK, now you got me thinking about it...we'll see.

    You got a link? BTW, I think your finned build worked out better than mine. The flourishes and white acrylic really go well with that style.
     
  5. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Active Member

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    After getting the tray laid out and made, I decided that there was a nice spot for some switches...if I had incorporated a spot for the switches. So let's remake the panel! It's not a bug in my process, it's a feature.

    First off I want to get the channel laid out so that I don't screw myself somewhere else. First bend.

    [​IMG]

    I spent an afternoon looking for cool switches but nothing really stood out to me except for making a capacitive panel. Unfortunately, since the panel I would have to use for that is the entire MB tray, that seemed like a bad idea. But then I remembered I had a few front I/O panels from other cases I've completely torn apart and started going through my stash. First one I found was from an IN WIN 301 and except for the power and reset button, it was pretty much cut some holes and it slots right in. Perfect.

    [​IMG]

    Since the power and reset buttons are a separate piece and operate switches on the board of the I/O I had to figure something out. It has a mounting bracket in the 301 that holds the buttons and the I/O panel, but that would add to much width to the whole setup, so I went for a work around.

    [​IMG]

    I used some cyanoacrylate adhesive to glue the buttons to the I/O and the switches they actuate and cut the extra bracket off.

    [​IMG]

    Yeah, I just superglued it, but CA just sounds so much more professional. Then I measured the I/O for my next bend for the channel.

    [​IMG]

    Another bend and that's gonna work out nice.

    [​IMG]

    After that I went through all the other layout and cutting that I had done before, except this time, bending the GPU bracket in the right order.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Now I had to cut out the holes for the I/O and get it mounted. Started with a template from a 301 I swear I'm gonna finish some time.

    [​IMG]

    Transferred that to my tray.

    [​IMG]

    And with a lot of drilling, grinding, and filing, I finally got it to fit.

    [​IMG]

    To mount it, I had thought about epoxy, but then I wouldn't be able to ever take it out and that seemed like a bad idea. Next idea was some screws behind it to basically keep it from falling out, but I wasn't too keen on that either. Decided to make some brackets that would pull it tight to the aluminum, even though that required some screws showing. Not my fave, but I can live with it.

    [​IMG]

    Trimmed some of the extra plastic of the trim plate for this one.

    [​IMG]

    And Bob's your uncle.

    [​IMG]

    Now I'm not renaming the project NIM NI though that is tempting. That color and logo are printed/painted on the back of a clear trim piece that I think I can change to something more fitting for the case.

    Next item on the list, SSD mounting. Plan is to have them hanging from the tray using a screw through the tray for mounting. Deep blue had 3 OCZ SSD's, and I'm adding a 4th, a 480GB from Kingston. I'd use fewer, but I've never won anything bigger than a 480, so a 240 and 3 480's it is.

    [​IMG]

    And the mounting holes.

    [​IMG]

    Only thing left for the core is figuring out the PSU mounting. For this, I had to drain and disassemble Deep Blue.

    [​IMG]

    After this, I figured out one of the problems with my hardware plans...

    [​IMG]

    That CM V1200 doesn't really work. And that's a V850 on top of it and it would barely work. So after a mad dash around the house figuring out what all PSU's I had floating around I realized that out of the ones with the headroom I wanted, this V850 that was from the first mod I did was the smallest. It was also the oldest and most heavily modified, so I bit the bullet and ordered a Silverstone SFX-L 700. It gains me about an inch with is smaller size, plus another 1/2" because I can mount it from the other side of the tray and don't have to use any sort of brackets.

    The other hardware problem I ran into was not being able to find the box, and therefore the 2011 mounting hardware, for the CPU cooler I wanted to transfer to this build. Needless to say, I've got another one of those on the way too. Luckily they don't have to ship it from Japan this time.

    Since I'm kind of spinning my wheels until my parts arrive, I decided to do a bit of cleanup on the tray, rounding corners and edges to give it more of a finished look. And speaking of finishes, I'm thinking of a sandblasted finish, you don't see that too much and I've brushed about every other piece of aluminum I've worked with. Maybe it's time to switch it up.

    [​IMG]

    Until next time!
     
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  6. storm-83

    storm-83 Member

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    wow, nice plate work!
    looking forward to more updates :)
     
  7. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    NIM NI, the upside-down copy of the 301 by thermaltake.
    Hang the PSU's butt out the back some. It's the back.
     
  8. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Active Member

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    Hahaha!

    That's more brackets! The SFX-L gets here today and I've wanted to try one out. 700w and 800w baby PSU's will be perfect for tighter designs.
     
  9. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Active Member

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    So this should be a shorter update since I'm not cramming a thousand things in. First off, my Silverstone SX700-LPT came in.

    [​IMG]

    700 watts, platinum rating, and it's a wee little baby. It's smaller than the fans in my V1200 and V850. They're 135mm's and this thing is 130mm long. I'm thinking this and it's 800w sibling might be my go to models from now on. Expensive, but the options this opens up in designs...

    [​IMG]

    Enough fawning for now. On my other Silverstone SFX, the screws that mount the PSU's board to the outer body didn't go all the way through the inserts, allowing me to use them as extra mounting locations. This one, not so much.

    [​IMG]

    So lets pull apart a brand new PSU, why not?

    [​IMG]

    I traded out 3 of the four mounting screws for longer ones, giving me studs on the bottom of the PSU. The 4th one sat under the switch and plug and I didn't feel like fighting to swap it out.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Couple of M3 nuts on the back side and voila!

    [​IMG]

    With that mounted, I could cut in some wire pass throughs to route the wiring under the motherboard.

    [​IMG]

    The more I look at this tray, the more I'm thinking I need to copy the layout to a CNC program. It's starting to look like a good starting layout for a mini-tower build and having that 301 front panel layout would really be handy. With an mITX board, slip the PSU under where the GPU is now, and put the GPU back in it's standard location, this would be a tight little build.

    The last thing I need to do before I finish this panel is work out how I'm gonna mount it in the case. I want it to sort of float in between my wood panels. I decided to give it 3 legs. Not so many that I couldn't hide them and not so few that I had to worry about balance and strength problems.

    [​IMG]

    I just cut some dowel for now so that once I get the panel finished I can piece some of it together and start working on the wiring. But I figure I've got some decent options as I go forward. Right now, I'm seeing the dowels finished in a lighter, contrasting color to the rest of the wood in the build and having them go through the bottom wood panel and acting as feet for the case when it sits like a desktop. I think that might give it a sort of handcrafted furniture feel.

    That's it for now, but thanks for following along!
     
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  10. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Active Member

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    Alright, now's when things get interesting...well for me at least. Bringing all of this together is a bit complicated since a lot of parts depend on other parts for their layout. So there's a lot of make this to make that and then going back to see if the original part actually worked. I'm gonna start with a couple of pieces of plywood about an inch bigger all around than my tray. I say about because there's about a 1/4" extra on the front overhang. Not for any particular, just figured 12" was easier to work with than 11.75. I don't remember the particulars about the plywood, it's in the 3/4" range, decent grading.

    [​IMG]

    I'm gonna go with the more bland grain on the outside because there's a gap in the ply that wouldn't work with my plan to route the edges if I flipped the boards the other way. I'm gonna start with laying out from the bottom and work my way up since I don't have my cooler yet and that is definitely going to affect the top board.

    So I laid out the dimensions of my tray and marked out the leg locations and the PSU fan location.

    [​IMG]

    The PSU fan hole is pretty straightforward. For the legs, I had been thinking of running them through the board and using them as feet as well. I like the look, but I think I'm going to have to epoxy the CF bends to the boards which means I have no way of getting the hardware in or out if the legs run through the bottom or are glued. To keep the look but leave myself the ability to work on it later and even assemble it, I split the legs. For the tray mounting part, they just screw in from either side through the tray and the bottom board. To give myself feet, I counter sunk the screw locations large enough for the dowel to push in.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Next up figure an approximate leg length. I can always re-cut these if I need to adjust later.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Then cut some feet and drive them in the holes I made for them.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I think the feet are a little tall, but I'll wait til final assembly to work out the exact height I want it. Sort of depends on how the case as a whole sits.

    With that out of the way, I decided to go ahead and get the aluminum finishing out of the way. I wanted to try a sandblasted finish. You don't really see it around and I'm not looking for something real flashy so it was worth a try.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I can't say I'm totally in love with the dull gray since I'm a glossy clearcoat kind of guy, but I like the texture and up close it's an interesting look, so we'll see how it works with all the other material finishes.

    Last but not least, a piece of snowy sewer pipe that I have plans for. What are those plans, check back next time! Muahahahahahaa!

    [​IMG]

    Thanks for following along!
     
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  11. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    Is that a construction site trash pile pipe, or does the neighbor have sewage filling up his yard?
    The current leg height is perfect for that 'floating' 50's furniture look.
     
  12. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Active Member

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    Leftover 8" after shutting the plumbing business down. I seem to have a surplus of pipe scraps now.
     
  13. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    I too have a mountain of pipe. Have you thought about a pvc case?
     
  14. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Active Member

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    I've thought about how to incorporate some of it in cases. I don't have a mountain of pipe, just pieces that I couldn't return and a lot of the plastic is bigger 3, 4, and 6" stuff, PVC and SDR. What I'm really eyeballing are the few pieces of 1 1/4" and bigger M and L copper. Those are begging to be used somewhere.
     
  15. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    Oh, Hell Yeah! If big-bore copper wasn't crazy expensive, I would have soldered a res out of some a long time ago.
     
  16. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Active Member

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    So I got the materials I've been waiting on for this build and my LANPack build.

    [​IMG]

    That's Kevlar twill in the back, carbon fiber twill in the middle and carbon fiber veil closest to the camera. Plus some epoxy resin. You can use polyester or vinyl ester resin for these materials like you would regular fiberglass, but epoxy creates a stronger composite and that's kinda why we're using carbon fiber in the first place.

    And now the snowy piece of 8" SDR pipe comes into play. Per my original design, my CF bends had about an 8" diameter. Luckily, I just happened to have a length of 8" pipe laying around since getting out of plumbing. The exterior of the SDR is pretty uniform and slick and the o.d. is just a bit over 8" so it seemed like a much easier way of going about making those bends than making a form. I started off by screwing it down to my workbench so it couldn't get away and then applying some PVA wax so my CF would pop off after it cured.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I decided to try 6 layers of CF. I think that's overkill as far as strength for CF but I had two things that made me want to go overboard. First off, I wanted some visual weight to the final product so more layers to a point was good. Secondly, in playing with CF and researching it, it seems to behave a lot like sheet metal. Adding a 3rd dimension to it gives it a ton more stiffness, so a bend or flare or straight up thickness, but thin flat sheets have a lot of flex. Since I'm basically making flat sheets, I wanted to make sure it would hold up.

    I laid it up by hand, which isn't the strongest method, but was by far the easiest and cheapest way for me to do this layup.

    [​IMG]

    After a short stint upstairs in my house where it was warm enough to fully cure, I marked out my cuts and then popped the piece off the pipe.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    A little work with a dremel and I had my bends. Two things to note: CF dust is nasty so a mask is a definite, and it's conductive so you want to make sure to cover anything you don't want to short to death.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    You might notice that the inside of the bends looks like your normal CF while the outside doesn't. The interior was against the mold and the epoxy filled any voids from the weave of the material but on the outside the weave could pop up. It's called print through and can be reduced with veil material or other layup methods, but I like it for this application. Makes it different.

    Til next update, thanks for following along!
     
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  17. DÈF¥âÑt¸.·´¯`¤

    DÈF¥âÑt¸.·´¯`¤ Active Member

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    Damm thats sexy! you are the king of resin! :rock::rock:
     
  18. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    Showing off his big pipe to BitTech... There. It had to be done.
    So how thick did 6 layers end up? I'm researching my next expensive purchase.
     
  19. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Active Member

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    Thank you! Now bow down and cure before your king!:lol:

    Nice!

    I was gonna get to that later, but 6 layers of 3K cloth was just shy of 1/8". My 1/8" end mill made the perfect slot for them to slip into with a bit of room for epoxy. If I had to guess, those two pieces cost about $100-ish. $50 for a yard of cloth and another $50 for about 3/4 gallon of epoxy.
     
  20. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Active Member

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    Next up I wanted to get the top piece of plywood going, so it was time to put the real hardware in, mostly...

    [​IMG]

    Gigabyte GA-X99 Ultra Gaming minus the gaudy covers with an Intel i7 6800K and 16GB of HyperX Predator DDR4.

    The next bit is planning for the future.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I happen to have a RTX2080Ti sitting around for my LANPack build. I'm gonna use it to lay this build out and hopefully at some point I get one to put in it. But also, the dual fans have a good spacing and size so that if I cut the hole to work for the 2080Ti, it should work well with everything else.

    Just need a cooler now.

    [​IMG]

    I ordered another Scythe Grand Kama Cross 3 after having used it in my Scout build and liking the look and it being really quiet, and since my new one wasn't here, I'd just make due with the one I had. Scouts ready for retirement anyways.

    [​IMG]

    I love the mix of tower and downdraft. It also allows me to skip case fans since this should move enough air over everything.

    [​IMG]

    So I figured out all my measurements and transferred them over to my top and jigsawed it out.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Next up, I needed the slots for my CF bends to slip into so I set up a jig to rout them. Luckily the CF wound up just shy of 1/8" thick so an 1/8" endmill gave me the perfect slot.

    [​IMG]

    Then I used a round over bit on all my outward facing edges to smooth out the look.

    [​IMG]

    I did have a few spots to fill in, this being plywood and all.

    [​IMG]

    After that and some sanding I was ready for some color.

    [​IMG]

    Choices, choices.

    [​IMG]

    I went with the more honey colored version which came out like this.

    [​IMG]

    Not bad, but after sanding, things started to get interesting.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Another round of vintage maple tint and some more sanding and they were where I wanted them. Time for some shellac.

    [​IMG]

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    Another round of sanding to get the weathered look I like and I was ready to epoxy my bends in. Clamps to make sure it's all square and nothing falls over.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    That's where I'll stop for now, thanks for following along!
     
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