Ok, so it's time for another personal build. I love my Shinai, but after a couple of upgrades and a couple of years on my desk, I'm looking for something different. Lately I've been eyeing the InWin H-Frame, which is a gorgeous design, but for me, it's got a couple of problems. Number one, it's expensive. Very expensive. Number two is the layout, while not bad, it doesn't really suit me or my style. So taking these two problems into consideration, I figure the only way for me to avoid spending way to much on a case that I would hack to pieces is to start from the ground up with my own H-Frame clone. Time to jump into Sketch-up and work up a design. After trying a few different ideas, I settled on a similar look with an even number of blades and a central motherboard tray which lets me mount the video cards on the back side of the tray. Good for displaying everything and gives a nice symmetry for any water cooling that I want to come up with. Speaking of water cooling, it's designed with it in mind, but it should also work well on air which would ease upgrades. So water cooling is still up in the...air. Next up in the design phase was to figure out what materials I'm using. I designed it so that the blades are easy to CNC and my first thought was to use aluminum since I've got a fair amount of experience with it. But that's also a reason to use something other than aluminium, I always like trying something new. So what's hot right now? Seems to be glass. But you can't CNC glass panels....or can you? Well, you can if it's fiberglass. And I've never worked with fiberglass so let's start the experimenting. So I ordered cloth, resin, and catalyst. That's 30 yards of fiberglass cloth. The resin is surfboard resin which I thought would work well since it cures clear. Even though I've got a ton of cloth, I decided to try my hand the first time with a Bondo fiberglass patch kit, just to see how difficult it is to work since fiberglass is usually used to cover another material(boats and surfboards) or to be laid in a mold like a gelcoat bathtub, and I'm wanting to make flat sheets. The larger piece is four layers of cloth while the narrow piece is 8 layers. I wanted to see how well the resin worked through the layers, or 'wetted out'. It was super easy to work with but I am going to have to watch how many layers I try to do at once. So lets try to make a usable panel. First is to cut out the cloth. Since most of the middle of panels will be cut out I'm trying to save some glass by using strips for the middle layers and 2' full squares for the outside layers. Since this is going to be a messy process and the resin will stick to anything, I had to find something to work on that would let me get the sheet back up. My first thought was a piece of particle board that I capped with epoxy, but that didn't work very well. I wound up using the piece of lexan that I originally used to cover my workbench. The resin eats at it, but it's easy to pop the panels off once they've cured. For my first try, I added a ton of blue dye and a couple drops of black to the resin to see if I could get a transparent effect going on. And that came out a bit darker than expected. And purple. WTH? Trial two, a lot less blue dye, and no black. And that's super transparent. And still purple? Oh and great the ends of my strips are picking up the dye(or so I thought). Trial three. Screw it, no dye. Let's just see what that looks like. Hey the ends are...showing the Sharpie marks from me laying everything out...damn. and it tints towards green with the resin and glass fibers alone. Damn. And that's as far as I got before I ran out of resin. Next step, try a couple fewer layers(down to 8) so everything wets out better and that should also leave me enough resin in each batch to cap the top of the panel. Right now I've got a cool cloth pattern, but I'm really wanting it smooth. Transparent dyes are apparently not going to work, so I've got some opaque dyes to try, but if all else fails, I've got a nice Viper metallic blue paint picked out.