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Planning Greylith and Greyling - Scratchbuilt Aluminum SFX

Discussion in 'Modding' started by ALL_grey, 18 Mar 2015.

  1. ALL_grey

    ALL_grey New Member

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    Hey there, this is my first post here and I just wanted to show you guys some case designs I've been working on.

    First is the Greylith, a vertical ITX case much like the Silverstone FT-03 Mini.
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    exploded view of how the parts come together. The concept with this case is that there is an inner chassis which is open and easy to work in, then the outer panels will be attached to it to give the overall structure strength and rigidity. This gives the case an industrial, functional look, with plenty of visible screws on the outside. There will be a lot of careful bends to be done. Everything will be made out of 3mm thick aluminum.

    Dimensions for the case are (LWH): 202 x 246 x 391 mm, ~19.4L
    Dimensions without the top and bottom voids: 202 x 246 x 295 mm, ~14.6L

    This case came about from my frustration with using my Cooler Master Elite 110, mainly how the heat from the GPU is exhausted inside the tiny case and the fact that GPU choice is very limited :sigh:.

    [​IMG]

    The case can hold:
    -Two 3.5" drives, Three SSDs
    -A single thick 140mm rad
    -SFX-L power supplies
    -Graphics cards up to 289mm long

    Now, I know what you're thinking, is a single thick rad enough to cool both a GPU and a CPU? I know there's rules like 'one 120 per component', but it has been done before, and I'm not overclocking (I don't even have an unlocked processor) so things should be fine, it just limits me to more power efficient components.

    On top of the limited cooling capacity, this case has a few flaws, one is that the I/O ports are hard to reach after the top part gets screwed on. The other flaw is that taking the front cover off will take about 12 screws, which will make cleaning/maintenance a pain in the ass. But, I like the design and the concept behind it, so I can live with these :hip:

    Here's my current system specs:
    i5-4440
    Gigabyte GA-H87N-WiFi
    Kingston 2x8GB DDR3 1600MHz
    Crucial MX100 256GB
    WD Blue 1TB & Seagate 2TB
    Zotac Standard GTX 970
    500W Super Flower PSU

    Along with this case I'll also be making another case to go along with it, probably from leftover aluminum. It's a super simple tiny case (185x16x232mm, ~6.8L) that comes together with two parts and is meant to take advantage of short mini-itx graphics cards. I named it the Greyling because it's smaller :eek:

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    It only has a single 92mm fan for intake, only accepts low profile CPU coolers and SFX power supplies, but damn is it cute and portable :blush:

    Here's a more recent render with both cases, I ditched the reset switch on the Greylith. The build will probably start in around a month depending on when I can get my hands on some aluminum.
    [​IMG]

    So there you go, any feedback? Also, can anyone recommend a good 140mm radiator fan?
     
  2. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    Quite tiny.:D Looks awesome.
    Little rig looks like getting the GPU in will be a nightmare. I'd change it to a detachable faceplate.
    I also see some custom wires in your future.
     
  3. ALL_grey

    ALL_grey New Member

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    yeah, not gonna have space to tuck in excess wires in these cases. Thanks for the suggestion, although which case were you referring to?
     
  4. Ocelot

    Ocelot Member

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    I am liking this concept a lot. However I see a number of possible issues.

    First of all the cooling side. I know you are aware of the limited cooling capabilities, but I had a FT03-mini system and learned the hard way how important noise is when your case is standing ~75cm away from you on your desk, at basically ear level. I would definitely add at least another 120mm rad. I know compactness is sexy but it would be pretty frustrating if your shiny new scratch build is no fun to use right?

    I also think you should not underestimate the importance of convenience and ease of use. I sacrificed those two things in a few places in my scratch build and it's becoming quite annoying now that I am in the assembly phase. I could imagine that accessing the MB IO panel in particular would be a pain in the ass.

    I have no idea how much metal working experience you have so excuse me if I'm telling you stuff you already know.

    There is a rule of thumb that says that your bend radius should be no smaller than twice the material thickness. So in your case 6mm. In the renders your bend radius looks absolutely tiny. In my scratch build I have a 3mm panel that is bent at ~4mm bend radius and they are showing some stress fractures. Nothing that would seriously impact stability but they aren't pretty.

    You also need to be aware of bend deduction. With a material thickness of 3mm and bend radius of 6mm your flat pattern is going to be stretched by probably 5-7mm per bend. Doesn't sound like much but it's enough to mess up a hole alignment. Here is a great resource for sheet metal calculations: sheetmetal.me

    Then there is the complexity of your sheet metal parts. You need to think about exactly how you're going to do each bend and in which order so your panels don't interfere with the bend brake. It looks like you may need a fancy segmented bend press to do some of those panels.

    It looks like you're planning to cut threads into the sheet metal. I personally don't like doing that especially with a metal as soft as aluminium because the threads will be easily damaged. I would highly recommend you use rivet nuts because they give much more thread length. like this one.
    [​IMG]

    As for fans I am a bit of a Noctua fan boy. Their best radiator fan the NF-F12 is only available in 120mm though. Just look for a fan comparison test.

    Anyways, good luck with this, I think it could be absolutely awesome if you can pull it off. :thumb:
     
  5. ALL_grey

    ALL_grey New Member

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    Thanks so much for your input! I actually don't have much experience with metal working, hence the issues you see :worried:

    For the cooling, I'm not really that big of an overclocker so cooling headroom isn't that much of an issue for me. Based on what I've seen with single (albeit thick) rads, the cooling capacity is good enough, although of course I'll have to ramp up the fan speed a bit. From what I've learned sitting next to my Elite 110 rig though, a little noise doesn't really bother me that much. Plus, there's a lot of emphasis on power efficiency in hardware these days (at least if you're not AMD...).

    Yeah, it's definitely a huge pain to get to the rear IO, but I plan on using a USB hub with this build so I wouldn't have to access it too often.

    On the sheet metal and bending, I'm actually in the middle of testing bends with the aluminum that I have to find the K factor, among other stuff. Using this info, I can input it to Solidwork's sheet metal options to update my 3D model. I'm also working on some possible redesigns to the case to eliminate the need for fancy bending brakes (unless I can come up with a bending brake design that can make these bends). Going through your build log is actually helping me out a lot :D.

    As for the fans, I might have heard from EK that they're releasing 140mm Vardars soon...
     
  6. Ocelot

    Ocelot Member

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    I'm glad my input and build log is helpful. :)

    It's good you're doing bend tests because in my experience the accuracy with which calculations can predict material stretching is somewhat limited with hobbyist grade bend brakes like the one I used. Since I use Solidworks myself I would recommend you use 'Bend Deduction' in your CAD model instead of 'K-Factor'. This allows you to simply do a test piece, measure the length of the flanges you created, and then adjust the bend deduction value in your CAD model accordingly without having to figure out the K-Factor. The more you do this the more accurate your predictions will become.

    One more suggestion would be to make the carry handle/top panel a separate piece that can be removed with four or so screws...
     
  7. ALL_grey

    ALL_grey New Member

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    I'm a bit conflicted about that. On one hand, the engineer in me says that it's an essential feature to conveniently access the rear IO. But, the artist in me says that it'll somewhat break the smooth metal bend at the edges of the top...

    I'll consider it, but at the moment I'm planning to just take advantage of my small nimble fingers to get in there.
     
  8. Impatience

    Impatience Well-Known Member

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    That ITX version is so cute! I really want to see that made.. :p
     
  9. ALL_grey

    ALL_grey New Member

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    They're both ITX...
     
  10. Impatience

    Impatience Well-Known Member

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    *Derp* The smaller one, sorry.. Completely didn't read the entire thread then make that mistake! :duh:
     
  11. ALL_grey

    ALL_grey New Member

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    Small update!

    I still haven't got around to doing bending tests on the aluminum since time has been a bit of a premium lately, but I did tweak the design a bit.

    For the Greylith, I've changed the design to make it easier to make with a basic bending brake. This mostly involved making some of the inner frame parts separate, like so:

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    Here you can also see the adjustable radiator mount.

    I've also been experimenting with alternative watercooling loops using standalone components instead of using a pump/cpu block.

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    Fillport using a passthrough fitting, adjustable for different radiator in/outlet spacing. Instead of a reservoir I'm using a T-fitting, which will probably make filling the loop take more time, but whatever :lol:

    For the Greyling, I decided to elongate it slightly to fit a standard 120mm fan.

    [​IMG]
    I'm thinking of adding some USB and audio ports on the front as well.

    That's it for today!
     

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