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Scratch Build – In Progress HAL 2021

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by IBMer, 24 Dec 2020.

  1. IBMer

    IBMer Member

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    Hi everyone!

    I just started working on the follow-up of my HAL 1.3U server case mod: https://forums.bit-tech.net/index.php?threads/hal-rackmount-case-mod.349871/#post-4548326.

    This time it will be built from scratch.

    Constraints:
    • Shorter depth and a bit more eight to free some space on my desk
    • Still desktop format, under the monitor (HP Omen 35), while finding a way to highlight its great looking octogonal stand.
    • Still a custom loop for CPU and GPU, but improving airflow for non-watercooled components.
    • cheap material, easy to work with... and delivered at home.
    Here was my first rough idea but it's evolving as I bump into unforeseen constrains and new (and hopefully good) ideas:

    HAL 2.0 first concept
    [​IMG]


    The idea:
    • Octogonal shape, to repeat the shape of the monitor stand.
    • For the material, I opted for wood, with 0.5 inch square dowels as the main material for the case... top and bottom plates will be meshs of intertwinned dowel which will require quite some work with grooves.
    • Smaller parts will be 3D printed in PLA.
    • The finish will be deep matte black with red accents (mostly from leds), to fit the HAL theme.
    Tools:
    • Just invested in a BIQU B1 3D printer (basically an upgraded Ender 3)...
    • ... and I also got a Sainsmart Genmitsu 3018 ProVer CNC machine.
    • I am taking this new project as an opportunity to learn the basics of Autodesk Fusion 360, especially for 3D printed parts (slicing with Cura). To work on grooves I am using Inventable Easel to generate the g-code for the CNC machine.
    • Electric mitter saw.
    • Dremel
    Nothing really fancy in terms of PC parts:
    • My good old OCed Core i7 4790k.
    • Asus ROG Maximus Impact VI (such a wonderful card).
    • EVGA Geforce GTX 1080 Hydrocopper.
    • Only slight upgrade is a full cover waterblock from Bitspower for the motherboard.
    Basically between the CPU and waterblock I finally reached the full setup I always wanted for this wonderful board.

    Here is a first attempt at assessing the internal layout and dimensions (the cardboard way... it was a few weeks ago and I could barely design anything on Fusion 360):

    Low-tech design
    [​IMG]

    By the look of it my 2x 240 slim rads won't really fit inside... I am going to install them outside (using pass-throughs), in the back of the case, raised vertically.

    Due to the octogonal shape and overall clearance, I will have a rather unusual layout for the mother board and (single-slot) GPU: "crossed", GPU underneath the motherboard, with motherboard connectors on the rear left and gpu connections on the rear right.

    This is my first scratchbuild (in ages, I had a few rather aesthetically unfortunate attempts at cubic acrylic cases back in the 90s), first 3D printer, first CNC, first steps in CAD... this is going to be hectic and fun.

    I will documents my beginners steps (and missteps) so that it may be useful to some of you wishing to embark in similar projects using the same technics.

    Needless to say that advices are highly appreciated.


    I. Working on the bottom plate.

    I decided to work on the bottom plate first, as a way to identify potential issue and improve things before I work on the top plate which will obvious be much more visible

    The idea is to intertwine square dowels which will create more rigidity than just carving square holes in a sheet of wood (especially for the top plate which will support the monitor

    The bottom plate is assembled from a set of 11.5" and 9.5" dowels.

    Here is a first rough layout before grooves are carved.
    [​IMG]

    I used Inventable Easel (free version) to design the grooves and generate the Gcode.

    CNC baby!!! (carving grooves in 11.5" dowels, 9 at a time)
    [​IMG]


    Quite exciting! This was my first cut just after the models presented by Sainsmar:
    • I used A Dremel 654 1/4" Straight Routing Bit: with it's 1/8" shank it works well with the collet included with the 3018 by default, but make the job much faster than with a 1/8" bit, it seems to work will on these poplar dowels.
    • Dowels are fixed to the spoilboard with the painter tape + superglue trick (I wish I had known this one before!).
    • compared to usual wood CNC works I don't cut full pieces from a plain wood stock... this requires quite some precision in the alignment of the origin, which proved to be tricky...
    • also considering that the carving area is actually a bit less wide than 30cm due to limit stoppers... I had to have a second pass for the last groove... with risks of alignment inconsistencies. Thinking twice a larger CNC would have been a better choice but there is quite a price bump past the 3018, as they come with more than just a bigger frame (more powerful motors etc...). I will at least probably buy the 3040 extension kit for 3018 from Sainsmart or make my own soon.
    • appart from alignment consistency, one thing i did not think about at all was tolerance, especially for grooves... Down the line, this required quite a lot of filing and sanding to adjust everything.
    • this was all the more real as these dowels come with slight discrepencies in thickness are sometimes not perfectly straight. Grain is very random too.

    The bottom plate after grooves are cut, and rough sanding/filing.
    [​IMG]

    I will attach the side dowels later on as the basically lock everything in place, then apply a bit of wood filler on some spots and sand more.
    The objective throughout this build is to avoid the wooden look and feel, so sanding is going to be long.

    Next step: working on wooden side pannels, mostly a mitter saw job.
     
    Last edited: 26 Dec 2020
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  2. IBMer

    IBMer Member

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    II. Working on wooden side panels

    Quite a few mitter saw cuts for these longer sides as each side is assembled from between 14 and 21 parts.

    Here is how it's assembled from the inside:
    [​IMG]

    And here are the four assembled sides:
    [​IMG]

    From left to right:
    - front right side, only one with no hole.
    - front left side, 5.25 baie for my good old EKWB pump/res combo.
    - back left side, mother board bezel.
    - back right side, GPU ports.

    Challenges:
    - no laser on the mitter saw and noob DYIer = not too precise cuts... quite a few ajustments, some wood filler and a loooots of sanding required.

    Next step: I started working on CAD for the 4 corner pieces, but I am still waiting for some actual parts (USB 3 ports, C14 power inlet etc) to be delivered... actual dimensions of which I need to measure in order to fine tune drawings before 3D printing.

    One idea while working on the sides... 0.5 inches vents are actually quite wide and the sides might feel a bit "empty"... I am thinking about working on a 3D printed mesh of some sort.
     
  3. Dot_Kappa

    Dot_Kappa 100% Puppet

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    Lovely cardboard mockup :winking:
     
  4. IBMer

    IBMer Member

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    Thanks! It's sponsored by Amazon ;)


    Here is a new update.

    III. Design and printing the "corner" pieces

    I started with the front corner and got this design done:
    [​IMG]

    It includes a standoff for the on/off switch (got the button and the switch from a spare part Lian Li PC-8 kit). I'm slowly starting to get Fusion 360. Once the first piece was designed it was really fast to get others done as well.

    And here are the four corners printed:
    [​IMG]


    From left to right:
    • Left side, full, with a text embossed. Gluon is an old nickname of mine in FPSs and MMORPGs and as I'm planning to do more public modding work in the near futur I'll use it as a "brand" name. Still planning to paint the 4 corner pieces in matte black, so I'm thinking about resanding the embossed text and as this PLA is quite transluscent maybe put a rather bright led inside to illuminate it.
    • Front corner: HAL "eye" is from a cheap mobile phone clip-on lenses kit, just have to dig in my spare parts to find a red LED.
    • Back corner: with PC14 inlet, Alphacool passthroughs for tubing and holes for fans power and rgb.
    • Right side: USB 3 x2
    I'm really happy with the BIQU B1 so far!

    Just did more sanding and glued the part of the bottom plate... tomorrow I'll apply some filler and have a last fine sanding, and maybe try a first assembling of all pieces produced so far.

    Challenges and new ideas:

    - Considering my rather weak skills with the mitter saw and the considerable amount of time it took to adjust and sand afterwards... I am thinking about using a CNCed top plate. It would be a first attempt at cutting carving acrylic and I could use the glossy opaque black sheet of acrylic I used on my first HAL (see below) and maybe reinforce it somehow. Only issue is that it's going to have to be assembled from 4 pieces considering the working area of the 3018 (shall I press the buy now button on this 3040 extension kit :p).

    - Also, the wooden sides look rather empty, I am working on a thin transluscent 3d printed mesh, wondering if I should stick to the original movie HAL or go for something more organic like voronoid. Had a first go on the later with Inkscape + Fusion and it looks quite sweet.

    Actually that machine is addictive and I am even thinking about remaking the sides using CNC... maybe for a v3.0

    HAL v 1.0
    [​IMG]


    Enjoy the holidays/the weekend!

    More updates soon.
     
    Last edited: 26 Dec 2020
    Cheapskate and Jean R built like this.
  5. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    You have both machines, so something else to think about:
    You can add extra material to the dress side of the plates, and mill them smooth. :naughty:
    It takes some extra care to cut low melting point plastics, though.
    You can also print fixture plates to mill funny angles.
     
  6. IBMer

    IBMer Member

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    Thanks! surfacing the bottom board as I am writing... this is still very new to me I still have to grasp the full potential of that thing :)


    >>>> Quick update... surfacing with a 1/4" dremel straight bit was not a good idea also considering it did all the previous work... it broke... getting something better for the job, deliverd next Tuesday.

    In the meantime I am working on models for rads standoffs
     
    Last edited: 27 Dec 2020
  7. IBMer

    IBMer Member

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    Hi :)

    Today I worked on modeling the housing for rads and their fans.

    Here is how this will look:
    [​IMG]
    • I used Inkscape (one more thing to slowly learn) to make a voronoi pattern, then applied the B-Spline tool.
    • This is a departure from the original HAL design but I really like it... let's just say that the new HAL received a biotech upgrade.
    • I will use the same kind of pattern for the inner mesh on the sides, printed very thin in red transluscent PLA.
    I am printing in two halves... will post pics asap but each half will take 1day+

    Anyone ever tried Black 2.0 or 3.0 from Stuart Semple on their mods? I want something reaaaaally matte but I wonder about ease of use on mods and how well it ages.

    Have fun!
    :)
     
    Last edited: 4 Jan 2021
  8. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    No experience with it, but avoid designer-brand anything. It's a $3 can of paint using perfume marketing.
    :lol: I was going to suggest something organic for the mesh, but didn't because of the Hal theme.

    End Mills: Avoid China. The quality goes from OK, to absolute trash. They avoid mentioning 'made in China' in the product descriptions, and in some cases even slap a US flag on the picture. -Basically, if you see the same picture of product plastered everywhere with different descriptions, you are dealing with Chinese Amway-style vendors.
    ...I should make that my signature. :lol:
     
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  9. IBMer

    IBMer Member

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    Hi! :)
    First of all, all the best to everyone for 2021.

    I worked quite a bit on the case over the last few days but it was not very photogenic.
    Weather was not optimal either to paint outside... so 3d printed parts are filled and sanded but are still waiting for a first layer of primer.

    In the meantime I came back to wood working.

    Surfacing of the bottom plate is done!
    [​IMG]


    My tiny CNC machine is surprisingly forgiving for my beginner's mistakes :)
    I am having quite some fun learning about and fine-tuning feed/plunge rates and depth per path...
    The new surfacing bit works well.

    Satisfying step: I could assemble the case for the first time :)
    It went quite smoothly, with only minor ajustments.

    First assembly!!!
    [​IMG]

    I made the bottom plate thiner to allow foremore clearance for components.
    Something tells me that stacking the GPU and the motherboard with its full cover waterblock is going to take quite a bit of height. I might have to find some low profil 90° fittings (my current Alphacool ones are quite tall, I think they have some low-profile ones I may order).

    I was also able to work on the design of the top plate.
    As mentioned before I will have to build it from 4 parts due to the small working area of my CNC machine. As a result I will reinforce it with an aluminium inlay to make sure it can hold the monitor.

    Top cover (1 part), CAD
    [​IMG]

    Hopefully I can start painting in the coming days.

    More updates soons, and as usual your precious pieces of advice are most welcome!
     
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  10. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    Looks great. It's a shame all that beautiful wood will be painted.
    4 parts: You can do it in 2 parts. ;) You just need a reference point on the part you can use to reposition the material and re-zero.
     
  11. IBMer

    IBMer Member

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    Thanks, I agree! Just a matter of theme I guess. Wood is not yet mainstream in spaceship computers unfortunately :winking:... Japan recently announced that they are working on satellites with wooden structures but I bet they will coat them somehow :grin:
    Working on the CNC gave me other ideas of PC cases projects for which I will probably keep wood apparent by the way.

    Yes, trying to figure this out. Beyond my tendency to mess things up with the reference point... the "problem" is two-fold: 1. the complete cover piece slightly excede the width and will probably bump into the gantry 2. I am working on leftover acrylic and I may not have the patience to wait for a new sheet to be delivered :)

    Thank you for your interest and advice!
     
  12. Modultra

    Modultra New Member

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    I like the Voronoi pattern quite a bit. So inkscape can generate the pattern that can be exported to cad?
     
  13. IBMer

    IBMer Member

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    Indeed!
    The voronoi itself is just straight lines, but then by using the B-Spline tool you can round things to get the effect you want.
    I just used part of this youtube tutorial (in Italian, quite straightforward though) from Marco Riva (thanks to him!) to generate in Inkscape:



    Then I just imported the svg in a Fusion 360 sketch.
     
  14. IBMer

    IBMer Member

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    Hi :)

    Speaking of voronoi patterns today I experimented on side grills.

    Here is what I came with:

    Hot out of the printer:
    [​IMG]


    And clipped on one of the side panel (still waiting for more paint work):
    [​IMG]

    Still needs some adjustments, let me know what you think :)

    While I was on Fusion 360 I started designing the motherboard tray... I might actually go for a single tray with different levels to hold the motherboard, the PSU and the pump/res combo while also helping with cables management.

    More soon...
     
  15. IBMer

    IBMer Member

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    Hi,

    Almost finished painting radiators/fan enclosures:
    [​IMG]

    Not perfect, I need to fix a few things still, but it gives a first feel of the final project :)
    Should give a nice effect with the glow of the 4 ekwb Vardars rgb behind.

    Still working on the top plate, more updates asap.
     
    Last edited: 10 Jan 2021
    Canardwc, Cheapskate and Jean R built like this.
  16. Canardwc

    Canardwc @French_fab_factorie

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    Ça a l'air bien tout ça ! :clap:
     
  17. riekmaharg2

    riekmaharg2 has started the PowerCore scratch build

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    Loving the cool Voronoi patterning, definitely gives the whole design a unique touch. :thumb:
     
  18. IBMer

    IBMer Member

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    Merci bien ! :grin:

    Thanks! Yes I am glad I found these, the case would have been a bit dull with plain grills.

    Yesterday I worked on the plastic/aluminium bars which will strengthen the top plate.

    Here they are (PLA with aluminum inlay):
    [​IMG]

    Cutting the 4 pieces of the plate as I'm writing.

    This thing still feels magic to me :)
    [​IMG]

    I will add some 3D printed voronoi pattern to decorate the top plater as well.

    More updates this weekend.

    Have fun everyone!
     
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  19. IBMer

    IBMer Member

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    Hi everyone!

    I just finished the top plate :)
    So it's finally time for the first complete impression.

    Fear the mighty Cyborg Cyclops Bunny !!!!
    [​IMG]

    I'm now tempted to build the rest of the body but this would defy the SFF purpose ;)
    The screen on top will most certainly change that first impression but I kind of like it.

    Interior layout is going to be challenging with probably quite a lot of mistakes and PLA wasted.

    Here are the next steps:

    - Mother board / PSU / pump-res trays and/or standoffs.
    - probably some adjustments to wooden parts on the bottom and sides to allow for more clearance for the GPU.
    - pathing of tubes and wires.

    More updates soon.
     
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  20. IBMer

    IBMer Member

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    Hi everyone :)

    I printed some trays and stand-offs yesterday.

    PCI-E riser stand-off / pump-res bay / PSU tray / MB tray and standoffs
    [​IMG]

    Not the tiniest case for sure, but cables and tubes routing is sure challenging already :)

    More updates in the course of the week.
     
    Last edited: 18 Jan 2021
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