Case Mod - In Progress ⭐ (In Win 901) Asteria II: Rearmoured

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by LePhuronn, 3 Feb 2017.

  1. LePhuronn

    LePhuronn Member

    Joined:
    6 Oct 2016
    Posts:
    145
    Likes Received:
    13
    Motherboard light panel
    What is decidedly "meh" is the light panel intended as a halo around the motherboard. I drew a few bits up and went laser cutting some acrylic.
    [​IMG]

    5mm thick Opal 050 acrylic. This is actually my second attempt after the original clear acrylic version shifted slightly in the laser cutter and went wonky. Plus I couldn't find anybody who'd sandblast small pieces of thin acrylic (original plan) and there's no way I could get the finish I wanted through manually sanding :p

    Annoyingly though, it didn't feel right once I'd cut it. Hell, it didn't even cut correctly. Using exactly the same settings as the clear acrylic, there were some areas when doing the opal wouldn't go fully through and had to score and snap some bits out (with razor blade sharp edges my scarred thumbs can attest to). I passed it off as a quirk of the material given it only has 37% light transmission.

    But then I got home and did some test fits and things still weren't right. It's too thick.
    [​IMG]

    I forgot that opal acrylic is cast, not extruded, so we have manufacturing tolerances to come into play. Something like +/- 10% thickness + 0.4mm. OK, so 5.74mm is within tolerance. It's 1mm thicker than my initial clear panel though.

    [​IMG]
    A bit better

    [​IMG]
    Um, hang on, that's ridiculously out of spec. Is that why the sheet I bought cost so little? It's actually "B" grade?

    I need to thin this down a bit. Let's quickly line up some way of pinning this down. Wrap some electrical tape around some M4 screws to fill the holes better.
    [​IMG]

    And drill a hole pattern into my work board. Unnecessary pictures ahoy!
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Let's get rasping!
    [​IMG]

    And after about 5 minutes I stopped because even 6mm thick panel should've still fit, but could be falling foul of solder points on the board that I didn't need to consider before.

    Quick and dirty mapping solution. Masking tape the top side of the panel:
    [​IMG]

    Apply blue felt-tip pen to the bigger solder points, ICs and chokes on the underside of the motherboard and then press down onto the light panel in position (I still love how the board looks):
    [​IMG]

    Worked well enough to get an idea of where the bit items were, but not well enough to be picked up on camera, so no pics of the transfer I'm afraid.

    Drilled out some shallow holes and a rough n ready router channel:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Now the board can sit in position and rest correctly without anything interfering.

    Except that it doesn't. Something is still not right and I can't quite see where it is. And it turns out I didn't even need to make all those holes for solder points because they're not the reason the board isn't flush, so I've trashed the piece.

    So 3rd time's a charm and I'm going to make another one, this time in 3mm acrylic so the cast manufacturing tolerances will keep it within my original plans.
     
  2. LePhuronn

    LePhuronn Member

    Joined:
    6 Oct 2016
    Posts:
    145
    Likes Received:
    13
    Waste not want not
    Since the actual shape isn't changing I thought I'd get the LEDs sorted anyway and give it a test.
    [​IMG]

    Cool white 3528 LED strips on a 5mm wide PCB wrapped around an inner frame so the light shines outwards. A bit frustrating as the length of the outside edge didn't divide nicely by 50mm so I could fill that gap.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Just as an experiment, I covered the underside of the light panel with silver foil to see if it'll help with internal reflection.
    [​IMG]

    And then the LED ring is slotted inside the light panel
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Note that I'm not sleeving wires on a test piece :p


    So, let's give it a whirl!
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Yay, ish kinda. The gap in the LED strip at the bottom makes an obvious dead spot, but isn't too much of an issue as the GPU covers that entire side of the motherboard so you won't even see the lit edge (shame). The corners are frustrating though. I know there are holes in the way so it was never going to be perfect, but I thought the LEDs had a much wider viewing angle than this to help fill the dead spots.

    But then also look how the light doesn't fully penetrate the opal acrylic. Opal 050 has 37% light transmission and is perfect for lightboxes, but I guess that only applies if you're lighting underneath not directly into the sides.

    So, time to look at other acrylics for my 3rd attempt...
    • Opal 030 has 70% light transmission so that should help, but it's more frosted than a solid white
    • Polar White Frost looks similar with a 60% transmission
    • Crystal Clear Frost (oxymoron there, Perspex?) has 90% transmission, which is likely to be blinding given how damn bright these LEDs are

    There are also a matching pair of panels like these for the storage covers which I haven't built the LED rings for, but could suffer the same issues. We'll see when I get to them, but if I'm changing the acrylic for the motherboard then I do want the storage to match when the lights are off as well as on.
     
  3. LePhuronn

    LePhuronn Member

    Joined:
    6 Oct 2016
    Posts:
    145
    Likes Received:
    13
    It's not so bad when the motherboard is put into position.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    But you can definitely see where the light isn't filling into spaces left by narrow angle LEDs. I think that can be rectified with more light transmission. I'll probably tweak the internal dimensions too for a tighter 50mm division to lessen dead spots.


    Why not throw some red ambient and my phone's torch into the mix for a laugh :D
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Of course bear in mind that the Dominator Platinums have white lighting to them too, so we'll have an extra soft glow from the RAM, and the Titan backplate is so very shiny as well which should catch any stray light and reflect it up into the CPU area. Could work rather nicely.


    That's me done for now, hopefully I'll be making some more progress soon. Cheers for looking!
     
  4. LePhuronn

    LePhuronn Member

    Joined:
    6 Oct 2016
    Posts:
    145
    Likes Received:
    13
    Drive covers

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Yeah, these work nicely. Corners are still a touch dark because of the holes, but I'm experimenting with clear nylon screws since there is no load bearing on these covers, so hopefully having some clear material physically in the holes will transmit light back into the acrylic and light the corners up.

    We'll see when the panels get threaded.
     
  5. LePhuronn

    LePhuronn Member

    Joined:
    6 Oct 2016
    Posts:
    145
    Likes Received:
    13
    [​IMG]

    Greetings to all!

    You remember me talking about that custom DDC top that would solve many pump placement problems? Well it kinda did and didn't work. Can it be done? Yes. Can I do it? Not so much, but this was exploration after all.

    My big problem was actually cutting the acetal block to size and maintaining a perfect square. By the time I'd managed to straighten things up the actual block was a tiny bit too small in some dimensions. Not a deal breaker potentially so I continued the experiment nonetheless.

    Let's get going!
    [​IMG]


    When I made my first batch of light panels, I also cut some drill guides for the various holes and feeds for the pump top. Alas, no pictures of them in isolation, but this is the 3.3mm guide set for the volute side of the top in situ: 4 holes for M4 mounting threads and a pilot for the central feed.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The depth gauge on my pillar drill isn't amazing so I marked the required depth onto the drill bit with some masking tap.


    I built the volute up in stages. First up is a 10mm drill to feed into the volute itself. Got my air compressor ready and waiting to disperse debris and offer a bit of cooling to the acetal.
    [​IMG]

    Acetal is lovely to work with. You really only need woodworking tools, so nothing special, but you need to treat it with a bit of respect. Heat can build up very quickly and acetal goes stringy rather than producing chips, so you need to get that rubbish out of the way quickly so you don't gum up your drills, holes and make a mess. Best practice from what I've read is to have your drill speed rather low and then "peck" at the material as you feed. That way you don't get long strings building up and are easily removed. And the airflow also helps a bit with temperatures too.

    Another reason I built this in stages is to maximise the efficiency of the Forstner bits I'm using. Forstner bits scrape away at material much like a spade bit; given the bit spins faster at the edges than the centre, I've found it's quite effective to remove the inner portions first, letting all the grunt apply to the outer parts of the bit.

    So with 10mm removed first, the 20mm Forstner bit only has the outermost 10mm to scrape out. Turns out I didn't actually take a picture of the 20mm bit in place before milling.
    [​IMG]

    That's how stringy things can get, and in this instance no amount of air helped disperse it. So lots of pecking and pulling the strings off to get this:
    [​IMG]

    Now comes the big boy: slightly oversized 40mm bit (comes out at 41mm)
    [​IMG]

    Even with only milling the outermost 20mm, no finesse with this pupper at all. The mess!
    [​IMG]

    Did the job quite roughly too, so some clean-up of the edges required.
    [​IMG]


    And this is where I stopped.

    The M4 threads went in nicely first time but when I mounted this to the pump for a first fit I noticed that either a drill hole had slipped or I still hadn't squared everything up correctly, and the top was slightly out of alignment. I couldn't take any more material out to make it work, but the first half of the experiment was successful in that it's very easy to drill and mill a block of acetal.

    I'll go back at some point and put some ports in just to test how much performance is lost with a circular volute, but in all honesty the thing that I need to address is getting square blocks. My jigsaw was pretty worthless cutting through 20mm, but a tabletop scroll or band saw might do a better job if I can guide, fence and cool properly. Or I could buy in pre-cut blocks. Ultimately getting the thing CNC milled is the best way to go, but at that point I might as well design a proper spiral volute and do this right.

    For now it's plan B.
     
  6. LePhuronn

    LePhuronn Member

    Joined:
    6 Oct 2016
    Posts:
    145
    Likes Received:
    13
    Plan B is to modify my existing Aquacomputer pump top to add a new inlet port on the opposite side of the outlet to achieve my required crossflow design. The volute is already spiral, the internal milling and feeds are there, I just need to smash in a new port. This does also mean that both of the top ports need to be covered, so that's a new cover plate too.

    Break out the acrylic guides and drill a 6mm inlet feed into the pump's collection chamber.
    [​IMG]

    Lined up and ready for the 11.6mm drill for the port
    [​IMG]

    Stringy mess, lovely black contrast to the white from earlier.
    [​IMG]

    And thread that G1/4 (don't worry, I straightened the tap up after taking the picture :p )
    [​IMG]


    Success! Inner part of an EK HDC 12mm in place
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Because this top has a side inlet port, Aquacomputer milled out this intricate collection chamber in the upper half of the acetal block. All I did was pass a 6mm feed into that chamber and then offset the actual port down a few mm so the fitting will be as flush to the top of the pump top as possible.

    Now close off those top ports with a plate since I don't have the space to use normal screw plugs.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I never actually intended to use this acrylic plate, otherwise I would've engraved the logo in the correct orientation :p but in practical terms the acrylic is only 1.5mm thick so it's actually bending in the middle rather than applying pressure to the o-rings. So since it'll probably leak, I guess we're on the stainless steel.

    Rough shape cut from 1.2mm 304 shiny stainless (for no other reason the shiny sheet was £1 from eBay)
    [​IMG]

    Shaping. Some of the corners would cut, others wouldn't so there was A LOT of rasping and filing down. And it's stainless steel so it's not exactly a quick job.
    [​IMG]

    Drilling the M3 holes. My poor drill bits! Basic HSS bits and stainless steel don't play nicely together.
    [​IMG]

    But after quite some time, aching arms and a sore back, I got there.
    [​IMG]

    The stock Aquacover, my first version single port laser cut and the 2nd version no-port variant cut by hand. Crikey.


    And after some tidying up and expanding the screw holes, we get this!
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    I've done a test fit and I have literally zero space behind the Titan given that the HDC fitting in the new port raises up 2mm above the top surface. But the important thing is this crossflow design removes all of my position restrictions and greatly cleans up my loop run in and out of the pump. That's a massive relief.

    This top will do for now, however I've hooked up with Lucas from Mp5works who's milled me some aluminium pieces (update coming) so there will be a conversation coming about a 2nd attempt at the proper bespoke top. If that comes to anything I'll certainly let you know :D

    Thanks for reading as always, hopefully a bit more to come soon!
     
    Last edited: 8 Dec 2017
  7. LePhuronn

    LePhuronn Member

    Joined:
    6 Oct 2016
    Posts:
    145
    Likes Received:
    13
    Hi there, a little bit more for you before I, no doubt, disappear for months again :D

    [​IMG]

    A replacement PSU mount and version 3 reservoir mount, beautifully milled in the same 1.5mm aluminium by Mp5works. Many thanks, Lucas! The focus for this post is the res mount.

    It's been commented on a few times "I can't wait to see how you're mounting the res" given I've said I wanted something unobtrusive, almost invisible to give a floating appearance. For my money all the res mounts I've seen are a bit unwieldy and no finesse to them. Hopefully this will achieve the look I want.

    So, folded up and mounted to the Aqualis ECO 100:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Simple, out of the way. In what can only be described as a miracle, my intended millimetre precision has actually worked for once!
    [​IMG]

    The plate matched perfectly to the chamfer of the acetal base, so no unsightly overhang, and the vertical portion just close enough to give clearance without a massive gulf. Those chunky M4 screws will be replaced with slimmer button heads for the final build.

    So, in situ then:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Positioning is about 90% accurate here. I need to be careful because I don't have much room below the res and the Titan, and I can't push it up too far otherwise the 90 degree fitting on top fouls the roof of the case chamber. Dead centre in the chamber though, and will be coming away from the PSU area by 4 or 5mm.

    I'd say that was pretty damn invisible :p

    Since this is only 1.5mm aluminium, it's not going to hold up to much abuse and weight as-is. That's borosilicate glass for a start, and then add in 100ml of water too. You can see it sags a little already with the unsupported test placement. The mount itself will have a bit more support from being screwed into a M3 standoff a bit further back (that small hole underneath the vertical portion), and the res itself will be supported at the top.
    [​IMG]

    The idea is that acrylic ring will be screwed into the roof of the case chamber with a chunky M4 bolt and hold the res top vertically in place, along these lines:
    [​IMG]

    Should help stop the res from tipping sideways along the mount's fold line. After some proper mounting I'll test it with water and give the case a wiggle to see what happens. I already have a dual-screw version drawn up in case I need more support, but will have to make sure it can't be seen (single screw version will be obscured by the 90 degree fitting).

    Failing that I'll just use and abuse the 2nd G1/4 port in the res top and screw the damn thing directly into the roof :p

    So that's it from me for a while. I'm currently solving a conundrum with my storage plate assembly to try and thin it down a bit; with everything stacked up it's currently about 3mm too tall, so I have some refinements to do. That will be helped by how far I have to trim the DDC heatsink's fins, which in turn dictates how much I can space out the glass side panels from the main body.

    We're getting there slowly, thanks for being here!
     
  8. LePhuronn

    LePhuronn Member

    Joined:
    6 Oct 2016
    Posts:
    145
    Likes Received:
    13
    Happy New Year to all! As I'm pottering about with some tweaks and redesigns of bits and pieces, I'm looking for your opinion on a wee something as I can't quite make up my mind.

    It was always intended to have an illuminated logo on the I/O shroud but I've never been too sure on how to achieve it. At first I tried cutting the letters out of the vinyl wrap to expose the acrylic underneath but I couldn't do a tidy job, and the letters themselves are too small for a vinyl cutter so that idea was binned off.

    In what feels like a bit of a cheat given I made the I/O shroud prototype by hand, I'm now going to 3D print a new one so it's all straight and lovely (been having a few issues folding up a 2nd version), and was going to have the logo cut into it.

    [​IMG]

    The thought was I can then cut out the bits of vinyl and tuck them into the letter spaces, but again we're talking about small letters and the 3D printer I have access to isn't likely to be accurate enough.

    So, I'm now looking at the raft of illuminated I/O shrouds coming out on every RGB motherboard these days to draw inspiration on how I can best approach it. The latest thought is to have an engraved strip of acrylic inset into the printed I/O shroud. The strip is easy to cut with a laser, the printer is accurate enough to make the hole, and I can paint the strip with black acrylic paint and then etch off the letters. But I'm not sure if it'll look any good, and the more I stare at the sleek and unfussy work I have already, I'm now not even convinced I actually should put a logo on.

    So I've done a Photoshop mockup to try it out. What do you think?

    You've seen the board as it stands now:
    [​IMG]

    Mocked-up inset panel
    [​IMG]


    The more I look at it, the more I don't think I should. I'm not even sure I'm keeping the brush black aluminium wrap now and moving to the same matte black as the heatsinks and sound card - in certain light the I/O shroud, heatsinks and CPU block are all different black textures and it flies in the face of my original complaint about the board! Plus the RAM has lighting on it and the motherboard is underlit, so would a logo on the shroud - however discreet - be too "blingy" and take away from the clean and understated thing I got going on?

    I'd value your input since I'm about 75% sure after posting this I'm not going to bother.

    Cheers!
     
    Last edited: 1 Jan 2018
    neSSa likes this.
  9. LePhuronn

    LePhuronn Member

    Joined:
    6 Oct 2016
    Posts:
    145
    Likes Received:
    13
    From feedback around the interwebs so far, it's looking likely I'm dropping the logo from the shroud. The brushed black effect is staying for now but will probably change to match the heatsinks later.

    No input from bit-techers on this?
     
  10. Vault-Tec

    Vault-Tec Green Plastic Watering Can

    Joined:
    30 Aug 2015
    Posts:
    6,696
    Likes Received:
    219
    I don't like it dude. The rest though? wow, consider me blown over. I never realised you were really going to get into it this much. Some truly amazing stuff going on here ! I had my head turned by bikes. However, with the weather being as it is I am back into PC mode now haha. Can't wait to see where you take this :D
     
  11. LePhuronn

    LePhuronn Member

    Joined:
    6 Oct 2016
    Posts:
    145
    Likes Received:
    13
    You're now #4. Confirmed now I'm not doing the logo on the shroud.

    To be honest with you, you've seen the individual components now (case rework, mobo rework, lighting panels, res mount), it's just a case of finishing everything up and putting it all together. Although nobody's seen the...*drum roll*...fan extension PCB slide mount! Not finished modelling yet for printing :grin:

    Which will probably be 2020 at this rate :duh:

    Well, I'm all-in on this one. I'd have no hope to beg, borrow or steal hardware for Dioxidane, Anesidora and Chimera if I don't impress, can I?
     
    Last edited: 4 Jan 2018
  12. Dietec

    Dietec Member

    Joined:
    2 Oct 2017
    Posts:
    50
    Likes Received:
    12
    I love the amount of detail you put into this log. Looking super professional so far :)
     
  13. LePhuronn

    LePhuronn Member

    Joined:
    6 Oct 2016
    Posts:
    145
    Likes Received:
    13
    Thanks very much, Dietec.

    I think the detail is an important part of the log, especially as this is a journey for me too given it's my first major mod and my first public display. And since this is a journey, why not spin a yarn as we go?

    Good to have you here.
     
    Dietec likes this.
  14. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

    Joined:
    13 May 2007
    Posts:
    9,486
    Likes Received:
    283
    Lovely project. I hate that it slipped past me, especially since you were making a top. Where you went wrong was focusing on getting the outside square first. Do the mounting and impeller well, the outside you can work out when mounted to the pump body, (I'm sure you figured this out by now, but I feel the need to say it.:) ) Since you are working with black acetal and stainless steel, you have the option of making multiple parts screwed together and sealed with black RTV silicone.
    Edit: I just went back and re-image linked my horribly dated pump top guide. It should at least be good for a laugh.
     
    Last edited: 5 Jan 2018
  15. LePhuronn

    LePhuronn Member

    Joined:
    6 Oct 2016
    Posts:
    145
    Likes Received:
    13
    Cheers Cheaps. I only scored an offcut acetal piece to test with, so it was all wonky and wouldn't easily fit in the vice, so I thought I'd square it up first. Hey ho, the Aquacomputer top works for now!

    I have seen your pump top guide before which is why I went for Forstner bits - I don't have a rotary table and mill bits and the centre point on a spade bit wouldn't work.
     
  16. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

    Joined:
    13 May 2007
    Posts:
    9,486
    Likes Received:
    283
    I was a bit extravagant with the setup. I should have done it with two sheets of plywood with a hole drilled through the middle, and held together with a shelf pin. -Ghetto rotary table. :D
     
  17. LePhuronn

    LePhuronn Member

    Joined:
    6 Oct 2016
    Posts:
    145
    Likes Received:
    13
    Now THAT I can do :grin:
     
  18. LePhuronn

    LePhuronn Member

    Joined:
    6 Oct 2016
    Posts:
    145
    Likes Received:
    13
    Hello to all, I thought I'd share a little something I've been working on. It's quite nice to be able to post this as I've been struggling with creative block on this small part, and it's delayed the last few cuts and holes needed.

    I'm using the fan extension PCB that comes with my Maximus VIII Impact to split off fan control and temperature probes rather than the motherboard itself. This way I can keep a lot of the cable bulk tucked up out of sight by routing through the various tiny gaps and spaces between the case internals and the outer skin, including the PCB. And believe it or not, it's going in here:
    [​IMG]

    There's a surprisingly large 20mm space between the PSU chamber and the outer skin once the case is fully assembled, which is more than enough for the PCB to sit in with the Molex power and all the various cables. Of course, as with pretty much every decision made on this project, what I came up with at the very beginning is never actually viable when you come to build.

    Yes, I can fit the PCB in there, but how do I actually get my fingers in to connect everything?!? So I've had the crazy idea of putting the PCB onto a runner so I can wire up the fans and whatnot and then slide it into place. After a few weeks of creative block dissipated, I start playing around in Fusion 360 and come up with this.
    [​IMG]

    2-part design with a plate holding the PCB (yes, I did model holes for ALL the solder points on the back :p) and a vertical stand which will be mounted to some brass standoffs.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The runner is a simple 45 degree chamfered wedge about half the length of the PCB plate.
    [​IMG]

    Line up with the full cutout, slide it into the chamfered bit and then pop in a short M3 screw at the opposite end to keep it securely in place. As this is intended to slide out of the rear side of the case, I'll need to chop out some material for an exit space.

    I might make up a quick size prototype with some scrap acrylic, but this will only cost a couple of quid to 3D print at my local maker space so I'll more than likely just smash straight on.

    Not much progress really, but it's still something to show you, hopefully my creative block has lifted and I can get my energy and motivation back to push on.

    Catch you soon!
     

Share This Page