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Scratch Build – In Progress Lockdown Dieselpunk

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by mADlythick, 27 Apr 2021.

  1. mADlythick

    mADlythick What's a Dremel?

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    There is some truly amazing work on the forum, I hope my small contribution might give ideas and start a conversation...

    This is a little different from most of the well engineered, shiny builds here - no CAD, no CAM, zero budget and (mostly) using what I've got laying around.

    Sadly don't have a big workshop stacked with tools & machinery but I'll do the best with what I've got. There's going to be plenty of mistakes and changes in design as it evolves, but that's the fun of it. :happy:

    Background

    Like many people I found myself at home in 2020 with lots of free time and not being allowed to go out and do anything, so a distracting project was needed!

    Clearing my Grandfathers garage I had saved some interesting bits&pieces including a vintage car / bus cabin heater that looked really cool.

    [​IMG]

    I know the early days of PC water cooling was mostly car parts, but I've never seen a build using a vintage heater like this as the radiator before - probably for good reason!
    Turns out I'm just daft enough to give it a go :grin:

    There's a powerful radial fan drawing air in at the front and the cylindrical core is ~3Kg copper / brass (so plenty of thermal mass!), I have no idea of the flow rate or cooling performance :oldconfused:

    [​IMG]

    I thought about modding an existing case, but fancied the challenge of building one from scratch instead.

    I like the design and patina (rust!) on the heater so that set the theme: - Dieselpunk / Art Deco / dystopian / Rocketman / apocalypse.
    Which is handy as it reflects my limited skill level :grin:

    Beginnings

    The aim is to use material / parts I already have, so I grabbed my pile of scrap metal...

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    and started jotting some ideas on paper (I must learn CAD someday.....)

    [​IMG]

    So I had a rough idea of what I wanted, the shape of the bath support legs looked interesting, I clamped them up and dropped the radiator shell on top to get an idea of size.

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    Mmmm, with a little bit of cutting and welding it looked more as I imagined.

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    It's a fairly conventional square box so the internal design should be straightforward, a quick check with an old PSU and ATX motherboard tray made sure there's enough space - it should be fine.

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    With the dimensions of the case decided the bottom of the legs were bolted to a simple base made of thicker steel sheet with folded up edges to give it some stiffness.
    No pics of making it - just angle-iron a hammer + swearing :happy:

    [​IMG]

    The frame needs to be strong enough to support the considerable weight of the radiator so for the top supports some thicker sheet steel was cut with an angle grinder and filed to follow the curve of the shell then welded to some plates which bolt onto the bottom of the frame.

    [​IMG]

    (The shape looks a bit weird in the picture but it's fine.)
    It's pretty rigid and supports the heater securely in about the spot I was looking for - sticking out the front with a bit of space on the sides.
    It's probably over built and a bit heavy, but it's a start.:happy:

    [​IMG]

    To fit the theme, I cleaned some of the welds a little but I'm not painting anything; it's all patina, all the way :grin:

    More updates to come....
     
  2. Defyant Mods

    Defyant Mods Multimodder

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    This has a "Cheaps" feel to it :thumb: i know im ganna lov it :rock:
     
  3. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    You called?
    NEAT! If you can keep that hump/curves in the outer shape, It should look cool. :D
    Do try to keep that heater as intact as possible. The design implies it's REALLY old. It may turn out to be the last part of some insanely rare antique someone has been restoring.
    I would switch out the fan motor for a different fan, though. I suspect electrical shielding wasn't a thing when it was built. Also, the insulation on the windings may be shot.

    -Cool first post. Welcome to Bit!
     
  4. mADlythick

    mADlythick What's a Dremel?

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    Thanks :grin: progress is a bit slow but I have many cool ideas to incorporate ...

    No heaters were hurt in the construction of this case :happy: I've kept it completely intact, it's way too cool to mangle.
    I think it's 1930's or 40's? Maybe in years to come I can reassemble it and flog it to some collector and retire :lol:

    I did clean up, paint & lubricate the motor and then test it..... it knocked out the FM radio reception the other side of the room and was incredibly loud, so yeah. It's getting a new motor!
     
  5. kim

    kim hardware addict

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    Vintage and original :thumb: following that too :rock:
     
  6. Datulab

    Datulab Human? AI? Robot?

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    This is awesome, love the vintage feel.
    Make sure to give that radiator a good flush, and then another one and a few more:lol: Wouldn't want to get anything coming off clogging up your blocks.
     
  7. mADlythick

    mADlythick What's a Dremel?

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    Time to make some feet as it didn't sit very well on the table and the rusty metal will scratch everything.
    So rubber for noise isolation? Shiny aluminium? Plastic? Cork? Cast iron ornate claws? Mmmmm...

    I had an old piece of hardwood - what about skids?
    Easy, simple, quick.... It would spread the weight over the whole floor, and I'm not good at woodworking :blah:

    I cut & angled the ends, drilled holes for recessed nuts, drilled holes in the floor (some were in the right place - remember kids, measure twice & cut once :duh: ) and bolted them on.

    [​IMG]

    Rustic & crude - perfect. It now sits flat and level, I might need to add felt or something later on....

    [​IMG]

    I'd started thinking about the front panel, I wanted some kind of big slow spinning fan behind a grille, like on a car/train or industrial extractor fan.

    [​IMG]
    Too big? :grin:

    From the garage clear out there were a couple of cast alloy/mazak grilles, from an Austin I think, and one was broken so that seemed the ideal choice.
    The chrome plated surface had dulled, pitted and corroded nicely.
    Mocked up to see how it would look....

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    I cut the sides off then drilled holes in the slats and used copper brake pipe cut into small sections and lengths of steel rod to stack up the grill. Then added a simple bracket top and bottom.

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    The curve shape looks good and it fills up the front nicely.

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    It's not very rigid and the edges are rough but it will be held in position and the ends hidden later.

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    I had a ~200mm alloy fan which should be about right.

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    A little ferric PCB etchant takes the shine off the aluminium really well :happy: (you only need a little & be quick as it's a violent reaction. A bucket of water is essential!!)

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    An old Meccano wheel proved perfect to mount the fan to the motor :happy:

    I found a broken boombox in the junkpile which had a capstan motor which is super smooth and quiet but low voltage. I'll solve the speed control problems later :worried:

    Now to build a mount, I welded a penny washer to some welding rods and bent the four legs to clear the blades.
    To isolate vibrations I used four soft silicon suspension things from a CDROM drive - holes drilled in the base hold the lower two against washers tacked on the legs and small plates hold the top ones with crush tubes.

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    The copper coating on the welding rod was stripped off and it was left outside for a couple of days to rust.
    Then reassembled and wires were threaded into a bit of shielding braid and attached along one leg.

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    It's a tight fit but it's fine :happy:

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    And yes I realise the frame overlapping the blades might cause turbulence/noise, but I don't intend it to be spinning very fast :lol:
    I also soldered up a copper sheet cover for the motor.

    Assembled and in position it looks as I hoped, the fan spins freely and the patina is spot on.

    [​IMG]

    The motor starts spinning at about 1.3v and anything over 7.5v is scary, I might add a hall effect sensor to get feedback as well?

    The front radiator bracket looked a little odd so was trimmed to be the same shape as the rear one.
    The U section frame does make a nice cable run/tidy :happy:

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    Perforated mesh off-cuts were welded on the bottom edges to tidy them up...

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    And a translucent piece of thin plastic was cut and laid in each then a length of led strip stuck to a piece of aluminium. The wires run along the frame to the back.
    It looks neater now and really cool lit up...

    [​IMG]

    Not sure on the purple, maybe I'll replace them with an RGB strip in the future?
     
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  8. mADlythick

    mADlythick What's a Dremel?

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    Thanks, I did give the core a damn good forward and reverse flush with the hose pipe and the rubbish that came out! :jawdrop:

    Does anyone have any good suggestions for chemical cleaning the rad? I guess most chemicals would attack the copper & brass before the rust & sediment....

    Edit: and I just did a search on the forum and found some good info - looks like vinegar or lemon juice is the way to go :happy:
     
    Last edited: 30 Apr 2021
  9. Datulab

    Datulab Human? AI? Robot?

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    Your garage is a goldmine! So awesome and refreshing to see what can be done without the always same fancy new components.
     
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  10. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    UV is good. You can slap some reactive paint on random components.
     
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  11. mADlythick

    mADlythick What's a Dremel?

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    Thanks, my Grandfather was a hoarder :grin:
    UV! Good idea, I'll see if I can find some...

    So now I had an empty box, it was time to add some structure to hold the motherboard etc.
    I grabbed a odd bit of square tube and cut it to fit between the floor and top rail. The top has a flange to bolt into the frame and the bottom has a nut welded on a small folded bracket inside to secure it from below.
    Two lengths of aluminium tile edging were bolted in to make rails to hold the motherboard.

    [​IMG]

    I always liked removable motherboard trays, it makes building in a case much easier, so I was determined to include one.

    I initially cut up the tray shown in the original mock-up pic but it was sooo thin and flexible I gave up. :sad:
    I cut a more substantial tray from an old rack shelf, damn the black enamel paint was tough to remove!

    I used an old motherboard to find the standoff positions and then cut some big holes round them to reduce the weight and improve the aerodynamics :grin:


    [​IMG]

    To hide the power supply a piece of sheet steel was folded to tuck into the floor upstand and screw onto the back of the bottom rail. I cut a large hole in the top for air intake for the PSU as I didn't fancy cutting a hole in the thick metal floor!
    I'll add a piece to cover the open end later.

    [​IMG]

    I stripped the paint from an old USB desk fan grille and bolted that over the hole, it might not line up with all PSU fans, but does for the one I've got on hand.
    I plan to distress it by removing / bending a few wires & rusting it :dremel:

    [​IMG]

    For the backpanel I tried using old rusty pieces of metal tack welded together to the I/O shield from an old case.
    It worked out okay, it's a little crooked and has rough edges but they will be covered up :happy:
    It has an excellent patina I couldn't get otherwise.

    [​IMG]

    I left a rough hole above the I/O plate for a fan, as all cases seem to have one there these days :happy:

    Same as before - penny washer welded to welding rod, the fan and motor are from the USB desk fan.
    Ferric PCB etchant to discolour the aluminium and an aged copper cover for the motor.

    [​IMG]

    plus CDROM drive silicon mounts in brackets tacked on the back panel.

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    I found a rusty old fan grille and bolted it on the outside and then bolted the panel to the motherboard tray.

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    The motor is low voltage (starts at about 0.4v!) and I don't want it to be spinning fast so I'll add a speed controller.
    It's mostly for appearance - not sure how much use it is for cooling?

    Test fit; I had to trim the blades a bit but it fits :happy:

    [​IMG]


    It's starting to look a bit like a PC case...

    [​IMG]

    Yes the fan grille blocks the lowest PCI slot, but how many people use all of them :happy:

    [​IMG]

    More updates to come.......
     
  12. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    I think you have the punk turned TOO high. :lol: That hole doesn't count as 'patina.'
    If you get any weird ticks with the system later, you can probably blame it on the brushed motors and EM noise.
     
  13. mADlythick

    mADlythick What's a Dremel?

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    Too much punk!?! Not possible :grin: No idea's tooo crazy.
    The bits of rusty metal already had the hole, I just tried to make it a feature :hip:

    I've added suppression caps on the motors and I'm hoping the copper sheet covers might cut down on interference, the flakes of Iron oxide falling off worry me more......
     
  14. kim

    kim hardware addict

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    I agree :grin: and you're a expert in crazy ideas, your case is totally mind blowing so far :jawdrop:
     
  15. censored_Prometheus_

    censored_Prometheus_ Minimodder

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  16. enbydee

    enbydee Minimodder

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    Are you sealing any of this or just gonna have it crumbling on your desk.
     
  17. mADlythick

    mADlythick What's a Dremel?

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    I tested a couple of spray clear lacquers and they work okay on the lightly rusted parts - the sheet steel which has been stored badly & flash rusted and the parts I've done. For the more heavily corroded bits it seems to 'wet out' the rust and the different shades and colours disappear - it all just turns a uniform brown :sad:

    The parts I've done were misted with Hydrogen peroxide and left out in the rain/damp to corrode for a little while - it forms a light surface rust which does come off quite easily, I've sprayed them with lacquer.
    For most of the sheet and bare steel parts I was hoping the atmospheric moisture would mean they gradually change over time and develop? Then I can seal them to stop them.

    It seems depending on the oxides formed as the steel corrodes the rust may be conductive or not so much. I did try to get most of the loose stuff off the inside of the backpanel. I don't know how much of an issue it will be? I guess I'll see how goes, but yes there will probably be bits of rust falling off the case onto my desk :grin:
     
  18. b1g-d0g

    b1g-d0g Modder

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    Looks like a pc from the future if this tech shortage keeps going, you have great imagination :jawdrop::rock:
     
  19. mADlythick

    mADlythick What's a Dremel?

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    This update is a little light on progress pics, I suffered a memory card failure and lost alot of photos :miffed:
    I've retaken pictures of some of the details, but I can't take some things apart again.....

    For the top half of the front panel I was looking at Art Deco/streamline trains and cars and fancied having a go at an aluminium panel.
    Unfortunately the shape is complex with curves in several directions and requires far better metalworking skills than I have. For panel beating you need specialist tools and practice!

    But I thought I'd have a go; I had some odd bits of aluminium sheet and my first few attempts were not good!

    [​IMG]

    Much much later, on another piece, I managed to hammer a smooth-ish curve at the top and still keep the curved shape at the front. So I clamped it in place, and it wasn't tall enough! Trying to reshape it was difficult as I think the metal work-hardens?

    [​IMG]

    I tested a couple of ideas and liked the single light / lens and panel lines above.

    I decided to make it out of smaller, easier to handle, pieces - I should have done that from the start!
    I cut along the panel line marks and cut some new pieces for the top and sides and even found some small aluminium angle to hide the cut edges.

    <lost IMGs of pieces cut, ready to join> :sad:

    I can't weld aluminium so I decided to rivet it like an aircraft skin as I found a box of them.
    The small aluminium angle was sandwiched between the two pieces of aluminum and then all riveted together.

    The solid rivets kinda worked, I didn't have a set to form the head properly but used a flat anvil so they are rough and misshapen but it fits the theme (that's my excuse!).

    <lost IMGs of riveting fun> :sad:

    I added a generic black push button and moved the light/lens up a little until the spacing looked better.
    It looks okay from a distance and maybe I'll come back and have another go later.....

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Overall, many lessons learnt!!! Some of the joins are just bad with big gaps and the overlaps are too small. If I was to do it again it would be sooooo much better!

    I painted some Art Deco style lines around the lens but decided later they should be cut slots instead, maybe I should have left them..... too late now.

    To cover up the button and LED inside I soldered a copper cover for the switch and added a length of copper brake line bent to angle into the faceplate, a small piece of silicon hose cut at an angle tidies it up and masks the light leaking back.

    [​IMG]

    The round light/lens is an old 2" gauge bezel bent slightly to fit the curved front panel, with a diffuser sheet and a random concave plastic lens. There's a length of rubber u section fitted on the bezel to hold the lens and 3 nuts&bolts hold it all to the panel.

    [​IMG]

    A red straw-hat LED is glued inside the front panel which will be power and drive activity. I hoped it would light the whole lens, but even with the wide angle LED it's still too close and forms a spot in the middle.

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    Initially it had braid covering the wires but it looked untidy so I soldered on another length of copper pipe to take them to a grommet in the frame.

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    A few marks and dents were added and a little ferric PCB etch was used to finish off the last of the shiny clean metal. I hope the finish will change/develop over time...
    I especially like the mark round the button, as if it's been pressed for many years with grubby fingers :grin:

    The panel looks good on the case and pretty close to what I hoped for.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    To cap the open frame section and hide the sins of previous rough edges, I planned to have a cover strip running all around.
    I found a couple of lengths of steel trim which looked perfect, it already had holes in and a nice finish.

    The front and top is one piece and the back is a separate piece, this allows the motherboard & PSU to come out without taking all of it off.

    I clamped a couple up lengths up to see how it looked

    [​IMG]

    It was the perfect width and style, so I made up a number of U shaped brackets from sheet steel with Rivnuts fitted and welded them into the frame for the strip to attach to. You'll see the brackets in many of the previous pics :happy:

    With the aid of my knee I was able to shape the trim to fit round the curves and bends of the frame,

    [​IMG]

    All put together it looks pretty good. A little more fettling to do to improve the fit but it's getting there :happy:

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  20. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    That came out great! :thumb: Shaping without a wide variety of stuff to SMACK/smack with- can be tricky. My favorite base is a rubber door mat.
    Great find for covering the edge channels. :D
     

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