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Pandora - Rackmounted homebuilt all aluminium box. Update 060801

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by Lucanus, 22 Jun 2006.

  1. Lucanus

    Lucanus New Member

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    Hi guys!

    Long time lurker, first time poster.
    So it's time to try and give something back to the community
    with a new project.

    The box will be 3HE (133.5mm) high and 600mm deep. I have all
    the components, it's just a matter of putting it together.

    Seeing how anything bright and shiny immediatly result in the
    obligatory "Oooh's", "Aaah's" and "OMG U ROXORZ"-like comments
    from bedazzled onlookers I decided to trick out the box with a
    blue LCD display, blue CCFL and some 5000mcd white leds to create
    some nifty looking effects.
    Coupled with a electronic key-lock for dis/enabling PWR, Reset and CD-rom
    this ought to be fun.
    And i know, I should have watercooled it. But well... You can rackmount
    just about anything with a little bit of ingenuity - including grandma
    and the family cat if one were so inclined...
    But to be perfectly honest, I can't be bothered with it in this build -
    it would require a complete rebuild of the front and mid sections.

    Hardware specs:

    Motherboard: MSI K7D Master L
    CPU: 2x AMD 1600+ MP
    Memory: 1 gig PC 2100 Reg. ECC
    PSU: Enermax EG 365P-VE in a custom cage to fit the box.
    HDD: 3.2gig WD
    CR-Rom: Samsung SM-352 CD/DVD Burner

    Addon Cards:
    GPU: S3 Trio 64+ PCI
    Promise TX2

    Storage:
    Room for 7 HDD's
    Currently holding:
    3x 200gig WD's
    1x 120gig Maxtor
    1x 3.2gig WD system disk
    Max capacity: 3.5TB

    Cooling:
    2x Copper socket A heatsinks
    2 or 3x 80mm fans (I haven't decided how to design the rear exhaust)

    Enough chatter, time for the pics.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I haven't designed the air intake/exhaust for the front and back yet, I was
    thinking either a steelwire mesh, or perforated al with removable dust filters
    for the front and cutting some 30x10mm slits in the back.

    A key lock:
    [​IMG]

    Will sit behind the door in the front - disabling/enabling power and reset switch and the CD-Rom. I love the feel of it, it's very precise, locks with a destinct click when you turn the key. 2 poles, 1 NO and 1 NC. (That's Normaly Open and Normaly Closed).
    Coupled with 1 green and 1 red led indicating position it'll look pretty sweet. The leds will draw power from a linear 5v 1.2A powersupply I build especially for this mod.

    Since the box is only 133.5mm high I can't use standard height PCI cards - well it is possible but it would involve some pretty ugly mounting.
    Hence the use for one of these:

    [​IMG]

    That's it for now, as mentioned earlier I have all the parts needed - now it's
    just a matter of finding the time to put it all together. Stay tuned.
     
    Last edited: 1 Aug 2006
  2. Lucanus

    Lucanus New Member

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    Case-frame beginning to take shape.

    (This is a crosspost - It's on overclockers.com.au's forum as well)

    The caseframe is about half way done.
    The sides are 3mm thick aluminium brushed with wet&dry 220.
    The front will get the same treatment but I will use 220, 360 and finaly 600,
    and to get the finish I'm looking for i'll brush it with steelwool.
    The entire frame is bolted together using black m4 sockethead screws.
    Also mounted the support brackets for the hdd trays, the brackets are 30mm inbetween.
    I ended up using 500mm long pices for the sides instead of the planned 600mm. There were no real benefits of those extra 100mm's - just empty space.

    Left to do of the structural parts are the frame behind the door, support frames
    for "top" and "bottom plates and last of the fiddly bits are ofcourse a custom
    enclosure for the PSU and the electronics for the buttons in the front.

    Anyway - here are some pics for your leisure.

    [​IMG]

    And a closeup of the support brackets for the HDD trays.

    [​IMG]


    Finished the door frame - it's made of a hard aluminium alloy.
    Since i needed to drill and tap 8 m3 holes I opted for a harder
    alloy - soft al alloy will just turn to a messy goo when tapping
    with m3.

    [​IMG]
    Anyway - 2 pieces 5 x 14x 195 and 2 pieces 5 x 14 x 113,5.
    A bit of meassuring, drilling 2.5mm and 3mm holes, tapping with
    oil - brushed it up with some 220 wet&dry. Wash, dry and mount
    using 4 m3 screws to the caseframe like so:

    [​IMG]

    Pic above also shows the 6 individual HDD trays. 4 holes for
    mounting the HDD- and 2 holes at the front edge to mount a handle.

    And a closeup of the doorframe, Now complete with the wall for
    mounting buttons and controller nobs for fans, LCD and some
    other stuff.
    I know it looks like crap with holes and scrates - it has been
    sitting in a garage for over 2 years. A little wt&dry will fix
    that problem right up, and the holes just happend to be right
    where the cutout for the CD-Rom is going.

    [​IMG]

    Left to do on the doorframe is mounting holes for the doorhinges
    but those has to wait untill the front faceplate is done.
     
  3. Lucanus

    Lucanus New Member

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    More framework...

    Measured, marked and drilled/filed the hole for the CD-Rom:

    [​IMG]

    Spent some time fixing the finish, some 220 and 380 wet&dry and 2 years
    worth of dirt is put into past tence. Not too shabby:

    [​IMG]

    Added a 1mm thick anodized al plate behind the lower half of the wall.
    This will be used to mount a PCB for the power, reset and power switch
    for the CCFL. It will also hold 3 or 4 potentiometers for fans and
    controlling the front LCD.
    Cable management for this will be a nightmare since where will be no
    room for the electronics. So cables will have to be routed back into the
    housing for the PSU at the back of the case. Complete with fingerprints and
    smudges - it looks a lot better in real life.
    Drilled/filed the hole for the key lock and mounted it. And this is the end result:

    [​IMG]

    And from behind:

    [​IMG]

    Anyhow... Next on the to do list is the front faceplate. This will be made
    from the same 3mm thick aluminium as the sides of the box. So stay tuned :)
     
  4. olly_lewis

    olly_lewis New Member

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    Looknig good, the orginal 3D art designs look great and watching it starting from sheet aluminum and the measurements. The design looks fresh and orignal from a ordinary looking desktop case but it adds originality with the key locks and the 6 hard drive trays, great add on...
     
  5. GuardianStorm

    GuardianStorm Active Member

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    very nice :) looks like it should have good air flow over the hard disks too :)
     
  6. JAxen

    JAxen New Member

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    WTH. I cant see any pictures D:
     
  7. JAxen

    JAxen New Member

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    Oh wait, I can see! Looking awesome!! Cant wait :thumb:
     
  8. steelyglint

    steelyglint New Member

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    I'm liking this a great deal. Some neat and precise metalwork.
    I'll be keeping an eye on it for sure :thumb:
     
  9. FaiNT`

    FaiNT` New Member

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    Pandora's box =D

    Looks good, can't wait to see some progress :)
     
  10. Phat Ass

    Phat Ass New Member

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    Damn, thats a really nice design. Good work
     
  11. Jipa

    Jipa Avoiding the "I guess.." since 2004

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    I like aluminun and that's a lot of it! I don't know too much about rack-case-designs but this one atleast looks nice :)
     
  12. Lucanus

    Lucanus New Member

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    Thank you all for the kind words.

    I'll try to have a new update for you guys this weekend.
     
  13. phoenix174

    phoenix174 New Member

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    Looks like a nice idea. And there is some really good potential on this mod.
    Hope everything goes well.
     
  14. Lucanus

    Lucanus New Member

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    If you check out the preliminary Sketchup drawings there
    is supposed to sit a wall between the HDD's and the doorframe.

    So, start with a piece of 3mm al measuing 113.5 x 198mm:

    [​IMG]

    Give it some wet&dry 220 loving and remove everything that
    doesn't look like this:

    [​IMG]

    Mount 2 14x5mm brackets:

    [​IMG]

    Drill 2 2.5mm holes, one in each end, in the brackets and tap with m3.
    And last mount it to the frame like so:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Ok then, time for some front button goodness.
    I got some buttons made this weekend, it was a lot
    more timeconsuming than expected - mainly because
    of having to do with part that had to be hand-filed.

    The buttons are made out of the same al-alloy as the
    doorframe. I started with 16x5 stock and sawed/filed 2
    buttons, one for power switch and the other for reset.
    The power button is 12x5mm wide at the visible end and
    the reset is 8x5mm.
    They are both done with a tolerance of about 0.1 mm's.
    At the back of each button i filed a round 3.5 x 5.5 mm pin.
    this pin will act as a guide for a small compression
    springsitting between the button and a microswitch
    (more on this later in the post).
    Anyone who's ever tried to file out a round shape out of
    something square knows it's a PITA.

    My camera doesn't like small things so the picture ¨
    quality kinda sucks, sorry about that.

    Power button from 2 diffrent angles:

    [​IMG]

    And power and reset after some wet&dry 600 and 1200 action
    to get a satin finish.

    [​IMG]

    Next step was to mark, drill and file 2 very precise holes
    in the front wall in the doorframe, first the powerbutton:

    [​IMG]

    A test fit, tolerances well below the 0.1mm's I was aiming for:

    [​IMG]

    And the same procedure for the reset switch, and a test fit:

    [​IMG]

    Next step was to mark, drill and file out a square hole in the
    1mm anodized al plate sitting behind the wall to mount a piece of
    PCB. The PCB is mounted with 4 m3 screws and 3mm standoffs.

    Marked and drilled, still needs to be filed square:

    [​IMG]

    And PCB mounted - this will hold 2 small microswitches sitting
    behind the pwr/reset buttons.

    [​IMG]

    Since my camera hs problems with anything smaller than ~5mm's
    I tock the liberty of making some 3D drawings for you guys
    to get a clearer picture of the whole thing:

    Seen from the front:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And a closeup:

    [​IMG]

    That's it for now. Thanks for looking:)
    /Luc
     
  15. Philipp

    Philipp New Member

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    Respect! That case looks really good :thumb:
     
  16. yahooadam

    yahooadam <span style="color:#f00;font-weight:bold">Ultra cs

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    wow this is a project im really interested in watching, good luck with it man :rock: on
     
  17. Lucanus

    Lucanus New Member

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    So, before we begin I have to say in my defence that me
    and electronics just don't mix. I might have a fair idea
    of what I'd like to accomplish but that doesn't neccesarily
    mean I have a freakin' clue of how to get there.

    Anyhow, I needed a separate power supply to power the green
    and red leds for the keyswitch - indicating position of said
    keyswitch. It turns 220v AC to 5v DC and is build in a 2 layer
    sandwitch construction.

    The beginnig, 220 in to the right, 2 ceramic caps to cut any spikes
    on the grid (hopefully). In to a transformer with 2 seperate spools,
    a rectifier and a 330 uF / 50v cap:

    [​IMG]

    Added 4 5V relays, 2 to controll power and reset, 1 for the CD-Rom eject
    button and 1 for the indicator leds.
    The relays have 2 poles - NO and NC but only 1 will be used.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Built a fan controller based around a LM317T paired up with a heatsink.
    Added a 2pin fan header.

    [​IMG]

    Soldered on one of those small 4 pin molex connector-thingys from a
    floppy to draw 12v for the fan-controller and CCFL converter.

    [​IMG]

    Finished off the first level with a piece of 1mm anodized aluminium and
    started on the second layer.

    [​IMG]

    This only holds a single CCFL inverter mounted on 3mm standoffs.
    I haven't decided if i'm going to use it to run a blue 10cm CCFL or try
    and get the same result with blue leds. (It all depends on how the front
    of the box will look.)
    Anyway... Slapped on a second layer of the same 1mm anodized al.
    Added 2 blue and 2 white 3mm leds to create a light blue hue once
    mounted to the caseframe.

    Presto! All done.

    [​IMG]

    And the other side:

    [​IMG]

    I've tested the ccfl inverter and fancontroller but
    have yet to try the 220 V part of the construction - need to find a good
    well-insulated place to stand before i throw the switch on that one. hahaha:)
    I had originally planned to put this together with the PSU in a box at the ¨
    back of the case and run cables from there to the front buttons.
    Mainly becuase I wanted to put the system HDD under the CD-Rom.
    But since it won't fit at the back I have little choice.
    So There will "only" be room for 6 HDD's instead of the planned 7.
    The whole thing is 110x40x57mm (LxWxH).

    I'll try to whip together another update for you guys later tonight or
    tomorrow. Covering the housing for PSU. Yet another complete step-by-step
    on how to get properly electrocuted.

    Thanks for watching.
    /Luc
     
    Last edited: 28 Jun 2006
  18. kbates666

    kbates666 New Member

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    very nice, if I didnt know you built it I would have thought a manufacture did.
    Great Job so far.
     
  19. Germonicus

    Germonicus New Member

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    I'll try to whip together another update for you guys later tonight or
    tomorrow. Covering the housing for PSU. Yet another complete step-by-step
    on how to get properly electrocuted.

    Thanks for watching.
    /Luc[/QUOTE]


    Good luck with the power,bet it'll go great.

    *whisper* anyone got some corn to put in his pockets to pop? :D :hehe:
     
  20. Lucanus

    Lucanus New Member

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    Electrocution by idiocy.

    First I'd like to say sorry for the slow update, the stuff
    I'll be covering took more time than expected.
    So, where were we... Aah yes, the PSU cage and how to get
    your nuts roasted playing with mains power.

    It all starts with a piece of 3mm al, 220x109.5mm.
    Brushed with wet&dry 360.

    [​IMG]

    Mounted a 5x15mm bracket with m3 screws

    [​IMG]

    Test fit to the caseframe, also drilled 4 holes in the side
    of the case to mount the naked PSU.
    The four standoffs you see in each corner of the PSU is only
    temorary - I was too lazy fiddling with small m3 nuts at this
    stage.

    [​IMG]

    In the this picture you can see the next stage of the construction.
    The front wall for the cage.

    [​IMG]

    And at another angle.

    [​IMG]

    It started as a 91x109,5mm piece of the same 3mm al. Cut, drilled,
    tapped and mounted brackets using m3 screws. Also marked and drilled
    the hole for the cables:

    [​IMG]

    Filed out the 21mm diameter hole for the cables:

    [​IMG]

    Now it doesn't take a rocketscientist to figure out that that hole
    is way too small to fit the ATX and molex connectors through it,
    so i cut a 2.5mm slit from the edge to the hole.
    This lets me tread 1 cable at the time untill it looks like this:

    [​IMG]

    Pritty nifty, eh?

    Other notes:
    Marked, drilled and filed a hole for a 92mm fan:

    [​IMG]


    Next stage is the rear plate, 94x109.5mm:

    [​IMG]

    Marked, drilled and filed holes for exhaust:

    [​IMG]

    IEC connector and power switch:

    [​IMG]

    Marked drilled and tapped 4 m4 holes in the back of the caseframe:

    [​IMG]

    And a test mount:

    [​IMG]

    Other notes:
    Switched the powerswitch from the generic boring black to a purrrdy
    red one with a light in it.

    All that's missing now is final pictures of the construction, but I
    can't mount it all to the caseframe untill everything else is done.
    Simply becuase I have to resoleder the IEC connector, and I'm not
    done drilling holes in the caseframe ... And well then I'd end up
    with a PSU full of metal shavings.

    Next update will cover motherboard tray, mounting brackets for the PCI riser and construction of the back plate for the box.

    'till then, taataa
    /Luc
     
    Last edited: 1 Jul 2006

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