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Modding Planned scratch-build: Black Box

Discussion in 'Modding' started by connec, 25 May 2008.

  1. connec

    connec New Member

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    I've recently worked out a scratch build for an aluminium.acrylic case in Autodesk Inventor (should have used sketchup really, but hey) and I'm toying with whether or not to invest in building it. My main problem is neither me nor any of my family members have been involved in any sort of mechanical work, meaning the only tools I have atm are screwdrivers and drills :eyebrow:

    So my question is: what tools/materials (other than aluminium and acrylic) would I need to make the case, especially in areas such as bending and cutting the aluminium/acrylic (is a good old dremel the best way to do it? If so what blades?). Is it possible to thread acrylic/aluminium? If so what tools would I need to do that, etc :) I'm on a moderately tight budget and I don't know how often I'm likely to be using any tools I buy, so I'd like to avoid the "£100,000 case making machines", if you know what I mean.

    Links to guides on the processes would be handy too (I've seen the one for bending alu).

    *Edit: "What's a dremel?" - Pretty much sums it up :) (although I do know what a dremel is :p)

    *Edit: pics

    http://img373.imageshack.us/img373/1029/frontisorenderan0.png
    http://img373.imageshack.us/img373/8343/backisorenderja4.png
    http://img505.imageshack.us/img505/1807/sideorthorenderic7.png
     
    Last edited: 26 May 2008
  2. Recoil

    Recoil New Member

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    Tools are cheap...you can get a whole grip of stuff for $20. However, good tools that will last for more than 1 use are expensive. If you have a tight budget, just plan what you can do with the tools you have because starting a scratch-build will probably cost more than what you actually want. I am in an opposite situation whereas I have a lot of toos that I have collected throughout the years, just not sufficient money to buy materials to mod with.

    As far as your case goes, I don't think anyone can tell you exactly what tools you're going to need as the lack of photo's or explanation of what you have planned. Do you just plan on plexi, or using any type of aluminum angle for structure? Use imageshack to post your ideas and we could get a better idea of what you will need or better chance to tell you where to start.

    The dremel is a different story though...I don't know where you're located at, but last time I was at Walmart I found a pack of like 300 pieces for I believe $15...I know it was under $20. But mostly what I have been using these last few days have been cut-off wheels, so you can't go wrong there.
     
  3. connec

    connec New Member

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    Thanks for the response and sorry for the vagueness :)

    Here's some renders of the inner part of the case (not figure how I'm going to fix the outer casing yet, I want it to be hinged at the front and sides). The motherboard + components is just for reference obviously, and the dimensions of the motherboard cuts on the backplate are not exact. The bit in the middle is 4x 3.5" HDs, incase that isn't clear :)

    http://img373.imageshack.us/img373/8343/backisorenderja4.png
    http://img373.imageshack.us/img373/1029/frontisorenderan0.png
    http://img505.imageshack.us/img505/1807/sideorthorenderic7.png

    The corners of the case are fixed using acrylic in the design, but I'm not sure how easy/possible it is to thread a 10x10x5mm piece of perspex with 3 M3 holes :) So that may be changed to aluminium bar, meaning no need for perspex. With the main construction I aimed to keep the processes required relatively simple, so far there's only 4 strips of alu to bend, with the most intricate process being cutting/threading the tiny corner blocks.

    With the outer case I would expect to need some smaller and longer bends on the side panels, which could be tricky, and I'm currently thinking how to hinge the side and maybe the front panel without losing the 'sharp box' look.

    Aesthetically I want it to look very minimalist, it should just be a black aluminium box :) Although the front fans will all have LEDs (not sure what colour yet) and I would like to have an LED fan and shaped grill on the side as an exhaust between the CPU and GPU(s). Also the bottom fan (intake) is 120mm in the current design however I'm going to make that a 140mm. The outer shell will all be black alu (probably from AC Ryan) and in the renders the top, back and bottom plates are part of the outer shell.

    And to clear up the budget thing, I'm happy to spend a good £100-£200 ($200-$400) on materials and tools, I just don't want to spend a fortune on specialist tools I may only use for this one project (although it's possible I may go on and do other mods etc, atm I just want to try it out :) ). Tool wise, at the moment I'm anticipating needing some new drill bits and dremel bits, probably a new mallet/hammer for bending the metal (or a break, depending on prices). Ideally I wouldn't need to spend much more than £50 ($100) on tools (the more I spend the less I eat when I go to uni :D ).

    Also I'm from the UK.
     
    Last edited: 25 May 2008
  4. Teyber

    Teyber ******

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    For bending you will ideally want a box and pan brake, like so:
    http://www.grizzly.com/products/48-Pan-Box-Brake-16-Gauge/G5769
    that is very good deal for a brake like that. Your on more of a budget so i would recomend something more like this however:
    http://www.grizzly.com/products/18-Mini-Mighty-Bender/G9951
    Get a good dremel and lots of reinforced cutoff discs.

    You will definately want a good hand drill and/or drill press. a drill press will cost 100-150$, you can get by with a nice hand drill. spend like 25$ and get a kit that has a variety of drill bits(i have a dewalt one with 1/64-1/2" that was pretty cheap)

    Also definately look into a jig saw, a dremel will do but a cheap jig saw is much better for larger cuts, like windows.

    for tapping, you just drill the correct size hole, get a tap for the exact screw you plan to use, and get a tap holder tool for like 10$. taps are usually 5$ or so each.

    regards
     
  5. connec

    connec New Member

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    Thanks for the response, definitely won't be getting a drill press, I'll see how good my current hand drill is and maybe get another if I feel it isn't up to par. Thankfully it's all pretty simple and the biggest hole in the current design is 5mm for the fans. Not sure what the best method of cutting out the fan holes would be, recon dremel and sandpaper should do the trick though :)

    http://img127.imageshack.us/img127/4693/frontisonofansrenderwk3.png

    Also, it turns out my dad did some sort of engineering course, like, 20 years ago, and has some sort of a clue, which will make stuff a bit easier.
     
  6. connec

    connec New Member

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    Well having thought about it and looked at it I've narrowed my questions down to be more specific:

    1) What sort of dremel bits would I need to cut aluminium/acrylic (1mm alu/10mm acrylic if I can find it)?
    2) What sort of bits (for drill, or dremel?) would I need to thread aluminium/acrylic (M3/6-32)?
    3) Would it be wise to purchase a brake? If not how easy would it be to manually bend 1mm thick alu, and what tools would I need to do that optimally.
    4) If you're from the UK, where would purchase things like brakes? Goggle has been very unhelpful in that area :(

    That's pretty much it, help appreciated.
     
  7. dutchcedar

    dutchcedar New Member

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    If you're going to thread any holes, you're going to need very straight holes, which means a drill press. Sorry, but hand drilling will be crooked and that just leads to all kinds of problems, especially when there's more than a couple of holes involved.

    And then, of course, the appropriate tap. Any hardware store will sell the appropriate taps and tell you the drill sizes to use for them (its usually marked on the package of the tap).

    As far as shearing and forming aluminum... you're probably best off bringing the material to a good sheetmetal shop.

    Hope this helps.
     
  8. pksjaveed

    pksjaveed Nmodz: modding the world

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    i think you should read these

    Hey to help you out you should read these they will clear up most of your questions


    Acrylic http://www.bit-tech.net/modding/2008/03/14/a_modders_guide_to_acrylic/1

    water cooling http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2007/08/22/watercooling_101/1

    engraving http://www.bit-tech.net/modding/2007/07/10/engraving_101/1.

    planning http://www.bit-tech.net/modding/2007/03/23/planning_your_case_mod/1

    electronics
    http://www.bit-tech.net/modding/2005/04/29/electronics_part_1/1

    meet the dremel
    http://www.bit-tech.net/modding/2003/12/23/meet_the_dremel/1

    <B>there is more than one page just look at the bottom there should be a bitton that says next<B>
     
  9. connec

    connec New Member

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    Thankyou for the links :)

    I'm pretty much set on trying this, manually forming the aluminium etc since it's relatively simple cuts and few folds. The acrylic too should be fine. I'm looking into drill presses but all I can find are like £60 :( Can you get 'adapters' for standard drills allowing them to be used like a press? I will definitely be picking up some bits for use with my current dremel, which seems pretty decent, might need a new drill since it's pretty old. I'll also need an assortment of vices etc for my home made metal-bendering.

    *Edit: found a manual tapping-mount for £15, but as I understand it's off-square holes that would cause problems?
     
  10. Recoil

    Recoil New Member

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    As far as a drill press goes, Dremel has a drill press atachment that connects to quite a few models, which last time I saw one at the store was around $40...that might be good enough for a small project like this. I planned on getting one, but my wife really wanted to get the stylus atachment, so we negotiated and got neither, so I could not tell you how good it would be.
     
  11. pksjaveed

    pksjaveed Nmodz: modding the world

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    for cheap drill presses try lookin at craiglist for a local listing i have found the best stuff there because its old and old stuff lasts you a lifetime compared to the crap sold today made of of cheap recyleced plastic
     
  12. connec

    connec New Member

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    Thanks for the suggestion, will check out Craigslist and look for a 'dremel press' :)
     
  13. connec

    connec New Member

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    Change of plan on this, I've redone the design slightly without the perspex, so there's only aluminium and it'll all be 1mm thick, and I'll probably just use bolts or rivets instead of threading the holes, which should save me having to buy a press.

    I've now reached the "hinge problem", I definately want the 'main' side panel (the one opposite the motherboard) to hinge, and for consistency I may as well hinge the other, but the only hinges I can find are too chunky, and how to attach the front cover and side panels without losing the straight-edged box feel or using a lot of tabs, which are a pain to bend when you have several at different side of the piece... or at least I imagine they are.

    Also I need the hole layout of a 140mm fan -.- Been bugging for a couple of days now.
     
  14. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    Do you have the fan? If so, you can scan it. It's even easier to just use the fan as a template.
     
  15. connec

    connec New Member

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    Don#t have the fan yet, can always wait till I do though.
     
  16. connec

    connec New Member

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    I've decided to go ahead with this, but I've simplified things a lot so at worst the only heavy stuff I'll need is a drill press, and maybe a circular saw for cutting big, thick sheets of plexi.

    The design has remained pretty consistent but I've bulked up the case and altered the HDD cage, which I will do first as a separate project (http://forums.bit-tech.net/showthread.php?t=153958), to the pics:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    (the side window is for a 220mm fan :D and the random drive slots are for fan controllers)

    I'm currently considering lighting, I very much want to follow the minimalist design so if I did light it it would probably be in white, maybe through some frosted plexi or such...

    Ideas on that are welcome.
     

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