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Scratch Build – In Progress Project 30° by Sentek - [Project On-Hold Until I Have More Time]

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by sentek, 21 Sep 2009.

  1. sentek

    sentek New Member

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    Introduction

    Hi Bit-Tech Modders!
    This is my second case mod and my first scratch-build case. Its is also my fist worklog, but hopefully all will go well anyway :)
    Ive been watching the Bit-Tech forums for a few months and its a great place for inspiration, and what has motivated me to start this project.
    The name for this project comes from the position of the motherboard tray, it is tilted at a 30degree angle. Not a very inventive name i know, but ive been unable to think up a better one so it will have to do. :p
    I hope the log will be easy to follow, i will do my best :D Any advice is always welcome and if you have any questions i will try my best to answer them :)


    List of Project Updates:

    ► Update 1: Building the Frame - 21st September 2009
    ► Update 2: Fitting the Motherboard Tray and Horizontal Panels - 27th September 2009
    ► Update 3: Hinge and Vertical Panels - 20th October 2009
    ► Update 4: Making the Back Plate - 4th November 2009
    ► Update 5: Cutouts and Mounts - 14th November 2009
    ► Update 6: Feet, Fan Controllers, and Front Connectors - 10th December 2009



    Design and Layout

    The basic layout for the case is to have the power supply, hard drives, and cd/dvd drive a lower compartment of the case. The motherboard will be located above these in the upper compartment tilted forward at an angle of 30degrees.
    The components will be air-cooled so the case is designed with that in mind.
    The footprint (is that the right word? :p) is a 40x40cm square, the case will be taller at the back than the front and the top/roof will curve down. The top is going to be placed on hindges to allow it to be lifted up easily, giving quick access to the motherboad tray.
    Airflow for the case will be more-or-less the standard front to back. The top of the case will be made of mesh to provide additional ventilation.
    The main framework will be made up of 25x25mm aluminium square-bar and plastic connector pieces. To this will be fitted the sides, made from 1.5mm aluminium sheet, as well as any other parts.
    I listed the mod as a scratch build, although i am using a lian-li motherboard tray, but i thought 'scratch build' would be the best lable to give it (please correct me if im wrong).

    The following drawings were created in SketchUp and are probably the best way for me to show the layout im going for in more detail:
    Light Grey = Aluminium
    Black = Plastic
    Green/Blue = Fans
    Purple = Mesh
    Dark Grey = Components
    Orange = Lights/Displays
    (Note: the sides will be covered by either aluminium sheet or mesh, but a lot of it has been left out of the design in SketchUp)

    Design Pic 1:
    [​IMG]
    Here you can see the case front.
    The intake fans will also have some mesh covering them, but i left it out of the pic so that the fans are visable.
    I will be using vandal-resistant switches, 22mm ring-led for the power and power led, and a 16mm dot-led for the reset and hdd led.
    I did consider using a slot-loading drive but i didnt want to risk scratching discs due to a poor finish on the slot, ive very little experience working with aluminium, so i though it best to go with a traditional style drive. I will swap the activity led to a different colour though, so that it fits the theme of the case.
    There is an LCD display on the top of the case. I was thinking of using a Matrix Orbiatal display or something but im not sure.

    Design Pic 2:
    [​IMG]
    This is the design shown from the back.
    There are 3 switches used for the CCFL Lights; the first will control a white cathode at the rear of the case used to illuminate the ports on the back of the motherboard (i always have difficulty plugging the things in so i though this would be a good inclusion to the design! :D), the second switch will control 2 coloured cathodes inside the top compartment of the case used to light up the motherboard, the final switch will control 4 smaller cathodes located under the case which will hopefully provide a nice glow when the comp is in a dark room.
    The 2 different designs for the handles can be seen on the sides of the case in this pic and the previous one. I think i will go with the first, straight, design as the cuved one is a little large for my liking.
    I placed the fan controllers at the back of the case because i likly wont be changing the fan speeds that much, and in this location they will be out of the way, but they are still there if i ever feel like i need a little more cooling (or less noise :p).

    Design Pic 3:
    [​IMG]
    Well, theres not much i can say about this pic, only what is already annotated.

    Design Pic 4:
    [​IMG]
    Here the top of the case has been removed and so have the front fans too, to alow the insides to be seen.
    1 of the temperature displays will be used for the lower compartment, and one for the upper.
    Here you can see the cathodes on the inside of the case, they have a piece of aluminium covering them at the top so that im not blinded when i open up the lid! xD
    The fans on the sides are angled to direct the airflow onto the motherboard. I came up with 2 ideas for how to do this which are shown in the pic, the main difference with wether the fan is attached diectly to the case side with a duct on the fan, or if the mount is angled and attached to the case on one side with the fan on the other.

    Design Pic 5:
    [​IMG]
    This pic gives a nice view of the motherboard tray.
    The white cathode is shown too, which will also have a cover over the top to help direct the light down and stop it just shining into my eyes.

    Design Pic 6:
    [​IMG]
    Shown here are 4 hard drives (2 in each rack/mount). They will be cooled using 2 92mm exhaust fans. Other than these 2 fans and the one on the PSU there will be no other cooling in the lower section of the case, although there is a large mesh vent at the front to allow cool air to get in (and space there to add some more fans later if aditional cooling is needed).

    Design Pic 7:
    [​IMG]
    Here are some very basic views of what the outside of the case will look like, its not very accurate but i was only really using it to test colours.
    I wanted a dark colour for the main body, at first i thought black, but black is quite common so perhaps a dark graphite/charcoal/gunmetal colour as used in the pic would be a better alternative.
    To go with this dark colour i wanted something a bit brighter for the lights and mesh, to contrast. At the moment im leaning towards the orange, but im still not really sure. Somthing about the orange just seems to jump out at me though.
    I will (probably) go with a 2-tone (is that what they call it? :p) colour scheme, but i may well end up going with black for the framework.
    For the finish im thinking a satin powdercoat, but thats a long way off so no need to make a decision about it now, although i would like to go with a powercoat.
     
    Last edited: 23 Jan 2010
  2. sentek

    sentek New Member

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    Update 1: Making the Frame

    I made some sketches and did some math for what needed to be cut:
    [​IMG]
    Theres not much more i can really say about this pic :p

    Next i marked up the aluminium bar:
    [​IMG]
    Using:
    [​IMG]
    I left some gaps between each of the parts, allowing me to cut it slightly larger than needed and file it down after.

    I used my 'dremel' :dremel: with the renforced cutting discs to cut the bar.
    [​IMG]
    The pieces were then filed using a half-round file.
    I cleaned up the edges using the little pink dremel attachment shown in the pic. Im not sure what it is designed for but it works well for removing any sharp bits after cutting/filing.
    And of course; safty glasses! :p :D

    Here is the result of the first batch of pieces cut:
    [​IMG]
    These parts (along with some connectors shown below) make up the base of the case frame.

    Here are the plastic connectors:
    [​IMG]
    I had to cut them down a little to make them fit into the aluminium. There is a piece 5cm long that slots into the tube, but as some of the aluminium parts are only 5cm there is no room for 2, so i cut them :dremel:
    They are each made in 2 pieces that slot together:
    [​IMG]

    Shown here is a piles of the connectors used in the base of the frame:
    [​IMG]

    When it came to assembeling the framework for the case it was difficult to get the connectors into the aluminium bar after i had cut them down.
    I used the sanding attachment with the dremel to add a little slope to the ends of the ones i had to cut:
    [​IMG]

    This is the base complete:
    [​IMG]

    I then just repeated what i had done before to get the parts needed for the rest of the frame:
    [​IMG]
    The mallet shown in this pic was used to assemble the parts as its a tight fit.

    Well, thats it for this update.
    More to come soon! :D
     
    Last edited: 21 Sep 2009
  3. NysoO

    NysoO Handcrafted

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    Looking good so far! Cool design
     
  4. Pikey

    Pikey New Member

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    This looks like a really interesting project keep up the hard work.:)
     
  5. woody_294

    woody_294 Wizard Ninja :P

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    Nice start, keep em coming :)
     
  6. stonedsurd

    stonedsurd Is a cackling Yuletide Belgian

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    Great start. Interesting concept :D
     
  7. craigbru

    craigbru Cramming big things in small boxes since 2006

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    Nice design, and I love the prior proper planning!
     
  8. Gunter

    Gunter New Member

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    :thumb:
     
  9. sentek

    sentek New Member

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    thanks for the kind words guys :D :blush: <3
     
  10. sentek

    sentek New Member

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    Update 2: Fitting the Mottherboard Tray and Horizontal Panels

    So, after the last update i got to work on adding the motherboard tray and some pannels to the frame.
    Lets jump right into the pics now! :D

    I used a Lian-Li motherboard tray (listed as a V600 ATX Tray on kustompcs, where i bought it)
    There first thing i did was mark up the tray so that i could cut it to the correct size:
    [​IMG]

    I drilled out the rivets holding the back plate to the main tray so that it is easier to work with, also i dont want to use revets in the case so that things are a bit easier to take apart if need be.
    Once the rivets were out i cut and filed the tray down to the size i wanted, i also rounded of the edges.
    This is what i then had:
    [​IMG]

    I couldnt figure out exactually where i needed to drill the tray, supports, and frame to fix the motherboard tray to the rest of the case.
    To help with this is made up some card versions of the supports i planned to make:
    [​IMG]
    This helped me work out where things needed to go, and i was ready to make the supports out of metal.

    I marked up the pieces i needed to cut on some aluminium and used a centre-punch to mark where the holes needed to be drilled:
    [​IMG]

    I then cut them out using a scroll saw:
    [​IMG]
    The edges came out quite clean and didnt need much filing, just in a few places where i didnt quite follow the line exactly.

    Once the 2 pieces were cut i moved on to drilling them:
    [​IMG]
    The wood and clamps you see in the pic were used to hold the piece still.
    The holes that will have a screw thread cut in them were drilled to 2.7mm, whereas the holes that the screw just passes through where drilled to 4mm.
    (6 holes were also drilled in the motherboard tray, and 4 in the case frame.. allowing everything to be fitted together)

    After the holes were drilled the screw thread had to be cut:
    [​IMG]
    I used the 6-32 tap shown in the pic above for cutting the thread.
    The oil is used to help the cutting process and stop the tap becoming clogged up with metal shavings.
    The block of wood has a hole drilled though it, i placed the wood over the hole and cut the thread through the wood into the metal. This helps stop the tap from cutting the tread at an angle.

    These are the 6-32 screws (the same screws that are used to hold hard drives in place in cases) that i will be using for the majority of this build.
    [​IMG]
    Im not sure if i will leave the rubber washers on the screws or take them off. They will probably be left on to help keep everything vibration-free, but i dont know for certain.

    So, once the threads had been cut it was time to bend the parts:
    [​IMG]
    This is the bending brake setup i used. It works supprisingly well considering i got it cheap off ebay. :thumb:

    And here are the finished parts:
    [​IMG]

    Ok, so thats the motherboard tray sorted.. right? Well, no actually.. :duh: When i fitted it into the case framework i realised that it needed some more support, it held its-self up ok, but because of the angle its placed at in the case i was worried about it bending under the weight of a nice, large, air cpu cooler.
    The aluminium the tray is only 0.5mm thick (i think, i dont have calipers to check, but its about that), whereas the aluminium pieces im making myself are 1.5mm.
    I tried to make some strips of thicker aluminium to go accross the back, but it didnt really work.
    Soon i realised the best thing to do would be to scrap the supports i just make and make a new bracket from just one piece of aluminum..
    I was a little dissapointed but theres not much i can do about it.

    I, more-or-less, used the same steps above to make a new piece:
    [​IMG]
    And here it is. I didnt take any pics as i was making it because its basically the same as what youve just seen.
    However, what i did have to do was drill some 8mm holes in the back. This was done to allow the motherboard standoffs to be screwed into the tray without them getting stuck against the back plate.

    Here is the new bracket fitted to the back of the motherboard tray:
    [​IMG]

    I then fitted it to the frame.
    I marked where i would need to cut and round the corners of the bracket:
    [​IMG]

    The bracket was removed from the case and the corners sorted out. There result is shown here:
    [​IMG]
    It now looks much neater, when in the case.

    Speaking of which; here it is finished and fitted to the frame, with the tray on as well:
    [​IMG]

    Right then; the motherboard tray is done (for now at least. i will still need to cut some more holes for cable management, but that will be one of the last things i do), so its time to move on to the base of the case.
    I needed to create a piece that would allow me to screw the feet to the bottom. My first thought was to use 4 100x100mm squares, but after working things over in my mind i decided using one piece would be better. i could cover all the aluminium square-bar at the base and it would mean the base was all the same level which should look nicer when the side pannels are on.

    I measured and marked some aluminium sheet, then cut it out (again using the scroll saw). And soon enough i had this:
    [​IMG]

    Then i measured, marked, centre-punched, and drilled the holes needed to fix it to the frame.
    I placed the part over the frame and marked where i need to drill holes in the frame:
    [​IMG]
    The lines drawn in pencil that you can see here were measurements i made for where the holes needed to be drilled, this was before i decided to just place the part over the top and put a marker through the holes.
    After those holes in the frame had been drilled and tapped; the aluminium piece was screwed on.

    I had cut it out slightly larger than it needed to be, but this turned out to be really helpful because it ment i didnt need to be exact with my drilling. Although i did need to
    file the edges down a bit after:
    [​IMG]
    On the left is the section that has been filed down, on the right is an un-filed area.
    I plan to use the same method of cutting larger than required, then fitting the panel, then filing it down to the correct size on all of the later panels and pieces need to make.

    This pic shows the piece finished:
    [​IMG]
    You can see here there is an extra screw hole on one of the sides (the left of the pic); this is here so that when i come to fit the part back to the frame i can line it up the same way. I felt this was needed or at would at least be helpful because the frame is not 100% square.

    And here is the piece finished fitted to the frame:
    [​IMG]
    You can see here that i have not drilled the holes for mounting the feet yet. These will be added later as i dont actually have the feet atm.

    I then moved on to making the base plate that will be fitted to the bottom of the inside of the case.
    You can see the finished part attached to frame in this pic:
    [​IMG]
    I did not take any pics while i was working on this because the process was the same as for the piece i justed showed before this one.
    The screw holes did need to be placed more carefully here though, so that they dont interfere with other components.

    This pic shows a devider piece i made in the same way:
    [​IMG]
    The motherboard here is an old broken one i had. I used it to measure how long the devider needed to be and to make sure that there was enough space between them.

    And that is all i have for this update im sorry. I did plan on getting the sides and front on too before posting this, but unfiortunately i cannot do anymore without getting the hinge for the back. I didnt realise this would be a problem until it actually came to measuring out the side panels and i didnt know how tall to make them at the back :duh:. ive found somewhere to get the hinge from but i need to dig up some more cash (yes, i mine it from the ground xD) before i can order it, and then i will have to wait for shipping ofc. I figured it would be better to post what i have done now than to wait a few weeks, but the next update might be a while comming.

    Thanks for reading this update and keep modding! :rock:
     
    Last edited: 27 Sep 2009
  11. perplekks45

    perplekks45 LIKE AN ANIMAL!

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    Interesting project is interesting.

    I'll be watching.
     
  12. AnG3L

    AnG3L Ultimate Modder

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    What my friend said!
     
  13. Cleveland216

    Cleveland216 Carbon Fiber King

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    where did u get those black tube connectors from??
     
  14. sentek

    sentek New Member

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  15. W34513

    W34513 New Member

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    dang that's sexy looking! very original case idea. i'm loving it!
     
  16. The boy 4rm oz

    The boy 4rm oz Project: Elegant-Li

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    Interesting design, looks really cool. I will be watching this one ;).
     
  17. silverzombie342

    silverzombie342 I know the Dremel. I wish I had it.

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    Looking great:thumb:
     
  18. sentek

    sentek New Member

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    thanks! :D
     
  19. sentek

    sentek New Member

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    Update 3: Hinge and Vertical Panels

    Time for the third update! :p

    Boring into bit, feel free to skip:
    Just a short one this time tbh, mostly what i was going to put in update 2 but i had some delays..
    Fist up i needed to get some money to buy the hinge, which i did but it was out of stock >.< they got it back in within a few days though so it was not too bad :p
    Then i started drilling it but i had only clamped the side of the hinge i was not drilling into (stupid i know, but oh well, i guess i wasnt thinking), it flipped up just as the drill bit went through and broke the drill bit, so i had to order another one :sigh:
    By the time that had arrived there was a builder fitting a new door, which also had to be painted, in the only place i can really work so that put me back a few days too :grr:
    But theres nothing i can do about it now so nvm, should be lots of time free for modding from now on :clap:

    This is the hinge:
    [​IMG]
    It was shipped on the wodden plank(is that what it is? i dont know the word xD) so i left it attached with elastic bands so that it doesnt get bent.
    The origional length was 1.8m so i cut the 40cm i needed off the end with the saw shown.

    Holes were then drilled and tapped, and soon (after i got a new drill bit anyway :grr: lol) the hinge was fixed in place.
    [​IMG]
    The hinge is located at the back of the case, on the top, so that the lid can be opened giving access to the components from the front.

    Next i turned my attention towards the sides..
    I measured, cut, drilled, tapped, and filed as before with the other panels (this was all the same as for the other panels in update 2, so i didnt take any pics of this).
    However; these pieces needed a curve that had to be symetrical. I took them off filed them both at the same time:
    [​IMG]
    The 2 sides were held together with tape during filing.

    The sides were then screwed/bolted back onto the case:
    [​IMG]
    Done with those for now :)

    Onto the front! :p
    This part was, again, made in the same was as in update 2.
    So, skipping things explained before, here it is finished:
    [​IMG]
    The pic shows it fixed to the rest of the case. (if you didnt already guess xD)

    :duh:
    One of the screw threads for the front became damaged:
    [​IMG]
    I made a note of it on the case and i will leave that screw out for now to avoid any further damage. It will still hold a screw, but when turned it wont tighten fully, it keeps slipping lose again.
    I might try and use a thread insert to repair it, but tbh i think the case will be ok without it. If its the only one its probably just gonna get a little glue when the final assembly is done, that should keep things looking even on both sides :thumb:

    One last thing before next time:
    Im going to use some rubber U-channel around the top edges of the case:
    [​IMG]
    This should stop it banging together when the lid is folded down, and also neaten up the edges :thumb:

    I did a little test with the U-channel:
    [​IMG]
    It seems to fit ok, but the aluminium might need to be filed down a bit more when it comes to fitting the top.
    As it was just a test i didnt cut the excess off.

    Next up im gonna start working on the back plate :gulp:, i dont really have a plan for how to do it (ive tried to avoid it until now :p:duh:) so im not sure how its gonna go.. I'll have to wait and see i guess ;)
    Thanks for reading! :thumb:
     
    Last edited: 20 Oct 2009
  20. bagman

    bagman Well-Known Member

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    nice design and very interesting layout
     

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