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Case Mod - In Progress Project: Alpha

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by The boy 4rm oz, 13 May 2010.

  1. The boy 4rm oz

    The boy 4rm oz Project: Elegant-Li

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    Well, guess what! I am finally back with a new project. Well what I should really say is that I have started and completed a project and am just posting up what I have got to show.

    Here is where this story starts.
    Last year for my brother's birthday I promised him I would fix up the computer I built him for Christmas the year before, that was last January. With my first year of Uni starting I really didn't have too much time to do any work on his PC so I spent the year collecting parts and gear so I could do a nice clean mod for him, nothing fancy, mainly cable management and a new lick of paint. Well it was my brother's 16th birthday in January and with him turning 16 the PC decided to give up on him so I knew I had to act fast before his new school year started in early February. And this is where the story telling ends and the pictures start :D.

    This was the original build:
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    Not the prettiest thing in the world but it did the job.

    These are the specs the original rig had before it died:
    CPU - Intel E6600 2.4GHZ + OCZ Vanquisher CPU cooler
    Motherboard - MSI P6N Platinum 650i
    RAM - 4GB (4x1GB) Patriot Signature DDR2 6400 with OCZ RAM cooler
    GPU - Sparkle Nvidia 8800GT
    HDD - WD 320GB SATA II
    PSU - Cooler Master Xtreme Power 500W
    Case - NZXT Alpha

    And these are the specs the rig has now:
    CPU - Intel E6600 2.4GHZ + OCZ Vanquisher CPU cooler
    Motherboard - Gigabyte EP41T-UD3L
    RAM - 4GB (2x2GB) G.Skill DDR3 1333
    GPU - Sparkle Nvidia 8800GT
    HDD - WD 320GB SATA II (OS) and 1TB WD Green SATA II (Data)
    PSU - Cooler Master Xtreme Power 500W
    Case - NZXT Alpha

    The Motherboard had to be upgraded due to failure and with the new motherboard came the requirement for new RAM.

    Well that's the intro done; now it's time for some modding.

    ***Just letting you all know that I had an SD card die on me while doing this mod so a lot of pictures are missing, I apologize for that***
     
  2. The boy 4rm oz

    The boy 4rm oz Project: Elegant-Li

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    The main things that I wanted to do for this mod were mainly a few structural changes, the major ones being the rotation of the HDD cage 180 degrees so the HDDs fed in from the right case panel rather than the left (for cable management reasons). I also wanted to make covers for the drive bays on the window side as well as a temp display and an interior and exterior gloss black paint job.

    Here is where we start, with the drive bay covers.
    I started with measuring and cutting some clear plexi to size:
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    Then I started to disassemble the chassis:
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    Now that I had the pieces I wanted I could start to modify them.

    Here are the stock drive bays, both for the optical drives and the floppy drives:
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    Here is a closer look:
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    See the lump in the middle of the pic? Those are for the tool less mounting mechanism which quite frankly sucked. They were made from plastic and every time you tried to attach a bay device they would snap in half. So out came Mr Dremel to take care of these lumps because they made the plexi may covers sit unevenly.

    After about 30mins with the Dremel they had all been removed:
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    At this point in time I was pondering how to anchor the disk drives in place. I was liking the idea of using thumb screws but they just weren't long enough to penetrate the plexi and still be able to screw into the drives. I decided the best option was to recess some holes into the plexi so the thumbscrews would have enough reach to be able to hold the drives in place.

    Here are some pics of the process:
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    It looks quite good I think :D.

    Now that that was all taken care of I could fix the plexi covers to the drive bays. For this I decided to use some really strong superglue. I was thinking of using epoxy or silicon but due to cost constraints (I already had the superglue) I thought I would stick with the superglue.
    Here are some shots of the process:
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    Now that those pieces were finished I could set them aside in the painting pile and get to work on the rest of the case.
     
  3. The boy 4rm oz

    The boy 4rm oz Project: Elegant-Li

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    Next up is the temp display. I decided that since I had a spare temp display laying around from Project: LEXA that I would put it to good use in this mod.

    I started off soldering some wire directly to the LCD display, I had to do this because the original wire harness had been damaged and was missing it's connector.

    Here are the wires soldered directly to the LCD display:
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    The next thing to do was to solder some molex pins to the ends of the wires, this way it would fix my issues with the original wire harness as well as making the display easy to connect when the front panel gets removed.
    Here is a pic of the molex pins soldered on:
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    And the plugs in place:
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    You may have notice that half the pins are male and the other half are female. This was just to make it easier when it came time connect and disconnect the wire harness, just to save confusion.

    The wire harness got the same treatment as the LCD display:
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    All hooked up:
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    And we have life:
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    Next up I had to make the mounting bracket. This was quite simple, I just cut a piece of plexi to the size of the drive bay and cut a matching hole for the LCD display and I was done.
    Here are a few pics:
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    I did make some brackets to hold the screen properly in place but those shots were lost on the dead SD card.

    Right about now I bet your wondering what that switch is for. Well, while designing the temp display mount my brother saw that I had a spare blue CCFL lying around and asked if I could add it to the build for him. I agreed an after some thinking we thought it would be cool to add it to the underside of the case for an under glow effect, so, I got to work.
     
  4. The boy 4rm oz

    The boy 4rm oz Project: Elegant-Li

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    I started off by going out and getting some new case feet because the stock ones were too low to house the CCFL under the chassis. I went to my local electronics store and picked up a set of 4 Hi-Fi feet for around about $10AUD.
    Here is what they look like:
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    And installed:
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    Once I had the feet installed I drilled a hole in the case floor so I could pass through the CCFL cable, I finished off the hole with a rubber grommet.
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    Here is the CCFL in question, a 30cm blue Flexiglow neon, this baby is extremely bright:
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    Unfortunately I found that even with the new case feet the CCFL was still a little bit too big to fit under the case. So I had to grind it down a bit.
    Here are a couple pics of the carnage:
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    The CCFL now fit perfectly under the chassis and with this outa the way I could focus on modifying the HDD bays.
     
  5. The boy 4rm oz

    The boy 4rm oz Project: Elegant-Li

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    Unfortunately most of the pics of the HDD bay mod were on the now dead SD card but I still have a few to show you what I did.

    The main focus of the HDD mod was to be able to add and remove HDDs from the un-windowed right side of the case, thus eliminating some of the cables that were visible from the window.

    To make the HDDs fit properly with the side panel on I had to move the HDD cage left (closer to the window) by about 2.5cm, this would give me enough breathing space for the power and data cables.
    Here is a pic of the newly drilled holes in the case floor:
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    Then I drilled some corresponding holes in the base of the floppy bays and I was done.

    To give me a little bit extra working space when adding or removing HDDs I trimmed about 5cm off of the edge of the motherboard tray. While I was doing this I made a few extra holes in the tray for cable management.
    Here is the finished result:
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    While I was at it I also decided that I would remove the front and rear fan grills from the case:
    Here is the end result:
    [​IMG]

    Now that I had all of these major mods out of the way I could finish up a few minor mods that I was planning on doing.
     
  6. The boy 4rm oz

    The boy 4rm oz Project: Elegant-Li

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    The last thing I wanted to do to the case before painting the chassis was put a new power switch on the front of the case. After showing my brother the Bulgin switches he instantly wanted one. I ordered a black switch with the blue ring illumination and when I got it a few days later and soldered up the connections this is what I had to play with:
    [​IMG]

    Time to mount this bad boy.
    I started by removing the stock power switch. This was as simple and un-clipping it from it's mount.
    [​IMG]

    I then ground down the plastic mount and widened the mounting hole with the Dremel:
    [​IMG]

    Then all I had to do was feed the switch through the hole and fix it in place.
    Here is the mounted switch:
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    I also had to make a slight adjustment to the front part of the chassis so the new switch would fit properly:
    [​IMG]

    Now that this was all done I could start painting the chassis.
     
  7. The boy 4rm oz

    The boy 4rm oz Project: Elegant-Li

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    Unfortunately all of the painting shots were on my now dead SD card so I won't be able to show you through the process.

    I basically primed all of the parts and then sprayed them all individually with a few coats of gloss black in a homemade paint booth that I made from empty 24 pack beer boxes ;).

    So skipping the painting stage we reach the pictures of the case fully assembled and painted:
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    With the case all back together I could now fill it with hardware and take the final shots :D.

    The only shots I had of the hardware installation process were with the old hardware so I decided to leave them out due to the hardware no longer being used.
     
  8. The boy 4rm oz

    The boy 4rm oz Project: Elegant-Li

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    Well, time for the completely finished glory shots. The first half of the pics are taken outside in 100% natural light with the second half taken inside to show off the case lighting.

    Firstly I would like to introduce my assistant, Poppy:
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    She has unwillingly given up her spot in the sun to make these pics possible :D.

    And now, the final shots:
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  9. The boy 4rm oz

    The boy 4rm oz Project: Elegant-Li

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    Well that's the mod fully completed.

    There will be a few minor additions to the mod later this year however. I will be upgrading the E6600 with my Q6600 from Project: LEXA. My motherboard and PSU recently bricked themselves and to get some reasonably good quality replacements I am looking at $400AUD and for $1200AUD I can get myself a full i7 upgrade so I am going to hang out until the end of the year. My 8800GTX may also be migrating over to this build eventually as well, all depends on whether I have the cash to upgrade the GPU with the rest of the system.

    I hope you all enjoy reading the log and if you have any questions feel free to ask :D.

    Until next time...

    Happy Modding.
     
    AnG3L likes this.
  10. xanan

    xanan New Member

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    Brilliant paint job done mate. Love the Blowhole fan grill.
     
  11. Anubus

    Anubus New Member

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    Awesome job:thumb:
     
  12. AnG3L

    AnG3L Ultimate Modder

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    Couldnt wait for you to come up with a mod and here you are! Nice mod mate, neat and clean! +rep :thumb:
     
  13. Bullitdodger

    Bullitdodger If it ain't broke....Tweak it.

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    ...They always, just lying round the house anyway....:D
     
  14. The boy 4rm oz

    The boy 4rm oz Project: Elegant-Li

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    @ xanan - Thanks a lot. I was surprised that I actually got a decent coverage from rattle cans for once lol. The fan grill was just an old Thermaltake one I had laying around, thye used to come in a 3 pack, 1 silver, 1 blue and 1 gold.
    @ Anubus - Thanks mate.
    @ AnG3L - Thanks buddy, and there will be more to come ;).
    @ Bullitdodger - I always have an abundance of them laying around ;).


    It felt really good to finally get another project done and I have already started planning another project for later this year. This project will be a major one, to replace my now dead LEXA.
     
    Last edited: 14 May 2010
  15. Attila

    Attila still thinking....

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    Your brother should be very happy to have such a hot looking case, nice
    work mate. :thumb: But I have a couple of questions. Where did you get
    the LCD temp display? Have looked at PCCG and other places but can't
    find a simple small display like that. Also, how does that display read the
    temps? Sensors, mobo feed, software?
     
  16. The boy 4rm oz

    The boy 4rm oz Project: Elegant-Li

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    @ oldnewby - Thanks mate, my brother absolutely loves it.

    Ah I should have explained more about the LCD display.

    When I first got my LEXA for my previous project the front door hinge was busted. I sent NZXT an email and they sent me an entire new front fascia, LCD screen and all. So that's how I got the spare LCD display, pulled it from the old front fascia. The temp display is powered from a 4pin molex connector and has 3 temp sensors for reading the CPU, HDD and case temp (I use it for the northbridge).

    I have never seen anything so small as an aftermarket accessory but perhaps NZXT would be nice enough to send one to you, or you could try Ebay I guess. If you are looking for some I know GAM Mods keep a few in stock as well.
     
  17. The_Beast

    The_Beast I like wood ಠ_ಠ

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    Nice mod, cool LCD mod too :thumb:
     
  18. The boy 4rm oz

    The boy 4rm oz Project: Elegant-Li

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    @ The_Beast - Thank you very much :D.
     
  19. ulysses Cazuquel

    ulysses Cazuquel Sex, Casemod & Rock'N Roll!!!

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    Good project my friend :rock:

    Simple solutions and well executed

    What LCD display you used? Have Link?
     
  20. InfernoZeus

    InfernoZeus Member

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