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Case Mod - In Progress Project : Azure - A Rack Server Mod -Complete

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by wastedtime, 22 Jun 2008.

  1. wastedtime

    wastedtime Case Modder

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    Sponsored by

    Delvie's Plastics.


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    Hello everyone. This is my first ever case mod. A have already started on it and have completed about 60% of the project. I already have a project log posted over at OCN.
    I am just posting the whole thing here just to make it consistent. I will then update both threads as I proceed .



    A couple of months back I bought a rackable server off ebay to work as a folding rig and also for running my virtual machines and web server. This server does not have a top cover.

    Here is the server lying dis assembled in the bedroom :

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    The back that holds the exhaust fans

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    So here are the list of things I am planning to do for this mod.

    1. Fully Paint the Server Chasis black .

    2. Fabricate a top cover for the server. ( The top cover will have a hole in the center to accommodate a delta 4000rpm intake fan )

    3. Cut the exhaust grill out and put an acrylic front in there.

    4. Custom acrylic feet. The feet will be in the form of steps.

    5. The PSU that came with the server died. So now i am going to use an other desktop PSU to power the server. I am planning to use a chrome wire loom to enclose the wires coming from the PSU to the server .

    6. Fabricate an acrylic cover for the PSU.

    7. Fabricate an engraved ring around the fan.(This was inspired from the Billet Window from Bill Owen's warcraft case mod. )

    8. Add blue CCFL's in the server to give it a nice blue and black look.



    Update 1


    Mockup and sketch for top cover :
    the top cover will be fabricated out of 1/4" solar gray acrylic.

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    Sketch for front panel :

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    This is how the case feet will look . The case feet will be fabricated out of 1/4" clear acrylic. I am planning on putting blue LED's in there that will give the case feet a nice blue glow :D

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    Top view with the case feet :


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    Sketch for case feet

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    Update 2



    Small Update :

    I received a package from performance-pcs and xoxide.

    1. A delta 220 CFM fan.
    2. A couple of Fan Filters
    3. 1/8" Heatshrink
    4. A sunbeam PSU modding kit.
    5. 5FT of red el wire (Not sure what I am gonna do with this )
    6. Zip Tie Mounts :D



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    My initial plan was to house the PSU separately and then have 2 chrome wire looms carrying all the wires from the PSU to the server.
    So the obvious choice would be to drill two holes in the server using the hole saw.

    But I hit a snag. First off the server chasis is too thick for my hole saw. I have a cheapo hole saw that I picked up from harborfreight. So after over 30 mins with the hole saw I had barely scratched the surface.

    Secondly I realized that there is no way I can directly insert the 24 pin connector through that hole. So essentially I will have to remove the connector and then put the wires in through the hole and plug the connector back in. This is not a problem if the server is empty but if I have to change the PSU for any reason. The whole process is going to be a PITA.

    So what I did was cut a rectangle on the side which will be covered up with a piece of acrylic. This piece will have the 2 holes that were originally meant to be in the server. So if I have to change the PSU I will have to unscrew the plate and then work with the plate . (Even with the plate on... I will have to remove all wires from the 24 PIN ATX connector to let the PSU loose . but at least this way I dont need to work with my head inside the server.)

    I hope this explains why I am using a plate instead of drilling holes in the server itself.

    Alright Time for some pics :D

    This is the rectangle that I cut out .. Not perfect by any means but I will straighten it out using a hand file.

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    This is how the wire loom will look when stuck into the server.

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    Things that I will be doing next :

    1. PSU Sleeving.
    2. Cut out the front grill and sand.
    3. Strip the existing paint on the server.

    .. Oh just a word of caution... This is what happened when I used the cutting wheels that came with the dremel...

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    The wheel broke and flew across the room.. luckily I wasnt anywhere near it..



    Update 3


    Time For another set of updates :D
    This whole set of tasks took me a huge 9 back breaking hours....

    I cut the front panel of the server . This will be replaced by an acrylic front..

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    I used a hand file to shape the slot for the PSU wires.. Here is a before and after pic

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    I cut the acrylic side panel which will sit on top of the slot. The painters tape looks a little wrinkled because of all the wet sanding.

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    The sides for of the side panel .. I used a 50 / 80 / 400 dry and 1000/1500 wet sanding to get this look. (Thanks to Dae Ja Voo 's guide)
    I am waiting on the acrylic polish to get here so that I can nicely polish it out..
    (Sorry for the blurry pic, my camera just wont listen to me :( )
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    A better Pic :D... The holes for the screws are slightly chipped. But the panel is going to be secured using a acorn nut. So that will cover the chipped portion.. Its actually very small... it looks big in the picture.. I actually did'nt even notice it till I took the picture :p


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    I stripped the paint off the server... I used a paint stripper for the job. I put the server in an old bath tub and sprayed the paint stripper over it.. a couple of hours later the paint turned soft and flaky all I had to do then was use a scraper and scrape the paint out ;)

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    I need more acrylic to start on the front panel and the feet. I will have to wait till Thursday.. Thats when the package from Tap is scheduled to arrive... I will start sleeving the PSU next.. :D



    Update 4


    I sleeved the PSU and put the wires in the loom. Here are a couple of pics hopefully the idea behind the whole powering the server from outside is slightly clearer


    I still have a lot to sleeve including fans and a couple of other wires. :D

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    Fedex delivered this package today
    6 Cans of Krylon Primer /6 Cans of Krylon Gloss Black Paint and 6 Cans of duplicolor black effex. :devil-smi

    I am going to prep the server for paint next..thats once I get the wires sleeved :p

    [​IMG]



    Update 4


    I drilled all the holes in the front fan panel. and its almost ready. The server has got its last 2 coats of paint and is sitting to dry. I sawed the hole on the top panel that will hold the delta 120mm fan.


    Here is a picture of the progress on the panel.

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    And.... its done :D .... It still has to be sanded on the sides. but I just couldn't wait.. :p

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    Here is how the delta 120 mm fan will look when its mounted on the top panel.

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    Update 5


    The clearcoat finally dried up and I am pretty happy with the way it turned out. Here are some pictures of the chassis.

    oh btw duplicolor effex black is just insane. It gives u a nice black clearcoat when not under light but when light hits the surface the whole thing just glitters up like crazy .

    Here is the server with no light on it ..

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    And here's what happened when I had the flash on..

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    A closer picture

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    Update 6



    I sanded and polished the front fan panel.
    I stared with 60Grit sandpaper to get it as straight as i possibly could then sanded it with 240 / 800 / 1500 / 2500 Grit Sandpaper. I finally polished it out with some Noveau 2 polish.

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    I profiled the edges of the top cover. They all fit together now. This was done with a 45 degree Chamfer bit. for the dremel.

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    I also sleeved the 24 Pin PSU connector.

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    Finally I sanded down the acrylic steps ... polished them out and then stuck them together. Finally the whole thing was bolted down to the server using some 6-32 threaded rods and nuts. :D

    I popped in a CCFL to see how it will look when the LED's go in ;)

    There is one slight problem though.. Each of the steps do not exactly fit together. I had to slightly shift one to make it fit. Although that step is at the back of the server the angle is pretty obviously visible.. :sigh:

    Measure twice cut once is not good enough for me i guess. "Measure thrice and then measure again to make sure" is something I should follow..
    Any ways here are some pics of the server with the steps installed. I still havent taken off the painters tape on the fan panel yet because I am paranoid about scratching it.. :eek:



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    Update 7


    I have decided to make the acrylic steps again.

    There are 2 reasons behind it one being that the step at the back was messed up and the second being that a couple of edges do not match up properly.

    This time over the steps are going to be made up of 3/8" clear acrylic.




    I just realized that I do not have a DVD Drive for the server .

    Solution : Fabricate a hold for the DVD Drive using acrylic :p


    Now the DVD ROM and the PSU are going to be housed in a separate custom fabricated acrylic box.

    I reused the acrylic from the old steps to fabricate the steps for the power supply and CD ROM hold.

    The whole thing will be fabricated using 1/4" Solar Gray acrylic.

    I have tried to design the whole thing such that I can remove the PSU or the DVD Drive easily just in case I want to replace them.


    So here are the plans for the PSU and DVD ROM hold. I am sorry I had to do all this in paint. My sketchup skills are mediocre at best :eek:

    The lower chamber will hold the DVD Drive and the upper will hold the PSU. I havent mocked up the front and back panels yet.

    I realized that the PSU has an intake fan and has grills for the exhaust.
    because I am going to be covering it up. It made sense to have 2 small 25mm fans for the exhaust. I got these from the broken PSU of the server.

    I am planning on using the display from the server. It is a small screen that shows the server status etc.

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    The side view. More or less self explanatory;)


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    The back view

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    The TOP view

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    I built a small frame from some leftover acrylic. This frame will hold the top cover in place. I am going to stick a couple of pieces of acrylic on the top cover that will fit into the grooves of the frame and help secure it.


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    I have the top cover assembled . :D It still has to dry completely but I just couldn't wait :p

    All of the edges except one match up which is good news. This was a really tricky one .

    With light

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    Without light

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    Closeup of the edges of the fan hole ;)

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    Update 8
    This weekend was extremely busy. SO I haven't been able to get the LED's done.
    But I got the base ready for the PSU and Drive Hold I stuck a 4" CCFL in there and took some pictures.



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    The holes are where the Acrylic rods will sit. The holes will have LEDs in them which will light up the rods.


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    The top cover is ready too I reinforced it with a couple of Acrylic strips on the joints. It fits pretty well on the Server :D


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    With the Lights on


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    The Sides:

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    The Fan hole

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    Update 9

    I promised LED's over the weekend... its a little late but I got it done :D

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    The 6 white spots are the LEDs facing upwards. The clear acrylic rod will sit on top of them. So hopefully we should get a nice blue glow on the rods too.

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    Because the acrylic is just 1/4" I really did not want to drill into it and then put the LED's in. So i just stuck the LED's to the surface.

    I initially started with a glue Gun. But the problem started becoming apparent. Using a glue gun is messy and it also does not really hold the LED's .

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    Super Glue to the rescue :D

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    The LED's were wired to each other with a 36 Gauge white hookup wire. Its extremely easy to use and bend .

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    Thanks for looking :thumb:
     
    Last edited: 23 Aug 2008
  2. wastedtime

    wastedtime Case Modder

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    Reserved for final pics
     
  3. Realiks

    Realiks New Member

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    Nice progress your making. I like the platform with the leds. Very nice.
     
  4. wastedtime

    wastedtime Case Modder

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    Thanks Realiks
     
  5. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    Looking good there.
    You have the legendary Delta finger-remover.:D Have you test run it yet to see how loud it is? It should sound like a jet plane in that plexi enclosure.
    Those little fans that came with the server are cool. You could mount them in tubes really easy. What kind of glue are you using to put your plexi together with?
     
  6. wastedtime

    wastedtime Case Modder

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    Thanks Cheapskate. Yes the delta is extremely loud. I bought the Rheobus Extreme fan controller to control it. The fan controller will go in the PSU and DVD Drive Hold
    I am using Weld-On 3 Cement to glue the plexi. I also use weld-on #16 to fill gaps.




    I cut and sanded all the pieces required for the DVD Drive and PSU hold.

    Here are some pictures of me doing a test fit.


    The Fan controller is going to be put inside the chamber with the DVD Drive.
    The first few sides go up ;)

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    Side with the Fan goes in. Manyak said that the Sunbeam can get really hot. So I put a fan on the side to pull cool air in.

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    Barely enough space for the IDE cable to go through.

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    The back showing the fan controller.

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    4th Side goes in.
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    and Covered :D


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    Then I put the PSU in. and mounted the back panel. The back panel also has a server reset switch.

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    Oops. The slot needs to be slightly bigger.


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    The PSU pulls in air from the top. But because I am gonna cover the whole thing there is nowhere for the hot air to go out. So I put 2 25mm fans to pull hot air out.


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    The front. The second fan hole is slightly messed up. but nothing really bad.
    The other hole is for the remote eject switch for the DVD Drive


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    The top cover. I still need to drill the 120mm hole.

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    The whole box. :D

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    The front

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    Thats all for now. I am going to polish the sides and glue them next. I have also completed the steps. They also need polishing and gluing.

    Thanks for looking :)
     
    Last edited: 24 Jul 2008
  7. Oreon_237

    Oreon_237 CHEA BRO!

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    dude this is awesome, really love it, ill stay tuned in and stuff! that cable loom looks like it could survive the apocalypse, and the fan grill things look cool!
     
  8. jhanlon303

    jhanlon303 The Keeper of History

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    For my day job, I sit in front of wha'ts called an ATE (Automated Test Environment) - 19 in rackmount PCs and Linux based 2U units from DELL. Without the SkullCandy 50mm headphones I would be deaf. Rack mounts are cool but they are NOISY! SCSI raid arrays sound like engine test stands when I push them. Good fan choices should help in the noise. I really like the acrylic base. Seriously thick material.
    Mod on!
    John
     
  9. The boy 4rm oz

    The boy 4rm oz Project: Elegant-Li

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    I have never seen a rackmount mod before but I must say this is looking fantastic. Great work so far, the plexi work is awesome and the paint turned out great.
     
  10. brinkz0r

    brinkz0r New Member

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    That's looking really good, I'm especially liking this picture :) Keep on modding like this!
     
  11. Thacrudd

    Thacrudd Where's the any key?!?

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    I'm totally feelin it man, Love the paint and the lights :thumbs:
     
  12. wastedtime

    wastedtime Case Modder

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    Thanks Oreon. Glad you like the Fan Grill

    John. I know exactly what you mean. I did a test run the other night with all the fans in full blast. I ordered the fan controller the very next day :p . I am gonna change the acrylic base. They were initially done with 1/4" acrylic. I now have done them with 3/8" thick acrylic. All of them have been cut and sanded I need to polish them and glue them together.

    Thanks, Glad you like the plexi. This is my first time with plexi. I ruined a couple of sheets initially I am now getting the hang of it. :)

    Thanks :D.

    Thanks. The paint turned out better than I had expected it to be. I am now trying to get it glossy. I ordered some carnauba wax for it.
     
  13. x06jsp

    x06jsp da ginger monkey!!!!

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    looks awesome keep up the good work :thumb:
     
  14. Nolimited

    Nolimited New Member

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    Amazing job on this server. il will the same on my work :clap:
     
  15. wastedtime

    wastedtime Case Modder

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    Thanks x06jsp :D

    Thanks Nolimited.


    Well I have a small update today. Since I am covering up the PSU and have just 2 25mm fans for exhaust. There was a concern of the PSU overheating. I tested the whole setup for around 24hrs and I am happy to report that the PSU looks ok and the 25mm fans have kept the inside of the PSU hold nice and cool :clap:
     
  16. jhanlon303

    jhanlon303 The Keeper of History

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    Where did you get fans that small! My smallest is 40mm Silenex.
    John
     
  17. wastedtime

    wastedtime Case Modder

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    @John - The fans came with the server itself. I yanked 2 more from the PSU of the server which was broken. You can buy the 25mm fans here. The 25mm's seem to be out of stock the link points to the 30mm ones
     
  18. jhanlon303

    jhanlon303 The Keeper of History

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    Now that I know smaller than 40mm exist I will find them for my Sacrilege project. My thanks.
    John
     
  19. widmod

    widmod Member

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    with such a big case why do you have so many things external? :confused:
     
  20. wastedtime

    wastedtime Case Modder

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    The server just looks big in the picture. It only measures 17.25 inches x 14.5 inches. and is hardly 3.5 inches tall. When all the components go in there there is hardly any space, most of the space is taken up by the motherboard.
    The PSU that came with the server was extremely small similar to this. The PSU was broken and I had no choice but to buy a new one or use the standard ATX PSU that I had as spare. I decided to use the spare one.
     
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