Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by Mach, 31 Jan 2010.
You sir, deserve to win MOTM for February.
Thanks Gentlemen! Its starting to come together.
Yeah, I now have first and second hand experience. I should have know something was up when all the guys on the boot maker forums went nuts when I asked about it. At one point, I was cutting it with tin snips.
I'm seeing more and more video in worklogs. Which set me to wondering what it can do for a worklog. It seems to be useful for revealing things that static images just cannot; for instance, the direction and inspiration for this mod. Would you kindly look at this film and let me know what you think?
very nice video ^^
and inanely nice mod you've got going on here ! +rep
Fantastic work all round there duder
Good video. Gave nice overall picture of this project.
This log is getting better and better, you rock!
You got my vote. Here, take some stars and rep too.
Thanks for the feedback and glad that you liked the video. On the Mod of the Month nomination, Wow, wow, wow! I'm speechless! Thanks to Bit-Tech for the nomination and everyone who has voted.
If you haven't, go now! There are some phenomenal mods underway. I am honored to be nominated with them.
@La carotte d l'o: Gracias for the vote and the stars too!
Berserking on demand has staggering potential from a military perspective...at least the American CIA thought so. Between 1945 and 1964, titled with the innocuous names of Operation Paperclip, Artichoke, and MK-Ultra, the CIA contracted 149 projects to investigate chemical, biological and radiological means to alter and control human development. Over 80 institutions participated including 44 universities, 15 private companies, 12 hospitals, and 3 prisons including Eli Lilly & Co., Harvard University, Fontaine Pharmaceuticals, and the Rockefeller Foundation.
Authorized by American President Truman, under the code name of Operation Paperclip in 1945, the US began the quiet recruitment of Nazi scientists after WWII. Initially their focus was on aeronautics with the successful recruitment of key scientists like, Dr. Herbert A. Wagner, an expert in the field of control and guidance systems, and Wernher von Braun, the central figure in Germany's pre-war rocket development program.
But then in 1946, Operations Paperclip's remit fractured into multiple "dark" projects, many specifically targeted at human experimentation.
Let's do this thing... You're going to get your money's worth on this update. First and most notably, I have a new sponsor. Galaxy has graciously agreed to sponsor this project with a new 9600 GT LP LP. This card is essential to this build so many thanks to Galaxy and Shane!
Second, I've been fairly cagey about the case but since you got a glimpse of it in the video, let me give you the full run down.
Its a 1940s Arvin space heater manufactured by Noblitt-Sparks. Sizewise its small; not the smallest SFF case but enough to give me headaches.
The heater's art deco lines as well as it's manufacturer's history made it destined to be a Bioshock mod.
Here's what the final should look like. I'm still debating colors including plating vs powder coating and I'll need your opinion but that's a later update.
This mod and it’s back story came together through a series of surreal connections and coincidences, if I can take the time to share one. One of the inspirations for the story was spawned from the 2K Games Bioshock 2 viral marketing campaign at www.somethinginthesea.com. In fact, the secret message in the runes was coded from there. In the campaign, if you sent a letter to a fictional detective then 2K sent you swag. I received the old record that you see in the video and a membership card.
The card came with typos on my first and last name (likely due to my poor penmanship). While Arvin isn't my name, it is the name of the heater. And that's just one coincidental connection to this mod that makes me love this build. There is still a ways to go and a few surprises yet but I am going to be sad to see this one end.
Back to the build and the welding hose clamps where we left off, the nice thing about brass and copper is you can anneal it and shape it however you want.
Hose clamp meet stingray
From the bottom side, the clamps are secured to the wood base with brass nails
I trimmed off one side of the hose clamps to clean up the look.
A few wing nuts, threaded rod, and solder = hold down thumbscrews.
The base isn't just there for looks. Most of the wiring will be hidden in the base as well as the DVD drive. One of the challenges of found case modding is figuring out how to mount the hardware. For the DVD, I needed some way to make mounting and adjusting the DVD position easy.
I found brass bolts like these in the plumbing section at my local DIY. They're bolts for a toilet.
Soldered to brass cross braces to support the DVD. You get the idea.
The HD and platform for the circuit board
Attached with 3M VHB tape to the DVD. So by turning the nuts on the screws, the drive can be lowered and raised.
Testing with wing nuts and knurled nuts
Knurled nuts are apparently used for lamps, again from the local DIY.
The brass hold downs were a bit of a change in plan with a rethink in the base mounting. So experimentation with different coverings and coatings ensued.
After several iterations and days trying brass/copper foil and mesh...
I came back to using a heavy canvas lining (which feels right for the mod). Now I just need to learn how to sew it together. Once the lining is complete, I've got the front switch, HDMI port, and wiring holes remaining to finish off the base before I can send it out for final finish.
On the wiring, I started looking at the graphics card setup. While the mini-itx MB does have integrated graphics, part of the design challenge was to include a graphics card for better performance. Given the size constraints, a few unique things were needed. To minimize the visible wiring and the tubing routing, the graphics card is mounted off board and upside down.
Casey at http://www.adexelec.com/ helped find the right PCI-E extender. Thanks Casey!
Cable-gami anyone? It took a pad of paper to figure this out.
The folding flips the card side connector upside down.
The other necessary thing is a performant graphics card with low power requirements and a small footprint. The best one that I could find was the Galaxy 9600 GT LP LP. The LPs stand for Low Profile Low Power. It’s the ideal card for what I have in mind.
Thanks Galaxy and Shane!
This card is a tiny half height card at 8 x 2.25 inches. Also check out the lack of power connector on the right side of the PCB. I've got a max of 200W to play with on this build so every little bit helps. One less set of wires to worry about doesn't hurt either. [H] did a great review of the card last year that gives all stats if you're interested. For this build or for a lower power home theater PC, the card is a great balance of power and size.
Testing the card with the motherboard everything was aces running at a cool 60W with DVD playback.
The only thing that glitched was the modded xbox 360 power supply. When I swapped over to an unmodded one then everything worked. I'll need to cross check my soldering.
From the back side, the mounting doesn't look too complex. Huh, mounting for what?
Something naked this way comes.
Not sure if you noticed these in the video and pictures from Vintage Laser.
Laser block or layer cake block that are stacked pieces of sheet brass soldered together.
Because the laser can't cut copper, I had to go old school on the 1/8" copper.
I plan to solder them together and no, I have no idea what I am doing. Should be fun. Any bets on whether it'll work? Opinions vary from it'll leak or that performance will be too poor. On the last point, I don't think it'll matter much given the cooling requirements of the card. On the first, stay tuned to find out…
Thanks for looking and many thanks to my sponsors!
The craftsmanship on the build is impeccable, I really like the way this project is turning out, and I really like that GPU block.
Got my vote for MOTM
It shouldn't leak. Your solder work has been solid up to now. I'm curious to see how it performs. The stock heat sink was flat and seated the chip and memory?
The toilet bolts gave me a good laugh. I picked up two sets of those yesterday too.
Will that tapping block work for keeping a drill at 90 degrees? I don't have a drill press and drilling straight is harder than it seems lol. Nice detail work you got here. I will keep an eye on this log.
So I take it that PCIe extender is working well for you? I have heard of it giving issues due to the increased trace lengths, but that may just be with more demanding videocards. I have been considering using such an extender for a mod of my own, but held off on it after reading about those issues.
Thanks The boy 4rm oz & stonedsurd! Glad that you like it!
Thanks for the vote of confidence! No, flat to the gpu and the memory chips were covered with TIM tape. That's part of what made me think it was possible.
It would be better than nothing although the holes are sized to the taps not the drill bits. A single hole may go out of round if you use it alot.
Hey Elledan, nice to see you over here! I haven't seen any degradation but then again, I was only sanity testing using dvd playback. Speaking with Casey at adexelec.com, he told me that V2 PCIe card extenders can be a max of 12" long. The one you see is 10" long. The double sided shielding helps with cross talk especially with the folding.
Desoldering anything from multi-layer PCB without any damage is *very* hard. If nothing else, you get some random instability issues.
My suggestion is: the ATX connector goes through the PCB, so all the pins are plainly visible there. Solder new wires to those leads and attach connector to them. Then mechanically cut away/lower the connector on the other side, if needed and put some non-conductive cap to hide the remains.
And about the airflow - if at all possible, blow air that comes from radiator straight out of the case. With small case the accumulating heat is an issue even without recirculating it back in.
Finished reading.. wow! I'll definitely keep watching your progress. Very, very nice craft skills and eye for design shown here.
I'll also be very interested about seeing how the layered and soldered water block works out. I have some designs in mind that might benefit from such technique.
Hey Mach, I'm back in India. If you still need brass bolts, now would be the time to PM me your shopping list. I'm probably heading out to the US at the end of this month but I can even courier them to you if you need them sooner.
Great to see progress on this build, and I really like that render of the whole rig!
Thanks for thinking of me stonedsurd! I think I'm ok for now but I'll have a look through my plans. I was looking for hex drive ones but I sorted what I need with the ones that I made. Glad you like the render!
Thanks Zds! Soldering to the back is plan A now or is it plan B? I still would like to try the desoldering of the ATX connector. It is one of the milestone mods that I admire for its sheer brass balls approach. Not there yet but soon...
On the airflow, I was thinking pushing cool air through the rad first was the first priority as the mother board is going to be fairly cool to begin with. I'll test the reverse to see if it makes a difference tho.
I need some help please. Which deco design do you think works best for the graphics card waterblock?
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