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Scratch Build – In Progress Project: Big Loud Server

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by crazylittleman, 16 Sep 2006.

  1. crazylittleman

    crazylittleman New Member

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    Hey all
    This is my first project log so it might be a bit crap.
    Well my current generic tower case has got to a point where it can't hold anymore hard drives so I've decided to build a file storage server from scratch.
    The basic idea is a duel PSU 14 3.5" drive tower case. It will be based around an aluminum frame with aluminum chequerplate panels on all sides.
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    Should end up something like this.
    The basic dimensions are 450x230x580 (L x W x H). The area of the side panel marked in blue will be a MeshX type vent. Cooling will be via 4 120mm intake fans in the front, 1 120mm exhaust fan in the top and 2 92mm fans in the rear. As well as exhaust through the PSUs.
    This is the basic frame that will support all the components.
    [​IMG]

    This is basically how the corner joins will work.
    [​IMG]
    This design enables all gluing surfaces to be hidden on the inside of the frame as well as maximizing contact area for the glue to ensure a strong bond.
    Anyhoo on we go...

    The Frame
    The frame is based around 20mmx20mmx3mm aluminum L rail. It is then bonded using pop rivets and Araldite. This produces joins stronger then the aluminum between them.
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    [​IMG][​IMG]
    This is basically how the top of the frame turned out first with just the basic frame and then with the Hard drive supports in place.
    The original idea was to countersink all the rivets to allow the panels to sit flush but that idea didn't turn out well so I ended up just grinding them down with a dremel.
    [​IMG]
    (The flash kinda over did its self.)

    Hard Drive Supports

    The hard drives will be supported on rails made from the same L rail as the rest of the case. The drives will secure via screws from underneath. The idea is to put together all the supports for the hard drives so they can be place into the frame as one unit. The first step is to cut all 28 support rails then drill the holes to secure the drives. The holes are drilled with the aid of a wooden template.
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]


    Next the support rails have to be riveted to the upright supports. I did this by cutting correctly spaced grooves into a block of wood the clamping then uprights into the block. This allows me to easily place the support rails to be drilled with a hand drill. I then glued and riveted 3 of the support rails to keep the whole load square before I try and drill the rest of the holes.
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    Tomorrow when all the glue is set I can drill and rivet the rest of the supports.

    That’s all for now.

    Comments? Questions? Popcorn?
     
    Last edited: 14 Jan 2008
  2. Lazlow

    Lazlow I have a dremel.

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    Popcorn for me - I'm subscribing because your designs look great!
     
  3. Dragonphreak

    Dragonphreak Member

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    impressive project. what exactly is araldite? 2 part epoxy?
     
  4. Philipp

    Philipp New Member

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    That project looks really good so far :) Keep up the good work :thumb:

    Are you going for some RAID-goodness?

    May I borrow that idea? I just got some inspiration on how to solve a problem I have with one project I'm still planing...
     
  5. Warrior_Rocker

    Warrior_Rocker Holder of the sacred iron

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    big loud server eh? I like to think of it as really audible way to tell you the computer is on


    Looks good so far, however One thing that makes me wonder, If you are going to have a few hd's you may want to think of a way to make them easily removeable, more hd's = increased chance one or more will fail during the computers lifetime.
     
  6. crazylittleman

    crazylittleman New Member

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    The Araldite is a 2 part epoxy hardener, Its very strong stuff. I know it's going to be hard to remove the hard drives but once they're in the case I don't plan on taking them out so it's not to much a an issue. If one dies I'll just leave it in there until i really need to take it out.
     
  7. crazylittleman

    crazylittleman New Member

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    Minor Update

    Hard Drive Supports

    Today I continued work on the support rails for the hard drives on one side, about 90 minutes and a new rivet gun later they were done!!! :D :D
    [​IMG]

    The next step is to put together the second set of supports. The difficulty with this is that each horizontal rail has to be at the exact height of its pair on the 1st set of supports. So the easiest way to do this is to clamp both sets of supports together and just line them up. Like so.....
    [​IMG]


    Construction Error
    At some point during the construction of the top section of the frame I wasn't paying attention and I made a rather large error.
    [​IMG]
    (looking down at the bottom of the top)
    The original idea was to have a 63mm gap on the right side of the case to hide all the cabling in. But for the above said reasons I have ended up with the 63mm gap on the left.
    So my basic choices are....
    1) Just leave it and hope i can fit all the wiring in to the 35mm gap available?
    2) Reverse the hard drives and mount the motherboard on the opposite side of the case. This would mean the motherboard would have to be mounted upside down with the expansion cards at the top?

    So yeah thats about all for the time being. I'm hoping to get the panels this week so i can start work on the base and the fan mounts.
     
  8. Gaoske

    Gaoske New Member

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    Nice work here, but still a question:

    How will you mount your HDD's? You won't be able to reach the screws underneath the HDD's with a normal screwdriever...
     
  9. crazylittleman

    crazylittleman New Member

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    I can put the screws in place by hand then tighten them with this right angled screw driver i have.
     
  10. Jipa

    Jipa Avoiding the "I guess.." since 2004

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    I like custom aluminum cases and will definitely keep my eye on this project too :)
     
  11. Laku84

    Laku84 New Member

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    Cool. :rock:

    Subscribed. :thumb:
     
  12. Klekkus

    Klekkus New Member

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    Great SketchUp work! Looks like you had the airflow in your mind when you made it too.
     
  13. Belial669

    Belial669 New Member

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    Nice work so far, i like the detail in the design, however on the same train of thought as Gaoske.
    Is there enough gap between the rails so that with a HDD installed in a rail, you can still get your Right angle screwdriver in to the screw of the hdd above?
    I only wonder because if you can't then taking the top drive out could be a real pain if you have to take out every drive underneath to be able to get to the screws.
    Because it looks like you've left room there for airflow but at least in the case of the RA screwdriver i have its 3 or 3 1/2 cm before the bend.

    Looking forward to seeing how it turns out, looking really good so far though.

    Cheers
    -Belial
     
  14. Fusen

    Fusen New Member

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    with regards to the screws, you could maybe just cut the head off the screws so instead of being completely non moveable you could just drop them into the holes and then they wouldnt be able to move forward or backward but would come out by just lifting them up, that way you'd have real easy access for changing drives.

    also, what size drives are you going to hold in it?

    say £50 for 250gb at the moment, you could get 3.2TB for £650 ;D

    although that isnt a fair bit of money ;/
     
  15. gometro33

    gometro33 New Member

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    What kind of drives are they and what capacity are they? Also, what RAID (and RAID card) are you going with? Finally, what do you need to store that will take up 14 drives worth of space?

    Nice work so far. I can't wait to see the end.
     
  16. crazylittleman

    crazylittleman New Member

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    I never thought about securing the drives using headless screws but i like it, I'll look further into this.

    The case was designed with extensive future proofing inmind at the moment I'm using 1x 160gb 1x250gb 2x 300gb and 1x 320gb desktop drives. They are currently running in standard config off the motherboard controller. Due to me being an over worked under paid high school student I have yet to go down the Raid road due to cost issues but this something that I'll lookinto in the future. Its about AUS$520 per 1TB. The drives mostly contain my extensive collection of unlicenced linux distros, unlicenced music and other non pirated and in no way ilegal media files....honest.
     
  17. crazylittleman

    crazylittleman New Member

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    Minor Update

    [​IMG]

    All the panels arrived today. It ended up costing AUS$95 for all of them.

    Construction Error Fixed
    I cut out most of the L rail with a hacksaw just leaving the two ends glued down. Then I drilled out the rivets and drilled away as much of the remaining aluminum as possible.
    [​IMG]
    Then I cut away as much of it as possible with a Dremel, the Dremel discs i was using were those $20 a set generic crappy ones so it wasn’t really effective at cutting but it did generate enough heat to just melt away the remaining glue. Then i just knocked out the left over aluminium with a hammer.
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    Finished refitting the new cross pieces in the correct position.
    [​IMG]

    Frame Base/Panel

    Now I have to panels cut and ready to go i could continue with the frame. The panel and L rails for the base were clamped onto and chip board and the joiner pieces are pre drilled on a drill press are put into position. The pre-drilled joiners are used as a template to drill through the L rail and base panel with a cordless hand drill.
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Rivets are test fitted into the holes.
    [​IMG]

    The L rails are then glued directly to the base panel and riveted in each corner.
    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
    Last edited: 20 Sep 2006
  18. Belial669

    Belial669 New Member

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    Looks like its going to be pretty solid with that checker plate.
    So are you going to be painting the checkerplate orange as per the design illustration in post 1 or was that just for coloring the panels in the design phase and leaving it just as bare checkerplate?

    Also with the mesh panel what color? Black, silver or something custom?

    In relation to the headless screw idea put forward fusen.
    Sure thats a nice idea assuming your not going to move the case.
    Because yes while headless screws through the base drive holes would stop horizontal movement, the vertical movement to make them easy to access would also mean if you were transporting the case, or even if it was to (heaven forbid) fall over your drives wouldnt be secure at all.
    My other observation is that most available screws that have the same thread pattern to fit hdd's dont protrude very far one the head is off them.
    I think there is definately merit in the idea dont get me wrong but i think it'd be difficult to execute effectively.

    An idea that i came up with a while ago for something similar was to have prodtruding pins, that a locking washer/split pin could be passed through to secure the drive though i was looking at a horizontal mounting, using motherboard spacers and drilling though the side of those at the end for the locking clip which the weight of the drive was supported by the spacers acting as drive rails, with some sort of end clip to hold the drive in place.
    This is just an idea that i'll admit definately has execution problems as well but its food for thought.

    I'll stop rambling in your thread now.
    But i am interested in how you eventually mount it.

    Cheers
    -Belial
     
  19. crazylittleman

    crazylittleman New Member

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    The orange was just for the sake of easy distinction in the design it will be left plain checkerplate.
    The plan was to use silver mesh to match the panels but I still haven't found anywhere to get the mesh at a decent price so i'll have to see.
    The lack of vertical securing was an issue as i am a regular lanner, i was looking at something like a 7/64x25mm screw that would fit the drive base holes as well as having enough length to give some vertical hold. Although it doesnt matter how long they are nothing would help if the case was tipped upsidedown.
    Another idea would be to use some sort of locking clip from the rail support to hold the drive down although this would add yet more complication.
     
  20. Belial669

    Belial669 New Member

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    I'm guessing your an aussie based on your quoting "Aus$95" for the checker plate.
    If your looking for meshx panels of the AC ryan variety i'll recommend these guys
    http://www.pccasegear.com.au/category265_1.htm
    I've dealt with them a couple of times for modding supplies and they're not bad on pricing.
    Its the only place i know out here that has it out here.
    And at that price plus shipping if your not in melbourne its still reasonable for a sheet that size.

    Otherwise perhaps some grill mesh from a hardware store or metal supplier might be cheaper.

    Did you consider using the centre screw hole to hold it vertically?
     

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