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Project: BlakIce

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by -Xp-, 4 Aug 2004.

  1. -Xp-

    -Xp- Minimodder

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    Where to begin? BlakIce is basically the result of around eight monbths of planning, and roughly £500 spent in parts and materials. It is a custom built "Cube" case, featuring a custom layout, designed for minimum size, maximum cooling potential, and maximum free space. It is also hopign to achieve a minimalist appearance, whilst being as complicated as possible.

    For those of you who didn't read my extensive planning stages, don't worry. Those ideas have now evolved into something that is pretty much completely different. I'm going to re-write the whole "ideas and planning" section of my case design.

    First off, the challenge. To fit a relativly high-spec PC into a small enclosure, without compromising looks, noise levels, or cooling potential. For cooling, I decided to splash out. Around £350 of the £500 case budget went on watercooling. Everything was chosen with reason.

    Hydor Seltz L30 - to me, the best option. As much power as an Eheim 1250, but half the size and £20 cheaper. Yes please.
    Thermochill HE120.2 - I couldn't find a BlackIce Xtreme II anywhere in the UK, so this baby gets the job instead. It's also nice and small. It's gonna get modded (a bit).
    DangerDen Maze4, Maze4GPU, Z-Chip - your standard cooling affair. The blocks will be modified.
    Criticool WaterPlant - does the job while looking good and staying small. Again, will be modified.
    Two Titan 120mm fans - due to lack of Panoflows. Already been modded.
    Your average assortment of pipes (DD Clearflex 90), 1/2" barbs, 12mm clamps (oops...but they still fit fine)...etc.

    The PC to go into this box is as follows:

    Abit AN7 (modded BIOS to make it more overclockable)
    AMD Athlon XP 2500+ (multiplier unlocked)
    1GB PC3200 TwinMos RAM
    Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 (120GB)
    ATi Radeon 9700pro (eBayed as faulty, then repaired)
    FSP 350w or Qtec 550W PSU (dunno which ATM)

    So, that's the kit. By the end of the planning, you will see how I managed to cram it into a 37cm*32cm*25cm box, with plenty of room to spare.


    Planning

    [​IMG]
    It started off as a quick sketch on a piece of file paper after a few beers.


    I made it up in PTC ProDesktop, and couldn't wait to get started. I even started a project log. I decided to begin as soon as I got a digital camera for my birthday (1st March). On 20th February, I got a job, so decided to watercool. Four months later, and I still hadn't decided on a final layout, had only just got the aluminium in, and decided to get going. Last week, I got of my backside and finished off the CAD. The final version of the CAD (my 6th version of the case) is shown (and nicely labelled) below.

    [​IMG]

    Some of the final specifications:
    All acrylic sides, bolted onto a brushed aluminium frame. Nice socket head screws hold it all together.
    Completely new wiring job...PSU will be redone. Hopefully, all white cables, heatshrink and braid.
    Spangly front IO panel/junction box/everything else panel. Got a few surprises planned for this one.
    Either all tinted or partially frosted effect on the plexi. Maybe a few etched logos, etc.
    Really compact dimensions...stuff placed to ensure maximum coolage and space.

    "Stealth" mode disables all fans and lights, putting only the main system fans onto 5V for a totally silent, unnoticable PC.
    Bulk pack of 100 white LED's have to go somewhere...I hope to use most of them in the case lighting (without going way over the top). I also have some white cathodes that might make an appearance.
    God knows how many other little things that you will notice as we go along.

    Ok, enough about the plans...let's get this thing started.

    A quick apology...I'm gonna cheat and start this log partway through. I didn't want to post the intro, then leave you all for a few weeks while I brushed the aluminium. Instead, I'm gonna shove all the brushing stages in here, making it look like I brushed about 10000mm*19mm of aluminium in about thirty seconds.


    So, first off, the aluminium. Some L-section alu, 19mm wide, and 2.4m long. A total of 4.8m needed brushing per strip. I needed just over two strips.

    [​IMG]
    Here is how it looked when it arrived. Rather rough, and covered in brown stuff.

    What came next was hours of powersanding, sanding and brushing. I did it in sections, masking each one before moving onto the next.

    [​IMG]
    I ended up with around ten metres of this.

    [​IMG]
    All masked up and ready for cutting.

    Now, back to today's work.

    I clean forgot to take some photos of it marked out...just imagine the above picture with some pencil lines on it.

    [​IMG]
    The aluminium was cut using a hacksaw and a mitre block. A vice and some clamps also came in handy.

    [​IMG]
    After a few pieces were cut, I test fitted them. I was surprised at how well it fitted together.

    [​IMG]
    A few of the pieces assembled (using tape), with a CD and a lightbulb to give an indication of size.

    After an hour or so, all the pieces are cut, and ready for filing down.

    [​IMG]
    I still have not sanded the back of the aluminium.

    The filing and sanding process was done in three stages:

    [​IMG]
    1) A ******* file brought the aluminium down to the correct length (I cut it a few mm larger than necessary, just to be safe).

    [​IMG]
    2) Needle files smoothed it off (I prefer the triangular one to the flat one, for some strange reason).

    [​IMG]
    3) Sandpaper gave it a nice brushed finish (that you won't see when the case is together, but still looks nice).

    [​IMG]
    All done. This process went by surprisingly quickly.


    Ok, all done for now. The next stage is masking, marking and cutting the acrylic sheet. Expect updates later today (or tomorrow).
     
  2. RR5

    RR5 What's a Dremel?

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    Wow that will be one shiny case, you'll blind people at LANS and can easily win.

    Just one thing, if possible can you resize your images a bit? Makes reading project logs much easier.
     
  3. -Xp-

    -Xp- Minimodder

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    Hit Ctrl+F5...
     
  4. mrplow

    mrplow obey the fist!!

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    L channel roxors.

    Lookin good dude!
     
  5. RR5

    RR5 What's a Dremel?

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    Internet explorer, F11 maxminizes it.
     
  6. meiv_4

    meiv_4 What's a Dremel?

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    nice nice, aluminum is sexy, make it shine, i think it needs one of those mini disco balls...
     
  7. Leeum

    Leeum What's a Dremel?

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    Well done man :D Will be watching this project, 8 months of planning can only mean good news :thumb:
     
  8. -Xp-

    -Xp- Minimodder

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    Hehe, my personal suck-up. Hey Leeum.


    A small update while I work.

    I spent a while masking up all the acrylic. Both sides are masked as shown below.

    [​IMG]
    Acylic all masked.


    Next, it was marked out with a pencil and a ruler. I spent a while getting the parts perfectly square. I left a 5mm gap between each one.

    [​IMG]
    Commenced drawing.

    [​IMG]
    All done, and marked with pen.

    Using a Black and Decker Workmate, and a Circular saw (with a fine blade...although my 12-toothed thing seems to give an equally smooth cut), I began to cut the panels out.

    [​IMG]
    First cut.

    I had to unclamp the plexi, turn it round, reposition the guide for the saw (the guide is the bit of wood ion the picture above) and clamp it all down.

    [​IMG]
    Top panel done, and ready for filing.

    And so I continue.....

    [​IMG]
    Four of the eight panels cut out.

    Expect updates when they are done (or not if I saw my arm off with this damn saw).
     
  9. hmekk

    hmekk What's a Dremel?

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    :D nice work .. keep it up ....
     
  10. Leeum

    Leeum What's a Dremel?

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    Allaw Xp :D
     
  11. lepre

    lepre Minimodder

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    i'm still developing something like this...so i'm interested :)

    which will be the external dimensions?
     
  12. saint

    saint What's a Dremel?

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    Nice work so far, this is gonna look sweet :rock:
     
  13. -Xp-

    -Xp- Minimodder

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    Sorry for lack of updates... I had some other thigns to deal with last night.

    Fist off, The plexi is now all cut out...just needs to be filed down and sanded.

    [​IMG]
    Plexi cut out

    [​IMG]
    Rough edges!

    Does anyone know how to get the perfectly clear edges, without uusing a buffing wheel (it grinds the plastic away very quickly) or heating (it just runs and forms thicker bits of plexi).

    Also, I started assembling the frame...a quick guide on how I did it:

    [​IMG]
    Aluminium marked for drilling. The hole is 10mm from the bottom, and 10mm from the edge.

    [​IMG]
    A 3mm drill bit drills the hole.

    [​IMG]
    An M4 tap creates the screw thread.

    [​IMG]
    For the uprights, the holes are made larger (4.5mm I think), and are countersunk slightly to make the surface smooth.

    [​IMG]
    The first "level" of aluminium constructed.

    [​IMG]
    A quick mock-up, to show what it will look like (roughly!!)

    Later today, I will make the rest of the aluminium frame, and start smoothihg that plexi.

    Comments, questions, suggestions, please post below...I want to know what you think!

    And as for the dimensions...the aluminium parts are 375mm wide, 250mm deep, 325mm tall. The external dimensions are: 385mm*260mm*333mm. Pretty darn small for what is going in there.

    If you need any other info, just ask. And thanks for the encouragement, guys.
     
  14. lepre

    lepre Minimodder

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    we are getting almost the same dimensions (37x33x20) but we are using a completly different position for the components :D we'll see in september when we would be ready to build something :duh:
     
  15. RR5

    RR5 What's a Dremel?

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    Blue flame from a tourch, flame polish!

    Be real real real real real real careful about this, it can cause the plexi to crack or fracture.

    Search the forums, some guy was real good at flame polishing the edges of plexi.
     
  16. Prometheus

    Prometheus Minimodder

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    Looking good :thumb:

    Are you just using screws to hold the metal frame together?

    You could use a wood plane to get smooth edges on the plexi then use a polishing compound to make it shine.
     
  17. -Xp-

    -Xp- Minimodder

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    Are you psychic? I'm currently using a wood plane to sand down the plexi, and will use a polish when done. Great minds think alike, eh? ;).

    Sory about the lack of updates...I'll pdate if you want, but it will just be the same stuff...but some of the plexi will ahve smooth edges. Expect updates in teh next few days, when I get building.
     
  18. LabRat1

    LabRat1 What's a Dremel?

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    wow your makeing another frame-up case

    can I have it? this is something I would like to do someday

    :worried: I almost named my project black ice
     
  19. -Xp-

    -Xp- Minimodder

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    Well, sorry for the months of non-updates. I've been busy with school, work, and life in general, so have had little time to work on my beloved BlakIce. I've also been working on another project (nothing big, but time consuming!) Finally, my hatred of sanding acrylic means that I've been avoiding it.

    Let's see what else I have been doign in the mean time. I promise that the acrylic will be sanded, and BlakIce will be built. I'll get round to it in the next few weeks.

    First off,

    I finished the frame, and bolted the majority together. The screws were cut down using a hacksaw. This is a test fit. The middle 'shelf' is still missing, as I am not 100% sure how far up to put it.

    [​IMG]
    Frame bolted together.

    [​IMG]
    Test fitting with an old motherboard and hard drive.

    [​IMG]
    And from a different angle (that A7N8X Deluxe is dead, BTW).

    [​IMG]
    Marking holes for the motherboard.

    Next, the radiator. I had a vision of a beatifully polished radiator...but that changed somewhere down the line...

    [​IMG]
    Paint stripping with...paint stripper! Here is the end tank. Bling bling brass.

    [​IMG]
    Galvanised steel sides. They sure weren't in the radiators specification!

    [​IMG]
    Bling bling polished end. Looks nice.


    Since then, I decided to scrap the polishing and get it chromed. After seeing some chroming prices, I decided to scrap that and paint it silver. After seeing the awful job I did, I decided to scrap that and paint it properly!

    [​IMG]
    Terrible paint mostly stripped.

    [​IMG]
    And again...

    [​IMG]
    Bored yet?

    [​IMG]
    A coat of white primer was added (looks the same as the pic a bit further down) and then sanded.

    [​IMG]
    Close up of the sanding. I will need to direct more primer ot the edges in future.

    [​IMG]
    Layer 2 (could also be layer 1...they look the same!) added.

    [​IMG]
    Layer 2 sanded....feels silky smooth. I used 1200 grit wet n'dry paper.

    [​IMG]
    Now for some "BMW Arctic Silver" metallic silver car paint. The pics jsut don't do this baby justice.

    [​IMG]
    Another shot.

    Now, I need to sand down this layer, respray, clearcoat, and polish up. This will come in the next few days (paint still drying).

    For now...here's a pic of that blue bit on the Hydor L30. Blue doesn't fit in with a black/silver/white theme now, does it?

    [​IMG]
    Primered in white. I will clearcoat over the top of this, making a nice shiny white (hopefully iPod style) pump piece.

    [​IMG]
    The paints I use.


    Again, sorry for lack of updates. I'll get you some real stuff in a few days/weeks.
     
  20. Litecore

    Litecore What's a Dremel?

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    the radiator looks good.. and will most likley be even better when the
    clear coat and polish makes it way onto it, so i'll be waiting for that ! :]

    MOD ON ! :dremel:

    EDIT: yaay! 70th post, i just became a multimodder :D
     

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