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Scratch Build – In Progress Project: Darkshines HTPC [Updated 22-Jun-2010][June 2010 MOTM Nominee]

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by Tris, 23 May 2010.

  1. Tris

    Tris New Member

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    Update 5 - Perspex sides [Part 2]

    So, putting aside the potential loss of digits through router table misuse, on with the updates!

    With the basic shape of the side pieces complete, I stopped for a bit to figure out the best way to space the pieces of acrylic. It may not be obvious from the initial design pictures I showed, but the intention was to have a small 2-3mm gap between each piece.
    I have a length of small aluminium tube which I was going to cut up into spacers, but this seemed a lot of effort for very little reward, so I spent some time looking for an alternative.

    After a bit of digging around I came across some screw snap cap thingies (I think that's the technical name for them :p), which had potential. A bit of work with a craft knife followed by opening out the holes a bit with a drill and I had some perfect spacers for the job.

    [​IMG]
    Turning screw caps into spacers

    I then built up one of the side pieces with my new spacers to see how it looked, and was pretty satisfied with the result.

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    One of the sides built up with the spacers

    I then removed all the spacers and returned half my acrylic pieces to the jig ready to do the last bits of shaping required for my design.

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    Acrylic side pieces back on the jig

    Now came another tricky part. I needed to cut a notch into the side of each piece of acrylic to support my front panel. It had to be as close to 2mm as possible to stop the panel from flapping around too much.
    This one involved much head scratching until I came up with a potential way of doing it.
    The method I decided upon (after trying a few approaches) was to use a bandsaw to make two cuts to the acrylic 2mm apart.

    [​IMG]
    Jig and side pieces on the bandsaw ready to cut

    As you can just see, I clamped a piece of wood to the right hand side of the bandsaw to give me a stopping point to ensure the cuts were an equal depth on every piece. I made the first cut like this.
    To get the right gap for the second cut, I put a scrap piece of 2mm aluminium against the guide to give me the right gap.

    [​IMG]
    Bandsaw with a piece of aluminium used as a spacer

    I then made the second cut, leaving me with what I thought would be a 2mm gap.

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    Side pieces with the 2 cuts made

    The eagle eyed among you may have spotted the problem at this stage, but unfortunately I didn't and continued happily thinking all was well. I grabbed a pair of bottle nosed pliers and snapped off the little nubs of acrylic leaving me with my gaps.

    [​IMG]
    Gap created, though in need of a bit of sanding

    It was at this point I realised that I had made a mistake. While using the piece of alumnium as a spacer did indeed put the cuts at exactly 2mm apart, I had failed to take into account the width of the blade, which means the gaps are nearer 3mm. :wallbash:
    Fortunately I was doing one set of side pieces at a time, so I was able to adjust the cut for the second set. This then allows me to mix the pieces up to keep the front panel tightly gripped when it is slid into the gaps.

    The last piece of shaping to be done was to cut a small piece out of the back of the side pieces for the back plate to sit in. I bolted the acrylic back onto the jig and set up a table saw to do the job

    [​IMG]
    Side pieces on a table saw ready to go

    With the blade set at the right height to cut a 2mm chunk out of the acrylic, a single pass was all it took to do the job.

    [​IMG]
    The notch cut out for the back plate

    At this point I got a bit impatient and rather than doing all the tidying up and sanding that I need to do, I decided to put it all together and see how it was looking. I have to say I am pretty pleased with how it's coming along, though there is still a lot of work to do.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    A few images showing the current state of the case
     
    Last edited: 28 May 2010
  2. jrs77

    jrs77 Well-Known Member

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    Good job. It's allways a good idea to assemble the whole thing inbetween, allthough th parts aren't finished.
    Makes spotting possible issues or misconceptions so much easier.

    I like the result so far.

    A question tho. Is the gap underneath the mainboard-tray enough to squeeze a slimdrive (BD/DVD) in there? Or where are you going to put it in?
     
  3. DeadP1xels

    DeadP1xels Music Enthusiast

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    Oh that just looks amazing! very clean !

    If you plan to light it up maybe just mount a few small leds with that acrylic it would look very nice not like overbearing cathodes!
     
  4. The boy 4rm oz

    The boy 4rm oz Project: Elegant-Li

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    Very very nice, excellent work so far.
     
  5. flaming_goat

    flaming_goat New Member

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    looking great

    like the clean style
     
  6. talladega

    talladega I'm Squidward

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    i dont get why everyone is so butthurt about the video. i'm always really careful with powertools but im not afraid to get really close to them like how you did there. maybe im insane tho?

    anyways it is looking like this is gonna be a really awesome case. cant wait to see more! :thumb:
     
  7. shadow19935

    shadow19935 Whats overclocking? :D

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    Looking very good :)
     
  8. nlancaster

    nlancaster New Member

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    I am not "butthurt" about the video. As far as I am concerned you can use a power tool on yourself any way you like.

    To err is human, to screw up beyond all belief takes power tools.

    Using Power tools like in the video is a very good way to lose body parts.

    That is all we were saying.

    My dad who has been a wood worker for longer then I have been alive cut the very tip of one finger off with a circular saw, and we both laughed at him for doing it. He knew better and screwed up.

    Just trying to get Tris started off on the right foot.
     
  9. Tris

    Tris New Member

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    Thanks for the kind words guys, I am pretty happy with it so far. :D
    Unfortunately work is slowing down on it now as my time off work is over, and there is a beer festival running here this week. That has made the last couple of days a write-off in terms of getting things done! :D

    I had a quick check, and yes a slimline drive fits underneath the tray (perfectly actually), but I am not planning on adding one. I have all of my media on a NAS drive and to be honest, in the year I have been running a HTPC I have used the DVD drive about twice.

    The lighting is still a bit of an open question that I would welcome opinions on. I do intend to light it up, and have a couple of small UV cathodes for the job. However I am not sure of the best way to fit them - ideally I want the case to glow gently through the acrylic, and I am worried that the light from the cathodes won't be distributed evenly.
    To use the cathodes I would cut a section out of some of the side pieces at the bottom for them to fit in, and then potentially use some UV paint on the underside of the acrylic to make them pick up the light.

    As I said, any opinions on this would be gratefully received.
     
  10. Tris

    Tris New Member

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    Oh, and with regards to the power tool usage discussion, at the end of the day everyone uses their tools however they wish, and quite often not in the correct way.

    It is however a good idea to draw attention to the correct way to do things when discussing them on an open forum like this, promoting doing things dangerously is irresponsible when you consider a lot of people use the forum for inspiration and guidance.

    So yeah, I have no problem with people pointing out the mistakes made. :)
     
  11. jrs77

    jrs77 Well-Known Member

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    Ah OK. I just asked because the optical drive was listed in your partlist in the first post.

    I'm using a USB-drive nowadays, as I don't really need an optical drive in all my rigs, when I can use a single one for all of them.
     
  12. Tris

    Tris New Member

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    Ah, I see - good catch. I do indeed have a slimline dvd drive that I bought for the HTPC, but decided not to use it. I'll remove it from the parts list :D
     
  13. SuicideNeil

    SuicideNeil New Member

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    I've seen people shaping CF on a table router with their fingers much closer to the bit than that- you just have to go slow and keep a firm grip of the work piece. Table saws are a b*tch as they can & will kick back against knots in the wood or hidden nails- keep your hands either side of the blade, not inline with it :worried:

    Looks great, seen a few consumer products ( amps mainly, and a few seperates ) with a similar styling, perfect for a HTPC system. :thumb:
     
  14. SinnerG

    SinnerG New Member

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    You shouldn't be using those paper washers if those are grounding points.
     
  15. Tris

    Tris New Member

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    Update 6 - Lid & cathode mount plate

    Greetings,

    So this project stalled for a few weeks as life interfered, I've had very little time recently to work on the case.
    However I now have some free time again and can get back to it.

    I am pushing ahead at the moment with getting all the major parts made, and with that in mind have spent today creating the lid (nice and simple) and a mounting plate for the cathodes which will be used to light things up.

    Before getting started with making new parts, I did a bit of tidying on my perspex side pieces. They shifted a bit while being made so didn't quite line up, so I grabbed some sandpaper and levelled them out a little bit. It wasn't entirely necessary as the gap between them means it's pretty hard to notice whether they are exactly level or not, but I still felt the need to do it.

    [​IMG]
    Perspex side panels levelled off while bolted together

    I then finished off the piece of aluminium which is going to act as my case lid. It was already rough cut from when I made the base plate, but I needed to tidy it up and drill the holes. Nice and simple and a good job for getting back into the swing of things.

    [​IMG]
    Completed case lid

    I then had to do some unplanned creative problem solving. I had not really fully considered how to fit the cathodes into the case. After a bit of thought I came up with a potential idea, and did some high-tech prototyping.

    [​IMG]
    My cardboard prototype

    This fit on the case quite well, with the idea being to mount the cathodes on the underside of the plate. It also gives the added advantage of locking everything together at the top, rather than having to rely on the lid.
    Having settled on the design, I drew it out on a piece of aluminium. It was a bit of a scratched up piece, but given this isn't a very visible part I decided it didn't matter much.

    [​IMG]
    Cathode mounting plate drawn out ready to cut

    I cut out the plate using a jigsaw, then rough filed it so I could see how it fit on the rest of the case.

    [​IMG]
    Partway through cutting out the plate

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    Plate cut and rough filed

    After drilling the corner holes and putting it on the rest of the case, I decided that the plate needed to be a bit smaller so it becomes less visible when the lid is on, so I cut it down by about 5mm all round. This means it no longer comes right to the edges, and I think it looks better. I finished off by filing it down and removing the protective plastic before putting it in place.

    [​IMG]
    Cathode mount plate finished and in place

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    With the lid on, the mount plate is not visible

    Again, I am really pleased with how this is coming together. Tomorrow I'll make the front plate, which is the last piece remaining. After that I can get on with the various finishing touches required, and will hopefully have this finished by the end of the week.
     
  16. AnG3L

    AnG3L Ultimate Modder

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    Nice progress mate, cant wait to see this finished! :)
     
  17. Burnout21

    Burnout21 Is the daddy!

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    i like this one a lot! :thumb:
     
  18. The boy 4rm oz

    The boy 4rm oz Project: Elegant-Li

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    +1, it's looking seriously awesome mate.
     
  19. llamafur

    llamafur WaterCooled fool

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    What you said earlier about your build and angles was rubbish, You're doing just fine.
     
  20. Tris

    Tris New Member

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    Cheers guys, I have really been enjoying this project, which is the important thing!
    I am actually quite surprised at how smoothly it has gone, I had prepared myself to deal with all sorts of calamities and logic failures which fortunately have not materialised.
     

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