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Case Mod - In Progress Project: Firefighter Tribute, 10 May 2014

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by RebootTech, 28 Mar 2014.

  1. RebootTech

    RebootTech Budget? What Budget?

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    Firefighter Tribute - A charity build for the 100 Club of Arizona, benefiting the families of police officers and firefighters killed or injured in the line of duty.

    I have a lot of connections to the fire department. My father-in-law is a firefighter and medic, my wife nanny's for a couple who are both firefighters, I have quite a few friends on various departments and I was even a cadet when I was in high school. The idea for this build started last summer when one of our area fire departments lost an entire hot shot crew after the wildfire they were fighting changed direction and overran them, killing 19 of the 20 members. This impacted many people I know deeply and I yearned to do a tribute to all firefighters.

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    I've had ideas for this build floating in my head since then but they didn't jive. When a family member dropped off a 10+ year old PC for me to recycle it sat in a corner of our kitchen for 6 months until my wife finally made me move it. When I pulled it out last week, ideas started flowing quickly and I realized it was time.

    The case itself will have diamond plate on the front, be painted fire engine red, and have a fire department shield cut into the side, hopefully with an etched window. Lighting and bling will be added inside. The only appropriate way to cool a firefighter pc is with water, so that will happen too.

    Other than that, you will have to watch! I have some great ideas for it. Feel free to post up comments and any ideas that may help to honor these everyday heroes.


    BEGINNING:
    Here's the case. It has a removable clear plastic facade that will greatly facilitate replacement with diamond plate. It's a full-ATX case, though no idea on the brand. It's NOT designed for water cooling, so some modifications need to be made:

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    Began disassembly. The hard drive bracket had room for about 6 3.5" devices...however, I need room for a radiator, so four of those got cut out:

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    Since there's not much room for a radiator, I am going with a thick 140mm radiator. The case was designed for 4 80mm fans, so had to get out the dremel:

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    Then it was time to disassemble the rest of the case to prep for paint and something else I have in mind. This involved stripping the powdercoating off the side panels and top, which actually was way easier than I thought.

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    NEXT STEPS:
    Need to paint the outside, "prepare" the inside, start cutting diamond plate and eventually order the reservoir, radiator, and other parts. This is a personal build, not customer sponsored, so money is tight and I'm doing everything that doesn't cost much first ;-)
     
    Last edited: 11 May 2014
  2. RebootTech

    RebootTech Budget? What Budget?

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    I want the front panel to be reminiscent of the pump control panel on a fire truck:

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    To do this, I needed some sort of analog gauges. You wouldn't believe how hard these are to find and as far as I can tell, there are none currently in production. I actually thought about picking up this case and just scavenging the gauges off it, but they were much bigger than I expected: http://www.apevia.com/productsInfo.asp?KEY=X-Cruiser3-RD

    I kept searching and finally found a CoolerMaster Musketeer on eBay for $40. Didn't look QUITE right, but nothing some modding couldn't fix:

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    I took a chance hoping I could take apart the gauges without destroying them. BINGO! They come apart nicely!

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    It just kept getting better...the gauge panels themselves just slid out:

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    After scanning all three backgrounds and many hours in photoshop, I printed them on photo paper, cut them to size and installed the new panels:

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    These will eventually be installed in the diamond plate front, and I still have to remove the blue LEDs and solder in white ones...those won't be here till this weekend. But I think it's a good start!
     
  3. RebootTech

    RebootTech Budget? What Budget?

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    Small update: New LEDs came in, so I got out my soldering iron and replaced the blue LEDs with the white ones. Here's a pic...I think it goes much better with the theme once it is surrounded by diamond plate:

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  4. RebootTech

    RebootTech Budget? What Budget?

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    Started work on the side panel cut out. First, I drew some guidelines and then drew the firefighter shield onto the side panel:

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    I intentionally made the corners a .25" radius so a 1/2" drill bit could be used. Drilled out the corners and then used those as my start cuts:

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    Made the first cuts:

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    And finally had the side window cut out, using mmpctech's trick with the box:

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  5. DeadP1xels

    DeadP1xels Social distancing since 92

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    That's some fantastically tidy work on that panel mate!

    Such a sad story, looks like this is going to be a fitting tribute piece.

    Looking forward to seeing more :)
     
  6. The_Crapman

    The_Crapman Don't phone it's just for fun. Lover of bit-tech

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    What on earth is that pink stuff you use to take the powder coating off?
     
  7. mnpctech

    mnpctech bit-tech sponsor

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    Great start and theme!! :dremel::thumb:
     
  8. bulldogjeff

    bulldogjeff The modding head is firmly back on.

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    I like the look of this one, will be keeping an eye on it.. Nice start mate.
     
  9. RebootTech

    RebootTech Budget? What Budget?

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    Thanks for the comments guys!
    The "pink stuff" is a citrus stripping gel I had heard good things about. No noxious fumes and works great. Within 20 minutes the powder coating was bubbling and at 30 minutes it just scraped off. I was quite pleased. Will take a pic of the bottle when I get home.

    Sent from Tapatalk
     
  10. AlienwareAndy

    AlienwareAndy What's a Dremel?

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    I like the musketeer mod. I had one of those many years ago :)
     
  11. The_Crapman

    The_Crapman Don't phone it's just for fun. Lover of bit-tech

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    If it's that good there's no way I'll be able to get it in the uk. Ha ha. Looking good so far :thumb:
     
  12. AlienwareAndy

    AlienwareAndy What's a Dremel?

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    Yeah the yanks do love their carcinogens, bless em :D

    The case being used here is a pretty cheap flimsy affair so the paint or powder on it would have been thin any way really.

    Mind you not that it's a bad thing. I always like sow's ears being turned into purses :)
     
  13. RebootTech

    RebootTech Budget? What Budget?

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    That's a good point... it is a cheap, 10 year old, no name case. Maybe that helped :)

    Sent from Tapatalk
     
  14. RebootTech

    RebootTech Budget? What Budget?

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    This is the stuff:

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    Sent from Tapatalk
     
  15. douglas alves

    douglas alves Minimodder

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    Awesome job! Congrats!
     
  16. RebootTech

    RebootTech Budget? What Budget?

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    Thanks!

    Internal pieces should be done soon... Still at the shop. But I finished sanding all the outside panels to get them ready for paint. Lots and lots and LOTS of sanding. Hoping to pick up the paint and primer soon so I can shoot it on.

    I actually encountered my first issue today. I didn't like the gauge panel in black and was going to put diamond plate over it. But then I decided to try sanding it and I really liked the plain metal look, so stripped the paint to find that the metal rusts literally within seconds. I would wash it off after sanding, dry it, and right away rust would start to appear. I then tried vinegar water, which removed the rust well and gave me more time, so I tried to spray some clear coat on before the rust appeared.

    At first, I thought I succeeded:
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    But I closer glance I realized I didn't spray in time:

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    Not sure it will come through, but there is slight rust staining under the clear coat. Ugh. I'm not happy so gong to try and spot sand and respray.

    Anyone have tips for the fast rust issue?
     
  17. RebootTech

    RebootTech Budget? What Budget?

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    Finished the gauge panel. As a reminder, here's what it looked like stock:

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    I resanded and then just used my air compressor to blow it off. Wiped it with a tack cloth and sprayed the clear. No rust stains, and really happy with the look!

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    Unfortunately, internal parts weren't ready for pickup today. Maybe Monday. Still need to prime and paint the outside panels anyway. Then I need to find money for the actual computer parts lol. Have my reservoir (in the picture above). Thinking of doing acrylic tubing...We will see.




    Sent from Tapatalk
     
  18. RebootTech

    RebootTech Budget? What Budget?

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    I've been quiet on the forum lately but not because of lack of progress. Things were on hold for a short while for a very special reason. I have been working with a well known charity called the 100 Club that benefits the families of fallen police officers and firefighters and am excited to announce a partnership with them to raise money for this very important cause. Through them, I have been making connections for donations of services and parts, and the final product will be donated to the charity. I am thrilled to be a part of this first rate organization.

    That being said, I have a few pictures to share of progress. i chose to Chrome the inside and then got it put back together. Added the gauges and water tank to see how they look.

    All the outside panels are now at a custom car shop, Cave Creek Customs, getting painted in the same paint used to paint the Phoenix Fire trucks, and being painted by a retired Phoenix firefighter. It's getting full base/clear treatment. Should look real nice.

    Enjoy. .. and you can expect more in the coming weeks.

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  19. morgansk

    morgansk I've got wood

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    If you want something to strip paint try Peel Away. It isn't cheap, but works a treat on multiple layers of paint. It's typically used to remove paint from cornice, but works just as we'll on painted metal, I have used it. Don't use it on alloy though, it darkens the metal.
     
  20. RebootTech

    RebootTech Budget? What Budget?

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    Finally have some progress to report! Had to wait on a vendor, but special thanks goes to Cam Auto Creations in Phoenix who donated time and materials for an AMAZING show car appearance!

    Still working with vendors to finalize getting the parts I need and then will get to building it.

    Here are the pics:

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