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Case Mod - In Progress Project: Frostbyte

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by karsithe, 1 Nov 2008.

  1. karsithe

    karsithe _

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    I started my first mod a few months ago, but due to the slow progress I was making I held off on posting about it until now. This past week I've got a lot done, so I'd like to share my work as I get everything finished. I'd really like to hear any feedback or criticism either for this project or that might help me with future case mods.

    I have a very limited budget in terms of tools and have been doing most of this work in my bedroom - it hasn't been pretty. No matter how sexy powertools in the bedroom may sound, sleeping in a bed covered in bits of acrylic is anything but.

    The idea was to start with a Lian Li PC-7 case and turn this:
    [​IMG]
    into this:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    a white case modded to take a water cooling system, with blue acrylic panelling.

    Since, as I said, this is my first complete mod (I've made alterations before but never had a big project like this to work from start to finish on) and I'm not really an experienced craftsperson I've had to learn a lot as I went on and make changes to my original plans. For the most part though, those sketches give a good impression of what I'm going for.

    The first step was to strip everything down:
    [​IMG]
    And drill out the pop rivets holding in the mobo tray:
    [​IMG]


    Next I got to cutting out the big window in the side panel with my not-quite-a-dremel:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    I went through a load of cutting disks before I discovered the big reinforced one, which lasted the rest of the way round.


    Cut:
    [​IMG]
    And filed:
    [​IMG]


    Time to start work on the acrylic pieces for the side panels ...eek:
    [​IMG]
    Not as scary as I had imagined:
    [​IMG]
    But it really needs sanded down to get rid of the white spots... this is going to take a while:
    [​IMG]

    And then I found Hindley's had UV reactive blue acrylic that I could afford. That would work much better than the washed out stuff I had bought before, time to start all over:
    [​IMG]
    Slightly more confident this time (and quicker, with 3mm sheet instead of 5mm)
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Time to sand it down a bit
    [​IMG]


    Alright, so there are several more pieces to do, but I felt like working on something else for a while (my attention span is more than a little bit lacking...). Time to sort out the front of the case.
    First, to take a hole saw to it to make a vent for the intake fan. Of course, I couldn't get a hole saw of exactly the right size, so this is going to need filed out almost 0.5cm later on. Great.
    [​IMG]
    There goes my Lian Li case badge:
    [​IMG]


    Whoever invented fibreglass: I hate you. I hate you with a passion.
    [​IMG]
    Time to start filling in the holes:
    [​IMG]
    I may have gone a little over the top...
    [​IMG]
    Meaning I just get to sand it all off again :?
    [​IMG]
    Finally I get that done (thank christ for electric sanders)
    [​IMG]
    Well... one side at least.
    [​IMG]
    Shame about some of these holes, guess I'll need to find some edging...
    [​IMG]


    I also wanted the space for the USB and audio ports to be a bit rounder, so again, this calls for covering everything in fibreglass. Argh.
    [​IMG]
    But it turned out ok:
    [​IMG]


    I want to fit the 120.2 rad in the roof of the case, which means I loose the top drive bay and have some cutting to do.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    It fits!
    [​IMG]
    Unfortunately though there was already a grill cut in the top of the case, which is in slightly the wrong place.
    [​IMG]
    Soooo... more fibreglass. Hate hate hate.
    [​IMG]


    Alright, time for some drilling then. I really, really suck at drilling straight.
    So the side panel:
    [​IMG]
    And the front. The bigger holes are for screws, the smaller ones for LEDs.
    [​IMG]
    I also had to drill the side of the front panel, which I couldn't clamp to anything...
    [​IMG]
    But somehow I still got the holes lining up with my acrylic.
    [​IMG]
    One of my drive bays is going to hold a few switches for the lighting
    [​IMG]
     
  2. karsithe

    karsithe _

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    So here's a look at how the project is coming along as a whole, hopefully to give you a better impression of how everything will look.

    I'm using acrylic (although not quite this colour) over the drive bays:
    [​IMG]
    With some pretty screws
    [​IMG]


    The acrylic is actually this colour, and UV reactant
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    And will be screwed onto the side panels and front
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    Here
    [​IMG]
    and here
    [​IMG]
    The front will also have a piece of acrylic, but I haven't cut it yet
    [​IMG]


    Since the radiator means I can't put a drive in the top bay, I'll be using it for the power and lighting switches
    [​IMG]


    So, more acrylic needs to be cut.
    [​IMG]
    Unfortunately my not-quite-a-dremel died so I had to get a new one
    [​IMG]
    The other big side piece
    [​IMG]
    The front piece and a piece which will sit in front of the harddrive caddy
    [​IMG]


    The acrylic for the window was much harder to cut than the blue stuff, and smells really bad. Sleeping here could be interesting tonight >.>
    [​IMG]
    Eventually I managed to snap it though.
    [​IMG]


    Which means it's time for some painting.
    [​IMG]
    The nice man in Halfords told me I didn't need acid etch primer (because they didn't have any) so I went on a quest around Dundee to get some, but eventually ordered it from the internet.
    [​IMG]
    Primed, sanded and primed some more.
    [​IMG]
    Painting in the living room. My flatmates love me.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    And finally, after a couple of weeks, it's time for a sand and a few coats of laquer.
    [​IMG]


    Then my goodies start arriving.
    A box? For ME? :D
    [​IMG]
    Hooray! I ended up having to order from half a dozen different companies to get what I wanted though, and after having difficulty with deliveries (as ever with my flat) still have one more box to get.
    [​IMG]
    22" is kind bigger than I had invisioned when I guess at the size with my hands...
    [​IMG]
    The first pieces of water cooling kit
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    So, stuff I still need to do:
    - wait for the laquer to dry properly
    - get the parcel with the rest of my cooling stuff
    - drill and sand a couple of the acrylic pieces
    - sort out all of the LEDs :shock:
    - build :D

    One problem is that everything on my desk is white... apart from the monitors. I'm not sure about taking apart and painting them though. Any suggestions for alternative that won't look terrible? Acrylic casing maybe?

    If you have any criticism or hints otherwise, please let me know!

    Thanks
    Hazel.
     
  3. *Alex*

    *Alex* New Member

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    looking nice matey cant wate to see some more!
     
  4. Nolimited

    Nolimited New Member

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    nice start and good work on the blue acrylic :thumb:
     
  5. karsithe

    karsithe _

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    Thanks guys.
    I'm learning so much from this, but at the same time it's frustrating because I'd like to redo some of the work did at the start now my skills are better. But I don't have it in my budget and I'd never get a project completed that way.
    I guess I'll just need to start a new project after this one.
     
    Last edited: 1 Nov 2008
  6. barry99705

    barry99705 sudo rm -Rf /

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    Looks pretty good. How do you pronounce your name??
     
  7. bigsharn

    bigsharn Officially demotivated

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    Looking nice so far:)

    And good to see that good modders are still starting mods regularly :p
     
  8. karsithe

    karsithe _

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    Thanks :)
    It's pronounced "Hay-zel".
    No, just kidding, I assume you mean my nick. To be honest I'm not all that bothered how people pronounce it: it's just the first pretty sounding word which didn't come up with any results in google and hence was free for me to use. I pronounce it car-scythe with the emphasis on the second syllable.

    Thank you very much :)
     
  9. [ZiiP] NaloaC

    [ZiiP] NaloaC Well-Known Member

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    Och, looking very nice thus far.
    Clean mod. Looking forward to seeing all the odds and ends in there.

    Don't we all wish we could go back and correct some of the things we've done with cases after getting them done? Hell I mounted my rad 1.5cm too far forward and removed to posibility of using the top drive bay and structurally weakened the top of the case! :wallbash:

    Live and learn, eh?! :)


    Good luck with the rest :rock:
     
  10. karsithe

    karsithe _

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    Thanks :)

    I guess it's the same with all projects, just with software I don't have to spend another £100 in order to repeat some of the work :/

    I've got the rad as far forward in the roof as it would go - otherwise there isn't any space for a PSU behind it. I kind of regret going for a midi-tower instead of a full tower but I don't really like something that big sitting on my desk. Plus that would be more to paint :p
     
  11. ry@n

    ry@n Well-Known Member

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    Very tidy work so far, those flames are very cute :D
     
  12. [ZiiP] NaloaC

    [ZiiP] NaloaC Well-Known Member

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    Same deal with mine (Gigabyte 3D Aurora 570, black, brushed alu) Mounted it as far forward as I could, but didnt't take into account the front end of the angled cover of the rad, so had to dremel a few scraps here and there from the optical drive cage to make it fit. :wallbash:
    Once I had it and the PSU mounted, I saw that I had at least another 2cm or more to spare, even with all the cabling and tubing in place. :sigh:


    Live and learn....now I just need to upgrade my rig so that I can get my 2nd loop in place.

    What system spec are you putting in it?
     
  13. Slatter

    Slatter Mesh Addict

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    You gonna love the Rampage. Good Luck with the project.
     
  14. Jipa

    Jipa Avoiding the "I guess.." since 2004

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    Good work so far.. But painting in the living room?!? Dang I'd never do that.. Also actual fiber class on the holes seems sorta weird, usually it's just filler that's being used for that
     
  15. barry99705

    barry99705 sudo rm -Rf /

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    Hahahahahahahahahahaha!!!

    Thanks
     
  16. karsithe

    karsithe _

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    Thanks everyone :D

    I didn't have much choice about painting in the living room... there's nowhere else I could paint and leave the parts. I had a huge window open and my flat mates didn't mind though.

    As for the fibre glass, I looked at pictures of other people's mods and figured they were using filler. However when I got to the hardware store none of the stuff they stocked sounded suitable, and I'd seen fibreglass being used on a car before and figured it would work.
    It did work, it just made a mess and was a lot to sand off afterwards.

    CPU: Intel Q9550
    Mobo: Asus Rampage Formula
    GPU: Asus ATI 4870x2
    RAM: 2*2GB OCZ Reaper 1066MHz DDR2
    HDD: 2*500GB Samsung Spinpoint F1s in RAID 1
    Audio: Creative X-Fi Extreme Gamer
     
    Last edited: 2 Nov 2008
  17. ModMinded

    ModMinded Are you throwing that away?

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    Looks Good!

    Congrats on putting up your log, and getting so much done. It's looking good!:thumb:
    Your notes to self on the various parts made me lol, and it turned out quite nice. Buy your flatmates a beer or two, for being so open-minded and not minding the smells. (or better yet, buy them all paint masks!)

    One small quibble is about the button head screws. You might try to recess them more into the acrylic, or try some different looking ones. (but that's a matter of personal taste.)

    Monitors are generally pretty easy to take apart (ie separating the plastic bezel from the guts) so you might consider painting them white to match.

    I too was curious about why the fiberglass instead of filler, but you gotta use what's at hand sometimes, and it appears it turned out alright. :)

    And of course, we love women with power tools, so welcome to bit-tech forums! ;)
     
  18. karsithe

    karsithe _

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    Thanks.
    I'll definitely be buying my flatmates a drink, although after seeing me working I think a couple of them will be interested in starting their own projects.

    I kind of liked the idea of having big, obvious screws, but I'm not set on the ones I have in the photos above yet.

    I'm not worried about painting the monitors in itself so much as voiding the warranty on another piece of hardware I couldn't afford to replace. I think painting is really the only option if I want them white though. I'll consider it once the case itself is complete, I guess.

    Does anyone in the Uk have a particular brand name or type of filler I should look out for next time? As you may have gathered, I wasn't a big fan of fibreglass :/
     
  19. crazyg1zm0

    crazyg1zm0 Well-Known Member

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    i will be flowing this mod as i have on of these cases and amgoing to be adding WC stuffs to it.

    i feel for you fiberglass is a bitch to work with. the thing with it is the work you do with is so rewarding to see the results as for filler i anot too sure just go hit B&Q and see what they have usually works pretty well for me usually.

    as for the dome nuts you are using i am not a big fn i prefer the look of M3 or M4 bolts they look much cleaner and nicer and i think will work better with the blue plexi that your using.

    *subscribed* good luck with the mod
     
  20. Djayness

    Djayness phwupupupup

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    Which tool did you use to cut out those flames? I have tried to do this with a mini drill but the piece snapped whilst i was dragging it across....I was considering using a bandsaw but after seeing your work, I wanna use what you used lol.
     
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