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Scratch Build – In Progress Project: Half-Life 2 Supply Crate Rackmount

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by Croc, 11 Sep 2008.

  1. Croc

    Croc What's a Dremel?

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    Quick Description: For this case mod, I plan to build a portable 8u rackmount case (like an a/v flight case) modeled after a half-life 2 supply crate to hold 3 x 2u cases (homemade), a gigabit switch and (oneday) a 1u pfsense based router (for now the smallest it can be is 2u). If successful, I plan to build another crate to hold my 4u storage server and my 4u primary pc.

    [​IMG]

    About Me: I am a college student at the University of South Florida (Go Bulls!) in my second year of their Master's of Architecture Program. In addition to Architecture, I am a php/mysql web programmer, and the server admin for a LAN Party at my University - Overkill LAN - Promo Vid.

    Hardware: To be rackmounted :naughty:

    Blackmesa (Main PC)
    -Intel Q6700, 8gb, Nvidia 8800gts 512, 120gb Raid 0, 40gb Raid 1
    -Windows Vista Ultimate 64bit

    Whiteforest (Fileserver/Sagetv Server)
    -AMD Athlon X2 BE-2400, 2gb, Raid 5 4x400gb = 1.1tb;
    -Dreamspark Windows Server 2008 (Thanks MS!)

    Citadel (Router)
    -Via C7 1.2 Ghz Fanless, 1Gb
    -Pfsense (Based on FreeBSD)

    City17 (Webserver/Public LAN Party Fileshare [for patches])
    -PIII 733mhz, 512mb, 200gb
    -Freebsd

    Ravenholm & Novaprospkt (Render nodes/Gameservers)
    -Q6600, 2gb, 80gb
    -Server 08 HPC Edition (Trial).

    Other Computers you may see

    Borealis (Virtual PC)

    3.5 yearold Laptop (Studio email checking)
    -1.3ghz celeron m, dying keyboard, racingstrip screen.

    really old 700mhz Celeron pc. (old citadel).

    This project really started about three years ago when I started getting involved in hosting LAN Parties at USF. By the 4th one, it was getting really annoying to move all the necessary pc's and equipment. So finally after helping at more than 10 now, it time to finally build something to put all of these pc's in. (not to confuse anyone, I hosted 6 lans on my own before joining with a group of friends to start overkill lan).

    My favorite games are Half-Life 2 + Portal so I want to do a themed mod. Since everyone and their brother have built companion cubes, I wanted to do something original and to my knowledge, no one has done a supply crate mod yet.

    So lets get this thing started.

    This is my first project log so feel free to ask questions if I miss something. The photos are hosted via flickr so you can click on them and them in their original sizes.
     
    Last edited: 9 Nov 2008
  2. Croc

    Croc What's a Dremel?

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    Source Image
    For the scale of this thing I took a look at this screen shot. this was when I realized these crates were a lot bigger than I thought they were. Based on looking at the proportion of everything, 24" x 24" x 18" is what I cam up with.
    [​IMG]
    I scaled this image in photoshop and tried to measure the different pieces to generate my plans.
    [​IMG]

    Sketch book
    I sketched a bunch of ideas about different configuration but most of the have one thing in common. the front and back side of the crate are removable to access the equipment while it's being used but when it needs to be transported I can seal it up.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: 12 Sep 2008
  3. Croc

    Croc What's a Dremel?

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    Ok I calculated everything out in autocad for the most part

    Crate Top View
    [​IMG]

    Crate Side View
    [​IMG]

    2u rackmount case top view
    [​IMG]

    8u Total space in each crate
    [​IMG]

    Crate Interior Top view
    [​IMG]

    Then all of that was printed out at 1:1 scale to guide the cutting
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: 11 Sep 2008
  4. Croc

    Croc What's a Dremel?

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    Yesterday I got some of the wood is cut (and mis cut)

    [​IMG]


    notice the pencil correction of 20.5 to 22.5 on my cut sheet... gonna have to re cut that one...
    [​IMG]

    and I started gluing and nailing the first side panel together
    [​IMG]

    Here is the start of the pieces for the first 2/3 2u cases
    [​IMG]

    I also started working on cutting the front piece of the 2u case
    [​IMG]

    and the button fits! a little off center. A dremmel can fix this....
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I'm doing this mod on the slow days in the studio (architecture studio) so updates may come and go, but i would like to have the first crate done by my next lan on 9/26
     
    Last edited: 12 Sep 2008
  5. tominated

    tominated What's a Dremel?

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    great idea considering how much hardware you're lugging around. The half life series are my favourite games too.
     
  6. THe.Exorcism

    THe.Exorcism What's a Dremel?

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    :grr: Autocad

    I was taught Pro-Desktop for 3 years, now I don't understand any of the other programs out there... I can't even grasp Sketchup :waah:

    Excellent build so far by the way. Keep it up.
     
  7. Burnout21

    Burnout21 Is the daddy!

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    Pro Desktop = fail

    Try pro engineer, its the companies professional CAD software and shouldn't take long to master it, only another 3 years!

    Love the idea of HL:2 mod!
     
  8. bigsharn

    bigsharn Officially demotivated

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    Likewise, this looks interesting:)


    and I've only ever learned Sketchup (and I still suck at it:p)
     
  9. Croc

    Croc What's a Dremel?

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    I've tried sketchup. It's interesting in it's simplicity, but for me it's too simple.
    [​IMG]

    After learning 3d studio max this summer, I'm never going back. With 3ds max, I can file link an Autocad Architecture drawing to my 3dsmax scene so I can make changes to the cad plans late in the process and just click resync and all of the changes import without screwing up anything else in the scene.
     
  10. tominated

    tominated What's a Dremel?

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    i have been using pro desktop for school and once you grasp the concept that you don't need to bother with workplanes in sketchup, it's really quite easy
     
  11. Sinner15

    Sinner15 What's a Dremel?

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    Sounds an awesome idea mate. Can't wait to see how this one comes along.

    It's going to be heavy mind with all that kit in it!!!!
     
  12. timmmay

    timmmay What's a Dremel?

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    Companion Cube = cool. HL2 Supply Crate = original *and* cool!
     
  13. Croc

    Croc What's a Dremel?

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    The weight is an issue. My quick calculation is the crate will weigh around 40lbs empty. It's going to be a bit heavy full. I might be building a cart next...

    I'll have an another update planned tonight.... I forgot to grab my sketch book this morning. I try to remember it when I head back to the studio tonight. My architecture computer lab has a nice 13x19 Epson scanner.
     
    Last edited: 12 Sep 2008
  14. the_fox

    the_fox What's a Dremel?

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    I must say, I don't approve of a full wood rack case. I doubt it will support the weight of a 4U or even a 2U server without rails, even with rails it's risky imho. It all depends what those 2U things are you're planning to put into it, but I have a 3U UPS wich I wouldn't even hang in a normal rack without rails, for safety it's at the bottom right now (it weighs about 180lbs, not sure if I converted it correctly from metric, it's 80kg).
    Another issue is heat, I have a 22Urack standing next to me, and even with 1U between most of the servers, it's still hot. Rack cases are primarily designed to serve in a rack, in a serverroom (with constant AC).
     
  15. 500mph

    500mph The Right man in the Wrong place

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    Where's my crowbar.......


    I think even though real wood would be nice, that you should go with some 1/4" plywood and get veneer, while making a skeleton out of aluminum or steel angle. It would be a bit sturdier, while possibly lighter.
     
  16. Croc

    Croc What's a Dremel?

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    Just be patient. The 2u cases are also being crafted out of wood. They will be pretty much barebones and much lighter than a commercial metal case. I wouldn't dare try to put a 3u UPS in one of these things. I plan on using some sort of rail system, it's just not planned out yet. The systems are already snuggled all together as it is, In their new homes they will have more fans and will have a nice front to back air flow. These computers stay pretty cool as it is right now so I'm not expecting any problems. The servers will be mounted to an actual metal rack rails. Theycame today actually.
     
    Last edited: 12 Sep 2008
  17. Croc

    Croc What's a Dremel?

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    I had some free time after class so I cut out the openings in the front piece of the first 2, 2u cases (they are taped together)
    [​IMG]
    The cuts were quite perfect so I took the dremel out and sanded them a bit.

    [​IMG]
    Ah better now(you can see the outline of the box on the paper now)

    I also drilled the holes in the back panel so i can cut them out on scroll saw tomorrow.
    [​IMG]

    I really need to take some pictures of my tools....
     
  18. OtakuHawk

    OtakuHawk What's a Dremel?

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    I hope you put some casters on the bottom of that thing. moving it's gonna be a pain.

    excellent idea.
     
  19. nikeunltd

    nikeunltd Epic destruction around machinary

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    wow i really like this so far! i like how you are doing this in your spare time at school. its awesome. i am a college student also and i dont know if would have the time to maintain a project like this. but good looks though! keep it up. im subscribing. btw what program are using to pull the crate model?
     
  20. IvanIvanovich

    IvanIvanovich будет глотать вашу душу.

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    i don't really know everything you have in mind, since you are still early in the build. it's a good idea visually... but i also have my doubts about wood holding all of that kit. if it were me i would build in metals, and just epoxy on a 1mm thick veneer of wood on the extertior or something along those lines. also i would make a full panels for the front and back, that slide upward for access instead of having anything at all of the hardware inside visible. perhaps put them on rails and use stepper motors or similar to slide it upwards. also i don't see any ventilation in your renders. if it were me i would do a forced air intake outtake system with some 3 - 4 cm tall by however wide your enclosure is ports intake front bottom, outtake back top. mount some really high powered fans at an angle / in the bottom back across to serve as both intake and out take... but heat is going to be a huge issue with a fully enclosed wooden box. i had a cluster unit of 20 intel p3 800mhz units that i was toying around with awhile ago set up in a 40u? rack (all i can remember right now is that it was taller than i am) and it was hot as blazes around it. i also second the idea of building the unit on some sort of casters for movement, perhaps build in some of recessed handles on the sides too for easier handling since you plan to move it about on a regular basis.
     

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