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Project IndustriaTek RIP: 01 Oct 06 Project closed.

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by Th3Maverick, 23 Aug 2006.

  1. Th3Maverick

    Th3Maverick New Member

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    Well, this is my first mod. I was hesitant to post it here since there are some absolutely amazing case mods, and all I'm doing is hacking up an old Powmax budget case to make it a little prettier and more efficient. After receiving a good bit of positive feedback from friends online and off, I decided to go ahead and give it a go. One thing those other, amazing ground-up mods and my little fixer-upper have in common is a huge level of anal-retentiveness. I'm a perfectionist, and hopefully that will actually come in handy for once with this project.

    Please, feel free to provide me with feedback and suggestions. As I said, this is my first mod and I'd love all the help I can get.

    First, I'll introduce myself and my PC. I'm Will, 24, and a Software Analyst for the USAF. I learned quickly after enlisting that mixing play and work is a bad idea. I'm retraining into something more physical (and fun) next enlistment. I'm going to college online, and I've been happily married 4 years. My marriage and job severely limit the amount of time and money I can invest into this (or any other) project.

    This is my PC. It isn't all that much to look at...I'm on a budget.
    POWMAX case
    450W POWMAX Power Supply
    ECS K8T800-A Socket 754 Motherboard
    AMD Athlon 64 3200+ Newcastle Core 1.6Ghz Processor (OC'd to 1.8Ghz)
    2GB Rosewill DDR400 SDRAM
    ASuS N6600 AGP 8x nVidia 6600GT VGA Card
    NEC 16x DVD-R DL
    2x Maxtor MAXLINE III 7L250R0 250GB IDE Hard Drives
    15" Westinghouse LCD

    We'll start off with some stock pics of the case in it's original form. Unfortunately, I wasn't expecting to do a worklog of this until after I got started on it. Actually, please expect some inconsistency with the pics throughout this project...I only get the camera when my wife's not using it, and I kept forgetting to take pics early on. My apologies.
    Front view:
    [​IMG]
    Side open view:
    [​IMG]
    Rear view:
    [​IMG]

    As you can see, it has a clear panel on the side, which I'm not a huge fan of in the first place. I'm more of a clean, sleeper style guy. There's also very little room for additional airflow in the case.

    The lack of airflow was causing every single component I could monitor to yell at me that it was overheating. To solve this problem, I went REALLY ghetto at first. I ordered 4 Thermaltake 8cm fans, rated at 27CFM and 21DbA. They're quiet, and flow decently. Here come the pics for my original idea.

    I originally wanted to use the fan mounts that are obvious on the front of the frame, but I couldn't mount behind them due to the HDD rack, and I couldn't mount in front of them because they wouldn't fit behind the ugly Bull/Fox/Whatever head in the front. So I mounted them on top of the mounts and against the frame itself using bolts/nuts into the 3 1/2" drive bay section. I also filled in the rear with exhaust fans and the side with another intake fan. I mounted yet another intake fan in the PCI slots to blow across the Zalman cooler for the video card with bolts/nuts, too. Like I said...Ghetto. With a capital "G."
    Side, Open.
    [​IMG]
    Front, Closed.
    [​IMG]
    Side, Closed.
    [​IMG]
    Rear, Closed.
    [​IMG]

    Being the anal-retentive perfectionist I am, obviously this would not do for long. Plus, I got the build-fever...you know what I'm talking about. So I set to work sketching my project and breaking the whole case down. I'm not going to detail that process here, just get to the good stuff.
     
    Last edited: 2 Oct 2006
  2. Th3Maverick

    Th3Maverick New Member

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    Here are some pics of my temporary computer case.
    [​IMG]
    If you look closely, you can see my new power switch laying on top of the CD drive. That was the first thing I tested, because the switches are what will bring the new case together. It works, but not perfectly. My mobo expects a momentary switch (push down, pops up), and the only switches that Radio Shack has are on/off. They've got momentary buttons, but that would ruin the whole look I'm going for. So I'll just have to deal with flipping the switch twice to turn it on.

    Here you can see how i'm cooling the HDDs...Yes, I painted the orange fans flat black. There's one that I haven't done yet, for reference.
    [​IMG]

    If you look in the back you can see my IceCone CPU cooler. This thing is huge and works really freakin' well. 30 bucks well spent. Yes, that's the PSU on its right. Yes, it's flat black too. Yes, so are all the wires. :D
    [​IMG]

    Don't worry...I'm getting an A.C. Ryan PSU kit next paycheck. It won't stay ghetto for long. Also getting A.C. Ryan round IDE cables while I'm at it.
     
    Last edited: 23 Aug 2006
  3. Th3Maverick

    Th3Maverick New Member

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    As I said previously, I'm into that whole sleeper/industrial look. My inspiration for this project is a power box I have to deal with occasionally on our jet. It's all flat black and stealth-like, with very functional-looking bolts. Exactly what I'm looking for.

    Since I had to take the frame out anyway to do some dremel work for better airflow, I decided to go ahead and stealth it out, too.

    This is the frame. Unfortunately, I didn't have the camera to take pics before I started after it with the dremel, but I've put up some pics with the parts that I dremel'd out for reference.

    The front with the peice I cut out:
    [​IMG]

    The back with the peice I cut out
    [​IMG]

    Here is the front after priming. I had to cut off the tabs that you see on the sides in this picture because they interfered with the 120mm fan that's going there. Interestingly enough, after doing that the 120mm fan fits perfectly in the hole, like it was meant to go there.
    [​IMG]

    Here is the back after priming. The hole looks awesome when the fans are mounted in there.
    [​IMG]

    And finally, here is the side after priming.
    [​IMG]

    Here is the side of the fram after painting. This is only the first coat, because it was waaaaay too hot to paint it yesterday. I'm going to have to sand it back down and put a second coat on it today. It's pretty easy to see where the paint went on inconsistently and/or didn't stick at all. It's really quite aggravating. You can, however, get a feel for the level of detail I'm putting into this thing here. I painted the insides, outsides, and undersides of EVERYTHING on the frame.
    [​IMG]

    Here is the plate that holds the motherboard (not really a tray). Again, I'm anal-retentive.
    [​IMG]
     
  4. Th3Maverick

    Th3Maverick New Member

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    Now to move on to the case itself, the real bread and butter. Please keep in mind that this is the part that I didn't have all the tools I needed to complete...and I still need a 3 Amp drill. I can't find mine, so I'm probably going to borrow one today.

    First, this is the front panel. The big hole is for my 120mm intake fan. I cut out the Bull/Fox/whatever head to put this hole there, and I think it looks 100 times better. You can see where I puttied over the 3 1/2" bays; my intention is for them to be flush with the case, so it will be like there were never any bays there to begin with. Unfortunately, working with such a cheap case has some drawbacks. The bay covers aren't flush at all, so this is the 3rd attempt at puttying over them. Hopefully it will come out right this time; I think I have it down to an art. I also had to putty over the Bull/Fox/Whatever's ears/horns.
    [​IMG]

    Here is the handle. There was the reset switch, power switch, and HDD/power lights in there. Again, my goal is to make it look like it never existed.
    [​IMG]

    And here we have the top plastic peice, which that handle connects to. There were some louvers there in the middle where there's a really big hole now. I saw them there and thought "boy, this would be a great place for a top exaust fan!" And promptly proceeded to cut them off. I'm going to file what's left of them down tonight.
    [​IMG]

    This part is the top metal peice that goes underneath the plastic part above. It also adds structural integrity to the frame, so i tried not to cut it up too bad. Unfortunately I didn't get any really cool pics of myself dremeling up the metal parts, sparks flying and all. Though my wife likes the fact that I'm doing something and it's keeping me out of trouble, she's really not that interested in it. And I'm not about to take a picture of myself while dremeling through aluminum. Sorry, I forgot to crop it. Heh.
    [​IMG]

    This is how the top will look once it's all put together. Hopefully it looks a little better once the fan's put in and all bolted down.
    ...Oh. Looks like I forgot to upload it. Trust me, it looks cool. I'll post it when I get home.

    And now for the part that served as my inspiration. I completed this part first because if it sucked, I wasn't going to continue with the project. When I got done, it was exactly what I was hoping it would be. It came out perfectly.
    I took the plexiglass out, along with the fake plastic rivets that were holding it in place. I replaced the clear fan with a painted thermaltake fan. I painted the plexi in gloss black, and I painted the metal in flat black. Those are hex cap bolts holding it together. There's going to be a grill over the fan by tonight...I just got the grills in yesterday and I'm pretty much done with this part.
    [​IMG]
    Ahhh...Beautiful.

    Here is the reset button, the momentary switch I was telling you about earlier. If you look closely you can see my shoddy soldering job on the bottom holding the wires together.
    [​IMG]



    Well, that's all I have for today. More updates at some point tomorrow.
     
  5. cire9753

    cire9753 New Member

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    Last edited: 23 Aug 2006
  6. Th3Maverick

    Th3Maverick New Member

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    Cire: Thanks for the tip, bro. That's the PSU that came with the case, and I don't have the money for a new one right this second. The next PC that I'm currently sketching for will be built from the ground up, and that was actually very similar to the power supply I'm looking at. Actually, just the modular version of that one.
     
  7. cire9753

    cire9753 New Member

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    good luck with ur case! i had some led fans and such but i couldnt sleep with them on so i cut some of the wires lol
     
  8. Th3Maverick

    Th3Maverick New Member

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    Okay, sorry but no pictures today. Since my PC was on the fritz all day yesterday, I decided to spend the time working on the case. Holy CRAP it's looking fantastic! Seriously. I got most of the front done last night, all I have to do is sand where I puttied last night and start painting. The top is already primed...I just have to sand and paint the top sections. I also soldered all the switches together. I'd say I'm at 80% right now.

    The holes for the switches and knobs came out perfectly. They fit just right and the alignment is surprisingly good, considering I didn't even use a ruler. I should have some pics for you guys tonight or tomorrow morning. Thanks for following my project, or at least checking it out.

    More updates tonight!
     
  9. lnr

    lnr New Member

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    Heh, nice camera work :thumb:

    Look forward to seeing new pics.
    Liking the idea for a industrial look :)
     
  10. Th3Maverick

    Th3Maverick New Member

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    Hey, thanks for the interest. New pics tonight, I promise. And yeah...One of my pet peeves is projects that have tons of pictures, but they all look like i'm looking through the bottom of an empty shot glass. ;)
     
  11. lnr

    lnr New Member

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    yeah, those put me off. I need to see whats happening as much as possible :D

    btw what paint did you use on the plexi?
     
  12. Th3Maverick

    Th3Maverick New Member

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    Actually, it was a bit of a process...but it only took about 20 minutes. I sanded the whole thing with 180 grit sandpaper, washed off the funk in the shower, then followed up with 300 grit sandpaper. It had a nice opaque look to it...you could only see light coming through, and there were no deep scratches. Sanded plexi allows paint to bond MUCH better than polished plexi--learned that from experience a couple of years ago working on a project with my dad.

    Then I primed it with Rust-o-leum Automotive primer, followed by another bout of sanding with 300 grit paper and another bath. Then I used Krylon Gloss Black paint over the primer. It's a very smooth finish.

    I really don't think it will matter what kind of primer/paint combo you use, so long as it's not the terribly cheap stuff, and you do remember to sand and then prime. The prime allows you to see any defects in the surface, and it's sandable, so you can ensure you'll get a smooth a finish.
     
  13. lnr

    lnr New Member

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    bleh, hate sanding :p

    I'm guessing you sand the primer quite lightly? I'm taking notes btw...
    :D
     
  14. Th3Maverick

    Th3Maverick New Member

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    haha...i hate it too. Yeah, with the 180grit i just kind of moved my hand around and let the paper do the sanding. I tried to do it in medium-sized circles, to keep it as even as possible (up-and-down will leave streaks...again, from experience) and didn't apply much pressure at all. The 300 grit you really can't apply much pressure even if you try to; it's very, very fine--a lot like the fine side of my wife's nail file. It's perfect for evening out a sanding job like this or sanding between coats of paint/primer. It generally won't sand through paint without a lot of work.
     
  15. lnr

    lnr New Member

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    awesome. Was planning a painted plexi case and didn't know any of this :lol:
    Switching to 90% aluminium but will sand after primer there too (never heard of such a thing... :blush:)

    good tips! thanks a lot :thumb:
     
  16. Th3Maverick

    Th3Maverick New Member

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    Yeah, sanding between priming and the first coat isn't essential, but it can save you a lot of time in the long run, depending on how smooth your paint coats. Unless you're like me and looking for that slightly rough look, like you just didn't have time to sand it because no one's going to see it anyway. You can't see it in my pictures, but the flat black has a bit of a textured look to it...perfect for what I was going for. I'll try to get a decent picture of it tonight if I can get the camera to focus that tight.

    I'm glad to help! I really wasn't expecting to be able to give out any tips...every case I've seen on here has been so pro I was a little worried about even posting my little project. So thank *you* for the morale boost! :D
     
  17. Th3Maverick

    Th3Maverick New Member

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    There have been quite a few people express interest in cutting tools, so here's what I use:
    Dremel
    Fiberglass
    Diamond

    I also have the Black and Decker Dremel clone, and every one of my Dremel parts work with it. They both cost about the same around here. I got the B&D for Christmas last year, but I wanted the huge selection of stuff that came with my Dremel kit (I got an amazing amount of stuff for $45).

    I suggest not using toolbarn to order from...I found all of that stuff much cheaper elsewhere.
     
  18. Th3Maverick

    Th3Maverick New Member

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    Well, I promised you guys some pics, so here goes. I didn't get a chance to get as much done today as I wanted, but I should be at 95% tomorrow. All I have left to do is sand the putty for the handle and the front again to make sure they are perfectly flush, prime the front and the handle, finish painting the top, and put it back together! Yay! It's really starting to shape up nicely. Here are the pics of what I've accomplished today: I almost finished the front, I finished the top, and...er...that's about all. I did re-putty the handle and the front though. Anyway, enough bs. Check it out.

    Here is the top picture that I promised you earlier today. This is before filing down what was left of the louvres that were in the middle.
    [​IMG]

    Here are two more pics of the top, only primed and filed this time. I think it looks much better than the gloss black...It almost makes me wanna do an entire case in primer grey...hmmmmm... :naughty:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    And here we have the front, my pride and freakin' joy (now that I'm done with the side). Five dollars/quid to the first person who can tell me where the 120mm fan is going...
    [​IMG]
    You may notice that there are no 3 1/2" bays. That's right. I filled them suckers in. It looks fantastic...way better than I expected. I bought some loc-tite and super glued them in place, then I took some liquid putty in a tube and filled in the gaps. 3-4 applications and a crapload of sanding later, you get a completely 3 1/2" bay-less computer case. Woo-hoo. Hopefully by tomorrow the 5 1/4" bays will look the same!

    Okay, so I'm sure you're wondering what all those holes are for and what's going on with the wires protruding from beneath. I'll start at the bottom. The big'uns for the 120, silly goose. The two small holes (barely visible here) that are directly above the fan are for the power and HDD leds. The three large-ish holes above those are for the power switch, reset button, and power switch for the (*gasp*) cold cathode. Yes, I went rice. I sold out. But I figured to compete around here, I had to have something with some bling. I chose a blue cathode, but I had to do something to keep it from keeping me up all night, and it actually works out great. Now the switches are balanced, and it gives the case a much more purposeful look (trust me.) I'll be doing something to the cathode to make it less intrusive while on, as well. The two holes that aren't really holes above those are the two fan controllers; one for the CPU fan and one for the 120 (or maybe all 5 fans, I dunno yet--the 12cm is the only really intrusive one.) I've got some gorgeous knobs to go on there that I don't want to show off yet. :D

    Well, that's it for tonight. I'll have some real updates over the weekend, and hopefully (!) a completed project by Monday! Thanks for tuning in!
     
  19. Tyinsar

    Tyinsar 6 screens 1 card since Nov 17 2007

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    Looks much better than the first attempt now. :thumb:
    I love the flat black industrial look. I've never been a big fan of lights or windows either - for me it's function/form any day. Also, The fan below the handle is brilliant.
     
  20. lnr

    lnr New Member

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    looking very cool man!
    That primer DOES look awesome hey? I look at the pictures first, then read the captions and my first thought was that you had switched from black to that sort of military gray...
    For some reason it reminds me of some vehicles for my childhood :)worried:) action toys. He-man and that sortta thing. Not sure why, but I like it :lol:
    Look forward to updates :thumb:
     

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