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Case Mod - In Progress Project: Lobo - Updated 19th October 2009

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by slaveofconvention, 25 Aug 2009.

  1. Prime

    Prime New Member

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    You won't miss the bottom drive cage. I have one of the Antec versions of this case and my 4870 only just fits in with the bottom cage. I have to take my graphics card out to change drives. :wallbash:

    Love the wolf. :clap:
     
  2. slaveofconvention

    slaveofconvention New Member

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    Ah... never really thought about that - the iCage I was planning on putting in is a LOT bigger than the original drive cage - I think I may have to do a little test-fitting :s
     
  3. slaveofconvention

    slaveofconvention New Member

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    Ok panic over lol - I threw a few bits into the case for possibly the roughest ever test fit - an old Socket A full size mobo, one of the iCages and a 6800 - the PCB on the 6800 is about a half inch smaller than the 4870 and .....

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    It's a little on the close side but there's enough space there - I might lose one of the 3.5 bays in the iCage but I can live with that.....

    The iCage will actually be a little further away when fitted - it'll be attached to the front panel so that's that little worry put to bed - still thanks for pointing it out - would have been royally annoyed if I'd come across that problem a couple weeks down the line....
     
  4. slaveofconvention

    slaveofconvention New Member

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    Updates for Sat 29th & Sun 30th August 2009

    Saturday...

    Little update today unfortunately. I had so many plans to get so much done and, well pffft. lol

    I mentioned before that one of the problems with modding at work is forgetting the one bit you need....

    Well I forgot - 6.....

    I managed to come to work, with the intention of getting on with this fan grille without....

    Flat file
    Round file
    Angle file
    Clamps for the clamping bench (x2)
    The case itself...

    So I decided to get on with it, with a little (hopefully) educated guesswork as I couldn't double-check the measurements.

    Remember this?...
    [​IMG]

    Well here's the piece of metal that came out of that panel...
    [​IMG]

    Started off by drawing up some guidelines for the overall size of the grille and the screw-holes...
    [​IMG]

    Then I drilled out the 4 holes and placed the paper template wolves in place around them...
    [​IMG]

    Sketched in the outlines of the wolves and used a black marker to colour in the initial cuts - the outer rim and the centre cut. I've already decided to drop the word Lobo from the grille because I don't think it'd have enough strength - it doesn't really matter how thin the metal is on the wolves as they're getting backed in perspex...
    [​IMG]

    And then the first outer cut - keeping it relatively close to the final image to reduce the amount of filing to do, but far enough so there's definitely some black all the way around...
    [​IMG]

    And unfortunately, that's as far as I got - I needed the clamps at this point to hold the metal still while I filed it - and I don't have the files either. I would also prefer to have it clamped in place before I start drilling in the middle for that cut so again, stuck for now...

    Tonight when I get in from work, I'm going to properly load the car instead of a mad 5-minute throw in the usual suspects....

    More tomorrow though - as long as the weather behaves itself...

    I don't know quite where the thought came from, but I now have to add pearl white to the list of possible colours for the overall case. I think it'd look really sharp - pearl white against the dark tinted plexi - but I'm not sure it really carries the wolf theme along. Tech daddy used purple because it was his wife's favourite colour but as I'm doing this just from the wolf angle, I'm kinda stuck on the colour. It isn't a huge deal yet - still lots of prep to do before any paint touches it. The interior is going to be all black, that much I have decided on....

    Sunday

    So yesterday I made a comment ....

    Yeah well, should have kept my big mouth shut lol

    [​IMG]

    But, before the skies opened, I did get some stuff done, and hopefully it'll stop in time for me to do some more before it gets too dark...

    After yesterdays debacle, I felt the need to actually start and finish something today. I've been thinking about the wolf in the cutout and IF I go with the dark grey paint, and dark grey tint, it's not going to stand out very well. One solution which I decided to set up today, would be some kind of halo around it. I started with a spare piece of perspex with the outline of the wolf traced into it...

    [​IMG]

    Then tried my first ever score n snap perspex cutting attempt...

    [​IMG]

    Which worked, close enough anyway - you can see where the line didn't follow all the way to the very edge but fortunately the bit where it went off-line isn't going to cause a problem. So a couple more snaps and...

    [​IMG]

    A quick and dirty rough cut around the shape...

    [​IMG]

    Followed by a slightly more careful one with needle files and 180grit wet n dry...

    [​IMG]

    Then half an hour or so of gentle sanding with some dry, then wet, wet n dry...

    [​IMG]

    And a quick idea of where it goes...

    [​IMG]

    The idea is that I'll illuminate this piece of perspex with two 3mm white LEDs (I already drilled the holes for them) and stick it to the back of the tinted perspex so while the tinted sheet will be totally continuous across the window, this will hopefully glow through and give the wolf a clear, but not too sharp, outer glow.

    I also spent another couple of hours grinding, filing and sanding the outer cut of the fan grille...

    [​IMG]

    And another result I'm more than happy with. If this rain stops (well actually, it seems to be stopping now) and stays stopped, I'll do some drilling to make a start on the inner cut later, or possibly tomorrow - it's a 3 day weekend here in the UK, which means 3 12 hour shifts for me instead of the usual 2....

    Fingers crossed for the weather!!!!
     
    Last edited: 12 Sep 2009
  5. stonedsurd

    stonedsurd Is a cackling Yuletide Belgian

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    Some awesome ideas there. Keep the updates flowing!
     
  6. slaveofconvention

    slaveofconvention New Member

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    YESTERDAY

    Hmm - just stuck a couple of LED's in it, 3.5v and they didnt seem THAT bright - saying that, they were running off of 3v bios batteries - going to have to wire up a 3.5 or 7v source and see if i need to think about a third led in there or not....

    In the meantime, have painted the back and edges of the perspex black - I don't want light from this leaking into the case if I can avoid it - I want to try to minimise internal light so the moon and wolf stand out as much as possible....

    I just lit it up to show the wife and saw a strange but perfect line in it - it turned out that the line was caused by the paint seeping into a crack where I'd drilled the 3mm holes for the LEDs - I admit the hole wasn't very well centred - my bad but grrrr

    The crack you can see here, labelled "1"
    "2" is a deep scratch I'd decided I could live with because it would be below the line of the metal.

    [​IMG]

    The other thing that I'm not happy with is the bits where the tail, and to a lesser extent, the nose are...

    [​IMG]

    Those are pretty dark shadows and the light isn't carrying quite as well as I thought it would. I think I'll try a curved base next time and maybe as many as 4 or 6 LEDs - they're 3.5v so the wiring is a doddle - simply put two in series, wire them to both the red and yellow molex connector and bang on 7v. I can still put in parallel circuits to create any multiple of 2 LEDS using that very basic wiring...

    Guess what's top of the list for tomorrow heh - I have some slightly thicker perspex here too but it's a LOT more brittle so I'm going to load the car with my breadboard, pins, some leds, the paint etc etc and a power source so I can hopefully do the whole thing from start to finish tomorrow - as it happens the weather forecast is pretty crappy but this is something i can do inside, well I probably shouldnt lol but I can....

    I might even have a little experiment with some tinfoil on the edges - see if I can make the light reflect around even more - this is one of the very few times I wish I had some chrome paint but I have no intention of buying some for this tiny job....

    Do-over!!!! lol

    AND TODAY

    I found some more acrylic in the house which is a little bit thicker than the stuff I managed to screw up yesterday but it also seems, for lack of a better word, harder.. It snaps more easily, it seems clearer and not as flexible as the other sheet was, so before I spent hours carving another wolf out of it, I thought I'd give it a quick n easy test run...

    [​IMG]

    I snapped off a corner (the sheets are huge triangles - but I'm not complaining - I got them for nothing) and I'm pleased to say it didnt chip when filed and seemed to take a frosting fairly easily although, being hard, once it get a scratch it's almost impossible to get out so going to go extra easy on this stuff.

    Drilled a couple of holes and wired it all up...

    [​IMG]

    And then made a little change..... (ooh mysterious)

    [​IMG]

    Now it might just be me, but I think the second one looks brighter, more intense, both in the photograph and to the naked eye. Course it could just be that I WANT it to be brighter...

    The difference...

    [​IMG]

    Superglued a strip of cooking foil to the edge. I'm a little concerned about how to protect it though - foil is ridiculously easy to tear - I'm hoping that if every single sqare mm is glued to the surface, it might not be so much of a problem. Also considering trying to get a couple of coats of paint on it when I paint the back which hopefully will give it a little something extra in the protection department.

    With all this in mind - back to work - lets get this wolf carved....
     
  7. Kyor

    Kyor A Visitor

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    Is it just me or does the leg in the back of the standing wolf look funny, it seems like it has 2 knees... :/ (of the grill piece... :))
     
  8. slaveofconvention

    slaveofconvention New Member

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    No, you're dead right - it's meant to be a line defining the difference in depth between the stomach and the far side leg but I'm having a real nightmare trying to get it to NOT look like a knee lol... I'm still working on it though - done the rough cut on the inside but made a point of NOT cutting into that area until I'm 100% sure...
     
  9. Kyor

    Kyor A Visitor

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    Tried to outline it with the front leg?

    Curl it into the stomach like the frontleg is curcled into the flanks...
     
  10. slaveofconvention

    slaveofconvention New Member

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    Think I'm just going to lose that line - I'll extend the lower of the two belly fur tufts to meet the leg and see how it comes out - I'm hoping not to have to do much if anything regarding paint on this grille but if push comes to shove I can always paint in some details
     
  11. slaveofconvention

    slaveofconvention New Member

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    Okiedoke - so the last few hours I've spent re-doing the perspex wolf with mixed levels of success - there's nothing WRONG per-se just a couple of things I think I can improve without starting over....

    First of all - new sheet of perspex - as it happens, this stuff, as well as being a lot harder than the stuff I used yesterday, is clearer too - when side by side, there's an obvious green tint to the older one but doesn't really matter...

    [​IMG]

    Quicky traced out yesterdays wolf, and a larger curved bottom to allow room for more LEDs, then started to mask it off as I decided to try using a jigsaw today instead of the dremel or score/snap method...

    [​IMG]

    This is about as far as I had the guts to go with the jigsaw lol - I was getting some minor melting problems and didn't want them right up against the finished edge...

    [​IMG]

    Built a makeshift lathe/mill out of the available gear...

    [​IMG]

    I'm using this bit to carve the perspex - no idea what it's really for but it works nicely - doesn't clog like sandpaper barrels and doesnt melt as badly as cutting wheels...

    [​IMG]

    Turned out it was a real PITA to work it with it set up horizontally so after a lot of messing around finally got the flexishaft mounted vertically and pushed on until I had it all done - you can just about see the bit sticking up in the middle of the mass of shavings from the job...

    [​IMG]

    And after a VERY little sanding and filing (the dremelling left me with a very nice finish all on its own) I had this...

    [​IMG]

    And my first thought was "BUNNY!!!!!!!!!" lol. Anyway it looked so nice it seemed a shame to actually take wet n dry to it to frost it, but that's what was needed - along with some holes in the edge to hold the LED's...

    [​IMG]

    Then I masked it up for paint...

    [​IMG]

    Followed by about 6 coats of black on the back. I also superglued the tin foil (several layers of it) to the edges. Once it was all dry/set/whatever, cleaned it up and did some quick wiring - 2 parallel sets of 2 LEDs in series and let there be light...

    [​IMG]

    And in the dark...

    [​IMG]

    And with the panel laid over the top of it...

    [​IMG]

    Unfortunately, it looks a LOT better in the photo's than it does IRL - I would like it brighter. Bearing in mind how bright the triangle was, I can only assume the black paint on the back is absorbing most of the light so I may have to look into an alternative - maybe a box or something so both sides of the perspex is available to carry the light in the frosting. The foil attached to the edges is obviously doing its job - you can see the reflected light quite clearly, but it isn't sticking THAT well and I'm not too confident with the idea of loose conductive material floating around in the case when it's all done so I'm going to look into some of that chrome paint I said I wouldn't buy - turns out I can get a tiny 150ml aerosol for less than £3.20 ($5) so might be worth a shot...

    Like I said - nothing WRONG exactly, but not QUITE right yet....

    I think I've had enough for one weekend - so gonna leave it there for now....
     
  12. stonedsurd

    stonedsurd Is a cackling Yuletide Belgian

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    Looks great :clap:
     
  13. slaveofconvention

    slaveofconvention New Member

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    Cheers stonedsurd....

    It occurred to me that paint which has been on for a couple of hours is likely to be a LOT easier to remove than paint which has been allowed to cure for a week, so I carried on...

    As for my theory that the black paint was absorbing the light, well....

    [​IMG]

    Hell yes it was - MUCH happier now hehe
     
  14. stonedsurd

    stonedsurd Is a cackling Yuletide Belgian

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    wowmygawd! :jawdrop:
     
  15. slaveofconvention

    slaveofconvention New Member

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    Well I warned ya this would get updated in chunks as I'm only really working on it weekends - here's the latest batch... Not a lot new unfortunately, mainly do-overs and improvements but it's an update :p

    First of all - the wolf illumination.
    I want to have him well lit, and I also want to minimise or even totally eradicate light leaking into the case. As the black paint on the back of the wolf killed it almost completely, I decided to try something else. I painted a piece of scrap metal and gave it a quick wetsand and polish. The placed that directly behind the perspex - there's no gap at all between the two and...

    [​IMG]

    MUCH better - I'm happy with that. Some people may think it's too bright but bear in mind, it'll be going behind tinted perspex so that'll tone it down some. I also noticed some really fine cracks appearing in the bottom of the wolf - I'm assuming thats caused by heat and expansion in the LEDs - I don't think they'll ever turn into anything structural, but when it comes to be time for final assembly, I'm going to bore the holes out a little and hold the LED's in with a dot of hot glue - at the moment they're held in with nothing more than friction because the holes are exactly the same size as the lens of the LED. The cracks are in the base so they're behind metal anyway - not re-making the wolf AGAIN unless I absolutely have to...

    I went out and bought some of that dreaded chrome paint (after saying I wouldn't) and gave it a try. It's not going to be any good - while the dry surface of the paint is pretty reflective (its just a very shiny metallic silver) the paint is a very dull fairly dark grey on the back where it actually contacts the perspex. As this is the side which would be facing the light (assuming I painted the edges) this is another one for the "tried it but never mind" bin...

    [​IMG]
    Left hand image is the "air" surface, right hand is the behind perspex one. Note the huge bubbles lol - it was raining when I painted it but as it was purely a quick n dirty experiment I didn't really care...

    I'm going to try to get my hands on some scrap automotive vehicle mirror privacy film next - I'm stubborn lol - I WILL find a solution....

    Next, the fan grille (which I swear is going to be the end of me - again - stubborn so it WILL get done heh)

    Every time I cut a fan hole, every single time, I manage to get the fan mounting holes slightly out of line - doesn't matter how carefully I mark them out, or how slowly I drill them - I don't have a drill press and the drill always manages to move JUST enough to make them wrong. This time was no exception but this time I was expecting it, so I drilled slightly smaller holes than needed. I put an existing fan grille over the top and marked the proper position for the holes...

    [​IMG]

    ... and then filed them out so they're pretty much perfect now ...

    [​IMG]

    Then I decided to finalise the initial cuts on the fan... Quick recipe... take one of these...

    [​IMG]

    Add most of these...

    [​IMG]

    And a liberal helping of both elbow grease and time...

    Grind gently with a wire wheel to remove paint and little metal burrs and...

    [​IMG]

    Looking awesome - REALLY happy with how that turned out...

    I then lined the grille up on the top of the case, and used it to drill the fan screw holes in the top of the case - this also had the bonus effect of smoothing the holes in the grille to perfection - and I didn't take a photo lol - makes a change - I photograph everything else heh...

    I also made a start on the perspex part of the grille which will be effectively the "meat" between the steel "bread". I want the edge on the inside to be as close as possible to the metal to minimise the blocked airflow but I'm thinking of letting the outer edge of the perspex protrude a little to give a similar halo effect to the wolf on the side panel.

    Started off by taping just the outside of the grille to the perspex and tracing a line...

    [​IMG]

    Then taped the inside, took off the outer tape and using a well worn cut-off wheel as a guide, drew the outer line...

    [​IMG]

    And hey presto - one set of guidelines...

    [​IMG]

    So I set to work on the cutting and within 10 seconds - I snapped the cable inside the flexi-shaft of the dremel-clone - NOT happy....

    [​IMG]

    Fortunately, I had an old flexi-shaft in the toolbox from a long dead dremel-clone and while it was longer, the cable (after a little snip) worked so back to it and after about an hour of grinding, using the same bit as I used on the wolf I ended up with this...

    [​IMG]

    With the grille over the top it looks like this (photo sucks - I'll get a better one soon)

    [​IMG]

    At which point I gave up as it was getting SERIOUSLY dark. I tried to take a pic of the bench to show all the debris - this should give you some idea how dark it was when I was trying to accurately cut away the perspex *grin*

    [​IMG]

    Anyway, thanks for reading - another week done - next I think it'll be tidying the perpex part of the grille up, cutting the blowhole in the top of the case and the non-transparent window in the motherboard side - not even sure I'm going to do that yet tho...
     
  16. slaveofconvention

    slaveofconvention New Member

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    Aaaaaaand here we go again with the latest installment in this project...

    Oh, this project just became a featured mod over on www.thebestcasescenario.com courtesy of the weekly spotlight feature - first time for me!!! :D

    I'm sure you all remember this - I made enough of a fuss about it....

    [​IMG]

    Well that bulge just behind the wolf was originally meant to be a tree, but no matter how much I've looked, I can't find a sensible image that I can 1) make work - not TOO intricate and 2) won't look like a cartoon christmas tree - so I decided to get rid of it altogether.

    I've also noticed that the metal is starting to discolour since I stripped it down, so I thought a coat of primer, even if it's going to be replaced at some point with better primer, might seal it and stop that problem. I wasn't planning on painting at work so I didn't bring in my masking paper, so had to make a big patchwork out of kitchen towels lol

    [​IMG]

    And the wolf panel with the tree bulge removed, the edge filed and sanded to the same standard as the rest of the edges...

    [​IMG]

    And a light coat of grey aerosol primer

    [​IMG]

    And then a heavier second coat - this aerosol primer does have one BIG advantage - it's touch dry within seconds of hitting the metal and overpaintable inside 2 minutes (well it was today - out in the direct sunlight with a nice gentle breeze going)

    [​IMG]

    And a quick light coat on the reverse too

    [​IMG]

    Bottom panel gets the same treatment - from this...

    [​IMG]

    To this...

    [​IMG]

    Then the top panel - which wasn't actually ready for paint - need to finish that top blowhole first. Thought I'd try a different method I've seen used to make this blowhole. Started drilling holes as near to the marked edge as I dared...

    [​IMG]

    Then the dremel-clone to take out the centre...

    [​IMG]

    And then a LOT of filing and a little sanding...

    [​IMG]

    My advice - DON'T do it this way unless you have NO other option. It took longer, was more hassle, and left a lot more filing and finishing afterwards - I'm sticking with holesaw when I have access to one or the dremel/file method.

    Another problem with the drilling method (although it's arguable that it was a problem with MY control) is twice the drill dropped in before I thought it would and damaged the panel - only really deep scratches, not big dents but still enough for me to want to put them right... Because the filler I had with me takes a while to dry, I primed it up first, then dotted in the two damaged areas..

    [​IMG]

    And now for the final big cut. I've been 50/50 on putting something in the opposite side panel to the big window - finally decided to go for it and after looking at dozens of different wolves and outlines, decided "Hell, I really like the wolf I already have, I'll just make it bigger!" Going to back it with perspex, probably illuminated but not see-thru at all - that'll still leave me space between the perspex and the mobo tray to hide some cabling...

    Cut out a template I printed off this morning before I left for work...

    [​IMG]

    And used a dinner plate to make a nice even circle - centred exactly between the two edges, and exactly between the bottom of the case and the point where the motherboard tray stops inside the case

    [​IMG]

    Traced the plate and the wolf and came up with this...

    [​IMG]

    An hour or so of this...

    [​IMG]
    Sparkly!!! lol
    Anyway - here's the panel with the first cut made - the initial rough cut...

    [​IMG]

    At this point, I looked up and saw this...

    [​IMG]

    And realised that it was time to call it a day.. until tomorrow - the weather forecast is looking good - but I think I might be out of primer - will check at home. I have load of "proper" primer but that means carrying a hell of a lot of extra gear - primer, activator, thinners, mixing cup, mixing stick, waste tin etc and that's a little too much hassle for work - plus it's real dusty here at work and while the aerosol primer dries fast enough for the dust not to be an issue, the high quality primer doesn't.

    There'll be more tomorrow, I'm sure...
     
  17. Reverse

    Reverse Reverse/srvR

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    I like where this is going.
    On a side not, it's not really that weird that aluminium cooking foil works so good.
    The company i used to work made Backlights (acryllic parts with SMD LED's) to make the effect better, they put alumuminium foil around all the edges.
    We also painted the back white (or atleas stuck a piece of vinyl on it), that made it much more noticable.
     
  18. longwing

    longwing New Member

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    That's some fantastically detailed cutting! Nice work with the back-light too. Definitely worth the extra effort you put into it.
     
  19. slaveofconvention

    slaveofconvention New Member

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    Thanks but I still have the insides of that fan grille to do yet. That's going to be a challenge and a half - it's either going to turn out fantastic and I'll get all big-headed and call myself a dremel genius, or I'll utterly screw it up - only time will tell :dremel:
     
  20. Throbbi

    Throbbi New Member

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    The backlit wolf is simply stunning!:jawdrop:

    I think using an enlarged version of the existing wolf for the far side was definately the right way to go, why change what already works ;)

    Excellent cutting skills there. Last time i tried somethin that intricate it wasn't exactly successful (and that wasn't even PC related :hehe:)
     

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