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Case Mod - In Progress Project; Mark1

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by Mark_Hardware, 27 Jun 2009.

  1. Mark_Hardware

    Mark_Hardware What's a Dremel?

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    This is my first mod, and consequently my first worklog. I will try to keep my story congruent and cohesive, as I don't always work in the most organized fashion. I tend to work on several things at once.
    The case I'm using is the NZXT Lexa Blackline, with the red lights. It's a very nice looking case even by it's self. Here's some of the hardware I will be using;
    eVGA 790i Cheesecake digital motherboard,
    Intel QX9770,
    OCZ 4GB DDR3 1800 PC3 14400 RAM,
    Tagan BZ 1100w psu,
    eVGA GTX285 Cheesecake graphics card,
    Koolance Exos 2.5 watercooling system, with a Swiftech Apogee GTZ cpu block,
    Hauppage winTV HVR-2250 TV card,
    Western Digital Velociraptor 300GB 10K rpm HDD,
    (5) WD 2TB HDDs,
    (2) LG GGW-H20L bluray drives,
    Antec Multi-Station Premier,
    Fan controller, and sound card have not been decided yet.

    Ok, a few generic before shots;
    [​IMG]
    By hardware_mark1 at 2009-06-15
    [​IMG]
    By hardware_mark1 at 2009-06-15
    [​IMG]
    By hardware_mark1 at 2009-06-15

    Sorry, I forgot to take the before shots.
     
  2. DaveVader

    DaveVader Fast Action Response Team

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    We need modding shots! (as stated by the rules)
    However, we will let you off due to the sheer amount of cheesecake going into this mod!

     
  3. Mark_Hardware

    Mark_Hardware What's a Dremel?

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    wtf? thats crazy. So any time you type f t w it changes it to cheesecake? lmao
     
  4. Mark_Hardware

    Mark_Hardware What's a Dremel?

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    This mod came about in steps. When I got the case, I didn't even have any plans to mod it! Then I started getting ideas. First was a way to hide wires, with some simple sheet metal next to the mobo. Also, I was going to build a rack out of 1/2" square tubing for the Koolance to sit on. Then I ran into a bit of a problem. You see, the Imon is a dual bay device, plus two disc drives, plus a fan controller... Well that is more than the supplied 5 drive bays. So, the idea changed a little, to add a drive bay into the rack. But then I needed a way to cover it. And after days and days of trying to figure something out, I came accross a material that I knew would work.
    [​IMG]
    By hardware_mark1, shot with KODAK Z1285 ZOOM DIGITAL CAMERA at 2009-06-18
    About this time, The design changed a little bit. Grew, you could say. I decided to use these panels to encase a metal frame, and on top of that would be a smaller case that will house the imon and perhaps a few other things. I refer to this as the minicase.
    OK, a few hardware shots, goodies that the ups man brought :)
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    By hardware_mark1, shot with KODAK Z1285 ZOOM DIGITAL CAMERA at 2009-06-15
    [​IMG]
    By Hardware_Mark1 at 2009-06-15
    [​IMG]
    By hardware_mark1, shot with KODAK Z1285 ZOOM DIGITAL CAMERA at 2009-06-15
    And the first chops,
    [​IMG]
    I also cut off the metal that was rolled over along the edge of the drive bays.
    [​IMG]
    By hardware_mark1, shot with KODAK Z1285 ZOOM DIGITAL CAMERA at 2009-06-15
     
  5. Mark_Hardware

    Mark_Hardware What's a Dremel?

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    Hey I did get a little bit of a before shot.
    [​IMG]
    By hardware_mark1, shot with KODAK Z1285 ZOOM DIGITAL CAMERA at 2009-06-18

    [​IMG]
    By hardware_mark1 at 2009-06-19
    OK, first, the blue lights have to go.

    [​IMG]
    By hardware_mark1, shot with KODAK Z1285 ZOOM DIGITAL CAMERA at 2009-06-19
    Thats better.

    Originally, the idea was to use sheet metal, flush with the motherboard, to hide the wires. Well it became evident fairly quickly that that wasn't going to work. So I decided to make it stand out more, as well as overhang the mobo to hide the power connector and sata connectors. Also, I decided to make it go over the graphics card, instead of underneath it. This will hide the power wires to the card. I call this the "wire channel." Sounds confusing, you'll see what I mean.
    Other ideas I had from the beginning was to use sheet metal to make a psu cover, and drive bay cover.
    Instead of sheet metal I am going to use these panels.
    [​IMG]
    By hardware_mark1, shot with KODAK Z1285 ZOOM DIGITAL CAMERA at 2009-06-14
    [​IMG]
    By hardware_mark1, shot with KODAK Z1285 ZOOM DIGITAL CAMERA at 2009-06-14


    This is why I cut the metal off the side of the drive bays.
    This is was the first attempt;
    [​IMG]
    By hardware_mark1, shot with KODAK Z1285 ZOOM DIGITAL CAMERA at 2009-06-14
    I don't like it. I recut it, using straighter lines. Also, I wanted to be able to see the lights on the front of the psu, without seeing the wires. I came up with the idea of of putting holes in that area, effectively creating a grate, sorta.
    [​IMG]
    By hardware_mark1, shot with KODAK Z1285 ZOOM DIGITAL CAMERA at 2009-06-14
    Then I took a micro file and filed all the holes square, as you see I started there.
    Here is the final result of that.
    [​IMG]
    By hardware_mark1, shot with KODAK Z1285 ZOOM DIGITAL CAMERA at 2009-06-19

    I also started cutting a piece for the bottom.
    Warranties voided so far; 2.
     
  6. longwing

    longwing What's a Dremel?

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    The grid cover has a lot of potential. I'm interested in seeing how it turns out. Have you thought about extending the pattern to the entire grid? It'd be a lot of work, but I suspect it'd look fantastic.
     
  7. Mark_Hardware

    Mark_Hardware What's a Dremel?

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    The thought had crossed my mind.... I am going to use that pattern for a different area though
     
  8. Mark_Hardware

    Mark_Hardware What's a Dremel?

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    OK, so once again, I started on the side panel. This is the last one of these I am cutting, dangit. Here is the third, and final revision. I am still going to cut something in the panel to let som light through, but I haven't decided what yet. And, until I know for sure, I'm not doing any cutting! I also cut a smaller piece for the 3.5" bays. Here you see those two pieces, plus, you can see where I cut out the material on the backside of the HDD cage.
    [​IMG]
    By hardware_mark1, shot with KODAK Z1285 ZOOM DIGITAL CAMERA at 2009-06-19

    Here is a shot of the piece cut to cover the bottom of the case.
    [​IMG]
    The square hole is for the fan on the bottom. The edge on the top that is uneven will be under the motherboard.
    Speaking of the bottom.... I am working on building a 'skirt' to go around the bottom.
    Here are the bolts I am using. I love these bolts! I believe they are called "elevator bolts."
    [​IMG]
    By hardware_mark1, shot with KODAK Z1285 ZOOM DIGITAL CAMERA at 2009-06-19

    I started out using 1/2" square tubing. Eventually, I figured that 1" would be much easier to work with. Yeah, it will add some weight, But oh well, this baby is gonna be hefty by the time I'm done anyway.
    [​IMG]
    By hardware_mark1, shot with KODAK Z1285 ZOOM DIGITAL CAMERA at 2009-06-20

    I had been trying to figure out something to use to fill up some space, as well as add a little something extra. I have this skull,
    [​IMG]
    By hardware_mark1 at 2009-06-20
    that I want to incorporate into the case. I thought about several different avenues, then I saw this, and I knew that was it.
    [​IMG]
    By Hardware_Mark1 at 2009-06-19
    It's a heatsink, from the same place I got the panels. I am going to cut and file away a lot of the material in between the fins. The idea is to see the skull, but only kinda. I want the reaction not to be, "Oh, another skull," instead, "What's that? Oh wow"
     
  9. Mark_Hardware

    Mark_Hardware What's a Dremel?

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    Here is another picture of the HDD cage.
    [​IMG]
    By hardware_mark1, shot with KODAK Z1285 ZOOM DIGITAL CAMERA at 2009-06-20
    I did this so I can flip the hard drives around, so the cables will be on the backside, instead of on the window side.
    I will have to mod the HD rails so they line up right, but I will do that later.
    [​IMG]

    Also, I am thinking of building some kind of a box onto the back, to hide the hundred or so wires that go to the back of the computer. Haven't quite decided exactly how I want that to look. Something like this....
    [​IMG]
    By hardware_mark1, shot with KODAK Z1285 ZOOM DIGITAL CAMERA at 2009-06-18
    [​IMG]
    By hardware_mark1, shot with KODAK Z1285 ZOOM DIGITAL CAMERA at 2009-06-18
    Now you can start to see a little bit of a bigger picture. eh?
    In that pic, you can see the rivets I had originally used to mount the panels to the case. I pitched that idea with the newer panel, in favor of a method resulting in a cleaner finish.

    OK, so some progess on the skirt. Here you will see why I switched to the 1" tube.
    [​IMG]
    By hardware_mark1, shot with KODAK Z1285 ZOOM DIGITAL CAMERA at 2009-06-20
    I can screw the bolts right into the bars! And this makes mounting the skirt to the case a snap.
    [​IMG]
    By hardware_mark1, shot with KODAK Z1285 ZOOM DIGITAL CAMERA at 2009-06-21
    [​IMG]

    Also, here is part of that heatsink I showed you earlier. I am so happy with the way it turned out!
    [​IMG]

    I still haven't decided how I am going to style the front part though. The back, however, is pretty simple. I took the back leg, which also held on the curved piece of plastic that goes on the back of the case. Well, the leg won't work with the skirt, but I need to hold on the rear piece.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Easy fix, just cut off the superfluous plastic!
    [​IMG]
    By hardware_mark1, shot with KODAK Z1285 ZOOM DIGITAL CAMERA at 2009-06-18


    Here is a couple more pictures showing some progress
    [​IMG]
    By hardware_mark1, shot with KODAK Z1285 ZOOM DIGITAL CAMERA at 2009-06-18
    [​IMG]
    By hardware_mark1, shot with KODAK Z1285 ZOOM DIGITAL CAMERA at 2009-06-18

    I made a psu cover, as well. Nothing too fancy...
    [​IMG]
    The metal tabs will let me screw it onto the back of the case.
    Next update, I start building up!
     
  10. Mark_Hardware

    Mark_Hardware What's a Dremel?

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    So, I posted an update this mornig but it's not showing up.... help please?

    EDIT: Thanks!
     
    Last edited: 30 Jun 2009
  11. Alx

    Alx 3²Gaming

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    Looking good there, that's an interesting case...how much is it worth then?
     
  12. Mark_Hardware

    Mark_Hardware What's a Dremel?

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    Well, I bought it for about 100 bucks (USD) if thats what you are asking.... And thanks! Keep checking back, it gets more, uh, interesting :D
     
  13. Mark_Hardware

    Mark_Hardware What's a Dremel?

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    Now I cast my eyes upward.
    Originally, the idea was to use the 1/2" square tubing to build a frame. Again, I pitched that in favor of 1" tube. So I made these two simple square frames.
    [​IMG]
    JB weld, plus angle irons. Should be sturdy. I wish they could be welded, but I don't have any means to get that done. The piece of panelling on the side is just to get it square.
    [​IMG]

    More of the elevator bolts will mount them to the case. These are especially useful where the rear frame is, since it's right above the psu, and there is limited clearance.
    I also cut out the fan grill on the top of the case. I am going to put a piece of 3" pvc pipe here, as a "ventilation shaft."
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    This whole area will be enclosed with panelling, with the "vent" on the left side. This will house the skull I showed you earlier.
    The right side, nothing too complicated.
    [​IMG]

    The back will be a simple panel.
    Another simple panel will close off the area where the skull sits. I had a picture of those panels, but they didn't turn out very good.
    Speaking of the skull, I gave it some life.
    My new hard drive activity lights!
    [​IMG]
     
  14. longwing

    longwing What's a Dremel?

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    Clearly, it was sent back in time to kill the leader of the resistance.

    Honestly, I don't know about the skull. I'm interested in seeing what you do with it. One of those "devil's in the details" sort of things.

    I love the overall industrial look though. The case feet/skirt really fit.
     
  15. Mark_Hardware

    Mark_Hardware What's a Dremel?

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    Yay delivery!
    [​IMG]

    Hmm deja vu....
    [​IMG]

    Now why, oh why would I be showing pictures of a new case now? Because it's Lexa case number 2!!!
    I know it doesn't seem to make sense to buy a whole 'nother case, but I have several reasons for doing this. 1, it will save me a lot of work if I use pre-existing drive cage, as opposed to building my own. 2, in an effort to help, my desk was cleaned for me, resulting in most of the screws that came with the case getting lost, or mixed in with all my other similiar hardware, thus becoming hopelessly confused.
    So basically what I am going to do is take this case, and shrink it down to about half size. I need the two drive bays for my Imon controller. I also decided to give myself one more extra 5.25" bay, just in case. I also went ahead and put in a cage for one HDD, just for the heck of it.
    Sooo, some quality time with ye olde power drill, and it's presto, yet another warranty voided. This one within five minutes of taking delivery!!
    And here we go, a nice pile o' parts.
    [​IMG]

    Now I'll keep the top and bottom intact, obviously. Also, I am keeping the mobo tray and back panel intact. I won't be using it in this build.
    Cut the right side panel.
    [​IMG]

    OK, so my big plan for this part; I am calling this the minicase. The idea here is to make it look like the regular case, just, uh, smaller.

    So I chopped the the 5.25" cage down to size. I chopped down the corresponding front panel, as well as thee HDD cage, for one hard drive. Here are those pieces mocked up together.
    [​IMG]
    Made a psuedo rear panel.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I actually am planning on putting a couple things in there like regular pci slots. One thing will be the video capture inputs that came with my Hauppauge TV card.
    Of course I will have to lengthen the wires.
    [​IMG]
    And now I leave you with this (teaser?) shot:
    [​IMG]
     
  16. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    The step plate you were using was aluminum, right? Why don't you use it for the hard drive cage? Mounting the drives directly to a big chunk of 'luminum would cool them very well.
     
  17. Mark_Hardware

    Mark_Hardware What's a Dremel?

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    Well, I might do something along those lines, idk... Thanks for the idea though!
     
  18. Mark_Hardware

    Mark_Hardware What's a Dremel?

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    Alright, did some work on the minicase. Like I said, it's supposed to just be a smaller version of the case.
    JB Welded the pieces of the drive bays together. It looks like crap. I'm going to make sure as much of it is hidden as possible.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Riveted the cage to the front panel.
    [​IMG]

    Cut a new side panel.
    [​IMG]

    Now in the minicase, there are no 3.5" bays, so there is no "step down." So I cut the edge off, and kept the ridges, to replicate the edge of the other side panel.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Also cut a panel to "cover the psu" Obviously there is no psu in here, this is just to keep the look going.
    [​IMG]

    And we have a problem. The fan is in the way.
    [​IMG]

    I don't want to put the panel in front of the fan, cause then you wouldn't even be able to see the fan. So, I'm going to redo the rear panel. That will have to wait until I get more sheet metal. I need to get a heavier gauge. I will remake it with fewer pci slots, I'm thinkin just 2. That will let me lower the fan, and I think it will help make it look more to scale.

    Cut a bottom panel.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    lol I promise the smaller pvc pipe in the back lines up better with the hole. That was just a mockup. And of course the 3" is directly underneath that fan grill.

    Installed a length of 1.5" pvc, to act as a conduit to run wires back and forth between the cases.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I am going to have the Imon in the minicase, as well as the video capture device, one hard drive, and Idk what else. I am going to have some servo controlled parts, so I am thinking of mounting the servo controller to the right side, like a simulated motherboard.

    Here we go, a couple of progress shots.....
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Maybe this will clear up some confusion


    Confusing? I prefer 'Enigmatic'
     
  19. Mark_Hardware

    Mark_Hardware What's a Dremel?

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    Alright, a couple smaller things...
    As I got to looking at the HDD cage, I noticed that when it's full, the bottom hard drive won't really get any air from the fan in front. (yes, it will be full, eventually.) So, I decided to fix this by adding a fan on the bottom. 80mm fan fits right in there.
    [​IMG]
    Drilled holes in the bottom panel of the case. Can you guess which one I did and which one is stock?
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Yeah looks like garbage. I'm just gonna take the 3" hole saw and use mesh. Even though that won't get seen, I know it's there....

    Also, the door sans hinge is annoying. I'll fix that. I'll start by cutting off the rolled over metal.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Jeezas that was a pain.
    I cut off the corresponding rolled metal on the case. I don't seem to have a picture of that part right now....

    I used a solid hinge, mainly because I knew that if I used a few smaller hinges, I wouldn't get them all lined up right and it would just piss me off.
    [​IMG]
    Cut a few areas in the hinge to get around rivets and such.

    Good ol' JB Weld to the door.
    [​IMG]

    Yeah, so the picture isn't all that great, cause I ahem kinda goofed. I used wax paper when I clamped the hinge to the door, to keep the clamps from getting glued to the door. Well, it wasn't wax paper like I thought, so the paper stuck to the door. Nice.
    I will sand this all down, and if im not happy with how it looks, I'll just cover it in some bondo. Same with the half that's in the case. I have to figure out some way to cover that up, maybe another piece of that panelling, mebbe just simple sheet metal, idk yet.

    I'll do the same for the minicase.
     
  20. Mark_Hardware

    Mark_Hardware What's a Dremel?

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    So I finally decided what I am going to do with the front, or at least the part on the bottom.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    It's a large heatsink, this one with the edges and such still intact. I had to cut it down, it was a bit too wide. This left it asymmetrical. Dammit. Oh well, I will just cut off one fin, and maybe glue it back on in the center.
    I cut the plastic so that it runs down into the fins. I will use JB Weld and bondo to make a smooth transition, and hopefully get it to look like one solid piece.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Nah, I'll just leave the middle like it is. I like that body line, and I think I want to keep it.
    At the same time, I am having issues with the left side panel. I had it all together once, but then I found two things wrong with it, so I broke it apart and am redo-ing it, step by step. Here is an ugly picture showing the progress on that.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I am also notching out a space for the front audio header. I cut out the plastic surround from the factory location. [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Yeah I screwed up. It got rubbed by the collet on the dremel. I'll have to sand that out.
    Here is progress on that notch.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    But my last cut off wheel broke, so I'll have to get more later. Happy 4th, for those it applies to!
     
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