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Case Mod - In Progress Project: Phoenix (PC-101B Orange Case Mod) (Jan 2010 update)

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by gvblake22, 27 Nov 2007.

  1. gvblake22

    gvblake22 mmm, yep

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    Ok, time has come for me to start a new project. The Secret of the Ooze project took way too long, but was finally finished and came out OK. I discovered though that making a case from scratch is way harder than it looks and I don't want to attempt something like that again right now. So after a lot of case shopping, I settled on the Lian Li PC-101B. I have a lot of little things planned for this case, but I think if I try and explain it all it won't make any sense. So you'll just have to wait for updates and let the pictures do the talking. Overall though, I plan on using an orange lighting color scheme with black and silver/gray accents. Lighting inside the case will be handled by many 5mm orange LEDs. The entire exterior of the case will be powder coated a dark gray color with a glossy finish. Opaque (not transparent) black acrylic, transparent fluorescent orange acrylic, and staggered hole mesh will be the other main components. I also plan on making an entirely new front panel out of a piece of aluminum sheet. Since the designs sortof resemble flames of sorts and the fact that I will be moving to Phoenix, Arizona with this case I will call it that; Phoenix.

    Much of the designs planned for this project got some well needed inspiration from lots of other great mods like Silent ConteXYZ, Orange Moster, and The "O". So visit their project logs and give them your praise because they definitely deserve it. I don't expect to be the next alonso_bistro, but I do really look up to these modders and thank them for sharing their work with the community! :clap:

    So to kick things off here is the case as seen from the front with the side panels on and the front door taken off (as well as all the drive bay covers removed).
    [​IMG]

    Here is an angle shot of the case with the side panel removed and all the innards removed.
    [​IMG]
    The HDD cages in the bottom will not be returning to the case ever again, I have bigger and better plans for the HDD's in that bottom section...

    With the case stripped down, I went to work making some designs. This is what I came up with for the side panel (drawn onto the paper backing of the 1/16" thick black acrylic):
    [​IMG]
    It was a very delicate process trying to cut this intricate design out, but with the help of my jig saw I made surprisingly short work of it all...
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    That last picture is the finished piece. Yes, it is just the outline, think of it like a picture frame. The piece is placed on the mesh that will be behind it on the side panel. And behind the mesh (on the inside of the desgin) will be the fluorescent orange acrylic. Here's how it looks on the side panel:
    [​IMG]
    Yeah, probably hard to imagine all that right now, but it's too hard to try and draw up prototype sketches, so you'll just have to use your imagination here people... :top:

    And speaking of mesh, here is the piece that I will be hacking up and using in various places all over the case:
    [​IMG]
    That's a mATX motherboard at the bottom shown for scale. Yes, it's REALLY BIG. But that's the only size I could order it in, so I guess I will be using lots of mesh in this project! Here is a close up of the mesh:
    [​IMG]

    As I mentioned earlier, I will also be making a new front panel for the case. I removed the front door completely and won't be using it at all. Instead, I will make a new front panel that has a slight curve to it on the top and bottom edges, similar to the Silverstone TJ-07. I have a piece of 1' x 2' aluminum sheet that I will cut up and be using to fabricate the front panel:
    [​IMG]

    Once I cut it down to size, I needed a reliable way to make an even bend in the aluminum. For this I made a small "jig", basically just two blocks of wood nailed together with one edge filed down to the radius of the curve I want.
    [​IMG]

    Then the aluminum is clamped to the jig, layed flat on the workbench, and the jig is just rotated upwards, bending the aluminum around the rounded edge...
    [​IMG]

    The final result is came out surprisingly good and will hopefully work great. This is just one bend so far, but you can see the look I'm going for here:
    [​IMG]
    Disregard the C clamp laying on top, it is only there to hold the front panel in place for the picture. The space along the edge between the new front panel and the existing front bezel of the case will be filled with that mesh all the way down and have orange LED's behind it shining forward into the backside of the new front panel.

    Behind the front panel will be two 120mm intake fans. To make room for these, I need to cut out the bottom section of the front panel under the 5.25" drive bays:
    [​IMG]
    That picture is of the case on it's back with me looking down on it at an angle. Sorry, looks kindof odd, but you can see the red lines I photoshopped in there which is where I will be making the cuts. Here is the front of the case finally cut out and ready for the new dual 120mm fan mount:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Don't forget that the entire exterior of the case will be powdercoated when all the mods are finished, so the scratches and stuff don't really matter...

    I ran out of time to work on the bigger parts, but I did get the motherboard tray window started. I will be cutting out parts of the motherboard tray (outlined in red):
    [​IMG]
    ...and screwing a piece of clear acrylic on the back:
    [​IMG]
    Without the full sized acrylic sheet, I'm afraid the motherboard tray would be too week, so this serves the dual purpose of protecting and strengthening. Also had to make room for the standoff screw holes...
    [​IMG]

    The motherboard tray window is nearly finished, so I'll definitely have pics of that for next time.

    That's all for now, but I just wanted to get something started here to wet your appetites. As usual, this project will probably move along at a snail's pace, but I am getting very excited about it so hopefully it will be done before the end of Winter. Now all I need to do is come up with a creative project name! :wallbash:
     
    Last edited: 11 Jan 2010
  2. 500mph

    500mph The Right man in the Wrong place

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    hmm,this will prove to be interesting. any sketches?
     
  3. gvblake22

    gvblake22 mmm, yep

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    Nope, no sketches at this time, sorry. Between my total lack of artistic talent and the complicated design I have cooked up in my head, it seems like a nearly impossible task. :grr:
     
  4. NZ_mod_man

    NZ_mod_man New Member

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    Off to a wicked start. Can't wait to see how it turns out.
     
  5. gvblake22

    gvblake22 mmm, yep

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    OK, update time!
    Started off by finishing the motherboard window, here it is all cut out:
    [​IMG]
    and this is with the window installed (yeah, it's clear, not easy to photograph)...
    [​IMG]

    I drilled and tapped like 6 or 7 screw holes to secure the window. Here is a close up of the screws that hold the acrylic to the mobo tray...
    FRONT
    [​IMG]
    BACK
    [​IMG]
    The piece of acrylic make the mobo tray surprisingly rigid, I think it's gonna work out ok. Of course, I will use smaller screws, this is just preliminary test fitting.

    Then it was back to work on the front panel. This time I decided to tackle the fan mounting bracket behind the actual front panel; here is the design:
    [​IMG]
    And with the cutting finished:
    [​IMG]

    It will hold two 120mm fans and still leave just enough room for three 5.25" drive bays at the top of the case...
    [​IMG]
    yes, that's actually an old optical drive with the faceplate removed just above the fan mount. IT FITS!
    Lian Li was kind enough to make a nice, even bracket at the front of the drive cage with holes already drilled. I just used these existing holes to secure the fan bracket to the case...
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Again, the screws are too long, but they are just in there for test fitting. The fan mounting bracket still needs to have a few more holes drilled and then be finished up with a file and sandpaper...

    That's all for now though. We are getting hammered with snow and I may not be able to get any more work done this weekend. :(
     
  6. Drachnem

    Drachnem Member

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    Looking good, your making me want to cut up my case....brand new drem hasn't even cut a case yet... :(

    I'll be keeping an eye on your project, keep up the sweet mod'n.
     
  7. Darkened

    Darkened New Member

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    For some reason, I think I'm going to like this mod :hehe:

    You have really interesting ideas with this case, I especially like the motherboard window.

    I think this will turn out great, so I'll be keeping my eye on this.

    Darkened

    P.S. Thanks a bunch for mentioning OM, much appreciated :thumb:
     
  8. lost_r0nin

    lost_r0nin New Member

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    Looking good so far. I can't wait to see where you go with it.
     
  9. brinkz0r

    brinkz0r New Member

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    You're starting off with a great case, and the Silverstone front makes a great start. I'll be watching this one! :)
     
  10. Jipa

    Jipa Avoiding the "I guess.." since 2004

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    I want an enormous piece of mesh as well! Looking good..
     
  11. gvblake22

    gvblake22 mmm, yep

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    Thanks guys!
    @Drachnem
    C'mon, you know you want to do it! Just do a little planning and let the sparks fly (unless you're cutting aluminum, then there's no sparks)! :dremel:
    @Darkened:
    Yeah man, I really like Orange Monster and hope it gets to see completion. I actually did a little editiing on one of your pics and use it in my signature on another forum!
    [​IMG]
    @Jipa
    Sweet... you CAN have it! Check out part # 9255T731 at McMaster-Carr. :lol:
     
    Last edited: 2 Dec 2007
  12. luis_pedro_Sato

    luis_pedro_Sato Member

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  13. mmmm~

    mmmm~ New Member

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    lol gotta love the pc101. i sorta did the same with the front as you did by cutting the bottom out and making a big square hole, but mounted a rad for w/c.

    [​IMG]

    its still a huge work in progress but im too busy to work on it. anyways!! i love the creativity of your project!! and the fact your using the pc 101 just blew my mind away. This case is the greatest. With a great plan like yours, i can see it now, your project will totally rock. Have FUN :D
     
  14. Colossous

    Colossous Member

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    Subsribed dude, looks like this is going to be good !! :thumb:
     
  15. gvblake22

    gvblake22 mmm, yep

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    Thanks everyone!

    mmmm~, nicely done with that rad. After I made the double fan bracket for myself and put it in there, I could easily see how with a little more cutting you could get a radiator in there; you obviously went through with it! :clap:
    I have no plans for watercooling though, this is going to be purely air cooling. Thanks for all the good comments though, I can't wait for the work week to be done so I can go back into town and get back to modding!!! :dremel:
     
  16. gvblake22

    gvblake22 mmm, yep

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    UPDATE TIME!!!!!!!!!!

    Got the front panel bending done:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    The small end goes at the bottom of the case like so...
    [​IMG]

    But it still needed a way to attach it to the case. Thankfully Lian Li has again saw fit to professionally drill and tap some holes! Now all I have to do is make a couple of my own to go with it. This was a job for the ever popular aluminum angle:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    With the first three holes drilled and tapped, it was just a matter of drilling three more holes to secure it to the front of the case. For this, I used a trick out of DAE_JA_VOO's playbook (except I used some metal polish compound instead of the much tastier tomato sauce):
    [​IMG]
    With some of the metal polish compund dabbed into the three screw holes, I just fitted the front panel where it should be and pressed down...
    [​IMG]
    This left three nice little dabs where the holes are! Anyway, I got the holes drilled and it all fit (for the most part):
    [​IMG]
    and a view from the bottom:
    [​IMG]

    Then as a finishing touch at the end of the day I moved back up to the top of the case and cut out an opening for the front panel USB, Firewire, and audio ports:
    [​IMG]
    The two screws on either side of the the ports goes through both the newly fabricated front panel and the top of the actual case to screw into the USB module its self. This is not going to be the only thing holding the front panel on, there are several more screw holes yet to be made on the top here. The large circle is where the power button is going to be.
     
  17. Oreon_237

    Oreon_237 CHEA BRO!

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    nice front cant wait till the nxt update
     
  18. BenJ

    BenJ New Member

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    Nice work and conceptions so far.

    Looking forward to further progress.

    BenJ
     
  19. gvblake22

    gvblake22 mmm, yep

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    Thanks! I've got a couple intermediate pics for ya. I didn't get much work done, but today should be much more productive!
    Got a couple screw holes made to hold on the top of the new front panel and get this thing fixed in place:
    [​IMG]

    Here's a couple shot of how it looks all assembled:
    [​IMG]
    This is a look at how much of a gap there is:
    [​IMG]
    That space will be filled with the mesh. Here is on piece cut out and ready to be formed:
    [​IMG]

    I'll try and get something made out of the mesh later today...
     
  20. tranc3

    tranc3 ADHD Modder

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    loooks sweet, im planing on moding a LIAN LI PC-A05B when i do my next computer. i like what you did on the front that's really creative and the mesh on the side is sure to help the cooling plenty.
     
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