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Case Mod - In Progress Project SparklePony - Thermaltake 2020 Case Mod Challenge

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by AcuteJungle66, 31 Mar 2020.

  1. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    Styrene foam is easily attacked by spray paint solvents. I'm hoping it's PVC foam core, but it looks like cardboard/styrofoam composite.
    For your plexi version: can you add a 2nd layer? You could glue the curves in an accurate position, accent the cracks, and fuse on a 2nd layer to clean up the outer edges.
     
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  2. AcuteJungle66

    AcuteJungle66 AcuteJungle66

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    For sure, typical paint just eats right through the core of typical foamboard.

    I’ve got the acrylic pieces as backup, but going to give the foamboard version a try first. It’s going to have a fair bit of plaster all over it and then sanded down; so the primer shouldn’t get at it (hopefully).
    But yes, I’ll basically do the same thing with the acrylic if Plan A goes to pot.
     
  3. AcuteJungle66

    AcuteJungle66 AcuteJungle66

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    Thanks for the kind words folks, it is much appreciated.

    I went into this whole contest with solely a 'theoretical' understanding of how I could use the acrylic. In my head the plan was to create a cleaner version of the View 51 Snow. Now this isn't to say that the case doesn't already look great stock, as it certainly does; but we all know how factory paint jobs can be, especially when dealing with multiple materials.

    I'm now getting to the stage where I will start to see whether these ideas actually work or not!

    So catching up from the last time I checked in, once all those things above had been painted and lacquered, it was time to start putting some pieces back together.

    First up was the small front panel where the power switch and USB ports etc. reside, as well as getting the 200mm Riing Trios in:

    [​IMG]

    I had removed as much of the fan bracket as I was comfortable with, as I still wanted it to successfully hold these monsters in place. Whilst not perfect, it definitely makes things less busy behind the fans. Some other minor things were making the Power Button and Reset Switch black, just to give it a little bit of pop.

    Another reason for starting to get things like the fans and front panel in was to get started on cable management, as that would eventually be a slight pain. At least at this stage there were barely any cables:

    [​IMG]

    It's a shame that the above shot doesn't show how glossy that front panel is, but I suppose that's what happens when you just take candid photos rather than lighting them properly and whatnot. Admittedly when I'm working on a PC I just want to get stuck into it, so pausing to take a pic is something I constantly have to remind myself to do!

    I then put the thicc boi back in as well as the 3 Riing Quads up top, and it was time to make some new bends:

    [​IMG]

    I think this shot gives a better idea of just how white the case is now after the paint job, you can also see a decent bit of reflection on that bottom right corner.

    After several iterations of different bends, keeping in mind I wanted the area of acrylic on the right to not be covered up by tubing, these are how the final bends turned out:

    [​IMG]

    I had considered having the CPU>Distro run travel at a 90 to the right and then straight up, but running it straight this way kept the panel nice and clear for...

    ...well, stuff

    I flushed the system several times with Distilled Water and then ran just the pump for a couple of days to make sure there were no leaks. Everything checked out, so it was then time to drain the system and put in the proper fluid. Whilst the system did look pretty cool with clear coolant, there was really only one choice:

    [​IMG]

    I've honestly never used the P1000 coolant before, but I have a decent amount of experience with opaque coolant from other brands. So I'm unfortunately well aware of some the issues that can be encountered. My first build with some really cheap stuff turned quite yucky after a few months, but usually the reputable brands work quite well provided you do the prep work correctly.

    Next step was to get the system filled and get out all the air bubbles, so ran the pump once again for a good couple of days:

    [​IMG]

    I always love how much quieter a pump runs when you use a pre-mixed coolant compared to distilled water, just that slight change in viscosity makes a world of difference.

    I briefly turned on the system fully, just to make sure everything worked. System was absolutely fine, it just took me a little while to get used to the TT RGB Plus software. But I got there in the end.

    Before proceeding any further I wanted to get to work on the cables around back. I had all the intentions of making it super-clean back there, but if you recall, the rear panel was going to be modified with a lit Unicorn's Head (still the plan). In order to help facilitate this, as the actual cutout would be clear, I needed a blank canvas back there. So instead I did an alright job of running the cables fairly tidy and then slapped this in there:

    [​IMG]

    Now nobody will ever know what sins lurk beneath

    I haven't started working on the actual panel that will go there yet, waiting on some dry weather up here as I need to cut some acrylic outside. But once I get that done I can then get it bonded to the panel frame and start working on that. So shouldn't take too long.

    With the back kinda sorted out for now, it was time to return my attention to the interior of the case:

    [​IMG]

    I was pleasantly surprised with how it looks in person so far, the glossy acrylic really shines; which ends up giving a nice combination of reflecting light as well as letting some through.

    Next on the agenda was to start working on the basement. This is another part of the build that I wasn't sure whether it would give me the effect I wanted or not, so I just very quickly took some off-cuts and slapped them in there to give myself an idea of whether it was going to work or not:

    [​IMG]

    The image probably doesn't do the visual effect much justice, but sure enough it is functioning as a lightbox fairly well. So I was very relieved it would work as intended.

    As of today I've got 3 weeks and 1 day to get the build finished and a video made. So in reality that translates to between 1-2 weeks left, depending how much time I want to leave for filming and the subsequent editing.

    The outstanding items still to be completed are:
    • Finish off basement and the trim/frame for the side panel
    • Clean up interior and put in 'stuff'
    • Finish fabrication then Prime/Paint/Gloss Front and Top Panels
    • Fabricate and then Prime/Paint/Gloss Rear Panel
    • Glass Etching
    So I think I should have enough time to get those items done. With that being said though, I will likely only have another 1 or 2 updates this month. Well, before the video goes live at least; as I want some of it to be surprise after all.

    Anyway, thanks for popping by and make sure to stay safe folks!

    [​IMG]
     
  4. AcuteJungle66

    AcuteJungle66 AcuteJungle66

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    Has it already been a week since the last update?

    Well, I better get cracking then!

    So the next thing I wanted to get sorted out was the panelling/trim on the 'business side' of the case. I kind of had an idea of how I wanted it in my head, but thought it safe to try with foamboard first.

    Which is just as well, since the prototype was a fair bit wonky:

    [​IMG]

    But at least it served its purpose, it enable me to fine tune things a fair bit before moving on to the actual acrylic pieces.

    So a little bit of jigsaw action resulted in:

    [​IMG]

    So my inital thoughts were that I was at least happy with the shape and relative symmetry of it, and I like that some of the lighting was coming through the acrylic; but ultimately I decided that I would like it better if I painted it.

    Which then gave me an idea. What if I put on some stars (as in the stickers we used to get at school for doing a good job), painted over it and then peeled them off? I wonder if that would work:

    [​IMG]

    So slapped some primer on it and put it to one side for now, as I wanted to turn my attention to the front and top panels:

    [​IMG]

    Managed to get it bonded at least, but I knew that getting the seams all smoothed out would require a little bit of elbow grease later on.

    [​IMG]

    Same with the front, quite a bit messy here as I was slapping it on there a fair bit. But it was nice to see how the front would look with the panel filled in like that. Frankly I quite like the look, was exactly what I was going for!

    So I put both of those panels to the side for now, so they could cure, and moved on to putting some paint down on the trim panels from earlier:

    [​IMG]

    Not too shabby. Some slight imperfections due to not having a sealed painting booth, but only really noticeable if you really get up close and personal. These should hopefully do the trick.

    The last week or so we've had fairly wet weather up in our neck of the woods, so when I got a brief dry spell I took advantage of it and cut out the acrylic for the other side panel:

    [​IMG]

    With that cut at least, I just need to get it bonded to the panel then smooth out the seams. Then we can get cracking on making a stencil for it and getting it painted. But there's a good chance that will be one of the last items we tackle.

    With more dry weather this week, it was then time to keep working on the top and front panels. I knew from the get-go that this was going to be tricky for me, and would require building up the seams/sanding down/rinse repeat.

    [​IMG]

    So not quite done with them yet, but I'll get there. I'm just hoping that the weather is dry when I am finally ready to slap primer on them.

    With those sitting outside to dry, I figured I would turn my attention back to the interior; as there are still a few things to take care of.

    First up was seeing how the stars turned out:

    [​IMG]

    Sorry about the reflections, it's a bright day so the TG makes it a bit tricky. Crappy photo aside, the stars turned out pretty well. Whilst not exactly my cup of tea, my stepdaughter absolutely loves them; so that's the important thing! I also think that the black edging (which is just a roll of rubber moulding) really just sets it off, just needs some slight tweaking so it is nice and straight. I'm also going to clean up that area on the right close to the latch for the glass, so it looks a little bit more streamlined.

    Originally we were planning on using Armour Etch to engrave a design on the glass, but I am not convinced at all.

    We (it's not just me) feel that once we take care of some of the other decorations in there, that it would then just become 'too busy' or detract from the interior. But once all the other bits are done we might change our mind.

    Please feel free to let us know what YOU think.

    I cannot take credit for this next small alteration, as it was actually my partner's idea; and in my opinion it was a really good one:

    [​IMG]

    Just a little bit of black mesh at the front, just for a bit of contrast. Plus of course it does serve the functional purpose of collecting some of the dust, so that is bonus. Whilst it looks fairly black from that angle, once you shift a bit it then lightens up a fair bit:

    [​IMG]

    Not too shabby at all.

    Well that is all for now, I just have a few more finishing touches for the interior as well as tidying some things up; and then I can focus on getting these exterior panels all sorted out.

    With only 2 weeks left, I was really hoping to be done this week so I would have all of next to work on the final video; but depending on the weather, I very well may be cutting it close!

    As always, thanks for the support and feedback, it has been great fun so far.

    Stay safe!
     
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  5. The_Crapman

    The_Crapman Don't phone it's just for fun.

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    Erm, I mean, it's really good and all but.... :worried: .... did you have to make the side panel look like the coolermaster logo? :eyebrow: :hehe:

    Joking aside, it does look really nice and clean.
     
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  6. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    :worried: Spoooooky!
    It looks great. The stars came out perfect.
    -and you should totally etch the CM logo in the glass. :lol:
     
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  7. AcuteJungle66

    AcuteJungle66 AcuteJungle66

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    Funnily enough, I have had several CM cases over the years. My old HAF XB EVO was one of my favourite cases of all time.
    If I etched the CM logo though, it would look a little strange; since their logo is a hexagon, whilst this inadvertantly is an octagon :geek:

    I had toyed with the idea of having more rounded, or rather cloud-like edging; but the girls liked the straight lines, and they're the bosses :grin:
     

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