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Project: The C Case

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by Zds, 6 Nov 2005.

  1. Zds

    Zds New Member

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    I have kept project work log on our home server this far, but now that I found out about this forum and the high level of modders here, I decided to replicate some of that stuff here to get your comments on it.

    When I started this project, I first planned to just mod my current Chieftec Dragon miditower, but after drawing number of scetches, I figured it might be easier to just build a whole new case.

    At this point I am not sure was this the easier path after all, but that's irrelevant at this point. :D

    Anyway, I wanted a case that would hous my current workhorse (Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe, Athlon64 3500+, Asus Radeon X800 XT) but be more quiet, look better and leave cooling headroom to play with.

    The cooling power I am aiming at would be such that it could keep my current parts cool with noise level that's below ambient and if necessary, cool dual-GPU's and overclocked thermoelectrically cooled CPU with tolerable noise level.

    Here is the scetch (bad drawing and even worse scan, but better than nothing):

    [​IMG]

    It's a side view showing main parts and the two air compartments. The lower one takes care of keeping fluid cool and the upper one is cooling the components that are not water-cooled (especially at the beginning there will be lots of them, until I have money to buy all the blocks).

    Here are the parts in Chieftec tower (never mind the mess, I haven't cleaned it up since I am going to tear it apart anyway), cooled by Reserator. The Reserator pump is failing and it was the actual motivation for this project:

    [​IMG]

    Here is the heart of the new cooling system, old Volvo radiator:

    [​IMG]

    And here is the lower shroud. It will not be visible, thus I made it from the PVC foam sheet:

    [​IMG]

    The visible body of the new case will be mostly multiple layers of smoke-colored acrylic, but as PVC foam sheet is both easier to shape and cheaper, I have used it to the non-visible parts and in making templates.

    PVC foam supposedly is also good for acoustics; it's a lot less brittle and softer than acrylic.

    The lower compartment will be cooled by three Silverstone FM121 fans:

    [​IMG]

    They are of very high quality and come with inbuilt speed adjustment (which I will toss, naturally). They can either be very quiet (of course not as quiet as undervolted really quiet fans like Nexus, but very good for such a wide range fan) or push whopping 110CFM worth air. That 330CFM combined with Volvo radiator (cooling area is 400*500 mm) should be enough to any machine I can throw into this beast.

    The fans will be mounted to the bottom of the lower shroud. I will first screw them into 3mm rubber sheet and then attach that rubber sheet to PVC foam sheet (white sheet in these pics). This should prevent most of the fan vibration from transferring into case and thus eliminate some noise.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Only one of the fans is installed in these pics; I was just testing the shroud. Yes, it works.

    Here I have attached the lower shroud to radiator covering. The MB&VGA there are ancient ones used to visualize where the MB will be installed.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Ok, here was a quick introduction to the base structure. For the rest of the stuff, go either read the original work log or stay tunad :).
     
    Last edited: 10 Nov 2005
  2. Zds

    Zds New Member

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    The materials and parts, part 1

    Here is listed some of the materials and parts I have acquired this far for this project. As I hate super-long posts, in this post I concentrate on cables and cable management.


    When browsing through Biltema (local hardware shop specialized in offering stuff cheaply) on Friday, I came across nice orangish red UV reactive speaker cable. It’s 2*2.5mm² so it’s a bit heavy duty for powering just HDD’s and fans but it was inexpensive and it might fit one of my ideas of getting cables routed in a good-looking way.

    Here’s a photo, altough it’s off low quality: it’s terribly hard to get good photo about UV reactive stuff with cheap compact camera.

    [​IMG]

    In addition to cable sleeving, I am also experimenting in making bundles of cables look cool, too. I try to aim at a scifi-insect-like look or something similar. Cabling like vains, acrylic plates like scales of the shell, and so on.

    Here is some of the more or less raw materials for starting this job:

    [​IMG]

    On the top is hard acrylic tube. In a middle is chromed shower hose. In the bottom is electric installations hose that contains UV-red speaker cable and is painted with metallic black car paint.

    One option is to set up a tangle of mid-sized black hoses mixed with red thin cables, possibly covering all of them into scifi-decorated transparent tube.

    The shower hose looks cool, but to fit the theme I should somehow get it darkened. I am experimenting with various techniques. More on that later.


    Anyway, as chromed shower hose is a bit too bright for my darkish scifi vision and plain shiny black plastic a bit too shiny and clean, I experimented with painting and filing them.

    Shower hose got “metallic” some black paint and plastic one some “chrome” paint and then I grinded the paint away from the protruding parts.

    I am not yet pleased with the results, but this is definitely worth experimenting more, maybe with some hobby paints and more careful painting and sanding.

    Here you see both painted hoses and unpainted black hose around them. The shower hose in this pic has three different zones, from left to right: original chromed surface, unpainted but filed part and then painted and filed end.

    [​IMG]

    Here is closeup of the same setting as above. You can see how the sanded bare steel differs from the shiny chrome. Plastic tube looks almost too post-holocaustic for my vision. I aim at livin alien bug, not shot down one ;-).

    [​IMG]

    Here are opposite sides of the same tubes. Shower hose has fine black paintjob, plastic one has terribly uneven “chrome” surface.

    [​IMG]

    Here is close-up of the filed side of the plastic hose. This image is closest to how naked eye sees it - it’s awfully hard to get good photos about partially shiny, partially white, partially black settings.

    [​IMG]

    Here is some goods from performance-pcs.com. They consist almost completely of wires, connectors and wire decoration. The reason to order them from oversees was both availability and price: In Finland you easily have to pay some 1.50-1.90€ per connector and from States I got ten for $9, and they are a lot better since they are easy-grip ones.

    The UV image does not make justice to those fine items since my cheap DSC’s sensor is far too overreactive to UV and infrared light when compared to human eye and thus that kind of images have distorted colors even after heavy photoshopping.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Also performance-pcs.com had some specialties in their stock that are just not available readily in Finland, like UV reactive 24-pin ATX connectors and dual-colored UV reactive cable sleeving. 24-pin ATX connectors and 6-pin PCI-e connectors are not so mundane in changeover kits yet, but performance-pcs.com had several sets that had both of them included.

    Also I have found only few places anywhere in english-speaking world that would ship UV-reactive eletric wires, so I ordered some of them, too.

    This set is far from complete, but I will later order the more usual stuff like single-colored cable sleeving kits and such from some finnish supplier.

    The dual-covered sleevings didn’t show properly at the previous pic and plastic packaging interfered, too, so I couldn’t resist taking some close-ups:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    I have to admit that deciding the color and appearance theme to go with has been by far the most intriguing and demanding aspect in this project. I’d like to see chrome, and I’d like to see plenty of colours, but OTOH I’d like to experiment with pure white and pitch black.. Decisions, decisions.

    And after all I’d like the case to be pretty simplistic, feature same few visual elements repeating all over the case. So I had to decide which ones to go with and which ones to develop further.

    So, however cool the chrome would be, it just wouldn’t fit my other materials: mainly smoke-grey acrylic and black plastic. And to make the effect, there should have to be plenty of it and with the tools I have handy it’s just not going to happen. And chrome has already been done, several time, and better than I can do. Hence with heavy heart I abandoned hopes about chrome.

    So, the main element will be black plastic covered by layers of smoke-grey acrylic sheets, or scales, if you will. Choosing the colors was easier: deep red and different shades of blue will be the main colors.

    Armed with this decision I went to get some eletric connectors that would fit the vision I had in my head. The molex connectors, whichever color or variety they come in, are plainly just not elegant. So these are what I ended up with:

    [​IMG]

    They are ancient DIN connectors, but they seem to work well. They are less painful to attach and detach than molexes and they are available in lockable version if you do not trust them to hold otherwise (the ones on the left are lockable, while the ones on the right are regular ones).

    And on visual side, they are round, pretty modest in diameter and they are black. As you can see from the pic, they fit pretty well to the two sizes of decoration tube I have. You can also select from wide variety of pin configurations so I can get enough pins for both regular molex connector and PCI Express connectors. Better yet, 4-, 5- and 6-pin versions can be selected so that they do not physically mix - no chance in burning you precious electronics with wrong voltage.

    They will of course look better when the tubes have been painted and their ends leveled and border between tube and connector has been shrink-wrapped. But this will give you some idea of how they look.

    And of course there will be plenty of them. That’s the whole point :).

    In addition to these visually-pleasing ones I also bought dozens of regular connectors that will either give their pins to cooler colored ones or be used in places where they are not seen. 10+6 molex connectors, 2+2 P4 connectors, 6+6 fan connectors and a single 24-pin ATX MB connector. Shouldn’t run out of these for some time..


    To get some feeling how my vision might look in reality, I used fair amount of masking tape and staged what bunch of cables might look like in the finished case.

    Yes, image quality is poor and colors are skewed due to cheap CMOS sensor, wrong kind of lighting and by the fact that I am yet to buy the blue cable sleeves. But yet it confirms that this is the way to go. It has strong hint of that alienish machine-insect crossbreed look I am aiming at.

    Great!

    To give you some scale: That bunch of cables is about 80mm wide and the visible part is some 350mm tall.

    Here is view with UV light on:

    [​IMG]

    And these are taken in regular incadescent light.

    [​IMG]

    Here you can see pretty clearly the difference between natively black tube (far right) and painted ones:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: 10 Nov 2005
  3. Zds

    Zds New Member

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    Materials, part 2

    Here are different kind of construction materials I am experimenting with.

    The acoustic dampening materials I plan to use:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Lowest one is 30mm multilayer sheet with thin membrane on the top followed by two layers of foam and sheet of heavy mass between them. On top of it is 3mm self-adhesive bitumen sheet. The two topmost sheets are self-adhesive car engine noise dampeners (20mm and 10mm) made of compressed soft material and covered with folium.

    Bitumen sheet is from Teollisuus-Etola (local chain for industrial rubber and plastic materials) and the rest are from Biltema.


    These are more vibration-dampening than noise dampening stuff:

    [​IMG]

    Beg me pardon, I could not figure out proper english names even for half of the materials here..

    Anyway, the white foam in the background is actually noise dampening material I forgot to add to previous picture. It might get used in the lower part of the case or then not. It was cheap and it was acquired in a phase where my vision was a bit vague so it’s usefulness in this project is yet to be determined.

    The bottommost of the black sheets is 10mm rubber foam one. It is softest of the rubbers I have and I plan to use it where maximum vibration absorption instead of firm grip is needed. It is not actually a sheet but largish pipe cut open, since I could buy it in smaller amounts and thus it was cheaper than real sheets.

    Two sheets on top of it are solid rubber, 3mm and 1mm. I use them to attach fans, to add some anti-vibration stuff between hard plastic sheets, between plastic and screw spacers and in general softening and vibration damping purposes. I also plan to use them in case feet.

    The tube and the ribbon on the right are made of rubber as well. The tube is actually meant for car engine fuel, it’s hardened with fiber. It’s thick and stiff and I plan to use it as a spacer around bolts and screws, for example to softly but firmly mount motherboard to its tray and tray to backing without squeezing acoustic materials too thin to work.

    The ribbon is self-adhesive soft rubber meant for windows. It will be used in various air tightening and dampening needs.

    The grey sheet between rubber and white foam is another type of plastic foam. It’s more stiff and often used in insulating water pipes and such.
     
    Last edited: 10 Nov 2005
  4. Zds

    Zds New Member

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    Water cooling parts

    Here is the shipment of water cooling goods, this one from Coolputer.

    First an overview. Laing Delphi 12VDC pump (also sold by Swiftech with name MCP-350) is at front center. On the right next to it are plugin hose fittings to be used with it, then water additive for blue UV color and then acrylic replacement cover for the Laing pump.

    On the very back is standing 1 liter bottle of AlphaCool water cooling fluid and around all of them goes green 10/8 mm hose.

    The hose color is not what I actually expected, but luckily it’s cheapest one of these things..

    [​IMG]

    Here is close-up of the same items:

    [​IMG]

    What is hard to see from the picture is how small the pump really is. It looks small in the photos, but in real life it’s yet smaller. No wonder people use it even in Shuttles.


    Nicely enough, Coolputer sells Laing pump with acrylic cover. Here is the pump after cover swap:

    [​IMG]

    As you can see, the acrylic cover looks really nice, and of course comes with holes for leds to lighten it up. What I didn’t expect was that the rubber dampeners that came with it are of top quality - I had planned to toss them away, but I might actually use them. They have the definite advantage of fitting exactly to the carvings in the acrylic block.

    What was very pleasant surprise was that the replacement acrylic cover has exactly the same threading in the plug on top of the cover than what is used for hose fittings. This means I can do the Laing pump flow rate mod just by swapping hose fitting and top plug - very nice. I had planned to do it anyway, and it’s nice that I do not have to do it hard way.

    For those unfamiliar with the flow rate mod, here is a graph by http://systemcooling.com/ :

    [​IMG]

    As the Laing Delphi has high head pressure but low flow, I am planning to get another one when I have more water blocks. I will keep an eye on flow rate and temps and see when it's necessary. Currently I am running just Zalman blocks, so it should be fine, but if I go for more restrictive setup like Swiftech STORM, hi-end GPU block, memory blocks and things like that, pressure head of the Laing pump might not be enough to push through them.
     
    Last edited: 10 Nov 2005
  5. Zds

    Zds New Member

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    Upper compartment fans

    As the quietness, efficiency and bling-factor of the cooling are some of the most important aspects of the whole project, I have spent a lot of time trying to find perfect fans for both upper and lower compartment. It’s especially hard to figure how the UV reactive parts will look like in real life without seeing them.

    Early in the project I decided to utilize 120mm fans for all my air-cooling needs. Besides the size, the Main criteria in selecting the upper compartment fans were:

    • quietness
    • good airflow per dB(A) ratio
    • they had to look good with and without UV light
    • and after lot of pondering: they had to be red

    Amongst the finalist were Coolermaster, Antec and Thermaltake. After a lot of googling for real-life images and experiences about them I decided to go for Thermaltake: their UV fans come without leds (I want to be able to turn down the bling level easily), are one of the most silent and do not look pale, orange or pink in the normal light as many of the UV red stuff does. The specs from Thermaltake claim:

    • sleeve bearing - must have for silencing enthusiasts
    • 0.3A rated max current
    • 1400+-10% RPM @ 12V
    • max airflow 54.45CFM
    • 21dB(A)

    And for those who do not follow the silencing front so closely: Remain sceptical about manufacturer CFM and dB(A) claims. They are usually something that can be achieved only in lab.

    After unsuccesfully trying to locate a dealer to ship Thermaltake UV fans to Finland, I finally contacted first Thermaltake and then by their suggestion Jimm’s PC Store, who is their official dealer in Finland. And low and behold, after a bit less than a months wait I am now proud owner of three red 120mm Thermaltake UV fans:

    [​IMG]

    They came in sturdy but easily openable (and re-closable!) package. Notice also the nice tidy sleeving for power input wires:

    [​IMG]

    I really like the bluish deep red of the fans - they look yet better in real life than in these photos.


    And here is the manufacturer information from the fan in a close-up, since I know some folks want to examine it:

    [​IMG]

    The nameplate of the fans read “Hong Sheng” and it indeed seems there is company with such name manufacturing air-cooling products and many of them look very familiar, even thou I have never heard about the company before. They look like a chinese subcontractor for the bigger names. Even the product images give me some serious déjà vu feelings, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they actually manufactured some very familiar products.

    Anyway, I didn’t found exact match for the TT fan, but these are the closest. Technical drawing looks the same, and extrapolating from the three given models I assume TT is based on same design, but just runs even slower and is made of transparent red UV reactive plastic.
     
    Last edited: 10 Nov 2005
  6. Zds

    Zds New Member

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    Pump cover mockup

    I still like the idea about robot-insect crossbreed look and thus I did a cardboard model based on some scetches I have about how the cover for pump and hard drives might look like:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    As you can see, the model far from perfect, but I still like the concept. Main problem was bending cardboard into 3D shapes, and unfortunately bending acrylic will pose the same problem to some extend (it can actually be streched while soft, but it is by no means easy).

    The model is also way too large - the rectangle in the drawing next to it pictures the pump cover in 1:1 size. Do the math..

    But I like it. And cardboard exists to be used to realize mad visions, so it would be shame to keep the visions just inside your head.

    Needs work, but the direction is right.
     
    Last edited: 10 Nov 2005
  7. Zds

    Zds New Member

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    Connecting radiator to the loop

    To get the Volvo radiator connected to the PC water cooling loop I spent quite a few hours shopping, planning, testing, cutting ang glueing.. Not so surprisingly there seems not to be too many ready solutions for connecting 32mm (outer diameter) radiator fitting into 8mm (inner diameter) tubing..

    So I went into Teollisuus Etola for an hour and half and this is what I came out with:

    [​IMG]

    Tubing: PUR tubing, 11/8 (OD/ID), 15/12 and 40/32.
    Fittings: 8-12, 12-T, 12-Y, 8-Y, 12-straight.
    Clamps: 8-14mm and ~30-45mm.
    Caps: One with inner diameter of 32mm, another with outer diameter of 32mm.

    The plan was like this:
    -Attach either of the caps to the radiator fittings and secure it by wrapping 40/32 tube around both cap and radiator fittings and then tighten tube with clamps.
    -Drill a hole to cap for 12mm Y fitting and glue it to the cap.

    The reason I chose 12mm Y fitting is that I want to leave room for second pump. As I am going to use 8mm inlet for pump, it didn’t seem a good idea to put 2*8mm inlet worth water through single 8mm Y piece.

    The solution was to get 12mm Y fitting and two 8-12 fittings and piece of 12mm tube. If I ever add reservoir to the loop, I can also lessen the pressure drop by taking 12mm tubing all the way from radiator to reservoir.

    The 12mm and 8mm T fittings are for filling and emptying the loop - one for the topmost point, another to the bottommost.


    As I want to be able to disassemble the system, or at least take radiator out and put it back, I dismissed the idea of gluing the 32mm-ID caps. So, I went on attaching 32/40 tube and 12mm-Y piece.

    First I leveled the cap and marked place for the hole:

    [​IMG]

    Then I leveled the long end of the Y-fitting and drilled a hole to the cap:

    [​IMG]

    Fits like a glove:

    [​IMG]

    Since I am unfamiliar with this kind of things, I tried both gluegun and epoxy. I turned out that epoxy was too brittle for plastic like this.

    When I started pressure testing the fittings, I also found one layer of hot glue outside to not be enough for the 3+ meter head pressure Laing Delphi is able to produce. After wiping the floor I went back into drawing board (I really need 12VDC power supply to our bathroom).

    There is no overkill, just a job well done. Filling the whole cap (excluding the inside of the Y fitting, of course) did the trick:

    [​IMG]

    The glue is just drying in this pic, so ignore the irregular and ugly looks.



    Before actually attaching my precious pump, I flushed the inside of the radiator with just plain tap water. After all, it is ancient and used piece of car engine. Here is picture with just 32/40 hoses attached:

    [​IMG]

    After flushing it, I proceeded to install the connections:

    [​IMG]

    As you can see, the construction is ugly but stiff. The 4mm wall thickness of the 32/40 tube really gives me plenty of headroom to tighten the clamps so that no drop ever comes out in the wrong place.

    And in the end, the ugliness is non-issue here. These connections will never be visible, they are both covered and in the back side of the case. The connections that will be visible will be just standard computer water cooling parts, with all the bling you can ask for.

    Additional bonus in this construction is that the clamps at the same time compress the glue between the cap and the Y-fitting and make sure it really does it’s job.

    To further lessen the amount of dirt flowing in my loop, I first made an open loop and made water go through a regular coffee filter. While it’s not the most advanced filter in the world, it did the job in keeping the particles out, as you can see here:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: 10 Nov 2005
  8. Zds

    Zds New Member

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    Trying out top chamber design

    Since acrylic is pretty expensive and I am already one order of magnitude over the original budget I figured I’d need a model before I start cutting and bending the most difficult part, top of the chambers and upper fan and MB mounts.

    My first thought was to use PVC foam sheet in the modelling, but even it costs some money (altough just 50€ per sheet) and I have already used almost half of the 2000×3000mm sheet I have. So, back to the low-end: cardboard.

    My plan is first to make cardboard model of the critical parts and then replicate some of the parts from PVC to have solid model for bending the acrylic. The cardboard parts are of course not 1:1 with the acrylic ones but they are there to give me some concrete 3D feeling about how things relate to each other.

    Here you can see supports for MB tray and lower compartment cover. Neither of those will be realized in plastic, but they are needed to keep the cardboard in right shape:

    [​IMG]


    As you might already know, the main purpose of the upper fans is to cool down the parts that are not watercooled, like system and graphics card memory, motherboard circuitry, northbridge and so on. The three up-to-110 CFM fans in the lower compartment coupled with Volvo radiator are more than enough to keep the water cool.

    So, I plan to go for pretty restrictive airflow in the upper compartment. The air that does not cool the MB and graphics card is waste of good CFM. This of course means that is the upper compartment fans are running at full speed, there will be a lot more turbulence noise due to restricted airflow path - but they will speed up only if the MB components need so, so I think this makes sense in the end. Unrestricted airflow is useless if it does not help cooling down the necessary components.

    All this means that I shall have variable height airpath over the motherboard and that airpath will be pretty thin - just few centimeters over the MB. To be able to determine proper form for the air guides, I took image of my MB from Asus site and printed it out in color and in 1:1 size. This way I can make model for air guide that matches exactly the placement of the components on my MB. Here you can see the mock-up-MB-tray installed:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And some more progress.

    Here I have added more support for lower compartment cover:

    [​IMG]

    And the mock-up of the actual cover:

    [​IMG]

    Upper compartment fan frame (fans will blow through the upper border of the radiator):

    [​IMG]

    Same with MB tray and SilverStone fan to give an idea about fan location:

    [​IMG]

    And possible location for the pump:

    [​IMG]

    I especially like the curves between the two covers; it's a pity they will be mostly hidden.
     
    Last edited: 10 Nov 2005
  9. Zds

    Zds New Member

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    Airflow guide mock-ups

    As this project is both challenging (as I am doing the whole chassis from scratch and planning more curves than right corners) and large, I want to be double or triple sure before actually cutting any acrylic. And I am not exactly the richest man on Earth right now, so I’d rather not pay any extra for materials just because I was in rush.

    And now that I could cover all my wall with handdrawn scetches, it’s time to go for cardboard. I will pretty certainly build more detailed models still before cutting any acrylic, but this was done to give me an idea about where I still have extra space and does my idea of airflow chambers work.

    Enough talk, here are the pics of the first try:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    As you may notice, I also added some old hard drives to check where in case I will leave space for hard drives. I try to leave room for as many as four hard drives, altough I will start by just one. Our home server houses most of the data that needs real storage, so this 160G on workstation should be enough for now.

    Dual Raptors would of course be nice in the speed department, but if you exclude game level loading, I am more CPU-bound than HDD. This means that things like X2 are higher on the shopping list than any hard drives..


    2nd try

    However, the first version of the air guides looked just way too bulky and ugly to me, so I scrapped it and went for a new version.

    So I went and placed the three 120mm fans so close as they could be placed and then cut a mask representing the minimal area that needs to be cleared in order to not to block any suction area.

    First I made vertical profiles that marked to highest points of the air guide. The leftmost fan pulls air over voltage circuitry and the other two cool graphics card(s) and southbridge. These guides basicly mark the ideal airflow paths, from the highest points of the intake to the highest suck area in the fan:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    These images show the low-point supports installed. The idea is that for every fan there is a guide through the middle of the desired airpath and then guide at borders the airpath. Middle parts are naturally higher:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Finished. It’s not 100% accurate, of course, but it gives me a general idea of how it would like in real life. I like it, this is definitely a way to go. Lots of better than the previous one, and as a bonus it has certain industrial/military look, which is what I’m trying to achieve.

    It also looks better in real life than in photos, as you can see the form better. I bet the final acrylic version with proper lighting can be made to show it a lot better.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    It still needs tuning and I am yet to decide how to attach top cover to airflow guides in a way that lets the form of the airflow guides show. But the general look is what I am after, to such extend that I might replicate this look in other parts, too.

    EDIT Fixed all the pictures to be of bigger size.
     
    Last edited: 10 Nov 2005
  10. Zds

    Zds New Member

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    Tiling decisions

    I am currently trying to decide how to tile acrylic pieces. I will build acrylic surfaces on the C case with pattern along these lines:

    [​IMG]

    You can think of it as tiling of an supersonic aeroplane or crossbreed between robot and reptile.

    There are two reasons to build the acrylic surfaces out of tiles: 1) I am aiming at robot-insect look and scales fit that vision and 2) trying to bend big acrylic sheets to 3D shapes I plan to do would propably be too much for my skills, not to mention my or my girlfriends nerves.

    Anyway, tiling it will be. Now the question is: should I position plates parallel to each other or scaled? This also dictates some part of the overall look the case gets. Aeroplane or reptile? Parallel tiling would propably look neater, but it would require all the borders of the plates to align perfectly, or it would look bad. And scaling on the other hand makes every border of tiles a bit darker, which might produce a cool effect or dirty-looking surface - which one, it’s hard to say before actually building some surface and seeing how it looks.

    Anyway, here are some test shots. Please ignore the lack of polishing in the edges and all that, they are just some junk pieces.

    Parallel, on white background:

    [​IMG]

    Scaled, on white background:

    [​IMG]

    Parallel, on black background:

    [​IMG]

    Scaled, on black background:

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Zds

    Zds New Member

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    As the UV leds are terribly expensive in Finland, I ordered bunch of them from Dotlight, Germany:

    [​IMG]

    The bar is 300mm stick with 12 UV leds and ready to be plugged into 12V rail. The rest you can read from the stickers: UV, red and blue ultrabright leds, led housings and resistors.

    The delivery was blazingly fast: I place the order on last Thursday, it shipped on Friday and tomorrow morning it was already waiting for me in postal office.
     
    Last edited: 10 Nov 2005
  12. Zds

    Zds New Member

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    Stretching acrylic

    Before finishing the design and cutting all my precious acrylic into tiny pieces, I decided to find out the actual limits of my material.

    It was clear, and well documented, that you could bend acrylic, but my vision also many places where being able to stretch the acrylic, too, would add real value. So I had to test.

    First I taped two pieces of foamcore sheet together and drilled hole with ID approximately 80mm. Hole saw:

    [​IMG]

    And the hole:

    [​IMG]

    Then I cut two circles from the foamcore, OD something like 65mm. After careful alignment it was time for the heatgun:

    [​IMG]

    Put some pressure to the correct direction:

    [​IMG]

    And add some heat:

    [​IMG]

    Succeé! Looks as nice as I expected:

    [​IMG]

    And the other side:

    [​IMG]

    The reason why I put double layers of foamcore was that I expected it to give in, and that’s what it did:

    [​IMG]

    This is in fact very useful: it reduces useless tension in the acrylic and gives certain soft curve. So you can adjuct the end result by the selection of the mold material.

    The additional benefit of stretching is that it can make structures stronger without adding weight. Automotive industry known this for years that properly placed bends allow you to reduce material and enhance looks at the same time.

    And of course 3D curves make a lot better-looking highlights, as this goes to show:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: 10 Nov 2005
  13. Zds

    Zds New Member

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  14. Zds

    Zds New Member

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    Discussion thread created

    Oops, I needed to create a separate thread to enable discussion. So there it is. No wonder I didn't get any comments altough we are serving some gig a day worth project images ;) .
     
  15. Dj Ovin

    Dj Ovin New Member

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    Nice project! ;)
    Looks nice! :thumb:
    Kutgw!
     
  16. Zds

    Zds New Member

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  17. Zds

    Zds New Member

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    Thanks :).

    I am now getting into some serious acrylic work, so I hope I will soonish get it to look like a case and not just a project :-].

    EDIT: Just finished rescaling some 30 images to fit the forums rules and to prevent 20% of our upstream being dedicated to images of this project. Phew! Not much other progress today, this took the spare hours I had, but it just had to be done.
     
  18. jokkos

    jokkos too busy to mod *sigh*

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    some nice work here, keep it up
     
  19. stephen2002

    stephen2002 New Member

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    It looks cool made out of foam and cardboard, can't wait to see what it looks like made out of the real materials :)
     
  20. Jipa

    Jipa Avoiding the "I guess.." since 2004

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    That looks damn nice! Very original design and so on... Will I we see that on Assembly'06? ;)
     

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