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Scratch Build – In Progress Project: Tube Radio PC -- 20 October -- Back From The Dead

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by s_q_u_e_e, 17 Jun 2007.

  1. s_q_u_e_e

    s_q_u_e_e New Member

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    Sooooo. I have been planning on doing this for a while, I just finally got it in gear and started ordering all of the pieces to get it started. The first part to arrive, is the wooden cabinet from an old RCA tube radio. Here is what it looked like when it arrived. (The picture is actually the pic from the Ebay auction, I forgot to take any before pics of my own.)

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    The finish was ok on most of it, but on the front left in the picture you can see how trashed the finish is there, so I knew I would have to refinish it. I pulled off the brass trim off of the opening on the right, and popped off the wooden grille on the left to more easily work on it. A couple hours of mixed hand sanding and orbital sanding later, I have this:

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    I think it looks waaaaaaay better, but thats just me. I had to be carefull, because the case is made out of solid wood, but the skin is just a thin laminate of good looking wood on top of generic wood that keeps it together. I wanted to get it sanded down first thing, to see if the finish could be salvaged, rather than dong all of the other modifications that are going to be required to make it a functional computer only to find out the finish couldnt be salvaged, and it would look like crap. Here is a test fit of an older micro-atx motherboard I have just to make sure it is going to fit properly:

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    The motherboard will go there, with a 120mm fan in the hole behind the wooden grille right over the motherboard, with the hard drives suspended behind the fan over the motherboard. On the other side there is going to be the power supply with the DVD drive in the hole with the brass edging, plus something else i havent come up with =)

    The thing that pushed me into gear to get this going are the amazing steam punk mods that are showing up on the net. Specifically the amazing steampunk keyboard and the steampunk lcd screen done by the same guy. I am also going to be following his worklogs to recreate a keyboard and monitor of my own to match for this project. I have ordered all of the parts I should need for those too, so in the next couple of weeks this worklog will have the progress of those side projects too. I think it should be a lot of fun, and I am hoping it looks pretty sweet when everything is said and done =)
     
    Last edited: 21 Oct 2008
  2. Teyber

    Teyber ******

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    got some potential here! good luck with this!
     
  3. Tale Gunner

    Tale Gunner New Member

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    Hey another wood project. LOL I love wood. Go for it! looking good so far.
     
  4. AJB2K3

    AJB2K3 New Member

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    Must gett a tube amp inthere for realism.
     
  5. 330td

    330td Member

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    Wow this is really an old radio dude :)
     
  6. MikeK

    MikeK Member

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    Good luck with this. I think it can be really great with this old radio!
     
  7. x06jsp

    x06jsp da ginger monkey!!!!

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    looking good keep it up:thumb:
     
  8. wbdog206

    wbdog206 not me

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    nice start,nice work on cleaning up the finish..
     
  9. Pfaffen

    Pfaffen New Member

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    Nice job on cleaning up the case. I'm interested in seeing where this goes.

    What are you planning for the front and lighting?
     
  10. Pfaffen

    Pfaffen New Member

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    Nice touch may be an old vacuum tube.
     
  11. Tale Gunner

    Tale Gunner New Member

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    Just dont turn it on. Tube amps generate big time heat.
     
  12. Pfaffen

    Pfaffen New Member

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    I agree, no need to add more heat to the case.
     
  13. greensabbath

    greensabbath Got Wood?

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    I've always wanted to do this so i will be watching intently. You picked a great looking radio to start with too.
     
  14. s_q_u_e_e

    s_q_u_e_e New Member

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    Part 2

    Okee, today I worked on the internals of the case. First off I measured out the space i have on the inside of the case, and cut a motherboard tray out of 1/4" MDF to fit. I then cut notches around the internal bracing of the case so it would all slide in smoothly.

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    I then measured the holds for the motherboard standoffs, drilled them and test fitted the motherboard to see if they were correct. they werent all perfectly on center, but they were close enough that I got the motherboard completely screwed down I then slid it into the case to make sure everything still fit.. Happiness =)

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    Next I flipped the power supply around a few times to figure out how to place it. I settled with the powersupply on its side, and I will put the hard drive on its side between the motherboard and power supply. That power supply wont be the final one in the case, I pulled it out of my gaming rig just so I could get the spacing correct. A 620 would be a bit of overkill for this box =)

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    Time to start boxing in the internals. The only part of this build that will not be attached to the motherboard tray is the slot load dvd player. A little while later, and like magic it is fully assembled with the motherboard installed again to make sure it fit.

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    On to the back plate that will hold the power supply. Everything measured and cut, and again like magic poof its assembled. I did have to drill the mounting holes out a little bit after assembly, things never fit like they are supposed to when you cut and measure everything by hand and then assemble them. Installed the motherboard again and the powersupply, and I am thoroughly happy with how this is coming out.

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    That is all the construction work I got done today. I am feeling pretty good about how the mod is coming along so far. I havent hit any major snags yet, and I cant see where any are going to rear up and bite me on the ass =) Here is a final shot of the front. I have decided that I will not be placing the dvd drive in the brass ringed area. I want this to look completely like a 1950's tube radio, and as I discovered a cd will fit PERFECTLY between the slots on the front. Soooo, instead of putting a 120mm fan there like I was planning, I will instead be putting a slotload slimline dvd player on top, and a 92mm fan below that.

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    That is where the mod sits at the moment. In the front holes, I want to put a dial in the middle to control the fan speed, with the power and reset buttons on either side. The problem I am running into at the moment is I cant find any that will fit into the theme of the case. A vandal resistant switch would be nice, but the chrome would look out of place. I need something in copper or brass, anyone have any ideas? Another thing that would work is some kind of momentary dial, so i could just twist it to the left or right and that would be the power switch.

    @Tale Gunner
    Wood cases do seem to be all the rage these days, I think its just cause wod is so great to work with and mold to what you want done to it. I am liking how your Cherry Wood case is shaping up!

    @Pfaffen
    First I am really enjoying what you are doing with your Fibonacci Sequence Project, it looks great so far. For the front I am going to put in the dials I mentioned, and then in the brass ringed area I am thinking about putting an old volt gauge in there, wired up to the fan and fan controller to show how much voltage is going to the fan, and still look something like the radio dial it would be replacing. That in the middle, and then maybe an old vaccum tube on each side, lit from below with an orange LED connected to hard drive activity.

    @Greensabbath
    I think the radio looks pretty good too, thanks for looking =) Your amazing case mods are one of the things that has me excited about doing a case mod again, I havent done anything major like this in four or five years.

    @Everyone
    Thanks for all of your comments, and as always suggestions are always welcome =)
     
  15. tm36usa

    tm36usa New Member

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    Nice job so far! Ive always wanted to do this kind of mod but I can never find the right radio shell. As for switches, take a look at the ones mashie used in his radio project http://www.mashie.org/casemods/anemone1.html . They fit that case really well and they would suit yours too. Keep it up!
     
  16. ConKbot of Doom

    ConKbot of Doom New Member

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    ooo I definitely like how its going, but I would ahve to say, make a tube headphone amp and have that actually working and up in the front :lol:
     
  17. Morphine-Kitty

    Morphine-Kitty Dead account.

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    I like where this is going man. Looking SWEET.

    Off-topic: Anyone else notice us woodworking bit-techians gather together? I recognize a couple faces here. :p
     
  18. Pfaffen

    Pfaffen New Member

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    That is awesome!!! Well done for the support brackets inside.

    I especially like the DVD/CD slot. It is a great touch. Keep up the great work.
     
  19. davidbacsik

    davidbacsik New Member

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    Love it. Ya'll's (tale gunner, greensabbath, and a couple other guys) wood projects have really got me excited, and especially these conversion mods have helped me to think about my planning/layout a lot. Thanks a ton for the entertainment, and information. You've helped in more ways than you. Thanks again!
     
  20. Abom

    Abom New Member

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