1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Scratch Build – In Progress Project: Turn a chunk of aluminium into a case

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by One Works, 21 Oct 2020.

  1. One Works

    One Works New Member

    Joined:
    21 Oct 2020
    Posts:
    16
    Likes Received:
    23
    The name needs some work, that's for sure.

    I just looked it up, and I posted the final photos of the last project I worked on in October of 2007. That was under the user name Zero_Limits. 13 years on, the tools have had a bit of an upgrade. Which brings me to the current project.

    “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” There are many versions of the quote, but it describes the idea behind this case well. I have many tools, including a hammer, but my business is based around one main tool. The Haas VF-3SS, 6.1 tonne of Vertical Machining Centre. As such, to me, every problem looks like it should be carved out of billet aluminium.

    So, after having the machine for a bit over 3 years, and having made nothing on it for myself. It was time to change that. The plan was originally to make a console layout mini ITX case, but for starters I've gone with a APU size case. The photos below show today's progress. Well today's progress on the machining anyway, the design and programming took considerably longer than a day.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The finish on the walls isn't what I'd hoped for. But I was avoiding spending many hundreds of dollars getting the tool I should have used for the task. Instead I made do with an 8mm reduced shank carbide end mill, not ideal for 68mm of took length, but it got the job done, and the case will be bead blasted before anodising anyway. Need to get my hands on a new tool holder and collets to be able to drill and tap the stands offs before removing it for the subsequent operations.
     
    Karrek and BA_13 like this.
  2. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

    Joined:
    13 May 2007
    Posts:
    11,262
    Likes Received:
    1,199
    Welcome back. :D
    I was expecting something a little more obnoxious, but I guess hollowing out a huge billet to make a box is pretty obnoxious. :lol: The wall finish is fantastic.
    -and, yeah... I don't know how you are getting a drill in that back I/O corner. I'd cheat and do it from the underside. No one will know if you don't show the bottom.
     
  3. One Works

    One Works New Member

    Joined:
    21 Oct 2020
    Posts:
    16
    Likes Received:
    23
    Hey, you're still around doing this! I'll have to take a look and see what you've been up to in the last 13 years. Was always impressed by your work. Yeah, I suppose turning a 9.85kg chunk o metal into a 0.96kg one is a tad on the obnoxious side :hehe: I did consider drilling from the underside, like you said, no one would know. But, there was a solution... throw money at it :duh:
     
  4. One Works

    One Works New Member

    Joined:
    21 Oct 2020
    Posts:
    16
    Likes Received:
    23
    Update from today so far... got some teeny tiny collets. Though, not the smallest they had.

    [​IMG]

    They go with the teeny tiny toolholder

    [​IMG]

    Here it is with it's big brothers. 2nd from the left is the tool I used to remove the bulk of the material from the block. It's had a couple of oops moments.

    [​IMG]

    Plenty of clearance...

    [​IMG]

    And that's a complete drilled and tapped hole. Used a roll forming tap for a stronger thread, and so I didn't have to worry about chip evacuation.

    [​IMG]
     
    Karrek, Cheapskate and lowfat like this.
  5. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

    Joined:
    23 Oct 2001
    Posts:
    34,252
    Likes Received:
    1,679
    That is crazy milling, and a crazy waste of aluminium. I hope you are recycling the swarf... :p
     
  6. Defyant Mods

    Defyant Mods Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    14 Sep 2004
    Posts:
    1,132
    Likes Received:
    589
    Crazy stuff !!:rock::rock: what's a chunk like that worth?
     
  7. kim

    kim hardware addict

    Joined:
    10 Jan 2016
    Posts:
    958
    Likes Received:
    436
    I have been following for 2 decades here, and I've been totally amazed by your past project: EXTREME AIR, back in the days, what you performed out of foam was :jawdrop: :wallbash: ... impatient to follow your work with a mill :rock:
     
  8. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

    Joined:
    13 May 2007
    Posts:
    11,262
    Likes Received:
    1,199
    Thanks, man! :D
    Catch up: You'd have to run through MNPCTech's social media since I've been drawing for him for ages... and his image server got hacked last year. I don't think his machinist is very fond of me anymore. :lol:
     
  9. One Works

    One Works New Member

    Joined:
    21 Oct 2020
    Posts:
    16
    Likes Received:
    23
    Cheers, for the replies guys

    For sure, the swarf will join its mates from previous work in the 2.6m³ bin outside and wait for recycling :grin:

    About $140 NZD, somewhere around $94 USD... of course if I were in the states, it would be less I believe :sigh:

    Wow, that's a long time. Though, I probably first joined about that time too. Surprised to find anyone that remembers that project. It's still sitting in my garage. Unfortunately this won't be anywhere near as creative as that was!

    I'll take a look at some stage soon. Have you been setting difficult tasks for his machinist to accomplish? :hehe:
     
    kim likes this.
  10. One Works

    One Works New Member

    Joined:
    21 Oct 2020
    Posts:
    16
    Likes Received:
    23
    I've done some more work... and I don't like it.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Had trouble making the top panel. The large extruded flat bar I got to use for the task wasn't exactly flat. Also had a heap of internal stress, so moved about as I machined it. Not sure what I'll do with it at this stage, likely scrap it. In any case, I'm not fond of the design with the large vent holes. Inspired by the new cards from Nvidia I've been playing with other designs and am thinking I might give this one a go to see how it looks. Looks good on screen, but so did the design above. Also means a redesign of a couple of other aspects of the case, and probably scrapping the main case that I have machined so far :hehe:

    [​IMG]
     
    Cheapskate and Jean R built like this.
  11. Jean R built

    Jean R built Active Member

    Joined:
    17 Feb 2020
    Posts:
    132
    Likes Received:
    154
    From my project experience with badly extruded materials, I feel you :sigh:.

    Honestly I wouldn't scrap the top panel you already made, keep it at least until you are sure the new one is better that the old one.

    You could make a new layer to put on top of what you have right now, looking at the photos it doesn't look warped too much.
     
  12. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

    Joined:
    13 May 2007
    Posts:
    11,262
    Likes Received:
    1,199
    Holes: You didn't use a ball end mill. :lol:
    New design: Put a slight curved dome in that pattern and it will be obscenely sexy.
    If you re-do the base, having that pattern crawl down the sides is an option.
     
  13. Jean R built

    Jean R built Active Member

    Joined:
    17 Feb 2020
    Posts:
    132
    Likes Received:
    154
    yep with some refining done to the top panel you have now, it's gonna be sexy :cool:
     
  14. riekmaharg2

    riekmaharg2 has started the PowerCore scratch build

    Joined:
    22 Feb 2009
    Posts:
    1,305
    Likes Received:
    155
    Woah thats a chunky block of alu! Supprised, I thought the price would have been higher for that. How long did it take to mill that? I think that new design might look even better :hehe:
     
  15. One Works

    One Works New Member

    Joined:
    21 Oct 2020
    Posts:
    16
    Likes Received:
    23
    Was trying to keep it low profile, so didn't have the height to go full Apple :hehe:

    Not exactly following on the curved dome part, but it sounds interesting

    I've gone ahead with the new concept and prefer it. May revisit the design with the large holes later though.

    About 10 minutes to remove the bulk of the material. Overall, something like 3 or 4 hours because I'm using the wrong tools for the job :wallbash:
     
    Jean R built likes this.
  16. One Works

    One Works New Member

    Joined:
    21 Oct 2020
    Posts:
    16
    Likes Received:
    23
    Update time. I've gone ahead and machined up a new top panel based on the new design from the last post. Unfortunately I'm not sure I can make it work properly with the current case, but wanted to machine it to see if I liked it in real life vs an image on the computer.

    1st operation was decking off the top and machining out the fin pattern.
    [​IMG]

    Next task while I had the chunk of metal for superglue fixturing in the vise was to make part of the fixture for the final operation.
    [​IMG]

    Onto the fixture for the 2nd operation to support the fins while machining.
    [​IMG]

    After the 2nd operation. Outside of the panel finished.
    [​IMG]

    Fixture clamp that was made earlier in place.
    [​IMG]

    After the final operation.
    [​IMG]

    And finally, the finished panel in place.
    [​IMG]
     
  17. Jean R built

    Jean R built Active Member

    Joined:
    17 Feb 2020
    Posts:
    132
    Likes Received:
    154
    Follow your instinct :thumb:
     
  18. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

    Joined:
    13 May 2007
    Posts:
    11,262
    Likes Received:
    1,199
    I meant slightly taller fins shaved down into a curved pyramid shape.
    ... :lol: Too late.
    It looks fantastic. I can't see how much underside was removed with the matching aluminum background. If the fins are fully free I bet that last pass made one hell of a ringing noise.
     
  19. One Works

    One Works New Member

    Joined:
    21 Oct 2020
    Posts:
    16
    Likes Received:
    23
    Never too late, I'm happy to scrap parts and remake if a better idea comes up. I'll have a play with some drawings and see. As mentioned, I have to remake the whole thing anyway :lol:

    Removed all of the underside. Was thinking about leaving some material for support, but thought it would look better without so wanted to give it a go first. Ended up stronger than I thought. It was well supported by the fixture though, so sounded like a fairly solid cut, no ringing or chatter.

    [​IMG]
    Part needs deburring on the back side. Fixture was in the way to use the chamfer tool.
     
    Last edited: 28 Oct 2020
  20. Karrek

    Karrek Member

    Joined:
    7 Jun 2011
    Posts:
    224
    Likes Received:
    24
    That is sexy - love it! Just don't accidentally push down on the center...
     

Share This Page