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Case Mod - In Progress Shinai - Antec P380 casemod [continued tweaking]

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by InsolentGnome, 24 Aug 2015.

  1. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Member

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    Welp, since I'm waiting on parts to finish up Spark, I figured I'd start on the next victim...

    Shinai is a weapon used for practice and competition in kendo representing a Japanese sword. The word "shinai" is derived from the verb shinau, meaning "to bend, to flex", and was originally short for shinai-take (flexible bamboo). Shinai is written with the kanji 竹刀, meaning "bamboo sword".

    Let's start with the patient, Antec's P380
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    It's really a nice case with a lot of room and good spots for cooling, but what sold me was the aluminum panel on the front. I like the look.

    First thing, time for some disassembly. There's a little too much stuff in here.
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    The cages have to go. Luckily they're all screwed in, including the 5 1/4" bays.
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    The top should have room for a 360mm rad with minimal modification.
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    Same with the front.
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    There's a nice touch where you can swap what side your I/O panel is on. I think I'll keep this functional.
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    Think I'll keep the front intake grill and screen functional too, since I'm planning on this being my daily driver. There will definitely be some upgrades to the looks though.
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    So what, you might ask, am I putting in this nice big case? Well, I'll tell you the plan so far...

    Motherboard: Asus Maximus VII Hero. Very pretty.
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    CPU: Intel i7 4790K Devil's Canyon.
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    RAM: 16GB of 1866MHz Geil Veloce Enhance. The gold is growing on me. ;)
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    Drive: 480GB OCZ Vector 180 to start with. I'd like to come up with two more of these bad boys.
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    PSU: Cooler Master V1200 Platinum. Yeah, yeah. Overkill, smoverkill. :p
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    That's the loadout for now.

    But Gnome, why did you name your case after a bamboo sword??? To answer this, we need to start rapping.

    My name is Gnome,
    And I'm here to say,
    I hope you're having,
    A very nice day.

    Wait, not rapping. WRAPPING!

    Start with two, nice hunky pieces of aluminum. Or aluminium, whatever your flavor.
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    Add in one large sheet of bamboo veneer.
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    Slather them up with some glue.
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    Once it's all dry, iron the heck out of it, and you wind up with...
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    While I was waiting for the glue to dry before ironing, I managed to do some mock-ups as well.
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    Now I have a nice little template for the back wall, floor, and PSU shroud, plus I can start to pull parts together for the loop.

    Thanks for checking it out and stay tuned!
     
    Last edited: 9 Mar 2016
  2. Icelander

    Icelander Member

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    I like this simple but elegant project you are taking on. The P380 is bigger than I thought. Once cages removed it shows. haha
     
  3. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Member

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    Thanks! Yeah, it's got plenty of room. I'm thinking of using two 270 Photon reservoirs just to kill some space. :lol:
     
  4. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Member

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    Now that Spark is done and set up(cause we all need an i7 jukebox, right?), time to hit the ground running on Shinai!

    First off, we got some more components in:

    EK Supremacy block
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    EK D5 with acrylic top
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    Pair of Hardware Labs Black Ice 360 XFlow radiators
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    And plugging things in to see how it's going to fit
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    The radiators fit really well, with only a little bit of work to get some screw holes on the front rad to work. Everything was looking peachy until I started to play around with pump placement. Obviously with the acrylic top, I want to show it off, but with the way the XFlow on the front lays out, I'm not liking the tubing. I could get it to work, but it wouldn't fit the look I'm going for, so I went back and ordered a standard Black Ice 360. I know it will fit since it's a little shorter than a XFlow and I think the tubing will look a whole lot better.

    After getting that figured out and working out some plans for the mb tray(unsurprisingly, I had to order stuff for that too), I decided to work on the outside of the case a bit. I like the look, especially with the bamboo, but it needs a little more flair.

    Enter the perforated aluminum...
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    I decided that since the exterior panels have a side profile of brushed aluminum, I'd keep using aluminum for accent pieces. So, time for some grills!

    First off, we have to get rid of the slot stuff that Antec put in our way.
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    After some filing, on to the next step, hoping the aluminum piece we cut, fits.
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    Once we get that all figured out, tap some holes
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    And voila!
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    And with the USB panel and exterior panels in place
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    Sorry about the overexposure on that one pic, dang! Now I just need to decide what to do with the USB bracket. I had thought about putting a piece of the aluminum on the blank side of the bracket, but now I'm leaning to covering both sides with some brushed vinyl film. I'll save that for another update though.
     
  5. Vetalar

    Vetalar *learning english*

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    i'll watch! subbed
     
  6. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    Oh, Man! Scrolling up from the bottom, I thought that mesh was stock at first. -Niiiiice. Far better than those shiddy vents.
     
  7. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Member

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    Thanks Cheaps! That's the best complement I could hope for!:D
     
    Last edited: 11 Sep 2015
  8. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Member

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    So, small update. Been dying waiting on one piece of acrylic. It's just about shut me down completely, but I've done some little pieces.

    Firstly, my new radiator came in

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    This is going to make the hardlines nicer but,

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    The hole spacing is just a bit off, so it wont be a direct bolt in. This isn't a bad thing, as I can make a mounting panel for it that also cleans up the inside of the case.

    And speaking of cleaning up the inside of the case, I went ahead and cut a piece of aluminum for the floor

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    I only took it back to the rails for the PSU filter because I'm hoping to be able to still use it. Fingers crossed.

    One more thing I could do while waiting for material was figure out a pump cover. I thought about just ordering one, but where's the fun in that. Plus, making my own allows me use materials that tie the case together. In this case, the perforated aluminum.

    First off, I made a ring out of the aluminum, pump sized

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    The ring is held together by a solder joint on the bottom. I did some homework about soldering aluminum together and let me say, I'd rather solder copper any day. Although, with a few more tries, I'd probably get better with it.

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    After cleaning it up a bit. Passable, but not pretty. After a little filing and a little sanding though, I got what I was looking for.

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    Once all the mock up is done I can put a brushed finish on this bad boy and with some sleeving, I think it'll look great.
     
  9. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Member

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    Just a quick update before I go spend the weekend at a music festival in St Louis. I had to get a few things accomplished before we went, otherwise I'd have spent the whole weekend thinking about a case. :p

    Built the new fan/rad mount for the front of the case out of some .025" aluminum. Once I clean up a few bits of the existing panel and get it mounted, I'll figure out my opening for the radiator .

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    The materials that I was waiting on to really move forward with the case finally arrived, YAY!

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    2 pieces of 3/8" acrylic. One of these is destined to be a motherboard tray, the other, well, don't worry about that one for now. Let's get to the mb tray.

    I got the acrylic cut to the right size and now it's time to get it into the case. This requires a bit of disassembly.

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    At this point, the build started feeling a lot like my first build, F3, no back panel, and all wobbly. Bad flashbacks.

    Got the tray fitted and all the mounting holes drilled. I know I'll be putting this together and taking it apart a lot, and I wanted to make sure my screw threads lasted. I used a little trick picked up from another modder(Waynio) and put in some brass inserts for the screws.

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    Then I slipped the back panel back on and screwed everything together. Well, most everything. I did wind up with a few holes being a bit off and rather than forcing things, I'll just open them up a bit next time I take it apart. I'm also going to have to make some notches for my top panel to slide in, but all in all, it's great.

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    And the tray mounted.

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    It's a lot thicker than the steel panel and cuts into my room for cables and the back mounted SSD's. I'll have to be a little creative on some mounting, but the thick panel allows me to mount components to it without having to worry about anything showing on the other side. This is important to me because I'm going to be covering the panel in the same bamboo veneer I used on the outside of the case and I want a very clean look on both sides.

    And that's all I've got today. Time to get ready to go enjoy some music and have a good time! :D
     
  10. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Member

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    Slowly plodding along...this part always seems to drag out. :wallbash:

    Cut the opening for the fans in my aluminum front panel and got it mounted. I'm using 2 rivets on one side of the panel to hold it in place and letting the fans/rad snug it down.

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    The next project was the MB tray and getting it sorted out

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    Still have some work to do on it, like getting a pass-through for the cables and the reservoir and SSD mounts, but I need it in place to figure all that out. Put it together, take it apart. Put it together, take it apart. Glad I used the inserts for the mounting screws. I might go back and switch to M3 standoffs and use the inserts for those too. As for the clear plexi, it's just what I found in 3/8". Although it would be interesting to use it for a MB tray, this one is getting covered in bamboo veneer to match the outside of the case.

    And now to put in some hardware to start lining out the rest of the fab work, PSU cover, SSD mounts, etc.

    I spent about an hour watching reviews of fans before finally going with the EK Vardar F3.

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    It seemed that they had performance close to Typhoons and Noctuas, but a bit cheaper, and with the overkill on the rads, I could probably put some $5 fans in and keep the system plenty cool.

    All mounted up with the MB and PSU thrown in so I can work out some measurements.

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    Thanks for following along! :)
     
  11. Icelander

    Icelander Member

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    I am liking this so Far Insolent ....

    Mod on brother :dremel::dremel::rock::rock:
     
  12. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Member

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    Thanks Icelander! I'm truckin' right along!
     
  13. Parge

    Parge the worst Super Moderator

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    Given the fact that Antec make some of the most boring cases out there, this should be good! They are, in some ways, the ideal modders chassis - blank slate and all that.
     
  14. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Member

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    Yeah, it's kind of like the homely geek girl in all the teenager movies. A little make-up and new clothes and...BOOM...prom queen.
     
  15. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Member

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    Moving right along now, tackling the PSU shroud.

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    2mm thick aluminum. I was doubting that my cheap little brake could handle it and figured I'd have to heat it up some to get a bend.

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    Luckily, the brake handled it. It wasn't pretty and the clamping bar slid because of the material, but it worked, so I'm not arguing. :lol:

    At this point, I had a couple of different thoughts in my head of what to do with the side of the shroud. One was a solid piece of the aluminum. Another was the solid aluminum with a window cut in it for a piece of perforated aluminum, showing the logo of the PSU. And the third was a solid piece of perforated aluminum for the side.

    I originally tried for the solid Al with a window, but my ideas on how to improve my soldering of aluminum failed miserably, and I put that idea aside. So on to the perforated.

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    It worked out pretty well and I like it. To attach the two pieces together, I'm gonna be epoxying either mod blocks or acrylic brackets to the solid panel to eliminate screws and mounting the perforated to those. This will allow me to take it apart since the solid panel will be painted to match the frame and the perforated will get a brushed finish.

    Thanks for checking it out and up next, SSD's???
     
  16. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Member

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    Little update. In my battle with soldering aluminum, I've been losing horribly. So I've escalated the war to brazing. :D

    Same general idea, just a lot more heat. And...it works!

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    The tabs are to mount the perforated aluminum on the PSU shroud. Little rough, but considering it's the first try...not bad. A little clean up and it should be just fine.

    I did find a small problem with brazing though...

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    The temp to braze aluminum is kind of close to the temp to melt aluminum. And there really isn't a warning. That tab got trashed. And my PSU cover wilted a bit.

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    Note to self, support things you are almost melting, lol. But a little bending and everything will be right as rain. Then I can drill and tap the tabs to mount the mesh. YAY!
     
  17. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Member

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    Wow, where am I? I was waiting to get a few things finished before posting some progress, and then my hosting site went down. Now I've got a bunch of little updates and changes that overlap and will probably seem a bit out of order. I'll try to group it all up the best I can.

    First, not really a big deal, but I did clean up the brazing on my PSU shroud's tabs and got everything straightened out

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    The second update is kind of a big deal. Graphics horsepower, check!

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    I went with the Gigabyte Gaming G1 980Ti. It trades blows with the rest of the top 980Ti models and unlike the Strix Ti, was available and not ginormous, giving me a little more room for a reservoir down the line. Some of my goals with this machine are to game at 4K(at some point) and to be able to drag it to play on and show at LANs. I wanted to keep the power draw reasonable, 600w or less, but still have quite a bit of GPU. I considered a dual 980 SLI to do 4K and stay in the power budget at first but couldn't really justify the extra cost since the Ti will also push 4k and stay in the power budget for less. Plus I have a more powerful upgrade path to dual Ti's, even though it will kill the power budget.

    And although the cooler and backplate look nice, I just had to add a water block to match my acrylic pump and CPU block. I kept with EK and got their full cover block and nickle backplate for the G1. Shiny!

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    The third part of the update is the loop, or rather, the ever evolving loop. :sigh:

    So after making my little pump cover, I decided to mount the pump top up, so you could get a good view of the fluid running through it. The first idea for a mount involved some little risers I found at a local hardware shop.

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    And that was a negative. Just didn't look right. So I decided to make some legs similar to this with some angle aluminum. And that turned out horrible.

    I burned the pictures.

    And the camera.

    And melted the legs to pools of aluminum.

    Ok so I didn't do that. But it was bad and no one ever needs to see that.

    Third try? How about a nice simple bracket out of 2mm aluminum? Simple...easy...let's go!

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    Perfect! Simple! I love it!

    Then I mount the reservoir...for this I went with a dual Primochill CTR setup.

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    I was looking for something a little different and not just a straight tube res so I picked up an 80mm and a 120mm and rolled my own.

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    Add in the pump.

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    It's not bad, but I'm just not feeling it. Plus, there's no good way to get the pump outlet to line up with the GPU block terminal, which would add a weird kink in the line to the GPU.

    So I ditched the perfect bracket that I had made. :wallbash:

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    Good view of the pump top...check. GPU and pump terminals line up...check. And as bonuses, there will be nice little flourish of tubing over the pump and the perforated pump cover is more in the background. I was a little too much when combined with the PSU shroud right up front.

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    Poor bracket...don't be sad...I'll save you for later.

    Fourth part of the update...SSD's.

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    I started the project with one 480GB OCZ Vector 180 and added another 480GB and a 240GB to the mix. The 240GB and one 480GB would have been enough, but to paraphrase one of my old landscape design professors, even numbers look weird, and pairs look even more weird. So three it is!

    The idea here is to mount them on the back side of the motherboard panel, but I don't want the mounting screws showing on the other side. And if they look like they're floating, well, that'd be cool too. And, oh yeah, don't forget that you wasted a bunch of space on the back side of the MB panel using that 3/8 acrylic. :sigh: Good luck!

    Well, to start, they have to mount to something, so lets make some aluminum mounting plates.

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    I could have gone with thinner material, but for what I was planning, thicker definitely works better. Next up, something to mount the mounting plates too.

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    Ah, a nice piece of 1.5" aluminum. And next, it's about to get hot in here.

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    I'm getting better at this brazing thing. :D

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    Yo dawg, I heard you like mounts, so we put some mounts on your mounts so you can mount while you mount. :lol:

    I've got a bit more to finish up the bracket but that's where I'm at. Thanks for following along y'all!
     
  18. Dot_Kappa

    Dot_Kappa 100% Puppet

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    If you turn the pump 90° the amazing cover you have done is more visibile :lol:

    Primochill reservoirs are very nice :clap:
     
  19. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Member

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    Thanks! I tried that but with the cover next to the PSU shroud, it becomes perforated aluminum overload:lol:, and I really just want it for an accent here and there.
     
  20. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Member

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    Aaaaaaaannnnd, moving right along with the storage side of the project, I've cleaned up the SSD mount.

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    I even did a little wire brushing on it to give it something of a finished product look. I'll be doing a little better job of it during the finishing process.

    Now, let's put the drives on it.

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    The spacing is a bit wonky since I didn't get everything to the 1000th of a mm when I brazed the mounting plates on, but it's an easy fix.

    And now putting them on the MB panel. I used some aluminum spacers to raise the mount up off the panel and give everything a bit more depth.

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    This is all fine and dandy and I love how it came out, but I'm not done yet. That's a lot of work for something you'll have to take a panel off to see, so let's add some visibility by cutting in a window.

    First I had to figure out how big and how much to show. Smaller window just giving a peek on the SSDs?

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    Or a bigger window showcasing them?

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    I'm going with the latter. I think it looks better and the smaller window makes the graphics on the drives look weird to me. Though, I'm debating on covering them with vinyl or decals, because ALL three have paint defects from the packaging. Really OCZ???:sigh:

    Marking up the panel for cuts. Mr. Pump Bracket is happy because he got to help. He provided the radius for the corners. :lol:

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    And next is cutting, but I have to save that for my next update. Just a little teaser of what's in store after fabrication...Inferno Red!

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