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Case Mod - In Progress Skulduggery. Completed.

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by Umbra, 24 Feb 2014.

  1. Umbra

    Umbra What's a Dremel?

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    Skulduggery.
    : underhanded or unscrupulous behaviour; also : a devious device or trick.

    This case mod is all about taking an old case and turning it (literally) into a more modern style case with the motherboard turned through 90 degrees, not really that much of a devious device or trick to warrant the Skullduggery name but if all goes well the final paint and design should be what makes this build reflect the name Skullduggery.

    Afraid there wont be many shots of new shiny PC parts as I will be using the hardware from my present PC, i5-2500k @4.4GHz, Gigabyte GA-Z68A-D3 mobo, 8GHz Corsair Vengeance LP RAM, MSI GTX 780 Twin Frozr OC, the mobo is a bit dated and basic but the system plays Skyrim with an ENB plus loads of other mods which is all I need at the moment so I can't complain.

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    One new part I'll be using is an Aerocool Touch fan speed controller

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    It looks well made and the metal side mounting brackets are quite thick and substantial, the controller also has USB3 ports so I won't have to mount a USB port bracket on the case.


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    I'm using a big old Thermaltake case which was the first case I ever bought for my first build, think it was around 2001-2,

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    I've been using this case as a test bed for a while which is why it has a rather lost looking micro ATX motherboard in it :hehe:

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    The fact that this case is quite high at 52cm means it can be rotated 90 degrees (the front of the case now becomes the base of the case) so it will have the proportions that I what, slightly longer than it is higher,

    First thing was to remove the front door and plastic cover and strip out the drive bays and all the fittings so I had a clean space to work in, the basic layout will be similar to the Silverstone Fortress case with two 180mm fans at the base of the case

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    so the first job was to make a template for the fan platform, I was going to make a separate panel to fit in the bottom of the case to mount the PSU on but then realised it would be a neater solution to incorporate that into the fan platform, so it now becomes the fan and PSU platform.

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    Once I had the template worked out I transferred the measurements to a piece of 2mm sheet steel to size and marked out the fan cutouts, PSU cutout and the fold lines and set to work with the jig saw and the files and also drilled the fan mounting holes and the PSU mounting bolt holes.

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    With the cutouts done now I had to do some folding to make the platform,

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    I have a small sheet metal folder that clamps into a vice which does a good job as long as you make sure the metal is positioned squarely in it before folding or else you get a real mess and if there is one thing that drives me crazy it's angles that are not correct and edge lines that are not straight, sometimes a simple job of just cutting a piece of metal and getting a nice straight line at the correct angle can be harder than it looks when you only have simple hand tools as anyone that's worked with metal will know, I'm not a qualified engineer but I have worked in engineering as a semi-skilled engineer and when you have used professional equipment to cut and work metal it can be very frustrating not having the equipment, "I really want a metal cutting guillotine!"

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    Anyway, I had to make four folds on the platform to make the shape needed to give it some height and managed to get the folds right (almost messed one up and bent it in the wrong direction!)

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    The finished fan and PSU platform

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    It fits pretty good in the case,

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    the platform is 20mm high so I fitted a piece of 20mm square profile under the platform in the middle to add some support.

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    I'm using two silverstone 180mm fans with rubber mounts

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    a check shows that the fans and PSU all fit and line up correctly, the original case metal under the platform will be cut out so it's not restricting the fans but I'm leaving it there for now until I'm sure that none of it will be needed to attach anything to, I wont be using the PSU in these shots I have a Seasonic in my present PC which will be used :cooldude:

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    Time to use my new toy, a metal cutting slide saw which will greatly reduce the amount of hack sawing I have do (my right shoulder is a bit knackered) and also it cuts nice straight lines and angles.

    The case will have a new cover fitted to what is now the top of the case, I thought about using the original front cover and door on the top but it's way too ugly :nono: so I'm going to make a new cover.

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    I cut some 6x50mm ally flat

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    and some square 20x20mm ally profile, this metal is for the cover that will fit on top of the case and cover the I/O panel and all the leads, there will also be a fan fitted into the cover which will have some mesh fitted to allow plenty of air flow.

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    My machine shop, drill and stand with drill vice, £20 from a boot sale, always keep your work space clean and tidy :duh:

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    All the metal cut to size and shaped with the mounting holes drilled, I've cut the side rails so they are tapered towards the front to add a bit of shape to the cover,

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    tapped a 6mm thread into the profile centres, I'm using some square profile and some profile with a curved side to make the end parts of the cover

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    and bolted it all altogether.

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    Cut some more metal this time some 3mm ally flat and drilled the mounting holes, these pieces bolt to the profiles and hold them together to stop them twisting and help strengthen the cover.

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    Before fitting the top cover I drilled out the old pop rivets as they were sticking up and would prevent the cover from sitting flat on the case top and replaced them with some 3mm countersunk headed bolts.

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    Drilled the end profiles and tapped 6mm threads into them and bolted the 3mm bracing plates to them and finally got to try the cover on the case.

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    Now you can see the overall shape of the case, simple, uncluttered, that's how I want it,
    if your thinking it's a bit over engineered just for a cover, your absolutely right :D but all will be revealed in my next post assuming all goes to plan :idea:
     
    Last edited: 7 Jun 2014
  2. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    This may be the cleverest re-purposing of a Dragon case yet.
     
  3. Umbra

    Umbra What's a Dremel?

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    Thank you, I've been meaning to do something with this case for a while but really didn't want such a high case so this seemed the ideal thing to do with it, if I can buy another one cheaply I would like to build a water system as there should be more than enough space :D
     
  4. AlienwareAndy

    AlienwareAndy What's a Dremel?

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    'Beauty from the beast'

    Seriously great work but man, what were you thinking? That case was one of the most honking monstrosities ever to grace the IT world. Even back when it launched it just sat there and went "honk honk honk".

    And I've been known to be partial to an ugly case but hot diggity this thing honks.

    Looking forward to being able to actually look at this :D
     
  5. Umbra

    Umbra What's a Dremel?

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    How dare you :D Yep, I definitely had a case of (no pun intended) the bigger the better for my first build and even with an ATX board, four HDD's, two CD drives, a floppy drive and loads of screaming 80mm fans in it (I stuck everything I had in it) there was still loads of space, the thing is I knew very little about PC's, I bought my first one from a friend, took it apart and with a "Build your own PC book" learnt how to put it back together and thought I want to do that again but bigger so this case was how I learnt the basics of PC building.

    I saw the case in a PC mag and even though there was far less choice with case designs back then I sure picked a fugly one and I even paid more for the windowed door (sure it looked better in the mag?) I wasn't online then so I went to the local library and ordered it online from scan and I was a bit surprised when it turned up, the box was bloody huge :confused:
    I used it for a few years with a Pc chips board and an AMD K6 then a Chaintech board and a load of different Athlons, it served me well and took all the abuse I threw at it and I couldn't bring myself to chuck it away so I kept it thinking I might find a use for it.
    It's quite well made and heavy duty so when you junk the plastic and some parts you have a good solid shell to work with, or you could just live in it :lol:

    Work on Skulduggery is going well so I'll have an update soon, I'm trying to do this build cheaply but I dropped my camera and broke the screen so now I have to get another camera which is a cost I could have done without.
     
  6. AlienwareAndy

    AlienwareAndy What's a Dremel?

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    LOL PC chips. We used to sell their boards in the shop. People would fit a DIMM to them, remove it, go to refit it only to find the DIMM pins stretch and won't make contact.

    Those were the days where a cheap board truly meant a cheap board. Even the DIMM sockets and CPU socket were of inferior quality :)

    Tis a nice bit of vintage pron you've got going on here. Even better to see the terrible mistakes of case manufacturing put to rights :)

    I forgive you though... Back then there really wasn't anywhere near the level of choice we have now.
     
  7. Mosquito

    Mosquito Minimodder

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    looking great so far, can't wait to see where it goes :thumb:
     
  8. Egami

    Egami Why is the dremel on fire?

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    This reminds me of the days when I too went to the library for interweb. Subbed. :thumb:
     
  9. Umbra

    Umbra What's a Dremel?

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    Thinking about it makes me feel old especially when you can now access the web on a phone, it was only about 15 years ago but it feels a lot longer, progress equals getting older :D
     
  10. Egami

    Egami Why is the dremel on fire?

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    I know... I'm not old but I remember the time when you'd run or ride a bike to your friend's house to ask if they were in. Do that today and you'd prolly get arrested for stalking, no matter how seven or eight you'd be. Oh lordy...
    I like the way you flipped the case to make it longer than tall. Can't wait to see some nice karma fall your way so you can go under water with it.
     
    Last edited: 6 Jul 2014
  11. Umbra

    Umbra What's a Dremel?

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    Skulduggery update, Got gas!

    The Skulduggery build has been going well so time for an update, as I mentioned previously the top cover I made might seem a bit over engineered but the reason for this is the cover is going to be hinged (for easy access to the I/O panel, leads and fans) and powered by a gas strut to open it, these gas struts might be small but they are quite powerful and if the cover was not strong enough the strut would push the cover out of shape and distort it so it would not sit squarely on the case.

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    There is formula for working out the strength of the strut you will need for any given application but I didn't use any of that :rolleyes: having used these struts before on a few things like cupboard doors, I had a rough idea what I would need so I bought two struts a 50N and an 80N, hopefully one of them will do the job.

    First job was to drill the mounting points for the hinges on the rear profiles and tap a 6mm thread in them,

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    I've used two 75mm steel hinges these hinges can support a six foot door so they should be strong enough for the cover

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    bolted the hinges on and put the cover on the case and lined it up squarely and clamped it in place so I could mark the mounting points for the hinges on rear panel of the case.

    Drilled the mounting points in the case, rounded off the corners of the hinges to make them look a bit better and bolted the hinges to the case, amazingly, it all lines up and works.

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    Now the fun bit, fitting the strut

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    positioning and bolting on the bottom strut mounting was straight forward enough but now I had to work out where the top mounting point for the strut needed to go

    these struts are difficult to compress by hand and hold in that position whilst trying to work out the angle needed to open the cover so using clamps I tried the top strut mount at various angles until I got it right

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    after some trial and error, a lot of bad language and clamps slipping off and trying to take my head off I finally got the right position where the strut extends the full amount and opens the cover enough to gain access

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    and when the strut compresses down to the fully closed position it just goes over centre so the struts top mount is actually pointing down very slightly so the strut is pushing the cover down and holding it closed :cooldude:

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    The top and bottom strut mounts were not quite in line so I made a spacer to fit behind the struts top mounting point to straighten it up, the strut must be mounted in a straight line so it only pushes the cover up vertically and not to the left or right and off line

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    drilled the top mounting bolt holes and countersunk them

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    and bolted on the top mount to the cover side rail.

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    I was a bit lucky with the strength of the struts I chose and the 80N unit works really nice and the cover lifts in a slow controlled quite graceful way.

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    The cover is 50mm high so there is enough room for the leads when plugged in and enough room for the graphics cable which will fit onto a 90 degree adaptor, all the leads will run through a pci slot and exit through the base of the case.


    Time to start fitting the Touch screen fan controller

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    I'm using the original drive cage and the brackets that come with the case, it's certainly not a quick tool-less mounting system as in many cases today but this case is about fifteen years old.
    The mounting brackets are screwed onto the fan controller

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    and act as rails which align it in place, also drilled some new mounting holes in the drive cage

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    the spring clips on the brackets lock the controller in place.

    With the fan controller fitted I could now work out the measurements for cutting the hole in the front panel of the case

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    the case marked out for cutting

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    used a cutting wheel to roughly cut out the hole

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    and finished it off accurately with files.

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    Drilled some mounting holes for the drive cage in the top of the case and bolted the fan controller in place.

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    I'm only using two drives, a 3TB HDD and a 128GB SSD

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    I have a VelociRaptor HDD with a neat heatsink that I was thinking of using but it's only 300GB and I would like to position it somewhere so that can be seen but that doesn't really fit in with the style of this build so I'll keep it for another build,

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    I'm re-using one of the original HDD cages to mount them in which is in turn will be mounted inside the 5.25" drive cage, I'm not fitting an internal DVD drive/burner as I have an external USB drive.

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    To secure the HDD cage I made a mounting bracket to fit inside the cage, first drilled two holes in the cage and countersunk them

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    then fitted a piece of ally bar with holes drilled in it to line up with the holes inside the cage and secured it with some countersunk bolts,

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    once the mounting bracket was fitted inside I drilled a 5mm hole through the cage and the ally mounting bracket and tapped a 6mm thread in it

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    the HDD cage could now be mounted in the 5.25" drive cage and held in place by a single 6mm socket headed bolt.

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    the HDD cage fitted inside the 5.25" drive cage with the USB header cable running through it

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    finally got the 5.25" drive cage fitted in the case and the touch screen lined up

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    That's all for now.
     
    Last edited: 1 Mar 2014
  12. AlderonnX

    AlderonnX Minimodder

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    I LOVE this.. i'm stealing this idea if turning the case on its front.
     
  13. AlienwareAndy

    AlienwareAndy What's a Dremel?

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    Great stuff !
     
  14. Nexxo

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

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    Takes ancient case --mods it into an awesome new case. LIKE A BOSS.
     
  15. Umbra

    Umbra What's a Dremel?

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    Cool, I stole it from Silverstone :D it obviously helps when you have a high case to start with to give you more space to play with and I know Andy was real upset that I cut up such a great looking case but I'm over it now ;)

    Thinking about it you could use a smaller case, you don't have to use two 180mm fans, two good 140mm fans would work or you might be able to squeeze in a water setup, I've not built a water rig yet so I'm not familiar with the size of all the components.
     
  16. Umbra

    Umbra What's a Dremel?

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    Thanks :D Oh yeh, I stole your lathe :hip:
     
  17. AlderonnX

    AlderonnX Minimodder

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    yeah i may try it on a old mATX case. Gods know I have enough laying around. i'll be watching this build.
     
  18. AlienwareAndy

    AlienwareAndy What's a Dremel?

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    "honk honk honk"

    :D
     
  19. Umbra

    Umbra What's a Dremel?

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    Work on Skulduggery is going well so here is an update.

    I want a minimal look to the front panel so I'm using a low profile power switch,

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    cut a hole for the switch and mounted it,

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    didn't want the LED holder sticking out of the front panel so made a bracket that the power LED fits into

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    the bracket is held in place by the power switch lock nut,

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    the head of the LED just fits into the small hole in the panel but doesn't stick out.


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    Started work on the case door, the original plexiglass in the door got broken years ago but that didn't matter as the door was going to have a solid metal panel fitted because it was going to be painted

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    first thing was to cut off the door latch mounting plate from the door frame as I won't be using that and smooth off the edges

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    I would use the old plexi mounting holes to mount the new metal panel to but there was some holes in the door frame that I didn't need so I filled them in with solder and filed/sanded them down until smooth

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    once painted you wont know they were there.


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    I'm using the side panel from another old case, it has a vent pattern on one side which I wanted to keep

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    cut the edges off the panel so it was flat and shaped it a bit so it fitted inside the door frame

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    and drilled the mounting holes to line up with the holes in the door frame.

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    Because the door will be painted I had to make sure there was no gaps around the edges between the new panel and the door frame so I made some clamping strips from ally

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    these would use the panel mounting holes and bolt down on the panel edges and clamp the panel and door frame together

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    3mm countersunk headed screws hold it all together.

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    The complete door with new panel fitted

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    no nasty gaps to mess with the paint and graphics.

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    As there is no longer a door catch I simply used a small magnet to hold the door closed, being a magnet it just clamps to the steel case and is easily strong enough to hold the door in place.


    Now to fit some fans

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    new fans a 140mm and a 120mm with white LED's these fans will go inside the top cover

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    cut the case out so the hole lined up and with the fan, drilled four holes for the rubber fan mounts, these mounts are so much quicker and easier than screws

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    fitted the fan to the rubber mounts and job done.

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    The 140mm fitted, bit of a tight fit but it's in there.

    I was also going to fit a 120mm fan on the top just above the pci slots but I'm not sure it's really necessary so I'm going to leave it for now and see what the temps in the case are like when it's up and running, my present PC has two 180mm fans in the base of the case and a 140mm on the top just like this build and it works fine and moves plenty of air so adding a 120mm fan probably wont help much.


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    Time to cut out the horrible square mesh panels that the original 80mm fans fitted into, could you make them any uglier!

    Used the angle grinder with a cutting wheel fitted, one of my favourite tools as it's so quick and easy but the cutting wheels are lethal and cut anything in their path,

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    including fingers, I'll spare you the bloody mess it was when it just happened, almost down to the knuckle in a micro second :rolleyes:

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    Anyway, my composure regained I cleaned up the mesh hole

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    and cut some honeycomb mesh to fit in the space,

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    drilled four holes in the top panel and used pop rivets with small washers to fix the mesh in place.



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    cut some more mesh to fit into the pci slots,

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    just a quick bend and used the pci slot screws to fix the mesh in place,

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    the motherboard and gpu in the picture are just for reference, I'll be using a GTX780 gpu so I had to leave two pci slots clear for that bigger card and the last pci slot is left clear for all the leads to run through.


    Didn't want a reset button on the front panel so I mounted it inside the the top cover on the top panel

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    all it needed was a hole drilled and bolt it in place.

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    That's it for now, have to sort out some case feet or rails/runners not sure yet and some top cover mesh then it will be time for paint and graphics.
     
  20. AlienwareAndy

    AlienwareAndy What's a Dremel?

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    Crikey, what an update. You've been busy !!

    Loving this.
     

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