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Scratch Build – In Progress The Free-Case

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by miculago, 15 Feb 2021.

  1. miculago

    miculago What's a Dremel?

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    I have a PC project ongoing since summer 2020 and it is still not completed. I was enjoying conventional PC building before, but this is my first build starting with CAD design and external manufacturing of parts. Initially, I did not expect to come that far, so I did not think of a build log but if you don’t mind, I would like to share my progress with all you and document the upcoming progress as well.

    It started with a card board mockup.

    signal-2020-07-29-150345 (2).jpg

    After the initial planning phase I chose the name “Free-Case” as the components seem to be floating free in space and no restriction of a housing are present. One can argue that it is a PC stand, but I prefer the term case.

    IMG_20210128_191703_01.jpg

    The Free-Case was planned to meet my personal needs. My intention was to create a case reduced to it's minimum functionality, including eliminating restricted air flow patterns of modern cases and allowing the use of full-ATX components. It is designed to be placed on the desk and to allow showing off the beauty of PC components.
    Minimalism resulted in a design with only two parts, the base plate and a back plate.
    The base plate, made of 8mm aluminum is the holder for the motherboard, in sizes of ATX, microATX as well as miniITX and offers cutouts for cable routing.
    The back plate, made of 2mm aluminum holds the I/O shield of the motherboard, offers cutouts and mounting points for traditional GPU mounting and moves the power supply to the opposite side of the mainboard. Power supplies of ATX size can be installed, which eliminates restrictions e.g. of small form factors or any power limitations.
    The setup of base plate and back plate in combination with the power supply as counter weight opposite to the remaining components results in a tripod like structure with proper stability against tilt.
    The main PC components, motherboard, CPU and CPU cooler, RAM, GPU and storage are exposed visually and have no restrictions of air flow.

    A fully equipped ATX setup shows a very small footprint due to the reduction to solely essential elements and the chosen arrangement of the power supply.

    IMG_20210128_153432_01.jpg

    This first design of the Free-Case does not allow any form of front I/O and does not allow the installation of a power switch. This is derived from cost restrictions, as external manufacturing is quite expensive. So, the choice was to create a design with the least amount of individual parts needed. A later design upgrade may foresee an I/O plate with a power switch in the front or the side of the case.

    I did install a Ryzen 3600 on a ASUS x370 mainboard with 16 GB RAM and a R9 Fury. The Fury is the best GPU I wanted to invest in at the current price level.

    IMG_20210130_142358_01.jpg

    I have a lot of work left for further build updates.
    The next planned upgrade is custom wiring for the power supply, as cabling looks like a mess. Its the first time I am dealing with custom wiring and right now waiting for the necessary tools to arrive.

    IMG_20210130_142534_01.jpg
     

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    Last edited: 16 Feb 2021
    MLyons, Cheapskate and kim like this.
  2. Nexaner7

    Nexaner7 What's a Dremel?

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    Theoretically, you could even cut off the parts with the cable cutouts around the mobo. Instead you could use some kind of clip on the back.
    That would make the case even smaller and the components float even more.

    I do really like the minimalistic idea.
     
  3. miculago

    miculago What's a Dremel?

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    Thanks a lot for your advice. I actually came to the same conclusion as the machined parts arrived and the setup was assambled. It looks a liitle heavy and empty around the cable ducts. Maybe I find some water cooling tubes to pass through in the further process :grin:
    One will see
     
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  4. MLyons

    MLyons 70% Dev, 30% Doge. DevDoge Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    I actually really like the concept of this. Keep it up
     
  5. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    I had a similar bench drawn up for someone. Mine had a two layer motherboard tray so there's a space to stuff long cables. You could do something like that. -Maybe put a bend on top to hold a radiator.
     
  6. miculago

    miculago What's a Dremel?

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    Two layers is a really clever idea, thanks for this advice. I actually tend to follow your second advice with the radiator, there is a lot of space on the PSU side and lucky me realized yesterday that second hand GPU waterblocks are extremely cheap right now ...because of crypto mining I guess. :clap:

    I'll keep you updated
     
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  7. miculago

    miculago What's a Dremel?

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    I received tools and took some time to get the cables managed.
    I took all the old cables out and soldered in new cables, all black, into the power supply. It's my first time cable modding and I realized some room for improvement during the process, but actually I am really happy with the result.

    My conclusion is, the effort is extremely high and it is easier to buy a modular power supply and do the cable extensions.
    IMG_20210220_224108_01.jpg IMG_20210228_090820_01.jpg
    IMG_20210228_091156_01.jpg IMG_20210228_091059_01.jpg IMG_20210228_090953_01.jpg
     
  8. dan297

    dan297 Minimodder

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    Whoa. That is quite a task. If you didn't short anything - well done :clap:
    You could have gone the extra mile and sleeved them during the process though...

    Anyway, that cable management looks definitely different. I kinda like it :thumb:
     
  9. miculago

    miculago What's a Dremel?

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    Nothing shorted yet. I think I will try to rearrange some twisted wires to get an even look.
    Cable sleeving would be a plus but I lack space. The psu housing is already packed, so there is no space left for sleeving.
     
  10. Canardwc

    Canardwc @French_fab_factorie

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    Really Nice done and cables are great without sleeving :thumb:
     
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