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Scratch Build – In Progress Weighted Companion Cube Case

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by SentryOptic, 4 Feb 2009.

  1. SentryOptic

    SentryOptic New Member

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    I know it's already been done, but in my defense I actually started mine about a year and a half ago, before the Companion Cube craze had started :) . Anyways, I figured I'd fire off my first post to get everyone up to speed with the entire mod insofar. I'm nearing completion, and I really wanted to show it to the internet before I completely finish so I can at least leave something in a cliffhanger :)


    So....

    Hi everyone. My name is Scott. I'm 16 years old and, last summer, I decided to build a Weighted Companion Cube. Computer Case.

    Worked all weekend to get the box built and the corner pieces cut and all the extra stuff mitered and chamfered.


    Descriptions will match the picture directly below them. Let's begin...


    Got a 4x8 sheet of MDF board and cut it roughly into thirds. Here's one of the boards all marked up to be the sides of the cube...
    [​IMG]

    Basic cube all nailed and glued together.
    [​IMG]

    I constantly had to deal with the wood splitting... The MDF board I used is made up of layers and isn't always the sturdiest material when it comes to nailing things in.
    [​IMG]

    Cube all sanded here and test fitting the shelf for the motherboard.
    [​IMG]

    Here's the setup with the scroll saw I used to cut all the chamfers and beveled edges on the corner and edge pieces.
    [​IMG]

    The scroll saw work was going very smoothly until I was just about finished with cutting my 5th piece, and this happened...
    [​IMG]

    While the scroll saw was down, I moved my work over to the table saw and started cutting all the edges for the corners on that with the blade at a 45 degree angle. Here's how those cuts look...
    [​IMG]

    Here you see how the table-saw was angled, and in the foreground is the stack of the corner pieces ready for beveling and angling.
    [​IMG]

    Using the table saw, I cut out 24 corner pieces and then laid them on the cube. I used a big dinner plate we had as a template for marking the corners... when they were all marked, I took them to the scroll saw and then cut them on the angle with the curve.

    The process:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The result:
    [​IMG]

    Edge pieces were a different story. Had to use a complex little jig that I made in order to get a 2 inch piece closer to the table saw blade than my fingers... Didn't get a picture of it in time before the table saw got a hold of it and ripped it in 4 pieces :eek:
    Anyway, here's the template and pieces all cut and ready for scroll-saw work...
    [​IMG]

    The pieces had a curved edge on the front and a 45 degree cut on the back so that they can fit without a hitch with other adjacent edges.
    What one finished edge piece looks like... (x24)
    [​IMG]


    And of course the obligatory "what does it might maybe look like when all put together..." shot...
    [​IMG]

    You might notice in that picture than my routing job really... um.... sucks. Yeah, the routing jig slipped and the router slipped with it. Oh well, nothing a little wood-putty and some extra care won't fix :)

    Took some time off of cutting tons of stuff on the scroll saw to get to work on installing the rails I ordered...
    [​IMG]


    Next thing I did was sand down all the sharp edges with a band sander. Turned out very nice, the whole thing looks a lot better :). You can't see a lot from far away in the picture, so here's just a close up of what it looks like...
    [​IMG]

    Ghetto-rigged the computer again just to install all the parts and make sure everything was in working order. After replacing the CMOS battery and battling the computer for an hour, it finally booted up to good ol' Windows :D I have also decided that this computer will sit in the corner of my room and fold all day long.
    [​IMG]


    Last thing for the weekend was to cut out the center circles on the scroll saw and then sand them down to a fine finish. I cut them at about a 34 degree angle on the scroll saw, and i think they turned out pretty nice. And I just got back from the hardware store... got some 3/4" wood screws, so I will be putting those corner and edge pieces on as soon as I can :)


    One of the things I had been anxious to get moving on was gluing all the parts on. With them all glued in place, this is what the cube looks like:
    [​IMG]

    Definitely what I was going for.

    After I had let the glue cure for 24 hours (kind of a mandatory waiting period for any glue, i would say... just to be safe), I hauled the thing down to the garage and busted out the sandpaper. Originally I had planned to use a random-orbital sander to grind down the sharp lips on the edge pieces, but with further analysis and a little testing, I found that a single piece of 150-fine grit sandpaper rubbed at alternating angles did the trick just fine, with no need to wake the neighbors at 10PM :D So with the corners all sanded, here's what we have:

    B E F O R E
    [​IMG]

    A F T E R
    [​IMG]

    Aaah, much much better. The rounded corners add a ton of dimension to the overall shape.

    And with hardware installed on shelves, just to get them off the carpet for now until I get painting...
    [​IMG]

    For the rear doors, I have not decided on a hinge yet, but I do need a hinge that will move the doors (there will be two doors opening, like the flaps on the Thermaltake Armor, except with a more... useful purpose :D ) out and away from the sliding shelves. When I get the money, I will definitely put a better rig into this case. It's just too nice to waste on a crappy old Compaq.

    I ordered a Lian Li V-Series.... power button :p (I know, what a letdown...)

    But seriously for the power switch, this is exactly what I had in mind. I don't know where I'm going to mount it yet though... hmm...

    Anyways, moving on. I got the first coat of lovely primer gray on all the parts of the cube that needed it.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I wasn't too concerned with masking anything that didn't get painted in this round, because it will all be painted over anyways. I will mask on my next coat of paint. The corner and edge and circle pieces will be painted a lighter gray, *almost* white. I will be mixing that same color of primer gray and "Ultra Pure White."

    And all finished with the first and second coat of gray. This will be mildly sanded with fine grit sandpaper so I can keep all the brushmarks out of there :D
    [​IMG]

    I went to Home Depot (hopefully for the last time.. spent more money than I wanted to on this...) and got myself two pairs of spring loaded hinges, very high quality.
    [​IMG]

    It took me literally an hour to get it folded though. As it turns out, it needs force applied in EXACTLY the right place to fold up. Fortunately, the doors I made were perfect for this.
    [​IMG]

    First door hinged on...
    [​IMG]

    And the honest to god last thing I spent on this: A Lian-Li V-1000 Series brushed steel ATX power button. I was giddy with excitement when this arrived in the mail.
    [​IMG]

    But the thing about that hinge was that I needed a MASSIVE drill bit in order to drill through the case to fit it in there. This one did the trick nicely:
    [​IMG]

    Drilled the hole through the case now, but it needed some sanding down. For this job, I brought out the wunder-tool... teh DREMEL!!!
    [​IMG]

    Hole all finished and ready to accept the button. (Unfortunately, not an Aperature Science 1500 Megawatt Supercolliding Superbutton.)
    [​IMG]

    Button laid in.
    [​IMG]

    And I painted the pink stripes. As it turns out, I hate this too. My plan is to file out the slots and light the case pink from the inside. But for picture's sake, here's what it looks like painted.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: 4 Feb 2009
  2. SentryOptic

    SentryOptic New Member

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    And now for the most recent updates:


    I hadn't worked on the case in forever, and I had some raging ideas rolling around; it was high time to get working on it. So, without further ado, pics:

    First off, I took all the stuff out from the inside
    [​IMG]

    and roughly finished painting the exterior, with a brush.
    [​IMG]

    While rummaging for tools, I found a hardened clay cake I made for art class; obligatory shot :D
    [​IMG]

    Today was a detailing day. I started to add black spray paint to the cube: I decided pretty early on the "restage" cycle that I would be making this cube as if I had pulled it out from the depths of the Aperature Science Incinerator :) . In addition, I yoinked my parent's Creme-Brule torch from the kitchen to help with weathering the cube. In addition to all this spraypaint and weathering and burning, I began to cover the interior; the interior itself, when finished, will contain all the writings from the hidden rooms in the game as well as pictures pasted on the walls of those who helped me with the build... with Weighted Companion Cube's taped over their faces, just like the game XD

    The result of some rough interior spraying: (It's pretty difficult to see the detail here, bear with me)
    [​IMG]

    More in-game touches :)
    [​IMG]

    And the door, which I removed to spray paint white. You'll see why in a little bit ;)
    [​IMG]

    I initially went for the "crispy" look; it failed miserably, as the dark spray paint upon the light gray color just didn't work. I decided to go for CHARRED. I started to work with black burn marks across the cube.
    [​IMG]

    A picture of the old cube looking at the new cube:D
    [​IMG]

    Another effect I used to create "blast marks" across the face of the cube was to spray an area heavily and then crinkle newspaper over it. It pulls away part of the paint, leaving behind a great effect. This is one of the minor ones of those in the beginning.
    [​IMG]

    More burning/weathering and interior design work:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    And a little something I sprayed upon the bottom before I ran out to Home Depot to buy some.... supplies....
    [​IMG]

    So... after a quick run to Home Depot... I bought:

    600 Grit sandpaper and a sheet of Lexan:
    [​IMG]

    And caster wheels, a definite necessity at this point. The cube weighs upwards of 40 pounds.
    [​IMG]

    Casters affixed:
    [​IMG]

    And now for the fun part:)

    I started with sanding the Lexan with 150 grit.
    [​IMG]

    After 10 minutes with the 150, I moved to 300 and then straight to 600. Fastforward through the boring stuff, here's the sheet after it's basically been completely "opaqued", and then lightly spraypainted on the back side to completely give it a white sheen:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Got's to have my rootbeerz:
    [​IMG]

    And now to show you a picture I took, in game, for reference a while ago:
    [​IMG]

    You should have an idea of what that white Lexan is for now :cool:

    I completely copied the design onto the Lexan by hand, first with a pencil and then over with a sharpie.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    And with that done, it was time to start weathering the piece to make it fit in with the rest of the burnt cube :D

    Here's the whole process (All weathered with the Creme-Brule torch. Just held it a ways away and let the fire rip through :) )
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    And then, with some added "burn paint", the finished placard:
    [​IMG]

    Interior Shots
    [​IMG]

    The flash just makes the whole thing look washed out and weird, but this picture was one of a few exceptions where you can actually see some of the more sophisticated geometry of the corners of the cube.
    [​IMG]

    The last thing I did before going to bed tonight was affix this placard to the cube itself;
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I'm not pleased with the way it blends with the cube though. Tomorrow, I plan to finish that particular side of the cube while somehow still incorporating the rest of the design in with it, as well as working further on the interior.

    Finally, a quick shot of the charred effect on the cube.
    The "burned" look is really starting to come together.
    [​IMG]

    I hope you all like it so far!
     
  3. SentryOptic

    SentryOptic New Member

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    Reserved for Final Pics :)
     
    Last edited: 4 Feb 2009
  4. 500mph

    500mph The Right man in the Wrong place

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    Thats a nice cube you have there. Maybe you could consider getting a recent PCI graphics cards and have that folding as well. I believe you can get a 8500 pretty cheap and it does the job well.
    Keep up the nice modding!
     
  5. ModMinded

    ModMinded Are you throwing that away?

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    The cheesecake is a lie!
    Welcome to bit-tech! Glad to see your mod up log up here!
    It looks great. (cake does too!)
    I think you should have the graffiti on the other side door from the lexan, rather than the bottom where no one sees it.
     
  6. tominated

    tominated New Member

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    great job. i was actually thinking today that i wanted to build a companion cube case!
     
  7. SentryOptic

    SentryOptic New Member

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    I didn't get any work done today unfortunately; I've been working hard at school lately :)

    Anyways... here's my "to-do" list for Friday night, as that is probably going to be the earliest I'll be able to get back to work on it.

    -Paint on and then subsequently burn the crap out of the hearts...
    -Get CCFL's attached and in
    -Cut out the rest of the pink line pieces
    -Attach opaque lexan to the inside of the cube
    -Attach fans and other cooling gear

    I'll close up tonight by ordering some special stuff online :D

    You'll have to see it when it gets here.

    Anyways, here are a few quick pictures to keep your appetite staved.

    The "burned" look is really starting to come together.
    [​IMG]


    Interior Shots
    [​IMG]

    The flash just makes the whole thing look washed out and weird, but this picture was one of a few exceptions where you can actually see some of the more sophisticated geometry of the corners of the cube.
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Spyrious

    Spyrious Modding all the Time

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    Very good job.Very very nice car also 934 slantnose if i'm correct.
     
  9. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    You called it a Creme-Brule torch... That pretty much confirms California as your location.:hehe:
     
  10. Stuey

    Stuey You will be defenestrated!

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    Looks good. Only one problem though - you should wear closed-toe shoes when working with power tools.
     
  11. SentryOptic

    SentryOptic New Member

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    Yeah, I know :p

    I usually do. I just walked outside to take those pics. And I still have all my toes. :)

    @ the above: what was the tip off for California? :D
     
  12. BlackWhizz

    BlackWhizz New Member

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    So nice :) Definetely want to rebuild my Cube :p My last one sucked in the case of airflow in the drive section.
     
  13. SentryOptic

    SentryOptic New Member

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    2/2/09 Update :)

    I went out and worked on the cube some more, as I got a bit more free time to do so.
    First thing today was to disassemble the cube and take off the doors, since I had a little bit of a plan for the door itself with the placard on it :)
    [​IMG]

    I also cut a fan hole, as I went to Fry's and bought a few fans and some Cold Cathode lights.
    [​IMG]

    After going at the doors with the jigsaw (I don't have a holesaw :( ) :
    [​IMG]

    Attached the cold cathodes:
    [​IMG]

    I like the way they glow, but I'm definitely not pleased with the blue. It needs to be white, and buying the blue cold cathodes was definitely an impulse (and stupid) move on my part. I'd still like to integrate them into the case, but in some other manner. I will be purchasing white CC's via internet for the door sometime in the future.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    That's all the work I've done for now... next up is to widen the hole I made for the door... as you can see, it does cut a bit off th sign on the top, and we don't want that ;)

    And I think I'm going to make the white lights a bit more "broken" when I get them, so they match the theme of the case.. Does anybody know how I can attach the lights to my HDD to get them to flicker like crazy?
     
  14. klutch4891

    klutch4891 New Member

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    Well I don't know if it would work but convert it to a 2 pin adapter and put it on your hard drive activity header on the motherboard. I'm not sure that would provide enough, if any, power though...
     
  15. ROB 636

    ROB 636 Ski-Ba-Bop-Ba-Dop-Bop

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    Guess you could use a optoistolator to control the cathodes at make them flash? Use one rated for your cathodes in Ma or us a optoistolator to control a MOSFET to conrtrol the lights.

    Sorry i have had to many to drink if if it is cionfusing . :(
     
    Last edited: 6 Feb 2009
  16. SentryOptic

    SentryOptic New Member

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    :hehe:
     
  17. SentryOptic

    SentryOptic New Member

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    Going to work today some more on the led lights and the CC's. Any suggestions for how to mount the HDD? I'm still stumped on that.
     
  18. Frenkie

    Frenkie Lets mod the world!

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    I like it. Looks pretty accurate, but you still managed to give it your own - twist - . Good work.
     

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