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Scratch Build – In Progress WORKLOG: 5.25" Embedded Motherboard PC (Commissioned Build) Completed 1 Dec '07

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by GAM, 26 Sep 2007.

  1. legoman666

    legoman666 Beat to fit, paint to match.

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    Looking good. That tiny form factor is sexy.
     
  2. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    First-class work!
    Don't feel too bad about the router fudge. The cut will -always- f/u either at the very start, or at the very end, and on the worksite miles from a replacement part.:wallbash: You're not alone.
    I'm curious about the color number of the Perspex you are using. I was dissapointed with the color of the US Chemcast brand of red flourescent plexi. It was light pink and did not react to UV light as well as the scraps of older stuff I had.
     
  3. GAM

    GAM New Member

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    @legoman, cheers mate! I've become very fond of this little machine and will sad to hand it over :cry:

    @Cheapskate, thanks man! Yeah, well router work is touch n go enough with timber, aluminium and acrylic is even less forgiving :angry: I think the important thing for me is to spend more time setting up my stops and kick-back fingers, etc. Too often I try to cut corners to save time, but of course we all (should) know that the time taken to resolve errors, re do parts, etc is EXACTLY why it is important to take the necessary steps to do it right the first time!!!!

    (shameless plug) Quality Perspex brand 'Mars Red' Cheesecake! I sell it via my store www.gammods.com.au/store, but this doesn't really help you in the States given the cost of freight. ;)

    Thanks for viewing and your comments guys! Update to follow (no router this time ;)).

    Cheers
    GAM
     
  4. GAM

    GAM New Member

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    5.25" Embedded Motherboard PC (Commissioned Build) – Day 8
    Note, click on images for higher res. versions.

    A good afternoon of fine cutting and filing. Did I ever mention my dislike of filing?… soooo time consuming.

    Rear I/O Port Shield
    Time to stop procrastinating and attempt the rear I/O shield/cover… Although I had originally planned to only have an aluminium bottom piece to complete the rear panel and with an additional shield cut out of some thin, clear polycarbonate, I decided to see what I could manage out of aluminium. My concerns were that the little fingers between each port, in places, were so small that they'd very difficult to cut and shape without distorting them or ruining the them altogether. Despite these concerns, I went ahead and gave it a go…

    Marking up…
    I decided to use a small, square piece of aluminium offcut to mark out my cutting lines relative to the ports by aligning the vertical edges and then marking the alu at the bottom.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Once I had my initial marks, I used a square and scribe to make clear, well defined cutting lines. The sections to be removed were shaded with diagonal lines to ensure I cut on the correct side of the lines.
    [​IMG]

    Cutting with the bench mounted jigsaw
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Double checked my lines and all good.
    [​IMG]

    The perpendicular cuts would have been difficult with any tool, so I decided to drill near the lines, snap off the waste and then file to my marks.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The workpiece was set in the vice with the horizontal file-to line aligned with the a piece of alu. angle in the vice.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    First double check against the rear ports, and then to and fro, filing, checking, filing, checking, anon…
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo looking down on the rear ports to show you the position of each port relative to the rear edge of the case. some are set in inwards, some flush and the network ports protruding. The fingers between the network ports might look good from this angle, but they will not work this as the shield is not sitting against the rear plane of the case. The next day I will have to file each of these fingers down to approx. 1-2mm to fit between each port. If that fails or becomes too hard, then I cut them off altogether.

    Still to do:
    - tap threads for all joining panels
    - properly align and affix LCD
    - refine and fix bottom rear I/O shield panel for gap coverage…
    - file, sand and de-burr all faces and edges
    - affix little rubber feet (elevating the whole enclosure a couple of millimeters)
    - Insert fluro panel beneath the top panel for a little design 'detail' to complement the proposed fluro LCD window.

    - New, bevel all panel joints and edges.

    Well, the to do list… meh. ;)

    Cheers
    GAM
     
  5. 500mph

    500mph The Right man in the Wrong place

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    well, you're getting closer and closer to becoming done.
    and i have to say, this is looking really good.
     
  6. GAM

    GAM New Member

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    Cheers 500mph! Yep, shouldn't be long now... another 1/2 day in the workshop, I hope, then off to powdercoaters!!!

    Cheers
    GAM
     
  7. GAM

    GAM New Member

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    5.25" Embedded Motherboard PC (Commissioned Build) – Day 9
    Note, click on images for higher res. versions.

    A day of filing and solvents. At least with filing there is some satisfaction, the few hours spent removing the 3M double-sided tape with scraper and Big Kev's (citrus) Goo Remover was less rewarding. :(

    Rear I/O Port Shield cont…
    I started the day where I left off yesterday… filing the rear panel/port shield cut outs to fit snugly around each port. A great result.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Panel Work
    Disassembled and goo removed. Separating the panels from the angle and channel was a task in itself (3M double sided tape is STRONG), but removing all the adhesive remnants was a real drag. Anyway, I didn't bother to bore you with shots of that process, instead you can appreciate the end result. These panels and joining pieces have all been cleaned up, sanded, deburred and sharp edges rounded over.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Remember that the top intake fan was overlapping the angle in the corner… fixed.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    It was the end of the day and I admit that I was rushing a little which resulted in a small unrecoverable but 'redoable' disaster… after drilling out all the mounting holes in the red fluro acrylic…
    [​IMG]
    …painstakingly marking out the 92mm fan hole for the hole sawing…
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Disaster! First my pilot hole was off centre which I managed to fix, subsequently having a perfect 5mm pilot hole for the hole saw… I then proceeded to start the pilot hole with the hole saw, but of course, I hadn't clamped down the acrylic… what happened? Naturally, as soon as the pilot drill broke through the bottom the acrylic was drawn straight up the bit and crack! To the right of the scratch in the protective plastic, you can see a crooked 'whiter' streak… that's a nasty crack in the acrylic.
    [​IMG]
    I decided to call it a day and address the remaking of this panel tomorrow. :)

    Still to do:
    - tap threads for all joining panels
    - properly align and affix LCD
    - fix bottom rear I/O shield panel for gap coverage…
    - affix little rubber feet (elevating the whole enclosure a couple of millimeters)
    - Make and insert fluro panel beneath the top panel for a little design 'detail' to complement the proposed fluro LCD window.
    - Bevel all panel joints and edges.

    Getting there… :D

    Cheers
    GAM
     
  8. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    Tough luck on the crack. Those hole saws can turn your plexi into a spinning weapon in an instant.
    Powdercoat? with some of the insane-close fits on this, is there a possibility it won't fit afterwards?
    On the tape goo: My favorite cleaner is Gumout carburetor cleaner. -Noxious and flammable, but it even softens the plastic the tape is made of. Charcoal lighter fluid is good too.
    -Just don't use this stuff and smoke...
     
  9. GAM

    GAM New Member

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    Hey Cheapskate, I'm not too worried about the crack as I have plenty of the stuff and it won't take me too get back to that point... 30mins or so. Just annoying at the end of the day because I would have started the reassembly.

    I've got some carbie cleaner. I might try it, but the citrus does really soften the stuff, it just gets very gooey.

    More importantly, I was thinking about the powdercoat thickness before but admit that I hadn't thought of again in regards to the back panel. Originally I wasn't going to use aluminium for that piece. I appreciate the reminder, because it definately won't work on that piece with the little fingers in and around the ports. I'll give it some more thought... either just spray paint that piece (it is on the back afterall) or... keep filing *sigh. Alternatively, I file away the powdercoat on the sides of the fingers between each port. This last option is probably just as good. May be a lick of paint.

    Cheers
    GAM
     
  10. GAM

    GAM New Member

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    5.25" Embedded Motherboard PC (Commissioned Build) – Day 10
    Note, click on images for higher res. versions.

    Most of another day on this little machine, which I think could now be aptly entitled "Riveted". ;) as you will see later.

    Early in the day I realised some undesirable circumstances that, after discussing with the client, means this case is no longer going 'Fluro'. Why? Well, having purchased some little M2.5 capped socket screws, working through a mounting method and preparing a drilling template, I realised that the front fluro acrylic window would have to be a little larger than the LCD's PCB (approx. 60mm x 100mm) to use the mounting screws to mount both the fluro window and the LCD to the front panel. This would mean a lot more red fluro acrylic on black powder coat than originally anticipated. The red fluro acrylic on black looks more like a dirty orange. Not what the client (or I) wants. At this stage I hadn't started on remaking the top panel detail either, so nothing lost there.

    For the record, the LCD will be mounted to the backside of the front panel using clear double-sided tape (post powder coating), as originally planned. If a translucent red window is still desired, it can be sandwiched between the front panel and LCD with an extra layer of double-sided tape.

    Front Panel LCD – original plan scrapped!
    Drilling template and M2.5 capped socket screws.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Mounting plan. Note the little standoff tube on the right.
    [​IMG]

    Reassembly of the case, a riveting experience ;)
    Due to positioning variations from the double sided tape and trapped debris from drilling, I had to assist the location of the some of the panels during the reassembly process. For example, a 'gripping', 'riveting' experience. :)
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Mis-location and correction.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Desired result… perfectly aligned.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The front panel had never been mounted to the case before, so some new rivet locations and additional support were required. This is when I noticed another oversight in my pre-drilling haste the day before. The rivet hole on the bottom far-right of the front panel went no where. :( Rather, it went directly to an obstacle. The solution was to hack away the obstacle with a Dremel and cut-off disc. To save the appearance of the front panel, a rivet will be fixed there, but it won't be doing anything… which leads me to the next unplanned addition; two more rivets on the bottom of the front panel below the LCD cut-out.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Note that all exterior rivets and holes have now been replaced with countersunk versions. The panel holes were countersunk accordingly. In the last hour or so I proceeded to complete the reassembly and drill and tap all the 'removable' mounting points as well i.e., the locations where screws would be used to allow the removal of the case exterior to access the motherboard and components. Busy in the moment, I neglected to take happy snaps of this work.

    7pm and my wife was home… time to call it a day.

    Sneak preview 'sex' shots
    This morning, before preparing this worklog update, I decided to quickly photograph the results from the day before. The 'black' heads are the mounting screws.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Note, the bottom panel does not have enough 'meat' for the M3 thread of the motherboard standoffs, so nuts will be required to secure these properly. As the bottom is easily accessible, this is not a problem. Two nuts can be seen in the last photo above.
    Still to do:
    - properly align and affix LCD with double-sided tape (post powder coating)
    - affix little rubber feet (elevating the whole enclosure a couple of millimeters)
    - Bevel all panel joints and edges.

    Today (already midday as I write), I will attempt to 'bevel' all the long exterior corners where the panels meet. I also need to find some countersunk head 6-32 thread screws or self tapers as the M3 threads don't have enough purchase for mounting the two parts of the case together. They're holding now, but one slight overturn and the threads will be stuffed. Once the screws are sorted and any re-tapping is done, if required, it will be off to the powder coaters.

    Cheers
    GAM
     
  11. jokkos

    jokkos too busy to mod *sigh*

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    lookin good man, and so small!
     
  12. GAM

    GAM New Member

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    Cheers Jokkos! I appreciate your comments and support. :)

    Nearly done now... update to follow...

    Cheers
    GAM
     
  13. GAM

    GAM New Member

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    5.25" Embedded Motherboard PC (Commissioned Build) – Day 11-12
    Note, click on images for higher res. versions.

    I didn't manage to write up an update yesterday for the couple of hours spent on some teething issues, so I'm combining yesterday's and today's efforts into this update. Oh, and guess what? I don't have the case anymore… IT IS AT THE POWDER COATERS! Yippee.

    Panel Fixings/Enclosure
    Due to the thickness (thinness really) of the material on the HDD side that the M3 mounting screws screw into, I was concerned about stripping the threads or not getting a tight enough hold, so I spent some tool considering and experimenting with some alternatives and additions. The first was to make little L brackets out of 3mm aluminium angle, ripped down to 8mm x 8mm. Here you can see the ripping process on a piece of 12mm x 12mm x 3mm. A section was cut and placed close to a mounting hole. This is when I realised that it wouldn't work… the 3mm thickness was too thick and would mean the screws would be trying to penetrate the horizontal part of the bracket. Idea scrapped.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    In the end, and after agonising over alternatives, I decided to either consider little plates that will be glued in place after powder coating or to replace the M3 screws with 6-32 UNC or 6 gauge self-tappers. As it happens, the screws have a good hold and I understand the powder coating process will actually enhance the grip and rigidity of the alu. The only real area of concern is with the HDD U-channel bracket as I've had to rip the thickness down to 1mm to fit the HDD.

    Hole alignment / enclosure alignment
    The next process was one of careful realignment. I'm not sure what happened exactly, but the alignment of the exterior mounting holes to the interior holes causes some misalignment between the two parts of the enclosure. I spent a fair time carefully filing the problem holes, including some riveted bracket holes, to get the alignment of panels near perfect.
    Example of a misaligned hole. Some were worse. To correct them, I've used a small round needle file to open up the holes evenly around the internal thread or bracket hole, as applicable. This was a real nuisance and quite time consuming, but to achieve near perfection, it had to be done. ;)
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Finishing…
    Happy that the panels and enclosure parts were nicely aligned, I did some sanding of the bumps and rises and overlaps. ;)
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Bevelling the edges
    Finally at piece with the case fabrication, it was time to put on the finishing touches before sending it off to the powder coaters…

    First I set up a smooth surface on the router bench to alleviate any little bumps with the table surface given that I was using a ball bearing guided 45 degree bevel bit. I used a piece of double-sided fabric tape to help secure the piece of Masonite around the bit area and then a clamp either end.
    [​IMG]
    Whoops, must have forgotten to take a photo of the set up. Sorry. Basically flip that board up and over toward the bit and that was it. ;)

    The result of the beveling/chamfering process. Although all this can be done with sandpaper quite easily, I wanted to good 45 degrees to start with.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Then, after some regulated, even sanding with a stiff sanding block and 280grit paper… Hmmm, nice corners. :D
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    To the powder coaters!
    All seven pieces for powder coating…
    [​IMG]

    Still to do – Post Powder Coating!:
    - properly align and affix LCD with double-sided tape (post powder coating)
    - properly align and affix side vent with double-sided tape (post powder coating)
    - properly align and affix top fan grill with double-sided tape (post powder coating)
    - affix little rubber feet (elevating the whole enclosure a couple of millimetres)
    - mount on/off switch
    - check thread strength and either include or replace M3's with self tappers or glue in little plates, drill and tap.

    Ahhh, what a relief. I am so glad this little enclosure is finally at the powder coaters. Don't expect an update for a several days or a week or two… but keep an eye out, because it should be a ripper! ;)

    Cheers
    GAM
     
  14. Jipa

    Jipa Avoiding the "I guess.." since 2004

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    It looks so well done, it's hard to remember how small that thing is :eek:
     
  15. mvagusta

    mvagusta Did a skid that went for two weeks.

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    cool :cooldude: That pic with the cd-rom makes this pc look like a fancy hdd enclosure :thumb:
     
  16. jokkos

    jokkos too busy to mod *sigh*

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    those corners are nice. Good job! Can't wait to see the powder coated sweetness!
     
  17. GAM

    GAM New Member

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    Thanks guys!

    Haha, I keep think it looks a little like one of those old tape backup drives ;)

    Hopefully it won't too long before we can ALL see the poweder coated sweetness :D

    Cheers
    GAM
     
  18. GAM

    GAM New Member

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    5.25" Embedded Motherboard PC (Commissioned Build) – Sneak Peek (Day 13)
    Note, click on images for higher res. versions.

    Well, it's been a while but today I journeyed to the powder coaters to collect the case… oooh anticipation…. which quickly descended to a little resignation. I noticed a blemish right between the eyes. It looked great and the odd blemish here and there is to be expected with industrial powder coating, but this one particular spot happened to be right between the power button and the LCD. So, we both of us (powder coater and I) agreed that the front needed to be redone. This means a few more days, hopefully by Thursday. The front as you may know is connected to the bottom, so that section has to be redone entirely. Top and sides was fine, so I gleefully took this home. :)

    Nevertheless, as my customer was itching for glimpses, I snapped off a few quick peek-a-boo photos to whet his appetite. Naturally, I had to share these with all of you as well ;)

    Sneak Peek Photos of Powder Coating – Satin Black
    Note, I didn't bother to buff it up or even properly wipe it down, so you'll notice quite a bit of dust and tissue fibres in these photos… Also, the grills are only held loosely with some masking tape for the sake of the quick snaps so, obviously, not mounted properly. Enjoy!
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    Cheers
    GAM
     
  19. GAM

    GAM New Member

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    Finale!

    5.25" Embedded Motherboard PC (Commissioned Build) – Day 14 - Final
    Note, click on images for EVEN higher res. versions.

    Well, the moment my customer, I and probably many of you have been waiting for… the finale! :D

    I'm going to leave the pictures to do all the talking in this post, except to say that not only am I very happy with the final result, so is the customer :) (at least that's we he told me ;)). Enjoy.

    Final Photos – 5.25" Form Factor Miniboard PC
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Cheers
    GAM
     
  20. Brett89

    Brett89 Active Member

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    amazing. simply amazing.
     

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