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Scratch Build – In Progress X3 Build Log - x-box/ps3/xim3 custom build

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by cloudkat, 25 Apr 2012.

  1. cloudkat

    cloudkat New Member

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    Once again I have been bitten by the mod bug. While technically this is not a PC, I thought I would still post my work log here so you guys could see how this project turns out.

    The concept is simple. I have both an X-Box 360 and a PS3 that my kids, my wife and I all play on. And while we live in Tennessee, both of us are originally from Florida. So since both of us have the majority of our families there we make multiple trips every year down for visits and vacations. Well when we travel we always take both consoles, which include all the controllers, cables and power cords for both.
    On top of that, I normally only play FPS games on the PC since I cannot seem to get the hang of using those two damned joystick things to move and aim with. But I have fixed that problem by buying a Xim 3 controller. I can now hook up my Logitech G13 gamepad and Razor Imperator mouse to either console and really tear up some FPS action on them now.
    Maybe you are starting to see the problem with all of this. When we travel we are carrying an extra suitcase worth of consoles, cables and accessories.
    So to resolve this problem I have designed a mod that will house the X-Box and PS3 as well as my Xim 3. It will also only use one power cord, one Ethernet cable and one HDMI or component cable (some of the places we stay do not have HDMI TVs).
    Thus the X3 name. (X-Box 360 / PS3 / Xim 3)

    My best friend, Road, and I first had to custom build a case for all of this to fit into.
    We decided on using 1 1/4” steel angle to build the frame (strength), an aluminum motherboard tray (lightweight) and sheet metal as the skin (very easy to paint or powdercoat). Once we had the idea and sketches down, it was time to start the project.

    Road cutting the angle for the frame.
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    Prepping the metal for welding.
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    Me MIG welding on the frame.
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    Me grinding flat all the welds.
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    Finished frame
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    This is a better detail shot on how we cut our corners to get the best possible strength in our welds.
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    ‘Motherboard’ tray cut to size and placed in the frame.
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    Planed component layout on ‘motherboard’ tray.
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    Cutting out part of the frame for fans
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    Now that we had our basic frame built, it was time to start mounting hardware. First we had to mark where our standoffs were going to be, then mod the ‘brick’ power supply for the X-Box so it would fit inside the case with everything else.
    I also needed to find a solid 12v power source on each console to feed power to the fans. Each console was going to have to power two 120mm Nexus Real Silent case fans (1000 RPM, 22.8 dBA, 36.87 CFM), one intake in the top of the case directly above the mobo, and one exhaust in the center, rear panel.
    So I broke out the trusty multimeter and started tracing power. Once they were located all I had to do was solder some leads on them that I would later run to quick disconnects once everything was mounted.
    X-Box 12v power
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    I also needed a way to trigger the little ‘wireless search’ button on the X-Box so it could find and connect to wireless controllers and peripherals. Once I attached leads to the button on the mobo, I would simply run the leads to a momentary contact push button on the rear panel.
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    After tearing apart my X-Box and PS3 I knew that I wanted to remove the heat sinks from them and put them back on with some good quality TIM. I used Prolimatech PK-1.

    X-Box slim mobo striped down.
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    Cutting away all the metal sides on the power brick.
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    Mounted PS3
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    I had to mod the nuts I was using to hold down the PS3 optical drive. There was not enough room between the mounting hole and the optical face for the nut to screw onto the bolt I was using.
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    Once all of the hardware was mounted on the mobo tray, we cut away some of the angle on the rear of the frame to allow the tray to slide in and out while still being supported by the angle inside the case.
    We found out the hard way that the mounting screws were in the way of the mobo tray sliding all the way forward in the frame. So out comes the dremel once again to the rescue.
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    We also found that for some reason the tray would occasionally bow on one side or the other causing the optical alignment with the front plate to go to hell. So we decided to weld in some mobo hold downs in the front of the case using just some small 1/2” steel angle.
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    Frame with front hold downs and fans put where they will be mounted in the end.
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    Now that the easy part was over with, it was time to start modding all of the cables that would be going into this bad boy.
    I knew I needed to shorten the X-Box power cord by a long shot and mod the incoming AC to the power brick so that I could connect everything to a quick disconnect.
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    Now to mount it. I used old nylon motherboard standoffs with #6-32 nylon nuts to hold it in place.
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    This thing has a crazy amount of USB cables running through it, most of which I had to custom make.

    I needed to bring the USBs from both consoles to the front panel, as well as the two from the Xim. But I needed the XIM to plug in to one USB on each console as well. So I bought these two little micro USB hubs and then trimmed off all the extra plastic from around the USB plug so it would fit between the console USB and the front of the case.
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    I then had to make the USB extension cables. I used old USB mobo extensions and just cut the ends off and soldered on ends I had cut from extra USB cables I had laying all over the house and garage.
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    I also knew that I needed to get an HDMI switcher. It had to be auto-switching and it had to support 3D signals from my PS3 to my new 3D plasma TV.
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    Next was power for my Xim 3. It normally gets its power from the USB on either the X-Box or PS3. But since I have like 5 miles worth of USB cables and hubs, I was worried that the Xim would not get enough power to run stable. Since it has an external jack for 5v power, I bought an extra PSP power cord and cut off the 2 prong AC plug and ran it to where I would be making all my AC input quick disconnects. I also wanted the ability to turn off the external power if i was playing a game with two or more people and was not using the Xim. So I cut into the 5v power lead and added a switch that I will be running to the front of the case.
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    I already had a 'spider' cable for my consoles (a cable that can plug into the X-Box, PS3 and Wii, then output video through component video and analog audio). And since most of our families' do not have HDMI inputs on their TVs, I needed the option to run through component connections. So I took my cable and broke the casing on the ends to help save room in the case and bought a wall plate that has both HDMI and component audio/video pass-throughs. This will be mounted to the back of the case.
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    Since both consoles would be hooked up through either the component cable or HDMI, I needed a way to make sure that only one console was turned on at a time. I made an extension that had a 3 way switch on it that would go to the front of the case, and ran it to my AC in the back of the case. I also made sure that it was set up with quick disconnects in case I ever had to remove the mobo tray.
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    Now that I have the majority of the cables made, I started fitting it all inside the case. That is when I realized just how little room I am going to have to try to get all this to fit.
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    Once I got it all mounted to the mobo tray, I slid the whole thing into the case and realized that the entire tray has about 3/4" of free side-to-side movement inside the case. This of course will not work. The opticals will have to line up PERFECT with the cuts in the front of the case, and it will have to do it EVERY TIME. So we drilled holes through the mobo tray and frame, then taped the frame hole to match the thread of PC thumb screws. Now when I slid it in and out, it will always go back to the exact same position.
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    Next it was time to start working on the skin of this baby. One thing I knew for sure was that I didn't want screws showing or pop rivets. So we decided to go with a hidden inner screw through the frame to a low-profile nut that was JB welded to the skin.
    First we drilled holes through the frame at the places we wanted the screws to be. These holes were about twice the diameter of the nut so we would have room for the JB Weld around it which allows the skin to sit flat against the frame.
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    Then we placed the panels on the frame and used a marker to trace the holes onto the skin plates. Once we had the hole pattern marked on all of the skin panels, we started JB Welding the nuts into the marked areas. To make sure that they did not move on the top plate while we did the front plate we used painter's tape to hold the nuts in place.
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    Me using the dremel to knock down any burrs left from drilling the holes.
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    We let it all sit overnight and the next day this is what we had;
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    Now that the skin had the nuts in place it was time to start laying out the back plate and cutting out all the sections.
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    Rough back plate with all cutouts done. Now I just need to touch up the cutouts and start mounting all the hardware on it.
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    Well, that is the progress so far. I will be going out of town for work on Monday, and will not be back until Friday, so I won't get a chance to work on it again for about a week and a half. But I will update this thread as soon as the work starts up again.
    Next is getting the backplate finished with hardware mounted, draw and cut out the front plate, design and cut out the front and side 3D pieces, and getting it all put together.

    I am also going to have to carve out of foam the top piece that the Xim and the X-Box controller sits in. Once I get it carved out the way I want it I will make a mold of it and start making it out of fiberglass. It will be hollow on the inside to give someplace to hide the Xim cables and X-Box controller cable.

    So there is still a long way to go on this project. :wallbash:
     
  2. shomann

    shomann New Member

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    Cool idea, I will be watching this.

    Question - how well does the XIM3 work on the consoles? Since it sounds like you play FPS on PC as well, I would think you would be a good judge ;)
     
  3. KidMod-Southpaw

    KidMod-Southpaw Super Spamming Saiyan

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    That's awesome! A 3 in one console case! Love the idea! :thumb:
     
  4. Lance

    Lance Ender of discussions.

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    I've always wanted to do this. Stick my Xbox into a PC case with my PC so I can carry both in one box.

    Awesome.
     
  5. cloudkat

    cloudkat New Member

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    I can not even begin to tell you how great the Xim works with consoles. It takes a little bit of tweaking to get it just right, nothing too hard or time consuming though. Just a minute or two and you are off and raping the 'joystick crowd'. :thumb:
    It feels and reacts just like you are playing on a PC.
    There are a lot of good vids on youtube about this. Go check it out.
     
  6. mally91

    mally91 Member

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    looking good. and loving the idea. bump for later
     
  7. LooZypher

    LooZypher Huh!? What!?

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    Brilliant!
     
  8. SilveR_172

    SilveR_172 Member

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    neat idea is the band from the PS3 drive long enough to reach the board i imagine its on 2 levels
     
  9. shomann

    shomann New Member

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    This looks incredible. A huge wire mess (which you are trying to tame!), but great.

    I am a BF3 junkie right now, but find myself wondering why I spend +$500 on a graphics card when that would take care of the expense of an entire console system. Then I start using a controller and realize EXACTLY why I use a PC... because I am crap on FPS with the thumbsticks.

    My mind is churning with possibilities now, thanks!
     
  10. cloudkat

    cloudkat New Member

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    LOL....I know what you mean. It was my thoughts exactly when i first heard about the Xim controller.
     
  11. chris8224

    chris8224 New Member

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    Ive heard of people wanting to do this but never actually done it, looks awesome.
     
  12. cloudkat

    cloudkat New Member

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    Actually, the PS3 is mounted exactly like it is in its original case.
    The original idea for this mod was to have the two consoles mounted one above the other with the two opticals sitting side-by-side in between the two mobos. The problem was that the PS3 uses those flat ribbon cables and it was made to be just long enough to reach where it normally plugs in. So there is not a lot of play room in mounting the PS3 optical. The X-Box was easy. It uses a standard SATA cable and 8 wire mini-molex which could easily be cut and extended if needed. So the X-Box optical can go just about anywhere.
     
  13. cloudkat

    cloudkat New Member

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    To explain a little better, and to answer a PM at the same time, the positioning of the two top corner intake fans was done that way for a reason.
    In those positions the two intake fans push cool air straight down to where I need them.
    The one above the X-Box blows straight down at the two big heat sinks on top of the mobo. And the one for the PS3 blows straight down into the intake fan on top of the PS3.
    Having the two exhaust fans in the center on the rear allows the air to hit and circulate, being pulled across the center of the case allowing for more cooling than if i would have put them in the rear corners.
     
  14. Yaka

    Yaka Well-Known Member

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    wow this is cool, just 2 questions did you consider water cooling both consoles? also where did you wire the fans on the ps3?
     
  15. cloudkat

    cloudkat New Member

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    Yes, I thought about water cooling. The original idea and sketch up was with water cooling.
    Two things changed my mind though.
    First was room. To add the water cooling components for two systems would have almost doubled the square area of the case. Since when this is done it will be sitting on a shelf in my entertainment center, i just physically do not have the room for a such a large case.
    Second was money. After this is done, I will immediately start working on my next project, which will be my main PC, and it has all the bells and whistles in it. I am dumping a nice penny into that build, so i did not have the funds to water cool both systems.

    As for the fans; the PSU on the PS3 just plugs down on top of two large, metal blades that stick up from the mobo and they stick up through the PSU so are accessible from the top. This is where the PSU sends the 12v power to the mobo. You can see this plug on the 17th pic in the thread (the one called 'Mounted PS3'). In that pic you will see on the edge closest to you a white power plug with white wires and a piece of black tape in the center of it. Sitting directly behind that on the PSU is a black rectangle. That is where the blades stick up.
    So all i did for power was to put male blade crimps on the end of the fan wires and just plug them down and pin them in between the blades and the housing retention splines of the socket.
     
  16. dynamis_dk

    dynamis_dk Grr... Grumpy!!

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    Mod with a xim3!! Be keeping a watch this one.

    I'm same, played PC fps in leagues / comps in UK for about 6 years - got an Xbox to play with lads from work and it took me ages to be able to even half play ok. Got a xim2 at the time and it's fantastic, xim3 even better. For any one interested check them out they are really fantastic for those of us which a pad challenged :)

    Will the xim3 itself get any modding?
     
  17. Yaka

    Yaka Well-Known Member

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    hmm dunno how i never noticed that when ever i open up my ps3 for good dust down every few months. so doing it that will the fans spin when the ps3 is out of standby mode? thanks alot for the info btw
     
  18. cloudkat

    cloudkat New Member

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    Other than the power and USB cables, no, the Xim will not get modded at all. At least right now :D
     
  19. cloudkat

    cloudkat New Member

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    Remember that I have a switch on the front of the case that will switch the AC power between the X-Box and PS3 so only one will have power at any given time. In answer to your question though, if I turn off the PS3 and leave the power switch flipped over to keep power to the PS3 so it can go into stand-by mode, no, the fans will still not spin. This is because the fans need a minimum voltage of 4.5vdc to spin and the PS3 stand-by power is only 3vdc.

    But, the HDMI switcher that I have added freaks out when the PS3 goes into stand-by mode. That is the reason that I added the power switch on the front of the case. Well, that and the fact that I have kids and don't want them trying to power up both systems at the same time. :wallbash:
    Anyways, the HDMI switcher is automatic. The way it works is it has 3 channels and they are prioritized. Channel 1 has priority over channel 2 and 3, channel 2 having priority over 3.
    So if the PS3 is in stand-by, it maintains a connection to the HDMI switcher which causes it to NOT switch inputs. So to fix that problem I added the power switch on the front. :clap:
     
  20. aevitas

    aevitas New Member

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    Cool idea and nice progress so far!

    I love the little magnifying glass to have a better look at your solders. (sp?)

    Keep it up. It's always good to have an extra pair of hands to help you :)
     

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