Aperture Science

Discussion in 'Worklogs' started by ultraflip, Mar 25, 2009.

  1. ultraflip

    ultraflip n00b

    Messages:
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    [​IMG]

    Hey there fellow modders!
    I'll be posting this in 3 (or 4) seperate posts because I've written such a flood of text that it just wont fit into one!

    The case I'm using is a Cosmos 1000 which I love for a number of reasons, the design being the most important one obviously. The only real downside is that it is extremely heavy, but then again, all cool things are. Like tanks or spaceshuttles.
    I've already done quite a lot of work on this mod so I can't help but write a lot to explain it all. This was originally 3 forum pages worth of updates so it's going to be a LONG post. Sorry! I'm going to try putting some kind of structure in it though so it's a bit easier to follow.



    GENERAL STUFF AND CONCEPT
    -----------------------------------------------------
    Here's what I'm going to do or have already done:

    New paintjob for all outside parts.
    As you might have guessed by the name, the design of the mod is partly based on the Aperture Science Designs from Valves Portal and the portal gun itself. So the colours I'll be using are matte black and glossy white. I'm also going to paint a portalgun on the right side. How am I going to pull this off? A magician never reveals his tricks. You'll see!
    It should look something like this (this is just a quick and dirty photoshop)
    [​IMG]
    This should also give you an overall idea of the style I'm aiming at here. Another good example for the style I'm trying to replicate is the video to Björks (yeah, I can actually make those funny dots with this keyboard ;) ) "All is full of love" from Chris Cunningham that most of you have probably seen.

    Just like on the picture, the Cosmos will also get a new front. I'm going to cut the Aperture Logo out of a piece of sheet metal, put a piece of milky acrylic glas behind it and illuminate that with white LED's. The result should be a white, glowing Aperture logo in the front.

    Of course the case will also get a window, or to be more precise, 7 of them. I didn't just want a dull square like on many mods these days but something with an interesting shape. It's not so much a window in the sense of "you can look through it and see everything thats inside" but more like an element of the overall design. After many, many sketches and different designs, I finally decided to use this one (another quick shop, I made the shape with another program):
    [​IMG]
    I think it fits the overall smooth, curvy design of the Cosmos while not looking too crazy or over the top.


    Other stuff I'm going to do:
    Because I can never decide on just one, the case will get a whole number of lightning systems. The heart of it will be a programmable USB-controller which is going to be connected to about 40 LED's throughout the case. Red, Blue, Green and White, 10 each. With the RGB LED's and the controller, I'll be able to create virtually any color you can imagine and also make them fade in and out and a bunch of other cool stuff. If I don't feel like doing that, I got the bright white LED's For the sterile Aperture look. On Top of that, two UV-Cathodes are going in the case too. Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to use all of this stuff at once to make the thing look like a christmas tree, I just want to have a lot of options.

    The rig will be water cooled too, it's going to be my first water-cooled PC so I'm not going to go high-end here. I'm only going to cool the CPU and GPU because I think it's very pointless to spend 200$ on mainboard-coolers if the thing already has passive heatsinks anyway.
    I'll put one 3x120 Radiator in the top and another single 120 Radiator in the bottom of the case.

    I think that's all. It doesn't sound like much but trust me, it's proven to be a LOT of work. I'm now going to end this wall of text and instead build a wall of pictures, of which I have a shitload. There's many hours of work documented here, so I can't help but write a freaking novel to explain it all. I hope you like reading.

    Oh, one last thing: You might be wondering what kind of weird background you see on all the pictures. Mostly, it's going to be my old ugly carpet and my couch-table. Yeah, I don't have the luxury of a big, fully equipped workshop like many other modders. I'm building all of the crap you're going to see in my one-room apartement, with sometimes questionable tools and under crappy conditions. Basically, all I'm using is an electric screwdriver for 20$ and my (not so) trusty Dremel 300. So if this becomes a good mod, it's double awesome!
    Now, pictures:



    FIRST STEPS
    ----------------------------------------------------------
    After a week of waiting, my case finally arrived.
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Almost too pretty to be modded, I know. Almost. First step was taking it apart, and holy shit, this thing has a lot of parts for a computer case:
    [​IMG]

    The side panels have this weird foam padding glued on. I'm going to leave it on the right side, but on the left one, it's obviously got to go. Sounds a lot easier than it was.
    [​IMG]

    At first I tried to just pull it off but the glue is so sticky, I had to try EVERYTHING and nothing worked. Then I went to the hardware store and got some nasty nitro-cellulose thinner which kind of did the trick. It still took me hours to get the stuff off and I was getting very dizzy from the fumes but I finally managed to get it off. Thanks Coolermaster, I guess double sided tape just wasn't annoying enough, eh?
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    The next step was to remove the original black frontplate so I can later replace it with my own creation. Luckily, this was a lot easier than the foam padding - they actually DID use double sided tape here!
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2010
  2. ultraflip

    ultraflip n00b

    Messages:
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    Joined:
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    HANDICRAFTS
    ---------------------------------------
    So much for the first steps. I then started making a number of stencils so I could later precisely put the shapes on the material for the Sidepanel and front.
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    Those little knives are very precise. I used to suck at this pretty bad in grade school.

    [​IMG]
    Why the circles? I'm going to drill those areas out before cutting (not the blunt edges of course, that drill would have to be HUGE) so I have smooth curves later.

    [​IMG]
    GPU-Heatsink came!
    So did my brand new Dremel!

    With both of those lying around, why not just polish one with the other. It's kind of pointless because nobody will see it later, but damn, it looks cool.

    [​IMG]



    GETTING SERIOUS
    -------------------------------------------------
    Now I'll start with the real stuff. I think the pictures speak for themselves.
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    Preparing the parts for the front:
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    Delivery guy came. Hell yeah.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Less talking, more cutting the shit out of that poor sidepanel.
    Bang!
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    Bang!
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    Bang!
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    Bang!
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    Voila !
    [​IMG]

    Some of the cutting wheels I used, or what's left of them. This about half of what I had to use to make all those cuts.
    [​IMG]
    What, you think it looks like crap? Just wait till I'm done filing and sanding, you'll drool all over the screen!

    But in the meantime .. lets show some love for the front too.


    WE DO WHAT WE MUST BECAUSE WE CAN
    -------------------------------------------
    After using my awesome stencil, I used the dremel to cut out the rough shapes veeery carefully. It's not that obvious on the pictures, but the little shapes are pretty tiny.

    [​IMG]
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    Not so bad. After that, the real fun started: Filing my ass off. It took hours but it was totally worth it.
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    4 Down, 4 to go.



    SIDEPANEL GETS THE LAST TOUCH/HOLY CRAP THIS LOOKS AWESOME
    -------------------------------------------------------------
    But hey, speaking of filing, what happened to the side panel?
    AWESOME, that's what happened to it. This is not even the final state - this is only after filing, not sanding, and I'm not even fully finished with the filing here either.
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]


    Appearently, I'm too dumb for filing by the way. I slipped out of the Metal about EVERY TWO MINUTES while doing this and then, still in the same "Up,Down,Up,Down,Up,FUUUUU-" motion, rammed the pointy end of the file in my hand. Thank god I didn't hit my wrist. The Thumb wasn't so lucky. But it takes more than a little blood to stop me!
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    I then started the sanding. At least you can't ram a piece of sand paper in your wrist. Now I don't mean to brag or anything, but damn, this side panel came out nicely.
    [​IMG][​IMG]
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    Last edited: Apr 14, 2011
  3. ultraflip

    ultraflip n00b

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    SO DOES THIS
    -----------------------------------------------
    But what about the front!
    Well, the filing and sanding and torturing myself with sharp objects continued for another day and then I finally got this glorious piece of metal:

    After filing, before sanding:
    [​IMG]

    After sanding:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Remember how I polished my GPU-Heatsink for no appearant reason? Well I just can't help myself when it comes to polishing stuff so I just HAD to:
    [​IMG]
    It's completely pointless in this case too because it's going to get painted anyway but that the hell, the picture was worth it.

    I then used sandpaper on a piece of acryllic glas to make it milky and put an LED flashlight behind it to test if what I'm trying will even work. Well, it does, at least in theory.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
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    And another test with the blue LED from my current Case:
    [​IMG]

    The problem is, the LED has to be pretty far away for this to work. I'm going to use "real" milky acryllic later and also diffuse LEDs, but I'm not sure the light will "spread out" like that and illuminate a wide area like it does when you have some space between the light and the glas. Maybe someone has an idea here, I'm currently blocking out the thought that this might not even work because I don't want to have created that logo for nothing.



    A NEW HOME
    ----------------------------------------------
    Anyway. More manly work coming right up. Next, I made the hole for the radiator. The Cosmos already has 2 Blowholes in the top by default, but while this is a nice gesture, they're completely useless to me because they're in the wrong position and I also want maximum airflow so they had to go.

    [​IMG]

    Man, sparks are awesome. I just had to make some action-shots:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    In retrospect, it was a pretty fucking dumb idea to put my camera right where all the sparks fly. I almost ruined my 200$ objective this way, but damn, that is a cool photo.

    Done. At least that's what I thought.
    [​IMG]

    Filing, sanding, etc.
    [​IMG]

    Delivery Guy was here again, by the way. Now what could this be?
    [​IMG]

    And it gets better, Delivery Guy brought some of his friends! Getting cool stuff brought to your door is awesome.
    [​IMG]
    This is my MDPC-X Sleeve and the obligatory scribble. It says "What's the best? Murdermod and MDPC-X!" in german. Thanks Nils!

    My LED's:
    [​IMG]

    And a bunch of electronics stuff:
    [​IMG]
    Wondering what all the connectors are for? You'll see.


    MORE RADIATOR STUFF
    ---------------------------------------------------
    More work on the top. I thought I was done with the radiator but then noticed 2 things. First, I kind of fucked up the position of the cut so those left-out areas in the top left and right aren't where they should be. The bigger problem is though, that Coolermaster, for whatever reason, put in these lowered-down screwholes. I'm talking about these:
    [​IMG]

    Well those are nice. And also pointless and in my way, because they mean I can't put the radiator right below the top but about 1cm lower which results in a gap around the whole radiator which again results in shitty airflow since I was going to mount the fans on top of the whole thing. It couldn't be helped, they had to go:
    [​IMG]

    Now how am I going to mount the radiator? This is how:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Yeah, take that, lowered down screwholes. You can't compete with that shit.

    Put in one fan for testing, everything fits!
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    From the inside:
    [​IMG]

    And with all fans attached.
    [​IMG]

    I then had to make some slight modifications for the Top-thingie to fit over the fans, only took a minute.

    [​IMG]
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    Theeere you go.
    [​IMG]



    AND EVEN MORE JESUS CHRIST WILL IT EVER END
    ----------------------------------------------
    Now, the bottom Radiator.
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    What where they thinking when they put those huge and ugly things on the side of it? I'll never know, but we won't see them again.

    This is where it will go
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    Be gone, ugly grid!
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    Alright, that's all! Well almost. This is as far as I have gotten with the rough stuff, and I should be done with it too, except of some little adjustments here and there and the painting of course.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2011
  4. ultraflip

    ultraflip n00b

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    GOD I HATE THIS
    ------------------------------------------------
    Now comes the shitty part: Making the circuitry for the lightning system. I'm not much of an electronics guy, the main reason I decided to build this myself is that "real" RGB-controllers are pretty expensive and can do a lot less than this in the end, IF it should ever work. Also, people will think I'm a pretty cool guy and girls will want to have sex with me when they see all the cables. Oh yeah.

    Right now, nothing does what it's supposed to, I'm not sure whether its because of my circuitry (highly possible) or because I screwed up and damaged the controller at some point because I'm stupid (also highly possible). Or maybe even both. It might take me a while to figure this out but I'm determined to get this abomination working so don't worry.
    Now here's a few last shots of the building process so far.

    One of my first tries, I later discarded this version because it confused me too much. Don't ask.
    [​IMG]

    I then started to build the casing for all this stuff FIRST. This made it a lot easier to get my head around how exactly I'll build this thing. Here's a crapload of 2,5mm headphone jacks that I'll use to connect the LED-clusters of which there will be three. You heard right, this shit is modular. You might also have noticed that I'm using one of the harddrive cages for this, so later, I'll be able to just pull out the connectors at the back and pull the whole thing out of the case if I need to repair anything or show it to people so they'll think I'm awesome.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    This is one of the soon-to-be LED clusters.
    [​IMG]

    This is some cool stuff with cables and resistors and stuff. I've written this whole post in one session so I'm too lazy to explain anything in detail at this point. And you are too lazy to read it anway, right? Yeah you are. Just look at the pretty pictures.
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]


    One of the many sketches that I made and that always confuse me even more rather than helping. I honestly have no idea what the fuck any of this means.
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    This is what my table looks like when I'm working. Or not working. Or at any other time.
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    DEAR GOD IT'S GROWING MORE AND MORE CABLES
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    AND NOW THEY'RE MERGING
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    The final thing should look something like this.
    [​IMG]

    SOMETHING is glowing. It's just not glowing when I want it and not in the way I want it and even if all this might look like I'm making good progress on the lightning thing, It's a freaking desaster in reality. Nothing works like it's supposed to, like I said. Anyway, this post got WAY too long a while back. I'm coming to an end now.
    [​IMG]



    FINAL THOUGHTS
    ---------------------------------------------------------

    So, what else can I say? This is the current status. Feel free to leave any feedback on what you think of all this, hell, even flame me if you feel like it, I can take the beating.
    And ask if you want to know anything, I'll answer. I'm going to keep this updated of course!.

    Also, kudos to everyone who actually read all this. I know it's an assload of text but I have also done a lot of work on this already and I thought it's kind of pointless to post pictures without explaining anything at all.

    Peace and Happiness.

    Herman the German
     
  5. Logan321

    Logan321 [H]ard|Gawd

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    I'm not sure if giving permission for people to flame you is the best idea. :D Looks like you're having fun, and that's the point of modding, right? Oh, and showing off. Success!
     
  6. ScYcS

    ScYcS 2[H]4U

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    You joined just today and post such a worklog?? Kudos!!!!

    GREAT introduction to the [H] community!!!!!!!
     
  7. guitarslingerchris

    guitarslingerchris Failure is just success rounded down

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    It felt like i was reading that whole thing hopped up on way too much caffeine. Wow.

    Anyways, looks awesome so far and I hope you find a good solution to spreading the light evenly, I have something similar planned and I was hoping to not have to resort to multiple CCFLs to spread light evenly behind frosted plexi.
     
  8. lcpleel

    lcpleel Limp Gawd

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    I personally like what you have done so far and am enjoying it.
     
  9. ultraflip

    ultraflip n00b

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    I actually thought about using one of those round CCFLs because it would be the perfect shape and size to illuminate the logo. The Problem is, there just isn't any space in or behind the front door where I could put it. There's only about 2-3mm between the inside of the door and the drive bays behind it, so even with LED's its going to be tricky to mount them in a way that still allows the door to close afterwards. I'll figure something out though, even if it means sticking 200 LED's in the plexi ;)
     
  10. ultraflip

    ultraflip n00b

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    Got some more work done today. First I built something to put the waterpump on later (which is going to be an Aquastream XT). I had originally planned to just put it at the bottom of the 5,25 drive bays but then I spontaneously had this idea today. I used two aluminum profiles which are attached to the floppy-drive mounts with vibration buffers I took out of the hard-drive case I'm using for the light stuff.
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    On Top of that, I'll put a piece of frosty/milky plexi of which I now have a LOT. They only had these huge sheets at the hardware store which were cheap as hell too so I just went for it and now I'll use this stuff for anything I don't need metal for ;)
    Anyway, foam is going under the Plexi as well as under the pump, so overall, I'll have 3 spots that should reduce vibrations from the pump. I hope that'll be enough to keep everything silent.
    [​IMG]

    Then I cut the piece for the front out of the plexi. This stuff looks so much better than just using normal plexi and sanding paper. I'm not sure yet how I'll put the plexi and the Logo together, I don't want to glue them together because for some reason, I just don't like the thought of never being able to seperate them again wihtout destroying anything. Then again, double-sided tape could be too thick and screws, while cool in theory, just don't fit the clean style.
    [​IMG]
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    Now, lightning stuff again. Since I was so frustrated with the controller and everything I decided to make the LED clusters first. This proved to be a lot more work than I had expected (as usual ...) but the good message is, it actually works for once. The bad one is, I have to build 2 more of these suckers.

    With 6 LED's it was still pretty managable:
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    Quick test, works.
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    With all the LED's, it got pretty crowded in there. I'll make the next one a bit bigger, it's a pain in the butt to squeeze all those tiny cables in there while making sure they're not touching each other in the wrong places. (If you have perverted thoughts right now, don't worry, so did I when I wrote this.)
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    This is what the final thing looks like. It might not be the prettiest way to do this, but those cable conduits are cheap, easy to work with and they just do the trick. Nobody is going to see them anyway!
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    This is what it looks like when all the LED's are getting 12V from the power supply. Holy crap thats bright.
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    You can already see that the colours mix, I have only blue and red plugged in here and they produce a nice purple. I just wish the damn controller would work so I could actually control all this in realtime.
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    Well, enough for today. It's 2 AM here and I'm going to bed. Good night or good morning or whatever to you guys!
     
  11. Mechawyvern

    Mechawyvern [H]Lite

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    Awesome job so far, really like the side panel mulit-window idea your using here. Keep up the good work and looking good!
     
  12. ultraflip

    ultraflip n00b

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    Thanks :)

    I made the second LED-Strip today. Because of the experience from the last one I didn't screw up as much so this one was done a lot faster ;)
    Still took me a few hours, even if those things sure don't look like it, but soldering all those LED's together and squeezing them in there is quite a bit of work. Hopefully, I'll do the last one tomorrow and then I'm finished with this part of the lightning system. As for the other one, I'm pretty sure by now that my controller is broken. I'll send it to a friend who has the same one tomorrow and then hopefully he can tell me whether its broken or not.

    Now, pictures:

    Somehow, it looks more professional with black wires:
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    And these are the two finished Strips. The cable lengths vary because I'm going to put them in different spots in the case and I don't want to make a mess with all the cables. There's a LOT of those going in the case already, I hope I'll manage to make it look clean somehow. I'm optimistic though, because the Cosmos is awesome in terms of cable management :)
    [​IMG]

    LED's + long exposure = a lot of fun ;)
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  13. AVT

    AVT [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
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    With regards to the LED-in-the-right spot problem with the logo you seem to be having, why not use fiber optics?

    I remember seeing a worklog somewhere about half a year ago where a guy solved the same problem in that way.
     
  14. ultraflip

    ultraflip n00b

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    Sounds interesting, but how exactly would it work? I thought fiber optics are basically just little tubes that can "transfer" the light from one spot to another, but my problem is that I don't know how to spread it evenly in such a small space.
    But now that you mention it .. I remember taking apart one of those backlit keyboards a few years ago. Under the keys there was this mat that actually looked like a grid of tiny fiber-optic tubes. That would be perfect, I'm just not sure how it works.
    I guess I'll see if I still have that keyboard and mess around with it a little, maybe I can figure something out?

    Thanks for pointing me in that direction!
     
  15. Crosshairs

    Crosshairs Administrator Staff Member

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    very nice work..thanks for sharing it
     
  16. ZygoatD

    ZygoatD [H]Lite

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    ultra, some of the light in fiber comes out of the tube in all directions, perfectly even distribution. not as bright as what goes in the end or even what comes out the other end, but very even, just run it where you need, and it will work great.
     
  17. ultraflip

    ultraflip n00b

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    Good news! I think I found a solution for my spreading-the-light-behind-the-logo problem. But first, pics of todays progress (which isn't much).

    I didn't feel like building another LED strip today, but no problem, theres plenty of other stuff to do, mostly little things.
    I prepared the top part today. First, the Cosmos logo had to go because I'm going for a clean look. I used sandpaper to sand it off which was a bit painful because I had to ruin the brand new glossy black plastic but it's going to get painted over later, so really, who cares. I would have sanded it before painting anyway.
    [​IMG]
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    Then I ripped off this aluminum faceplate which was kind of in my way because I had to make the hole for the reset switch a bit bigger. Again, it looked nice, but since I'm going to paint everything it doesn't make a difference so I didn't even try not to ruin it while getting it off ;)
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    Then I modified the holes so that these two buttons would fit in to replace the regular ones, I just had to make them bigger because they were already in the perfect position:
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    I still had those lying around anyway and they look a LOT better than the stock ones from the cosmos which feel kind of cheap. I think I'm going to paint them black like the rest, I don't want them to stand out too much. I don't really need a reset switch and think they are pointless these days (why not just press the power button?) but I had 2 holes and 2 buttons so why not.

    I'm also going to put two little switches in those two holes that are meant for the headphone/mic connectors. My soundcard doesn't support those extension cables anway so there's no reason to leave them there. The switches are going to switch the UV-CCFLs and the rgb-controller on and off.


    I also started sleeving the first cables. I'm not going to sleeve everything, because that's just too expensive and would also be pointless because I'm going to hide most of the cables as good as I can. I don't see a point in sleeving a crapload of cables that nobody is going to see anyway. I'm only going to sleeve the ones that stand out, or in other words, that aren't black. Like this cable for the E-Sata connector in the top. I also sleeved the Power/Reset Switch and Status-LED cables and I'm probably going to sleeve the ATX connector so it's completely black, as well as the GPU connector and the other Sata cables.
    [​IMG]



    Now, the interesting part, I think I found a way to make the logo glow in a very awesome way, even better than the white plexi I had originally planned to use.
    Thanks to AVT again, this has nothing to do with fiber optics, but without your suggestion, I never would have gottin this idea :)
    Like I said, I still had this old keyboard (a Saitek Eclipse) which has backlit keys (or used to have them when it still worked). Since they somehow managed to light up all the keys evenly, I decided to take a look inside. This is what I found:

    [​IMG]

    Not exactly fiber optics, but still perfect for my needs. It's actually just a piece of plexi/acryllic glas which has little dents all over it. Behind that, there's a piece of thin, white plastic. The way it works is pretty simple, you light it up with LED's from the side and the little dents in the surface disperse the light, or at least some of it, in all directions. To put it even simpler, the little dents start glowing ;)
    Now this is not EXACTLY what I had in mind (which was a piece of white plexi glowing evenly) but its actually even COOLER.
    It has a very cool sci-fi look about it and just looks more interesting than the white plexi. Also, it just WORKS. I tried it with one of my LED strips to give you an idea of how it looks:
    [​IMG]

    And with the logo:
    [​IMG]

    It looks a lot better in real life, it was kind of hard to take a decent picture of the effect. There's still a few problems but I think I already know how to solve them. First of all, I don't have a big piece of this stuff that I can use like the plexi. Because there's holes and little knobs in/on it (see second picture), I can't just cut out a piece the size of the logo and put it behind there. I'll have to make several pieces, maybe one for each of the triangles.
    The second problem is, it's not nearly as bright as the LED you light it up with, I'd say about 30% of the light is visible in the end. That's not a big problem though, I'll just use more LED's ;)
    I think I'll use 8 3mm LED's with 10000mcd, so one for each triangle. That should be plenty to make it bright enough. I can't wait to see this finished :D
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2011
  18. guitarslingerchris

    guitarslingerchris Failure is just success rounded down

    Messages:
    6,463
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    Nice, can't wait to see more on this LED business.
     
  19. ultraflip

    ultraflip n00b

    Messages:
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    Mar 25, 2009
    And you're gonna get it!

    I finally finished the last of the 3 LED Strips today. I can't stand LED's anymore, 3 days of soldering this stuff was enough for me.

    [​IMG]

    Well, at least it works and I finally got it over with.
     
  20. ultraflip

    ultraflip n00b

    Messages:
    24
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    Got some work done today!
    I modified the top part so that the air from the radiator has somewhere to go. I had this planned from the beginning but never got around to it. Well, today was the day.

    This area had to go:
    [​IMG]

    10 Minutes later:
    [​IMG]

    And after the usual filing and sanding:
    [​IMG]

    This is the mesh that I'm going to put in:
    [​IMG]

    I used hot glue to make sure it stays where I put it. I have some experience with this kind of mesh from some other mods and it's always a pain in the ass to properly affix this stuff with some reliability. Hot glue seems to be the only thing that REALLY works (except screws obviously, but those are out of the question for my design). It may not be pretty, but it's not like anyone is going to see this from the inside, except you guys of course ;)
    [​IMG]

    As you can see, the hot glue does what it's supposed to. That mesh is going nowhere.
    [​IMG]

    And the final shot:
    [​IMG]

    The mesh is going to get painted too obviously, I think this is one of the first parts I'm going to paint since I don't have to do any more work on this one. I'm not going to paint everything at once, since I don't have the space, and with the number of parts, it's just more comfortable to paint a few things here and there over a few days.
     
  21. ultraflip

    ultraflip n00b

    Messages:
    24
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    Update! Yay!

    I prepared the rest of the window stuff today, specifically the plexi that goes in. Since I still have a lot of the white plexi I thought, why not just use some of that for the window too. Like this:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    And it gets better:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    I'm going to paint that mesh black too, I think it's going to look pretty awesome, especially if some of the light from inside illuminates the white plexi and shines through the holes :)



    After that ... more sanding. I can't stand it anymore but it had to be done. As you might have noticed, the Aluminum of the Cosmos is brushed, but I want a clean, glossy surface after painting which is why I had to use sandpaper to get the brushed surface even or at least close to even.
    [​IMG]

    You can still see that it's brushed here and there, but it feels completely smooth when I touch it so I hope that'll be enough. Hopefully, the primer will take care of the rest.
    [​IMG]



    After that I spent some more time on the front. My new white 3mm LED's arrived, I've ordered a lot of them so I'm going to use as many as necessary to make the logo glow bright and evenly. I hope one per triangle will do though.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    And that's it for today :D
     
  22. stainremover

    stainremover 2[H]4U

    Messages:
    2,839
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2008
    digging the lighting. moar!
     
  23. ultraflip

    ultraflip n00b

    Messages:
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    Mar 25, 2009
    My paint arrived! I don't know how popular Molotow are internationally, their products are mainly used for graffity but because of it's durability, this stuff is awesome for modding too. And a lot cheaper than the stuff you get at the hardware store.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Frist, I had to transform my balcony into a highly professional paintshop :D
    Then I started priming the first parts. As you can see, I don't have a lot of space so I'm going to only paint a few parts at once every time, so it's going to take a while till I'm finished with everything, especially because I have to do it 3-4 times for each part (Primer, 1-2 layers of paint and clear coat)
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    More coming up ;)
     
  24. ultraflip

    ultraflip n00b

    Messages:
    24
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    Yo!
    I painted the first layer of black on some of the parts a few hours ago and holy crap, it already looks SO much better, especially the frontplate with the logo. The paintjob also came out really well, the structure is perfectly even and the color is just perfect.

    [​IMG]

    It gets better though! As soon as the paint was dry enough I started working on the LED's for the front again and finished the whole thing up and JESUS CHRIST IN A CHICKEN BASKET THIS LOOKS SO AWESOME. Note that this is only a test, I just slammed this together with some tape to try out how the logo looks with all LED's glowing so the final thing is going to look even better.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Now that's what I'm talking about. I'm very very pleased with how this turned out, and it's not even finished! I love those rewarding moments where you see that all that work wasn't for nothing :)
     
  25. ultraflip

    ultraflip n00b

    Messages:
    24
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    Got some more painting done today.

    First off were the top and bottom bars, first with primer and then 2-3 coats of black, the molotow paint drys out very quickly so you don't have to wait 24 hours to do the next coat which saves me a lot of time :)

    Then I painted the Power/Reset buttons and started priming both of the sidepanels. Everything came out really well, I think this is the first mod for me where almost everything goes just as planned :D
    Note that I used white Primer so the sidepanels look as if they've already been painted. That's not the final white though, it's going to get even brighter!


    One of the bars with primer:
    [​IMG]

    And after the first coat of black. Yes, I'm drying this the same way I dry my clothes :D
    [​IMG]

    The buttons:
    [​IMG]

    After drying I put them in the top part that I have already painted. Here you can also see that the paintjob is very smooth and even, thanks to the great paint.
    [​IMG]

    And now the sidepanels, before priming:
    [​IMG]

    And after. Just as planned, the surface of the sidepanels is now completely smooth, so my sanding did the trick.
    [​IMG]

    And another last shot of the top an bottom bars. Next up is clear coat, then they're finished. I think I'm going to put something over the bottom ones to protect them (I was thinking small black rubber bands) so they don't get scratched underneath. Nobody would see it but I hate the thought of ruining a perfectly fine paintjob that way ;)
    [​IMG]

    Tomororw, I'm going to get the final white on the sidepanels. I'm hoping I'll get the painting done over the weekend, then maybe I can already start putting everything together next week and have this mod finished in 1-2 weeks :)
     
  26. stainremover

    stainremover 2[H]4U

    Messages:
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  27. ultraflip

    ultraflip n00b

    Messages:
    24
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    I spent the whole day painting today and have made a lot of progress.

    I've got a bunch of pics so no reason to bore you with unnecessary text ;)

    First I had to bring out the dremel one last time to make a big cutout in the front door. Since I'm not using the white plexi anymore it had to be done so that there's a space where I can fit in the lightning stuff for the logo. I'm going to cover it up from behind later, I'm not sure how yet, maybe I'll just use another piece of the same Metal I made the frontplate out of.
    Making those cuts was a tedious task, the Aluminum of the front door is twice as thick as the sidepanels so it took ages to get through. I actually had to pause several times to let the dremel cool off, it got so hot that I couldn't hold it any longer.
    [​IMG]

    Filing, Sanding, you know the drill
    [​IMG]

    Just to make it clear, this is what the hole is for:
    [​IMG]

    Then I finally started painting. The mesh for the window in black:
    [​IMG]

    And basically everything else! All the major parts are painted now, the only remaining step is clear coat for everything and then I'm done with the painting. Well, almost. The Portalgun still has to find its way on the right sidepanel, hopefully I'll get that done tomorrow. These are the white parts I did today, note that they're going to get a bit more glossy tomorrow with the clear coat, other than that, this is pretty much it.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    After the paint for the door was dry I put the frontplate on it to see what the final thing will look like. As expected, the combination of those colors is beautiful.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Last step today, preparing the fans for painting.
    [​IMG]

    More tomorrow :)
     
  28. sniperbob151

    sniperbob151 Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    383
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2008
    nice paint work! looking forward to seeing it all together and fully assembled!
     
  29. VolvoR

    VolvoR Gawd

    Messages:
    878
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2004
    HOLY COW!! That's a lot of work...looking good so far...keep the pics coming!
     
  30. ultraflip

    ultraflip n00b

    Messages:
    24
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    I've got good news and bad news today. Good news is, the painting is finished and everything except the right sidepanel looks pretty awesome. The Bad one is, the right sidepanel didn't quite turn out the way I had hoped. I'll explain with pictures:

    First I'll finally explain how I was planning on getting the portalgun on the sidepanel. As for a bunch of other stuff, I used stencils again. I made two of them, one for the grey areas and one for the black areas of the portalgun. The third color is the white of the background.
    This is stencil for the black parts:
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    And this is the one for the grey ones, already on the sidepanel:
    [​IMG]

    That's what it looked like after spraying:
    [​IMG]

    Next one:
    [​IMG]

    And now comes the problem. As it turns out (I was afraid this would happen) it's impossible to use spraypaint and stencils without the outcome looking like something that has been done with .. well, spraypaint and stencils. It's just impossible to get the stencil to lay on the sidepanel 100% flat, there's always little gaps here and there where some paint particles can get under, and then you get that typical spraypaint look. While this may look good on a brick wall in the ghetto, it looks like crap on a case that's supposed to be smooth and elegant. I thought I could somehow pull it off anyway but as you can see, I too am not perfect ;)
    Now it may not look as bad as it sounds on the pictures, but it's enough for me to want to do it all over again, and I think I will. Because on top of the not-so-great portalgun, the overall paintjob on the right sidepanel is far from perfect too. You can't see it on the pictures. but I just didn't have enough paint to get an even paintjob on that giant thing. The amount of paint it takes to coat such a big piece of material evenly with a spraycan is ridiculous.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    What am I gonna do now? I think I'll order some more paint to do the whole thing again and then think of a different method to get the portalgun on there. Stencils obviously won't work the way I want them to, so right now, I'm thinking Vinyls or some other form of sticker I can maybe print (or get it printed) and later put it on the finished paintjob. If you have any ideas or suggestions, let me know :)


    After the disappointment, I decided to put everything else together roughly, I haven't done this since taking it apart right at the beginning and boy, did that lift my mood. It looks awesome. I can't wait to get the rest finished and see this thing all lit up and with hardware inside :)
    [​IMG]

    The Fans are ready too:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    That's it for today. I'll put the last stuff together during the weekend (like the logo) and then I'll put the hardware in next week. The sidepanel can wait for now, it's not like it's a critical part or anything :)
     
  31. ultraflip

    ultraflip n00b

    Messages:
    24
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    If anyones wondering why there are no updates, I kinda sorta ruined the paintjob on the frontplate and have to do it all over again Sad
    I can't really continue until that's done and for that I need new paint which is going to take a few days to arrive so yeah, I'm kind of stuck right now.
    While the paint looked great, it seems to be very fragile. I used some electrical tape to hold something in place behind the front door and when I took it off (it's not even that sticky) the paint came right off along with it .. you can imagine my cursing. I had already put the frontplate on the door with some really, really nasty double sided tape (thinking I would never take it off again in my LIFE) so I spent half my day today trying to get it off again without destroying everything in the process. Next time, I think I'll get my stuff powder coated. I'm all for do-it-yourself and the paint can look good too with cans, the only big problem is, it's just nowhere as durable and tough as a "real" paintjob. I feel like I have to handle this case like it's made out of porcelain because I don't want to ruin 4 days of painting :/
     
  32. Bigbacon

    Bigbacon [H]ardForum Junkie

    Messages:
    15,648
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2007
    Painting ALWAYS sucks and it is always the worst thing if you ruin it all in the process.
     
  33. ][V][AGIC

    ][V][AGIC Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    444
    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Not if you are patient and let the paint cure properly before handling it.
     
  34. ultraflip

    ultraflip n00b

    Messages:
    24
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    I did, this happened 3 days after painting that piece. I don't know exactly what caused this but next time I'll be even more careful ..
     
  35. ultraflip

    ultraflip n00b

    Messages:
    24
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    Good news everyone!

    My mod isn't dead and neither am I, I just had a lot of stuff to do during the past weeks and there were also quite a few setbacks regarding the mod. Sometimes I was too lazy to write an update because I only did little things here and there and didn't think they were worth a post, and sometimes I was just too frustated with all the stuff that has been going wrong, so I didn't update this for a while. But now I solved most of the problems and I've got a lot of work done too so here's my double-whopper premium update!

    First things first: As you might remember, I screwed up the portalgun on the first try, so I tried it a second time, this time with masking foil to avoid the overspray from the stencils. What can I say, it was a freaking desaster. The outcome simply looked like shit and after that disappointment, I thought it was pointless to try it a third time so I sanded EVERYTHING down and did a white paintjob all over again and it's probably going to stay that way too. That's right, I'm giving up on the portalgun. This whole ordeal has already cost me a lot of time, effort and most importantly, money. I don't think it's possible to realize it the way I want it with the means I got and since I'm all "If you're gonna do something, do it right or don't do it at all", I choose the latter. No hard feelings though, the white sidepanel looks good too, and since its the right side, nobodys really going to see it anway since it's going to be next to the wall.

    The next problem was, again, the front door and getting the logo to glow. I had to do the wiring THREE times because there were always new problems but I managed to finally get it working two days ago and the mod is almost finished now!

    Now, a crapload of pictures for your viewing pleasure.

    After the last update I put in the painted fans and the two radiators
    [​IMG]

    I then finished up the sidepanel. Like I said, there's not just clear plexi going in there, but also the painted-black mesh
    [​IMG]

    the white plexi
    [​IMG]

    and the clear plexi
    [​IMG]

    And that's what it looks like on the halfway-done case
    [​IMG]

    Then I finished the frontpanel (which isn't really a frontpanel since it's on the top but who cares). Like I said earlier, I don't need the audio jacks because my X-Fi doesn't support them so I "carefully removed" those with a pipe wrench :D
    [​IMG]

    I had originally planend to put two switches for the lightning stuff in those holes in the frontpanel, but after searching through a lot of electronics sites and stores, I just couldn't find any switches that look good on the now very clean case and that aren't too big. So I decided to do something entirely different with those holes. I put two pieces of white plexi behind them and the HDD and power led's in the plexi so it glows just like the logo (I'm also using the same LED's I used for that).

    [​IMG]

    And with the rest of the frontpanel cables
    [​IMG]

    Then I finally put it in
    [​IMG]

    I know, I now have those 2 little holes in the frontpanel that the LED's were originally supposed to go into. I might think of something to cover those up or use them otherwise, but right now, I'll just leave them like that because they don't really bother me and I want to get this finished.

    Then I put the top part with the mesh in, I had to make a small hole for the fan cables first
    [​IMG]

    And the finished top. I think the white fans underneath the black mesh look really neat.
    [​IMG]

    And there's already a frightening amount of cables hanging everywhere, without a single piece of hardware in the case.
    [​IMG]

    Now, on to my nemesis, the door with the logo. After painting the whole frontplate a second time (I ruined it with a piece of tape, remember?) I put it in using double sided tape again, hopefully for the last time.
    [​IMG]

    Then I put the led's in for the first time. Normally, it would have been pretty much finished now, but ..
    [​IMG]

    At the time I started soldering the LED's together, the door wasn't even finished yet. I pretty much guessed how long the wires would have to be to reach all around the piece of plexi in the middle later, and of course I guessed wrong. While some of the cables where too long, most of them were way too short and I couldn't put the LED's where I wanted them. So I ripped everything out again and extended all the cables. After that, it looked like this (You might also notice that I switched back to white plexi rather than the stuff I got out of the keyboard. I'll explain the reason for that later)
    [​IMG]

    Now that I had extended the wires, there was a new problem. I could put all the LED's in the right spots now, but I also had an assload of wires in there and there just wasn't ANY space at all to put them. all those wires stacking up made it impossible to put on the cover I had made.
    [​IMG]

    The thing is, there's only a very small space between the inside of the door and the front of the case. With all the cables and the cover, everything was way too thick and the door just wouldn't close anymore. The cover has multiple functions by the way: First of all, it keeps everything from falling apart of course. Secondly, it keeps everything from looking like shit when you open the door, and thirdly, the inside of that piece of metal is white. It took me a while to figure this out, but that's how this whole thing works. You can't really make the plexi ITSELF glow with LED's, no matter if its milky plexi, sanded plexi, the stuff that I took out of the keyboard or anything else. What you can do though, is put something reflective directly BEHIND it so that reflects the light from the led's evenly and then it works. That's also why I decided to go back to white plexi, it fits the case better and it works just as well with this technique. (Funny fact: the "reflective material" inside is nothing but an ordinary piece of paper :p)


    Anyway. After all this, I did the wiring for the third time, this time making every cable exactly as long as it needs to be and luckily, it finally worked now. The leds worked, the cover fit and the door closed. Yay!

    [​IMG]
    I also painted the cover black to match everything else.
    [​IMG]

    And that's what it looks like on the case:
    [​IMG]

    Now, I spent a lot of time thinking about how to make the wire go from the door into the case without either bending, being in the way or just looking stupid. The solution was as simple as it is effective. I simply cut a piece off of one of the "bodys" from the headphone jacks and put that in to help guide the cable inside the case and also provide a bend protection just like it normally would. It works absolutely perfectly, the cable goes into the case very smoothly as you close the door.
    [​IMG]

    And now the big moment: Yes, the bloody thing is completely assembled and it WORKS. Boy am I glad I finally got this over with.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    Alright, so much for my big update. I don't have much left to say, except that the next update is going to be a lot sooner, I'm making good progress towards the end and chances are good that I'll start putting the hardware in during the next days!
     
  36. ultraflip

    ultraflip n00b

    Messages:
    24
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    Progress, Progress! I finished making the casing for the RGB Controller and the other circutry stuff I made for the lightning system, which, after a lot of problems and problem solving finally WORKS by the way!
    Like I said before, I used one of the harddrive cages for the casing and it works perfectly. Everything fits in there neatly, so no loose cables in the case. Also, I can just plug everything out and remove the whole thing if I feel like it.

    I just added the molex connector and the hole for the USB cable to the backpanel, I already had the headphone jacks finished a while ago. Then I put it all together and used hot glue to make sure the piece with all the connectors doesn't rip out no matter how hard you pull on those cables. Hot glue is never a pretty solution, I know, but nothing works better if you want to make something last forever ;)
    Nobody is going to see this box anyway so I didn't put a lot of effort into making it look good. Form follows fuction!
    [​IMG]

    Aaaand everything fits and there's still some space too. Perfect!
    [​IMG]

    And to finish it up, I added a plexi cover of course. Now I have a neat little box with all the fragile stuff safely stored inside and a bunch of connectors in the back. It's so simple but I really love this thing, it's very convenient.
    [​IMG]

    This is what it looks like in the case
    [​IMG]

    Then I did a final test to see if everything still works. At first, it actually didn't and I nearly threw the damn thing against the next wall, because it had worked perfectly 2 days ago. When I tried it again 2 hours later, it worked again. Man, electronics are weird, I don't even want to know what happened there as long as it works now. I only connected the RGB channels this time, the free headphone jacks are for the white LED's inside and the ones for the front. The code for the controller to use those hasn't been written yet though, so I can't test them yet ;)
    [​IMG]

    But everything else works. Phew.
    [​IMG]

    And a few color examples to show what all this work was about. I can now create virtually any color I want and make them fade in and out smoothly plus a bunch of other stuff. It looks way cooler in motion, I'll definitely make a video of this once everything is inside the case and working.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  37. ultraflip

    ultraflip n00b

    Messages:
    24
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    I put in the LED strips today. Sounds like a 5 Minute job, but it actually took quite a while because I had to hide the over 20 metres (Yes I'm serious) of cable attached to them. As you can see I'm slowly starting to do the last steps here, I think everything will be finished by next weekend. The case itself is pretty much finished, I just need to get some anticorrosive before I can start putting the hardware in and fill the watercooling system.

    In the meantime, I made some fotos of the empty case with the LED's inside. It looks even better than I had imagined, like I said, I'll make a video of this when everythings finished, right now I can only show you a few colors and you'll have to imagine the transistions :D
    [​IMG]

    And another big pic with everything in action
    [​IMG]

    This is what it looks like in the harddrive area now, these are nothing but the LED cables, so it's going to get pretty crowded in there. I'll pay a lot of attention to cable management though, so hopefully, you won't see many cables around the actual hardware later.
    [​IMG]
     
  38. Namakan

    Namakan Gawd

    Messages:
    563
    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2008
    Wow, very nice. I have the same case you used for the project. I really like what you did to it. Much nicer than my stock, unmodified one.
     
  39. ekuest

    ekuest [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    6,091
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    excellent work. some fine deutsch engineering. :D
     
  40. Bbq

    Bbq King of Charts

    Messages:
    12,272
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2006
    For painting, next time, try cutting the pattern out of frisket film, and then before the main color, spray a thin coat of clear. The clear will seep under, and seal it off, and the color should be fine. The frisket film is self adhesive too, so it will conform to the panel exactly.