Black Cube (first project/log)

Discussion in 'Worklogs' started by Elleric, Jul 28, 2006.

  1. Elleric

    Elleric [H]Lite

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    This is my first real project and of course my first work log so bear with me here. I have done some practicing with aluminum and acrylic scraps and I have a few tools from other endeavors. I tend to be a very slow worker in general and this is a complete build from the ground up so I’ll do updates when I can and feel it’s relevant.

    I was scared at first to post a work log based on the fact that I figure there is about a 1/3 chance this will work like I want, a 1/3 chance this will turn out all messed up and about a 1/3 chance I’ll end up being found dead by my girlfriend with a dremel cut to the jugular. The other thing that got me scared was the reaming yall gave the guy who cut his dvd drive hole backwards, but I figure this would be the best way to get feed back and learn more. But for god sakes, if you see me with guide markings on something that is backwards, assume I’m a dumb ass and warn me!!!

    This first post will be a few days of planning and work…

    This project is The Blue on Black Cube (go Kenny!)

    Here is the intended basic plan, a 13 x 13 x 13 cube. (dimensions will actually be 13 1/4 due to plexi thickness) The CPU will be water cooled but the GPUs will not. Since I’m intending to use SLI, additional airflow will be a major concern in my head. Also, because of the small size, components will be stacked, adding to possible heat build up = more airflow!!! Models:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Now I have most of the internals for this PC already here and I hooked them all up in a temp case. The only thing I’ll need to buy with regards to internals is another 7900 gt to compliment the one I have in there already. Behold the great mess of 5 minute wiring jobs:
    [​IMG]

    Now onto the case. First things first, if I’m going to be building a complete case, I’m going to be needing some parts. For $15 I snagged this case from NewEgg.
    [​IMG]

    Now it kind of shocked me that the case looked nice when I first opened the box, my shock and awe ebbed when I took it out of the box and it almost fell apart on me. The front panel was wabbly, the side panels were warped and there were several loose rivets. You get what you pay for… now where’s my bat.
    After a little work on the rivets I was left with everything I wanted! The back panel, the drive racks, the motherboard tray and the front panel wiring
    [​IMG]

    Next was to get the back panel down to just what I wanted, the exp slots and the connector opening. After a little cutting of the aluminum I was left with a useable piece of back paneling
    [​IMG]

    At this point I was done for the day, but before I called it a night I ordered the acrylic I intended to use from usplastics, solid opaque black… hot. It will be here in a few days
    -----------------------------------------------

    While waiting for the acrylic to come, I got bored and found a mouse I had just sitting around the house. Since I have never done it before, I put in a window. Nothing new for most, but it’s new-to-me.

    [​IMG]

    PS, if anyone can direct me to a very good tutorial about LEDs, along with links to places to buy components in the US would help tons. Then I can block the red from the mouse sensor and put in a blue LED to go along with this case. Other wise, I just did this mod for fun, no relation to the case at hand.
    ----------------------------------------------

    FINALLY! The acrylic is here, oooo pretty

    [​IMG]

    This single long piece will make up 2 side panels and the top. I originally was going to cut each wall piece separate but decided these 3 pieces could be made from one long piece of acrylic bent at the right places. Besides, this will give me a good chance to learn about bending plastic.

    Keep in mind here, I don’t have a full shop-o-tools, I’m going to be ghetto-ing a lot of this to make do. Cutting the big piece, 48 x 24 down to the size I needed, 13 x 39 ¼ wasn’t too bad with the dremel a re-enforced cutting wheel, a heavy duty file and some time. The cut ended up clean and straight and on I went to marking the holes. Side one had a single 80mm fan, the top has 2 120mm fans and the other side had a 80mm fan and a 5 inch hole for the coolant res.

    I guess the best way to go about cutting these things would have been a hole saw with a high powered drill, but… while I have a nice drill, I don’t have the hole saw bit for it and I am much too cheap and lazy to go buy one (or 3 as the case might be), so I am going to dremel the holes, this I’ve done before and I know I can get near perfect circles with a dremel as long as I’m patient. Here are some images of all this:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    In the end they came out great, my next step will be to sand the edges down some to get a nice shine. 200-600-1000-2000 grit paper is my game plan.

    That’s it for now, and this is the point I am at now. I am going to Fenway to see the Redsox pummel the Angels tonight so I won’t be working on this again till Satuday, but my intent is to sand the holes to a nice shine and bend the corners on Saturday

    -El
     
  2. mozes

    mozes [H]Lite

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    That is going to be a sweet lookin case, did you get the idea from the ufocase design, also are you going to have it where you can slide in and out and lock it in place.Update with pics

    (mmmmmmmm pictures)
     
  3. Smitty2k1

    Smitty2k1 Gawd

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    Honest to god I was thinking about doing a black cube just like yours! I can't wait to see how this turns out! Happy working!
     
  4. Elleric

    Elleric [H]Lite

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    ! so here we are, i spent a little time working on the cube again here, I sanded the vents and did the bending... I pulled the protective paper off of a side and threw a fan on the case with some tape to get an idea about the looks:
    [​IMG]

    Hmmm... image looks croocked, but its straight! Look!
    The table is even:
    [​IMG]
    the top is even:
    [​IMG]

    Here are a few more images.
    With the lights off and a UV light on inside the case.
    [​IMG]
    with the lights on and a UV light on.
    [​IMG]
    Now, the lights on, no UV on we have...
    [​IMG]

    This ended up coming out great, so more building went on... the system floor i decided to make out of ¼ inch clear acrylic... why? Because i love me a little rice. The bottom will have blue ccfl, then when i put the rubber feet on the bottom to lift it off the ground a little, there will be a nice blue under glow. I hope.

    I had the acrylic here already, the problem was it no longer have protective film on it, but we can take care of that with some painter's tape. 4-5 layers should provide enough protection along with being careful of scraps scratching up the face...
    [​IMG]
    cut and ground...
    [​IMG]

    a little more, threw the base into the already built side walls and put in a blue ccfl just to get an idea of what its gonna be looking like...
    [​IMG]
    wow, that image sucks, but you get the idea maybe?

    Finally, i did a temp mount of the res in the box. Right now, i'm looking for some black screw hardware that i like... for now, silver will have to do.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    So, thats all for now... next time I'm going to start working on the drive cages and mounting them on the base.
     
  5. w1retap

    w1retap [H]ardForum Junkie

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    wow, this is looking awesome. I can't wait to see the finished product. /subscribed
     
  6. whrswoldo

    whrswoldo 2[H]4U

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    looking good!

    One question: how will you access the CD-ROM/HD area? It looks liek the door is only for the top part.
     
  7. Elleric

    Elleric [H]Lite

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    to access the bottom section, the mother board tray will be removable, as will the lower front pannel. These would require removing screws and a little time, but i dont plan to access that area often.

    The dvd drive will be accessable through an opening in the front pannel, my intent will be to stelth the drive eventually, but right now im going to leave the drive with the standard black bezel untill the fabrication is done.

    btw, i have the drive racks cut and mounted now, im also going to be starting the back panel now... will see how that goes. It's going to be a little hard based on needing to mount the aluminum back panel from the starter case correctly. EEP!

    pics of this probably tonight or tomorrow
     
  8. gotchya

    gotchya n00b

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    Looks good so far!

    Where did you get those UV fans? I've been looking for some for my case and I haven't found any decent ones yet :(
     
  9. goldy

    goldy [H]ard|Gawd

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    Impressive work so far, keep it up.
     
  10. Elleric

    Elleric [H]Lite

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    The fans are coolmasters blue uv reactive.

    here is an update on my progress on this lil guy.

    My main goal was to make sure i was able to get the hardware mounts in the base, i managed that and a bit more...

    Here is where i started...
    [​IMG]
    just some of the drive cages from the origional scarficial case. But this was way too much, built for tons of drives. I dont need all that.

    After a little dremeling i cut one drive cage down to what i needed. None of the hardware, dvd drives, hdd and psu are the ones ill actually be using, but they work for the mockup.
    [​IMG]
    I'm not going to be using 2 drives but this was to add stability while i was figuring the mounting.

    After giving the hard drive cage the same treatment and snagging a little blue painter's tape i did a quick mock up of the hardware
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    and with the outer case on
    [​IMG]

    I love the re-enforced dremel cut off wheels, problem is, they arnt cheap and cutting aluminum doesnt do them well... but I managed to get the most use out of the wheels that is possible i think... here is what was left of a wheel when i was done with it and the new replacement.
    [​IMG]

    Anyway, i went ahead and mounded the racks using some screws with small rubber washers between the base and the drive cages to dampen any noise or vibrations. This is a temp mounting as well.
    [​IMG]

    Keeping the great motivation going i went to work on the back piece of the case.
    Here is the whole thing, you can see the top corners are rounded so they will fit with the curved in the top of the case.
    [​IMG]
    a close up of the corner, looks smooooooth to me
    [​IMG]

    Now to double check things, more painter's tape... the back piece gets mounted on the case
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    you can see that the back piece is still slightly higher then the rest of the case. By slightly i mean less the 1mm, much less. This will let me be able to sand these edges after i bind the 2 pieces together with out needing to damage the nice finish of the rest of the case.

    The other thing i did was decide the hardware thats going into this case is going to be a dual boot system so i can play games through windows and still use it to do work when i need to.
    The dual boot...
    [​IMG]
    in windows
    [​IMG]
    in Ubuntu
    [​IMG]

    thats about it for now. Tomorrow im going to continue work on the back panel along with the mother board tray.. i think to get the mother board's back panel connectors to line up right i am going to need to be building these two pieces together. Im also going to be ordering the other fans i need along with some wire sleeving stuff for the power suply.
     
  11. Conano

    Conano Limp Gawd

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    snazzy

    Whered ya get the black Acryllic?
     
  12. Reagent

    Reagent Limp Gawd

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    More water and less clothing, IMO.

    Oh, yeah the mod looks good too.
     
  13. Elleric

    Elleric [H]Lite

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    the black acrylic came from USPlastics. Black gets you the opaque black im using, grey looks very much like the black, it is very dark but lets direct light show through. It's like smokey I almost used this stuff for this mod but decided i only wanted the blue highlights to show off light.

    in other sad news, after i was finished modding for the night last night i went to catch the redsox game on tv... and my HTPC had stopped working. I was getting no power to it at all... so either the power supply is fried, or the motherboard is... god i hope its the power supply... I will be pulling another power supply tonight and trying it out... the redsox got whooped anyways... and the yankers got bobby... man, sunday was not my day...
     
  14. Elleric

    Elleric [H]Lite

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    So i didnt get as much work in on the mod as i had hoped today, but i did get some stuff done.
    I checked and it is a dead power supply that stopped my HTPC, It was a powr supply from tiger direct so i should have expect to not last... but i think i paid like $3.50 for it... so im out like a Bag Mac and fries...
    but what really kept me from getting all i wanted done was the redsox game... how does david ortiz do that?

    ok moving along, here is the work... so what i managed to get done was most of the hard drive tray.
    [​IMG]
    here we have the plexiglass, all cut up and ground... but not sanded or polished... not too interesting huh?

    here is the aluminum motherboard tray ill be using from the origional sacrificial case... it was a but deeper then i wanted so i trimmed the end off of it. It was also higher then i wanted so i trimmed more edges off to get rid of the height... You can see here, i mounted the already cut back panel piece onto the mother board tray. This is so much easier the having the 2 pieces seperate... here is what i was left with...
    [​IMG]

    niether of these are very interestng, but putting them together we get...
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Ok, thats hot, this ended up looking great. It still needs some sanding and polishing, the metal needs finishing, but thats all final tweeks for after everything is fabricated. im so tickled with myself on how nice this ended up looking.

    The next step is gonna be one of the hardest, the back panel needs to be cut for the motherboard tray and power supply... think ill take my time on that :)

    thats it for now~

    -El
     
  15. Conano

    Conano Limp Gawd

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    just a suggestion, but why not go with an acrylic MB tray? Maby clear acrylic with some LED's between the clear and black acrylic panels underneath the motherboard which would give off the appearance of a glow around the motherboard?

    looks great though....
     
  16. Cpt Twitchy

    Cpt Twitchy Gawd

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    Looking great and awesome work bench.
     
  17. Elleric

    Elleric [H]Lite

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    My bed != my work bench :-p its just where i take the pics most of the time because i keep the pieces im not working on in my bedroom. they would get scratched all to hell if i kept them in the work shop.

    There are a few reasons im not using an acrylic tray, first and formost, i had the aluminum one sitting here. second ive been considering painting the tray and back panel (esp the back panel) glossy black to match the rest of the case. After seeing how the aluminum looks one the black though, im reconsidering. The back panel i think ill still paint, but the tray i might leave silver. and finally, the aluminum tray has all the holes for the stand offs already drilled, they fit perfectly and line up with the board perfectly as well. it just seems like the right thing to do.

    Wont be working on this tonight, i need to not ignore my girlfriend for at least 1 night a week. So im going to be doing the back panel holes wednesday (i hope)
     
  18. paradoxblue

    paradoxblue Gawd

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    freakin awesome. ignore the gf and get it done so we can all bask in its glory. lol :p
     
  19. indokyne

    indokyne 2[H]4U

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    evangeline ftw. in windows or linux
     
  20. Cpt Twitchy

    Cpt Twitchy Gawd

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    I was referring to the set up in the garage with the peg board not your bed, just notived the pics were on your bed :D
     
  21. vapb400

    vapb400 Gawd

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    omg i need the link to that evangeline pic
    ;)
     
  22. Elleric

    Elleric [H]Lite

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  23. Elleric

    Elleric [H]Lite

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    so...

    [​IMG]

    gonna paint the hardware myself, along with the aluminum...

    This is about all we have... more later.

    -El
     
  24. Cpt Twitchy

    Cpt Twitchy Gawd

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    Sorry for OT but where did you buy your duplicolor from?

    Thanks
    Tim
     
  25. Elleric

    Elleric [H]Lite

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    off the shelf at autozone. they actually had a pretty impressive selection
     
  26. Elleric

    Elleric [H]Lite

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    I got a little bit more work done here! i was going to do some painting, but its 100+ here and the humidity is pretty bad so no paints till the temps calm down.
    Like i said before i got to work on the back panel, very slooooooowly. It needed 2 holes for 3 different things (man, get your head out of the gutters, sickos). the power supply, the mother board connectors and the exp slots. The mother board connection area and the exp slots will be the same hole.

    [​IMG]

    here is the MB and exp hole with a rough cut. jagged, uneven, ugly, just to make sure things fit :-p

    [​IMG]

    and add in the psu hole. This image sucks, but oh well, the holes are still only rouch cut.

    on to putting the tray from last time, with some styofoam (spelling?) spaces to hold the board in place... ooooooo its even! score

    [​IMG]

    and the way it looks inside:
    [​IMG]

    and of course the most important shot, the one that will be seen! the back panel in there.
    [​IMG]

    I think this is enough for the night. my next thing will be to make the black acrylic lip that will go around the inside of the case to hold up the motherboard tray and replace the white spacers i have in there now. I am also expecting the last bit of stuff i need for this case, fans, lights, sleeving, molex etc in the mail soon i love toys!

    -El
     
  27. ThatsAgood1jay

    ThatsAgood1jay Gawd

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    from the looks of it you do good work. i might just have to have you make a custom case for me :D
     
  28. Elleric

    Elleric [H]Lite

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    more done! a little!

    My main goal was to get the inner lip built tonight. This is a small shelf around the inside of the case that the mother board tray will sit on. the sides are about 3/4 of an inch while the front is based off the 3/4 inch thickness but has the back of it ground out so the wires can come from the bottom to the top. This will also have the added bonus of blocking light between the 2 partitions.

    so here is the lip cut and set inside the case
    [​IMG]
    the small acrylic blocks under the lip are screwed in place, this is also how the front panel will attach to the case since it needs to be removable. the lip will be attached to the case and those blocks with some weld on

    I got this finished and wanted to do a little more, but the next step i have is the lower front panel, which will need not only an opening for the dvd drive but also the power switch, usb, firewire, etc. i figured this would take longer the i had tonight so i did a little work on the power switch!
    [​IMG]

    Also got a lil package from ups! score! it had my cable sleeving, replacement molexes (molexi? moli?) and lighting! not that i can make use of all this for a little bit but its here none the less!
    hats all i got through tonight. next time im gonna be working on the switch/connector area and front panel. that wont be till sunday/monday though.
     
  29. cre8chaos

    cre8chaos [H]ard|Gawd

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    Looking good, Get it filled up and running.
     
  30. Elleric

    Elleric [H]Lite

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    have a small update.

    I started into my first attempt at painting tonight... and i ran into a small 'oops' based on the fact that i seem to be the least observant person who has ever lived... i set up my little paint station in the drive way, nice and flat, good ventalation (is it still ventalation if its outdoors?) but i missed the obvious that was litteraly 2 feet in front of my face, as i broke out the can of self etching primer and went to spray, it finally hit me, i was about to spray paint with in 2 feet of the batmobile... im smart...
    [​IMG]
    but i caught myself, felt pretty stupid and decided maybe the workshop with some fans for vents was the way to go... it wasnt much paint anyways...

    here is the back panel primed for some lovin
    [​IMG]

    and with some black on it
    [​IMG]
    there is some orange peel, and some blemished because of marks in the metal, but over all this came out decent for something thats never going to be seen. If this were the front or side i think i would do some wet sanding but for the back, im going to leave it as this.

    and the back mounted on the tray...
    [​IMG]

    I also found the hardware i wanted to use... some great looking m3 screws... m3 screws are hard to find in lengths of 1/4 inch... and even harder to find in that size in black but i found it in a brass color...
    [​IMG]
    Ill just have to give it a once over with some paint! Hmmm painting a lot of screws... hmmm...
    my screw painting set up!
    [​IMG]

    A little bit of time later...
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    the bottoms of the screws dont matter they wiill be flat against the panels, the top and sides of the screws i was very pleased with.

    thats it for now. gonna be doing a mock build next for final placement of the MB tray mount

    -El
     
  31. Elleric

    Elleric [H]Lite

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    Moving right along, things have started to come together in a very rough and still disturbingly dusty kind of way...

    One part i was worried about was the front hole for the dvd drive... I have what is arguably the least stready dremel hand ever so small exact cuts are not my deal... files, here i come! but to add a little more to the issue, i ended up with a problem inside the case where the dvd drive was hitting the powersupply, not good!!!! but i think i came up with the answer to both those problems in one shot...

    here is the cut for the front where the drive will go...
    [​IMG]
    and the side, ooooo smooth and curvy...
    [​IMG]
    i know the image is blury and it looks like a pic of a can of go-juice but you get the idea of the curves right? ;)
    and in goes the drive...
    [​IMG]
    you can see the drive only goes into where the bezel is, this, combined with the amount of stand off i get from the second piece of acrylic gives me just enough clearance inside the case for the power supply, plus it looks zippy.

    and then i threw that piece into to the front piece (front piece rough cut, needs a *lot* of work)
    [​IMG]
    Little more sanding to take care of the small weld-on bump and this will be good to go~

    finally, before i headed off to sleep i put the box together and used my sophisticated algorithm and calculus background to devise a cleaver stratagy for holding the edges tight while the acrylic bond sets...
    [​IMG]

    you can see, calculous book, algorithms book and 2 programing text books... the most use i have gotten out of them... ever!

    At this point, the only blue tape left on the box is the stuff helping to hold the walls in place while they set... When i get home from work, ill remove the tape and see how the corners look, If all goes to plan that will be the end of the major construction with the exception of the moving door which by default must be built last... so that means... tons of filing and snading... then tons of clean up, washing and polishing... ugh! err i mean, yay!

    -El
     
  32. gobBobo

    gobBobo Limp Gawd

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    i love the work you're doing man. you've been a lot more successful than i ever was in my attempt to create a standard looking Plexi case.

    one thing i really want to know is how you did such a good job bending the plexi. any pointers?
     
  33. ThatsAgood1jay

    ThatsAgood1jay Gawd

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    i wish i could build an awsome case. insted im just gonna mod the hell out of mine :D
     
  34. Elleric

    Elleric [H]Lite

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    bending plexi isnt too hard, you really need a few things.

    you'll need a good mold to bend around, in my case, my work bench did just fine. I set the plexi on the bench so it was hanging over the edge right where i wanted the bend and then clamped it down very very tight. I used a heat gun that cost me like $25 from lowes or home depot and started blowing heat onto to top of the acrylic moving back and forth along the bend slowly in the hopes to heat the entire area evenly. At this point gravity helped out and the bend started on its own. I then took an old teeshirt and wraped it around a piece of 1x4 wood i had sitting around and used it, with continued heat from the heat gun to make the corner more of an angle rather then a curve. The wood block was as long as the plexiglass was wide which helped make sure the corner was even.

    Each bend took a while and the second bend took what seemed like forever in an effort to even things out but you can keep reheating the plastic till it comes out right. I only ran into one problem when i was looking one place and the heat gun stayed on one spot for too long, the plexi burnt a little, but thats fixable by wet sanding mostly.

    Keep in mind, this is still my first project so i experimented on a few scraps before i touched the big piece... there might be a better/easier way to do this out there. Like i know if you have a heating strip a straight line bend is very easy, but those arnt $25 either ><

    -El
     
  35. Elleric

    Elleric [H]Lite

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    /yawwwwwwwn god im tired. but i got some pics

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    the bulk of the case put together, still dirty and dusty but the corners have been sanded

    I felt the need to throw the hardware in at this point, i dont have 2 80mm fans, they will be here monday and i havent sleeved the cables yet... and the lighting is loose... ok, so this is pretty rough, but the colo came out ++

    the side/res
    [​IMG]
    the top~, the rad is the fan on the right, its why its darker...
    [​IMG]
    and the ugly unkemp mess of the inside
    [​IMG]

    and of course something with the lights on
    [​IMG]

    still a lot left though, need to get some door trim to finish fan holes, need to do wire sleeving, mount lights and lower fans, finish the wire mount that will hold the wires as they move from the bottom to the top and of course there is the matter of the door for the front ;) but im sleepy now, more tomorrow if i find the time.

    -El
     
  36. Elleric

    Elleric [H]Lite

    Messages:
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    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2006
    another small update...

    I did the front a bit...

    [​IMG]
    the fan and hinges all mounted up

    so i put it on with some painter's tape...
    [​IMG]
    and from the front
    [​IMG]

    its gettin there~
     
  37. synaps3

    synaps3 Gawd

    Messages:
    957
    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2006
    Looks cool, I love the black plexi.

    One question though, how did you bend the plexi? Did you use a heatgun or heatstrip? or did you figure out how to do it without buying anything like that?
     
  38. cre8chaos

    cre8chaos [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,629
    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2005
  39. gobBobo

    gobBobo Limp Gawd

    Messages:
    339
    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2006
    he already answered the question about bending the plexi. scroll up a bit :p
     
  40. Elleric

    Elleric [H]Lite

    Messages:
    107
    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2006
    a small unexciting update, the building is pretty much done, now for the mess that is the wires... there is not a lot of room and the wires have to be 'good' or ill wig out... step one was sleeving the psu...
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    it ended up very decent, unsleeved cables are sata cables, i wont be using em so im going to tuck them away,,,

    thats all for now, next is for hooking stuff up.

    -El