Project: The Unidyne PC

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OK. I've never done a worklog before. I hate the idea of doing one because it forces me to stop what I am doing and....well,...makes me do something else. My wife has just seen a few parts I have worked on and says that I should photograph the process. She seems to think this project will be a good'un.

One rule I have is that I don't give away my vision of the finished project or its influences. Why? I do some pretty off-the-wall stuff that is difficult for me to translate and even more difficult for others to imagine. I just don't bother anymore. If you are not familiar with my work then go HERE to see what I'm talking about.

OK. So on with it.

001.jpg


Pictured here are two support panels consisting of 1/2" x 3/8" blocks of basswood glued onto 3/16" sheets of basswood. All the wood used in this project is basswood.

The blocks are spaced 3/8" apart.

002.jpg


Here are three of the fourteen cooling fins. They measure 1" x 3/8" x 8". I had to make them up by gluing two strips of 1/2" stock together. 1" stock is in short supply in my area. Apparently, politicians like going to art supply stores and buying up all the stock to mount their election signs on. What a waste.

003.jpg


This is seven cooling fins mounted to the right (or left?) side panel.
 

Legion©

Limp Gawd
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Damn you and your not telling us what it's going to be!
I want to know! It looks very intriguing so far...
 

Arcygenical

Fully [H]
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It looks like the front grill of a truck or something. You're really good with your wood.
 
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Legion© said:
Damn you and your not telling us what it's going to be!
I want to know! It looks very intriguing so far...

Cool! Stay tuned because its gonna get weird.


Arcygenical said:
It looks like the front grill of a truck or something. You're really good with your wood.

That's what she said. A truck grill? Interesting.


ValeX said:
i smell some sort of cluster?

ValeX

Nah. I'm done with clusters for a while. I don't have any guts for this new project yet. What I'll do is get it finished enough to be able see the "vision" and then I'll send out pictures to my sponsors to see if they want to put something "special" in it.
 
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Here is how the "truck grill" got started:

I also included a USC in the photo so that you will have perspective.

005.jpg


The part starts off with 7 pieces of 3" x 3/8" x 8". These cooling fins are separated by six pieces of 1/2" x 1/2" x 8". This entire arrangement is backed by two sheets of 3/16" x 4" stock. The two 4" sheets cover the entire 8" length. 4" width is my limit because of availability and cost.
 
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006.jpg


Yes. Two of them. They will end up being identical parts.

Next I will show how I went from the right one to the left one.

Remember, the left one is no where near finished. I have cut it in one dimension only. I still have two more dimensions.
 
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thewhiteguy said:
Acutally, you cut it in 3 dimensions. :p

No. If I look at the two pieces side-by-side from the top....they look identical. Both from the front...still identical. Only from the side can any difference be seen. You have to leave isometric views out of it.

This will become clear as the project progresses.
 
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007.jpg

This photo shows my template attached to the side of the part. I traced the outline with a Ultra-fine Sharpie.

008.jpg


I turned the part around to expose the other side. The template is also turned around, mounted and traced. The template is a section of a PDF file that I enlarged to fit my scale.

009.jpg


The reason I swap the template around is because the shape I'm working on is not a mirror image.
 

brasherman

Gawd
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Ha! I got it! Since I am a tractor nut, it looks like the grill to a Farmall, specifically the early A's and H's.

But I don't know anything, so I will sit in my basement corner and watch with trepidation! :)
 
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brasherman said:
Ha! I got it! Since I am a tractor nut, it looks like the grill to a Farmall, specifically the early A's and H's.

Farmall tractor. That's good. I love the old tractors too. Pretty off-the-wall also. I'll have to put that on my short list of things to investigate.
 
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010.jpg


A tool photo. Tim Allen fans join me....(grunting sounds).

For the next step in this project I will be using these tools. The Dremel-like tool has a flexible extension installed and a tiny drum sander bit attached. I have an official Dremel but I use this tool because the flexible extension grip is much, much smaller in diameter. This feature will become clear soon.

Also shown is my hand rasp with four different working surfaces and a sheet of 60 grit sandpaper wrapped around a 3/8" block of plywood.

(More grunting sounds)
 
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OK. I'll take this lull in the action to discuss cases made out of wood. The most common comment I get is..."it's a bad choice of materials. The computer will overheat."

No offense to all the junior and wannabee engineers out there but...that's so stupid it's almost funny.

Gather 'round boys and girls and let Uncle Jeff tell you about convection versus conduction. In the world of heat transfer, conduction is the transfer of heat from one solid to another. Convection is the transfer of heat from a solid to a fluid.

Heat generated by a computer's CPU is first transferred to the heatsink by conduction. The material of the processor is physically attached to the material of the heatsink. Heat flows from the hotter material to the cooler stuff.

Next, the heatsink material transfers its heat to the air surrounding it, which is a fluid. Yes, air is a fluid. This transfer is done by convection. Since a fan is involved it is more accurately called "forced convection".

This heated air is expelled from the case by other fans moving the fluid around.

Water-cooling isn't much different. Different type of fluid of course.

Notice that the material used for the computer enclosure has no role in this story.

True, you could argue that hot air trapped in the enclosure gets transferred out by contact with the case material but this amount of transfer is so small compared to the amount involved in expelling the air that it is almost irrelevant.

Case manufacturers who tell you that aluminum cases allow your computer to run cooler are...full of shit. Also known as marketing.

There are exceptions, of course. People making quiet, fanless systems attempt to create a direct path (conduction) from the CPU to the case material. This turns the case into a giant heatsink.

Wood has superior sound deadening qualities and is much easier to work with than metals.

Putting sensitive electronic equipment into wooden enclosures is nothing new. The most famous being the console radios from the 1930's and console TV's from the 70's.

Back to work.
 
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011.jpg


Using the sanding bit the two outer fins are shaped down to the lines. The drum sanding bit is exactly the same width as the fins and it cuts through the basswood "like butta"
 
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012.jpg


Here it is from the other side. I have glued in 1/2" x 1/2" blocks through the center of the part. This gives a great deal of strength to the part and is also a design component.
 
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013.jpg


Using the two outside fins as guide rails I am able to knock down the material to this crude shape. The narrower hand grip of the Dremel clone's flex attachment lets me run the tool braced on top of the shape next to the one I'm cutting.

014.jpg


I use the hand rasp and 60-grit sandpaper to level off the tops of all the fins and hopefully make everything consistent with my pattern shape.

Takes about two hours.
 
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015.jpg


Final result. Two identical parts that are the top and bottom of the case. Or is that left and right? Front and back?
 

urbsnspices

[H]ard|Gawd
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Wow I like your case Mods, in paticular the DECOmputer. Love the deco chrome look, reminds me of the game Fallout. I collect vintage microphones and I thought this was going to be a a giant Shure/Astatic/Stromburg microphone. Anyway looking good so far.
 
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urbsnspices said:
Wow I like your case Mods, in paticular the DECOmputer. Love the deco chrome look, reminds me of the game Fallout. I collect vintage microphones and I thought this was going to be a a giant Shure/Astatic/Stromburg microphone. Anyway looking good so far.

You my friend win the prize. :) Unfortunately, there is no prize. :(

Thanks for your comments. Everyone seems to have their own favorite.

You probably have seen me or my work before. I rarely toot my own horn and when I do I get accused of being full of myself. It is tough trying to promote my hobby (so I can do more of my hobby) and do it in a way that doesn't offend anyone's delicate sensibilities. I've packed up my toys and left more than just a few forums because of this.

Fact is, I turn 51 next month and I'm getting too old to play most of the reindeer games. Being criticized by people who have never created anything more colorful than the turd they flushed this morning is something very difficult for me.

[/soapbox]

Anyway, your next assignment is to guess the brand and model. Should be easy for you since you are a collector.
 
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jmroberts70 said:
Is it going to have a metallic look to it?

Yes. I'll be using Industrial grade aluminum paint. The kind that has aluminum paste in it. It won't have the polished aluminum look but a brushed, matte type of finish is still pretty good. It will be similar to the finish on the Machine Age PC
 
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016.jpg


I often piece all the parts together so that I can squint at it a while. It helps me solve design problems and makes me look like an artist. :)

I'm going to present a sequence of photos showing how I pieced it together this morning.

This photo shows some small blocks of wood that I call "cleats" for lack of another word. They are glued to the curved pieces I just finished. They assist in aligning of the attachment of other parts and hopefully provide enough of a friction fit to keep it all together...temporarily.
 
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017.jpg


I layed these three parts out to hopefully illustrate how they will go together. The center panel's cooling fins will fit into the side panels slots. Like this:

018.jpg
 
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019.jpg


Another piece of the front panel is installed. Since I'm limited to 4" wide backing stock I'm forced to break large panels into pieces. I can say that it facilitates thermal expansion. Hmmm. That's the ticket.

020.jpg


This sub-assembly is fitted into the "roundy things" cleats shown in a prior step. The piece of wood below is just to help prop the assembly up for photos.
 
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021.jpg


Here I turned the thing around to show the cleat action going on.

022.jpg


A couple of more panels installed between cleats. Again, it's a 4" limit thing. You may notice some of my alignment marks. In a perfect world these identical panels should be interchangeable. The real world, or at least my world, says otherwise.
 
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023.jpg


Now I start to install the side panel cooling fins. These are all very tight fitting friction fit pieces. This step adds a lot of structural strength to the assembly.

024.jpg


Here I swap it over to the other side and install its side panel cooling fins. Notice that the cooling fins stick out and some of them are longer than others. These will be trimmed to the proper length later after I figure out the proper length.

Warning: Case Modding Tip Approaching!

Never, NEVER make permanent changes such as cutting, gluing, welding, plasma cutting, whatever, unless you absolutely have to. It is guaranteed that as soon as you make this commitment you will A) Realize how badly you just screwed it up or; B) Figure out a much more efficient, clever way to do what you just did.
 
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thewhiteguy said:
That's going to be one strong and heavy case.

Shouldn't be too heavy. Basswood is pretty light weight stuff.

Hopefully it will be strong. I like tight fitting structures that rely more on close tolerances than fastening materials such as glue, screws, mortar, whatever.

There are a lot of ancient structures such as buildings and walls still standing today because the stone masons of the time fit each piece together so accurately that they didn't need mortar. That was time and labor intensive but you can't argue with the results.

I remember a story about a South American city built over and around an old Incan city. An earthquake hit the place leveling everything...except the old Incan city walls.
 
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025.jpg


The top cap has identical cleats installed that line up to the rest of the assembly.

026.jpg


027.jpg


And the big payoff. This project is still cut in only one dimension. When I'm done there will be no flat surfaces.

OK urbsnspices. I'll give you 15 seconds to tell me what this is. ;)
 

urbsnspices

[H]ard|Gawd
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Well I am an hour late but the most fameous microphone in the world, is of course the Shure 55 and its varients. I would asssume some contoured sanding is in order. Your rough cuts are a good hint.

I am partial to the Astatic 77 which has some great lines and details. And maybe simply that it is different then the well known 55:
ASTATIC 77

The Shure 55:


This is not from my site but this guy has some great pictures and write-ups on vintage electronics.


BTW im 28 but I like the look and build of vintage gear.
 
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urbsnspices said:
Well I am an hour late but the most fameous microphone in the world, is of course the Shure 55 and its varients. I would asssume some contoured sanding is in order. Your rough cuts are a good hint.

You are correct! Both the make/model and the fact that I have a long way to go. :)

thewhiteguy said:
Looks like an old-school microphone.

I don't know if I would call it old-school considering how many current singers and comedians are still using the things. I believe they are still being made.

Now I have to figure out what to call it. The Shure 55 is also called the Unidyne which is a pretty cool sounding computer word. The most common name for the mic is the "Elvis mic". A famous one was auctioned off in Dec. HERE
 
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urbsnspices said:
I am partial to the Astatic 77 which has some great lines and details. And maybe simply that it is different then the well known 55:
ASTATIC 77

That is bitchin'. I have seen it before but there seems to be so few photos of it.

That and the Shure just struck me as being shaped like miniature tower computer cases...only better looking.

As far as the age goes....this proves that great classic designs are truly ageless.
 

urbsnspices

[H]ard|Gawd
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slipperyskip said:
I agree. Should I just call it The Unidyne PC? Maybe Unidyne 55S PC? What's your thoughts?

Do you have an Astatic 77 in your collection? I may need photos.

I like 'The Unidyne PC' but hey I am just a spectator.

Yeah I have an Astatic 77. Back when I still did live sound I used the 77 when I could trust the vocalist not to drop/dent it. I can post some pics if you'd like. Maybe not so suprisingly, the fairly common 55 sells for much more then the rare 77.
 
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028.jpg


Next I need to knock a few hard corners down. The dimension I'm working on now is the one looking straight down from above.

The front face of the computer is curved very slightly. To do this cut I remove the smallest part of the front panel. Using a sanding block I free hand the curve that I want. I use the smallest part because it is easier to handle. This is very important especially when I'm trying to sand while crunking to the BEP :cool:

029.jpg


I then fit the piece into it's cleats and use it's shape as a guide to replicate the curve to one of the end caps.

"Those lumps, those lumps...."

When done with that bit I swap end caps (they are identical) and sand down the hard edges on the other one.

030.jpg


Finally, I place the largest face panel in it's end cap and replicate the curve from the end cap to the face plate.

031.jpg


Re-assembled again. The accuracy of the front curve is pretty close. I won't do the finish sanding on it until everything is glued up.

"Those humps, those humps...."

I think I've had enough coffee this morning.
 
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