Status Update 2018-06-16: EG Model One, 8L SFF ITX PC Case

macbosco

n00b
Joined
Apr 4, 2018
Messages
8
The SFF scene has been very exciting for the last couple of years and there have been many great ideas here. I have a Dan case but I certainly like the design from Louqe. Being an enthusiast myself, I feel that there is yet a case that embodies all the great ideas into one. So I am now trying to make my own, with an enthusiast's perspective. And hope that all you enthusiasts will give me some feedback on this.

Specification / Features:

Design Style : Symmetry, minimalist, streamline

Motherboard : mini ITX
Power Supply : SFX/SFX-L PSU
Graphics Card : double slot up to 300mm length
Drives : 2.5" up to 3, [3.5" x 1 cancelled] (3.5" /w short GFX card only)

Passive Cooling : 65mm passive cooler/heatsink
Liquid Cooling : stackable with up to 240mm AIO cooler/rad (120mm compatible) in top or bottom config.
[Radiator + fan thickness : 2 options, 55mm OR 85mm ] added 2018-06-08

Magnetic Panels : sides and top panels attached with magnetic tapes
Dust Filter : bottom, magnetic
Tempered Glass Panels: Sides only (optional AND to be used with liquid cooling only) updated 2018/5/28
Acrylic Grill Panels: Sides only (optional) update 2018/5/28

Material : Aluminum externals, and steel for structural
Dimension : 315 x 142 x ( 195 body + 20 feet ) [L x W x H in mm]
Weight : 1.7kg

It is prototyping now, and the first one is for MY own personal use right now :)

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Pantera_666

Weaksauce
Joined
Apr 6, 2016
Messages
103
dondan/pachalski should start suing all these people that tweak a bit their design and call it "a new case/design, never seen before!!!"
 

bAMtan2

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 16, 2008
Messages
1,480
Great work! You are very talented at metalworking!! I love how you can take the top off and clearly see everything inside.
 

macbosco

n00b
Joined
Apr 4, 2018
Messages
8
dondan/pachalski should start suing all these people that tweak a bit their design and call it "a new case/design, never seen before!!!"
As mentioned in my first post, I have said I am using other designs and try to make improvement based on those.

The advancement I made maybe is more under the hood. I welcome any ideas to improve it or make it "more different". At the end I just want to make a good product for myself and others if they are interested. I hope we can accept that advancement is different from straight up copying and I appreciate everyone's suggestions.

Let me create a list of "What is different about EG-Model One" (in most cases comparing with that of our Swedish friends) ;)
  • No sliding panels, all attached with magnetic tapes. Much easier access to internals.
  • There are no screws showing on the outside of the case (top, side front or back), except for the GFX card flange. I think this is quite unique design cue.
  • Option of tempered glass panels, already incorporated into the design, user can even do their own mods in this regard
  • Top and side panels are attached by magnet
  • All panels can be easily detached even with stack unit installed
  • Custom 2cm feet in Al, matching the curve and aesthetics of the body, no choking bottom air intake
  • Dust filter in the bottom panel intake, with 20mm air clearance created by the feet
  • The cooling stack unit can be installed in top or bottom of the case. 1 stack on each end only.
  • Case and stack unit created with sheet metal, NOT by extrusion i.e. TOTALLY different manufacturing process and structure
  • case can be dismantled to each major sides (i.e. 6 big pieces) for more compact packaging
Of course I am not discussing some other features such as grilled panels, materials used, internal layout, etc. which in my opinion is common to many other cases.
 
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Sebbie

Limp Gawd
Joined
Mar 18, 2016
Messages
253
dondan/pachalski should start suing all these people that tweak a bit their design and call it "a new case/design, never seen before!!!"

LOL, you cant sue someone for using a specific PC layout.
None of them have patent on the PC orientation
 

Excallibur

n00b
Joined
Jan 11, 2017
Messages
13
LOL, you cant sue someone for using a specific PC layout.
None of them have patent on the PC orientation

I dont think he refers to the lay-out rather, it really does look a hole lot similar to the Ghost S1 in design. Original it is not despite the minimal changes. The expansion is a copy from louqe too.

Things to consider in making unique design could making the compartments inside flexible. e.g you can choose to go wiht a waterblock and enlarging your GPU Space.
choose a realy different vent pattern. hexagons,octagons, triangle etc.

How well do the magnetic sides hold up when traveling with the case?
 

macbosco

n00b
Joined
Apr 4, 2018
Messages
8
...
Things to consider in making unique design could making the compartments inside flexible. e.g you can choose to go wiht a waterblock and enlarging your GPU Space.
choose a realy different vent pattern. hexagons,octagons, triangle etc.

How well do the magnetic sides hold up when traveling with the case?

I admit the vent holes may look similar to that of our Swedish friends, and I give credit to where's it's due. I. think the vent holes locations are ideal considering the hardware config. I have tried to make the overall area of the vents different. But as the design signature is minimalist I have chosen a more standard regular rectangular layout for the vents, rather than using patterns which may go out of fashion. Quoting Jony Ive from Apple, sometimes a design element is so good any changes just make it worse.

Have used magnetic tapes for the panels in the prototype and they hold up surprisingly well, I had my doubts before it came out, but turns out (better than) fine. It holds up well even I turn it aside and shake it really hard. It takes a bit of force to pull off even by hand.

With regards to internal space I have allowed for quite a bit of slack comparing with others. Honestly if my design has problems with custom water cooling fittings, I am sure others will have similar issues also. Note that other custom cooling demo actually requires modding the side and top panels to allow for more space. i.e. simply not enough space in the main case body.

For custom water cooling it should be ok with water block + pump combo and a thin profile reservoir like below.

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NCase_A__62359.1396897795.1280.1280.jpg
 

macbosco

n00b
Joined
Apr 4, 2018
Messages
8
Update 16 Jun 2018

Prototyping 90% complete. Photos says it all I think. LoL just want to point out, these are not renders, I took the photos myself

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To do for next step:
  • In discussion with manufacturer on making die casts, costs, lead time etc. (estimate will take at least 1 month to make the necessary dies and tools
  • After dies and tools complete, a test run is planned of maybe around 20-50pcs, need to discuss with manufacturer, mostly black color for this batch, will use 4-5pcs for other color sampling
  • 3 colors planned at this stage, black + ? + ?, not going to be a concern until test run is complete
  • Tempered glass sampling - 3mm is max thickness due to design constraints
  • Accessories sourcing: custom pcb for power switch, custom power cable, feet cushion and magnetic tapes, any suggestions/recommendation of suppliers welcome
Anyone interested in first test run? I am thinking of some conditions that come with it. .e.g. post your own builds, an 'honest' review etc. Your suggestions and offer are welcome.
 

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Buttoneer

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 27, 2014
Messages
134
Obviously a few panel fit/QA issues to be ironed out but this is a prototype so to be expected and overall it's a pleasant and inoffensive design.

My only comment is a more general one and not specifically aimed at your case, but I'm kinda getting all minimalized out. All the cases are very nice but they lack a certain flair which helps them to stand out. The Dancase has the curved body panels which look quite nice in profile and the shaped front and cut out for the switch and USB in an NCase M1 is a small design point which creates a distinctiveness which allows you to spot one at a glance and recognise it for what it is.

I can see why minimalism works. I want an ITX because it's small and turns my PC into an appliance, and most appliances are not about bling because they sit on display in the livingroom, but they do have some elements to try and differentiate themselves from their competitors. Look at the various designs used for bluray players, for example. They tend to use either gloss or matte black or a combination of the two in different arrangements across the facia. Button design, displays and slot placement are all thought about and matter.

What design elements distinguish your product from the other aluminium boxes available out there? Once you have the layout worked out, what will people look at and know that it's a 'Macbosco EG Model One' and not just another metal box? A speed display or window will cost money so that sort of design element will need careful thought but using triangles or honeycomb instead of circles for ventilation holes might add character for little additional expense. How about using a certain type of anodised coloured thumbscrew in an obvious way on the case panels, perhaps?

Personally, I'd quite like to see some designs which make a bit of a statement, like the Silverstone Raven RVZ01 or The Carbide air range of cases. Not because I particularly like those, but because they stand out, and occasionally a good design will capture and excite.
 

macbosco

n00b
Joined
Apr 4, 2018
Messages
8
Obviously a few panel fit/QA issues to be ironed out but this is a prototype so to be expected and overall it's a pleasant and inoffensive design.

My only comment is a more general one and not specifically aimed at your case, but I'm kinda getting all minimalized out. All the cases are very nice but they lack a certain flair which helps them to stand out. The Dancase has the curved body panels which look quite nice in profile and the shaped front and cut out for the switch and USB in an NCase M1 is a small design point which creates a distinctiveness which allows you to spot one at a glance and recognise it for what it is.

I can see why minimalism works. I want an ITX because it's small and turns my PC into an appliance, and most appliances are not about bling because they sit on display in the livingroom, but they do have some elements to try and differentiate themselves from their competitors. Look at the various designs used for bluray players, for example. They tend to use either gloss or matte black or a combination of the two in different arrangements across the facia. Button design, displays and slot placement are all thought about and matter.

What design elements distinguish your product from the other aluminium boxes available out there? Once you have the layout worked out, what will people look at and know that it's a 'Macbosco EG Model One' and not just another metal box? A speed display or window will cost money so that sort of design element will need careful thought but using triangles or honeycomb instead of circles for ventilation holes might add character for little additional expense. How about using a certain type of anodised coloured thumbscrew in an obvious way on the case panels, perhaps?

Personally, I'd quite like to see some designs which make a bit of a statement, like the Silverstone Raven RVZ01 or The Carbide air range of cases. Not because I particularly like those, but because they stand out, and occasionally a good design will capture and excite.

Thanks for your feedback, I will definitely take a closer look at my current design and also that of others.

These days "gaming" PCs tend to have more sharp edges and a more aggressive design, vs minimalist which may fit more like a furniture piece. At the end I think it may be what "position" we want this product to be in. Ideally, it would be great to accommodate majority of the market. In fact I have a couple more designs in my bag, I wonder if it would be better as a brand/maker to release different styles to cater different specific tastes.

As for Model One in particular, it is my first effort, and I try to avoid clashing too much with other current designs such as dan or louqe. Please understand how hard it is to make something looks "original" but not using similar design cues from predecessors. Trust me, I also try to make it stand out as I don't want to be labeled as a "copy". As you can see from my current design, the style tries not to be too "loud". Maybe I should add some more aggression to it?

I really appreciate your advice
 
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Buttoneer

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 27, 2014
Messages
134
Not necessarily aggression, just a difference. Design is subjective so the best you can hope for is to appeal to as many people as possible. I think there's a tendency to therefore try and make the design as neutral as possible but that means it doesn't stand out in a crowded market.
 

macbosco

n00b
Joined
Apr 4, 2018
Messages
8
As I am about to decide to invest up front die casting and first 100-500 production run for the case. I would like to plan ahead for the marketing. Your advice and suggestions are all welcome. I won't say how much, but initial investment is not a small amount.

  • KS: how can I get more people to know about my Kickstarter launch, apart from the reviews?
  • Youtube / website reviews: Would like to know how I can get some of the more recognized youtubers/website to review my product. How do I go about this? Do I just write to them and ask them (providing my info)?
  • Community participation: I am ready to send out some units (from actual first production run from die casts, NOT handmade prototypes) at cost/ or at a loss) to interested users that are willing to do their builds and share them with rest of us. Modding will be great of course. What is the suitable price? Is USD90-100 acceptable (final price of whole set with stack unit will be around USD180)?
  • SFF Lab? : Is it a good time to start to contact SFF Lab for a potential marketing/sales channel/partner? Do you think they will be interested in my product? What else do I need to do/change in order to achieve this?
  • Other sales channels: overclockers UK? or others? What's the market practice for this?
  • Anything I have overlooked: please enlighten me!

Your advice is much appreciated. For those who are interested in this product, would help to make this a reality if you could help ask around also. Cheers ;)
 

readeh

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 1, 2013
Messages
313
This is just a fake as+ copy. You should be ashamed.
It is quite similar to Ghost S1 and kinda surprised he didn't locate the power button in a different spot to deviate at least a little bit from Ghost S1.
Seems like he hasn't updated in ages so I'm guessing he didn't go through with it, but would have like to have seen him go through with it if he personalized the look of it a bit more.
 

teo

n00b
Joined
Sep 21, 2018
Messages
36
ghost s1 looks cool and definitely showed there’s a market for a small sandwich design with superior hardware support vs the Dan a4. is dan’s upcoming watercooled version also a rip off of the ghost?

not to mention the louqe case still isn’t available and we have no way of knowing how accessible it will be going forward
 
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