Weighted Companion Cube case

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MikeDeuce

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Someone had to do it. Note that I'm notorious for not completing projects, but hopefully this is one of those rare exceptions.

The goal is to have a ~15" companion cube for my aging hardware. I'm tired of staring at the carcass of a case I use, and I hunger for companionship.


Day (night, actually) 1:

MDF acquired
wcc_01.sized.jpg


With all the gold plated, diamond encrusted laptops out there, I felt my case deserved exotic materials as well. For this, I turned to the synthetic sheet good known as MDF. Developed in a laboratory by overpaid scienticians, this is the only material that meets my extreme requirements. That's a 4x8 sheet rough cut into thirds, that is.

Next update should hit the streets on Saturday (unless I lose interest by then, which would be a shame considering the $17 I've invested in exotic sheet goods so far).

xoxo,
-mike
 

Sobek

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Hope you finish it. You should put a piece of cake on one side instead of the heart just for fun.
 

MikeDeuce

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@ 0mega: "Ultimate" companion cube mod? You're really busting my balls here; I was aiming for average, not ultimate :p

So I started today off by cutting out the interior portion (the part that looks like a simple cube). I'm not doing any fancy joinery, just butt joints and a couple rabbets for the front and rear (which will also help me keep the cube square).
wcc_02.sized.jpg


I applied a heavy amount of glue since the edges of MDF are so porous, busted out the corner clamps and besseys, and got everything situated.
wcc_03.sized.jpg


Finished the glue up and grabbed a few more clamps.
wcc_04.sized.jpg


While waiting for the glue to dry, I drilled and screwed each corner on the front and back.
wcc_05.sized.jpg


After driving in the screws I removed the clamps and scraped the excess glue. There's still a bunch of glue, but this cube has much sanding in its future.
wcc_06.sized.jpg


Made a simple jig to cut out the grids... I'm only doing this on the front, top and sides as I'm not silly enough to worry about the bottom, and the rear will be used for ventilation and the motherboard tray.
wcc_07.sized.jpg


Here it is with the grids cut out. I used a 1/4" spiral downcut bit and I think it's a little wide for the scale, but it's more than good enough for me.
wcc_08.sized.jpg


Here's the setup I used at the table saw to cut multiple thin strips at a consistent size. I used the back of the featherboard as a reference, and just moved the fence in after each strip was cut. The result was several 1/4" wide pieces of 1/8" thick hot pink transparent acrylic.
wcc_09.sized.jpg


A preview of what I have in mind. I need to roundover the edges in the grid and I plan on lighting the acrylic, whether or not it's totally authentic.
wcc_10.sized.jpg


That's all for today, my feet hurt!
 

Citizen86

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lol @ ^^^ PLEASE don't kill the weighted companion cube when you're finished, you need to eat cake with it when it's all over.

I loved portal, but I didn't think of doing this. Good job, very excited to see the finished product.

/subscribed
 

jmackay

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Lol great idea :D

I still haven't finished making the cardboard cutout companion cube :eek:
 

jmackay

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Oh, what are your ideas for the fans since you are using it as a case. And will you mount more than one system in it? (One on each of the side walls?)
 

MikeDeuce

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I plan to keep her out of the incinerator, especially since MDF is full of dangerous chemical compounds like formaldehyde. The cake idea, however, sounds like a much better way to celebrate mod completion.

@jmackay: She's a small case... the cube shape that exists currently is only 14". I ordered a motherboard tray that will hopefully allow one complete system fit like a glove. I tried to make it as small as possible while support a full sized ATX mobo. If you went with some compact coolers, you could probably squeeze 2 in there, but not much else.

For ventilation, the bottom of the case will have a nice big port-hole (portal?) and the rear of the case will have as many 120mm fans as I can fit (2 minimum, 4 ideally). I like to go with big fans at low RPM. I'll arrange components to allow for airflow over the drives/psu and back across the motherboard (sort of like an S configuration if you look at it from the side).

@Arcygenical:
takenum.jpg


Thanks for the feedback, folks. Update coming...
 

MikeDeuce

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Didn't get anything super satisfying done today, just boring planning and prep work.

Ripped some 1/2" MDF into 5.75" wide pieces and laminated them together so I could have some 1" thick stock for all the corner pieces:
wcc_11.sized.jpg


I also cut and routed up a set of master templates to base all the corner pieces off of. I'll need to have 24 of the ones on the left total, and 16 of the pieces on the right. The radius was routed by jigging up a trammel out of scrap MDF.
wcc_12.sized.jpg


This is roughly how the corner pieces will be put together. It's missing the major 45* chamfer on the ends, but I didn't want to waste time trying to figure out how to do that in sketchup (for the round part) when I'll just burn through it with a huge router bit later, anyway.
wcc_13.sized.jpg


That's all for this weekend. Next real update will come towards the end of week/next weekend. Thanks for reading.
 

Citizen86

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Idea! For the rounded parts in the middle, maybe you could have them protruding a little bit out with some mesh in between it and the cube, and those can be like air vents for the case. Maybe a big 200cfm fan could be used on the back for exhaust?
 

Thor

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ibtl





err...


good idea.. i loved all of the jokes in the game and companion cube was one of the better ones... cant wait to see it finished
 

jmackay

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Idea! For the rounded parts in the middle, maybe you could have them protruding a little bit out with some mesh in between it and the cube, and those can be like air vents for the case. Maybe a big 200cfm fan could be used on the back for exhaust?

You hijacked my idea!! I was going to say put a big fan in the center on the front and back and have the heart go over it so it sticks out just a bit but allows for air to be sucked in from the sides / top / bottom.

Eg from side view:

H = Heart
- = Some small metal piece or whatever to hold the heart in place.
F = Fan
| = Case
Code:
   -------
  |       |
H-|       |-H
H-F       F-H
H-|       |-H
  |       |
   -------

So the heart is kinda "floating" a little in front of the case so air can be pulled in from all around its circular piece but you can't see the fan from the front.
 

Citizen86

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haha that's what I meant jmackay, but you actually showed and explained it much better than I did, heh. I told you we think alike :p
 

MikeDeuce

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Thanks for the fan ideas, guys, I'll definitely keep them under consideration, but if at all possible I'd like to keep this a WCC first, practical PC second :)

What I really need to figure out is how to hide the DVD drive. I'm planning on putting the power switch in the rear, and my backup plan is to also put the DVD drive there. I don't find myself frequently loading and ejecting optical media, so it doesn't need to be super practical. And for how much I do use the drive, I certainly don't mind standing up to do so. This idea would be very simple to execute, and that might make it the best choice. Also worthy of mention is that this won't be my primary PC for much longer, so practicality is very much not an issue.

I've thought of ideas like having the circle-heart thinger hinge out, but the hinge will have to be slightly exposed and that's meh.
 

jmackay

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Thanks for the fan ideas, guys, I'll definitely keep them under consideration, but if at all possible I'd like to keep this a WCC first, practical PC second :)

What I really need to figure out is how to hide the DVD drive. I'm planning on putting the power switch in the rear, and my backup plan is to also put the DVD drive there. I don't find myself frequently loading and ejecting optical media, so it doesn't need to be super practical. And for how much I do use the drive, I certainly don't mind standing up to do so. This idea would be very simple to execute, and that might make it the best choice. Also worthy of mention is that this won't be my primary PC for much longer, so practicality is very much not an issue.

I've thought of ideas like having the circle-heart thinger hinge out, but the hinge will have to be slightly exposed and that's meh.

Well you could hide the hinge with grey/whatever color painted mesh, would also keep out dust, or just have lots of them close together like the side of a P180 case.

Talking about the front right of the picture:
http://hardware.gotfrag.com/files/upload/slapnuts_p180b_caseshot.jpg

The Heart already sticks out, though it might be easier to make it flat for your case
(Sorry for the wallpaper, first image I found :p)
http://www.hamsteralliance.com/wallpaper/cube-toxicgreen.jpg

As for the DVD Drive, maybe have it come out of the side pieces that stick out? Or even the side of the case itself. Would be more accessible than the back.
 

The Null

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As for the DVD Drive, maybe have it come out of the side pieces that stick out? Or even the side of the case itself. Would be more accessible than the back.

you could have 1 of the hearts as some kind of door with hidden hinges maybe.
 

MikeDeuce

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@jmackay: not sure if I'm following you 100%, but I think the trouble spot I'm hitting is with having a rectangular hinge for a round object. Either way, I definitely want to have it be a protruding disc, true to the original model. The ultimate idea would be to have it come out of one of the side pieces, like you mention (in particular the flat under the circle in the front of the WCC), but that piece is only 3.5" wide, so there's no hope to be had there :\

@The Null: thanks! Can't believe I forgot about these. I haven't found anything perfect at Rockler yet, but I'm tempted to do a stress test with a single 10mm barrel hinge. I don't have too much faith in their holding power in 1/2" MDF, but it's definitely an idea.

edit: actually, one of these might work: http://www.woodcraft.com/family.aspx?FamilyID=5437 if I don't mount it the traditional way. The flat that goes on the cabinet side (traditionally), I can place under the DVD drive. I would still have access, and it would be a lot stronger than the hidden barrel hinge. Thanks again, I might give this a go.
 

jmackay

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@jmackay: not sure if I'm following you 100%, but I think the trouble spot I'm hitting is with having a rectangular hinge for a round object. Either way, I definitely want to have it be a protruding disc, true to the original model. The ultimate idea would be to have it come out of one of the side pieces, like you mention (in particular the flat under the circle in the front of the WCC), but that piece is only 3.5" wide, so there's no hope to be had there :\

@The Null: thanks! Can't believe I forgot about these. I haven't found anything perfect at Rockler yet, but I'm tempted to do a stress test with a single 10mm barrel hinge. I don't have too much faith in their holding power in 1/2" MDF, but it's definitely an idea.

Hehehe, well my original idea was to just have 4 supports, top, right, left, bottom of the circle (would look like a diamond shape from the front). However, since it sticks out a big anyway, you could just cut gaps in the piece that sticks out with the heart on it to allow airflow, and the pieces you don't cut away would act as its support...

What size is the heart piece?

I realize that probably makes 0 sense so I'll try to draw you a sketch of what I mean lol :). A picture is worth a thousand words eh? :)
 

MikeDeuce

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Ah I see what you mean, have the circle heart shaped have a slight gap underneath it for venting. That would be a good back-up if my airflow plan doesn't work out (which I hope it does, since the vents would be completely invisible).

The entire circle will be 6.5" in diameter.

thanks!
mike
 
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I'm definitely liking the big heart fan grill idea. As for hiding the DVD drive, I'd just use a slot loading drive in the front top center and call it good - that'd be the easiest way to keep it clean, and if the cube is anything, it's clean.

Also, I think you should hide a knife somewhere in/on it. You might make it visible upon very close inspection, or completely hidden, but in either case, it needs a big, nasty looking knife.

Another idea would be to replace your startup music with either some whispered threat or a quote from Portal, like "We remind you that the weighted companion cube cannot speak. If your weighted companion cube does speak, please do not follow any of it's advice."

Good luck with the project!

Edit: Another idea to hide the DVD drive might be to put it underneath a big heart on the top. If the hearts protrude out far enough, (about 1.25", I think) you could use a regular tray-loading drive hidden inside the form of the heart. You could stealth it such that part of the 'wall' upon which the heart is situated acts as both the open/close button and the front bezel. In case I didn't explain that very well, think of a mound with a heart on top: you touch one side of the mound, and an entire section of the side of the mound slides open with the tray.

Edit2: If you use a tray loading drive, you could paint on the inside of the tray "The cake is a lie". You might also be able to figure out a way to attach a blade of some kind to the underside of the tray such that you might get cut loading a disc.
 

l0cke

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Sure, I could've saved this image for when this was finished, but oh well

lolpostitlh3.jpg
 

JaYp146

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Sure, I could've saved this image for when this was finished, but oh well

lolpostitlh3.jpg

Unfortunately, there's a grammar mistake. Other than that, nice idea.


Awesome idea, OP.
Sub'd - follow through on this one! We'd all love to see this mod finalized.
 

l0cke

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Unfortunately, there's a grammar mistake. Other than that, nice idea.


Awesome idea, OP. Sub'd, follow through on this one! We'd all love to see this one finalized.

Yeah, I didn't make it. Maybe I could make a corrected version though?

EDIT
hugezt6.png
 
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