Level Twelve - Completed Dec 8th

Discussion in 'Modding Worklogs' started by slipperyskip, Nov 5, 2010.

  1. brayway

    brayway Member

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    Looks good!
    and i think that a SATA6 hdd on a usb3 enclosure would be faster :thumbup:
    edit: YAY 2K posts!!
     
  2. OP
    OP
    slipperyskip

    slipperyskip Member

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    Thanks brayway! Congrats on the post count.

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    New toys. This is a USB 3.0 external HDD enclosure. Aluminum with a fan. Nice. Too bad though...

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    'Cause this is all I bought it for. The USB controller and power board. The hard drive is the stock 640GB unit standing in until I get my new drive.

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    Another USB 3.0 hub? Yup, except this one is a bay unit instead of a separate enclosure type.

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    Bought this one mainly because it gives the option to use SATA or Molex power.

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    These will end up being my front-mounted USB 3.0 ports which I understand is still kinda rare.

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    Added a few more pieces to my floor structure to fill it out to where I need it. Next to it is a sheet of 1/32" aircraft-grade plywood that will be cut and glued across the floor. This will add some serious strength and make sliding the case in and out much smoother.

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    Some dry fit action. Can't wait to trace out he vent opening and fire up the Dremel.

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    Tilted photo to help with orientation. Below you can just see the air inlet and the outlet is the box opening at the top.

    Thanks for looking!.
     
  3. brayway

    brayway Member

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    Interesting Way to make the front USB ports ;)
     
  4. Smoken

    Smoken Member

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    :) love it - need mawr
     
  5. OP
    OP
    slipperyskip

    slipperyskip Member

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    Thanks. There is no such thing as onboard USB 3.0 headers...yet...so the only way to get front-mounted ports is to roll your own.

    :thumbup: Mawr....

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    LOL. I forgot that the K-series processors don't come with a stock HSF. Just as well. I'm growing a nice collection of discarded units as I suspect many of you are too. Case top looks kinda warped but that is an optical illusion.

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    Unlocked because I'm just as likely to underclock as overclock. I like the flexibility to dial in the power draw in case I really screwed up my calculations. I dunno. Makes sense to me.

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    Photo of a hard drive Oooh..Ahhh. I needed 6Gb/s speed in a capacity that supported the title Storage Drive. This is a 2TB Seagate Barracuda XT.

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    Plextor external USB DVD burner. I suspect things are not going to go well for the plastic case.

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    I'm not absolutely sure my cooling system will work. To offset this uncertainty I'll use a ringer. If you have to move mass quantities of air and don't care about noise then this 92mm Delta FFB0912SH will do the trick. Matched up to a Zalman Fan Mate, this industrial-grade fan gives me the flexibility to dial-in the air-flow requirements of the completed system. It is not likely the final solution but will instead help me determine which fan(s) I should use.

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    Playing around with the contents of the support box. USB 3.0 from the Gigabyte board goes into the input hub. The input hub distributes the USB 3.0 goodness to the front-mounted hub and the storage drive. The optical drive is USB 2.0. I couldn't come up with a USB 3.0 solution for it but that is OK. This way I can illustrate the backward compatabilty. I have left out the power cables in this photo because they are messy and not finalized yet.

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    Some real work getting done. As usual (and planned) I cut my boards too long and wide. I then hand mill them down by rigging stuff like this up. All the box sides are clamped together and run across taped down 60-grit sandpaper.

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    Cutting the fan hole by hand. I don't know why. I enjoy the tactile feedback I get from spinning the saw back and forth. Hmmm...

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    Last of the major upgrade items. 8GB (2 x 4GB) Crucial DDR3-1333

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    I like this photo.

    Thanks for looking.
     
  6. brayway

    brayway Member

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    Looks really good, and a nice powered pc for the size!
     
  7. BlueRaven

    BlueRaven Member

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    Looking better and better mate! :thumbup:

    Now I see why all the USB3.0 bits'n'pieces. IMO this is one of the best uses of the wider bandwidth that I've seen so far, and an elegant solution for this particular mod. Keen to see what the performance of the storage drive is like across that interface, I've got all sorts of ideas that make use of this concept... ;)

    Have you used the USB3 hub idea in previous builds? Any reliability/compatability issues with the daisy-chained front hub?
     
  8. Liighthead

    Liighthead New Member

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    sweeet :D seen ur projects on ur website n followed level 11 closely :p

    be watching. so far.. well epic as always :D keep it up nice work all round
     
  9. OP
    OP
    slipperyskip

    slipperyskip Member

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    Thanks Brayway.

    Thanks mate! The theory is you can daisy-chain five hubs together. It should work. It is odd that I could potentially get faster hard drive speeds on a USB cable than if it was connected directly to the motherboard. 5.8 Gb/s versus 3 Gb/s. We'll see.

    Thanks Liighthead! I appreciate that.


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    I cheated, I bought some 3/4" 13-ply plywood from my supplier, Magnum Wood of Gainesville, Florida and had them cut it up for me. They had just replaced the blade in their table saw and I suddenly remembered how difficult it was to hand cut 3/4" plywood. These two pieces will be stacked to form the bottom of the support box (See last two photos). The lower portion of the support box is the most stressed section of this build.

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    "Is he modding al fresco?", "Yeah, such a show-off. Let's go pretend to be dinosaurs."

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    The base of Level Twelve in comparison to Level Eleven. Everything is doubled.

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    Finally, some clamp sculpture. This is the power plug for the support box getting a wood interface.

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    Wait. That's just a regular 4-pin Molex connector pinched between some layers of wood. The power supply I'll be using looks like an external laptop power brick but instead has a Molex connector. It supplies both 12 and 5V just like any other Molex power connector. I considered using a Pico PSU rigged to work like a bench test supply but I like the idea that I can remove a heat producing component from the box.

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    All of the support box components will get wood interfaces. Here are some brass stand-offs screwed into wood planks at appropriate locations.

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    The In and Out hubs being interfaced.

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    To secure the hub's locations but still make them removable I created these simple sliding brackets.

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    The optical drive gets a cradle built for it.

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    Dry fitting the pieces that make up the back of the support box. The surface will get faced with 1/32" plywood to provide additional strength and coverage especially around the hub opening. The final layer will be Teak veneer.

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    Yes, the optical drive will face the rear of the computer demonstrating my basic distain for ODs and how little I actually use them. Front facing USB 3.0 ports FTW!

    Thanks for looking!
     
  10. brayway

    brayway Member

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    Looking great!
    And yea, with the L11 ontop of the base the new one looks massive!
    and that leaf in the last few pix, looked liek a dead rat at first :lol:
     
  11. ruro

    ruro Member

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    Good idea with the backwards facing OD!
     
  12. OP
    OP
    slipperyskip

    slipperyskip Member

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    Actually, L11 is very tiny and makes everything else look so big. LOL

    I thought so too. Thanks. It really isn't as inconvenient as you would think.

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    A few minor set-backs. You might notice the OD in the last photo of the previous update is not sitting flush to the back. The cradle managed to dry slightly skewed so I had to re-do that piece.

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    Finishing the front face of the support box. The USB ports are mounted low 'cause that's the way I like them. L11's were mounted high because I had no other choice.

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    Back side of the "Out" hub.

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    Gluing up the boards using the staggered ends thing. Insert homage to Lincoln Logs here.

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    Milling sections and adding bits here and there to create the proper profile. I really enjoy this kind of stuff.

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    Glued up the final piece. Dry, Trim.

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    Made a cradle for the hard drive. Looks weak but the OD and HDD cradles are built to span the interior width of the support box. They will be glued up on both sides. The cradles will give additional strength to the support box and in turn will do the same for the cradles. Inorganic symbiosis. I think I'll drive in a few screws here and there in case I'm talking out my ass.

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    The other "issue" to deal with is the fact that the assembled USB 3.0 contoller board and hard drive are too wide (deep?) for the space. To fix this I got a SATA extension cable to connect the two remotely. I'll have to dig up some more stand-offs and create a wood interface for the USB board.

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    Family portrait.

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    Correctly oriented.

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    Huge mis-calculation on the bolt length needed to attach the support box to the base.

    Thanks for looking.
     
  13. scottath

    scottath Member

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    just wondering - what are you going to be using the system for?
    im tihnking that windows will complain to no end to install it as a usb3 device.
    you may have to install windows via sata nad then boot off it as usb3....

    but nice work so far - love the wood work !
     
  14. OP
    OP
    slipperyskip

    slipperyskip Member

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    Thanks. You might have missed the Crucial SSD earlier in the work log. It will be the system drive and be located in the Lenovo case. I haven't installed it yet because I need to build a bracket for it.

    Hopefully the computer will be used to win a contest I'm currently in. :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2010
  15. OP
    OP
    slipperyskip

    slipperyskip Member

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    I guess I have lots of these kind of photos because I do this a lot. Hand milling the wood until it fits.

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    Measuring and maths and alchemy. Setting the exact location the support box meets the base.

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    Keeping my surface level to drill more accurate holes. This is my 3/4" Forstner bit.

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    The Forstner bit drills holes with a perfectly flat bottom. The trick here is to drill the holes all at the same depth.

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    3/4" flat washers fit down into each hole.

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    I use my 1/4" brad point drill bit to finish each hole and fit in 1/4" bolts. The staggered pattern is because of the hard drive cradle location.

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    Drill out the support piece and finish assembly. Straight and square and going no where.

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    Time for a little fun. Here is my IKEA flat pack computer enclosure.

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    I will call this photo First Erection :)

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    Using a "cheater board" to help the box floor to assume its proper position. (Actually it's a little low.)

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    I'll eventually have wood screws driven across the width of the lower support and into the box floor.

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    Thanks for looking.
     
  16. brayway

    brayway Member

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    Looking awesome!
    are those rubber bands holding it together?
     
  17. Liighthead

    Liighthead New Member

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    amazing work... yet again :p keep it up =D
     
  18. khoanna

    khoanna Member

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    looks sick. cant wait it to be finished.
     
  19. OP
    OP
    slipperyskip

    slipperyskip Member

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    No. Those are elasticized binding elements. ;)

    Thanks! :thumbup:

    Thank you. It has to be finished by Dec 15th so you won't have to wait long.



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    Cut a maintenance access hole in the side. Once everything is glued up this will be the only way in or out of the support box.

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    I practice taking drives and hubs out and putting them back in. Nothing is really easy or convenient. It only has to be possible.

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    The only issue from my access tests was getting to the nuts securing the base. The smaller raised section you see here is about to be detached and become a permanent part of the support box. The base will be re-attached as the last step in this build. The two outside nuts are inaccessible through the maintenance access hole. Coffee...black.

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    My solution is to use these T-nuts. These particular T-nuts are called Long Prongs. Also a great pr0n name.

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    Installation starts by placing them in position.

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    I use a long bolt and a scrap piece of plywood and insert he bolt through to the T-nut. Tightening the bolt draws the T-nut prongs deep into the plywood. Use of the scrap plywood distributes the force across a large surface instead of on my Forstner hole.

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    Using this method ensures alignment with the attaching bolt. Hammering in a T-nut is a rookie mistake. Yup, that's what I did the first time.

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    Finished up. Now I don't have to access the interior nuts when attaching the base.

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    I've been wanting to use one of these Undesign X-brackets. Nicely made.

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    Mounted to the original 3.5" drive bracket. This bracket screws into the case front and side so it adds strength to the case. This Crucial 256GB C300 SSD is the most valuable component in this build so I think it should be displayed.

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    Elevated and centered. I think it will look OK when all is assembled. If not, the X-bracket gives me lots of options. I drilled out holes for the Delta fan and mounted it along with a black chrome finger guard.

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    Sleeving work. Just old school stuff. Nothing fancy.

    Thanks for looking.
     
  20. OP
    OP
    slipperyskip

    slipperyskip Member

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    Gluing the cradles, bottom piece and misc other bits. Boiled Linseed Oil and Contact Cement make the best weights IMO.

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    I connect up a few cables that will be very hard to get to otherwise. A straight support piece (towards the top) was made and placed. A slide-in bracket was made for the hard drive USB 3.0 board.

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    Everything but the kitchen sink for this gluing operation. I apply wood glue with a paint brush for this kind of stuff.

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    While that drys I finish up the power supply modding and installation.

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    Some sheet metal work and voodoo gets me something that I hope looks stock.

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    Result of effort. Sanding down the end pieces to even things out comes next.

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    The round hole is where an On/Off switch for the hard drive power will go. The support box has its own power supply and I intend to use the support box USB ports to recharge phones and i-pods without having to turn the computer on. The switch lets me keep power off to the storage drive while doing this.

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    To bring additional strength to the structure I'm going to "face" three of the four edges with 1/32" five-ply plywood.

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    Measure and cut some holes by carving them out with a razor knife

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    Thanks for looking!
     

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