Project: Green Machine (generic mid-tower case mod) *640x480 res pics* updated often

Discussion in 'Modding Worklogs' started by elstado, Apr 18, 2009.

  1. elstado

    elstado Member

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    Here's the latest pics of the project (on hold, waiting for more time and warmer weather to paint in):

    Mockup of the front panels paint job:
    [​IMG]

    Skeletal build with no side or front panels:
    [​IMG]

    Old mobo installed just for example and power distribution:
    [​IMG]

    Power test (boots fine) and fan test, note that the fans wires have been heat shrinked in black:
    [​IMG]


    -----------------------------


    Hi guys, so you may have seen a few posts by me mentioning that I am working on my first full case mod project.

    I am about 90% though, and will not be able to finish on it for a couple of weeks. So while I have time now I thought I would start off the worklog in order to get people interested and get some ideas bouncing around as to how to progress.

    I have not ever done a mod before, but I have always wanted to give it a try, so when my GF bought me a Dremel 400 kit for my 21st birthday a few weeks back (I always try to build up my tool collection) I though I'd give it a crack.

    A couple of days later a tech that I work with scored me a nice little generic mid-tower case and some spare case windows and mesh that were left-over from other builds that came with an extra. So here I had some mesh, two acrylic windows, a decent case, a new Dremel I was itching to take for a spin and two weeks holidays approaching- perfect opportunity!

    I made up some concept designs, but from the word go these were VERY loose designs and I knew they would only basically resemble the finished product, for better or for worse, as I knew I would be designing it and making changes on the fly as I saw fit.

    I wanted to have a clear side window, some mesh on the bottom panel, some green cathodes to light it up and illuminate underneath the case, new power/reset buttons, front 120mm fan, reshape of the front panel, paint all the internal parts satin black and more.

    Here's a link to the concept design stage: LINK

    I hope to have this totally completed in 2-3 weeks time, but as I have been neglecting Uni work it may be longer. I would appreciate everyone's input, advice and patience with me on this one.

    Enough of the talk, on to the work log and some pics!

    Let's start with the basics, establish what I have an take it from there, with a new post for each subsequent phase that will be updated to show the progress of each section I am working on. I intend to also post the final before and after pics in this first post as well.

    Phase 0, 1 and 2 in this post

    Phase 0: Tools of the trade:

    Dremel 400 kit:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Phase 1: Pre-mod pics-

    Front angle:
    [​IMG]

    Back angle:
    [​IMG]

    Front:
    [​IMG]

    Back:
    [​IMG]

    Opened up:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Phase 3: Disassembling the case-

    Removed the side panels:
    [​IMG]

    Front plastic face removed:
    [​IMG]

    In pieces, ready to be cut, sanded and painted:
    [​IMG]

    To do:
    -Nothing. :D

    -Gotta clean, sand and paint whatever PSU I end up using satin black unless it is a really nice one. If just a crappy grey looking thing it will get the treatment to match the rest of the case.

    Done, no pics yet:
    -All the internal parts, plus the back panel (as pictured above) have been carefully cleaned, sanded and painted with 3 layers of satin black. Been through two cans of White Knite spray paint and need to get another for phase 6.

    See the next posts for phases 4, 5 and 6.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2009
  2. AussieTemplar

    AussieTemplar Member

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    This actually looks pretty cool. GL :thumbup:
     
  3. OP
    OP
    elstado

    elstado Member

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    Phase 4

    Phase 4- Side Window

    This was going to be the main/most visible aspect of the mod, apart from the front cover, so I wanted to make sure I had a nice, smooth, flush looking finish.

    It was a little harder than I originally expected, as when I used the jig-saw to cut out the shape the corners were quite badly bent and burred. However with the help of my GF's uncle and a few hours of filing, we managed to get the edges quite straight and smooth.

    Always make sure you tape the panel up on both sides.. it made the job so much easier to mark, work with and prevented scratches and damage.

    Here is it pre-mod for reference to see the change:
    [​IMG]

    Just finished the primary cut and cleaned the corners up with the Dremel (P.S. Dremels are bloody awesome, so useful for this sort of work, if you don't own one, get one!).
    [​IMG]

    Here's a mockup before sticking the window in place, I wasn't happy with the edges, as they looked rough and crappy, so back to filing...
    [​IMG]

    Trying to cover up the exposed metal and burrs with some spray paint, unsuccessful (ended up having to file way more and then used a black paint pen to cover the exposed metal):
    [​IMG]

    Looking much better after hours of careful filing:
    [​IMG]

    Now that I was happy with the edges it was time to stick the window on, using the all-mighty 3M #4010 industrial double-sided mounting tape (about AU $11 in the mounting, NOT tape, section at your local hardware store).
    [​IMG]

    The finished product, a nice, big, clear, flush case window:
    [​IMG]
    *NOTE* Although it looks like there is exposed metal in this pic along the edges it is actually because the black paint pen paint is glossy and it reflects off the flash/light.

    [​IMG]

    Glad to get that phase complete, now onto phase 5 and 6, 6 being the hardest to get looking nice. Read on! :thumbup:
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2009
  4. OP
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    elstado

    elstado Member

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    Phase 5

    Phase 5- Bottom case panel mesh mod

    This one was one I wanted to do from the start, as you can see from the concept designs. It is effective and relatively quick and easy, especially as I got a section of ~400x400 silver mesh from the techy and that nice new Dremel with some reinforced cutting disks to test out.

    I cut the whole rectangle out of the panel and mesh using only the reinforced cutting disk from Dremel that I had to buy separately for around $34 which came with the attachment and 5 quite large and strong disks. I used about half of one disk for all of the cuttin required for this phase. I must say again how amazed I am of how easy and effective the Dremel is for these tasks, sliced through the panels like butter and had a very clean cut. Also very easy to use.

    Here's the virgin panel:
    [​IMG]

    Measures up where I wanted the cuts, and started to slice and dice with my trusty rotary tool. Hint, don't try and use power tools and a camera at the same time like I tried here:
    [​IMG]

    Action photo! Got the missus to take it for me :D
    [​IMG]

    Reasonably clean cut mean less time filing and cleaning up, thank you Dremel!
    [​IMG]

    Measuring up how much mesh I'd need, yes it's silver and I intend of changing that, read on for that:
    [​IMG]

    Ready to cut!
    [​IMG]

    Checking it all fits post-cut:
    [​IMG]

    Here's the mesh before being painted (satin black to match the rest of the internals).
    [​IMG]

    Attached the painted black mesh to the bottom panel using black mounting tape, didn't want to screw or rivet it as it could get messy:

    [​IMG]

    To do:
    -Get some green neons to put on top of the mesh to allow a green underbody glow and internal case glow.

    This phase is pretty much complete.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2009
  5. OP
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    elstado

    elstado Member

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    Phase 6

    Phase 6: Front panel (mesh, buttons & reshape)

    This phase was always going to be the trickiest, as I was intending to do some pretty big changes to the structure, appearance and functionality of the front.

    It will be painted green (forgot what shade) and satin black, I will remove the stock buttons, install after market buttons plus a green led rocker switch for the cathodes, attempt to put a 120mm hole with mesh backing and a 120mm fan, put new USB and audio holes and ports in, bog up some of the crappy looking grooves and air holes and more... lots of work and it's all finicky, varied stuff.

    Here it is again, pre mod:
    [​IMG]

    Here's an trashed 2004 Acer workstation PC I scavanged from work, I though that the LEDs, buttons, fans etc could be of use to me. I am going to use form this the 120mm fan, the matching 120mm mesh and the USB and audio ports as the originals from the generic case I am modding are all broken.
    [​IMG]

    Here's the 120mm fan I pulled out from it, I am trying to do this on a budget and I can't justify spending $20 on a flashy led 120mm fan when this one works really well and will have a green light from the green cathodes coming out of it anyhow:
    [​IMG]

    I wanted to have a 120mm hole cut out and then have the mesh and the fans behind the hole, mounted with nut and bolts, with rubber grommets in between to reduce noise:
    [​IMG]

    Measured it up from the stencil and then market with a pencil, then cut it roughly with the Dremel + regular cutting disk @ 8,000rpm + the flexi neck for extra precision:
    [​IMG]

    Here it is cut out, with the off cut next to it:
    [​IMG]

    Here it is after a bit of a strip and sand down, nearly ready to be bogged and painted...
    [​IMG]

    Here's a mockup of the buttons and rocker switch installed on one of the spare 5.25" plastic bays. I considered that no one used more than 2x bays and considering I was looking all that front area due to the 120mm cut out, I would put the switches in the 5.25" bay instead. I bought the two momentary switches from Jaycar for a few about $2 each and the LED rocker switch (for the cathodes) was about $3.
    [​IMG]

    Back view (still needs to be wired up obviously):
    [​IMG]

    Here's the buttons with full wiring that I did a week or so later, nice, neat and heat shrinked:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Here's the piece of PVC that xms3500 acquired for me and kindly sent to me to help me with my project:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    You know you have modding fever when you think a piece of PCV piping looks beautiful. :shock:

    Today (04.05.2009) I cut that 100m piece of PVC down to around 35m, made it nice and neatish on both ends while I was at it, then glued it in place with standard Araldite just to fix it in place before I put the bog on it.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I am aiming to create a smooth surface, a nice curve on the blowhole, fill the edges around the 3.25" opening, get git of the crappy looking air holes on each side and some other buts. Generally get it looking nice and smooth.

    Here's the stuff and the panel before the bog:
    [​IMG]

    After the base layer, trying to patch some of the holes up:
    [​IMG]

    A few more layers:
    [​IMG]

    Showing how nicely the fan will fin underneath:
    [​IMG]

    Here's a few more of what it looks like after another layer of bog (finished the last of that original tube) and some sanding with 80 grit sand paper. Gotta start sanding it with 60 or 80 before it gets too hard as it's a bitch to sand away once it gets hard.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    So yeah, it looks like shit, but I am confident that after a few more layers of bog and a few hours of sanding I'll be able to get it looking nicer (hopefully). The plasti-bond looks so crappy compared to regular creamy coloured bog.

    I was thinking about the front panel and the bogging etc, and it struck me that where I was originally going to put the I/O ports was really just in the way, and then it also struck me that I had no major plans for the external 3.25" bay, and then it struck me that I have a longer 4x USB + 2x AUDIO bracket and PCB in my collection of goodies. So the idea was born that I put the I/O ports in the 3.25" bay, and just totally bog over the old I/O holes so I can get the bog thicker and on more of a curve.

    [​IMG]

    I had to slice and dice the plastic bracket where the 3.25" bay was to get the I/O bracket closer to the external surface to is would be more flush, but I got it eventually. Some filing, sanding, dremeling and hot glue and it was in place.

    [​IMG]

    Also got a bot of acrylic and scuffed that up and then screwed the I/O mount onto that. I will be filling the right cavity (where the black acrylic is) over with bog, hence why I scuffed it up and drilled some anchor holes in it. After seeing boox's issues with bounding bog to plasic I took extra precautions to make sure that the I/O bracket was firmly in place and wouldn't crack or fall out due to wear and tear from daily use.

    [​IMG]

    The bog is coming along, finally, be there are still a few areas that need to be filled, such as the bolt holes, the old I/O holes, the gap in the 3.25" bay, plus there are still heaps of holes and general imperfections that need to be carefully filled and sanded over.

    [​IMG]

    I also need to clean up the back, get rig of the bog lumps, hot glue hairs, sand away the imperfections and scratches in the plastic, and give it a coat or two of satin black to cover up it up and give a uniform colour/shade. Not going to spend too much time on painting the back as most wont be visible once assembled anyway.

    [​IMG]

    I also decided to drill out the fan holes, so that they would be wide enough to accommodate the new longer and wider bolts I had to get. It was pretty easy as I only had to widen it by around 1mm and I was using a sharp drillbit and a decent drill.

    [​IMG]

    I have to mount the bolts with the fan attached, then glue + bog the holes on the front of the panel that are exposed, then remove the fan again so it doesn't get wrecked from the remaining work to be done one, e.g. sanding bog, wet sanding and painting. I'll attach the fan when that's all done. Here's a mockup of what it will roughly look like though.

    [​IMG]

    Only thing I am not happy with this is that if this fan breaks or I want to replace it for some reason I would have to remove the two case side panels, then unscrew 4 screws to pull off the front panel to get access to the fan. Not very practical. However having said this I intend for it to work and look so good that you wont ever want to remove or chance the fan. :thumbup:

    [​IMG]

    Well, I spent most of today working on the project, sanding, shaping etc.

    I drilled out and shaped the new I/O ports on the front panel.

    [​IMG]

    Put another layer of satin black on the case skeleton and then two clear coats to seal and protect it all.

    [​IMG]

    Drilled out and mucked around with the blowhole fan mounting, had to get a bit ghetto with it so I could fit it securely.

    [​IMG]

    Finished the majority of bogging and sanding, and just started with the spray putty to fill some of the little holes from air pockets etc.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    (You can see some of the imperfections etc that will need to be filled and sanded back still in those pics above) ^^.

    I mounted the fan, used 38mm bolts, with rubber grommets on either side of the bolt to minimise noise/vibrations form the fan. It was a bit of a mission getting the fan to fit properly, as the HDD cage was a little too wide, but I managed.

    Here's how the case skeleton is looking so far, pretty much done, with the front fan attached. I still need to clean t up a little and fit up a few imperfections/chips. The flash makes it look kinda shitty, as it reflects off the clear coat and dust specs that aren't visible normally. It looks much better in RL. :D

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Did some painting today on the front panel, 4 layers of black on the front and 3 on the back. Needs plenty of work still, as there is some bumpyness and orange peel that needs to be smoothed out.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Still to do:

    -W&d sand the whole thing with 1200-1600g wet n dry sand paper.

    -Finish painting, get some of the green on it- most likely a 4-5cm pinstripe. Get some clear coat on it once done with that and sanding.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2009
  6. Hooti3

    Hooti3 Member

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  7. ford ftw

    ford ftw Member

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    Nice job looking great.:thumbup:
     
  8. OP
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    elstado

    elstado Member

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    Phase 7

    RESERVED FOR PHASE 7- COMPLETION AND ASSEMBLY :thumbup:

    Coming soon.

    All internal parts have been sanded and painted with 3 layers of satin black- it's looking good.

    Still need to spend quite a few hours on phase 6 and knock off phase 5.

    Will see how I go for time over the next few weeks, holidays have finished and it's back to the slug of Uni again.

    Costs so far (not including general gear I have bought, like safety gear and tools):

    • Case: $FREE
    • Windows & mesh: $FREE
    • Postage for 100mm of 121mm (OD) PVC pipe: $7.70
    • 4x Cans of White Knight brand spray paint: $31.00 ($7.75ea) - (2x Satin Black, 1x Gloss Black, & 1x Gloss Green).
    • 1x Plastikote plastic primer: $16
    • 1x Dulux clear coat: $9.50
    • 1x roll of wide masking tape: $4.85
    • 1x Dremel reinforced cutting disk E-Z lock: $2.40ea ($34 for a pack of 5 plus the E-Z lock attachment valued at $22 on it's own).
    • 1x Roll of 3M scotch clear mounting tape #4010: $11.50
    • 1x Bolt and nut pack: $3.30
    • 1x 150g Plasti-Bond heavy duty: $10.75
    • 1x Plastic bog scraper/spatula: $2.00
    • 2x Momentary switches (1x black, 1x red): $3.90 ($1.95ea)
    • 1x Green LED rocker switch: $3.50
    • 2x Packs of connector fittings for the switches: $5.70
    • 1x 80mm Green LED FAN (actually bought 5, but I'm only using one on this project) $2
    • 1x 120mm Green LED FAN $7.50
    • 1x Lazer LED 3 Spread - Green $5.50
    • 1x 30cm AC Ryan Green CCFL Kit (2x 30cm) $25
    • 1x Vantec NXP-301 Nexus Fan/lighting controller (5.25") $39 (Comes with 2x 30cm Vantec CCFL lights, will be using this controller on other boxes too).

    Total so-far (again, not including tools bought or safety gear that can all be re-used):
    $191.10 Updated 17.05.09 (Will probably sell the extra 80mm fans and the bonus Vantec CCFL kit to recoup come costs spent on postage).

    Was aiming to stay under $100 for materials, but it looks like like I'll be over that by a bit. :Paranoid:
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2009
  9. OP
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    elstado

    elstado Member

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    Thanks man. Happy to provide something that actually looks pretty cool ;).

    It's been a fun and interesting experience for me so-far, great to use some tools and what-not.

    Thought about it, but I managed to get it quite smooth and flush after a few hours of filing. The rubber molding can make it look tacky.

    Thanks buddy, stay tuned for more updates soon. :thumbup:
     
  10. Chop92per

    Chop92per (Banned or Deleted)

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    lookign good mate keep up the good work??

    hey mate how long do those dremel cutting disks last????? (i got a ozito one but going to buy dremel disc's ended up buying a angle grinder for bigger things XD)
     
  11. OP
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    elstado

    elstado Member

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    ???

    I'll try. :p

    Depends what material and how much you are cutting.

    I used an angle grinder then jig-saw to cut out the mesh from that scrap case I had as I was cutting a larger area and the material was quite strong.

    For thinner material (like mesh and thin metal sheets) and smaller cuts, like 150mm x 100mm, the Dremel cannot be beaten. It is very accurate and precise, plus easy as hell to use and get a clean cut.

    I used not even half of one cutting disk for that bottom panel cut-out and the mesh cutting. I am talking about the reinforced cutting disks that say "metal" on them by Dremel, a pack which has the E-Z lock attachment and 5 of the disks cost me ~$34 but considering how much use I got out of one disk it is well worth it.
     
  12. Chop92per

    Chop92per (Banned or Deleted)

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    yea well i had to buy the ez lock disc's and the stem thing it worked out cheaper for my to buy a angle grinder as i needed to cut like huge holes for 360 rad and 240 rad
     
  13. OP
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    elstado

    elstado Member

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    Yeah for big jobs like that go a angle grinder or a jig-saw for sure, but for the smaller, finer stuff a Dremel is invaluable. And when you buy a pack of 5 with the attachment for $34 it's not that expensive either.
     
  14. mojododo

    mojododo Member

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    ive found with round holes using my dremel (read: ozito) i have bought an assortment of the cutters that arent in disc form. the solid cutters in different grades and cutting style. (same style as the sanding wheel)

    this way i can get a much rounder hole with alot less filing to do. alot more accurate.

    [​IMG]

    this is one of my favourite ones.
     
  15. RaynS

    RaynS Member

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    looking good so far, the front window does look alittle rough atm
     
  16. OP
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    elstado

    elstado Member

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    Yeah the Dremel 400 kit I got came with two sets of accessories, it came with the mandrel for the sanding drums and about 6 sanding drums of various grit for different materials and purposes. I was using this for the front hole and though it did even it out a bit it still was off.

    The front round hole bit? Yeah I know... I'm not sure what to do with it, hence why I made the worklog before I had finished. I am going to try and track down some 120mm PVC as that would be the easiest way of doing it, just glue it in place, bog around it and then cut it flush with the Dremel. If I have no luck with that I will just cut it out square, which is quite easy to do, and should look fine as the mesh that is going behind is square as well.

    If anyone has a spare ~30mm long piece of 120mm PVC pipe laying around hook me up!
     
  17. Pipster

    Pipster Member

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    just go to bunnings and ask for some off cuts?
     
  18. Little Man

    Little Man Member

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    omg i have the exact same case with the same yumcha psu in it lol!!
     
  19. OP
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    elstado

    elstado Member

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    Yeah I did and they didn't have anything. Might try again in a week or another place. Where else sells PVC pipe? I might have to go to a different hardware store and ask them.

    Really? Well now you will be able to see it's potential! :D
     
  20. archibaw

    archibaw Member

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    Great job, case is looking sweet.
    You could try a local pespex and plastic shop, they sell tubing as well as flat sheets. They should have it in 120mm size. Good luck with it.
    Keep up the great work. :thumbup:
     

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