[Previous Update] Quote:
Originally Posted by Lujani
Inspiring! I like the PSU mounted over the mobo, simple idea but an awesome space saver. I swear there's some Mary Poppins wizardry at work though, with all the components you've actually managed to cram into that tiny footprint. Lookin' hot, can't wait to see some paint!
thx Lujani! wow, never been compared to Mary Poppins before! although now that you mention it there's a flying umbrella around here somewhere...
So I keep getting asked questions that I swear I covered in a design update when it hit me that I never went thru the actual case design!
When Dwood sent me his pics I went into fab mode (“ooh, pretty case!”) and never doubled back…. like babies and cats I’m easily distracted by shiny objects.
I’m just going to rattle thru my various iterations I worked thru while designing. The downside is its going to be a little scatterbrained, but that’s often the ugly reality of design. Especially as technology makes things easier/cheaper to experiment with and explore, its often more important to act, mess up, and correct later than it is to get something perfect on the first try. For those that are willing (or naïve enough to trust me
), welcome down the rabbit hole…
★ ★ ★
Picking up where I left off (here
), once I decided on the components and general layout I started refining the design. What started as a basic box…
…needed to be turned into something that could function as a case, meaning install & placement of the components would have to be accommodated, and structurally it needs to be strong enough to hold its own weight + stuff its filled with. Based on my desire to minimize structural components and reduce case size as much as possible, I decided to use heavy-gauge steel for the case panels. By doing this I’ll end up with case panels that serve as a container as well as structural framework (like a monocoque chassis, for the gearheads out there). This eliminates the need for the tube- or box-steel scaffolding found in most computer cases, which is part of the Poppinry (thanks Lujani
) behind the small footprint & overall size.
With that as one goal, the next was to design the case in as few, simple pieces as possible to make fabrication easier (or more importantly, cheaper
As you can see below, the way this shaped up best was merging the bottom, front and top panels into a single piece, with the side and rear panels bolting on to this. You can also see an alternate fan grill design I was playing with in the second shot (ew). It is really a very simple design, capitalizing on the CNC/laser capabilities Dwood is great at and requiring very few bends, all of which are right angles.
I ended up needing to build and rebuild a lot of pieces along the way, as I did here with the side-panel brackets. Sketchup is different than a lot of other design software (especially PhotoShop) in that it rewards precision. Sometimes you’re better off entering exact dimensions into a field (don’t forget to change default settings to round to a precise enough level… in my case 1/100mm) rather than visually placing things, as if you do you’ll find errant geometry is being created.
At the same time, I started building in secondary items like the front IO. What looks the best visually doesn’t always work. Originally I wanted the front IO to be mounted up top, but as you can see here there’s interference with the 240 rad. So scratch that.
, try something else.
The rear panel is by far the most complex piece on the case. It houses the rear IO, PSU, PCI slots (x2), and in order to get the best structural rigidity possible, it should tie into each side panel and also attach at the top and bottom to the front-top-bottom panel I described earlier. A few in-progress shots...
Can’t forgot lots and lots of ventilation! Building in the slots…
There’s also a ton of small brackets that hold the panels together. These are really the key to getting the outer appearance nice and clean.
When everything’s put together and installed you’ll never see these.
The other small, seemingly insignificant things that needed to be built were the various brackets to mount things like the front IO, drain & fillports, pump, etc. A couple of those brackets…
Tedious but very necessary.
Gonna need to break this into two parts.
The last one for now is a [lame pun alert] little screwy.
I’ve always wanted to use black, flathead, countersunk, hex-head screws on a build (be it auto-, moto- or computer-based) and now’s my chance! Every exposed screw on the case will be countersunk to get it as low profile as possible, while the black should be a nice contrast to the grey case panels.
That’s it for now… more next time.
SLE[Skip to Next Update]Edited by She loved E - 4/16/14 at 7:58pm