Got another design update for y'all (“yayyyyyy” the children screamed).
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As the case came into focus I started having more fun with the aesthetics. I toyed around with adding a small side panel window before I decided it would be a whole lot easier just to make the entire panel acrylic:
I also experimented with more grill options. Um, no.
The slots in one of the early designs ended up being the best. That’s a Dwood invention…. He told me early on that slots are a lot quicker to cut than holes or other mesh designs because the total cut length and machine movement is much shorter. And if you do it right the amount of airflow (put another way, percentage of airflow blocked by the case) is comparable.
Slots also give me a way to (mostly) conceal built-in fan filters. If temps cooperate, I’m going to run a positive air pressure (all intake) setup which will allow me to filter all air that enters the case. The filter frame is on the left… mesh will be adhered to it and it will be sandwiched between the case and fan (a similar one is being built for the 240 rad on top).
Mobo mounts (w/countersunk hex-head screws) are visible on the exterior of the case, which is perfectly fine given the industrial look. 12mm hex spacers (standoffs) will separate the mobo from the inside of the panel.
Placing and adjusting screw holes for fabrication was a real PITA. The case uses a mix of M3 and 6-32 screws, and each hole needed to be adjusted to match the proper size. There are over 150 screw holes on the case that needed to be drawn and placed precisely where needed. The shot below shows an iteration of the acrylic side panel that hadn’t been adjusted yet.
Brackets for watercooling equipment are built into the case. Here’s a detail of the pump & res configuration,…
…the drainport and with its cutout (oversized in case I want to change GPUs down the road)…
…and fillport, which can be more precisely located than the drain since it isn’t directly attached to any other hardware. It’ll connect via tubing from the top of the res.
Some of the more ingenious features (if I do say so myself
) started out as workarounds but IMO turned out to be pretty cool. The SSD & HDD mount on a removable panel in the bottom of the case. I’ll be able to mount the drives to the panel, then connect wiring, then attach the panel to the case. Kindof a trap-door setup.
I also like how the case has small holes between the panels near the corners of the case. This wasn’t intentional… it’s just a side effect of the way the panels mount to each other. It’s consistent with the theme: an industrial, functional look that manages to look good even though it wasn’t designed for aesthetics.
Also purely functional is the rear panel and 2-slot PCI mounts. Nothing good looking about it, but by some clever cutting & bending I hope to accomplish what generally takes case manufactures a whole lot more pieces and intricate metalwork to achieve.
Tolerances throughout are naturally very tight because of the size of the case. There’s only 5mm between the HDD bracket and front IO (with about the same clearance at the rear). My finished case is ~.25L larger than the original plan because tolerances between components were originally 1-2mm, which I didn’t feel comfortable with. If something was off by the slightest bit I’d risk having to scrap the first prototype and start over (money better spent on bikes & babes
A few stills of the finished, bare panels:
Here they are with each panel highlighted in a different color so you can distinguish between them and see how they all fit together
Got to include a little branding
. It’ll be hidden when assembled but I’ll know it’s there. Kind of a maker’s mark.
I think that’s it for the 3D design portion of the project. Obviously there’s been plenty of chicken-scratched notes & measurements to go along with the above. In fact there’s still a stack of notes on my desk that I won’t pitch until the project’s done… just in case...
Hopefully the excruciating detail is useful/interesting.
Basically the last 4 updates have taken us from the original idea to the beginnings of fabrication, where we’ll see if all that work was worth it!
Case fab itself should be wrapping up any day now. As you can imagine my fingernails are bitten to bloody stumps from the anticipation! I want to get this thing built!!
SLE[Skip to Next Update]Edited by She loved E - 4/16/14 at 8:00pm