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Apollo Case Mods - Etching window design/lighting

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I bought the NZXT Apollo Black case for my new build that I am working on and would like some feedback on some mods that I was considering. Seeing as how the name of the case was Apollo and it seemed like a streamlined "spacey" case for a build, I am going with an extraterrestrial idea base.

I am going to replace the window with an acrylic blue window that I am going to etch with my rotary tool.



On the top I am going to add an additional fan and a window that will more than likely feature an etched "Apollo" emblem/logo.



On this side I am debating a few options:

1. Cut out a completely separate window and etching this side as well. Potentially a map of the constellations. (Could also do this in the etching on the hardware side window, but didn't think it had alot of "cool" factor.
2. Cut out circles, place different color acrylics behind them to represent the solar system. Will etch designs on the backside to make them seem more interesting.
3. Cut out said circles, but instead of flat acrylic behind them, do a sort of 3D design using acrylic hemispheres with the planetary etchings.

All of these will be lit with a combination of cold cathode and/or LED depending on the option and what will look best.

As I get more figured out on my ideas, i.e. what I would like to actually etch onto the side window.

Here is where I am also asking for ideas:
Obviously, I drew one in paint and pulled the other two from Google. I would not be able to be as detailed with etching, but I would do a mock up of my intended design off of the Google ones.

What do you think would be a good addition/idea for the etching?







I have done some acrylic work before, but nothing of this magnitude to be able to show you a similar work. As you reply, keep in mind that I am using blue acrylic to etch with a rotary tool, not Laser etching.
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post #2 of 24
Thread Starter 
Hmmm. Maybe I gave too much detail? headscratch.gif
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post #3 of 24
I'd do a stack of several sheets of clear acrylic, and etch each one. Add colored LED strips to the edges. Different colors for each panel. Put a bit of black paper between the panels around the edges to separate them a little to prevent color light leakage from one to the next. You sure you want to do this all by hand? Laser etching is so much fun. At least you're not trying to etch a bunch of text...
post #4 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TLHarrell View Post

I'd do a stack of several sheets of clear acrylic, and etch each one. Add colored LED strips to the edges. Different colors for each panel. Put a bit of black paper between the panels around the edges to separate them a little to prevent color light leakage from one to the next. You sure you want to do this all by hand? Laser etching is so much fun. At least you're not trying to etch a bunch of text...

Yeah, I feel that for my first etching I should do it by hand that way I can literally see how the etching affects the acrylic and what the patterns look like when etched. Plus more of a sense of accomplishment and pride when you do it by hand. biggrin.gif I also don't have access to laser etching frown.gif

Are you meaning that I should etch each one with a different layer of the image to create a deeper image? If so... I like it thumbsupsmiley.png . I've been considering clear acrylic and think I may just buy a sheet of each blue and clear to see what it looks best on. thinking.gif I was already going to buy some blue LEDs to do the lighting with if I did clear, or white if I did blue acrylic.

Yeah, I wasn't going to do the scrolling theme from Star Wars or anything...(Scratches that off of idea list) I did plan on creating a logo for my top window that says Apollo in cool looking text, but other than that, no I didn't really want a bunch of text.

Thanks for your input! I like the idea of the stack of acrylic, but my only question is how would you suggest joining them together? Would you bond them at the edges or use screws? Or both? devil.gif Either way I think your idea would look sick, and would actually make the image easier to create, even if it takes more effort.
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post #5 of 24
I would recommend using clear instead of blue acrylic. The light will transmit better through the clear.

For mounting, drill a hole near each corner (carefully so you don't fracture the acrylic) in the same place on each sheet in the stack. Run a long screw through all of them. Optionally, stack some washers in the mix to spread the panels out a bit and increase depth. You can also etch both sides of the panel for another set of layers, although that won't change the lighting color.

The stack is not only for creating a deeper image, but to isolate each part of the artwork so you can illuminate it with a different color.

[] | [] | [] Acrylic/black spacer/acrylic/black spacer/acrylic (repeat as desired)

Leave the black spacers longer at the edge where your lighting is so it goes between the LED strips.

I would recommend doing your etching in a dark room with a little light nearby just so you can see the sheet, and edge light the panel with LED strip while you're working on it.
post #6 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TLHarrell View Post

I would recommend using clear instead of blue acrylic. The light will transmit better through the clear.

For mounting, drill a hole near each corner (carefully so you don't fracture the acrylic) in the same place on each sheet in the stack. Run a long screw through all of them. Optionally, stack some washers in the mix to spread the panels out a bit and increase depth. You can also etch both sides of the panel for another set of layers, although that won't change the lighting color.

The stack is not only for creating a deeper image, but to isolate each part of the artwork so you can illuminate it with a different color.

[] | [] | [] Acrylic/black spacer/acrylic/black spacer/acrylic (repeat as desired)

Leave the black spacers longer at the edge where your lighting is so it goes between the LED strips.

I would recommend doing your etching in a dark room with a little light nearby just so you can see the sheet, and edge light the panel with LED strip while you're working on it.
I was planning on lighting it all in blue or white leds originally... But now that you have given me this new idea with the acrylic... I'm reconsidering... I've got some more looking to do...



With this image I think that it would look great as blue LED lit clear acrylic, since my original plan was an all blue "cold inside" look. The reason I wanted the blue acrylic was to bring a blue coloring to all of my components, but I'm sure blue cathode will do that as well. In the end, it will look great as long as I don't screw up on my design.

When you say "black spacers", what are you referencing. I was thinking you meant a black plastic washer at first. I also have an idea about the individual layer lighting that I'm going to do a little more research on. You have given me a few new ideas, and helped me refine the ones I had. Thank you!
Edited by Terrere - 3/7/13 at 1:00pm
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post #7 of 24
Spacers I was referring to could be anything from a few metal washers (could paint them black), to a sheet of black cardstock. Depends on how many layers you're doing, and how wide your LED strip is. I could hand build an LED strip that would edge light some 3/16" acrylic and leave no space between that and the next panel, simply a piece of black cardstock slipped between the LED strips to stop bleed through. If you use off the shelf LED strips, you'd obviously have to make some adjustments to account for them being wider.

You could also edge light with blue cold cathode. I like that idea as for some reason blue LEDs bother my eyes. I like the blue put off by the CCs though. I would recommend taking the CC out of it's plastic tube and mounting it right along the edge of the acrylic. Just be cautious handling the bare CC so you don't crack it, and make sure you hold the wires somehow to provide a strain relief.

I really like that picture done in blue. It's quite nice. I could imagine splitting it into several layers and varying the colors used.
post #8 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TLHarrell View Post

Spacers I was referring to could be anything from a few metal washers (could paint them black), to a sheet of black cardstock. Depends on how many layers you're doing, and how wide your LED strip is. I could hand build an LED strip that would edge light some 3/16" acrylic and leave no space between that and the next panel, simply a piece of black cardstock slipped between the LED strips to stop bleed through. If you use off the shelf LED strips, you'd obviously have to make some adjustments to account for them being wider.

You could also edge light with blue cold cathode. I like that idea as for some reason blue LEDs bother my eyes. I like the blue put off by the CCs though. I would recommend taking the CC out of it's plastic tube and mounting it right along the edge of the acrylic. Just be cautious handling the bare CC so you don't crack it, and make sure you hold the wires somehow to provide a strain relief.

I really like that picture done in blue. It's quite nice. I could imagine splitting it into several layers and varying the colors used.

Hmmm. LEDs to me are extremely bright, and I understand why they would affect your eyes. With the cold cathode having a more ambient style light, they are bright, but not as bright as LEDs and I think that could actually add to the effect now that you mention it. I'm not too worried with it cracking as I plan on being VERY gentle. Plus, I'm ordering two blue cold cathodes. That will be tremendous over lighting probably, so I'll start the case with one blue CC and then if I want more light, I'll add the second.

I thought the picture looked nice enough on it's own, but coupled with the blue color change I REALLY want to get it done now, but I'm trying to wait until I get my money together to do my full build to do a build log. thumb.gif Thank you for all of your thoughts! You really brought a new definition to this mod.

I'm thinking about leaving the blank side panel alone for the time being to get this mod done and then if I decide I want to a bit more to it I will. I'm definitely going to add a window to the top of the case and add an LED fan there.
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post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
Planning on ordering my acrylic tonight. I was planning on ordering 3 sheets of 1/8" clear acrylic for the front window and then another smaller custom size sheet for the top window. Is TAP plastics a good place to order acrylic from? It has "cut-to-order" style ordering, which would be nice.

Edit:
Ordered all of my acrylic for under 40 bucks: 3 13x14 windows and 1 5x9 window. Also ordered some new rotary bits for etching. Will create a build log once I get all of the materials in.
Edited by Terrere - 3/11/13 at 7:39pm
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post #10 of 24
Cool. Can't wait to see what you do with this. I usually order acrylic from Delvie's now. I drop by TAP Plastics on occasion and buy up any interesting scraps.
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