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[Scratch Build] Hard wood SteamPunk case with nixie display and all Custom Loop

post #1 of 67
Thread Starter 
Hello Overclocker.net

I'm relocating my build log from Teksydicate to here, Since this is the best build log site on the net. I thought it best to move it here. so i can get some opinions, ideas and feed back from other seasoned builders.

Introduction

i will keep it short and sweet for the background on my build

It all started some years back when the molecular and cell biology department at my university threw out a whole bunch of 1960's and 1970's lab equipment. i manged to get a whole bunch of awesome things that i can show case if anyone is else is keen of valve state kit.

So i got a Beckan UV Spectrophotometer from 1975, gut the guts out and retrofitted case fittings into to it. for my core-2-duo E7500 and HD4870 rig. it worked well for this purpose untill its death by lightning in June 2013

here is what my original build looked like:



With the destruction of my rig, i had to get a new one, thankfully my rig was insured, so upgraded to this:
Intel i5 3570K over clocked to 4.2GHz
Asus HD 7970 direct Cu ii
Asus P8Z77V-Pro motherboard
8Gb Kingstom Hyper X preditor RAM 2133MHz
Season M12 II 750W semi modular PSU
265Gb Lite-On m6s SSD
3Tb HDD space (mechanical)
Deep Cool Gamer storm aftermarket CPU cooler

so i had to further mod my spectrophotometer case to get the new parts to fit but will all the new mods it ran extremely hot.
so it was time for a change.

My rig as it currently stands:





Please excuse the horrendous cable management. there was almost no where to run cables with the retrofit.
The New build

With the spectrophotometer case lacking expandability and air flow it was time for a change. i thought long and hard about it, drew some mock up then made a crude sketch in google sketch up.

The concept model:




The Theme:

The plan for this case is to build a frame out of a ply wood and 22mm square baton for structural support then clad the outside in exotic hardwoods. that i could easily source from a local suppliers off cuts section.

for the hardwood using alternating layers of a Afromosia (dark brown) and Purple Heart wood (purple, yes the wood is literally purple). for the exterior, with a nice UV protective clear varnish to preserve the purple colour.

Integral to this build are all kinds of vacuum tubes, Nixies, Dekatrons, Triodes, Diodes, Pentodes, you name it. i will also try my best to get them working rather than them just being there for display value.

For the liquid cooling loop i have a radiator from a centrifuge and i'm also going to custom mill all my water blocks. but that will only happen near the end. since it so expensive to import things from the UK/USA to South Africa i have to make my own water block and it seems the who fit gas stoves and the like have most of the connectors i would need for this.
Im still on the hunt for interesting and weird electrical and brass fitting. i have found a few but am still deciding which ones to use.

Day 1:
Frame construction





I modded the hot swap bay i got from a server, so it took SATA instead of SCSI HDDs. I later discovered that SCSI enterprise server HDDs are like and inch or so longer than conventional desktop HDDs so im having to go back to the drawing board with this one.




I then made the front switch panel from some aluminium, with cut outs for switches and guages from 1960/70s machinery
the above wooden cage is for my display of vacuum tubes.




Next up was to start making panels to attach hardwood cladding to. along with working out some measurement issues i had.





Then came the making of the hard wood cladding, this was a HUGE mission. i had to take rough timber square it up then cut it into strips using the bandsaw. this timber was full of defects cracks and other problems, i think i ended up cutting around 50 8mm pieces and this took the better part of 2 weeks to sort out. to top it all off i likely have to make more.

i then glued all the strips as a laminate to the boards using cold glue. they are still rough finished and need to be thicknessed, and i still havent worked out the best way of doing this yet. i have also been making cut outs to cover the front.




This is about as far as i have got with the case thus far, i had to go back to university to finish my masters thesis. uni is on the other side of the country. but i should hopefully be going home for a few days soon them i can post and update. otherwise building will continue in September (2014)

I'im going to make other posts for the loop and arduinio controlled electronics. i will also make the source code available once i have ironed out the problems and got the kit working.

Thank you for reading. Please feel free to comment, make suggestions or provide me with ideas. if someone comes up with something cool i will definitely try to incorporate it into my build.
post #2 of 67
Thread Starter 
Liquid Cooling:


Im sure you guys are keen to see my plans for liquids cooling. i have a lathe and mill so making the parts hopefully shouldn't be to hard but this being a custom build "hard" comes standard with its own host of problems.

Here is the radiator and cover i made for my radiator. since it is rather ugly. Fitted in the cover are 6 Cooler Master R4 green LED fans. the outlet pipes are 3/8' copper with the radiator being made totally from aluminium





I had been looking around for a "steampunk" reservoir, i found the answer in a 3 inch brass shell from 1924. since brass is easy to solder, it shouldnt be too much hassle to make it into a functional reservoir.



I also got a Chinese made pump for the loop with variable speed and G1/4' fittings. since the brand named ones were so ridiculously expensive. i also sleeved the cable in green paracord 550. the rest of the cables will also be done in this green.



I will update this as i go, but for now loop things are on hold as im looking into and planning some more of the electronics.
also if anyone has experience with customs blocks whats the best way to attach the copper base to the top? rubber seal? or just silicone and screws, or something else entirely.
any advice will be appreciated
post #3 of 67
Thread Starter 
The Electronics


I'm quite keen on micro controller and have been spending lots of time looking up projects and surveying ideas, should prob be working on my thesis but.. meh micro controllers are awesome.

The first thing im going to fit is a nixie tube clock upfront. i may even be able to display other data over serial but i will see how complex it will be when i get there.
for the Nixie clock there is really on one way to do this easily and that is to buy the Arduinix nixie tube shield for the Arduino Uno from the Arduinix website.

I bought the PCB and an sourcing the components separately. here is my progress so far:

Ardunio Uno and the half finished Ardunix shield


i got 6 IN-12B tubes on auction from Ebay for pretty cheap:


I also need to get the ICs (K155ID1) for decoding the signals from the Arduino so the clock could function, these things like nixies are no longer made and are quite expensive

Here is a pic of the ICs along with sockets for the IN-12B tubes


Thats it so far for the clock, i'm still waiting for some inductors and a few other capacitors to get the shield on the road, even from china things take up to 2 months to get to me.

As well as LEDs i plan on using some vacuum fluorescent display tubes (VFD tubes) to light up various thing and give the case more of a steampunk feel. this thing however are a right pain to wire up and i haven't quite figured out how to do it.



Also on the cards is a Dekatron spinner that i want to link to my ardunio, i want it to spin faster and slower relative to CPU usage. this shouldn't be to hard as there is code for the analog gauge cpu usage mod, just need to change the last bit to control a digital pot to spin the Dekatron at varying rates
.
For anyone who hasnt seen a Dekatron spinner, you are missing out. and you should get to know them since they were use to create the world first digital computer.

check out this guys page of info if you want to read more: http://www.tube-tester.com/sites/nixie/datdekat/A101/A101.htm
post #4 of 67
OHH, Steampunk. I like it. i like your old case too.
post #5 of 67
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post #6 of 67
This is one awesome case. I love scratch builds. And your retro/steampunk theme is really cool.

I'm not sure I would trust a non-branded pump, but I hope it works out for you! thumb.gif
post #7 of 67
Have you tried bringing this monster to a LAN party? Looks awesome. biggrin.gif

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post #8 of 67
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saturos View Post

This is one awesome case. I love scratch builds. And your retro/steampunk theme is really cool.

I'm not sure I would trust a non-branded pump, but I hope it works out for you! thumb.gif

I have used Chinese aquarium pumps for ages, never had a problem with leaking, the impellers just fall to pieces instead. hopefully the same can be said for this pump when it fails wink.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by rRansom View Post

Have you tried bringing this monster to a LAN party? Looks awesome. biggrin.gif

the case went across the country with me to university, no lan parties though.
It has a half inch thick cast aluminium base and all the panels are made from 3mm aluminium. back then there were much more liberal with the materials they used. but it weights a tonne, will have to double check but is around the 30kg mark.

I will have to try get some more pics of the kit and parts, as it will be a while before i continue building. i will see if i can get a pic of my 16 pin 380V industrial socket, standard IEC plugs are getting a bit boring tongue.gif
post #9 of 67
Sweet! I was thinking of modding a PC into a cash register [an old one] but it never really took off. I couldn't find a cash register worth the price. biggrin.gif

Looking forward to more goodness from this build. +Rep
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post #10 of 67
Subbed!This is definitely a very clever project that I will follow until its fruition..
Thank you very much about the info on the Dekatron tube,+REP
I actually stumbled upon that page in the past by accident,while I was searching info about X-Ray Production and X-ray tubes(I'm a Radiologist),and kept it in my bookmarks..

I actually have an old photomultiplier tube from an old mammograph that I'm preety sure is not working anymore..But it still looks cool.
If you feel that it'll add to the steampunk feel you're going with this build,I'd be happy to send it to you.. Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Just don't try to see if it works because of radiation danger biggrin.gif
Edited by mAs81 - 4/24/14 at 3:26pm
   
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