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[Case Mod] [COMPLETE] December MOTM 2nd Place! - Relic: A BeigeMod First Case Mod

post #1 of 512
Thread Starter 
Welcome!

MOTM VOTING RESULTS HERE!

This mod Came in second place in Mod of the Month's December Amateur class! it was a close thing, too. I'd like to give a shoutout to Janac's third-place finish for Cranberry for Cranberry as well. thumb.gif

As you may have noticed, this is my first attempt at case modding, I've put in a lot of hours on taking a 10+ year old beige case I had and attempting to turn it into a great looking case with many modern features.

This log, in many ways, has been about resurrecting the castoffs of days gone by. And in many ways, I owe it all to Overclock.net. I discovered this site after buying my first set of components in years to replace an old store-bought PC and was inspired and blown away by the mods here.

Here's the case I started with.



Isn't she a beauty? One little tidbit in the above photos. Notice there are two 80mm vent holes at the bottom of the front frame? Notice how there are no vents in the plastic bezel that snaps over it? Isn't that just amazing? [/sarcasm] Now I know why that case didn't come with front fans...

Many of the techniques I used (often imperfectly) I learned from seeing what others here had done. And in a real way, this mod is due directly to OCN. Most of the internal components in the mod were purchased directly though the OCN marketplace to build this, my son's first PC, including:
  • GPU Galaxy GTX480 modded with an Antec Kuhler AIO from coachmark2
  • Motherboard GA78LMT-USB3 from lapengu
  • CPU AMD FX6400 from lapengu
  • RAM Crucial Ballistic Sport 2x4 GB from irush
  • PSU Corsair HX520 Semi-Modular from slider46
  • Corsair SP120 Quiet Series Fan, Fan Extensions, and 4 LED Puck from slider46
  • SSD Samsung SSD 830 128gb from crazyg0od33
  • Fan Controller NZXT Sentry Mesh from whodie

So, OCN, I truly could not have done this without you. wink.gif

So let's get to it. What the heck did I do? I resurrected the dead, that's what I did. The following photos are highlights from this log showing what I did to the decade+ year old case. It was a wild ride, and I hope you enjoy it.


Front View:

Original:

Modded:
AppleMark

Highlights: I drilled two 120mm holes for front fans through the front frame and front bezel, heavily modified the shape with PVC pipe, expanding foam, and body filler, added a fan controller and IO box, and mounted new power and reset buttons in the front bays. You may also notice that bumpout on the left there. More about that below.

Frontside Exterior View:

Original:

Modded:
AppleMark

Highlights: Cut a window in the side panel using hole saw and jigsaw, lined it with molding, and installed clear acrylic. You may also notice the new feet and the paint job. More on those below.

Backside Exterior View:

Original:

Modded:
AppleMark

Highlights: Added a bumpout to provide room behind the motherboard and drive cages for wire management. This involved cutting a window, epoxying a trimmed cookie pan over the hole, and a lot of body filler and sanding to get the profile right. The original case had less than 0.5 cm clearance, this expanded the room to more like 4 cm of room.

Rear View:

Original:
AppleMark

Modded:
AppleMark

Highlights: Flipped back panel (along with mobo inside) so PSU is on bottom and drilled out 120mm fan hole.

Top View:

Sorry no original. Here's the modded view:
AppleMark

Highlights: Drilled 120mm fan hole in top and added a grill using hand-painted thumbscrews for mounting the GPU radiator.

Frontside Interior View (Empty):

Original:

Modded:
AppleMark

Highlights: Rotated 3.5" Drive Cage 90 degrees for side-loading. Added front and rear fans. Flipped mobo and mobo brace to put PSU on bottom. Cut hole for CPU cooler bracket in mobo tray. Custom paint job requiring extensive masking on interior.

Backside Interior View (Empty):

Original:
AppleMark

Modded:
AppleMark

Highlights: Added wire management panels made of custom-cut foam board covered in vinyl to sections not covered by mobo tray to hide wiring. See more detail below.

Interior Wiring:

Original:
AppleMark

Modded:
AppleMark

Highlights: Original case had zero space for wire management. Adding the bumpout to the back side panel, adding wire management panels, and rotating the 3.5" drive cage allowed most of the wiring to be hidden from view. Also cut a grommet hole in the side of the 5.25" drive cage.

3.5" Drive Bay:

Original:
AppleMark

Modded:
AppleMark

Highlights: In addition to the custom paint job and rotating the 3.5" drive cage 90 degrees, I also cut multiple windows in the side of the drive cage to allow improved air flow from the front fans.

PSU:

Original:

Modded:
AppleMark

Highlights: Sleeved the 24-pin and 8-pin harnesses with paracord and added cable combs. Coiled the old 4-pin harness inside the PSU since it was not needed.

Custom Stuff:

PSU Cover Scratchbuilt:
AppleMark

Highlights: Created a custom PSU cover out of foam board, covered with vinyl. Added a hand-carved, back-lit acrylic logo to the side. The cover directs front fan air flow toward the CPU cooler and hides most of the PSU wiring.

Two-tone paint job, wrapping around the side and top panels:
AppleMarkAppleMark
AppleMark
AppleMark

Highlights: After extensive body filler work and cutting, sanded, primed, filled, and painted a merlot-red enamel. Hand-applied a latex liquid mask in a wraparound pattern, sprayed black satin enamel, and peeled the latex off for a glorious effect.

Wiring Management Panels Scratchbuilt:
AppleMarkAppleMark
AppleMark

Highlights: Panels were custom-fit out of foam board with holes cut for wire access. Black flexible foam was used to make hole grommets and the entire thing covered in vinyl.

And here's why I needed those panels.
AppleMark

Highlights: This could still use some work, but was the best I could do under the time constraint. A combination of zip-tie mounts and clips ensures all the wiring actually fits. Reused the original PSU sleeving, cut a large amount of excess wiring out, and soldered in extensions for some of the fans.

Detail Closeups:
AppleMark

Spent a bit of time hand-painting accents on the IO Box and NZXT Sentry to match the theme.

AppleMark
AppleMark

The tubes for the fans are PVC pipe. Really makes the fans pop.

AppleMark

Example of the wraparound paint pattern.

AppleMark

Hand-painted thumbscrews for the top radiator exhaust.

AppleMark
AppleMark
AppleMark

Feet were special-bought but I added rubber washer spacers to give bit more height.

AppleMark

A few more beauty shots:

AppleMark

AppleMark

Part of my goal here was to avoid, as much as possible, buying actual modding supplies that are specifically for computers, and instead use materials that are commonly available at local stores. If you want to see the details behind all that stuff above, here you go!

Table of Contents:

Lots more photos of stripped down case: (Click to show)

Front Side Off

Both Side Panels Off
AppleMark
Back Side View
AppleMark
Space Behind Mobo Tray

Rear Mobo Tray View

Top Panel Off
AppleMark
Mobo Tray Clearance
AppleMark
Mobo Tray Width and Height
AppleMark
AppleMark
Bare Frame

Lower Drive Bay Section
AppleMark

Key Points of original case:
  • Mid-tower case. Interior dimensions 15x15x7.75 inches (38x38x19.7 cm)
  • All steel construction.
  • Less than 1/2" (1.2 cm) of space behind the mobo tray, but the mobo tray is removable. Mobo tray can't be shifted deeper into the case to give more room behind it (I don't think, could be wrong).
  • Drive bays were all front-to-back but are in two riveted sections.
  • Existing power button sticks and causes computer to restart.
  • Existing front panel plugs (USB 1.0, AC97 audio) are hard to reach and outdated.

My plans were:
  • Rotate the lower internal bay section 90 degrees for better cable management and ability to insert/remove drives easier. May require some creativity since this is not a toolless cage (yet). Leave room between cage and front panel for fans. Cut ventilation holes through cage for airflow from fans.
  • Cut 120mm holes for 2 front fans. Cut 120mm holes for rear fan. Cut 140mm or 200mm blowholes in side panel and/or top.
  • I was at a loss on how to put the PSU on the bottom. But thanks to Bruce B:
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BruceB View Post

    Flipped MB
    I now see how it can be done.
  • Cut access holds in Mobo tray for CPU cooler bracket and cable routing. Figure out some way of increasing space behind mobo tray for cable routing, by adding a bumpout on rear sidepanel
  • Cut a window in the front side panel and add acrylic.
  • Rework front with new buttons / indicator lights / and a DIY bay-based control panel. Cut vents for front air intake (Would you believe the current front panel has no air intake path?)
  • Filters on all air inlets
  • New paint job, inside and out. NOT BEIGE. Possibly in blue with gray and black accent colors Looks like it's mostly black with merlot-red accents. wink.gif
  • Add lighting to show all this off.

I call this pretty much mission accomplished!
Edited by Jhereg10 - 1/14/15 at 5:55pm
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post #2 of 512
Thread Starter 
So let's have a look at the first step of my mod:

1. DRIVE CAGE ROTATION - PART 1

Drive cages that face front-to-back are great for access to mounting screws for the drives, but they suck for cable management and inserting/removing the actual drives from a full case. I'm rotating the lower drive bay for this purpose, and I'll have to figure out later what to do about mounting screw access (or converting somehow to toolless mounting).

Let's take a closer look at the offending drive cage:

AppleMark

As you can see, it's riveted in at the bottom and back. It's also clipped into the 5.25 bay above it, but that's no big deal. So lets start by freeing Willy from his bonds of servitude.

AppleMark
AppleMark

And the drive cage is free. Free like the wind. Free like... something free. (Please ignore the bit of rust there, by the time this mod is done, it will be a distant memory.)

So let's shove it back in, all twisted and turned right round:

AppleMark

Looks good to me as a "hey will this work" kind of trial run. But what we really need to do is some measurin' and cypherin' to make sure it's straight and that we leave enough gap for some 120mm fans later. The first step is to make sure it's square, which I did by shoving an old 13GB HDD in there. Yeah, I kept a 13GB HDD. Bet it still works too...



And the measurin'. I left a little over 40mm between the front metal panel and the cage. That should be plenty of room for either 25mm or 38mm thick fans. Had to leave a little extra, so you can get them around the lip at the edge of the frame.

AppleMark

And with that done, now we mark and drill our mounting holes at the bottom.

AppleMark

And last of all, stick some temporary screws in the holes to hold it still while I work on the top alignment.


Edited by Jhereg10 - 5/14/14 at 7:38pm
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post #3 of 512
Sweet! Sub'd!
I think I've developed a 'thing' for beige case mods....biggrin.gif

Moar Pictures! thumb.gif

[EDIT]
If you want to get the psu to the bottom without Messing around too mcuh then you can flip the MB tray upside down (it's quite a common mod, here's a good example of what I mean: Flipped MB)
Edited by BruceB - 5/15/14 at 1:47am
 
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post #4 of 512
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceB View Post

If you want to get the psu to the bottom without Messing around too mcuh then you can flip the MB tray upside down (it's quite a common mod, here's a good example of what I mean: Flipped MB)

That is just awesome. Thank you! I'm going to seriously consider that.

EDIT: I did some quick test fitting, and I am *totally* doing this. It looks like all I need to do is:

- flip back panel upside down with mobo tray and mobo support bar attached
-drill new holes to mount top and bottom of back panel
-drill new holes to mount mobo bar to front panel near bottom
-flip lower drive cage 180 degrees so it faces the other side and re drill holes there.

May have to drill new holes for side panels. Not sure yet.

Thank you very much for the tip. I should have new photos up today.
Edited by Jhereg10 - 11/11/14 at 5:52pm
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post #5 of 512
Thread Starter 
Alright. Before we dive into flipping the mobo, let's document finishing up the drive cage mod. :-)

2. DRIVE CAGE ROTATION - PART 2

As you saw last post, the bottom is lined up pretty nicely, but what about the top where the 3.5" cage meets the 5.25 cage? Originally, there were a set of four clips that matched up there. What about now?



Well obviously that's not going to work. They don't fit together, and the extra thickness is pushing the 5.25" cage too high, warping the case. Looks like it's time for a bit of work there.

AppleMark

So I drilled out the rivets there too, and took a dremel cutoff disk to those pesky tabs on the bottom of the 5.25" and the top of the 3.5" cages. Notice I didn't cut them off (might need them later), I just cut the sides so they can be...



Flattened out flush with the rest of the cage! So how does it fit now?

AppleMark

Vertical height looks good.

AppleMark

Vertical alignment looks good. For the final step, I drilled holes through both where they meet for a future rivet or screw point.



What say you? Looking pretty good?
Edited by Jhereg10 - 11/11/14 at 5:53pm
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post #6 of 512
Subbed! thumb.gif
post #7 of 512
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dr4gonhunt3rZ View Post

Subbed! thumb.gif

Thanks!
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post #8 of 512
Thread Starter 
3. Full Disassembly and Taking Stock

Okay, at this point, I decided I was comfortable drilling out the rest of the rivets to prepare for cutting some fan holes. After a bit of drilling, this was the final state of the case:



So that's back panel and side panels on the left.
Top Panel, Drive Cages, and Bottom in the middle, along with the PSU stabilizer bar.
And Mobo Tray (with old mobo mounted), Front Panel, and Front plastic fascia on the right.

Then this happened:
Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceB View Post

If you want to get the psu to the bottom without Messing around too much then you can flip the MB tray upside down (it's quite a common mod, here's a good example of what I mean: Flipped MB

And you know what, I think it might actually work with this case, too. But to really tell, I need to reassemble that sucker and play around with the orientation of the parts. So off to the hardware store to buy... machine screws!

AppleMark

After a bit of work, I had the case back in a semblance of completion in the new "Rotated Drive Bay" configuration.



Not exactly an earth-shattering change, but definitely an improvement, I think.

Now... how exactly would we rotate this mother to get the PSU on the bottom, which would require getting the motherboard on the top. Which would require getting the backpanel so that the PCI openings were also at the top. Which would require moving the mobo support bar also.... hmmm... Let's visualize this.



So what we're talking about isn't just moving the PSU to the bottom and the mobo to the top, but actually rotating that whole assembly, including the back panel. This means that not only has the PSU been shifted to the bottom, but the motherboard tray will be rotated to the other side of the case, like so:



The only "uh oh" moment is that to do it right, I'll also have to take the 3.25" drive cage, that I just finished rotating 90 degrees one way, and rotate it 180 degrees to face the other side. *shrugs* So be it, I think it's doable.
Edited by Jhereg10 - 11/11/14 at 5:55pm
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post #9 of 512
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jhereg10 View Post

That is just awesome. Thank you! I'm going to seriously consider that.

EDIT: I did some quick test fitting, and I am *totally* doing this. It looks like all I need to do is:

- flip back panel upside down with Mobo tray and PSU bar attached
-drill new holes to mount top and bottom of back panel
-drill new holes to mount PSU bar to front panel near bottom
-flip lower drive cage 180 degrees so it faces the other side and re drill holes there.

May have to drill new holes for side panels. Not sure yet.

Thank you very much for the tip. I should have new photos up today.

No probs! thumb.gif
A word of warning before you rivet everything together: Check that the side panel that will become the door can be taken on & off tongue.gif
 
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post #10 of 512
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceB View Post

A word of warning before you rivet everything together: Check that the side panel that will become the door can be taken on & off tongue.gif

And you weren't joking either...

Thanks to those nifty machine screws, I was able to do a full test run on fit. Here's how it went:

4. FLIP MOBO/PSU/BACK PANEL AND CHECK FIT

The first step was to mark and drill new holes for the flipped components. I shoehorned them in, marked with pencil, and drilled 1/8" holes:
AppleMark AppleMark

After doing a test reassembly, I checked that issue I predicted earlier. The 3.5" drive cage was now facing the wrong side panel, so I had to remove it and flip it to the other side, which involved drilling another set of holes.

AppleMark

And then another test fit for the side panels. At which point, I discovered that I had taken a shortcut that wasn't going to work. BruceB predicted this possibility...



The lower tabs near the back panel aren't "low enough". Why? Because of this:



I took a shortcut there. Instead of lapping the back panel under the bottom, I nested the back panel inside the bottom. That added about a 16th of an inch. That was a 16th of an inch too much, apparently. So disassemble and do a bit of metalwork.



As you can see, I had to grind out the corners of the bottom just a hair so the back panel would lap under properly. And I had to cut a couple of notches in the lip. Not a big deal. Test fit again, and now the door panels fit.

But of course, the thumbscrew holes are in the wrong place now, because I flipped the back panel. I don't want to retap holes in the frame, so I opted to use those to mark where the holes on the side panel should be and drill that instead.

AppleMark AppleMark

And on to the final test fit!

AppleMark AppleMark

Everything appears to fit! I had to use the step-bit to widen one of the thumbscrew holes, but that was about it. So let's cram an ancient IDE mobo, a crap PSU, and a couple of old IDE drives in there and test out the layout:



Mobo fit looks good. Something odd going on with that PSU bar, though.

Adding in the drives and PSU:


AppleMarkAppleMark

Notice that even with the uber-bulky IDE ribbon cables, the inside still looks pretty clean with this layout. The biggest problem is that the PSU is crap, and its wires are far too short for good wire management. But that's an easy fix by either splicing them, buying extensions, or (duh) using a better PSU.

And on a side note, these are NOT the final components going into this case. I'm just using them because I don't care if I bang them up in the process. Once done, I'm putting in an old (but slightly newer) set of components.

And I figured out what was wrong with the PSU bar.

AppleMark

I had it too high on the front because of lapping the back wrong earlier. So I took the screw out, and it "sprang into place". I'll have to mark and redrill a rivet hole for that. No biggie.

So here again is the before and after:

BEFORE:



AFTER:



All in all, I'm very pleased with how this is going so far. Next step, take everything back out (again) and disassemble (again) and start marking hole locations for fans. thumb.gif
Pitchblende
(14 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i3-4330 Gigabyte H87-D3H EVGA 690 Kingston Hyper DDR3 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Samsung 840 EVO SSD Seagate ST2000DL003 LG GH24NS95 DVD Writer Hyper 212 
OSOSPowerCase
Ubuntu 14.04 Windows 7 Corsair CX500M Corsair Carbide 400R 
OtherOther
Thrustmaster TFlight Hota X Logisys 300mm Cold Cathode, White 
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Reply
Pitchblende
(14 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i3-4330 Gigabyte H87-D3H EVGA 690 Kingston Hyper DDR3 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Samsung 840 EVO SSD Seagate ST2000DL003 LG GH24NS95 DVD Writer Hyper 212 
OSOSPowerCase
Ubuntu 14.04 Windows 7 Corsair CX500M Corsair Carbide 400R 
OtherOther
Thrustmaster TFlight Hota X Logisys 300mm Cold Cathode, White 
  hide details  
Reply
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Overclock.net › Forums › Case Mods & Cases › Builds & Case Mods › Case Mods › Case Mod Work Logs › [Case Mod] [COMPLETE] December MOTM 2nd Place! - Relic: A BeigeMod First Case Mod