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BatManned's Computer Build Log

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone! I am in the midst of custom building a gaming computer and thought I'd share my progress with this lovely forum. This build is still a work in progress but I aim to have it done by August 4th for the QuakeCon event in Dallas. So let's get the good stuff started!!

The 'End Goal' for this build is a wall mounted 'Batman' shaped gaming computer/case that will glow yellow and look AWESOME above my desk for when I play games. Did I mention AWESOME!?

• Plasma Cam
• Press Break
• PemSerter
• TIG Welder
• Drill / Drill Bits
• Small Angle Grinder
• Electric Sander
○ 120 and 220 Grit Sand Paper (roughly 20 sheets is what I used)
• Die Grinder
○ 40, 60, 80 Grit Sanding Tips (roughly 10 sheets is what I used)
• 1/8" Aluminum Sheets
• Rust-Oleum Truck Bed Coating Black Spray Paint (with and without built in primer)
• Foam
• Exacto Knife
• Ruler
• Protractor
• Sponge Brushes
• Paint Brushes
• 6/32" Sheet Metal Counter Sunk Scres / Nuts
~~possibly more to come~~

• AutoCAD
• Adobe Illustrator

Computer Components:
Lian-Li Motherboard Tray - Black
Phanteks PH-F140HP - 140mm Fan (6 for this build)
140mm Black Anodized Aluminum PC Fan Grill (6 for this build)
ModMyToys Anodized Illuminated 22mm Momentary Switch - Power Symbol Black / White
HDMI to DVI Cables
Pactech 4 Pin Molex Connector
Right Angle DVI Adapters
~~possibly more to come~~

Table of Contents
Phase 12 - Additional Details
Phase 13 - New Computer Components
Phase 14 - Finalization

~~possibly more to come~~

Thank you for checking out my build and coming along for the journey. If you're coming to QuakeCon, come and check out the final version in the BYOC area. For those not coming to QuakeCon, I'll post images of the event and my computer being there!
Edited by BatManned - 8/10/16 at 8:58am
post #2 of 19
Thread Starter 
Phase 1 - Planning and Sketching

I had the idea for this for multiple years without any idea how to actually implement it. Then I met someone who had all the tools I could possibly need and with his allowing me to use them, I got started.

My original idea, was the back of the shape was going to be 'grated' so that I could have yellow LED lights on the inside and the lights would shine out making it have a glow effect when hanging on my wall. The grates would also be an easy way for me to just lower it onto some anchors on the wall for easy hanging.

Either way, now that I had a game plan, I used Adobe Illustrator and created what I needed in vector form so that I could scale the design to fit the size of the computer components. The bottom picture of the link shows the original grated design with size specs and an image of the motherboard to prove it would fit. I then got a motherboard tray from Lian-Li which made those dimensions too small forcing me to scale it up to a few inches. That being said, after my initial prototype, I scratched that idea and just went with a solid shaped build instead.
Edited by BatManned - 7/14/16 at 7:49pm
post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
Phase 2 - Initial Set-Up

Initially, using foam that I found at Wal-Mart that was designed for flooring underneath weight training equipment, I used an Exacto Knife to cut out the main shape of the design. Using a ruler to determine the sizing of each section, and a protractor to determine the angles, I started cutting out the bat symbol.

Once complete, I had to make sure the motherboard tray would fit properly within the layout. That being the single largest internal item, it was my biggest concern. As you can tell from the pictures, in this stage, I was cutting that a bit close and ended up enlarging it slightly later on. After that, I took apart my current computer and placed the pieces in locations within the shape that I thought would fit and flow well inside. I plan to have all the fans on the right hand side, including the heat-sink's cooling fan/radiator blowing in and to the left hand side; while at the same time, the left side fans will be pulling the air from the right and blowing it outside. This will hopefully keep things inside from getting excessively hot.

Now that I am happy with the layout, I intend to move to phase 3 for cutting it out and getting it physically shaped.
post #4 of 19
Looks like a interesting idea. Subbed to watch the progress and can't wait to see it in August.
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Phase 3 - Cutting/Bending/Setting

At this point, since I'm not all that proficient at using Auto Cad, I sent the Adobe Illustrator Design to a coworker who used it for his Auto Cad software and we started cutting out the necessary shapes. The first image is the image left on the counter after sanding the barbs off the aluminum that was just cut. After cutting the front panel, I placed the motherboard tray in the middle again to make sure it still fit. Then using some of the holes that my motherboard itself doesn't use, we inserted screws to allow me to bolt down the motherboard tray. By the way, the piece that all the computer parts are being attached to in the beginning images, will be the inside of the front panel.

Then, again, we set out all of the computer components to make sure we knew exactly where we wanted to place everything. We cut and bent elbow pieces that we could bolt the hard drive and coolant fan to; measuring where they would be placed so we could once again insert screws to attach it to the base. Then we did the same thing for the Power Supply.

Since all was going well, we cut out the next portion of the case, the back. This time, I needed to make sure to have an access panel; obviously so I can access the computer components for future changes and/or upgrades.

From here, is when it actually starts getting 'harder'. We decided the depth of the case would be good at 7.5", but for extra cushion, we made it 8". Using a ruler to measure out the fans and the grill hole locations, we drew it up using AutoCAD and cut it all out, bent the pieces where they needed bending, and then inserted the screw locations for the fans. After that we just measured, cut, and bent the other portions as needed. As you can see from the final images, I placed each of the depth pieces on the back shape to show how it would look in a more 3D aspect.
Edited by BatManned - 7/17/16 at 12:16pm
post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 
Sorry, for some reason the above post posted twice. Mod can remove this comment please.
Edited by BatManned - 7/17/16 at 12:14pm
post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 
Phase 4 - Welding

Now that we had all the pieces together and situated, we needed to weld. For concern of warping, we welded little bits at a time until the shape gained enough structure that warping was no longer a concern. The original plan at this stage was to weld about an inch or so, then leave an inch or so gap and so on until it was done. The gap was going to be filled with Bondo so that it would still look good and sealed, but after doing the little welds all around and it gained some structural integrity, I didn’t feel that warping was going to be an issue any more. So then we welded the entire thing all around instead and it looks fantastic. That being said, the welding of course left it looking very dirty and the edges were very uneven.
post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 
Phase 5 - Sanding

Sanding. Sooo much sanding. I'd say I spent about 30 hours of sanding on this, the way I did it at least...

I started sanding with an electric sander using a 5" round, 120 grit sand paper on each of the flat surfaces along the edges. I sanded down the welding to make it look flush with the panel surfaces. I did that along all the flat sides as best I could. For this case, the size of my sander being so big, I couldn't fit it into the smaller wing areas to sand. Due to that, I had to use a Die-Grinder starting with 40 grit sand paper adapter to get into the small areas. Since 40 grit shaves a lot of the aluminum off at a time, once it got relatively flush, I changed to the 60 grit. Then for smoothness, I changed again to 80 grit.

Now that the edges looked flush with the panels, I went back over each of the corners to make them a more rounded and smooth finish. Once it all felt good, with no major bumps or grinds against my finger tips, I went over the entire thing with 220 grit sandpaper. At this point, since I knew I would be giving it a textured paint, I decided I didn't need to sand at a higher grade grit.
post #9 of 19
Nice work! Excited to see further progress.
post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
Phase 6 - Double Check

At this point I realized I didn't cut the hole out for the power button, so I used a drill with a 3/4" bit to easily cut it out. Actually, I drilled a smaller hole first so that the larger drill bit would drill in more smoothly. I then used a metal file to smooth out the hole and fit in my power button to make sure it fit properly.

I also decided to carve out the back side of the tail to allow all the cables to come out. I measured about 3/4" down and 3/4" across the the other 2 sides forming a triangular hole. I used a Small Angle Grinder to cut through the metal giving me the hole needed for cabling. Then using the same sanding method from before I sanded down the triangular access hole making it smooth just like the rest of the case. I then verified the hole was large enough for the power cable to go through. If anyone is wondering, the power cable wasn't the largest cable as I had thought. I'll get into why this matters in a future post, which I had to fix with a little creative thinking.
Edited by BatManned - 7/27/16 at 8:29am
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