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Project: Black-n-Blue

post #1 of 49
Thread Starter 
Hey All!

While researching ideas for my recently acquired case, I happened upon Overclock.net and was dumbstruck by the ingenuity and skills of the forum members here. I just had to sign up - After several long nights of lurking in the forums, that now-familiar blue flame logo burned into my retinas and convinced me to join.

I've been tweaking and doing little mods for years, but never an all out full case mod. Until now, that is.

I already planned on making a photo-journal of my exploits for personal reasons, but I couldn't resist the chance to get feedback from so many resourceful modders. I'm sure I'm going to be needing some pointers along the way.


Project: Black-n-Blue

I thought that this would be an appropriate name for the project considering the colors of the planned paint job and the fact that the case I'm using is an absolute Bruiser: A CoolerMaster Stacker 810.

I wanted something with loads of room for expandability due to a constantly changing hardware setup, and still have enough room to incorporate little mod ideas I've had for a long time but lacked an adequite chassis for. I've been working with my current rig (not worth mentioning the specs, trust me) in it's ever evolving state for some time now, and felt that it was time for a change. I began planning my GODSYSTEM like most everyone else does - thinking about boards, cores, and ram first - until the sticker shock of my wishlist set in. In a moment of clarity *upon checking my account balance* I reasoned that it would be better to get a case to handle such a system first and then add to it as I go.

After a couple weeks of research and much debate, I went with the CM Stacker. Gods, what a bloody beast! I figured that 12 5.25" drive bays, a clean interior design, great air flow (all depends on your cooling setup, surely), and a rock sturdy case were too much to pass up, so I melted my card getting this and bunches of other goodies from FrozenCPU. After seeing the box when I picked it up from FedEx (yeah, picked up... buggers delivered my first set of items from the same order several days before the case with no problem, yet the case itself didn't have my unit # on the shipping label, and I had to wait 3 days for processing the address correction or pick it up next morning from their center myself) I began to wonder what I've gotten myself into. I've the feeling this is going to be an interesting oddyssey, and I'm glad I've got some company for the ride.

Not too sure if I like the looks of those dings in the box... Signs of trouble yet to come? I bloody hope not!


I can't wait to get this baby open!


I somehow misplaced my camera during the 20 minutes of "Kid on Christmas Morning" glee that laid waste most of my higher functions, including rational thought, so I don't have any pics of the grand unveiling. *shrugs*

A Closer Inspection of the Case
... and a few ideas

The case doesn't look like it's been damaged, thankfully, but there are a couple paint rubs on the top panel I'd be miffed about if I weren't painting it. The first thing you notice after getting over how huge this thing is, would be the 300mm fan port on the side of the case. On the inside of the mesh grill, there's a clip mount for an 80mm fan with foamy-fan-filter-stuff all the way around. Since I'm going to be cutting a window in this panel (who would have guessed?), I plan on saving the foamy filter stuff and the mesh itself to reuse for another mod.



I'm don't really have any plans other than paint for this side, but I want an ultra glossy metallic paint job, and I think those vent holes are going to make painting that panel a bit more problematic. Perhaps I could Bondo over them for a solid surface, or maybe incorporate more cooling... Suggestions?



Not sure what I'm going to do here: I kinda like the curve to this plastic molding and think a top window shaped to contour it may be sweet, but it'll certainly need a paint job, if I don't remove it completely it and figure out something else.






post #2 of 49
Good Choice--that case offers plenty of real estate for modification.
Shop Dog
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Shop Dog
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post #3 of 49
Thread Starter 
Two nice big 120mm fan exhaust ports on the rear and a bottom mounted PSU bay qualify as a hot rear end in my book any day!



Look at all this room! Most everything in the case is tool-less, but I like the security of a few vibration-dampening screws as opposed to plastic locking tabs, so those black rails are probably history. I kinda like that little divider above where the PSU goes. This pic doesn't show it well, but there's like a little shelf in the corner of the frame for structural stability and seperation of the motherboard tray from the PSU area. It's giving me quite a few ideas...



This thing's a beast, all right! Just look at it compared to the frame of another machine I just started working on (a Dumpster Diving special I found outside work) for a friend.




Part 1: Disassembly

Here it is with all the hardware stripped from the case and splayed on the floor. All the parts are going in a bag for safe keeping while I work on the frame and panels.



Out in the Sun! Take a good look at the frame while you can, because it won't stay like this for long...






post #4 of 49
Huge compared to that other case. Welcome to OCN btw.
Computard
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post #5 of 49
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the welcome, Chapstick. The only problem with such a huge case is how to go about filling it. As it stands now I don't have much in the way of hardware yet, so my focus will be on the case itself for the time being.
post #6 of 49
Man, you're gonna have a lot of fun. Can't wait for the pics!
    
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post #7 of 49
Thread Starter 
Here's my first action shot, drilling out the rivets holding the top panel onto the frame! Man, this is easy! Hardly takes any effort to remove the rivets with an 1/8" bit. In fact, it's so easy....



I decided not to stop!
I was planning on spray painting the inside of the case Black originally, but I picked up some really sweet looking Blue Metallic paint and thought it'd look killer with some UV light reflecting off the silver specks in the paint. I couldn't just do a hack job and spray without any surface prep or primer, could I? I want a mirror polish paint job inside and out.





These are some cast aluminum braces used to keep the corners of the case square and rigid. Drilled out the rivets and one part of the bracket just fell out. I wasn't twisting the drill or anything, so I think maybe the bracket was already broken, perhaps during shipping. May explain the gouges on the shipping box... Now that I've already gone this far, I doubt I can RMA the case... Now I've got to find a way to fix it before reassembly of the case. Perhaps some JB Weld or something? I've heard actually welding aluminum is a bi@tch, and I don't have the materials accessible.




post #8 of 49
Thread Starter 
Sorry about the lack of updates, but my work schedule and a cracked rib () have been taking a lot out of me. Anyhow, I've been able to get some work done on this and another project.

Today was dedicated to the preparation and priming of the major components of the case frame. I began by using Klean-Strip Oderless Mineral Spirits and a clean rag to remove any oil, gunk, and sticker adhesive from all the parts I would be priming. Not sure if this would leave behind any residue that may impair the bonding of the primer, I washed everything in warm water and mild dish soap. Everything was set to dry in the sun.



The motherboard tray and the two large vertical panels have a bunch of threaded screw holes that I didn't want getting filled up with primer, paint, or debris from sanding. To solve this problem, I bought a 3'x1/8" wooden dowel for $0.40 that I cut into 1/2" sections. These screwed into the holes snugly, and I can remove and reuse them as needed between coats.



Due mainly to the fact that the local Lowes and Ace Hardware don't carry Krylon , I chose Rust-oleum Automobile Primer (Dark Grey, $4.29) to start this project with. I didn't use the hot water trick to warm up the primer before spraying because it was pretty hot out today, and after 10 minutes of sitting in the sun on a black surface, the can was uncomfortable to hold by hand. I decided to use a pistol-grip paint trigger thanks to the learning experience I had with another case recently... Think I could get disability for SprayPainter's Finger?

I had a thought while priming the two large vertcal panels where you mount all the 5 1/4" devices - After sucessive layers of primer, paint and clear coat it would be difficult to install drives without chipping paint from the raised circles you see in the pictures. I decided that after each coat, during wet sanding I'd take these spots back down to bare metal, allowing them to be covered only by the last clear coat. It won't look spectacular compared to the rest of the paint job, but it will reduce the likelyhood of chipping the rest of the paint. I highly doubt that any of the unpainted spots will be visible from the window panel anyhow.





The primer applied thinly and evenly, but produced a lot of overspray and dust nibs. It was quite a bit darker than I expected but I think this is going to work out in my benefit. The paint I chose to use for the interior of the case (and the exterior trim) is Rust-Oleum Metallic Blue ($5.99). On a white or light grey primer, the color of the blue is near that of the "42" in my avatar, with a silver flake in the paint. When applied over a dark grey primer, the color produced is more like a midnight blue with silver sparkles. The exterior of the case will be in Metallic Black, so I wanted there to be a subtle but distinct difference in the colors. Here you can see a fan screen with one coat of metallic blue, beside one in primer only. I wish I had a camera that was better at close-ups... Results look very promising, indeed!



It ended up taking 1.5 cans to spray everything you see laid out in the picture, and I have yet do to the motherboard tray and a couple more small accessories like the HDD cage. The remaining 1.5 cans should be enough for what's left, and touchups after a good wet sand tomorrow.




post #9 of 49
lookin great so far. but look at the name of my rig in my sig

:O joo stole meh name!!!!

ahah only kidding man.
BlackN'Blue.
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BlackN'Blue.
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post #10 of 49
Thread Starter 
Well, I've been busy lately - just got back from a camping trip, and I've been working on some Hard Drive Mods. I should have some time before work today, so it's wet sanding and prepping for the first color coat. Friday's forecast looks like it will be a good painting day, with low humidity. I still have to prime the motherboard tray after I use those 1/8" dowel sections to plug up all the screw holes. This morning may include a trip to the local Harbor Freight store... So many good deals, too little cash to play with. We'll see how that one goes.
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