55. That's a Wrap - My first foray into carbon fiber vinyl
Let me preface this by saying, I'm doing it wrong, and I know I'm doing it wrong. And I know why too.
I decided, based on BruceB's urging to get the front on, to focus on finishing the interior panels that will be used to hide the wiring.
As you may remember, I had temporarily stuck some black foam board in there and made some rough cuts. I decided to use that as a template, and do some cleaner cutting to make the final product. There are two panels I need to make. One above the mobo brace and one below the mobo brace.
I decided to tackle the one above the brace first, which was probably a mistake as it was the more complicated one. Here is the temporary one using black foam board, and the markup I'll be using for the final product. (I ran out of black foam board, unfortunately, but it shouldn't matter since it will be covered.)
After marking the access holes/slots I wanted, to pass cabling through for the front panel (larger rectangle), drives (middle rectangle), LED lights (small rectangle at the bottom) and motherboard cabling, I went to my trusty band saw to make the mobo cabling cutouts:
And then on to my X-Acto knife for the interior cutouts:
Unfortunately those cuts were pretty rough, so I used some sandpaper to "deburr" the holes:
That left me with my finished framework. I set that on the carbon fiber vinyl and marked the rough-cut size. I went ahead and pulled off the backing off and laid it upside down on my work surface, and put my "front side" of the panel facing the vinyl.
(My vinyl wasn't big enough to do a full double-sided wrap without wasting a lot, so I opted to do a front wrapover, and a back cover of the vinyl.)
Then I used the X-Acto knife to cut an "X" pattern in each of the access holes, so I could fold it out through the opening. I tried heating it up to make the vinyl more flexible, but I discovered that the foam board was not strong enough to allow me to really muscle the vinyl into the bends I wanted, and the heat actually softened the foam board too! So I'm going to be stuck with rougher folds and corners than I want. Ah well.
After folding over the cuts in the access holes, I ended up with this. Not bad!
Now a while back, I commented that I had gotten a big sheet of flexible foam that was used to pad an unassembled desk. I decided that would make great flaps for the openings. I cut some oversized pieces and used a spray-adhesive to stick them to the back of the foam panel. Here's a front and back view:
After installing the foam covers, I put a sheet of vinyl on the backside of the panel. It didn't come out as nice as I wanted, because the foldovers showed underneath the sheeting. I may end up making another one if it bugs me too much:
Those "bubbles" you see aren't actually bubbles. They are strips of vinyl that I didn't remove from the front foldovers. Like I said, it bugs me how that back side looks, and I may end up redoing it because of that. *shrug*
Regardless, then I took the X-Acto knife and made star-cuts through the foam and the back vinyl holes, so the wires can easily pass through:
Frankly, I found it nearly impossible to make cuts as nice as I wanted.
But overall, the look is pretty good:
I slipped the panel back into place to check fit and overall appearance. I think the front, at least, came out quite nice: