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Preparing for a Scratch Built Case

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post #1 of 280 (permalink) Old 06-03-2016, 07:58 PM - Thread Starter
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I've been slowly planning a scratch built case for a while now. One of the things I decided on was to make it as modular as possible so I can add new features and remove older ones easily without having to do any surgery on the case in the future. While most people are getting rid of 5.25" bays, this case will have 14 since I feel 5.25" bays are the ideal place to put items subject to change, such as HDD bays (I will eventually be replacing all my HDDs with SSDs), front I/O ports, hot swap bays, switches, etc. It will be a tall beast because of the number of 5.25" bays. To make reaching the bays from my desk and to keep the cables out of sight from the left side of the case, the front of the bays will be on the left side of the case.

Cooling will be by air. Because dust is a huge problem where I live and the entire front of the case will be blocked by by the 5.25" bays, airflow will be from the bottom of the case to the top and be pulled through a 10" x 20" pleated paper furnace filter (if the filter should prove to be too restrictive, Plan B will to make a pleated mesh filter, using nylon or stainless steel mesh similar to the material used in DEMCIfilters). Since it will be hard to pull air through such a restrictive filter, there will be eight 120mm fans on the bottom. Air will exhaust through a 120mm fan in the traditional location alongside the rear I/O ports on the rear panel and through one or two 120mm fans in the top panel (I will have to experiment to see how many exhaust fans will be needed).

The MOBO tray and rear I/O and fan panel will be removable to make working on the MOBO easer. Since I'm a lazy, old broad, I will use a Mountain Mods XL ATX tray assembly.

The side, front, and top case panels will be secured to the case frame with magnetic tape and will be covered with wood veneer. The left panel will have a small tempered glass window over the MOBO area.

Other than the cutting and drilling sheets I've made for the bottom fan and filter assembly, I haven't made any drawings of the case yet (partially because I'm still learning how to use SketchUp) other than some crude had drawings on 3x5 cards.

However, I have been starting on some minor projects for the 5.25" bays. I like the looks of the black, brushed aluminum, 5.25" blank bay covers and other 5.25" accessories for Lian Li cases. One problem with Lian Li is many things they make are slightly non-standard in size. The bay covers, for example, are slightly wider than the 5.25" bays used on most cases. That's not a problem since I will be making the 5.25" drive cage myself so it can be whatever size I want. However, that will mean the accessories other than Lian Li will have larger gaps on the sides. I'm getting around that in most places by morphing Lian Li parts, parts from other brands, and some good, old fashioned, redneck engineering. I will be posting the highlights of those little projects initially since the case itself is a little ways down the road.

Update (06/05/2016) Here is a list of the 5.25" bay devices that will be used initially in the case.

Plan A
1. Switch Panel (shown in post #3)
2. Front I/O Panel (shown in post #6)
3. Reserved for USB 3.1 (will be made from cover and door assembly similar to post #6)
4. ODD (will have a "stealth" cover made from a blank Lian Li blank 5.25" bay cover)
5. Card Reader (shown in post #7)
6. USM Bay (shown in post #4)
7. 2.5” Hot Swap Bay (shown in post #5)
8. 2.5” Hot Swap Bay (shown in post #5)
9. 4 - SSD Bays (see below)
10. 4 - SSD Bays (see below)
11. Drawer (see below; on order and will have a Lian Li blank cover on the face)
12. 3.5” Hot Swap Bay (temp) (work in progress; waiting on paint to dry)
13. 3 - 3.5” Drive Bay (temp) (see below)
14. (Part of 13 above.)

All of my storage drives are going to be in the 5.25" bays. I was going to make my own 2.5" drive bay until I found these online. They are made by ICY Dock and, although they do have a door/eject lever, they are made better than anything I could ever make myself (besides, I will not be removing and replacing drives very often). Each one will hold four 2.5" drives (in this case, SSDs) that are up to 15mm thick. I'm toying with the idea of making a stealth cover for these.




The drawer is a simple storage drawer that will be handy for keeping small things like port adapters, USB thumb drives, memory cards, etc. instead of rattling around in desk drawer where they can be harder to find. It will get a Lian Li blank 5.25" bay cover so it will blend in with everything else.

Processed By eBay with ImageMagick, z1.1.0. ||B2

The 3.5" hot swap bay is a now discontinued Antec EasySATA. I will report on it after the paint has had time to dry hard and I can cut the Lian Li face plate for it.

The 3.5" drive bay is made by StarTech and will be temporary while I'm waiting for the prices of SSDs to come down some more. Once I replace the three HDDs that will be inside with SSDs, I'll remove the drive bay and replace it with a couple of modified Lian Li blank 5.25" bay covers.



Jeannie
CPU
i7-3930k
Motherboard
ASUS P9X79 WS
GPU
MSI R7850 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC Radeon HD 7850 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
GPU
Monoprice 1x2 powered HDMI Splitter
RAM
Kingston HyperX 32GB (8 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model KHX1600C9D3K8/32GX
Hard Drive
128GB Samsung 840 Pro SSD
Hard Drive
4TB Samsung 850 EVO SSD
Hard Drive
4TB Samsung 850 EVO SSD
Hard Drive
4TB Samsung 850 EVO SSD
Hard Drive
4TB Samsung 850 EVO SSD
Optical Drive
LG 12X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA Internal Blu-ray Drive CH12LS28
Power Supply
Corsair HX750W
Cooling
COOLER MASTER GeminII S524 120mm Long Life Sleeve CPU Cooler
Case
Antec Two Hundred v2
Operating System
Windows 7 Ultimate
Monitor
3 x Asus VG248QE
Monitor
Vizio VO320E 32" TV
Keyboard
Logitech G510s
Mouse
Logitech M525 with Unifying Receiving
Audio
Corsair SP2500 2.1 Speakers
Audio
ASUS Xonar Essence STX Virtual 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI Express x1 Interface 124 dB SNR / Headphone AMP Card
Other
LSI 9211-8i HBA card
Other
HooToo® HT-CR001 3.5" PCI-E to USB 3.0 Multi-in-One Front Panel Internal Card Reader (6 Memory Slots, Genesys GL3220 Chipset) & SuperSpeed USB 3.0 3-Port Hub (VIA VL800 Chipset), can read & write: M2/MS Micro, High-Speed CF(UDMA), UHS-I, SD, SDHC,...
Other
StarTech HSB220SAT25B 2 Drive 2.5in Trayless Hot Swap SATA Mobile Rack Backplane
CPU
i7-5930K Haswell-e
Motherboard
Asus X99-E WS/USB 3.1
GPU
Visiontek Radeon 7870 2GB with 6 miniDisplayports
RAM
G-Skill Ripjaws 64GB (8x8GB) DDR4 2133
Hard Drive
Samsung 850 EVO 4TB SSDs
Hard Drive
Samsung 950 Pro 512GB m.2 SSD boot drive
Power Supply
Corsair AX760
Cooling
Noctua NH-D15S Cpu cooler
Case
Scratch built. Currently under construction at https://www.overclock.net/t/1602023/preparing-for-a-scratch-built-case
Operating System
Win 7 Ultimate
Mouse
Logitech M525
Mouse
El Cheapo Allsop hard plastic
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post #2 of 280 (permalink) Old 06-03-2016, 07:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Blank 5.25" Bay Covers As I stated earlier, I like the looks of the Lian Li blank 5.25" bay covers but they have a unique mounting configuration that would be a bit of a bear to replicate. As seen below, they have "wings" (for lack of a better term) that project back from the face of the cover and are supposed to snap into a case designed to accept them.
Photo (Click to show)


I felt it would be much easier to modify them so they can be mounted with the same mounting holes used by most 5.25" bay accessories than to design the case to accept the covers as is. The quick and dirty way I found to do that was to morph the cover with a Lian Li 3.5" floppy bay to 5.25" bay adapter.
Photo (Click to show)


I cut off the back portion of the wings on the blank bay cover with my handy dandy, little Ryobi bandsaw. I also removed the cover on the bay adapter. After laying out where to drill on what was left of the wings of the blank cover (that was challenging), I drilled them and slightly dimpled the holes to serve as countersinks for the flat head screws used to fasten the cover to the bay adapter and act as spacers between the wings and the sides of the adapters.

I had fun making the dimples. I ordered a couple of different kinds of dimpling pliers. The one from Eastwood was a joke and was pretty much unusable. The other one, from Aircraft Tool Supply, was better but I ordered the wrong size (3/16"), thinking the size was the size of the dimple when actually it was the size of the hole the dimple gets formed around (mutter, mutter, mumble, mumble). I was still able to make them work by only partially squeezing the pliers. The results are a bit less than perfect but, at least it won't show when installed in the case.
Photo (Click to show)

One thing nice about this dimpler is the dies are removable, leaving a perfectly good pair of vise grips (a girl can never have too many of those). I went ahead and ordered the three remaining sizes of dies for future use
Photo (Click to show)

The final results are shown below (I was too lazy to take blow by blow photos).
Photo (Click to show)


I made up several of these while I had tools setup for the first one.

Jeannie
CPU
i7-3930k
Motherboard
ASUS P9X79 WS
GPU
MSI R7850 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC Radeon HD 7850 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
GPU
Monoprice 1x2 powered HDMI Splitter
RAM
Kingston HyperX 32GB (8 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model KHX1600C9D3K8/32GX
Hard Drive
128GB Samsung 840 Pro SSD
Hard Drive
4TB Samsung 850 EVO SSD
Hard Drive
4TB Samsung 850 EVO SSD
Hard Drive
4TB Samsung 850 EVO SSD
Hard Drive
4TB Samsung 850 EVO SSD
Optical Drive
LG 12X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA Internal Blu-ray Drive CH12LS28
Power Supply
Corsair HX750W
Cooling
COOLER MASTER GeminII S524 120mm Long Life Sleeve CPU Cooler
Case
Antec Two Hundred v2
Operating System
Windows 7 Ultimate
Monitor
3 x Asus VG248QE
Monitor
Vizio VO320E 32" TV
Keyboard
Logitech G510s
Mouse
Logitech M525 with Unifying Receiving
Audio
Corsair SP2500 2.1 Speakers
Audio
ASUS Xonar Essence STX Virtual 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI Express x1 Interface 124 dB SNR / Headphone AMP Card
Other
LSI 9211-8i HBA card
Other
HooToo® HT-CR001 3.5" PCI-E to USB 3.0 Multi-in-One Front Panel Internal Card Reader (6 Memory Slots, Genesys GL3220 Chipset) & SuperSpeed USB 3.0 3-Port Hub (VIA VL800 Chipset), can read & write: M2/MS Micro, High-Speed CF(UDMA), UHS-I, SD, SDHC,...
Other
StarTech HSB220SAT25B 2 Drive 2.5in Trayless Hot Swap SATA Mobile Rack Backplane
CPU
i7-5930K Haswell-e
Motherboard
Asus X99-E WS/USB 3.1
GPU
Visiontek Radeon 7870 2GB with 6 miniDisplayports
RAM
G-Skill Ripjaws 64GB (8x8GB) DDR4 2133
Hard Drive
Samsung 850 EVO 4TB SSDs
Hard Drive
Samsung 950 Pro 512GB m.2 SSD boot drive
Power Supply
Corsair AX760
Cooling
Noctua NH-D15S Cpu cooler
Case
Scratch built. Currently under construction at https://www.overclock.net/t/1602023/preparing-for-a-scratch-built-case
Operating System
Win 7 Ultimate
Mouse
Logitech M525
Mouse
El Cheapo Allsop hard plastic
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post #3 of 280 (permalink) Old 06-03-2016, 07:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Front Switch Panel One of the "accessories" that will going into a 5.25" bay is the switch panel. There will be four switches on the switch panel:

Power Switch (for the computer)
Reset Switch
Direct Key Switch (a feature on some ASUS MOBOs that makes getting to the BIOS menus easier; the ASUS X99-E WS/USB 3.1 has that feature and will be the first resident of the case).
Power Switch (for the internal white LEDs)

I pretty much did the same thing here as what I did with the blank panel covers except I let (for a price, of course; it was reasonable, though) Performance PCs drill the switch holes for me (I figured if any mistakes were made, it would be on their dime, not mine, not to mention I was being lazy).
Photo (Click to show)



I also had to remove the flanges for mounting 3.5" bay devices onto since one would have interfered with one of the switches. I was too lazy to do that on the blank cover mods plus I can still have the original front panels and can always put them back on if I run out of spares.
Photo (Click to show)

I already have the switches I need but I haven't installed them yet since some will need the wires soldered onto the lugs on the back of the switch and it will be easier to wait to do that until I'm ready to install the switch panel to make sure I get the cable lengths correct.

Update (07/14/2016) Well, I've changed my mind on something else (hey, it's a woman's prerogative to change her mind). I was going to use a regular dimmer hidden behind the MOBO back plate to regulate the brightness of the case LEDs and use a latching vandal resistant switch on the switch panel to turn them on and off. I recently found a small dimmer/switch that will easily fit directly onto the switch panel so I ordered another Lian Li blank cover drilled to accommodate the new dimmer/switch.
Photo (Click to show)

The dimmer/switch is rated for 60 watts. The LEDs I'm going to use should use a little less than 40 watts so the dimmer/switch should be able to handle them easily.
Photo (Click to show)

The drilled blank cover has some wings that will need to be cut down...
Photo (Click to show)

...like this.
Photo (Click to show)

Then the hole locations had to be transferred from the original cover to the new one...
Photo (Click to show)

...using my Dremel with a three jaw chuck installed. The Dremel was easier for me to handle.
Photo (Click to show)

The holes are drilled and ready for dimpling with the dimpling pliers on the left. Dimpling removes less metal than merely countersinking, giving more meat for the screw head to bear against.
Photo (Click to show)

Here is how the holes look after dimpling.
Photo (Click to show)

And here is the switch plate after reassembly.
Photo (Click to show)

Hopefully, this will be the last mod for the switch plate.

Jeannie
CPU
i7-3930k
Motherboard
ASUS P9X79 WS
GPU
MSI R7850 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC Radeon HD 7850 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
GPU
Monoprice 1x2 powered HDMI Splitter
RAM
Kingston HyperX 32GB (8 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model KHX1600C9D3K8/32GX
Hard Drive
128GB Samsung 840 Pro SSD
Hard Drive
4TB Samsung 850 EVO SSD
Hard Drive
4TB Samsung 850 EVO SSD
Hard Drive
4TB Samsung 850 EVO SSD
Hard Drive
4TB Samsung 850 EVO SSD
Optical Drive
LG 12X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA Internal Blu-ray Drive CH12LS28
Power Supply
Corsair HX750W
Cooling
COOLER MASTER GeminII S524 120mm Long Life Sleeve CPU Cooler
Case
Antec Two Hundred v2
Operating System
Windows 7 Ultimate
Monitor
3 x Asus VG248QE
Monitor
Vizio VO320E 32" TV
Keyboard
Logitech G510s
Mouse
Logitech M525 with Unifying Receiving
Audio
Corsair SP2500 2.1 Speakers
Audio
ASUS Xonar Essence STX Virtual 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI Express x1 Interface 124 dB SNR / Headphone AMP Card
Other
LSI 9211-8i HBA card
Other
HooToo® HT-CR001 3.5" PCI-E to USB 3.0 Multi-in-One Front Panel Internal Card Reader (6 Memory Slots, Genesys GL3220 Chipset) & SuperSpeed USB 3.0 3-Port Hub (VIA VL800 Chipset), can read & write: M2/MS Micro, High-Speed CF(UDMA), UHS-I, SD, SDHC,...
Other
StarTech HSB220SAT25B 2 Drive 2.5in Trayless Hot Swap SATA Mobile Rack Backplane
CPU
i7-5930K Haswell-e
Motherboard
Asus X99-E WS/USB 3.1
GPU
Visiontek Radeon 7870 2GB with 6 miniDisplayports
RAM
G-Skill Ripjaws 64GB (8x8GB) DDR4 2133
Hard Drive
Samsung 850 EVO 4TB SSDs
Hard Drive
Samsung 950 Pro 512GB m.2 SSD boot drive
Power Supply
Corsair AX760
Cooling
Noctua NH-D15S Cpu cooler
Case
Scratch built. Currently under construction at https://www.overclock.net/t/1602023/preparing-for-a-scratch-built-case
Operating System
Win 7 Ultimate
Mouse
Logitech M525
Mouse
El Cheapo Allsop hard plastic
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post #4 of 280 (permalink) Old 06-03-2016, 07:59 PM - Thread Starter
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USM Drive Bay Mod Another "accessory" that is going into a 5.25" bay is a USM (Universal Storage Module) drive bay. A USM holds a 2.5" drive that can be connected to a device via a USB 3.0 cable. If one has a computer with a USM bay, one can just pop off the little adapter on the back of the USM and plug it directly into the computer. I plan on replacing the 2.5" drive enclosures I'm currently using for my notebooks' backup drives with USMs. The aluminum case of these Startech USMs are plenty sturdy to protect the drives inside and will simplify backing up the backups on my desktop computer since I won't have to scrounge up and horse around with a cable and find a place to put the drive while it is connected to the computer.

Below is the factory USM bay and a USM. A picture of the USM installed in the bay is below it.
Photo (Click to show)


The little piece to the right of the bay in the second photo is the little adapter that snaps into the back of the USM to allow it to be used with a USB 3.0 cable.

The bay, as is, would look alright installed in the case but, since it is a bit narrower than the Lian Li bay devices and covers, which would leave a larger gap between the ends of the drive and the sides of the 5.25" bay, and it has a different surface finish, I felt it would fit and look better if I morphed a Lian Li cover onto it.
Photo (Click to show)

As I did with the blank cover and switch panel mods, I cut off the ends of the "wings" on the blank cover but I didn't have to drill any holes since what was left of the "wings" already had a single hole in the middle of each one. I had to trim a little off the top, bottom and ends of the original USM bay faceplate. I then laid out the holes on the face of the cover and went after it with a Dremel and some files. Here is the result.
Photo (Click to show)


I'm not overly thrilled with the results. The large hole in the center wasn't too bad but, by the time I filed out the "oopsie" I made with the cutoff wheel in the Dremel in the hole for the eject button (the old hands aren't anywhere nearly as steady as they used to be), the hole came out a lot larger than I had intended. I'm seriously considering redoing it. The cover is secured with two tiny sheet metal screws so it will be easy to remove. I just dread having to do all that meticulous filing again (I had hand cramps off and on the rest of the day once I had finished and the arthritis in my left thumb wasn't exactly happy with me either).

Update (06/04/2016) It was just too darned hot today (115° F) to do anything outside and there was nothing on TV, so I went ahead and tried making another bay cover for the USM bay. This one came out much better although I had another oopsie with the Dremel (what is it with this thing and Dremel oopsies?); at least this one wasn't so bad I had to file the hole way oversized.
Photo (Click to show)



I've got some more small projects lined up but I'm still waiting for parts from China (I order from there only if I can't find what I need here in the SSA since it takes so long to get anything from China).


Update 12/09/2016 I picked up a couple of 500GB Samsung 850 EVOs I had ordered from my mail service today. I'm going to use them to replace the two 2.5" WD Blacks I use to backup my notebooks. The spinners are in nice, trim Arctic USB 3.0 enclosures but to protect them from impact damage when carrying my notebook case, I have to keep them in a bulky padded case. Moving data between those backup drives and my desktop computer was a bit of a pain since I had to use a USB cable and find a place to put the enclosed drive while doing the transfers. Since the new case will have the USM drive bay, after initiating and formatting the SSDs last night, I installed them in two USM cases and labeled the cases with my new labeler. Sorry, I forgot to take pictures of the installation but here they are after the fact.
Photo (Click to show)


The case on right is in an antistatic zip lock bag to protect the case and label from scratches. I took the protective bag off the case on the left for the photo.

Jeannie
CPU
i7-3930k
Motherboard
ASUS P9X79 WS
GPU
MSI R7850 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC Radeon HD 7850 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
GPU
Monoprice 1x2 powered HDMI Splitter
RAM
Kingston HyperX 32GB (8 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model KHX1600C9D3K8/32GX
Hard Drive
128GB Samsung 840 Pro SSD
Hard Drive
4TB Samsung 850 EVO SSD
Hard Drive
4TB Samsung 850 EVO SSD
Hard Drive
4TB Samsung 850 EVO SSD
Hard Drive
4TB Samsung 850 EVO SSD
Optical Drive
LG 12X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA Internal Blu-ray Drive CH12LS28
Power Supply
Corsair HX750W
Cooling
COOLER MASTER GeminII S524 120mm Long Life Sleeve CPU Cooler
Case
Antec Two Hundred v2
Operating System
Windows 7 Ultimate
Monitor
3 x Asus VG248QE
Monitor
Vizio VO320E 32" TV
Keyboard
Logitech G510s
Mouse
Logitech M525 with Unifying Receiving
Audio
Corsair SP2500 2.1 Speakers
Audio
ASUS Xonar Essence STX Virtual 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI Express x1 Interface 124 dB SNR / Headphone AMP Card
Other
LSI 9211-8i HBA card
Other
HooToo® HT-CR001 3.5" PCI-E to USB 3.0 Multi-in-One Front Panel Internal Card Reader (6 Memory Slots, Genesys GL3220 Chipset) & SuperSpeed USB 3.0 3-Port Hub (VIA VL800 Chipset), can read & write: M2/MS Micro, High-Speed CF(UDMA), UHS-I, SD, SDHC,...
Other
StarTech HSB220SAT25B 2 Drive 2.5in Trayless Hot Swap SATA Mobile Rack Backplane
CPU
i7-5930K Haswell-e
Motherboard
Asus X99-E WS/USB 3.1
GPU
Visiontek Radeon 7870 2GB with 6 miniDisplayports
RAM
G-Skill Ripjaws 64GB (8x8GB) DDR4 2133
Hard Drive
Samsung 850 EVO 4TB SSDs
Hard Drive
Samsung 950 Pro 512GB m.2 SSD boot drive
Power Supply
Corsair AX760
Cooling
Noctua NH-D15S Cpu cooler
Case
Scratch built. Currently under construction at https://www.overclock.net/t/1602023/preparing-for-a-scratch-built-case
Operating System
Win 7 Ultimate
Mouse
Logitech M525
Mouse
El Cheapo Allsop hard plastic
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post #5 of 280 (permalink) Old 06-03-2016, 07:59 PM - Thread Starter
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2.5" Hot Swap Bay I have a passion for hot swap bays (I have a 3.5" and 2.5" in my current case and they are handier than indoor plumbing) but I never liked the ones I've seen for sale since they all have doors that also serve as eject levers. I saw enough reviews that say the eject function of the doors or the doors themselves being prone to breaking, I was a bit leery of them. The ones I have in my current case don't have eject levers; the drives just stick out far enough I can just grab them to pull them out. Easy peasy and no critical moving parts to break.

The 3.5" hot swap bay in my current case is a now discontinued Antec EasySATA and gets moderately heavy use when updating my backup drives. I managed to score a few for spares before the market completely dried up. I haven't decided yet if I want to morph one with a blank Lian Li cover for this case, like I did for the USM bay, since it will be temporary (I plan on eventually going all SSD, including my backup drives, but that will be sometime in the future since the prices of SSDs are still a bit too high for now). I still may decide to do it if I get bored someday.

I hadn't been able to find a 2.5" hot swap bay that didn't use eject levers until I stumbled across a discontinued Thermaltake product that was marketed as a way to get USB 3.0 ports on the front of a computer back when USB 3.0 was new and there weren't any cases with front USB 3.0 ports and most MOBOs that had USB 3.0 had it only on the rear I/O panel (no headers) or one had to use a PCI-e add on card which also put the ports on the back. The Thermaltake product fit in a 3.5" floppy bay and had two USB 3.0 ports on the front that were connected to two cables that were long enough to be fed out the back of the case and plugged into USB 3.0 ports there.

Manufacturers have a penchant for adding extra features to products they make. In this case, Thermaltake added a 2.5" hot swap bay between the two USB 3.0 ports. Now that was what caught my eye because it was a simple push in/pull out type of hot swap bay that didn't have an eject lever to break. I managed to scrounge up a bunch of them and convert a few for use in 5.25" drive bays using older style 3.5" to 5.25" drive bay adapters. I did a detailed, blow by blow of the conversion process over on another forum at the time. I'm too lazy to reproduce it here but you can go here to see it if you want.

I found out recently that the face plate of the 3.5" to 5.25" bay adapters were located about a 1/16" lower than they should have been. Up to then, I had thought the ODD on my present machine was the reason for the gap between it and the bay adapter underneath it where my internal card reader resides. Since that will not be acceptable in the new case, I got a bunch of Lian Li 3.5" to 5.25" bay adapters.
Photo (Click to show)


The Lian Li adapters, unlike the older (more like ancient) ones I had, have a hole in the center of the faceplate that is a bit larger than 3.5" bay devices so one can slide a device in from the front (although why anyone would want to do that is beyond me), which would leave an unsightly gap showing that would also be an air/dust leak, unlike the older ones that have a hole that is slight smaller to eliminate that gap and leak. To fix that, I replace the original, plastic face plate I had made to cover up the holes left by the removed USB 3.0 ports with a larger one. I also used aluminum flue tape to seal up as many of the air leaks in the swap bay itself (that thing was leakier than the Titanic after it not so gently nudged that iceberg).
Photo (Click to show)



I'm not overly crazy about the amount of plastic faceplate showing. I may get ambitious someday and make closer fitting holes in a blank faceplate, much like I did for the USM bay but, for now, I made up three of these: two to install in the new case and one for a spare.

Update (06/04/2016) The amount of plastic faceplate was bugging me so much last night, I got a feral follicle shaft up my onager today and revamped the fronts of the Swap bays. I had two extra bay covers I had shortened the wings on with the remainder of the wings already drilled and dimpled but never installed on the body of a 5.25" to 3.5" bay adapter so I robbed the cover from one of the modified bay covers (that still leaves me with four and I'll probably need only two), spent almost an hour measuring and laying out the holes (felt more like an hour each), then took the drill and Dremel to them. After making the rough opening I filed the openings to the layout lines, then checked for fit, doing some touch up filing as needed. I spent roughly four hours working on them (felt like 12) and my hands are killing me but I got it done. They came out a lot better than I had expected; I wish I had had the nerve to do them this way the first time around. I still need to modify another cover for the USM bay but my hands have made it clear that will have to keep a while.
Photo (Click to show)

Update (06/09/2016) I was having trouble sleeping last night (actually, it was early morning by then; thanks to my ADHD, my mind was racing) and it dawned on me that I had forgotten to drill a hole for the drive activity LED in the bay cover. When I was still awake a few hours later, I gave up, dug out the swap bays, and took off the modified bay covers. I still had one of the original plastic faceplates that I had used for a template when I made the new plastic faceplates (which have since been discarded) so I used that to layout the holes. Using a spring loaded, auto striking center punch, I eyeballed the center of the little hole, made a little test punch without compressing the spring to make sure it was centered, then went ahead and used the full stroke of the center punch three times.

My 8" drill press would have been the ideal tool for drilling the holes but since that thing weighs 45 lb. and I'm old and decrepit, rather than lug the thing out of storage and set it up on my washing machine (the washing machine's height is easier on my back), I put a small chuck in my battery powered Dremel (my only regret for getting that Dremel is I didn't get it sooner), and used it to drill out the holes. Then I put everything back together. I spent more time digging out and putting away the tools I used than I did drilling the holes.

Here is the latest version of the 2.5" hot swap bays (the "template" is just below it).
Photo (Click to show)

Jeannie
CPU
i7-3930k
Motherboard
ASUS P9X79 WS
GPU
MSI R7850 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC Radeon HD 7850 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
GPU
Monoprice 1x2 powered HDMI Splitter
RAM
Kingston HyperX 32GB (8 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model KHX1600C9D3K8/32GX
Hard Drive
128GB Samsung 840 Pro SSD
Hard Drive
4TB Samsung 850 EVO SSD
Hard Drive
4TB Samsung 850 EVO SSD
Hard Drive
4TB Samsung 850 EVO SSD
Hard Drive
4TB Samsung 850 EVO SSD
Optical Drive
LG 12X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA Internal Blu-ray Drive CH12LS28
Power Supply
Corsair HX750W
Cooling
COOLER MASTER GeminII S524 120mm Long Life Sleeve CPU Cooler
Case
Antec Two Hundred v2
Operating System
Windows 7 Ultimate
Monitor
3 x Asus VG248QE
Monitor
Vizio VO320E 32" TV
Keyboard
Logitech G510s
Mouse
Logitech M525 with Unifying Receiving
Audio
Corsair SP2500 2.1 Speakers
Audio
ASUS Xonar Essence STX Virtual 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI Express x1 Interface 124 dB SNR / Headphone AMP Card
Other
LSI 9211-8i HBA card
Other
HooToo® HT-CR001 3.5" PCI-E to USB 3.0 Multi-in-One Front Panel Internal Card Reader (6 Memory Slots, Genesys GL3220 Chipset) & SuperSpeed USB 3.0 3-Port Hub (VIA VL800 Chipset), can read & write: M2/MS Micro, High-Speed CF(UDMA), UHS-I, SD, SDHC,...
Other
StarTech HSB220SAT25B 2 Drive 2.5in Trayless Hot Swap SATA Mobile Rack Backplane
CPU
i7-5930K Haswell-e
Motherboard
Asus X99-E WS/USB 3.1
GPU
Visiontek Radeon 7870 2GB with 6 miniDisplayports
RAM
G-Skill Ripjaws 64GB (8x8GB) DDR4 2133
Hard Drive
Samsung 850 EVO 4TB SSDs
Hard Drive
Samsung 950 Pro 512GB m.2 SSD boot drive
Power Supply
Corsair AX760
Cooling
Noctua NH-D15S Cpu cooler
Case
Scratch built. Currently under construction at https://www.overclock.net/t/1602023/preparing-for-a-scratch-built-case
Operating System
Win 7 Ultimate
Mouse
Logitech M525
Mouse
El Cheapo Allsop hard plastic
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post #6 of 280 (permalink) Old 06-03-2016, 07:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Front I/0 Panel Mod Lian Li makes a cute little add-on front I/O panel for 5.25" bays that has a nice little door to hide the ports for a cleaner look and to keep out dust that will be a slick and easy way to get a front I/O panel for the new case. The only problem is it has four USB 3.0 ports and I want two USB 3.0 ports (the MOBO that's going in here has only two USB 3.0 headers and I need one of those for a card reader) and two USB 2.0 ports. I managed to find some conversion kits for an earlier version of this I/O panel that had four USB 2.0 ports to give it two USB 2.0 ports and two USB 3.0 ports. This was a simple parts swap.

This is the original I/O panel:
Photo (Click to show)



Here is what it looks like after the swap:
Photo (Click to show)


The other ports are audio and eSATA.

Jeannie
CPU
i7-3930k
Motherboard
ASUS P9X79 WS
GPU
MSI R7850 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC Radeon HD 7850 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
GPU
Monoprice 1x2 powered HDMI Splitter
RAM
Kingston HyperX 32GB (8 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model KHX1600C9D3K8/32GX
Hard Drive
128GB Samsung 840 Pro SSD
Hard Drive
4TB Samsung 850 EVO SSD
Hard Drive
4TB Samsung 850 EVO SSD
Hard Drive
4TB Samsung 850 EVO SSD
Hard Drive
4TB Samsung 850 EVO SSD
Optical Drive
LG 12X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA Internal Blu-ray Drive CH12LS28
Power Supply
Corsair HX750W
Cooling
COOLER MASTER GeminII S524 120mm Long Life Sleeve CPU Cooler
Case
Antec Two Hundred v2
Operating System
Windows 7 Ultimate
Monitor
3 x Asus VG248QE
Monitor
Vizio VO320E 32" TV
Keyboard
Logitech G510s
Mouse
Logitech M525 with Unifying Receiving
Audio
Corsair SP2500 2.1 Speakers
Audio
ASUS Xonar Essence STX Virtual 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI Express x1 Interface 124 dB SNR / Headphone AMP Card
Other
LSI 9211-8i HBA card
Other
HooToo® HT-CR001 3.5" PCI-E to USB 3.0 Multi-in-One Front Panel Internal Card Reader (6 Memory Slots, Genesys GL3220 Chipset) & SuperSpeed USB 3.0 3-Port Hub (VIA VL800 Chipset), can read & write: M2/MS Micro, High-Speed CF(UDMA), UHS-I, SD, SDHC,...
Other
StarTech HSB220SAT25B 2 Drive 2.5in Trayless Hot Swap SATA Mobile Rack Backplane
CPU
i7-5930K Haswell-e
Motherboard
Asus X99-E WS/USB 3.1
GPU
Visiontek Radeon 7870 2GB with 6 miniDisplayports
RAM
G-Skill Ripjaws 64GB (8x8GB) DDR4 2133
Hard Drive
Samsung 850 EVO 4TB SSDs
Hard Drive
Samsung 950 Pro 512GB m.2 SSD boot drive
Power Supply
Corsair AX760
Cooling
Noctua NH-D15S Cpu cooler
Case
Scratch built. Currently under construction at https://www.overclock.net/t/1602023/preparing-for-a-scratch-built-case
Operating System
Win 7 Ultimate
Mouse
Logitech M525
Mouse
El Cheapo Allsop hard plastic
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Lady Fitzgerald is offline  
post #7 of 280 (permalink) Old 06-03-2016, 08:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Internal Card Reader I prefer internal card readers to card reader adapters since keeping up with adapters is a pain in the...ah...neck. The only two kind of memory cards I'm likely to ever need are SD and microSD yet all internal card readers have umpteen different slots, each one hogging a drive letter, that I will never use, and some don't even having a microSD slot. My present card reader uses a PCI-e x1 slot (actually, it's in an x8 slot but uses only one lane) to feed five slots and three USB 3.0 ports. Even the ones that work off a USB 3.0 header will use one USB 3.0 for umpteen slots and the other one for a USB 3.0 port (which I don't need).

I finally decided to make my own internal card reader from two USB 3.0 card readers since that would give me up to two slots that would run at full USB 3.0 speeds. My first attempt was using two TOPRAM portable readers that each had a single SD and a single microSD slot. I glued the two together and wrapped them with pieces of plastic, used filler to make the two into a single block that could be screwed into a modified Lian Li Bay cover and door assembly like the one in the previous post, then painted them. After finishing, one of the SD ports wasn't working (mutter, mutter, mumble, mumble) even though I had tested them first to make sure they were working. It went into the trash. I tried again with two more. The same thing happened again (AUGH!). Trash time again.

I then tried the ones shown below. Each one is sold as a set that consists of a four port USB 3.0 hub, a short extension cable, and a card reader with the desired SD and microSD slots. The only downside to these is you have to literally bury a microSD card into its slot to get it to engage. Still, it beats nothing and I don't use microSD cards right now (I had to buy one for testing).
Photo (Click to show)



Since they were square shaped already, all I had to do was glue them together side by side, glue on a couple of plastic "wings" for machine screws, fill the cracks, and paint them. While waiting for the paint to dry, I cannibalized the front panel and door from a 5.25" Lian Li front I/O panel and cut out the center inside panel so there was one large rectangular hole instead of several smaller ones.

Once the paint was dry (and all four slots passed testing—happy dance!), I drilled and tapped a hole in each "wing" for 4-40 flathead machine screws, then screwed everything together.
Photo (Click to show)



All I need to do to connect it to the MOBO is to get a USB 3.0 header extension cable that has two cables coming off the header connector and terminates in female USB 3.0 connectors that will plug into the back of the card reader.
Photo (Click to show)

With this set up, I can have up to two SD cards, two micro SD cards, or one SD and microSD cards running at up to full USB 3.0 speeds at the same time and the four slots will use only four drive letters. When not in use, the door keeps them out of sight and dust free.

Jeannie
CPU
i7-3930k
Motherboard
ASUS P9X79 WS
GPU
MSI R7850 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC Radeon HD 7850 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
GPU
Monoprice 1x2 powered HDMI Splitter
RAM
Kingston HyperX 32GB (8 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model KHX1600C9D3K8/32GX
Hard Drive
128GB Samsung 840 Pro SSD
Hard Drive
4TB Samsung 850 EVO SSD
Hard Drive
4TB Samsung 850 EVO SSD
Hard Drive
4TB Samsung 850 EVO SSD
Hard Drive
4TB Samsung 850 EVO SSD
Optical Drive
LG 12X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA Internal Blu-ray Drive CH12LS28
Power Supply
Corsair HX750W
Cooling
COOLER MASTER GeminII S524 120mm Long Life Sleeve CPU Cooler
Case
Antec Two Hundred v2
Operating System
Windows 7 Ultimate
Monitor
3 x Asus VG248QE
Monitor
Vizio VO320E 32" TV
Keyboard
Logitech G510s
Mouse
Logitech M525 with Unifying Receiving
Audio
Corsair SP2500 2.1 Speakers
Audio
ASUS Xonar Essence STX Virtual 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI Express x1 Interface 124 dB SNR / Headphone AMP Card
Other
LSI 9211-8i HBA card
Other
HooToo® HT-CR001 3.5" PCI-E to USB 3.0 Multi-in-One Front Panel Internal Card Reader (6 Memory Slots, Genesys GL3220 Chipset) & SuperSpeed USB 3.0 3-Port Hub (VIA VL800 Chipset), can read & write: M2/MS Micro, High-Speed CF(UDMA), UHS-I, SD, SDHC,...
Other
StarTech HSB220SAT25B 2 Drive 2.5in Trayless Hot Swap SATA Mobile Rack Backplane
CPU
i7-5930K Haswell-e
Motherboard
Asus X99-E WS/USB 3.1
GPU
Visiontek Radeon 7870 2GB with 6 miniDisplayports
RAM
G-Skill Ripjaws 64GB (8x8GB) DDR4 2133
Hard Drive
Samsung 850 EVO 4TB SSDs
Hard Drive
Samsung 950 Pro 512GB m.2 SSD boot drive
Power Supply
Corsair AX760
Cooling
Noctua NH-D15S Cpu cooler
Case
Scratch built. Currently under construction at https://www.overclock.net/t/1602023/preparing-for-a-scratch-built-case
Operating System
Win 7 Ultimate
Mouse
Logitech M525
Mouse
El Cheapo Allsop hard plastic
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post #8 of 280 (permalink) Old 06-03-2016, 08:00 PM - Thread Starter
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3.5" Hot Swap Bay I mentioned earlier that the 3.5" hot swap bay was going to be temporary until I can convert all my drives to SSDs. However, although I currently have only three HDDs (and I need to get another drive, preferably an SSD, later sometime this year), I have currently have 12 backup HDDs and it's going to be a long time before I will be able to afford to replace them with SSDs. I use the 3.5" hot swap bay I have in my present computer for updating those backup drives. While, technically, the 3.5" hot swap bay going into the new case will be temporary, since it will be quite a while before I retire those backup HDDs, even after the onboard HDDs have been replace with SSDs, I decided to cover the stock faceplate on the Antec EasySATA hot swap bay with a modified blank Lian Li 5.25" bay cover.

This the Antec EasySATA.
Photo (Click to show)



What I like about this hot swap bay is it has no moving parts to break other than the latch mechanism and that should last a long time as long as I push the latch button in when inserting an HDD. Even if the latch breaks, an HDD isn't going anywhere as long as I don't leave it in there for days on end. Antec discontinued these several years ago but I managed to glom onto about a half dozen for spares before they disappeared completely. The first thing that needed doing was to take the one I'm going to use in the new case apart so I could get rid of the unnecessary eSATA cable and port (I already have an eSATA port in the I/O panel). While it's apart, I also painted the gray metal chassis that would have otherwise stuck out like a sore thumb. The stock face plate also needs to be trimmed down a bit so a modified Lian Li bay cover will fit on it. I just sanded the ends of the Antec face plate since they were almost the correct size anyway but I will have to cut down the top and bottom edges of the faceplate with my little bandsaw, which I can't do right now because it's in the same room that the painted chassis is drying in (I had to paint inside because it's too dang hot—114° today—to paint outside); I'll get to it tonight or tomorrow.

In the meantime, I started working on the bay cover. I paid Performance PCs to do a Stealth cover mod on a few blank bay covers but have since realized I can easily do it myself on my little bandsaw (and do a better job). I spent quite a while laying out the cutting lines on the tape I put over the cover to protect it from scratching, then when I started cutting out the big hole with a cutoff wheel in my Dremel, I had another oopsie and ruined the piece (followed by loud screaming). After laying out a second one, I taped a small wood block at the ends of each cut so, if the wheel should slip again, the wood would slow down the wheel enough to give me a chance to catch it.

This is what it looks like so far. You can see what a coward I am with a Dremel anymore (old age and arthritis is for the birds) but better safe than sorry. I've already rough filed the bottom and right end of the big hole and I'm giving my hands a break before starting the rest of the rough filing. The holes I laid out are a wee bit undersized. I'll sneak up on the final dimensions once I have the Antec faceplate trimmed down and can slip it into the cover to check the fit. I also used my Dremel to drill a couple of holes in the small rectangular hole for the latch button so I can get in there with files.
Photo (Click to show)

Below are my weapons of choice for working on this subproject:
Photo (Click to show)

The file on the right (for some weird reason, this site insists on rotating the picture) is an odd duck. It only has teeth on the edges; the faces are smooth. It's intended for filing inside slots and cutting new slots. My Daddy, at some point, needed a narrower one for a job he was working on (he was a tool and die maker and, later on, a model maker; both are types of machinists), so he precision ground down one face to make it thinner. He gave it to me with a set of needle files around thirty or forty years ago. That file has been the handiest little thing. I use it to make precise cuts in sheet metal too thin for most saw blades. I used it here to extend the cuts made by cutoff wheel so the waste in the center of the big hole could be removed.

The second one from the right is called a vixen file. Vixen files are popular for working lead body solder and quickly hogging out other soft metals, such as aluminum, without clogging. Normally, the teeth are far too coarse for use on the thin aluminum but, by angling the file and sliding the file along the length of the cut, much like draw filing only I was also pushing the file in at the same time, I was able fairly quickly hog out the aluminum down to close to the layout line without any chattering before switching to a finer file.

The third file from the right is a coarse file for quickly removing material. It doesn't cut as fast as the vixen file but I couldn't use the vixen file on the ends of the big hole so I had to use this one.

The fourth file from the right is a finer file I used for finish filing. I can get a pretty smooth cut with the previous file but this one cuts slower and I can be more precise with it.

The next file over is a square needle file I will use to open up the two small holes I drilled so I could rough file out the holes for the latch release button. The next three are flat, round, and half round needle files I will use to finish the hole for the latch release button.

I will update this post as work progresses.


Update (06/06/2016) I finished the modified bay cover for the hot swap bay.
Photo (Click to show)

I also trimmed the Antec face plate using my band saw.
Photo (Click to show)

And here they are put together.
Photo (Click to show)

I'm going to glue the cover to the faceplate but I'm waiting to do that until after I have reassembled the hot swap bay; that will have to wait for a day or few until the paint on the chassis has dried harder.

Update (06/06/2016) I put the hot swap bay back together this evening. It's a good thing I decided to wait to glue the modified bay cover on because, although the alignment was good, I couldn't get a HDD to go in; I needed to do a bit more filing on the ends of the large hole. That's done now. I inserted a HDD into the swap bay and the latch released button worked fine, despite the added face thickness from the modified bay cover.
Photo (Click to show)



Jeannie
CPU
i7-3930k
Motherboard
ASUS P9X79 WS
GPU
MSI R7850 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC Radeon HD 7850 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
GPU
Monoprice 1x2 powered HDMI Splitter
RAM
Kingston HyperX 32GB (8 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model KHX1600C9D3K8/32GX
Hard Drive
128GB Samsung 840 Pro SSD
Hard Drive
4TB Samsung 850 EVO SSD
Hard Drive
4TB Samsung 850 EVO SSD
Hard Drive
4TB Samsung 850 EVO SSD
Hard Drive
4TB Samsung 850 EVO SSD
Optical Drive
LG 12X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA Internal Blu-ray Drive CH12LS28
Power Supply
Corsair HX750W
Cooling
COOLER MASTER GeminII S524 120mm Long Life Sleeve CPU Cooler
Case
Antec Two Hundred v2
Operating System
Windows 7 Ultimate
Monitor
3 x Asus VG248QE
Monitor
Vizio VO320E 32" TV
Keyboard
Logitech G510s
Mouse
Logitech M525 with Unifying Receiving
Audio
Corsair SP2500 2.1 Speakers
Audio
ASUS Xonar Essence STX Virtual 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI Express x1 Interface 124 dB SNR / Headphone AMP Card
Other
LSI 9211-8i HBA card
Other
HooToo® HT-CR001 3.5" PCI-E to USB 3.0 Multi-in-One Front Panel Internal Card Reader (6 Memory Slots, Genesys GL3220 Chipset) & SuperSpeed USB 3.0 3-Port Hub (VIA VL800 Chipset), can read & write: M2/MS Micro, High-Speed CF(UDMA), UHS-I, SD, SDHC,...
Other
StarTech HSB220SAT25B 2 Drive 2.5in Trayless Hot Swap SATA Mobile Rack Backplane
CPU
i7-5930K Haswell-e
Motherboard
Asus X99-E WS/USB 3.1
GPU
Visiontek Radeon 7870 2GB with 6 miniDisplayports
RAM
G-Skill Ripjaws 64GB (8x8GB) DDR4 2133
Hard Drive
Samsung 850 EVO 4TB SSDs
Hard Drive
Samsung 950 Pro 512GB m.2 SSD boot drive
Power Supply
Corsair AX760
Cooling
Noctua NH-D15S Cpu cooler
Case
Scratch built. Currently under construction at https://www.overclock.net/t/1602023/preparing-for-a-scratch-built-case
Operating System
Win 7 Ultimate
Mouse
Logitech M525
Mouse
El Cheapo Allsop hard plastic
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post #9 of 280 (permalink) Old 06-03-2016, 08:00 PM - Thread Starter
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ODD Stealth Mod I want the face of the ODD to match the 5.25" bay devices that use some variation of the Lian Li covers. I don't need to be able to open and close the ODD tray from the ODD itself since I have a little program that allows me to do so by either clicking on an icon in the system tray or by using a keyboard command so a thin, single piece stealth cover attached to the ODD tray will be the easiest way to hide the ODD. Performance PCs will make what they call a stealth cover modification (for a price) when you order the Lian Li 5.25" bay covers from them. They cut the "wings" off the cover and put a strip of 3M VHB tape inside to hold the stealth cover to the front of the ODD tray. The first time I ordered some, they did a nice job on them. The second batch I got were a hack job; they literally looked like the wings were hacked off with a hacksaw and they left a bit more of the wings still sticking out. Also, the tape strip was a bit too low inside the cover and you can't remove and reapply the stuff.
Photo (Click to show)


Besides not being happy with the way the stealth covers were modified (I can still use them after cleaning them up but I've found I can easily do a better job myself with my little band saw), the modified cover was a bit too thick to easily use tape to secure the cover to the OOD tray front so I fed it through my bandsaw to trim some of the thickness off.
Photo (Click to show)


I was pleasantly surprised how well my little Ryobi (aka, El Cheapo) band saw was able to trim the cover. I measured the thickness with my digital caliper (much easier to read than a vernier caliper or a micrometer at my age) and the variation was no more than .020", which is pretty darned impressive for that little bandsaw. Since I needed to file the cuts smooth anyway (not to mention I'm anal), I went to the trouble to get the variation in thickness down to within .002" while filing the edges smooth.

Here is the final result after I blackened the bare edges with a black Sharpie felt pen.
Photo (Click to show)


Although the cover is a wee bit flexible, it will be plenty rigid once it has been taped to the front of the ODD tray. However, I'm not going to install it on the ODD until the case is built and the ODD is being installed to make sure the alignment is correct.

Update (06/16/2016) I had trouble sleeping again last night (I can sleep like a baby during the day) and I've been a bit antsy waiting on parts coming over from China on a leaky rowboat. I had been planning on using thick 3M VHB tape to mount the cover to the ODD tray face to compensate for the recess in the stealth cover but the thicker tapes use a foam carrier to achieve the thickness and that would have allowed some flex on the cover once installed. I had bought some .006" thick VHB to use instead and had planned on waiting to make a shim to go between the inside of the recess and the face of the ODD tray face plate until I installed the ODD in the future case. Instead, I dug the stealth cover out and made a shim for it from a scrap of 1/16" aluminum sheet I had knocking about. I want the shim to be slightly proud of the sides of the recess in the stealth cover so I filed roughly .010" off the sides, eyeballing the actual amount using the shim.

I fastened the shim inside the cover using the .006" VHB tape. That is the most miserable stuff I've ever worked with. The tape itself sticks like nobody's business but it separates too easily from the backer strip. The tape itself is pure adhesive and will stick to itself, wrinkle up, and just generally get messed up once separated from the backer. It would stick to scissors when cutting it, fingers when handling it, etc. and pull right off the backer. I first used it to hold the magnetic tape and the steel piece on the stealth covers for the SSD Bays and wasted more than I used trying to put the stuff inside the cover. It went much easier this time (relatively speaking!) since I could cut the tape longer than the shim so the parts where the adhesive had pulled away from the backer and got messed up would overhang the end of the shim. Once the tape was stuck down to the shim, I could trim the ends and one side off using a pair of scissors, then remove that miserable, misbegotten backer and stick the shim down inside the stealth cover. Now, when I eventually install the cover to the ODD tray faceplate, I can apply the tape directly to the faceplate, trim it, remove the backer, and stick the stealth cover to it, using the case itself and the bay devices above and below the ODD to align the stealth cover
Photo (Click to show)

Jeannie
CPU
i7-3930k
Motherboard
ASUS P9X79 WS
GPU
MSI R7850 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC Radeon HD 7850 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
GPU
Monoprice 1x2 powered HDMI Splitter
RAM
Kingston HyperX 32GB (8 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model KHX1600C9D3K8/32GX
Hard Drive
128GB Samsung 840 Pro SSD
Hard Drive
4TB Samsung 850 EVO SSD
Hard Drive
4TB Samsung 850 EVO SSD
Hard Drive
4TB Samsung 850 EVO SSD
Hard Drive
4TB Samsung 850 EVO SSD
Optical Drive
LG 12X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA Internal Blu-ray Drive CH12LS28
Power Supply
Corsair HX750W
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COOLER MASTER GeminII S524 120mm Long Life Sleeve CPU Cooler
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Antec Two Hundred v2
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Windows 7 Ultimate
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3 x Asus VG248QE
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Vizio VO320E 32" TV
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Logitech G510s
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Logitech M525 with Unifying Receiving
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ASUS Xonar Essence STX Virtual 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI Express x1 Interface 124 dB SNR / Headphone AMP Card
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StarTech HSB220SAT25B 2 Drive 2.5in Trayless Hot Swap SATA Mobile Rack Backplane
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i7-5930K Haswell-e
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Asus X99-E WS/USB 3.1
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Visiontek Radeon 7870 2GB with 6 miniDisplayports
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G-Skill Ripjaws 64GB (8x8GB) DDR4 2133
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Samsung 850 EVO 4TB SSDs
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Samsung 950 Pro 512GB m.2 SSD boot drive
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Corsair AX760
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Noctua NH-D15S Cpu cooler
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Scratch built. Currently under construction at https://www.overclock.net/t/1602023/preparing-for-a-scratch-built-case
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Lady Fitzgerald is offline  
post #10 of 280 (permalink) Old 06-03-2016, 08:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: AZ, SSA (Squabbling States of America)
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2.5" Drive Cage Mods I finally decided to "stealth" the two 4-bay 2.5" hot swap cages (once I had figured out how to do it).

This is what the front of a 2.5" drive cage looks like (I'll be using two).
Photo (Click to show)

These photos show one of the drive trays being removed. I normally do not like trays and doors that function as eject levers but this cage and its trays are built like a tank. The doors are made of steel instead of the usual plastic and the cage itself is thick, extruded aluminum. Even though these are hot swap bays, SSDs I put in there will pretty much be in there permanently (unless one dies or needs upgrading) so dealing with installing SSDs in trays will not be a issue. The trays can accommodate drives up to 15mm thick.
Photo (Click to show)


Here the stealth cover has been installed. I'm not worried about blocking the vents on the front since I will only be running SSDs in there. If heat should prove to be a problem I have a Plan B in place to get some air to circulate in and out of the cage but I'll cross that bridge when I get there, if I get there.
Photo (Click to show)

That white gizmo stuck to the front of the stealth cover is a magnetic key used for opening childproof cabinet and drawer locks. It's what I'll use to remove the stealth cover.
Photo (Click to show)


This is the backside of the stealth cover. I had bought some 1/16" thick magnetic tape to secure the cover to the front of the drive cage but it was too wimpy to do the job. I had some much stronger 1/8" thick magnetic tape left over from another project so I cut two blank covers down a little thicker than I had been using so I could use the thicker magnetic tape. Even the better tape still wasn't as strong as I would have liked if I only used two pieces per cover so I filled up the back of the cover as much as I could and still have room for the piece of steel I put in there to give something for the magnet in the "key" to grab onto for removing the cover.
Photo (Click to show)

Once the cages get installed in the case and the stealth covers installed, they will look like any other blank cover over an empty bay.


Update (06/25/2016) I decided to go ahead and get the aforementioned Plan B implemented so, if it turns out I need cooling air circulating in there later, I won't have to horse with tearing things down to do it then. I initially thought to use the right angle attachment on my Dremel tool to drill a series of 1/8" holes in the divider between the two columns of drive trays in each bay, then reverse one of the fans in the rear so air will be drawn in by one, go through the holes in the divider and back out the rear through the other fan (assuming I will even need the fans; each bay has a switch to turn the fans on and off). Because the space inside is so tight, I had to order a 2" double ended drill bit and cut it in half. I first set up my Dremel in my little Mickey Mouse Dremel drill press stand. The head on the one from Dremel was a piece of crap but the column and base were good. The column and base on the other one (I forget the brand, now) were crap but, with some tweaking, I was able to get the head working alright. So, I combined the good parts of the two to get one halfway decent one. Here, I have the head rotated 90° and the Dremel is set up with a cutoff wheel in it.
Photo (Click to show)

I work on top of my washing machine because its height is easier on my back.

To hold the bit for cutting without burning or cutting my fingers, I clamped each end of the bit a couple of cute little 4" vise grips I found in a little general store up in Crown King, AZ when a friend and I went up there a couple of years ago on a day trip. Those have been the handiest little things!
Photo (Click to show)

And here is the bit after cutting it in half.
Photo (Click to show)

I chucked one end into the right angle adapter on my Dremel tool.
Photo (Click to show)

I used double stick tape to tape a couple of drilling guides made from card stock.
Photo (Click to show)

I also stuffed the back with toilet tissue to keep drilling chips out of the electronics.
Photo (Click to show)

Once I started drilling, however, things went south, pear shaped, wonky, and a few others words my Mama told me not to use. It was difficult maneuvering the tool and bit inside the bay and I had the darnedest time seeing what I was doing, even when wearing a magnifier and had a flashlight stuffed in my mouth to shed a little light on the subject. The results are less than stellar (to put it mildly).
Photo (Click to show)


Besides the holes looking like they had been drilled by a drunk on a bad bender, I had the Divil's own time getting the drilling guides out. The card stock came out easily enough but the miserable, misbegotten tape stayed put. I had to reach inside with the end of a flat needle file to scrape that "stuff" off. I was not happy. Adding insult to injury, it doesn't look like much air will be able to move through those holes.

When I bought these bays, I bought an extra one for spare parts in case, sometime down the road, something broke or died and the bays had been discontinued so I decided this botched attempt will be the designated spare parts bay (much like a parts car). That center divider is held into the main case extrusion by a couple of tabs on each side. All I needed to do was spread out the top and bottom of the extrusion so the divider will fall out, then I could drill some proper holes in them. Easier said than done. It took some creative prying with a screw driver and some little blocks of wood (not to mention some colorful language) to get the little stinkers out.

Before prying out the dividers, however, I had to remove the back panel that had the fans, drive sockets, etc. mounted on them. The first one came apart easily enough.
Photo (Click to show)

The second one wasn't so easy. One stupid little screw had been installed by King Kong's big brother—the one on steroids—and I stripped out the head trying to get the stupid little thing out of there. I had to resort to my Grabits. Grabits is brand of easy outs that has a reverse drill bit on one end for cutting a cone shaped hole in the face of the screw head and the other end has grooves designed to grip inside the cone shaped hole and back out the screw. I got them several years ago but this was the first time I ever used them (there are three sizes). I got lucky. The drill bit end is supposed to be used with the drill in reverse. Before I finished drilling out the head, the cutting lips on the drill managed to grip the head well enough to backout the screw head. Fortunately, I have a spare parts bay to steal a screw from to replace the boogered one.

Once I had the bay backs removed, I reversed one of the fans on each one.
Photo (Click to show)



With that out of the way, I pried out the dividers...
Photo (Click to show)

... then laid out and center punched the hole centers. I decided 3/8" holes on 1/2" centers would be large enough to allow plenty of air movement and not be large enough to significantly weaken the dividers.
Photo (Click to show)

For this job, I decided to break out my drill press (almost breaking my back in the process) and set it up on my washing machine. To keep chips out of the washing machine, I put down some tape to cover up the crack around the door on top. Here is a shot of the drill press after I had finished drilling but hadn't put it away and cleaned up the mess.
Photo (Click to show)

I also had done some mods on the drill press shortly after I got it. The base had no easy way to put rubber feet on the bottom of the base to protect the surface it would set on so I cut an oak board to go under it, put the rubber feet on the board, then bolted the drill press onto the board. Works like a charm. I also got a 120v LED add-on sewing machine light for the drill press. The base of the light has a magnet to hold it on and a switch built into the base. To make sure it stayed put, I found a nice flat surface on the drill press casting to mount it, sanded and degreased the surface, put E6000 adhesive on the face of the magnet, then stuck it on; it isn't going anywhere. I didn't want to horse around with two power cords, so I opened up the switch housing on the Drill press, routed the cord into the housing and soldered the leads to the incoming power leads. My old eyes love that little light!

Back to the ranch, here are the dividers after I finished drilling them and deburred the edges with a countersink. The top one hasn't had a black felt pen taken to it yet to cover up the raw edges and layout marks.
Photo (Click to show)

And here is one installed back in the case and the rear cover replaced.
Photo (Click to show)

Not only does it look one "heckuvalot" better, the larger holes should allow plenty of air to flow through the divider should the SSDs need some cooling.

The drive trays went back in smoothly. Now that I have everything put away and the magnificent mess cleaned up, I'm ready to put my ample asset in bed. My back and hands are not happy with me and I'm going to be sore in the morning but it feels so good to have that sub-project done and done correctly.

Jeannie
CPU
i7-3930k
Motherboard
ASUS P9X79 WS
GPU
MSI R7850 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC Radeon HD 7850 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
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Monoprice 1x2 powered HDMI Splitter
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Kingston HyperX 32GB (8 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model KHX1600C9D3K8/32GX
Hard Drive
128GB Samsung 840 Pro SSD
Hard Drive
4TB Samsung 850 EVO SSD
Hard Drive
4TB Samsung 850 EVO SSD
Hard Drive
4TB Samsung 850 EVO SSD
Hard Drive
4TB Samsung 850 EVO SSD
Optical Drive
LG 12X BD-ROM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM SATA Internal Blu-ray Drive CH12LS28
Power Supply
Corsair HX750W
Cooling
COOLER MASTER GeminII S524 120mm Long Life Sleeve CPU Cooler
Case
Antec Two Hundred v2
Operating System
Windows 7 Ultimate
Monitor
3 x Asus VG248QE
Monitor
Vizio VO320E 32" TV
Keyboard
Logitech G510s
Mouse
Logitech M525 with Unifying Receiving
Audio
Corsair SP2500 2.1 Speakers
Audio
ASUS Xonar Essence STX Virtual 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI Express x1 Interface 124 dB SNR / Headphone AMP Card
Other
LSI 9211-8i HBA card
Other
HooToo® HT-CR001 3.5" PCI-E to USB 3.0 Multi-in-One Front Panel Internal Card Reader (6 Memory Slots, Genesys GL3220 Chipset) & SuperSpeed USB 3.0 3-Port Hub (VIA VL800 Chipset), can read & write: M2/MS Micro, High-Speed CF(UDMA), UHS-I, SD, SDHC,...
Other
StarTech HSB220SAT25B 2 Drive 2.5in Trayless Hot Swap SATA Mobile Rack Backplane
CPU
i7-5930K Haswell-e
Motherboard
Asus X99-E WS/USB 3.1
GPU
Visiontek Radeon 7870 2GB with 6 miniDisplayports
RAM
G-Skill Ripjaws 64GB (8x8GB) DDR4 2133
Hard Drive
Samsung 850 EVO 4TB SSDs
Hard Drive
Samsung 950 Pro 512GB m.2 SSD boot drive
Power Supply
Corsair AX760
Cooling
Noctua NH-D15S Cpu cooler
Case
Scratch built. Currently under construction at https://www.overclock.net/t/1602023/preparing-for-a-scratch-built-case
Operating System
Win 7 Ultimate
Mouse
Logitech M525
Mouse
El Cheapo Allsop hard plastic
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