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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-30-2020, 11:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Spirit of Motion - Scratchbuild Log

I'm new to modding forums and new to scratch building so hello fellow enthusiasts! Please offer any advice or ideas as I love new perspectives and insight.

This build is for my father. He loves early automotive design and I was inspired when I saw a 1938 Spirit of Motion made by the late Graham-Paige company. The design and shape of this build is heavily inspired by the "sharknose" grill the Spirit of Motion has.

Because of complexity and the number of parts I wanted to model the case first. Modeling also is helping me keep sense of the scale. I want this to be as small as possible as it will probably be displayed on a desk top and we all like space! I will also need the drawings/schematics for cutting metal parts out.



I wanted it leaning forward but unlike the original car I also wanted it widening as it goes up in height to give the sense of moving onward and upward! Very "Spirit of Motion" of me I know.



Next was the grill design itself and the "panels" (do i still call them panels?!). I chose a color scheme at this point with: candy apple (red), silver, and black.



Started stuffing generic standard size components in and creating the needed mounts and fixtures for parts. Because this is a car grill it only seemed natural to put a 280mm radiator right in front where it belongs.

The big kicker for this case will be how you access your components. This choice is also why the motherboard is inverted and mirrored and the GPU will be vertical mount. To keep the I/O below the hinge point.



Next up is creating the 2D drawing files for waterjet cutting the raw aluminum grill pieces, lasercutting and bending of the sheetmetal for the rear I/O, aluminum frame, rad mounts, mobo mount, ect ect. Update coming real soon!

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-31-2020, 02:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Feel free to comment on ideas or thoughts on the build!

The 3D and 2D models of the one sheetmetal piece I am having made are sent and the part is in the que. The twenty three unique files for the grill pieces are being cut via waterjet and I'll have those soon.

I traded some work for time in a machine shop so this update is covering a couple days I was able to spend working on the first aluminum parts.



The first day was focused on making the large side panels from 12 x 12 x 1/2 inch 6061 aluminum I got off ebay. Because each panel has many threaded holes in different locations on the inside, I started by drilling and tapping all those. I then flip the side panels over and use those threaded holes as my alignment and way of mounting the side panels to a fixture plate so I could cut the final outside shape and the roundover. So below you can see my finished right side panel being held down by the threaded holes that will eventually be where my motherboard is mounted!



Day two I needed to machine the two 1 x 1/2" bars that connect the two plates together. Because the case widens as it goes up the ends were cut at a 92 degree angle on each end. Once made the main body could be welded. I made it beefy and welded this main body because the entire grill (hood?) will hinge off the rear of this. It needs to be a little heavy and to be stiff.



Last thing I did was to machine a few more pieces that will be needed. I cut the profiles of these all with the CNC and then using a manual mill I drilled and threaded the holes on the perpendicular plane. These pieces are two lower radiator mounts, the air spring mount, and the grill backplate.



I don't know how much detail (photos) you want with the machining so let me know if you would like to see more or less detail in future posts as there will be more still to do!

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 05-31-2020, 03:02 PM
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I have zero suggestions but I’m just excited to see how this turns out. Wow is all i can say! Looks friggin awesome!

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-03-2020, 09:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you man!

With frame welded up I started filing the welds that needed to be flush because it is either going to show or there would be sheet metal mating against it. Some that will show I went ahead and used a round file to create a nice radius between the pieces instead of my less than perfect TIG weld


I followed up with some rough sanding. This gets my shape right and now I will just leave it raw aluminum for a while so I don't have to worry about scratching paint or anything while assembling/ mocking-up stuff etc.



I then 3D printed the motherboard mounting bracket I designed. It would have been easiest to simply mount the motherboard to the aluminum side panel with threaded holes and standoffs but this bracket holds the motherboard further away and adapts the angled side panel so the motherboard will be truly vertical like the other components. I used 3mm black oxide screws and 1/4" standoffs.



I currently have a mATX board that is going in this build but it would be super simple to 3D print a different bracket for any other size board. The board is a msi B450M Pro-M2 MAX (really rolls off the tongue)





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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-03-2020, 09:44 PM
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I'm so jealous! I have some moldy machine shop and welding experience (like 50 years ago) but don't have access to anything like that anymore. You won't hurt my feelings if you go into a lot of detail!

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-03-2020, 11:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Noted! I'll try my best to get all the detail I can muster

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-10-2020, 07:40 AM
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yes, love the details! please!! this is so awesome it reminds me of a project i modeled way back but never got to see come to fruition.... now i can live vicariously through you!

also so awesome that this is for your dad!

///M
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-13-2020, 12:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote: Originally Posted by dirty elf View Post
yes, love the details! please!! this is so awesome it reminds me of a project i modeled way back but never got to see come to fruition.... now i can live vicariously through you!

also so awesome that this is for your dad!
Thanks so much for the support man! Glad you're enjoying the build

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-13-2020, 12:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Water jet cut grill pieces arrived! There are 25 pieces that make up the grill and each one is unique from the rest. These are all 6061 aluminum with the majority of them being 1/4" thick. Three of the grills are 1/2" thick and the spine is 3/8" thick. This is going to be the most labor intensive part of the build (and probably least fun haha).


I started by using a big square and laying out a little template on my work table with a sharpie. The grills get longer and wider as you work your way up the computer (until the very top) so I made a little grid that I could quickly lay any pieces on and find center.



From here forward, and ESPECIALLY with this very first process of filing the fitment, I have to be so careful not to cut too much or slip. Since each piece is unique and these will be raw polished aluminum, there isn't the opportunity to hide mistakes with a filler or paint. Water jet cut aluminum has a slightly rough surface so I started by cleaning up the spine notch faces so the pieces could slide in more easily.



With the spine cleaned up I grabbed the bottom grill piece and took it to the band saw. The angle of the front of these grill pieces changes as you move along the spine so the angle was free handed iniitally. very gently I ran the piece back and forth along the blade, then I test fit to see how the angle was. If it was close I would hand file the face to a tight fit and if it was still a little off I would head back over to the band saw and get myself a bit closer.


The next two pictures show a rough cut fitment and then after filing to a final fit.



The rest of the curve really does not need to be so perfect as it is out in free space and not mating against another piece of metal. The rest will simply need to be very smooth shaping so the polish doesn't look super wavy and distorted. This took me a few hours to shape them all.



I then squeezed all the pieces in the spine so I could check it out for the first time and it definitely got me excited to keep up the pace!



So this was the first step in a lot of work on these. Next steps:
  1. Polish the top, bottom, and back side of all of these pieces.
  2. Fit the pieces back in the spine and weld them all on the inside of the spine.
  3. Fit the back mount and side bar that will hold all the loose ends together.
  4. Weld those to the grill on the inside.
  5. Using files and sanding, shape the front contour.
  6. Polish the outside of the grill.
  7. Celebrate.

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-16-2020, 08:24 PM - Thread Starter
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So I spent a couple hours working on the platform that supports and/or mounts the SSD, optic drive, and GPU. I decided to include a track along the side of the platform where I can run my cables for the optic and solid state drive in a cleaner configuration.

The optic drive cables will sweep back 180 degrees into the track and the SSD's cables will do a smooth 90 degree bend into the track. I didn't want to make the channel large enough to fit the connectors through so I made a slit along it's length. It is just wide enough to press each cable into the channel and the channel just large enough to fit all the cables (theoretically haha).


Now at the back of the case, the sata connectors will run behind the motherboard mount, come out at the motherboard's edge where the connectors are, and plug in there. Nice and clean. The power cables will stay low and run along the side and to the front of the power supply.

I like this a lot more as there will not be any of these cables now crossing in open space through the case.

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