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  Topic Review (Newest First)
04-19-2019 03:21 AM
rathborne The necromancer returns to revive a long dead thread from its eternal slumber!

In short: this project is now done (started 2016-21-11, finished 2019-04-19). I've gone through all the photos in my phone to find relevant images but there are some steps in the project I forgot to capture.

I opted to go for the first option in the early concept images where the side panel and front door windows were solid cut-outs with the designs taped back on. While looking at how I was going to cut the reaper out of the metal neatly I realised there was no way I was going to be able to accomplish it with the tools or skills available so I looked at other options which I think came out better in the end.

Click to view full size!

As I planned to for this route I bought a tub of plaster and created the mold for the door.

Click to view full size!

I was able to find a small piece of acrylic that would fit neatly in this space with a little trimming and this would serve as the front door window. The hair dryer I borrowed was totally ineffective at melting the 3mm acrylic so I added the Ryobi heat gun to my tool cabinet to get the job done. While melting the perspex the corners kept folding back up so I needed to add some light weight to the ends to discourage this behaviour and after some work I was able to shape the acrylic to mostly match the plaster mold.

The cutting drill bit for the Dremel that I had used previously used to trim the perspex window for Silent Navi was used again the cut the circular hole from the plastic front door now that I had the window shaped and ready to go. Then I could cut the arms centre of the citadel design from the newly detached plastic so that I ensure the pieces would line up properly when I got around to taping everything back up at the end.

Click to view full size!

Once more the araldite was used in large quantities to attach the new 120mm rear fan mount to the case and patch up the holes on the back panel and the side to remove the old 80mm fan mount.

I remove all the rivets from the case but left the front-tray-back together as the rivets were awkward to get to and I didn't think they'd really need to be removed for this project.

After the usual sanding and cleaning I was able to get onto the undercoat. Some self etching primer from Super Cheap Auto got the job done. However I think I either didn't add enough thinner or had the pressure set incorrectly because early on I ended up with a rough orange peel like texture on the panels. The thought to sand it all back and start again had crossed my mind but I decided against it as this powder coat texture could end up working out (I think it did).

Click to view full size!

Click to view full size!

Click to view full size!

I still had a litre or two of a paint that came with my latest car that I would never normally use for anything due to its weird colour-shifting properties and after some consideration realised it fit perfectly for this project as it already has a black/blue/purple appearance and some metallic flakes which was what I was considering from the start.

The paint colour is called Midnight Blue. Yes, the same colour JayzTwoCents mentioned in an old TechTalk with Barnacules and just like Jay said: inside it is a dark blue but when you put the colour under sunlight that s*** turns purple .

Adding a few layers of acrylic clear gloss over the top of the Midnight Blue base coat gave the panels a nice finish. It also added a nice finish to my arm, shirt, jeans and boot on my right side as I spilled a good part of a spray-gun bottle's worth on myself while tilting the gun back to paint the underside of a panel. Remember kids: screw cap lids are a safer choice than pop-on lids .

Click to view full size!

Click to view full size!

As you can see by this stage I'd prepared the side window and experimented with ways to frost the acrylic. In the end I'm pretty sure I sanded the panels with 300, 600 and wet 1200 both sides but that was a while ago and can't recall now.

I salvaged the LED lighting from my earlier Dominator project and tested the frosting and the light placement to see how it would look. I ended up only using one light at the bottom so I could use the second behind the front door.

The case was then reassembled and riveted together. This project while getting close to completion was still far from over as I still needed to finish painting the plastic parts such as the feet and handle, re-tape the windows as my first choice of double-sided tape was underwhelming and put a computer in there. I also discovered that the side door handle was too large and couldn't fit properly since adding the 120mm fan mount so I needed to sand back the inside section of the handle to make it fit. Someone forgot to double check this earlier to see if modifying the case would interfere with the door or not .

Click to view full size!

I opted for a matt black enamel finish as that's all Super Cheap Auto had in stock that day so that's what I was going to use . This part was delayed as I goofed up and realised I didn't have enamel thinners on hand and the acrylic thinners just messes up enamel paints!

Click to view full size!

As I got closer to finishing I knew I couldn't just leave the front switches and LEDs with bare cables so out came the cable sleeving bag with plenty of black paracord to tidy these up. As a bonus I sleeved the fan cables too.

I thought I was ready to finish the project but while fitting the PSU realised I was missing a piece... the mounting plate for the PSU, sort of an important part to this case .

Some quality time with the trusty Dremel was spent fashioning a replacement plate that I could either screw or rivet to the case so that I could actually mount a PSU in the machine. Unfortunately disaster struck at the end of the day. I wasn't paying attention while enlarging a hole on the thin side of the plate and used a woodworking drill bit instead of a general purpose bit... at the high torque setting. In a flash the metal was corkscrewed up the drill bit until it snapped off leaving me with a bent and broken bit of metal. It was time to put the tools down for the evening and consider a solution at another time. I was able to unwind the metal from the drill bit and flatten it all again in a large vice then use a small cut-off of 1mm wire and multiple layers of araldite over the course of a few days to mend the plate together again.

This plate was then given the same primer and matte black enamel treatment I gave the plastic parts as it isn't really noticeable on the back.

Today was spent adding the old pre-Haswell parts (i7-860 and GTX760) that I was using for my daily driver before I built Silent Navi into the finished case. Because I had frosted windows I decided not to be very picky with cable management as I normally am. At the end of the day I needed to get this thing completed .

And now we are done.

Click to view full size!

This is probably the longest running project I've had going but it was on hold for long stretches of time and it just needed to get done . As always I hope someone else can learn from some of my mistakes so when they have a go at a case mod project they'll be able to consider some gotchas ahead of time .

Click to view full size!

Click to view full size!

Click to view full size!

Click to view full size!

Click to view full size!

Click to view full size!

Click to view full size!

Click to view full size!

Click to view full size!

Thanks for watching .
12-11-2016 01:00 AM
rathborne Sorry for the lack of progress on this project to anyone who subscribed (including myself smile.gif ).

I spent a lot of this fine warm day doing the sensible thing by not seeking refuge in air conditioning but instead working away in the shed hunched over the power tools biggrin.gif .

I've now created the back fan mount for the case, the two front fan rails and started cutting out the back panel to make way for airflow.

There's still more cutting to be done on the back and then I need to move my attention to the front panel but that should be rather straight forward and pretty much a repeat of my earlier Antec P180 mod. I've completed all this work using only one fresh cutting disc so compared to the rate I normally go through these things that's pretty good tongue.gif . Overall I'm fairly happy with the bending I did for the rear fan mount.

As for the design I think I'll run with the "Side panel reaper cut-out and front door with emblem cut-out" option:

This makes sense because if I really mess up either the front door or the side panel I can cut out the mistake and go for the windowed option as a fallback smile.gif .

I'll need to order some craft plaster soon to create a negative mould that I can bend the acrylic over to match the contour of the front door.

That's it for now!
11-25-2016 08:10 PM
rathborne I printed off some draft images to physically attach to the case to get an idea of scale.

The next challenge is figuring out how I want to approach the mod using cut-outs or windows with designs attached to the perspex.

Sorry for the terrible image hacking that follows... its been a while since I used Photoshop and currently struggling to use Pixelmator on a 13" MacBook Pro.
Design ideas (Click to show)

Stock photo of Antec Plus 1080AMG

Side panel window with reaper attached and front door window with emblem attached

Side panel reaper cut-out and front door window with emblem attached

Side panel reaper cut-out and front door with emblem cut-out

Side panel window with reaper attached and front door with emblem cut-out

All options together

I think I'll ponder these for a few more days before I make a final decision.
11-21-2016 04:33 AM
rathborne Well I've already given myself a small cut on my hand just from handling it so its definitely a case made in an era when system builder's fingers and hands weren't considered during the construction phase biggrin.gif .
11-21-2016 04:17 AM
Bear304 Sounds interesting, would be nice to see how you would do modding a old case.

Never really attempted to mod any of my old cases, as i just used one for a quick and easy test bed while modding another case, but seeing you progress i might be tempted to try it out myself biggrin.gif
My quick and dirty test bed (Click to show)
11-21-2016 04:11 AM
Originally Posted by Gilles3000 View Post

Subbed! biggrin.gif

Thanks smile.gif .
11-21-2016 04:01 AM
Gilles3000 Subbed! biggrin.gif
11-21-2016 03:48 AM
rathborne Its been a few months since picking up a power tool so its time to dust off the Dremel 4200 again and get to work on the next project smile.gif .

I'm planning to use this as my candidate for a beige mod as its old enough to qualify. The challenge of the beige mod is to take something old and difficult to use by today's case design standards and improve it. The Antec Performance Plus 1080AMG only supports 80mm fans but with a bit of work I'll make it support a few 120mm or 140mm fans.

My theme for this case will be Sovereign from the original Mass Effect game. I'm aiming to cut out a stencil outline of the iconic silhouette into the side panel and using frosted perspex to allow internal lighting to highlight the design but not be able to see into the case because there's only so much that I can do for cable management biggrin.gif .

Here's the concept I put together a while ago (don't worry if you can't read it, very few can biggrin.gif ):

I'm using some of these images as my inspiration:
Images! (Click to show)

Lithograph of Sovereign

Citadel emblem from the game

I'm pretty sure this is not game Canon but I did like the representation of The Citadel in it,

I've put together a very basic version of these designs onto the case to give me an indication of size and scale.

The Reaper outline on the side panel will need to use a stencil that balances complexity with what I can cut out of the material without messing it up. I'll be using Pixelmator or similar to figure out the outline I want to transfer to the case.

I will be patching up the current fan hole on the side panel as it won't be needed.

The front 80mm fan mounts will be cut out and replaced with new mounting bars to accomodate two 120mm fans. I'll try and remember to allow room for a 240mm radiator to be mounted but this will be optional.

The two 80mm fan mounts on the rear I'll replace with a single 120mm fan mount as per my original concept.

I'll add some stand-offs and an easily removed plate to place to the right of the motherboard to help hide some of the cables in a similar way that NZXT do with some of their cases.

So far the trickiest part to implement will be the Citadel design I've planned to use for the front door. Because of the curve on the door I can't really just cut a circular hole out and put a sheet of perspex behind it because the difference of curves would be obvious and might come off looking plain bad unless I find a nice way to surround the cut-out.

The other extreme option would be to make a mould of the current plastic door to make a solid surface that I could lightly melt a sheet of acrylic over to replicate the door's curve then place the individual parts of the emblem design to. This sheet would be taped behind the circular cutout and follow the correct curve for a more complete look.

Some more design concepts will be needed for this aspect I think but the rest seems pretty straight forward smile.gif .

Now that I've got the HVLP setup I'll try and use a dark black and purple base colour and add a clear coat layer with metal flakes to try and represent the Reaper hull. I'll be sure to use all acrylic or at least compatible paints this time as the use of epoxy enamel on the last modding project limited my painting options towards the end.

Anyway, that's it for now smile.gif . I'm hoping I can work through this project faster than the last two I've undertaken and I'm looking forward to playing with the power tools again for another round of modding wink.gif .

Edit: oops, found out after some more searching this is actually a 1080AMG case so have corrected this.

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