The New 2.5" Hot Swap Bays
06/16/2017 This thread is a continuation of the early part of this build chronicled in Preparing for a Scratch Built Case. I finally named the case (and eventual computer) I've been working on Roisin Dearg (ro-sheen dar-ug). That's Irish Gaelic for Red Rose (literally, Rose Red; hey, what did you expect from someone going by the name of Fitzgerald?).
After a long delay due to emergency home repairs (which aren't completed yet but, at least, I have a working toilet instead of a hole in the floor and two new doors to replace the ones that were ready to fall apart), health issues, and other fun things I won't bore you with, I'm back to working on the case off and on. I'm making some changes to the original plans for Roisin Dearg. First, I've switched from all HDDs for my data drives and their backup drives to all SSDs a few years earlier than I had planned on so I won't be using the 3.5" HDD hot swap bays that I modded nor the three bay 3.5" HDD cage that I bought. I also ran into a hardware compatibility issue with the 2.5" shot swap bays I modded; they aren't compatible with my 4TB SSDs (the idea of making this case more or less modular was to allow me to make changes like this without having to tear down the computer to do major surgery on the case so these changes are fairly painless albeit annoying). My audio would drop out when trying to update two or three backup SSDs simultaneously using FreeFileSync in my current computer after I had swapped in a spare 2.5" hot swap bay to replace the 3.5" hot swap bay I was never going to use again. I substituted a StarTech HSB220SAT25B (read my review of it here for a better description of it) and, after swapping it with the 2.5" hot swap bay I had swapped out with the 3.5" hot swap bay, I found out the problem was indeed in the 2.5" hot swap bays I had modded earlier so they also have to go (mutter, mutter, mumble, mumble).
First, here are some "glamour" shots of the StarTech HSB220SAT25B. The front:
The front with the Door/Eject Levers opened:
And the back side:
These are the cables that come with the dual hot swap bay:
I used the cable assembly on the left to install the dual hot swap bay in my present computer. These shots show what the cable looks like when plugged into the hot swap bay:
Btw, the two small floppy power connectors off to the side aren't fully plugged in for the photos since they are a bear for my old, arthritic fingers to pull back out when they are fully seated.
This particular cable combines the two cables going to the two SATA power ports on the swap bay to get their power from a single male SATA power connector and has two more cables branching off to power the drive power and activity indicators (a stupid design I carped about in my review of the StarTech HSB220SAT25B). I used this cable to power the dual hot swap bay in my current machine but I'm going to modify the other two cables (the ones with the four pin Molex power connectors on the end) to use in Roisin Dearg.
This what those two cables look like when plugged into the swap bay:
None of the cables will be long enough to reach the power strip I'm going to make to power the 5.25" devices so, rather than use a clunky looking extension, I'm going to splice these two cables into a SATA power splitter. This the splitter (btw, I'm going to be putting two of the StarTech HSB220SAT25B into Roisin Dearg so I can back up up to four backup drives at a time):
Here, I've removed the Molex housings from the two cables for each dual swap bay (ok, I could have cut them off but I wanted practice removing them with a tool, not that I really needed it):
I'll cut the pins off later when I know what the exact length will be.
I cut the female SATA power connectors off of the splitter here:
I have to go this route since, for the life of me, I have not been able to find any male SATA power connectors that I can crimp pins onto wires and insert them into a connector body like I can for female SATA power connectors. I bought a boat load of SATA power extension cables so I can cannibalize them for the male SATA power connectors with wires already attached to make power cables to go from 5.25" bay devices to the power strip I'm going to build (it will resemble a s 120v power strip except the sockets will be 90° punch down female SATA power connectors installed in a long, skinny housing).
This shot kinda sorta shows how the cables will get spliced together once I know what the final length will be.
Also, it will be a lot easier to slip on the sleeves and shrinks before I solder the wires together. Sleeving all the cables will make them look a bit less junky. For now, the cables are on hold.
One other problem with the StarTech HSB220SAT25B is they chose to provide two self adhesive plastic to stick on the bottom of a 2.5" HDD to prevent its PCB from shorting out on the metal bottom of each bay in the dual swap bay. That's fine if you will never have more than two HDDs. It would have made more sense to have put plastic on the bottoms of each bay (while I am using all SSDs now, I did keep a few 2.5" HDDs to use for experiments). This is one of the plastic sheets:
I've heard you can sometimes find these on Fleabay but, rather than horse with that, I decided to put some LCD screen protectors I had knocking about in a drawer on the metal bottoms of the bays instead. Here's a shot of the screen protectors next to the plastic sheet:
I thought the bottom bay of each dual swap bay was going to be a bear to put the screen protectors into but those were the easy ones. It was the one I put into a top bay that was a real bear. I thought I had four of the three screen protectors but I had only three: I have more on order. I'll put in the other screen protector once I get them next week sometime (I hope).
The next phase of modding the StarTech HSB220SAT25Bs will be to modify the Lian Li front panels I made for the old 2.5" bays (and make one new one) to mount the 2.5" dual swap bays into so they will fit in the 5.25" bay in the case. I'll start on that in the next day or two (I hope).
Update 06/17/2017 I got ambitious (more like nuts) last night and started modifying the Lian Li front panels on the 3.5" to 5.25" bay adapters I had used on the old 2.5" bays. The easiest way I could think of to do that was to install the StarTech dual bay into the old, modified bay adapter, then scribe the outline onto the front panel (actually, they're more like faceplates). Then, using a Dremel with a cutoff wheel, duck bill pliers, and a whole lot of filing, I enlarged the opening in the faceplate, gradually sneaking up on the final dimensions. Talk about tedious, I must have installed and uninstalled the dual bay a dozen times checking the fit! My hands are still unhappy.
This is the wonderful scribing job I did of the outline which I used to scribe the initial hole layout (keep in mind it was late and I was nuts):
And these are the final results after four hours work (yeesh!)
I was not thrilled with the overall results. I had to keep the top and bottom of the opening pretty tight to the doors to avoid having a gap showing; I even had fun installing the dual bay into the adapter because of the slight slop in the screw slots. Here is why it was so difficult getting a good fit. Look at the top and bottom of the front of the dual bay (and ignore my old lady hand).
Note how thin the top and bottom bars are. That's why the fit had to be so darned precise. Adding insult to injury, those bars were pretty flexible. I was dreading to make the second one since getting the hole to match the hole on the other adapter was going to be an even bigger chore. Sorry, I'm too old for this stuff.
On to plan B. Lian Li makes a 3.5" floppy bay to 5.25" bay adapter but the hole in it is too big. They apparently made it that way so one could slide a 3.5" bay device into the bay from the front while the adapter was installed in a 5.25" bay (how they thought you were supposed to install the screws into the 3.5" bay device when the adapter was installed in a 5.25" bay is beyond me ). However, that left a gap all the way around the opening when the 3.5" device was installed, allowing for one heck of an air leak. The solution was to "pad" the perimeter of the dual bay's faceplate with strips of plastic that would cover the gap.
First, I had to cut some 5/16" wide (more or less; this isn't rocket science, folks) strips of 1/8" black Plexiglas I had knocking about for another project (I had a to buy a piece far larger than I needed for the other project; that's why I rarely throw away scraps...and my home looks like a junkyard).
The short, side strips were a chore to get to just the right length since their fit was critical but I cut the longer strips a little over length to make positioning them less critical. Here is what the strips look like after being glued onto the dual bay.
To position a 3.5" device in Lian Li's 3.5" to 5.25" adapter where Lian Li felt it should be positioned, Lian Li left a couple of little "peaks" in the front of the front screw slot to keep a screw from moving back when inserted at the front of the slot.
Since Lian Li failed to consult with me before determining where to put those little peaks, they put them right where I needed for the front screws to go (the noive of 'em!) so those pesky little peaks had to go. A flat jewelers file made short work of them. (Sorry for the lousy photo; that was a tough one to take due to tight quarters.)
Here is what each one looks like after being assembled.
They don't look any better than the first attempt (at least they don't look any worse) but I was able to do both of these in two hours without killing my hands instead of the four hours for just one and they both are identically matched. This shot kinda sorta gives an idea of what they will look like when mounted into the 5.25" bay of Roisin Dearg.
And, as the pig says, that's all folks...until I'm ready to install them in Roisin Dearg. Then I can finish modding the cables.
I don't know what I'm going to do next or when I'll get to it. I messed up the PSU bump out so that needs to be replaced. I also didn't allow enough room for paint on the insides of the 5.25" bay panels so I may need to replace one with a thinner one, use less paint, or even try filing a little more clearance on the right side upright (It has a slight inward taper at the front that is causing the problem). I'll have to shoot some primer and color on both sides of a couple of spots to see if I can still get the bay devices into the bay without trouble. I need to deal with the bay issue before I can replace the PSU bump out. Once those are settled, I can start on that power strip I've been talking about. That is going to be one tedious project. In the meantime I need to reconnect all my SATA data cables from the HBA card in my current rig to the SATA II ports on the MOBO (I found out the HBA cards doesn't allow me to enable TRIM on my data SSDs) and replace my router (the one I'm using now drops the internet connection occasionally Also, I still have another section of bathroom floorboard that needs removing and replacing, a couple of whole house surge arrestors that need installing (one for the house and the other for the AC; the latter will need an 8' ground rod driven into the rock that passes for soil here).
12/14/2017 I'm baaack!
I still haven't finished replacing the final section of bathroom floor but it is stable (it's just sagged a bit) so it can keep for a while. I really need to get this computer finished and up and running before my old rig bites the dust.
I had a freak firing of a synapse connecting to one of my three remaining brain cells a while back and it dawned on me that instead going a convoluted and tedious route to install whole house surge protection on my house and AC unit (I live in a mobile home and the house itself is plugged into one 50A receptacle on a pedestal and the AC is connected to the other 50A receptacle), all I needed to do was get a couple of 50A RV surge arrestors, plug them into the pedestal, then plug the house and AC into the surge arrestors. Easy peasy, cheaper than the way I was going to do it, and another headache is history.
I managed to scootch the left upright frame member for the 5.25" bay over (using some "gentle persuasion") just enough that paint thickness won't be a problem so I tackled the new PSU bump out. Basically, I cobbled it together with aluminum angles and panels that were held together with VHB tape and rivets. It actually turned out to be as solid as a brick outhouse and is mounted just as solidly to the left 5.25" bay panel and the left rear frame upright (when looking from the rear). I was wanting to get this thing done so I failed to take any pictures during construction (sorry) but these shots shows what it looks like in the frame with the PSU screwed in.
The photos are less than stellar (again, sorry; it's late and my tired hurts after a long day of running errands) but you should get the point. Unlike the botched original PSU bump out, this one is far more solidly attached to the frame when the rear panel is installed and the PSU is mounted to the bump out only instead of also being mounted to the rear panel. It will be much easier to remove the bump out and/or the rear panel and the PSU isn't crooked as a dog hind leg.
There is a gap where the white arrow is pointing that could let dirty air in. I haven't decided yet how to deal with that yet. I can either put a trimmed piece of angle on the upright or just stick some foam weather stripping in there. Decisions, decisions.
I still need to make a cover for it, install an angle under the bottom to serve as a mounting flange for the MOBO tray back plate, and trim the rear panel opening for the PSU. I don't which I'll start next...yet (probably the rear case panel).
I had another brain storm recently (it was an 8" rain; one drop every eight inches). It's enough of a nuisance to turn my three monitors on and off every time I go to use the computer but that is nothing compared to the pain in the ah...neck of turning on all six of monitors I will have when I finish the computer. If the power goes out while the monitors are still on, they will still be turned on when power is restored so I found a remote switch that has a key fob remote control unit that has an off and an on button on it. I unplugged the cable that the three existing monitors are connected to from the UPS, plugged the cable into the switch, plugged the switch into the UPS, then set the remote control on my desk (I'll probably stick it down with carpet tape later on so I don't have to chase it down). It works great! now, when I need to turn my monitors on or off, I just punch one button (I'm so lazy). I got a chuckle from the specs of the switch. The literature says it's rated for 1000 watts in one place and 13A at 125v in another place. Their math is...ah...curious. Whatever, the most six monitors will draw is just under 3A so all is good.
I also ordered four more ASUS VG248QE monitors while I was out of town over Thanksgiving. I swapped out my three existing ones with three of the new ones a few days ago and they have been running great with no dead or stuck pixels (one of the original monitors had three stuck pixels when I got it; fortunately, they were near the top edge and I was able to get two of them unstuck with a pixel checking program I have). Tomorrow, I'll swap out one of the new monitors with the remaining one so I can make sure it is ok during the vendor's return window. Even though these are a fairly old model of monitor, I've been really happy with the ones I already have so I'm staying with them (I'm also too cheap to replace three perfectly good monitors). I bought the fourth one so I could have a spare I could "throw" in should one monitor go belly up (especially after ASUS finally discontinues them).
With the Holidays just around the corner, work will slow down a bit but once they are over, I will need to get my rear into gear.
12/14/2017 I had a rough night with leg and hand cramps and didn't get up until late morning (old age sucks!). I had to take some time to update the backup SSDs I had retrieved from my safe deposit box at my credit union when I swapped them out with the ones I had at home and make an adapter for mounting a catch to keep my back door from swinging shut with the wind while I'm hauling things in and out of the house (the catch I got was a tad too short).
Once all that was out of the way, I went back to work on the case. I decided to go ahead and use a trimmed down angle to fill that gap I mentioned earlier. Here is how it looks from inside the bump out (sorry for the lousy photo; the filler angle is on the right)...:
...and from the outside with the PSU installed:
I finished cleaning up the cutout in the rear panel and temporarily installed it to check for fit:
I don't know how much I'll get done tomorrow since I need to run errands, such as grocery shopping, and that will probably take the starch out me. I'll probably work on the cover when I'm able to get back to work on the case.
12/15/2017 I had trouble getting to sleep again last night so I gave up trying and went back to work on the case. I needed another angle on the bottom of the PSU bump out to serve as a flange to mount the MOBO back plate onto. This was tricky because the PSU bump out isn't perfectly perpendicular to the rear panel (mutter, mutter, mumble, mumble) and there are all kinds of things to get in the way of a square to make sure the angle going onto the PSU bump out was perpendicular to the rear case panel. Adding to the fun was the angle had to have a big notch cut out for the cable access hole which made the angle rather flexible at that point. I also had to install 4-40 rivet nut inserts for fastening the MOBO back plate without distorting the angle. I avoided distorting the angle while installing the rivet nut inserts by clamping it in my drill press vise while cranking away on the installer screw. Then, I found I could tighten the inserts even further by compressing them with the vise. I countersunk the holes for the inserts to get the flanged ends flush with the surface of the angle but still wound up having to file most of them flush.
Once the angle was fabricated (that was a chore!), to keep it from flexing, I had to use carpet tape to temporarily fasten another angle to it to stiffen the flexible area made by the big notch I had to add. Then, so the square would clear all the other angles in the way, I put a piece of 1" square tube against the two angles. After determining where the angle had to go, I cut a shim to make repositioning easier after apply the 6 mil VHB tape to the angle. My technique for achieving proper alignment was totally Michael Mouse red necked but it worked. I didn't take pictures while fabricating the angle since I just wanted to finish drilling all the holes, notching the angle, and inserting the inserts so I could install it and drag my ample asset to bed.
Here are pictures of the installed angle (the white arrows point to it):
I haven't drilled the holes through the angle into the PSU bump out yet, partially because I was finally starting to feel sleepy and also to give the tape more time to set (it grips like crazy when first applied but it gains strength after an hour or few). I'll drill it out, countersink the holes, and rivet it down later.
After a few hours sleep... I switched gears late this morning and decided to finish off a 5.25" bay power strip (except for the PSU cable) I made a while back. The idea behind it was to reduce, if not eliminate, the jungle of cables coming from 5.25" bay devices to the PSU and having to remake cables every time I decided to juggle the order of the bay devices. I made the Power strip from a Wiremold wiring raceway that's designed for hiding wires running over a wall and from inline punch down type SATA power connectors. This is the Wiremold itself:
Those ridges on the bottom were going to be in the way due to tight clearances so I wound up chiseling them out:
This is a mockup showing how the connectors were going to be installed in the wire mold:
I'm going to use SATA power extension cables to plug into the power strip. I can cut off the other end from the male SATA power connector and crimp on the appropriate connector.
I also had to trim down the tops of the inline SATA power connectors to gain some more clearance. The one in the foreground is an example of one that has the top trimmed down (I had also trimmed of a lug on one end in the sample shown but left on for the ones I actually used):
Cutting all 17 of the slots needed was TEDIOUS! I started by drilling a gazillion holes (give or take a few bazillion), then cutting and filing out the webs until I had slots.
Here are how the connectors look when poked into the slots:
I used #12 wire in the connectors. Strictly speaking, #12 is too large for the connectors but I didn't need for all the strands to go into the connectors, just most of them. First, I had to cut the wires and strip the insulation from where they would get punched down into the connectors:
I also had to splice on wires to feed out the back of the strip and go to the PSU:
To prevent the adjacent slots from collapsing while trying to jam in that #12 wire, I got some 12" long .028" feeler gauge stock for shims to slip into the slots so they wouldn't collapse:
I punched down numbers 1, 3, and 5 wires first (that was a frustrating chore!). In retrospect, it would have been easier if I had done 2 and 4 first since I had one heck of a time on number 3 since it was so tight between the shims.
I also should have soldered the splices before punching down the wire. I slipped some pieces of plastic between the soldered wires to make sure they wouldn't short out:
I made "caps" for the ends by filling them with epoxy putty, then trimming the ends down:
Snapping the back onto the front was a chore because everything was so tight. I had to use two pairs of pliers (and some "encouraging" words) to get them to snap together. I then first spot glued the halves with superglue and, once that dried, ran superglue down the entire length of the two side joints. This is how the power strips looked before and after painting with Krylon Fusion (paint designed for plastic):
I also cut two 1/16" x 1" strips of aluminum to length, then drill and tapped them for 4-40 screws to use for mounting the power strip to the left side panel of the 5.25" bay.
Today, I screwed the mounting strips (see arrows) to the bay panel, using teeny, tiny 4-40 x 3/16" undercut flathead screws:
I used 40 mil VHB mounting tape to secure the power strip to the mounting strip instead of the 6 mil tape I usually use since the back of the power strip isn't exactly flat and I needed the "give" of the thicker tape to ensure good contact over the width of the mounting strip. Since couldn't see under the strip when pushing it onto the tape, I temporarily taped a piece of angle to the panel to guide the power strip into place. I use some temporary 1/8" shims to determine how far to place the angle from the mounting strips:
I then put down the tape. This stuff sticks like right then when you apply it:
After removing the release tape, I pressed the power strip into place. To make sure it made full contact with the tape, I taped up the jaws of one my grooved joint pliers and "squozed" the snot out of the strip:
I then removed the power strip/mounting strips and painted the edges of the mounting strips:
That's all for now, folks.
12/18/2017 Ok, this is a real update. I won't necessarily say I did a lot of filing today but if I see another file before next year, I'm so going to scream bloody murder! My hands, arms, back, and feet are killing me. I also wish I had a sawbuck for every rivet nut insert I installed.
Ok, enough carping; let's move on to the pictures I promised. I got more work done on the MOBO tray back plate. I finished making, drilling, and riveting on the last angle on the back plate. Here it is installed in the case (it's the panel with writing on it at the top of the panel):
Here, I've set the MOBO tray itself in place to get a feel for how it's going to look. I'll later start laying out the holes for mounting the tray and the openings needed in the back plate and rear panel.
Part of the filing I had to do was to knock off the top of the angle that mounts the back plate to the 5.25" bay left side panel. They didn't match up due to different heights so, since the angle was already riveted to the back plate, the easiest way to fix that was to file the snot out of it. Fortunately, my little vixen file really hogs out the metal (in fact, I've named it Boss Hog) yet still leaves a smooth finish. That was the one that killed my back since I had to reach over the case to get to the edge that needed filing.
This is the back plate itself:
When I put the 1/4" square bar at the bottom of the 5.25" bay left side panel, I drilled, tapped, and screwed it together. I didn't feel like doing that on the bar that went on the bottom of the back plate panel so I tried something a little different. I drilled and countersunk the holes for rivets that are flush on one end. I also counter bored the hole so the rivet could expand inside the counter bore instead of sticking out and looking tacky. It worked out very well:
The rear edge of the back plate butts up to the rear case panel but I didn't want to attach it to the rear panel because it would have been left flopping around whenever I removed the rear case panel (there also would have been more screws to remove when removing the rear case panel so I added a tab to the back plate that attached to the angle the rear case panel attaches to. I made it from 1/8" stock to make sure it wouldn't flex any (it's as solid as a brick out house):
This is the hole the screw securing the tab to the frame goes through. I have to remove the rear panel to get to it, which is a pain in the neck, so I'm considering drilling an access hole in the rear panel so I can get to the screw without removing the rear panel:
I also needed a cover for the PSU bump out. I had "fun" laying out, drilling, and countersinking the mounting holes. The big hole for the fan was also "fun". The hole saw I used was a wee bit out of round so it left a bit of a ragged edge that required quite a bit of filing ("filing" is my new swear word) to clean up. I have to use cutting oil and a feather touch on the feed to keep the hole saw from bogging down the wimpy motor on my drill press. It also screamed like a banshee getting a root canal without anesthesia. I still need to do quite a bit of filing on the edges of the cover to clean up the fit a bit but that will have to keep for another day (I'm pooped!). Anyway, here 'tis:
That's going to be it for a while. I have to tear down my drill press so I can do laundry tomorrow. I also need to do some other "stuff" around the house plus Christmas is almost upon us.
I found a new "toy" last Saturday. I currently have three monitors set up and will have six when Roisin Dearg is finished. Turning three monitors on and off several times a day is a bit of a nuisance so just imagine what doing six would be like. I found a remote control switch at Home Despot Home Depot Saturday:
I have my three monitors plugged into a short extension cord that has three outlets on it and that cord is plugged into my UPS. I just plugged the extension into the remote switch and plugged its pigtail into the UPS. I got rid of the key ring and chain on the remote and set it on my desk (it's only 2 1/4" long). Now, when I want to turn my monitors on or off, I just hit the remote. I had to hang tape in front of the power switches on the monitors to help break me of the habit of using them instead of the remote. The switch is rated for 13A at 125v and 1000 watts (yeah, I know, their math is off). Each monitor draws less than 45 watts so I'm in no danger of overloading the switch, even when running six monitors.
01/07/2018 I was out of town for Christmas (got sick and missed Christmas dinner but otherwise had a good time) so I didn't get much done on the case. I'm going to run six monitors—three over three—with the new machine and also upgrade my 32" TV to a 43" TV. I want to wall mount all of them but there is this stupid window in the way (mutter, mutter, mumble, mumble) so I'm going to have to build a bridge and get over it. Literally! I have parts on order to build a bridge over the window from which I can hang the TV and monitor arms (I'll also be hanging my speakers from the bridge). I already have two 3 monitor arms from Ergotech (I'll have pictures of those later) and a wall mount bracket for the new TV that will get mounted to the bridge (the old TV is on an arm that cantilevers from the side of the window). I ordered and already received a couple of 7' long 1/4" x 2" x 3" aluminum angles that will anchor the bridge to the studs flanking the window. I need to notch the tops and bottoms of the angles to clear the wall baseboard and ceiling molding, then layout and drill a bajillion holes (give or take a gazillion or two). I won't be able to use my drill press for that (not enough room) so it will be "fun".
Another problem was the ceiling light fixture over my desk was going to be in the way (I never dreamed it would ever get in the way when I put it in 20 years ago) so it needed to be replaced with recessed lighting. One complication was the light was switched on and off via a pull chain (my preference since I can just reach up when sitting at my desk to turn it on and off; I have the same setup on the light fixture on my ceiling fan over the bed for basically the same reason) and I wanted to keep that arrangement.
This is the old ceiling fixture:
It's going to eventually get reinstalled on the ceiling fan in my kitchen.
I decided to use a ceiling fan switch under a ceiling canopy to switch the new recessed lights on and off, same as the way I've been doing it for the past 20 years. The old fixture was mounted to a pancake box screwed to the center of the ceiling/roof truss. Since there was going to be considerably less weight and stress on the box now, I moved it to the left (in the photos) an inch or so so the pull chain will not be in my line of vision when watching the new TV. Here is a shot of the relocated box and one of the recessed lights...
...and here is the finished job:
I left a capped off piece of Romex in the ceiling already wired to the right side recessed fixture in case I ever wanted to add a third fixture but those two lights already throw more light on my desk than the old fixture so it's nit likely I'll ever add the third fixture. The difference is most of the light is being thrown straight down and the rest of the room is noticeably darker than it was with the old fixture. It was a bit disconcerting at first but I'm already starting to get used to it (I have plenty of other lighting in the room anyway). The light is also 3000K instead of the 2700K LEDs I had in the old fixture. I would have preferred 2700K for the new fixtures but those were what I could find that would fit in the limited space above the ceiling. I'm already starting to get used to hotter color temperature, though.
I had one "heckuva" time installing those fixtures. I almost wish I had gone online to read the reviews before I bought them. They work great but the springs on the two retaining clips that were supposed to hold the fixture to the ceiling were super wimpy and, the first time I stuffed one in it's hole, instead of snugging up to the ceiling like it was supposed to, the stupid thing sagged about 3/4" from the ceiling. Let's just say I was not happy. I eventually, after much ranting and raving, figured out I could shim the ceiling with enough scrap wood that the retaining clips would stick out parallel to the ceiling when the fixture was stuffed into the hole. That allowed the fixture to snug up to the ceiling like it was supposed to. Whoever designed that should be shot where it hurts (and to ensure the end of that gene pool)!
I also got a new tool. I could have used a small saw to cut out the 6" holes for the fixtures but that would have been messy and a lot of work so I got an easily adjustable hole cutter designed just for this. It has a clear plastic bowl attached that catches the dust and other debris while it cuts the hole. Once the cutter penetrated the ceiling, all I had to do was keep it pointing up until I got to a large trash can, then dump the contents. It was only $25 but it was worth far more that I paid for it!
01/07/2018 I didn't get much done today. I pulled a muscle on my back just below the right shoulder blade last Monday when I was shopping for TVs, ceiling lights, etc. and I lifted one to see if I could handle it myself (I can't—too old—I'll need help when that time comes). I did more damage to both shoulders working on the ceiling lights last Thursday so I laid low Friday and, after shopping for more parts (my original plan didn't quite pan out), I finished off the ceiling lights (and me) yesterday. Today, the only thing I felt like tackling was to make some notches for the air filter to pass through.
When I put the 1/2" angle flanges on for mounting the front panel, I forgot to allow clearance for the filter to pass through. Today, I laid out the cut lines and took a Dremel to the flanges to open them up. They aren't exactly pretty but they won't show when the front panel is in place.
Right now, I'm furious with Flitrete. I designed the channels for the intake filter around their 10" x 20" filters. Well, the morons changed the size of the filters. They are now smaller and not as well made. They will still fit but barely and will probably leak a little. I was planning on eventually making my own pleated, washable filter (similar to DEMCIFilters) but it looks like I'm going to have to design and build one a lot sooner than I had planned. Thanks a lot, Filtrete!
01/08/2018 I! HATE! FILING! Today, I cut the hole for the back of the MOBO Tray into the rear panel. If I had a dollar for every file stroke it took to make that stupid, convoluted, hole, I would be the world's richest woman. By far!
I'll spare you most of the the gory details since my hands are cramping horribly from all the filing I had to do (layout was also a chore) and I'm having trouble typing but here are the pictures.
This is the rear panel with the new hole:
And here are shots of the installed MOBO tray:
I ran into a problem while installing the rivet nut inserts in the rear panel. I kinda sorta over tightened the installer cap screw on one of the inserts and stripped the inside of the hex recess in the head of the screw and rounded off the end of the driver bit. Fine, I thought, I'll just take a pair of vise grips and back out the screw. No dice, the threaded plug inside the insert would rotate. After a little (ok, a lot) of therapeutic screaming, I finally figured out I would have to use my Dremel to cut off the head of the screw. That was one hard head. I almost demolished a cutoff wheel getting it cut...and I was using a very light feed. I finally got everything to break loose and I was actually able to back out the remains of the screw by hand. Fortunately, the insert and mandrel weren't damaged and I have plenty more screws and bits.
I used a jig saw to do most of the cutting and learned (more like remembered) a couple of tricks along the way. The blade kept getting clogged with fused aluminum when I was cutting and it was a bear to clear the teeth. To prevent the clogging, I first reduced the rate of feed to reduce heating. I would also back off from the cut every two inches for a few seconds to let the blade cool a bit more. Every so often, I would rub the teeth of the blade with a piece of chalk (I figured if chalk helped to prevent aluminum from clogging file teeth, it might work for the saw teeth). It did seem to help.
Inside the notches I had to cut, it was much easier to use a cutoff wheel in my Dremel than to use the jigsaw. I found I had much better control (and had to do much less filing afterward) by using the right angle attachment on the Dremel.
I still need to make another hole in the rear panel between the back of the MOBO tray and the PSU for the bypass panel (laying out and cutting that one will also be a chore!). Then, I get to layout and cut the hole in the MOBO tray back plate behind the MOBO tray and figure out how to layout the holes for the two threaded standoffs supporting the right side of the MOBO tray (that last part has me stumped right now; I'm too pooped to think about it right now).
01/09/2018 Today went better. I cut the hole in the MOBO tray back plate under where the MOBO tray goes. This will allow for access to cables being snuck under the MOBO tray which eliminates the need for cable management holes (which are never in the right place) in the back plate.
Here the back plate's new hole (duh!):
This is the view from the right side of the case after I reinstalled the back plate:
I figured out a trick to reduce the amount of filing I need to do ( ). It's still faster and more accurate to make large cutouts by using the jigsaw. However, the cuts are rather rough and not perfectly straight (it doesn't help that I can't see the line very well while cutting). Since I can control my Dremel much better when using a cutoff wheel by using the right angle attachment, I was able to use it to quickly knock off the high spots on each side instead off laboriously filing them down. All I had to do was smooth out the cuts with the files, a fairly fast process.
I also figured out how to locate the holes for mounting the 3/4" long standoffs supporting the left side of the MOBO tray. While the standoffs were screwed to the MOBO tray, I put some 3M 6 mil VHB tape on the end of each one, trimmed it to fit, then put a long piece of the release strip on to prevent the tape from gripping the back plate prematurely:
Then I reinstalled the MOBO tray, pulled out the release strips, and pushed the standoffs firmly onto the back plate. After carefully removing the screws holding the standoffs to the MOBO tray, I carefully removed the MOBO tray, leaving the standoffs stuck to the back plate. After carefully removing the back plate, I chucked a 7/64" bit into my Dremel and, using the standoffs as a drilling guide (and hanging onto the standoffs for dear life so they wouldn't break the bond of the tape and shift), I drilled holes into the back plate. I then enlarged the holes to 9/64" to just clear 6/32 screws and countersunk the holes. I found it necessary to drill a slight countersink on both ends of the standoffs since I can't get any undercut 6-32 screws in black oxide. The standoffs will stay attached to the back plate and, whenever I need to remove the MOBO tray, I'll just remove the screws from the MOBO tray side.
I also got tired of looking at the bright stainless steel screw heads on the back end of the MOBO tray so I replaced them with the black oxide screws I finally found:
I'll probably epoxy over those screws so I won't accidentally try to remove them when removing the MOBO tray from the case. I have both 4-40 and 6-32 screws in black oxide now and will use them when I'm finished with case fabrication and painting. Other than filling scratches, sanding, and painting, I'm declaring the MOBO tray back plate finished.
I still need to layout and cut the hole for the bypass panel on the rear case panel. Once I finish that, other than filling scratches, sanding and painting, the rear case panel will be finished. At that point, I'll be ready to start work on the top, front, and side panels. I already have a couple of top panels cut to size except for the fan holes. I'm going to do one with two fan holes and one with three fan holes so I can experiment with how much exhaust I will need. Once I find out which one works best, I can veneer the panel I'll be keeping.
01/10/2018 A I laid out and cut the hole for the rear I/O bypass plate this morning. This is the plate that has connectors on it to allow me to use jumpers from the MOBO rear I/O panel so I can use the two e-SATA ports on the back as internal SATA ports and relocate the two USB 3.1 Gen 2 type A ports on the rear I/O to the "front" panel. I had originally planned on putting it to the left of the MOBO rear I/O panel but there wasn't enough room there so I relocated it to above the MOBO tray rear panel. Everything was a tight fit and it was a bit tricky to layout but everything fell together slick as snot on a broom handle on the first try.
First, after laying everything out on the rear case panel, I drill holes for the rivet nut inserts and installed them. The opening itself passes so close to the inserts, I was afraid they would blow out the sides of the holes if I installed them after cutting the main hole so I installed the inserts before cutting the main hole. Once the rivet nut inserts were installed, I installed the right angle attachment to my Dremel, chucked up a cutoff wheel, and went to town. I'm still amazed by how much better control I have over the cutoff wheel when using the right angle attachment. It took very little filing to clean up the cuts (for which my hands and I are ecstatic!). When I first installed the plate, I was pleasantly surprised when it "slud" right on in (I was expecting to have to do a lot of "tune up" filing due to the tight fit). Short of filling in scratches, sanding and painting, I can't think of anything else that needs to be done to this panel so I'm declaring it done.
Ok, enough yapping. Here are the pictures. First, the hole itself:
Here, the bypass panel has been installed (I had to modify it a while back so it now needs repainting):
This is the inside view before installing the MOBO tray...
...and after the tray is installed:
This kinda sorta shows how the cables will run between the MOBO tray and the MOBO tray back plate.
I can then route the cables along the backside of the MOBO tray backplate.
I lied about the MOBO tray back plate being finished. It's a bit awkward installing the MOBO tray and it dawned on me that it's going to be a "heckuvalot" more awkward when I have the MOBO, the big NH-D15s cooler, and the graphics card installed, so I need to attach a piece of angle on the bottom of the back plate to support the weight of the tray while removing and installing the MOBO tray. I don't know when I'll get to that. I had a short night and it's just caught up with me so I need to take a nap after lunch.
01/10/2018 B I installed the angle onto the bottom of the MOBO tray back plate. It does what it's supposed to: supports the tray to make it easier to remove and install the MOBO tray.
01/13/2018 Yesterday, I finished the top panel (or as much as I can do until I paint and veneer it). First, I've been having all kinds of "fun" (polite term) using the three Morse hole saws I have. I already got rid of the Morse mandrel I had because it had almost 1/16" runout (I returned a second one because it also had excessive runout). The Milwaukee universal mandrel I replaced it with runs pretty much straight. The hole saws themselves are out of round. They have a slight bulge where the saw is welded together and they would cut between 1/16" and 1/8" oversized. It's really a pity since Morse used to make really good tools. Now, they are garbage. After the battle I had cutting the 4/12" hole for the PSU bump out cover, I decided to get a Lenox 4 1/2" hole saw. I wished I had done that a long time ago. This one was a joy to use.
I decided to use three fans on top (in addition to the one on the rear panel of the MOBO tray in back of the CPU) and located them a bit off center to ensure the best possible airflow past the PSU bump out. I added the third fan to help ensure no heat could build up in the 5.25" bay. After laying out the hole centers for the big fan holes and the fan mounting holes, I set up my drill press and its auxiliary table on top of my washing machine (after running a load of laundry this morning) and started to drill the pilot holes for the 15 holes I needed to drill or cut. I ran into a "small" snag. I could easily reach one row of six pilot holes but my drill press was 1/16" shy of having enough depth to reach the rest of the holes (mutter, mutter, mumble, mumble). I had to use my 18v portable drill to finish drilling all the holes. To cut the three big holes, I dug out my old 18v drill that has a broken speed control (it runs only at full speed for each of the two speed ranges). Doing it manually had me a bit worried but, even though I had to hang onto the drill for dear life, I had no problems cutting the holes. What's curious is a battery operated drill is more powerful than the alleged 1/3 HP motor on my drill press (the poor horse must have been sick). The cuts were far cleaner than what the Morse hole saw would have done. I only needed to clean up the edges a bit with a coarse (the forums' nannyware won't let me use the correct word) 5/8" rattail file (I would hate to run into the rat that had that tail!) and finished off the edges with a finer file. Sorry, I forgot to take pictures but you will see what it all looks like in a bit.
After all the drilling, cutting, and filing, I placed three fans over the holes and dropped in some 6-32 screws to make sure the mounting hole alignment was correct. It was; the screws literally dropped right in. In these shots, I positioned the fans so the cables would all end up in roughly the same place and plugged the cables into a fan hub to check for where to install the hub (excuse the mess; I was too lazy to clean up for the photos):
Once I determined where to put the fan hub, I took it apart, then drilled and tapped the base for 6-32 screws (the material was something like a high density polyethylene or nylon), then used the base to locate the mounting holes in the top panel. here is what the base looks like after being screwed to the top panel (I had to cut down the screws)...
...and the base with the hub itself set in place:
This is the box it came in (in case you are curious):
I'll be using the eight port version for the eight intake fans.
This is what the fans look like from above the top panel (I haven't cleaned off the layout fluid yet):
Again, I didn't take pictures of the process (sorry) but I cut and riveted some 1/2" angle to the underside of the top panel to reinforce it:
This is the topside of the top panel after cleaning off all the layout fluid (sorry about the lousy photo):
All the rivet heads and the two fan hub screw holes will eventually be covered with wood veneer. I dropped the panel onto the top of the case to make sure it still fits (it does):
Except for the rear panel, all the panels will be secured with a combination of small (but powerful!) rectangular magnets and magnetic tape. Using this method will allow me to use foam weather stripping between the magnets to ensure the panels are reasonably airtight. I had planned on using just the magnetic tape only but I was concerned that, if the panel warped a bit, it wouldn't seal up well.
Only three more panels—front, right side, and left side—to go then I should be ready to start painting. I'm saving the left panel for last because since it will have a window and will probably be a real stinker to make.
01/14/2018 A I changed my mind and worked on the large right side panel. I had just enough 1/16" x 1/2" angle to do that side so I worked on it rather than have more waste on the front panel (I'll have to get some more angle in the next day or two, if I can find it in this one horse, backward megalopolis I live in). Even though I didn't have to horse around with making fan holes, this one was more work than the top panel due ti it's size, I didn't have the aluminum sheet already cut, and there were one "heckuvalota" holes and rivets in it. I'm sorry I don't have pictures—the ones I took look "horridable" due to glare from the shiny aluminum and I'm too pooped to retake them—but the panel like pretty much like the top panel except it's way bigger and it doesn't have any fan holes.
Here are the steps to making this thing:
1. I first cut the panel a wee bit oversized using my circular saw with the carbide blade in it (I'm amazed it is still cutting so well), then filed the edges to smooth out the saw marks and bring it down to the final size (I still hate filing!).
2. I cut the angles to size, laid out the rivet holes, center punched them, drilled pilot holes, drill the pilot holes to 1/8". then deburred the holes (there were "only" 46 holes ).
3. I used fine ScotchBrite to remove the oxide from the side of each angle that had the holes drilled in it, then cleaned it with 91% isopropyl alcohol to prep the surface for the 0.006" 3M VHB tape that will be used, along with rivets to secure the angles to the panel.
4. The tape was applied to each angle.
5. Since the bottom angle is going to transfer the weight of the panel to the bottom frame cross member, I shimmed it with six layers of blue painters' tape (to provide some wiggle room when installing the panel), then used some small strips of carpet tape to fasten it to the bottom frame cross member.
6. I prepped the surface of the sheet aluminum where the bottom angle was going to go, same as I did for the angles.
7. After removing the release strip from the VHB tape, I put the sheet aluminum into the frame recess (the frame is laying on its side) and lowered it onto the tape. This was probably the quickest and most accurate way to locate the bottom angle.
8. After removing the sheet aluminum from the frame, I stuck the remaining angles to the aluminum.
9. Using the holes in the angles as drill guides, I drill the 1/8' holes through the sheet aluminum. I was able to use the drill press for this but, even with the auxiliary table installed, it was a bit awkward due to the size of the panel. I didn't have any problems; it was just mostly tedious.
10. After drilling the holes, I counter sunk both ends of each hole. Again, very tedious (longer arms would have been useful).
11. I installed 46 blind rivets that are flush on both ends when installed. That went pretty well (though, again, tedious) although I had four mandrels get stuck inside the rivet setter that required swapping out nose pieces to get them out.
Making the panel wasn't difficult; it was just a LOT of tedious work.
I don't know when I'll start on the front panel (I could use a day of rest; my tired hurts). I'll have to cut it the same way I did the other panels. I have enough aluminum angle left to make the top and bottom pieces but I'll have to find some more angle before I can finish it. I have some thicker aluminum sheet and angles on order for the left panel since that one has to be as stiff as possible since it will have a tempered glass window in it.
01/14/2018 B Today, I decided to start working on the magnet system for securing case panels to the case. I had thought that would be fairly easy (boy, was I wrong!). I started with the largest panel, the right side case panel since it will be the heaviest one. First, I secured four magnets to the case frame by installing 6-32 rivet nuts on the panel flange, then screwing the magnets down with 6-32 x 5/16" flathead screws.
Since the magnets are such powerful little things (they can give you a nasty pinch if you get skin caught between two of them coming together), I had planned on using magnetic tape on the panels to reduce the pull needed to remove the panels (I was concerned I might permanently bend a panel). I stuck four pieces of the tape to the panel but that proved to be too wimpy of a pull to remove the panel so I was back to Plan A: using magnets on the frame to secure them to magnets on the panels. I first tried temporarily taping the magnets to the panel with carpet tape. The tape held for the top magnets but pulled loose on the bottom magnets. The pull didn't feel too strong up at the top so I replaced the carpet on the bottom magnets with VHB tape. Since it takes at least an hour for the tape to reach maximum bond, I waited an hour before I tried removing the panel. That held and the pull seemed to be plenty to hold the panel in place without needing two men and a boy to remove it.
Since I didn't trust the tape alone to be strong enough over time, I drilled a hole in the panel, countersunk it, then installed the rivet. That did not end well. Those magnets are really brittle
On to plan B but, first, I had to remove the rivet. Those things are real stinkers to remove because they spin while being drilled. I found out that, if I angle the drill about 20-30°, it would chew up the rivet enough to allow it to be punched out. Plan B—reverse the rivet—didn't work on the test piece I was working with. After trying out a few other "Plans", I found that I could still use the original rivet but, instead of actually setting the rivet until the mandrel pulled through, I "squoze" the rivet setter only until I reached increased resistance (that didn't take much), then releasing the mandrel from the setter and removing it back through the head of the rivet. That held my test magnet on tight enough I couldn't pry it loose without the VHB tape. Here are the magnets installed on the panel:
This is what the rivet looks like on the outside of the panel:
Despite how little of the rivet is grabbing the magnet, it's still enough ('tis a pity I can't get them in longer lengths). To avoid depressions in the veneer after I apply it, I'll have to fill these "divots" as well as the other rivet "divots" before applying the veneer.
Because the countersunk holes are larger than the rivets, I had to get a little creative to set the rivets when they are depressed in the countersink. I used a 4-40 Nylock nut as a spacer between the rivet and the setter.
The pull it took to remove the panel seemed a little stiff while the case was still laying down on its side. Once I stood the case up, I found all I needed to do is slip my fingers behind the panel at the bottom and place my thumbs on the frame and pull. The bottom pulled loose fairly easily and, once the bottom pulled out, the top was easy to remove but, when in place, the panel is not going anywhere unless I want it to. Those four little magnets are plenty strong without being too strong.
01/14/2018 C Due to the length of the panel I just made, it flexes a bit in the middle of the sides, even with the 1/2" angle reinforcement. To prevent that flex, I cut six approximately 1" long 1/4" x 1/2 spacer blocks and used VHB tape to secure them to the panel flanges on the case frame. The tape should be plenty since there will be only very light compression forces on them.
Here is a view of the s[acer blocks on one side of the case (the other side of the case also has them)...
.and on the bottom cross member (there is also one on the top panel flange):
I will install foam weather stripping between the magnets and the spacer blocks to block as much air leakage as possible.
What nice about using the magnets to secure the panels is there are no screws or latches showing on the panels and to wrestle with.
01/20/2018 I picked up the angles I needed Thursday and finished fabricating the front panel yesterday. it was basically more of the same ol' same ol'. Here are the pictures (sorry for the quality. My camera just doesn't like to focus on shiny stuff):
I had to file down some rivet heads that were a bit proud of the surface so they wouldn't show through the veneer that's going on them. I'll have to fill in any holes and slightly recessed rivet heads with epoxy putty so they won't telegraph through the veneer.
I finally found some wood veneer yesterday. I picked up a 2' x 8' paper backed sheet of figured anigre. Even though gluing it onto the panels will be a bit of a chore, I'm looking forward to it. I have a trimmer I've used for trimming edge banding that should work fine for trimming the straight edges of the panels without knocking off the paint on the edges of the aluminum. However, I have no clue yet how I will trim the fan holes on the top panel.
Yesterday, I picked up the sheet of .090" aluminum for the front panel I ordered. It's a bit thicker than the 1/16" aluminum I've been using but I wanted the extra stiffness to help ensure panel flexing won't break the tempered glass I'm going to get for the left side panel. I also decided to reinforce the panel with 1/4" x 1/2" bar stock instead of the 1/8" x 1/2" x 1/2" angle I had originally planned on using. I was supposed to have also received that yesterday but the USPOS is having problems. It, and another package, have been showing being in limbo on their tracking page so I have no idea where they are or when they are going to arrive. If I don't see some activity by Monday, I'll have to raise a ruction with the poorly trained idiots at their "help" desk.
In the meantime, I'm going to get started cutting out the left side panel, hopefully today. That one is going to be more work because of the added thickness of the sheet aluminum and because of the window that has to be cut out.
01/23/2018 I hate this new forum host! It sucks so forgive me if this post is screwed.
I worked last Saturday and Sunday on the final case panel—the left side panel—even though I don’t have all the material in yet (the USPOS is playing proctologist but doesn’t know the difference between a head and a finger). The 1/4” x 1/2” aluminum bar stock I need for the panel framing was supposed to have arrived last Friday, along with the .090” sheet aluminum (which did arrive on time) but, so far, is still “in transit” from Salt Lake City with no guesstimate of when it is going to arrive (another package from North Carolina that also was due Friday but was also MIA finally hit Phoenix yesterday and left for the final destination city ten hours ago, a 30 minute trip at most but it still hasn’t arrived there yet). A dog sled could have easily made that trip by now (it’s only a 10 to 12 hour drive, even at the speed limits). If it doesn’t hit town by early afternoon today, they are going to get a phone call from an irate old woman who makes Maxine look like Pollyanna.
In the meantime, I started on the framing with what scrap aluminum I could scrounge up from my growing scrap pile. I was able to get all but one side done. I wanted to start on the framing first so I could get a better idea of how wide of a window I could get away with before laying out and cutting out the window.
At first, I was going to use 1/8” x 1/2” x 1/2” angle instead of the 1/16” x 1/2” x 1/2” angle I used on the other panels to give it more stiffness (I’m going to use tempered glass for the window) but it later dawned on my three remaining brain cells (of which only one is working) that I could pick up an extra 1/2” window width and even more stiffness by switching to 1/4” by 1/2” bar stock so I ordered some from FleaBay. I also ordered a .090” (almost 3/32”) sheet instead of using .0625” (1/16”) sheet I had been using to get some more stiffness (I couldn’t go thicker than that because the depth of the case frame’s panel recess).
After the panel arrived, I started on cutting it down to slightly oversized with my circular saw and filed it down to the final size (I still hate filing!) as well as to clean up the saw cuts. I had figured the bar stock would arrive Saturday but, when it was still in limbo, I dug out what stock I could find from my scrap pile and started on the frame. I used rivets and .006” VHB tape to attach the angles to the other panels but that would have been unsightly here (plus I didn’t have long enough rivets on hand so, instead, I used 4-40 x 5/16” undercut flat head screws (I had plenty of those).
I first laid out the holes needed on the panel itself, center punched them, then drilled the holes, starting with a small pilot bit, then finishing with a #43 drill bit (the size needed for tapping holes for 4-40 screws). After cutting bar stock I had to size and cleaning up the ends (again with the filing!), temporarily stuck them to the panel with double sided carpet tape and used the #43 drill bit to drill through the holes drilled into the panel to start the holes in the bar stock. After removing the bar stock from the panel, I then clamped them one by one in my drill vise, using scraps as spacers to maintain a consistent height in the vise, set the depth stop on my drill press so the holes wouldn't penetrate the other side, and finished drilling the holes.
After drilling the holes, I had the fun job of tapping all 40 of them. It wasn’t difficult but it was nerve wracking because I was worried about breaking the tap. I took my sweet time and was generous with the Tap Magic (even though that stuff is like Brylcream , a little dab will do ya, I kept a small puddle at the base of the tap the entire time), and eventually finished them with nothing worse than jangled nerves. I also drilled out the holes in the panel with a 1/8” bit, then countersunk them so the screw heads would be slightly recessed.
I used a combination of VHB tape and rivets to secure the reinforcing angles to the other panels (a belt and suspenders approach) but getting the bar stock’ screw holes to properly before the tape grabbed would have been difficult to impossible at best so I’m skipping the tape. Those screws are a lot stronger than the flush on both sides rivets I’ve been using so I’m confident they will hold more than well enough.
Once all but one side of the frame was complete and temporarily installed, I laid out the window opening. I first laid out the centers for a small hole saw to form the radiused corners of the window, cut the holes, literally connected the dots—used the outside edges of the holes—to lay out the cut lines between the holes, then rough cut the holes with a jigsaw. Once the center of the window was removed, I then used my battery operated Dremel to make the finish cuts. I should have used the Dremel from the start since it actually took less time and was easier than using the jigsaw. After “Dremeling” the hole, I went after it with a vixen file and mill files to clean up the edges. Have I ever mentioned I hate filing? If I haven’t, then let me tell you, I HATE FILING! Since I do not want to use u-channel on the edges of the windows, I had to be extra meticulous with the filing. I pretty much finished yesterday evening but I’m paying for it today with achy hands, arms and shoulders (this old age business is for the birds) so I’m going to rest a while before I finish the filing.
I also ordered the tempered glass Saturday night. I used a long ruler as a straight edge to serve as the missing frame piece to determine what glass size to order. It’s 9-7/8” x 17-1/8” and I sprung for the extra shekels for the low iron glass. They claim they stay within a +/- 1/16” tolerance so I allowed 1/8” extra clearance to make sure the glass will fit inside the frame. I also ordered it 1/4” thick to minimize the chances of it breaking from panel flexing (it’s probably overkill but I would rather have it and not need it than to not have it and need it). I should get it in a week. Most videos I’ve seen of computer panel window installations use 3/4” 3M 40 mil VHB tape but, since I still have a boat load of 1/2 .006” VHB tape, I’ll just use that. Depending on the actual size of the glass I receive (in a week or less; at least this is coming in on Fedup FedEx, not the currently pokey USPOS), I will have between 7/16” and 1/2” of tape holding the glass in, which will be more than enough to keep the glass in place despite being rather heavy (that VHB sticks like nobody’s business!). I’ll probably run some black silicone or polysulfide sealant between the edge of the glass and the frame to fill the gap for cosmetic reasons and for extra holding insurance (yes, I’m that paranoid).
Pictures have been attached. Does anyone know how to embed them in the text with this idiot new forum software?
Update: I wrote this earlier on a word processor and pasted it in once the forum sorta came back (it still sucks; the old one was much better). Since I wrote this, my mail service finally received the lost packages. Once I pick up the bar stock, I'll be able to finish this panel and start preparing all the case panels—side, top, and inside—for painting.
01/24/2018 I picked up the flat bar from my mail service (and the spare magnets I ordered since I had exactly none left after breaking a few) and went to town on it. After cutting, filing, drilling (and drilling, and drilling), and tapping the holes, I got the last reinforcement frame part finished and temporarily installed onto the left case side panel (sorry for the lousy photos but my camera just doesn't like shiny aluminum and the idiot new forum software is making the pictures downright tiny unless you click on them :rolleyes: ).
I taped the corner magnets on by putting the pretaped cover magnets on top of the frame magnets (the case was laying on its side), pulled off the release strips, and lowered the side panel onto the magnets. Since the tape's bond increases for a while after being applied (and it's getting late and I'm pooped), I'm going to let it set overnight before drilling and CAREFULLY riveting the magnets to the side panel.
I also picked up a smaller half round file for cleaning up the radiused corners of the window opening. Unfortunately, the only small one I could find in this one horse, piddle squat megalopolis was a coarse cut (I would have preferred a mill file) so I just cleaned up the curved lines, then further smoothed the surfaces drawing filing with round needle files. 'Twas tedious but it worked. I further smoothed the edges using 400, then 600 grit wet and dry sandpaper (used dry) wrapped around round and flat pieces of metal (again the photo is lousy; it looks dead smooth the naked eye (well, with trifocals on):
I need to find some contact cleaner or other spray cleaner so I can the tapping fluid out of the tapped holes, then, once I put the panel back together, I'm going to start filling in all the depressions and holes on all the panels where veneer is going to be installed, then sand and degrease them for painting (only the areas where veneer and sound deadening foam will not be applied will get painted).
01/27/2018 I started filling the "divots" left from countersinking the rivets and the permanent screws in the case top and side panels with epoxy putty. The stuff I'm using is actually a bit more fluid than putty. Once mixed, I applied globs to the divots, using a small makeup spatula. I had to pile it high to allow for shrinkage while curing:
Then, it was hurry up and wait for the epoxy harden enough for me to be able to slice it off flush. That took around 15-18 hours (yeesh!). I used a scraper that takes single edged razor blades to cut the excess off by pressing the blade against the panel at a low angle then sliding it sideways as I pushed it through the epoxy so I was slicing it off rather than scraping it off.
The residue you see will come off when I take my orbital sander to the surface.
Today, I started stripping all the internal panels from the case. It was kinda heartbreaking after all the work I did to put them in there but, at the same time, a tiny bit exciting because they were coming out so I can prep them for painting. When I removed the PSU bump out, I discovered that, when I installed the angle that the top of the MOBO back plate attaches to, I inadvertently impeded access to one of the screws that holds the bump out to the frame. I was able to get it out using an Allen wrench but it took for cottonpickin' ever so, once I liberated the bump out from the frame, I addressed the problem by drilling increasingly larger holes in the offending angle until the side of the hole broke through the side of the angle, removed the remaining web from the hole with a cutoff wheel in my handy dandy Dremel, then hit the resulting notch with some files:
I still need to clean it up a wee bit more but I can now get a 1/4" hex drive 1/8" Allen bit in a magnetic extension to fit through there. That will make installing and removing that one screw one "heckuvalot" easier.
The MOBO tray back plate needed a couple of mounting holes drilled for the fan hub that will power the eight intake fans at the bottom of the case.
I also filled a couple of holes in the rear case panel near the PSU bump out with a faster setting epoxy putty to prevent air leaks. This epoxy doesn't stick quite as well as the other stuff so I countersunk both sides of each hole so the epoxy plugs would be keyed into place. Once cured, I sliced the epoxy flush with the panel.
After removing all the removable panels, I stripped all the tape I had put on to protect the surface of the extrusions (that was a chore that took seemingly forever and destroyed my fingernails). For the most part, the tape did a good job of protecting the surface but I did notice a couple minor dings that will need to be filled in with the slow curing epoxy. I also need to fill in the tiny gap between the left 5.25" bay upright and the top frame member. I'll have to do that later. With all the internal panels removed, the frame looks kinda naked (it's also considerably lighter; pity it won't stay that way):
The next steps will be to clean up that notch I made, take solvent to the panels to remove any layout fluid and oils, then sand them before I can paint them. I don't know when I'll get to all that, though. I have to remove my drill press from the top of my washing machine tomorrow so I can run some laundry. I have to report for possible jury duty on Monday morning and I have no idea yet if I'll have to serve or for how long.
01/29/2018 I started sanding on the panels Sunday afternoon with my orbital sander using 80 grit paper. I still need to use some finer grits and manually sand the areas the sander can't reach.
Today, I had to report for jury. I got lucky in that the pool I was probably going to be in was for a trial that wound up being postponed at the last minute. Judging by the size of the pool they were going to draw 12 jurors from—120—I suspect that it was going to be for a pending capital case and I am against the death penalty. I don't know how sympathetic the Court would be with people who object to the death penalty so I may have dodged a bullet.
After they turned us loose, I grabbed some lunch and took care of some errands, including picking up the tempered glass I ordered. It wasn't as heavy as what I was expecting but the panel it will go into is just as heavy, which adds up in a hurry. Here is the glass gently dropped into the panel:
Here, I pushed the panel into one corner to show how much total clearance I had. The bar stock is 1/4" thick:
I will have plenty of room to be able to squirt some windshield sealant between the glass and the frame. Between that and the VHB tape, that glass will not be going anywhere. That all will have to wait until the panel has been sanded, painted, and veneered, however.
While I had the windowed panel and camera out, I took a couple of shots of how the surface looks after first sanding with 80 grit paper in the orbital sander (what looks like holes are actually filled divots):
I'm not going to spend a lot of time sanding the case sides, top and front panels outside faces since they will be covered with wood veneer but the inside faces and frames are going to be a chore since they will be mostly sanded by hand using red Scotchbrite pads. I'll only paint the areas that won't be covered with veneer or acoustic foam (that foam adds a surprising amount of weight to a panel, btw). The inside panels—PSU bump out, MOBO tray back plate, and 5.25" bay sides—and the back panel will get painted wherever there won't be any acoustic foam. The frame itself will be the hardest to prep :eek: . I doubt I'll get started painting before next week.
I'll tag along to see where this goes.
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