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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I figured I would start a thread to help keep track of my work and for anyone else who is interested. The plan is to mod my old Chieftec/Antec/Chenming "Dragon" case (blue) and give it a facelift into the 21st century. It rocks 5 different places for measly 80mm fans (2 intake, 2 exhaust, 1 side-panel) and as long as you have decent fans can get the job done albeit a little noisier for the same performance of what a 120mm fan can provide at lower RPM's.



A little backstory - This case originally housed an old Alienware case (~1999) with a Pentium 4 1.7ghz and GeForce 3 Ti500. That computer actually lasted until I wanted to build a new computer in 2009 where the case went on to house my X58 ASUS P6T, i7 920, 6gb Corsair XMS3 and a monster in both size and power draw in the GTX 285.

After BFG closed its doors and the lifetime warranty went away with it I purchased the Arctic Cooling Accelero Extreme that was custom fit for the GTX 285 and turned the card into a 2 slot, extremely long behemoth into a... 3 slot extremely long behemoth albeit with much better cooling now that it rocked 3 direct 92mm fans blowing across a massive heatsink. That was as far as the upgrades went for this machine until I eventually purchased a GTX 970 at the end of the summer in 2015 - which has since moved into my new build (X99 6800k).

After the new build was complete I put some energy in sprucing up the old X58 which is when I found out you could run Xeon processors in these motherboards and they overclocked like champions (never would have built a new machine had I known this). Well I pulled out another old Chieftec/Antec/Chenming "Dragon" case (silver) that used to hold a different Alienware system with an AMD Athlon XP 1800+ and a Radeon 9700 Pro(the one was purchased by one parent and then the other a couple years later by another parent). I cleaned up the silver case and got it prepped to house my upgraded X58 system after recently purchasing;

  • Xeon W3680 6 core w/ hyperthreading overclocked to 4.2 ghz
  • Noctua NH-U14S
  • 24gb KLEVV 2800mhz RAM (running at 1800mhz CL8 1.5v)
  • Refurbished GTX 960
  • PNY CS1311 240gb SSD
  • Silverstone USB 3.0 PCIe x2 card w/ 2 19pin connectors
  • Silverstone USB 3.0 x4 + Headphone/Microphone 3.5" bay
  • A couple 2.5 and 3.5 to 5.25 mounting brackets to relocate some drives
  • 4 SilenX Effizio 80mm Fluid Dynamic Fans (UPDATE: One went bad already - 11/7/2016)
  • Evercool 5 fan splitter with Molex power connector
  • BitFenix 1 Molex to 3 Molex splitter
It cost a little more than I planned but has revitalized that computer like never before in a freshly cleaned case, added cables for some actual wire management and USB 3.0/Audio front ports (board didn't support USB 3.0 and the case didn't have any front panels - 2 birds 1 stone). I actually ended up buying a used P6X58D-E motherboard for $100 and used my old P6T in another Xeon X5670 build I put together for a friend. The Xeon's can be bought for ~$65 right now (unreal) and pack a serious punch when overclocked.

This takes me back to my now uninhabited blue case which I have decided to try my luck at modding. The initial plan is to replace the 80mm fans and cut out space on the front panel to hold 2 120mm fans + cut out space on the back panel to hold 2 92mm fans. To do this I first removed the 3.5" drive bay supports and cut the top drive bay so the bottom portion is removed, leaving me with 2 3.5" drive bays accessible. This presents a separate problem since I'll need to add a place to support the front of the drive bay since the supports are removed. The plan is to weld a piece of steel to the top of the drive bay and slice out a place in the front panel for it to stick through so it can be supported. So far I've done the preliminary cuts to be able to better measure the front panel and mark the places I'll need to cut/drill. The other places I'll be cutting is the motherboard try and provide some space for some better wire management.

Once I finish cutting everything I plan on painting the entire case... Which I'm thinking I'll need to sand everything before applying some primer and then a coat of paint... This is where I have even less experience so any guidance on that part would be greatly appreciated.

Now for the pictures!

Here are the two cases side-by-side with the silver one currently housing my upgraded X58 system;



Here's a shameless plug with pictures of the X58 system running with all of it's new toys;




And here are some shots of the blue case after I cleaned it and finished some preliminary cuts;


 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by xenkw0n View Post

Hmm I just noticed there's a Case Mod "Work Logs" sub-forum. This is probably where this post belongs since... It's going to be a work log.
Moved it, you can also add [Case Mod] in the title if you want
smile.gif
 

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Totally interested in this "work log",got two of fhem "Dragons",identical setups and a third one,just waiting for the ultimate "mod".
Looking forward to see what you are up to,have fun!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by xenkw0n View Post

Once I finish cutting everything I plan on painting the entire case... Which I'm thinking I'll need to sand everything before applying some primer and then a coat of paint... This is where I have even less experience so any guidance on that part would be greatly appreciated.
As someone that has done a few complete case mods, I highly suggest deriviting the entire chassis and painting each individual piece to get the best paint coverage and avoid runs/drips.

I also highly suggest getting a paint stripper to remove the old powder coat to save your self a ton of time and effort to remove the old paint. This item did wonders for me http://www.homedepot.com/p/Klean-Strip-18-oz-Stripper-ESR72/100135467

You will have to help it a little bit with a flat head screw driver to peel the paint off once it's done it's job, there will be some sanding to do but not nearly as much if did not use a stripper.

I would suggest not using a separate primer as it will cause the paint to chip off and not give good adhesion. I would look for a paint + primer in one.

Here is the mod I did to a similar case years ago, you will notice the paint chipping due to primer being used, http://www.overclock.net/t/451281/intermediate-spitfire/0_100

Here is a case mod I did a couple years ago and did not use a primer and the paint hasn't chipped on me http://www.overclock.net/t/1488307/complete-tribal-leo-syrillian-tribute/0_100
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by XAslanX View Post

As someone that has done a few complete case mods, I highly suggest deriviting the entire chassis and painting each individual piece to get the best paint coverage and avoid runs/drips.

I also highly suggest getting a paint stripper to remove the old powder coat to save your self a ton of time and effort to remove the old paint. This item did wonders for me http://www.homedepot.com/p/Klean-Strip-18-oz-Stripper-ESR72/100135467

...

I would suggest not using a separate primer as it will cause the paint to chip off and not give good adhesion. I would look for a paint + primer in one.
Yes I was looking into the whole rivet scenario and haven't decided how far I want to go with that being as I don't have the tools for them yet. I believe of a friend of mine does though so I will see if that could work. What size rivets did you use for the Antec when re-riveting it back together?

Those are some really nice case mods you did. Which paint + primer did you use in the second mod? And what kind of plastic adhesion paint would you recommend - I've heard there's no need for primer with the right paint when painting on plastic and as you already know, the front panel is plastic on these cases. I was planning on making sure everything was sanded down, though.
 

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If you are asking me (i know you dont),i deriveted both cases more than twice over the years,a simple power drill and a 10 bucks rivet gun will do.Cant really tell the rivet:s size,you are probably measuring by inches,it sure aint no rocket science.Do the extra mile,sand down starting from maybe the 80 grid,go to 180,smooth everything up with 400 and finish with any wet sandpaper.Do prime,wet sand again and prime again,it will pay off with the final result and will last longer.Same goes for the front bezel,let everything rest for a couple of days and take a look at them new rivets,standing out.Use a piece of rubber between your rivet and rivet gun to avoid any accidental scratches.
Knock your self out!
 

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Nice, a modding project of the same Chieftech Dragon case I have, right down to the blue color! It's still chilling under the right side of my desk, for now it's just being used to store a Optiplex SFF case and a few small boxes. Mine has some history as well, used it for my first custom build in '01 and lasted me till the Ivy Bridge days.

Your mods so far have made the case look so clean on the inside. I'd like to see how you will deal with the paint and plastic coverings as well. Are you gonna stick with the blue color?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well I will be able to use the tools my friend has to de-rivet and re-rivet the case so I will probably go that route. I've also decided to try and use paint similar to what you would find on a car. I'm going to try and make a design to closely match this (design I made in a now shut down game - Need for Speed: World);



Also made some progress on the actual case build today. I made a cut on the front cage to allow a piece of metal to stick through and act as a support for my hard drive bay since I removed the bottom portion so that two 120mm fans could fit but still be able to use the bay for 2 3.5" slots. They are actually the two slots that line up with the 2 external 3.5" bay spots so I could buy a front panel audio + usb bay and a 2x2.5 to 1x3.5 SSD converter bay to fill them in (something like http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817998040and http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811999236)... Few options either way since I can keep 2 3.5" slots. Most likely at least an audio + usb bay since the case does not have any pre-installed.

I used JB weld on a piece of metal I cut from leftover scrap after removing the bottom part of the hard drive bay so that it protrudes and will fit through the opening in the front to act as support. After the JB weld cures I will be able to test it so I'm hoping it lines up perfectly and I won't need to make any more adjustments with this part.

 

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Ever thought about using the DVD drive bays as disk bays?
Dissasemble old DVD drives and use their "shells" as actual disk brackets,really stealthy and hard drives can be detached form the front easily!



 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by proudtobegreek View Post

Ever thought about using the DVD drive bays as disk bays?
Dissasemble old DVD drives and use their "shells" as actual disk brackets,really stealthy and hard drives can be detached form the front easily!



That's a really awesome idea!! +Rep. I have a drawer full of old optical drives that I can house some drives in
biggrin.gif
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
That's pretty cool. I do have a few older CD drives that I could do something like that to. Not at that point yet either way so there's still some time to decide.

The JB Weld cured and it works perfectly. Slides right into the front cut I made on the case and sits where it should. I'm going to use some 3M tape along the latch just to make it more snug since it moves a mm in each direction. Also cut out the section where the back 92mm fans will reside.

 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Making good progress on the case manipulation aspect. Going on vacation this weekend so I'll take the time to think about if there's anything else I want to physically change on the case before I start taking it apart and prepping it for paint.

Drilled out the holes and made the cuts for the front fans today. I actually have a couple extra 120mm fans and already picked up the grills I'm going to use so I was able to test how it worked... I'm very happy with the result! Should have tried to take a more straight shot of the front of the grill but it is straight. Looks like I measured exactly what I needed when cutting the hard drive bay because it's not even 1mm away from the top fan. It's not touching, but it's as close as it can get.



Also received the U-channel rubber edging that I ordered and it's exactly what I was looking for. Perfect size IMO;

 

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Get a file set and you can clean up dremel cuts nicely.

I have never had much luck painting, either I sand it before paint and it looks crappy or I don't sand it and the paint doesn't stick. Be careful painting plastics too, hard to get stuff to stick and you really do not want to sand plastic either. I've heard adhesion promoters help with spray paint. Theres various paints for plastic like Krylon Fusion but I haven't had much luck with it, after a few years it starts coming off.

San Ace makes some nice 92mm fans, almost as powerful as a 120mm but can get loud.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Most of the cuts will be covered by either U-Channel rubber edging or the fans/grills and after a little sanding they'll work just fine. Only the hard drive bay will have exposed dremel cuts but I went overboard on sanding that already so it's also not able to cut me anymore.

This whole project is letting me learn a lot of new things and painting is one of them. I bought a self-etching primer and some engine enamel paint. I also picked up some primer specific for plastic and plan to only sand down the paint off of the plastic because I don't want to ruin it.

I'll be removing all of the rivets on the case today and start working on sanding down the rest of the pieces that aren't easily accessible.

I also picked up these two fans and I'll see how they work before deciding whether or not I'll need better ones (I really like the Arctic Cooling F9 Rev.2 fans);

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/2pcs-lot-92mm-Red-15-LED-Light-DC-12V-3Pin-9225-92x25mm-PC-Case-Computer-Cooling/32712346636.html?spm=2114.40010608.4.93.mrfncq
 

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Nice. Sounds good. When I de-rivet stuff I use a bit of oil, makes it drill out easier.
 
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