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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Blue Steel: The Movie

Welcome to my Entry for the 2009 Overclock.net Case Mod Competition. I'm calling this PC "Blue Steel"

Since day 1 of this project...I have been attempting to make a complete Stop Motion film of this project. Though the original plan was to show the transformation of each and every piece...most of that attempt has fallen to the editing room floor. What I decided to use for the final project is a little more simple. If you were one of those who saw and liked my Coolest Video You Have Ever Seen project from last year...then you definitely need to see this years stop-motion project.

So - if you like stop-motion, case mods, PC builds in general...or you just want to see 5000 photos compressed into 137 seconds...Enjoy. otherwise - just skip on to the Build Log.


Blue Steel: The Build Log

Build Progress Quick Links:
The Victim
And so the Project Begins...
Got Bondo?
Home-Made Modders Mesh
Instant Chrome + Clear Coat = Massive Failure
The Top Panel (Exterior)
The first Side Panel (Exterior)
The Top Panel (Interior)
The Optical Drive Cage
The beginnings of a Turbine Fan
A Little Bit of Clean-Up Work
A Shipment of Fans...Hooray
The Chassis Front Piece
Painting the Front Panel: Finally
The Clear Coat and Polish
The Back Panel
Test Fitting the Turbine
Making a Window
Riveting the Chassis back Together
80% Complete: Just Need a PC to Put Inside her
Stealthing a Drive Bay
The "Hanging" HDD
Zalman: I Love You
We Need More Power Captain (Power Added)
We Have Components...And guess what - They're Blue
Gettin' My Cable Management On
Some Pretty Night Pics
The Completed Pics



























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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
The Victim:

I really dont know the original brand of this case, as it used to house an old P4 system of my brothers. With the exception of the wierd Pac-Man looking symbol on the side...I can find no marks to identify the manufacturer or model.

This Case does support ATX sized motherboards, but as you can see, really doesn't offer much in the way of cable management options (The Mobo tray is literally just millimeters away from the back panel.

Since space is so limited - The plan is to move the HDD trays to the bottom of the case while adding a turbine mod to the front. Additionally - I will add a top 120mm fan and a bottom 80mm fan to assist in cooling. I do also plan on adding a side window to this with some case lights to brighten her up. Colors to be determined at a later date.

To be quite honest - I'm not sure exactly how I am going to manage any cable management on this thing...but that will be a bridge we cross when we get to it.

The Case from the front:


And from the Side:


The Inside:


And a Close-up of the Front Bezel:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
And so the project begins:

I will start out by taking the case completely apart. I think the only good way I am gonna be able to do this project is by de-riveting and attacking the project piece by piece. There is something great about these old cases...they are just so easy to disassemble.

Taking the front off was easy:


Then we remove the HDD Tray:


And then the Optical Cage:


And we are left with just the Mobo Tray:


From here....I will make the very first step getting the Turbine fan Installed. I'm a little nervous here because this is a first for me. It's the first Fan Mod I have ever done. It's the first time I have ever used bondo. And It's my first Case Mod Competition. Wish me luck - because once these cuts are made...there is no going back.

And starting out with the Hole Saw - The Saw cut through the plastic like it was hot butter....but the Aluminum Case...that was another story:



I finally went to my buddy Roby's house to use his Hammer Drill and we managed to get it done.
***NOTE TO FUTURE HOLE SAW USERS***
Wear Long Sleeves as Roby ended up with about 3 tiny shards of Aluminum sitting in his arm. They were barely in there...but just be safe.


I had an extra CPU Air Duct from an old system laying around - and I figured it would be perfect to make the duct with.


Chopped down a little - and with a little C-Channel - It fits perfectly.


And then Trying her on for size:
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Got Bondo?

So - Moving on to the Bondo Portion of this build log. This is probably the scariest part for me. I've never used bondo before and everything I know about it has only come from reading. It is definately grainier than I thought...I was expecting something more along the lines of wall putty in terms of texture. But here she goes.

NOTE: DAY 5 of Bondo

I'm really not seeing the results that I have been hoping for...so - I went ahead and talked to some of the painters and body repair guys at the dealership I work at and I'm trying something new. The problem I keep running in to is that every time I have the exact shape I'm looking for and I try to go back and repair some of the pin-holes...I keep creating new pin-holes elsewhere. I was told to grab some Glazing Putty Filler (Also made by Bondo) and use that to fill the holes. So - Tommorrow - thats the plan.

The Product we are using.


My first application:



And then some more...



And then Finally starting to sand her down just a little bit. I noticed some divets and crevices as I started sanding this down...so now I will be patching this up a bit.



There is a little bit of an Adhesion Issue as it's not sticking to the case in some parts very well....definately will be filling it.


Not a final product yet...but it's starting to take shape:



Man - This is really tough. I'm 5 days into the Bondo Portion of this project and I feel like I'm at the exact place I was 3 days ago. Bondo is a lot tougher to work with then I originally anticipated. Everytime I get one section smooth ...I find a couple of divets and pockets that I have to repair...and then after I fix em, a couple more pop up somewhere else.

Continuing on - Todays progress on the Bondo:





As you can see (sorry - my camera doesn't get extremely good close-ups) it's moving along - but still needs quite a bit more work.

And so finally - after taking my Auto Guys advice...and using the glazing putty - I can finally say that I have this thing as smooth as I need it to be. I'm not calling the front finished...but I'm suspending all work on the front bezel until I receive the power switches and aluminum mesh I need to complete it. So - for now - we are throwing this off to the side and we will re-visit it when I am ready to paint this sucker.



 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Home-Made Modders Mesh:

I was actually pretty proud of myself with this one...I was about to spend some money on some modders mesh but then I remembered my old blown out JBL home speakers up in the attic. The cover on the speakers is basically Honeycomb style modders mesh. I pulled it out of the attic and got right to cutting it.







 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Instant Chrome + Clear Coat = MASSIVE FAILURE

This section is simply in here to show off the massive failure that the Dupli-Color Chrome turned out to be. This is not a part of the final project.

So - Having hit a stopping point on the front bezel (waiting for money to buy my power/reset switches and mesh that I will be using), I figure it's as good of a time as any to start getting to work on some painting. I decided that I will be using Dupli-Color's Metal Specks Blue paint on the outside...and what could look better than a Chrome silver inside to go with that.

I've decided to start on a piece that I really don't need to make any changes to and is really not going to be seen at all...that way - if I don't like the way it's looking...I can restart without too much worry for how the repairs will look. So - for my first piece to paint...I will use the Motherboard Tray.

The Color We'll be using:


And Sanding her down before we use our Primer


And then on to the 1st coat of paint:



And After a little bit of wet sanding:


And then Adding another coat of paint:




And it's finally starting to come together. I almost hate having to put the clear coat on...as I always have a little trouble with that.


So the part I hate most about painting is not the priming, or the sanding, or the wet sanding, or the color coats or anything else like that. The part that I absolutely cant stand about painting is the clear coat. The problem that I keep running in to (on my previous projects as well) is that I get my color coat to look exactly how I want it to look...and then I have to put a clear coat on. I've messed up more clear coats than I can count and hate having to strip it all down and pretty much start over.

Take for example...This project. I got the color coat of chrome exactly where I wanted it...and now I have applied a clear coat. Though the reflection is wonderful...I now have discoloration streaks across the whole mobo tray. Granted - It is still wet...and I hope when it's dry the discoloration is gone...but now I'm worried.



Good Reflection though right?



Well - Unfortunately - the painting portion of this project has gone horribly wrong. The Chrome paint that I have been using is just not working out. Though I get the chrome finish...I cannot apply a clear coat to it. Every time I do - It looses all of its shine and basically turns to a silvery/gray. Additionally - I can't leave the chrome paint without a clear topcoat because the chrome layer can easily be scratched with even the slightest touch.

I think from this point...I will simply change the interior colors to a silver...with a high gloss applied on top of that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The Top Panel (Exterior Side)

So - After suffering a massive setback with my chrome paint idea...I'm left with sanding down the already painted pieces and starting over with a new interior color. At the moment - It's a little too much for me do go through...so I am moving on to other parts of the project as to not get hung up on the failures.

So - Now we move to the top: I used my 4" Hole saw to cut a hole in the top of the case. I plan on covering the hole with my home made modders mesh and having a blue LED fan exhausting here.

Getting it all sanded down:





Unfortunately - You can see that a couple of water drops that got in the nozzle when I was warming the bottle up made a splash on the panel. I will have to sand that down as soon as this guy dry's enough for me to do so.


So - Now we finally get to some color on the outside...your very first view at what this case exterior is supposed to look like. I chose to go with Dupli-Color's Metal Specks Ocean Blue paint. I am a huge fan of this blue-metallic. It has been my intention all along to use Blue and Chrome...though I am now somewhat puzzled on how to handle the innards of the case since the chrome spray doesn't work well.

In either case...Here are your first shots of the Dupli-Color Metal Specks in action. I started with the top panel...and this is after the first round of color:













And with the Clear coat applied it is starting to get some of that shine (ClearCoat is still wet)







And as scary as it is...I'm now attempting to sand down my clear coat and see what kind of shine I can get to this panel. I've pretty much decided that I don't want a complete "mirror" finish - since I want the metal specks to provide the sparkle. Here's what we are looking like:

The Clear coat sanded down with 2000 Grit:




And now buffed up a little:


And at last - After 3 goes with the rubbing/polishing compund...this is the final result. Overall - I am very happy with the way this is coming out...

 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The First Side Panel (Exterior Side):

_____________
And then we got the side panel. This is going to be the one without the window in it. I was fighting with the idea of bondoing and getting rid of the air ventilation holes and side designs...but then I decided that I actually kind of like them. Since it's a pretty non-descriptive emblem without any reference to the manufaturer of the case...I figure what the hell.
















And Finally getting that clear coat applied:






 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The Top Panel (Interior Side):

So - Now that I am pleased with how the Metal Specks Blue is turning out...and also very pleased with how the top and side panel are looking...It's time to turn inward on the panels.

It has been my hope from day 1 to have Blue & Chrome. Unfortunately - if you have read this whole log...you would have seen the massive failure that the "Instant Chrome" turned out to be. So - After some more thought - and after being so impressed with the Metal Specks paint, I have decided to use Metal Specks Sparkle Silver on the interior of my case.

What this basically means is that the panels that I just finished...now need the reverse sides painted in this Sparkle Silver Color. I've taken the best precautions that I can to protect the Ocean Blue paint on the other sides...so let's see what we can do.









Little Side Note here....Wind has gotten so bad today that I abandoned the idea of painting outdoors and have moved into the garage. To the disappointment of the Mrs...I had to destroy a couple more of her wire coat hangers.





So it would appear that I protected the Exterior Side of the panel fairly well when I painted the interior side. After removing the painters tape and paper that I used to protect it...I can see no bleed-through to the other side. This pleases me greatly.

Keep in mind that those little spots around the fan hole where there is no paint are not of a concern to me - as there will be mesh there when the fans are ready.







 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The Optical Drive Cage:

And now we move on to more of the interior of the case. The Optical Drive Bay. I'm going to use that same Metal Specks Sparkling Silver by Dupli-Color. I am really loving this stuff. Though it only looks silver in a poorly lit room...when a little bit of light is in the room - it suddenly sparkles. It's my hope that the Cold Cathodes that I put inside the case will dazzle and sparkle the hell out of this paint.















 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The Beginnings of a Turbine Fan
So - Having run out of Metal Specks Paint at the local AutoZone and Checker, I'm moving back to the front panel for the day. After playing around with it for a little bit - I decided that my fan duct was just too darn long to be pleasing to the eye. I suppose that is one of the downsides to having a case with a front panel that protrudes almost 3 inches from the actual chassis. So - In order to fix this - I have decided to mount the front turbine fan on the exterior of the chassis.

In order to accomplish this, I have to go back and gut some of the excess plastic pieces that are on the inside of the bezel. Additionally - I will also need to trim up the fan duct to fit the 120mm fan between the chassis and bezel.

Please Note - This is not the turbine fan that I am using for sizing. This is an extra fan I have laying around from my P182 project last year.









And then we will try this on for size. I like the new depth of the fan and duct. When the actual turbine fan is installed - I think the cone will protrude just enough to give it the right look.



 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
A Little Bit of Clean-Up Work:

Well...while moving back to the front panel, I've noticed a few oversights in my project. Specifically - the Optical Drives and Drive covers. Originally, the bay on the bezel had perfectly square edges for the drives...but now that I have smoothed out those edges with Bondo - those drive bay covers don't really fit in the bottom bay. This could really pose a problem since my original plan was to make power and reset switches into this bottom bay using the bay cover.

To solve this unfortunate little problem...I think I will shave down a cover and permanently attach it to the case.





Since I will be using Bondo over the rough edges - I am not too concerned that this is not a perfect fit.





And then I decided to make these drive bay covers a permanent part of the case.













Don't worry. We are going to sand those smooth.













And at last adding a hole for the Power Button:



 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
A Shipment of Fans...Hooray

Well - The Egg just dropped off a few fans that I have been waiting for and I'm ready to get back to work. I still havn't made my turbine just yet...but now I have all the interior fans for the case.



For starters, I grabbed a couple of these Bgears 120mm Blue Chrome LED fans. I was a little worried with how this "blue chrome" would end up looking, but as you can see...they are down right sexy.





And then...I also picked up a couple of these AeroCool Centaraus fans. These are 80mm and have this wicked casing for them. They are completely chrome and they also are Blue LED as well. I originally planned on using 2 of these in the base of the base to provide intakes...but I am now thinking of using these as exhaust fans.





And with the arrival of the fans today...We can officially call the top panel of this project finished. Here is a final picture of the top panel with the fan installed.







So this now brings the total completed pieces to: Top Panel, 1 Side Panel, Optical Drive Cage, and Motherboard Tray.

 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The Chassis Front Piece:

So now we are moving along faster than ever. With all the holes drilled for the turbine fan, we are safe to now paint the Chassis front panel. Keep in mind that the outside of this panel will be completely covered by the actual front panel...but we will go ahead and paint both sides of it for good measure. I will say that I won't even bother sanding down and smoothing out the side that will be covered though.











 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Painting The Front Panel: Finally

So - After over a month of fooling around with this front panel, we are finally ready to start getting this girl painted. It has been a real chore getting the Bondo sanded down to smooth, and an awful lot of effort has been used to get rid of the pinholes and blemishes in the front bezel. Though if I look really really really hard - I can still find some imperfections...I am confident enough that these could not possibly show through onto the final painted project.

So - After much awaited anticipation...Here she goes.





















 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The Clear Coat and Polish

So - Now that the base coat has been applied, We are ready to get the clearcoat applied to this piece.











And after she has been polished with the rubbing compound and polishing compound...This is what She looks like...









And then we have a new update of all pieces completed up to this point:

 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The Back Panel:

I didn't take a gizzillion pictures of this part...simply for the fact that these are pretty plain and straight forward. Once again i am using the Dupli-Color metal Specks Sparkling Silver paint.











 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Test Fitting the Turbine

So - Now that the front panel is complete...and the turbine fan has arrived, It's time to test fit this baby to see how this is going to look.

I ordered an AeroCool Turbine 1000 fan from Frozen CPU for this. It goes along with the Blue and Silver theme I have going here and it also has Blue LED's. The fin design is a little unconventional for a fan, as most of the ones I have owned have wider fins then this, but, I think it looks more like a turbine than the normal fans do.





And then we will place this on the front of the front chassis panel. I know that most would say to install this on the inside of the chassis...but my plan is to install one of the Blue Bgears fans on the inside. That way I have the Blue and Chrome fans stacked on top of each other. I think it will look pretty great.





And then we place the Front panel over it to see how all of this Bondo and paint turns out. What do you think? Did i get the right look?







And Now: The newest update of all completed parts thus far. Oh my, we are getting so close I can taste it.

 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Making a Window:

Well...Now that the bulk of the paint work is complete with the rest of the case, I think it is finally a good time to get to the window mod that I was planning on. In order to accomplish this - I decided to get some Blue Tinted Acrylic. I had originally planned on using a 12 x 10 piece...making the window slightly taller than it was wide...but I somehow ordered the wrong size panel from FrozenCPU. I went back to check my invoice and found that I ordered the 12 x 8 piece.

Though I am not totally convinced that this is going to be large enough...I have decided to move forward knowing that if 12 x 8 doesn't look right when I'm done - I can always make it larger.

I do apologize for the lack of pictures of the actual cutting process, but I was borrowing the shop at my dealership and couldn't really take the time to snap pictures of the actual process.

I used the "CattleRustler" method (thanks for showing us how in your "Jessie's Gumdrop" log) of using the 4" Hole saw to get the round edges. I apologize that the lines are so hard to see...It's just a light pencil.





And so I used the Hole Saw to get the corners cut. Though those cuts were rather imperfect...I used the air-tools at work to finish the rest off. Using the Cut-Off Wheel attached to the shop air compressor, I was able to make some pretty straight lines. Note to anyone who has the fortune of using auto-shop quality tools...there was an 8 FOOT TRAIL of Sparks shooting away from the panel....definately wear eye protection.

After the Cut-Off wheel...I switched over to the sanding/polishing wheel they use for grinding down break pads and was able to get a really really smooth and shard free cut. I really don't think these pictures quite do the cut justice. I need a better camera.









Now that the hole is made...my only real concern with the 12 x 8 piece of acrylic is will I have enough room to Rivet the window to the panel. I really hate the look of window molding...and was really hoping to be able to rivet this...but as you can see, I have very little room around the edges to work with. As you can tell...I only have 1/2" overhang on each side.



So - I think I will be OK with this overhang. I am hoping to be able to not use any rubber molding for the window and simply to rivet it in place. Let's move on to painting this panel and seeing what we can come up with.









And now that the hole for the window is completed and the panel is painted to my liking...I am going to rivet the window to the panel. Since the cuts were clean...I should be able to make this look good without the trim around the outside. To avoid craking the acrylic...I am riveting these down as softly as I can....If that makes any sense.







 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Riveting the Chassis Back together:

So - Now that all of the Chassis pieces are painted and and ready to be put back together...we get to see our first looks at how this Blue/Silver theme looks inside the PC. I must admit - Riveting is much easier than I thought it would be. It took all of about 5 minutes to get the rivets back in place.













And since everything is back together...Now is as good of a time as any to install the turbine fan and the one behind it.





 
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