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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What do you think we're going to do with a few sheets of acrylic and some rubber case feet?


No, we're not building another RAD-GT. Today I'm building a custom acrylic base for Crazy Carl's (aka soundx98) SR-1 mod. Based upon his measurements and concept I came up with the following design.




First things first, mask the section to be cut and lay out the design/cuts.


Starting the cutting with my trusty cordless jigsaw


Finished cutting out the 3 panels


Wait! Are we seeing double?


No you're not drunk
(unless you have been drinking), Crazy Carl lived up to his name and decided to buy a second Antec 900 and figured it deserved the same treatment


Sanded all the edges to be straight/smooth


Next step was to cut out the spacer discs with my holesaw


Then comes polishing up the cut edges. I used a bolt as a mandrel and chucked it into my drill then ran it on a file to smooth the edges; then took it to my buffing wheel to get a nice shine.
Here's a before/after shot


And all the finished discs
enough for a game of checkers



To ensure that all the holes in the panels lined up, I clamped them together (after aligning them of course) and drilled the pilot holes through all three panels in one shot


Drilled out the holes in the lower two panels to 1/4" and tapped the holes in the top panel to 1/4-20 thread

radodrill tip: when drilling acrylic, always gradually step up the hole size; large jumps are prone to chipping
radodrill tip: to provide a clearer finish inside drilled holes, apply water to the hole while drilling


Lined up the panels to illustrate the staircase cutout at the front; i.e. transitioning fron a straight fut to matching the profile of the front bezel of the Antec 900


Now I'm pulling out my router to cut chamfers on the edges of the panels


The only downside to the chamfering bit is that it doesn't work well on inside corners


So I had to use a file to chamfer the inside corners by hand


All the finished panels


That just left polishing the edges; due to the complexity of some of the cuts I opted to flame polish them rather than using a buffing wheel on them


So now:
RAD Studios
In association with:
soundx98 Enterprises
Proudly Presents
an radodrill production
The SR-1 and SR-2 radobases





And now some finished pics (more in the thread)
The finished bases with CCFLs installed


Each panel's lighting can be separately controlled using a Matrix Orbital display; the top and bottom panels are blue and the middle panel is green.




Here we have some from Crazy Carl with one of his Antec 900s on there



 

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You know what would look REALLY good? If a few holes were cut near the center of the acrylic panels and LEDs stuck in there. The LEDs won't show when the case is on top of it, and it will make the acrylic panels look like they are glowing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
soundx98 and I will be incorporating lighting into the bases in some way, shape, or form. I have to discuss several options with him and will update you guys once I've gotten the chance to talk with him.

@ice_owl: I had initially thought of using billeted feet for it, but Carl already had several of the rubber feet on hand so we went with those. Using LED acrylic feet isn't that practical due to the way the base is constructed; there is no glue involved, just 6 bolts through the feet and passing through the spacer discs then threaded into the top panel. For LED feet to work one would have to offset the LEDs in the feet to allow the bolt to be at the center.

@dr_bowtie: I love my Bosch tools myself
and also love using them


@nategr8ns: thanks
and that's why I linked the word chamfer to a definition

key thing with cuts is take your time; and a steady hand helps as well.

@everyone: Thanks for all the replies/comments; they're greatly appreciated
 

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Bosch tools FTW, I love mine too. They turn higher RPMs than Porter Cables which is a plus for acrylic fabing. That looks amazing but a little more time with sanding and buffing would have taken it over the top. Just my professional opinion. 3M spongy sanding pads make short work of those tricky inside corners. They are worth the $2/pad price and you need to get all 3 grits. If you can afford Bosch these would be a great addition to your tool box.

If you radius cut those inside corners the same size as the chamfering bit you will have a more uniform look, but I think you were going for an angle look which does look extremely nice. In that case I would break out the bastard file that will tackle that job nicely.

Please take no offense, just trying to help out on future projects. I've run into these little problems before.

Just don't come to carteret county then I would have some real competition.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
@Gom Jabbar: I'll definitely keep your suggestions in mind; one is never too old to learn new tricks
Gotta agree Bosch tools are the best, good thing I convinced my mom to buy them for me; considering I'm 24 and still in college (finishing up a Masters degree)
 

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Was just in soundx's thread and seen the link here, amazing work! I really like that, and no glue required, even I could handle that, LOL


+
For some sweet acrylic work!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
OK here's some more info regarding the lighting of the base


Carl is a big advocate of the Matrix Orbital displays and particularly the ability to display various system states (e.g. network connected/disconnected, within what temp range the CPU is running, etc) with their Indicator LED bus.






He'd like to have the activity of these indicator LEDs to be displayed through the panels of the radobase. I'll have to do a bit of testing with them, but he feels that a single one of these high-intensity LEDs in the back edge of each panel should be sufficient in illuminating the edge of the panels; this is based on the fact that he used a single LED per panel on an acrylic base he made some time ago for a wavemaster he had at the time (which incidentally was what prompted him to want one made for these Antec 900s). Just to be sure I will be doing some testing with some scrap acrylic just to be sure everything works out; as I'm not sure if the polished edges on the radobases would behave differently than the more diffuse edges on the wavemaster base (also don't want to start installing things into the radobases until I'm positive it'll work well).


The other Idea I had was to possibly install 3 colors of CCFL tubes between the panels and use the lines from the LED indicator bus to control the power to the CCFL tubes. Carl feels that this might be too overpowering and detract too much from the elegance of the radobases. So the game plan is to try using just the 3 LEDs and if that doesn't work too well then we can consider using the CCFLs (potentially the 10cm tubes as they don't put out as much light as the 30cm tubes and as such would be less obtrusive).

Either way, the wiring will be terminated to a d-sub connector and make a PCI bracket with a mating connector and wiring to go to the MO display
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Update on the lighting:

I did some testing with mounting LEDs into the acrylic for the lighting; the results are as follows:
  1. since the LEDs from the MO LED bus are very directional, installing them from the top/bottom of the panel transmits virtually no light into the panel
  2. installing the LED in the back edge with diffused edges on the panel gives a decent glow around the edge, but the edge doesn't look as nice as a polished edge
  3. installing the LED in the back edge does not produce an even glow around the edge of the panel, from the front it appears more or less as a point source
  4. since the LEDs are 4.9mm diameter and the acrylic is 5.2mm diameter, it is virtually impossible to install LEDs in the edge of the panels without the hole penetrating either the to or the bottom of the panel (at least without having CNC equipment at my disposal)
Based on these findings, Carl and I have decided to use some CCFLs for the lighting. Since he still wants to have each panel separately lighted with little or no bleeding of the light between the panels, we have decided to cut slots in the front and back of each panel and install a 10cm (4in) CCFL in each of those slots (removed from their protective casing of course
) and cover the top/bottom with electrical or duct tape to keep the light within that panel. The plan is to remove the CCFL inverters from their housings and mount them on the underside of the radobases. The signal for the LED indicator bus will be used to control relays that will switch the supply power for the CCFL inverters. All the wiring for the CCFL power and control lines will be sleeved and terminated to a DB-15 connector and I'll also make a PCI bracket which will terminate into a single molex for the CCFL power supply as well as a cable to connect to the Matrix Orbital display.
 
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