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  #11 (permalink)  
Old March 26, 2011, 10:05 AM
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If I may make a suggestion:


That'll keep the overall footprint down, still give you an ODD and let you have a blank slate for the carry handle of your choice (or not even have one for that matter).

Nonetheless, I love old/Dell/HP case mods so keep it up this is sweet.
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Old March 27, 2011, 07:59 AM
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Thanks.
The issue with mounting an ODD near the bottom is it will interfere with the PSU wires, since I'm mounting the PSU at the BOTTOM FRONT of the case. Maybe they can go side-by-side however to make for something asymmetric.

Unless my laptop dies I'm not paying for both a slim ODD and the associated adapter, so if it comes to that I'll use the beast of an external DVD-RAM drive I bought a while ago. (24cm x 16.5 cm x 6 cm, weighs 1.33kg WITHOUT the separate power cord + power brick)
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Old March 27, 2011, 08:23 AM
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+1 BBrowning idea. PSU is under mid-plate ODD is above they are about same length so short power cable thru mid-plate to ODD = clean look.
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Old April 2, 2011, 09:32 AM
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Well here's a small update because exams are coming up and I doubt I can budget more time for building this week...

I have a list of stuff I want to get to cable this build when it was finished, such as the internal USB / audio / LEDs / etc. One of the items I needed was a motherboard buzzer - I know that having one will eventually save me debugging time if I have a no-POST scenario. I didn't like the $4.00 price tag of getting a speaker from Newegg, especially since I have a pile of front panel compatible connectors (Lynxmotion - Power Cable - 8") here from my other personal projects.

I don't have an old PC case to rip the speaker out of, but I DO have some cordless telephones my dad queued to threw out because he didn't like the sound quality:

(yes I do my soldering on top of the dryer)

I grabbed the buzzer (the component that makes the phone ring) from the bottom of the PCB near the battery connector and soldered on a connector from an old PC case that had a broken speaker:

Luckily enough the phone "ringer" had the same resistance (yes I know resistance and impedance can be different for an oscillating signal) so it had a chance of working. I plugged it into another PC I had and intentionally enabled a warning tone for a fan header with no fan attached, and it worked without a problem for a good 30 minutes until I got annoyed by the sound and switched the warning off.
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Old April 12, 2011, 03:05 AM
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Interesting, looking forward to more updates.
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Old April 16, 2011, 04:06 PM
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Thanks for the interest so far. I won't be able to finish this case before my new P67 motherboard comes in, so my main rig will find a temporary home in my beaten and cut up Cooler Master Elite 330 so I don't end up trying to rush this build. (I found about 30 things that could've gone wrong if I haphazardly tried to make something that looks like the CAD without thinking about each piece.)

Among those things, is that with the 5.25" drive out of the plans, I upgraded the top fan to a 120mm fan, but I may want to downgrade the fan on the back to a 92mm because using 92mm will allow me to make use of silicone fan groomets. The space for the fan on the HP's back plate is EXACTLY 120mm wide, so all of the vibrations of the fan will be transferred onto the back plate, silicone or not.

I know positive pressure has its advantages, but I wonder if 1x140mm + 1x120mm intake vs a single 92mm exhaust fan is taking it too far?
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Old April 26, 2011, 06:04 PM
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As noted in my previous post, I temporarily put my main rig in a Coolermaster Elite 330 until I get this case finished. I've worked off and on during this exam period, during "study breaks" (when I feel my brain refuses to take in any more of a certain subject). In each short session, I cut a bracket here, cut some holes there... enough of this and I should have a case

One of the smaller but no less important modifications were to smooth out the different ridges from the original HP case (used for rubber feet, drive bays, holding plastic pieces in, etc) to make it more flat and not interfere with the side supports that I'm making. One such mod is shown below.

Before - indentation making it difficult to measure and cut hole for PSU cables:

After - I put the piece between two pieces of metal and crushed the whole thing with a vise:


Another piece of work for that same bottom panel was to cut a 140mm fan hole. I made a template to print 1-1, which accepts both types of 140mm fan commonly available - the square fans like the Silverstone Air Penetrator and Lian Li 140mm fans, and I also put 120mm spaced holes for fans like the Scythe Kaze Maru

To drill the mounting holes, I used a 5/32" drill bit followed by a step drill bit - I kept increasing the size of the hole until a mounting screw could BARELY be held in place, to account for the inaccuracies of my drilling + warping of the old piece of sheet metal. The fan hole itself was later cut out with a step drill (to make a 3/8" or so hole for jigsaw blade), a jigsaw, and cleaned up with a rotary tool + file + sanding by hand.
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Old April 28, 2011, 05:24 PM
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Well with exam season over, I poked a little more at the case. Today I attached an aluminum panel to restore the top of the back panel that I cut off to move the PSU mount:

I drilled the angle to fit the old PSU mounting holes from the HP case (hence the asymmetric positioning of holes).

Here's a shot of the case beside my Coolermaster Elite 330:

The bottom stands are not screwed in - I just put them there for a height comparison. It's close to the same height as the 330 but much shorter in depth. The width is almost the same, so hopefully that means Prolimatech Megahalems is a go in the Frankenstein case without me having to make a protrusion out of the side panel like the HAF 912 has.

My next objective is to drill out holes on the top panel for a 120mm fan (I could put two but there's no point), USB + Firewire ports (the Firewire is there just because my scavenged header is a 3-pack of 2 USB and 1 Firewire), and screws to hold the top panel to the two columns at the front. I don't like those indentations on the top plate of the original HP, so I plan to cut that whole "T" pattern out and replace it with a flat piece, made of 1/8" hard board.
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Old May 25, 2011, 05:51 PM
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Well I have a pile of updates for the month, but I didn't have the time to blog about the case as I built it... So I'll break up the updates in two posts.

I did a little cutting to make the motherboard tray fit without blocking the screws needed to fit the bottom panel to the "stands". With that done, I was able to mock up the case with an old motherboard in it:

I was surprised everything fit without any more "encouragement" than it usually takes for a cheap case, especially the I/O panel at the back.

Next, I did the top panel. There were too many little holes and bumps to put a top 120mm fan in, so I just cut out the whole thing and put a piece of plastic in:

It's nowhere near pretty but I'm hoping the plastic + mounting tape (the plastic is not screwed to the metal at all) will result in less vibrations going through the whole case due to that fan.
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Old May 25, 2011, 06:11 PM
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Now for the second run of May updates...

This silly thing took me 4 hours as I don't have proper sheet metal tools. I used tin snips, a rotary tool, a drill press, a vise, and a pile of sanding to churn this out:

It's the mount to fit on the back of the PSU - I had to make a new one evidently because I chopped the old PSU mount in half when I took the top off the case.

Next I cut holes in the side panels and test-fitted the hard drive mounts. That turned out to be the first major problem of this build:

As you can see in the picture, the HDD mount would overhang the motherboard tray, where most motherboards put the 24-pin ATX connector. That wouldn't work out, so I decided to just assume I'll only need one 3.5" drive and hack the HDD mount in half:


Just this evening, I put together some bars to hold the front panel in place. Inside the top and bottom bars are threaded inserts, so I can use machine screws rather than wood screws to put the front panel on. This gives me the ability to take off the front panel without worrying about repeated cycles with wood screws on particle board. Unfortunately, I forgot about having to have the PSU slide in through the front... If I want to swap the PSU, wood screws are going to have to come out somewhere in the bottom area.



I'll bring this thing in to my friends' upcoming LAN party, although I doubt I'll finish it by then. Expect the old roll of duct tape to come out for temporary use...
I plan to bring this project mainly to a close after said LAN party though. Although I spent enough time on this case to have levelled a character up to 25 or so in Fallout 3, I can't see myself trusting my main rig's components to the semi-cantilevered motherboard tray and other compromised pieces of structure in the thing. I have to admit though, building this thing was a lot more fun for me than gaming
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