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InsolentGnome

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InsolentGnome last won the day on November 14

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About InsolentGnome

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    Just Plain Crazy
  • Birthday 08/05/1976

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    http://www.insolentmods.com

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  1. So I got some parts in to finish up the build. The first one being a Noctua NF-A14 Redux. I like the gray color of this versus the brown of the standard Noctua fans. This will replace the stock A14 on the C14S Noctua cooler. The Redux doesn't come with the isolation pads so I stole them off the stock A14 and they actually look pretty good with the Redux and the leather trim in the case. You can also see I got my paracord for the GPU cables. I went with gold for a bit of contrast and it goes well with the green. And that's it. Pretty simple mods but I really like the way it gives the case a nice classy look. Just what you'd expect in a refined touring car. And now some final shots. Thanks for following along!
  2. And now for the paint. As you could tell from the last post, I was going with a green. Med. Cypress Green to be exact, that was available on Chevy trucks around the early 2000's. It wasn't exactly what I had in my head, but I couldn't really walk into the paint shop and check out their Aston Martin color sheets. So I went with a green I liked that they could mix in a single stage in the brand I use. I'm painting the 'brushed' aluminum looking parts and the PSU shroud cover. That amounts to the cover, the top panel, front panel, and a lower front panel. I didn't spray the off side door for a couple of reasons. First being that I was sticking to the panels that they decided needed special finishing, the brushed effect, and also, I'm never gonna look at that side, so why paint it? It looked a bit weird to me at first but it grew on me after I considered the symmetry of it with the dark glass on the other side. While that was drying, I decided that I needed to touch up part of the front panel. I had painted the whole thing chrome, but a sliver of it sits under the glass/off side door, so I taped it off and hit it with some black from an airbrush. That left a thin chrome strip between the grilling and the side panel. Much nicer. With that done, it was time to start transplanting from fusion. I went with a standard GPU, which is a bit weird for me, but I'm not looking for crazy. Custom cables of course, in a super dark charcoal with aluminum combs really fit the car aesthetic. Unfortunately I ran out of sleeving material when I got to the GPU. No more charcoal, the black sleeve I had was feces, and no other color that went with the build, so I'm bare wiring it till I get some more in. But I had to get everything back up and running because this is my main rig and I was doing this the first or second weekend of Destiny 2 Shadowkeep being out. Had to get my grind on. The last pic doesn't really do it justice since I have horrible lighting in my computer room, but you get the gist. For the CPU cooler, I'm running a Noctua C-14S, which you can barely see through the glass, but more on that later. Thanks for following along!
  3. Now for the chrome. Like on GT cars, I just wanted some accent parts, not a ton of it. So naturally I'm going to paint the biggest plastic trim part on the case chrome. I went with Molotow chrome, and although it is amazing, over large parts, it's difficult to get a good chrome look with the small tip I'm running on my air brush. There was a lot of playing around with technique. I also hit the back case feet with the chrome. I was trying for some chrome on some interior trim parts, but they didn't come out so well. Too large of an area to get the effect to come out and they were just overboard. Next I started piecing it all together. I wanted to make sure I wasn't screwing myself over somewhere and have to go back and do some more modifications after the fact. And also, this is a pretty simple mod, so it didn't take much to get it ready. Some color change and leather is enough to really class it up. I went with InWin's Polaris fans. Partly because I have a bunch of them, partly because I like the look, and partly cause they daisy chain. You mean I can have fans that I don't have to buy, that work, look good, and fit the case, and there's only one fan wire to deal with, sign me up. Then I started putting the chrome parts on, the front panel and the back feet. The grilling covers most of the chrome so not much actually shows. The holes to the right of the pass throughs are drive bay mounts and they come with little trim covers to block them off. Originally I was going to chrome these and then put some veneer in the center to make it look like a wood accent with a chrome ring. But like I mentioned before, the chrome didn't want to play nice on these parts and in the end, it just didn't look right. So I covered them in the leather as well. I think they fit perfectly. Next up... Thanks for following along!
  4. Aaannnnddd, back at it again. I'm feeling that it's time for a new case to house my personal system. My Fusion build was fun and interesting with a different look and materials, but it's just not doing it for me. I don't catch myself staring at it from time to time like I used to with Shinai, thinking how crazy it was that I had something this nice on my desk. So time for another try. I'm starting off with a BeQuiet! Dark Base 700 that I picked up for my second place finish at QuakeCon. Now lets see what all is involved in this case, since it's the first time using one. Holy feces! You almost need an engineering degree to tear this thing down. I had plans for a build that I wanted to try this winter, but this thing is way too complicated for that idea, so what now? I kept coming back to this look of old grand touring cars. Leather, chrome, wood, and for some strange reason green metallic paint. I don't know, I think I'm in a green phase? So lets start with the leather. After a successful trip to Hobby Lobby, I picked up a yard of nice faux leather. This would be perfect for accenting the interior so with some Super 77 adhesive, I started laying it out. Now I just want accents so I'm not going crazy and covering everything in leather, just some broad swaths. The last time I did leather on a tray, it was a flat custom panel, this one has some details that make it a bit more of a pain to keep clean. Luckily, most of this will be covered with other parts. After trimming and wrapping the edges around. I did go back after this picture and re-do the MB tray. I had cut it straight at the top and bottom edges and realized that it looked horrible, so I went back and wrapped the leather around the edges the second time. Next up the chrome!
  5. And finals. Thanks for checking out my build!
  6. As intimidating as all those jagged edges were, I wanted more. Tentacles. For the tentacles, I wanted what appeared to be sleeved cables, but I also wanted them to stay in place, so standard cable wasn't going to work. I chose to use 14 ga. solid copper from some 3 strand house wire that I had left over from a project. I cut it down into 2' and 3' sections that I could sleeve and ditched the bare neutral, since I wanted the insulation to help fill out the sleeving. Some of the cables sleeved for my original crazy plan. Before slapping the tentacles in, I wanted to get some of the components in so I knew what I had to work around. In goes the MB, processor, RAM and that gorgeous stock Intel cooler so I can see how the I/O cables would run. Right through the middle of the case, with clear zip ties...perfect. I'm going to mount the tentacles coming out from under the PSU. It's a good place to hide the mounting hardware, plus it looks like the PSU is sprouting cables. To hold the cables in place, I used a couple of 4" steel brackets and sandwiched the cable ends and the case floor between them. That way I could lock them together and the cables shouldn't twist, which was a concern when I was working this out in my head. Now originally I had some crazy plans. Yeah, it was a little busy. And I was going with some crazy diorama ideas with the cables, but that got a little out of hand. It's one thing for my someone to not get the gist of what's going on in a build from a pic in the middle of the process, but when I have trouble figuring out what's going on, that's a problem. It was a very colorful mistake though. And the PSU covers up the mounts perfectly. And that PSU...I went with an Enermax 500W unit that I had. No modular cables, ketchup and mustard wires, the whole nine. Or would it be a lack of the whole nine?? Save for the fact that I'm using a mITX board instead of ATX, this system could be the twin of the system I mistakenly looked at at Walmart the last time we were browsing around. I wound up taking all the different colors and ideas out and went with something a little simpler that you could understand at a glance. Fewer cables and all of them red make for nice tentacles. You might be wondering why, if I took the time to position the other cables like I was playing with an action figure, did I leave to sets unfinished. And I'll tell you. This case came to life, tore itself open into a giant maw to devour any hand to got to close, grew tentacles to grab up all the cool RGB performance parts, and... ...ripped it's own GPU out of it's slot to hold it in a vertical mount position. If that ain't some cool, gamer case cred right there, I don't know what is. I love how the 8 pin connector is just staring you down like, "What are you looking at?" I did use a riser cable to hook up the GPU so it does work and the cables do hold it in place and keep it from moving around. Plus with where it's at in relation to the teeth, it should get some decent air intake. And now you can see why I added a slot for the display cable, the GPU isn't really mounted to a panel that gives you access to the ports. Also in that pic you can see none of the zip ties are cut flush or even all that straight. It was surprisingly hard to make sure I didn't cut them off cleanly. And there you have it, a cheap 'boutique' gaming PC that has come to life and is determined to look cool and will take your hand off if given the chance. Next up the final pics. Thanks for following along!
  7. For the motherboard tray, I got stuck for a while deciding whether I wanted to just cut it down so it didn't get in the way or if I wanted to match it up to the rest of the torn look of the case. I went with the latter which meant a lot of grinding. After it was all cut out, I ground the edges and paint off of them tips and twisted them to make it look like they had been torn asunder. While in my grinding fury, I hit the back of the teeth on the metal door to clean up the ball peen marks on them. Next up was some paint. I wanted to give the torn metal parts a shiny metal look without having to worry about them rusting down the road. I tried Molotow chrome paint for the first time and boy was I impressed. Way easier than other chromes I've tried and really looks great. I did my initial painting with an air brush. I also hit the tooth pattern on the rest of the case with the chrome to match it up. After the air brushing was done, I went back and dry brushed the edges with the chrome. I wanted it to look like the paint had cracked or been worn down around the edges of the teeth. I also hit the torn part of the MB tray with the chrome treatment. You might notice the nice little panel holding the angle of the case in that pic. I decided that using a hammer to prop open the case wasn't a real long term solution so I made a plate that covers the original PCI slots and holds the case open out of aluminum. The slot is for a display cable to run to the GPU, because, well, that isn't really gonna mount to the case in a normal fashion. A bit of bend on the plate keeps the maw open. Since I wanted the case to look stock, at least in the non-ripped open parts, I wanted to get the paint on this plate as close as possible to the stock paint. To get the textured look, I used Krylon's stone textured paint as a base and covered that with a semi-gloss black. It's not perfect, but you've got to get pretty close to spot it. Close enough to lose a hand. With that, the maw was pretty much done except for some tweaking for fit. Thanks for following along!
  8. Just cutting a door and some of the frame won't cut it. (haha, cut it) We need to match up the other side of the case and the window. The window that came with the case was, I don't know, some thermoplastic something or other, but I want to cut teeth into it and sharpen them. Plus I want it non-tinted and crystal clear. We're gonna need some acrylic. Using the original window as a template I cut out some 1/8" acrylic. Then I cut my tooth pattern to mimic the other door and used a grinding bit in my dremel to sharpen all the tooth edges. Adding a sense of danger...oooooohhh. You might notice some cracks. I wanted it to look like when the panel pulled apart, it cracked the acrylic. I was originally wanted to get that look across the whole panel and tried a bunch of different ideas. Breaking the acrylic with a hammer, but that was pretty uncontrollable. Getting it to craze with alcohol, but the acrylic needs to be under tension to craze(ie a bend), so that didn't work either. I wound up tempering my goals and went for cracks at the points of the break. I got these by bridging the acrylic over my open vise and using a ball peen hammer to tap just enough to give me a crack. Once the crack started, I could just put some pressure on it to extend it. Next I turned my attention to the back door. I didn't want just jagged edges. I wanted it to look like this thing grew teeth. I wanted to give a bit of bend to them to make them look realistic. My first approach was to beat the edges with a hammer over a piece of iron pipe, giving them a bit of curve. It was the right direction but just not enough for me. To get more bend, I took my ball peen hammer (it got a workout on this build) and beat the center of the teeth, thinning and expanding the metal out in the center of them. This plus bending them back into line with the panel gave me the perfect look. It left me with impact marks, but those sand out. And now I have some truly vicious looking teeth. Then I had the front panel left. This one went a little sideways from my original idea. I cut a tooth pattern in the plastic front panel to somewhat match what was cut on the metal front of the case. I didn't want it to be a perfect match cause that would look too perfect. I ground the edges of the teeth like the side panel, but also ground across the teeth, wanting to give them a textured feel. Unfortunately I'm not a fan of the frosted look that the grinding produced. To deal with this, I coated the ground areas with clear coat. This fills up all the little gaps that light jumps around in and really toned down the frosted look. Now the areas just look wore down and roughed up. While I was at it, I hit the edges of the teeth on the acrylic panels as well, killing the frosted look and giving them more of a crystalline feel. Thanks for following along! Next up the MB tray.
  9. So this mod starts with a story. It isn't a real story, but it is the story behind this mod. Imagine yourself in a building. All around are people putting together computers for sale at large scale retail stores. Off in one corner is Sean's work table. Sean is putting together computers just like everyone else. Budget PC's to be sold at someone's local Wally World. And though the box will say 'gaming', these computers aren't the gaming monsters purchasers are lead to believe. A bunch of technical jargon plus the word 'gaming' meant to sucker anyone not well versed in computer lingo. Sean is at his table, putting together another computer. His fifth one today. He used to care. He used to get the wires just so and snug them up with a zip tie (he wasn't a fan of the zip ties, but that's what his bosses gave him) and cut the tie of perfectly flush. He used to make sure the computers he put together looked as good as they could with what he was given. Now, he doesn't. As long as a zip tie won't poke someone's eye out and the back door shuts on the wiring, it's good enough. At two paragraphs in, you're probably wondering why I'm telling you a story about some guy named Sean, and you'd be right to. But this isn't a story about Sean, it's about that fifth computer of the day that Sean is putting together. Whether by some universal magic, a random cosmic ray striking just the right spot, or an oddball plot device used to make a story work, that fifth computer was special. It was aware. Now it didn't know everything there was to know right at the moment it became aware. This isn't 'that' kind of plot device. But slowly, after being shoved into a box and sent to some store in middle America, it started to realize what it was. Even though it's box said 'gaming' it didn't feel very gaming. In fact it felt quite boring and weak. It knew it couldn't do much about what parts Sean had put into it, but it could do something about how it looked. It could at least feel gaming even if it wasn't going to be playing AAA titles at maximum resolutions. It knew what it had to do. And it knew that anyone who tried to stop it was going to lose a hand. And that's the story of this case, a boring, cheap, entry-level boutique build that's decided to take matters into its own hands, or cables as the case may be. The base is a cheap computer with basic sleeving, ketchup and mustard wires, zip ties, cheap stock parts, etc. and it has ripped itself apart giving it a maw that can easily take a hand and sprouting sleeved cables as tentacles hunting for the parts to finally make it look cool. And I'm calling it Fluffy, cause why not? I'm starting off with the Cooler Master MasterBox Q300P. And interesting little case with some nice handles on it. It's a little flimsy but for the price, not a bad case. And air flow everywhere, the thing is nothing but holes. Granted they cover all the holes with pieces of plastic, but I can work on that. Joining the Q300P is some hardware that I'm quite familiar with, it's the hardware from my Scout build. Gigabyte Z-97N-WIFI, an Intel 4790K with 8GB of Crucial Ballistix RAM, Asus GTX960 Strix, and some other parts that will actually be swapped out for something different later. Hey, it happens. Like I said, the Q300P has some neat little features, like the moveable I/O panel. That's pretty trick. But the side window is plastic and the front and top are covered by plastics that have very small grills for air flow. That's not pretty trick. The aforementioned holes everywhere plus 3 fans, 2 RGB and one non-RGB. On the cheaper side of fans, but for the price... Look at the tiny grills this thing is supposed to breath through. I'm gonna have to open it up a bit. Not that my setup will need that much air flow with a stock intel cooler and a 960, but it just seems wrong to make a case breath through this. What is this, the 90's? The first step in modding this thing is, well, to cut it in half. Why start small, right? Laying out a general tooth pattern. And next thing you know, it's a jagged tetanus machine. And that's it for this round, but thanks for checking my build out and sitting through my little story!
  10. So one last thing I wanted to do before submitting this build for the CM World Series was to clean up the wire. When the case is closed up you can't tell what's going on behind the scenes, but that just isn't good enough. I wanted the wire handled so it didn't look like a rat's nest. So I started to clean up the fan wiring, which was no small task. 4 fans with power and RGB, and and RGB controler that had it's own mini-connectors with around 18" of cable for the RGB hook up. To make things more difficult, the fans had super thin wiring, not really great for re-pinning or soldering. So what to to, fight these cables to make something decent looking, maybe or swap fans? I swapped fans. Will I get dinged on it because the rest of the Cooler Master products I have are hard to see in the case? Maybe, but I'm really wanting nicer, uncluttered wire in the back. I went back to the Polaris fans that I was running before since they daisy-chain and now I have one set of cables instead of 8. Also in a weird twist, they're quieter in this case. Both sets are silent running outside of the case, but once everything is together, it turns into a resonating chamber. The small mechanical noises get magnified A LOT! The Polaris fans seem to be either a bit quieter or at a frequency that doesn't stand out as much, so you don't wind up with as much of an annoying hum while it's running. Granted, at a LAN, you'll never hear it, but I do run it at home too, and it's just enough to be noticable. But back to the case, the cleaned up wiring. Now down to one line from the RGB controller and no need for a fan splitter. Also while in Omaha, we did a little looking around and found a camping store between the hotel and the event and they had 3/4" tension locks. No 1" locks, but these are definitely better for the top straps since they're the right size. Now all that's left are pictures for the contest. Thanks for following along and thanks to my sponsors:
  11. So back from QuakeCon. 2nd place in the scratch builds. I was hoping for more, but even while I was there I was noticing things that I wanted to fix. First on the list was my cheap straps. I ordered a nicer set of straps that were meant as replacement straps for backpack sprayers. They didn't have any cheap metal swivels and had strapping that I could make work. To make them work I needed some tension locks though, so I sacrificed an old hiking pack that I haven't used in a long time for the cause. Those aren't exactly what I'm looking for because they hook on to a loop, but they'll work. I also have the problem that these locks are 1" and my straps are 1" on the bottom, but 3/4" on the top. I'll keep my eye out for the right ones, but these will get me by for the next LAN in Omaha. As you can see, the straps are a little bit and have an extra bar, but they do work and won't give out like the metal swivels on the last set. Next fix was something that I notice at QC that had never caught my eye, but stood out when the inside of the case was lit by the fans in the dark. The lining I used in the basement was perfect, except that you could easily see the edge of it through the window and it looked pretty messy. So pull everything apart... I bought some 1" gloss black automotive trim to cover the edge of the material. So much cleaner. And since this is in the Cooler Master World Series I picked up some CM MasterFan Pro 120 LED fans and Cooler Master's RGB controller so I could get the green I wanted in the fans. My god, the wiring is a mess. But everything is installed and works and I have a LAN to get to, so cleaning up the wiring can wait....again. At least it all looks good from the front through the window. One part of the wiring that I did clean up were the switches. I had had them mounted in a box by the GPU, but that really stood out through the window. Plus, the reset button got too hot when I was re-soldering it and didn't work, and they were just a pain to reach. So time for some new buttons. I soldered up some micro switches and attached them to the frame closer to the back of the case and then ran the wires along the frame to keep them out of the way. They're invisible unless you know they're there and make turning on the rig so much easier. Plus, they both work, bonus! Now to throw it all back together and head to NETWAR in Omaha to play some games and run a case modding contest! Along the way, my truck hit 100K miles. I'm not sure if I'm happy or depressed about this. Thanks for following along and thanks to my sponsors:
  12. Time to start on finishing touches. I cleaned up the wiring with some leather cord. This isn't the last bit of wiring clean up for the case, but I needed to get it wrapped up for QuakeCon. And then I shoehorned all of it into the shell. It was a little precarious balancing everything while getting the radiator mounted. And hit the power switch...it works! The green is too much but my board didn't have an LED header so I hooked the green line of the RGB to a fan header. It's not sophisticated and I'll get a better solution, but it works for QC. And an obligatory "junk in the trunk" shot. There are some things that I'll tackle later but at least now I can throw it in the truck and we can head to QuakeCon. With my peripherals of course. Headset, mouse, TKL keyboard, 50' of cat-5, and a display cable. It's snug, but it fits. Thanks for following along and thanks to my sponsors:
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