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About InsolentGnome

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    Just Plain Crazy
  • Birthday 08/05/76

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  1. G-Frame - Scratch Build

    Holy feces, it's been over a month. That dude is crazy Bill! I like going fast, but man... Ok, so what's been going on for a month that has made this project just drag to a stop? Well, the table is done and turned out mostly the way I wanted. I went with a sanded finish because I'm gonna scratch the hell out of anything gloss and I had a bit of dust kick up in the epoxy coating. But I like it. Then PDXLAN. And then sanding the paint off the floor of my paint room(cause I get that way sometimes). And finally ordering materials to finish up the fiberglass. After sanding the panels down, I had to go back over them with another coat of resin to top them off. Unfortunately, I had run out of resin, but after getting some more in, I was in business. The topcoat filled in all the pits left from the resin soaking into the cloth. It also strengthened the panels a bit more and gave me another excuse to sand all the panels again...yay? The worst part of all this, even worse than sanding 10 fiberglass panels twice, is that I'm not really happy with the results. Don't get me wrong, they came out all right I guess, but the panels that I'm going to sandwich the acrylic in are super bendy. Tough as nails, but very bendy. And the main panels that will have the trays on them came out a little concave. Maybe a 1/4" from the center to the edge. This isn't good for milling them or mounting hardware to them. Although I know how to fix these issues, I don't really want to spend the money or time to try to redo the panels. For probably the same or less than what it would cost the get these panels right I could just order some sheets of aluminum and throw them on the mill as soon as the arrived. Needless to say, the aluminum gets here next week. Which is good because I've got part of the upgrade kit for the X-Carve sitting in the shop. Soon, the aluminum will be flying.
  2. G-Frame - Scratch Build

    And more fiberglass fun! I finally got to the final panel! The last two panels include the motherboard tray, so I couldn't just do strips like the other panels. These panels are 10 layers of 2x2 sheets. In order to make sure everything wetted out, I laid them in 2 steps, 5 sheets at a time with a bit of cure time in between. And what is left over from the huge roll of glass that I ordered. Man I went through a lot. As usual, I figured out the best way to do things on the last panels, LOL. In retrospect I should have done one more finishing coat on all my panels while I was laying them to get a smooth finish, but I didn't, so now I've got to sand the top layers so I can add this finishing coat. The sanding isn't only to smooth things out, but there are also 2 very important reasons to sand before this final coat. First is for the bonding. Like a lot of paint, once the resin is cured, you can't go back with new resin and get a chemical bond. You're left going for a physical bond and the sanding gives the new resin something to bite on. Secondly, I used a surfacing agent to help with the curing. Resin doesn't like to cure in the air and a surfacing agent is a wax that floats to the top of the surface and forms a barrier between the resin and the air. Great for curing, but now I've got a waxy barrier between the resin and my new resin. It's got to go for the best bond. So, sanding. Lots of sanding. Just a heads up, if you've never sanded fiberglass, don't. It's not fun. You wind up covered in teeny tiny glass splinters. And I thought dealing with fiberglass tubs was annoying. While I was sanding like a mad man, I decided it would be a good idea to also sand the top of my workbench for a new paint job, partially because it needed it, partially cause I needed a good place to sand these panels and I figured I'd tear it up in the process. Nothing like starting more projects in the middle of projects, LOL!
  3. G-Frame - Scratch Build

    Lol! Thanks!
  4. G-Frame - Scratch Build

    Continuing with my experiments in fiberglass, I dropped the layering down to 8 layers of glass and tried out an opaque dye. Unfortunately, it felt a lot more flimsy than the 10 layer panels I had made so I'm going to stick with 10 layers. And the dye...meh. The results were better than the transparent dyes I tried, but it looked like a hunk of blue plastic. That's just not gonna cut it so Viper blue metallic it is, at least til I change my mind, LOL. Since I'm going with paint, I'm not bothering to dye the rest of the panels. I finished the 4th of the "regular" panels up. And since I'm painting everything, I can use the previously dyed panels. So what do I mean when I say "regular" panels. Well, out of the 8 fins or blades or whatever, these 4 don't have any extras or tricks, just cut the overall shape and they're done. The 2 center panels will have the motherboard tray added to them, and then I've got two left that will get lighting in them. To pull of the lighting, my plan is to sandwich a piece of acrylic between two thin panels of fiberglass and then I can mount the LEDs in the acrylic and edge light it. I know I'm explaining it horribly, but there is a plan and it will probably make more sense as I get into it. But first off, I need to make the panels I'm sandwiching the acrylic between. To do this, I'm using the same idea for the previous panels and just halving the layers. You can see the difference in thickness. And speaking of LEDs, I wanted to try something a bit more...controllable this time around. I'm a fan of RGB strips so that I can fine tune the color or even change it up for a different look, but I usually stay away from multi-color and flashing effects. To me it's too much noise and distracts from the rest of the mod. BUT, while perusing Adafruit, I came across the FadeCandy controller board for addressable LEDs that really caught my eye. It's more art project than lighting, which makes sense cause it was developed for a Burning Man project. Built in dithering with 8 channels that can control up to 64 LEDs per channel over USB. The videos of it were cool. I had to try it. My first test run was a little hit and miss. I couldn't get some of the examples to work. The example I did get to work was for a 8x8 grid and not a strip of LEDs like I have, but by wrapping the strip around the arm of a chair, I got the strip to act like a grid and played around with it a bit. This video is running an example that controls the lighting with your mouse cursor. It's too bright to really make out a lot of details, but you can see how it shifts the pattern across the LED's. I'll be using a strip instead of a grid, so shapes are out the window, but I'm thinking a running effect will look nice and my goal is to get a twinkling effect like stars blinking in and out. The hurdle now is figuring out how to program it, LOL.
  5. G-Frame - Scratch Build

    Ok, so it's time for another personal build. I love my Shinai, but after a couple of upgrades and a couple of years on my desk, I'm looking for something different. Lately I've been eyeing the InWin H-Frame, which is a gorgeous design, but for me, it's got a couple of problems. Number one, it's expensive. Very expensive. Number two is the layout, while not bad, it doesn't really suit me or my style. So taking these two problems into consideration, I figure the only way for me to avoid spending way to much on a case that I would hack to pieces is to start from the ground up with my own H-Frame clone. Time to jump into Sketch-up and work up a design. After trying a few different ideas, I settled on a similar look with an even number of blades and a central motherboard tray which lets me mount the video cards on the back side of the tray. Good for displaying everything and gives a nice symmetry for any water cooling that I want to come up with. Speaking of water cooling, it's designed with it in mind, but it should also work well on air which would ease upgrades. So water cooling is still up in the...air. Next up in the design phase was to figure out what materials I'm using. I designed it so that the blades are easy to CNC and my first thought was to use aluminum since I've got a fair amount of experience with it. But that's also a reason to use something other than aluminium, I always like trying something new. So what's hot right now? Seems to be glass. But you can't CNC glass panels....or can you? Well, you can if it's fiberglass. And I've never worked with fiberglass so let's start the experimenting. So I ordered cloth, resin, and catalyst. That's 30 yards of fiberglass cloth. The resin is surfboard resin which I thought would work well since it cures clear. Even though I've got a ton of cloth, I decided to try my hand the first time with a Bondo fiberglass patch kit, just to see how difficult it is to work since fiberglass is usually used to cover another material(boats and surfboards) or to be laid in a mold like a gelcoat bathtub, and I'm wanting to make flat sheets. The larger piece is four layers of cloth while the narrow piece is 8 layers. I wanted to see how well the resin worked through the layers, or 'wetted out'. It was super easy to work with but I am going to have to watch how many layers I try to do at once. So lets try to make a usable panel. First is to cut out the cloth. Since most of the middle of panels will be cut out I'm trying to save some glass by using strips for the middle layers and 2' full squares for the outside layers. Since this is going to be a messy process and the resin will stick to anything, I had to find something to work on that would let me get the sheet back up. My first thought was a piece of particle board that I capped with epoxy, but that didn't work very well. I wound up using the piece of lexan that I originally used to cover my workbench. The resin eats at it, but it's easy to pop the panels off once they've cured. For my first try, I added a ton of blue dye and a couple drops of black to the resin to see if I could get a transparent effect going on. And that came out a bit darker than expected. And purple. WTH? Trial two, a lot less blue dye, and no black. And that's super transparent. And still purple? Oh and great the ends of my strips are picking up the dye(or so I thought). Trial three. Screw it, no dye. Let's just see what that looks like. Hey the ends are...showing the Sharpie marks from me laying everything out...damn. and it tints towards green with the resin and glass fibers alone. Damn. And that's as far as I got before I ran out of resin. Next step, try a couple fewer layers(down to 8) so everything wets out better and that should also leave me enough resin in each batch to cap the top of the panel. Right now I've got a cool cloth pattern, but I'm really wanting it smooth. Transparent dyes are apparently not going to work, so I've got some opaque dyes to try, but if all else fails, I've got a nice Viper metallic blue paint picked out.
  6. EEL, you've inspired me to try my hand at this. Picked up the same TKL, the matching full board, and some browns. I might wind up with some questions for you!
  7. Luna - FFXV Phanteks P400 Casemod

    Bill's mount really dressed up my standard mounting bracket.
  8. Conventions for modders

    Conventions are more for gamers while the LAN events are better suited for modders and modding. Stuff like E3 and even the expos at the larger LANs like Dreamhack and QuakeCon are mainly just about manufacturers slapping you in the face with their latest goods. The mods you'll see in those are usually boutique builder stuff. You're best bet is to pack up your PC and hit a LAN close by. Check out the LAN Party section of CPU Magazine and see where they're headed. They usually hit LANs with some modding action. And I know that I'll be doing a demo at their booth at NETWar 33 in Omaha this October. QuakeCon's BYOC is chock full of awesome mods, and if you can get a tic to PDX, be prepared to have your mind blown by the percentage of mods at the LAN. But if you don't live close to those, CPU Mag and LANFest are good ways to find good LANs close by.
  9. Luna - FFXV Phanteks P400 Casemod

    And to wrap it all up, some quick final shots. I didn't do a full setup since I was out of time and honestly, it's not my thing. And Dwight playing on his phone while we were getting ready for the GeForce Garage video. And speaking of... Thanks for checking it out!
  10. Luna - FFXV Phanteks P400 Casemod

    I've still got some final shots. Just been sidetracked.
  11. Luna - FFXV Phanteks P400 Casemod

    That's sort of becoming my thing, huh? Too bad I don't watch GOT, a case of swords would be right up my alley.
  12. Luna - FFXV Phanteks P400 Casemod

    With the interior put together and the exterior painted, it was time to put it together. Square Enix sent me Luna's necklace to use in the mod and I think I found a perfect spot to hang it. For reference, here's Luna's oracle dress that I was using as my inspiration. I think I came pretty close. Another thing you'll notice in the figure is the giant trident she wields. Wouldn't it be cool to include that some way... So I found a 3d model for a full scale replica of the trident and had a friend print it out at third scale. Not all of it could be printed since the reduction in size pushed the limits of the printer but most of the pieces came out with awesome detail. Since the original design used a pipe as the shaft, I had to find a tube that the parts would fit on and a 9/16" brass tube from the hardware store worked perfect. Here's most of it put together and on the tube. Overall, it's around 26" long. Since some of the pieces didn't come out, I had to get artsy and do some sculpting. And since I'm more of a hack paint guy than an artist, it was time to break out the Bondo. Once it was sculpted, I had to put the ends on. The head was simple since it slipped on the tube, but the tail end was flat and I had to epoxy it on. In order to help give the epoxy something to grab on to and also to help with mounting it later since the tube is thin and I didn't trust tapping it alone, I filled the brass tube with some quick set urethane resin. this gave me a flat end to epoxy the tail to and also something to tap into later. I was really proud of how the sculpting came out, I didn't think I had it in me. If I'd had more time and patience, I think I could have matched the original dead on. Next up was mounting the trident. Originally I had thought on the front bezel. The only problem with that is that the trident is huge and the front turned out super nice so I didn't want to break up the look. Then I thought about the top, but once again, it's huge and I was worried about it being used as a handle. So in the end, I decided on the back panel. It was pretty bare and I could mount it diagonally so that it didn't seem too out of place scale-wise. It only hangs a couple of inches past the ends and it goes pretty well with the logo's lines. The trident was mounted by sticking a couple of standoffs in the brass tube and then running some screws through the panel to hold it. The logo by the way was a vinyl sticker that I picked up online. It was perfect except for having to trim off the white border. That was a pain. To finish off the trident, I grabbed the airbrush and went to work, laying down a silver basecoat. Next was some black and aluminum, with a bit of home brew brass for some accent. And the final touch was a bit of hemp string for the handle. The scale is a bit off, or at least it feels that way to me, but I love the final look.
  13. Luna - FFXV Phanteks P400 Casemod

    For the vertical GPU mount, Bill sent me one of his adapters and I was planning on using it in conjunction with my own PCI cover. So I did a little Al work. I knew Bill's bracet wouldn't fit on my PCI bracket but I was planning on trying to use some existing slots on the case for the other mounts. Well, long and complicated story short, I wound up making a flat cover that went from the tabs to the slots and mounting Bill's bracket to that. Painted up in black it fits right in like it's stock. On a side note, Rustoleum semi-gloss black is a perfect match on the Phanteks chassis. After getting the shroud and GPU painted and the bracket in, it was time for some details inside the case. But I guess I probably should show a shot of what I was going for, Luna's Kingsglaive dress. The blues were a pain to match and look right with some shots and totally off with others. The first detail I pulled from this dress other than coloring was the lace covering the bottom half of the dress. So we get lace covering the PSU shroud. That's right. I put lace in a case. And let me tell you, my Amazon suggestions have gotten wierd. All glued up and tucked in. To get the lace to stay, I used some spray adhesive on the back edge and super glue on the front edge, applying it through the holes for the standard door panels. I kind of wish I would have pulled the shroud and used spray adhesive on the whole thing, thus keeping it from moving at all just because it's a show build. But personally I like the fact that the lace has a bit of life to it and isn't just glued down, even if you have to tuck the edges every now and then. In that last pick you can see a bit of what I did to the GPU. Luna's dress has some edging around her shoulder and neck. It's a pale yellow herringbone and I couldn't find anything to match, so I got close. Sometimes that's all you can do. What I used is called gimp and is a braided trim. The stuff is a pain to get a clean cut on, but it's adds a bit of flair to an otherwise boring GPU. I still wish I could have added a bit more to it. Next up was sleeving the cables. I just used the stock cables since I had room to hide any extra in the shroud. The 24 and the CPU got a grey sleeve but then I realized I was going to run out before getting the PCI-Es done. Uh oh. Before I ordered some more of the grey, I decided to take a look around the shop to see if I had other options. And funny enough, the first time I ordered sleeve from Lutro0 Customs, my order got swapped with someone else's and I wound up with some black, grey, and gold, paracord. Now the grey wouldn't even come close to matching the texture of the grey I was using and would really stand out, but the gold... ...just happens to go with the trim on the GPU. And with the grey on the 24 and CPU matching the mb, I think it's a pretty cool look. And I obviously cleaned everything up in the back.
  14. Luna - FFXV Phanteks P400 Casemod

    Continuing on with the hardware. The only specs I was given were 7700k processor, 1080Ti gpu, 32GB of RAM, and 256GB drive. That left me quite a few options and this is what I came up with. The Gigabyte Z270X Designare mb because I wanted a white or grey board, plus I like the lighting. Asus GeForce GTX 1080Ti Turbo OC because of the flat-ish shroud. It made for a good canvass. Intel i7 7700k. 32GB Corsair Vengeance LPX in white to match the build. I like the LPX cause it's not super flashy, I don't need my RAM to be all "HEY LOOK AT ME!" 500GB Samsung 960 EVO. Seasonic 1050w Snow Silent PSU. I picked out this white PSU before I finalized what case what I was going to use, hence going with white. Even with the shroud, it's a nice PSU and looks great so I stayed with it. NZXT Kraken X62 280mm AIO. I went with an AIO because they travel well and the build didn't need a custom loop. I was originally going to use the Corsair H110i, but after seeing the pump on the Kraken, I really wanted to use it. Next was to put it all on the bench to make sure everything works. No time for problems with this build. With the hardware all working and the exterior in progress, lets check out what's going on in the interior. I didn't plan on going crazy with the interior, mostly paint and detail and also flipping the GPU vertical to show it off. First up was mixing some paint to match Luna's dress from Kingsglaive. And then giving the PSU shroud and GPU some color.
  15. Luna - FFXV Phanteks P400 Casemod

    Nope, no scaring children. It's a happy build unless you've played the game, then it's a sad build. Np. Wanted to put up a log, but wanted to wait for the reveal, and going so quick on it, I missed a lot of pics.