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Found 13 results

  1. Original Project Started: Oct., 2009 Status: Ongoing "Hikeeba!" If that statement means something to you or perhaps you have a sense of déjà vu, you may be a MSTie or perhaps have MSTie-like tendencies. See, I'm a MSTie too. And a hardcore one at that. So hardcore that when my most favorite TV show of all-time was canceled (for good), I actually cried. I'm not joking. Yeah....laugh it up, wise-ass! Anyways, that is how psychotic about the show I was. *stands up and hangs head in shame* "My name is Jeremy, and I am a MSTie." *muttering hello in loose unison* I've built bots too. Sad, huh? I would be considered an ultimate dork when it comes to that. I've watched every episode of the show repeatedly over the years, and when I'm down or depressed about whatever, I know I can rely on Joel/Mike and the bots to cheer me up. They got me through some very dark years in my life. I'm tackling a theme I've been wanting to do for years that's never been done properly before in a case-mod that I've ever seen. Perhaps someone's tried, but nothing posted anywhere that I can find that's worth a squirt. So, I present to you for your possible acceptance...a mod project dedicated to the greatest cowtown-puppet show that ever graced the boob-tube: Mystery Science Theater 3000! I'm building this for my younger brother, who doesn't know about it. Mostly because he's deep in concentration (hopefully) at a university working on his last year there. He doesn't have a computer either. At least, one that's worth a . I think he's still on a skt. 478 celery. :hehe: That sucks, doesn't it? I'm trying to fix that problem. I don't have any hardware or anything, so I'm just concentrating on the case itself. That's probably going to be it too, so who knows! So let's get started, shall we? :D Have a seat in the theater! Grab some popping corn. Wrestle with your over-packaged candies so you annoy and irritate all the other movie-goers with the rustling sound of cellophane right at the moment when it's really really quiet. :hehe: Don't you hate that? Me too! It makes me want to lick a gummy-bear and toss it at the culprit. Nah...not anymore. Those days are over in fear of being thrown out. Now, I just slash your tires! Oh, wait-- ...nevermind. "Join us, won't you?" The chassis that I'm going to be tearing down and rebuilding is a long-extinct AMS CF-1006. I've used this chassis many times before. I had a small cache of them too when I bought a few for closeout prices, along with it's bigger brother, the CF-1009 (which I also have one left). I'm down to my last CF-1006. So I figured I'd do something as a 'swan-song' of sorts with it. Some of you that know my past work know I tend to spend some time on things to make it right. It's not a race, and I don't plan on changing that anytime soon! I'm going for something fun this time. Something that will bring a smile to my brother's face and perhaps some of you as well. Me? Well, I'm never happy with any of my mods, which is why I continue to pursue that 'perfect mod', which ironically doesn't exist. I'm sort of taking the "Bill Owen" method here and attacking the case impromptu without much planning. Although I do have a plan, sorta. So I guess it's not like Bill. Nevermind. I have a basic outline of what I'm doing, but I keep changing my mind on stuff. So I guess we'll see where things go, alright! Stop pestering me! :hehe: Here's an early concept design on where I'm going with it... Now, here's the actual case. I've used this particular case as a test-bed in the past; checking measurements on things, etc. It's been used as a test-pig for a couple projects I can recall directly, like my Biohazard project for instance. First step, anyways, is to replace that crappy stock acrylic/aluminum front plate. Yuck! I decided finally that the background piece was going to be aluminum first, because it's nice and sturdy and strong like a good little boy that eats his veggies! Here's a concept drawing of it... I decided at the last moment I'd ditch the embedded rheobus and replace it with a couple rocker switches for lighting control instead. I have a bad habit of thinking like the old-school watercooler that I am, so I'm always adding fan control stuff where it's just not needed. This will most-likely be an aircooled rig, and considering the sheer size and capability of the fans being utilized, I just won't need fan control. The mobo's capabilities are just fine for this. Alright, on to the actual piece! Just prior to heading up north for a small hiatus/get-together with mod-god Bill Owen, I finished the design work on the plate so I'll have the files ready. While up with Bill, we went by the machinist's place to take care of the plate real quick. We had some other things to talk about with the machinist anyways, but nothing I have the authorization to speak about yet. :D Raw material on the bed... And a few mins. later, there she is! Man, look at all that 120mm fan punch-out scrap! :hehe: A lot of MNPCTech billet grills resulted from that stuff. Anyways, here's the finished bezel. What I wasn't prepared for was how close my measurements were in my design. Sometimes I scare even myself! :hehe: Now, let's see how a 200mm fan will work there... heh heh heh. Now for some fun stuff! The stock case unfortunately came with a window in it. Normally I'd prefer to make my own. Well, I decided I'd try to turn that frown upside down and roll with the punches. :D Let's see what kind of clearance on the backside of the panel I have... Wow, that's close! But perfectly fine. Actually, I set the file up to make sure it fit right in the nook inside those rounded-metal guides. And a little test-install here. Threaded some 8-32 screws with some nuts on the backside to see how the panel looks. That's what I like to see! Measurements all spot-on. And finally, let's stick it back on the case and see how it roughly looks... Yes! And it's good! ------------- Thank you to: ------------- Thanks for watchin'!
  2. Log Completed 12-31-16 Welcome, munkys! It's been a little while since I've done any projects (last one being LilyPC), and I've been diligently plugging away at the poorly-kept secret project as well as being 'side-tracked' by a new gaming/humor YT channel called "FidnaL4D2?". Hopefully I can finish up a lot of the long-dormant logs that are stinking up my area of the forum here like rotting carrion in the warm, summer FL sun. I'll let that one hang in the air (pun intended) so you can just....think about the mental-image. Moving on. I've decided to distract myself a bit and try to do a homemade mechanical-keyboard deck. Instead of the typical full-deck I'm more of a TKL (tenkeyless) kind of user, but I've decided I'd try to make something a little smaller than that as well. There's a modestly-priced mini mech-deck you can pick up called the Magicforce 68, which comes with Kailh mechanical switches (another MX clone) on it from factory. Not my first choice, to be honest. I'm more of Gateron switch user, so I've decided to pick up just the bare PCB for the keyboard relatively cheap so I can solder on my own switches choice along with my own LED backlight color choice. And to make it even more interesting, I'm making my own custom frame/shell for it. I've decided on wood and acrylic; maple and trans-gray to be specific, with a gray-stain on the wood with clear poly to seal it. Let's get started, shall we? Sexy Gateron reds; linear switches. Generally I tend to use Blacks (or yellows; same weight), but figured I'd try out something a bit lighter this time and see how I feel. A nice bag of 2x3x4mm white LEDs for the switches to light things up. ...And some Costar-style plate-mount stabilizers (or stabs for short). I will have to modify these to work with what I plan to do though. This is what the stock Magicforce 68 deck normally looks like, for comparison: Eh... it's okay I guess. To each their own. The caps are atrocious IMHO, but I didn't even get those with my bare PCB. I plan on giving it more personality specific to my own aesthete's tastes. Spending some time taking care of some design work (and coffee drinking) along with accurate measurements, I've come up with a completely new shell to replace the stock one. I'm not a major fan of the floating keys look (even if my daily driver is a Varmilo 87), so I wanted something with the more 'recessed keys' kind of look. I decided to approach the shell's design utilizing what is referred to as the 'sandwich technique', in which you build up layers of flat material to create 3D structure instead of having two pieces that snap together like any typical keyboard's shell would. What I pictured in my head is a simple, logical shell layering that would allow clearance of the PCB, the keyboard's USB controller, and the switches themselves. Everything will be tied together with recessed screws, threaded inserts, and the top trim will be held on simply with double-sided tape as it's merely for looks. What I'm picturing is a white-glowing frame through the acrylic layer, as well as around the keys themselves (although I probably won't be using backlit caps). PCB is clean and easy to read, unlike many domestic car manuals, or stereo instructions. Here's the game-plan. Breakdown of the layers are all based on measurement requirements for the switch-to-PCB distance as well as spacing to allow custom feet to 'tilt' the deck up a bit as I like my decks with a tilt for typing purposes. Layering goes: Base (6mm wood) Frame (6mm) wood) Switch plate (6mm acrylic) Tie-down frame (3mm acrylic) Top trim (3mm wood) Normally you would use a 1.5mm metal plate for the switches (distanced enough from the PCB; I think it's usually around 2mm or so, but not sure) to allow use of stabilizers, but I didn't have that option here by going completely-custom, however 6mm acrylic will probably be plenty strong. Thankfully the PCB is very sparse so the plate can literally sit against the PCB without issue. The stock USB control-board's wiring was so short due to the stock frame's plug location being on one end, but with the new frame I wanted the USB connector to be in the middle-back, so I had to de-solder and re-solder new, longer wires crimped and reusing the original PCB connector. This is the layer the controller will reside at on the frame... This is how the controller will sit on its layer of the frame... ...And the switch plate layer surrounding the controller. A shot from the back side... Here are some sequential shots of how the deck will build up... Bottom layer with PCB sitting... USB controller layer... Switch plate layer... Frame-tie layer... And finally, the top fascia trim. On the base, I needed to begin by counter-sinking the holes which will allow me to install screws that really short standoffs will screw on to on the inside of the base, which will allow the PCB itself to sit on top of allowing screws from the top to sandwich it in place. Just like that. Doesn't have to be perfect, and it certainly won't be. It's the bottom anyway, heh heh. A short screw pushed through... ...And a thin, nylon washer on it, followed by the standoff. ...And done. After that, I needed to 'mill' out a recessed area to allow clearance of the dip-switches and USB connector itself on the PCB, as the goal was to make the overall height of the completed deck as svelt as possible. I just used some rotary-tool attachments and worked the wood down enough and cleaned it out for a test-run with the PCB. Again, it doesn't need to be perfect as it will be on the inside bottom hidden by the PCB anyway. ...And cleaned up a bit with some sanding. Seems like it'll work fine. Moving on. For the feet, I didn't want to just use some simple, off-the-shelf stereo equipment feet or even a set of the awesome milled keyboard feet I've seen resellers peddling. Not that any of those are bad; quite the contrary. I simply wanted something that fit the aesthetic of the overall mech-deck, so DIY it is. I designed the deck so it would tilt up a bit to angle the deck to an approx. point where I tend to like a keyboard to be angled at. By accomplishing this I designed the feet so they will be a wedge shape to meet the angle of the keyboard itself as it sits on the desk. Here's what I mean. The new feet. I wanted four of them spread across so it would make the deck stable and strong on the desk. I don't beat the hell out of keyboards; at least, not anymore. But I do prefer them to be strong and stable. I mean, who doesn't? Here's how the feet will meet up with the base. Two screws for each foot spread evenly across the base. It will require me to countersink the screws as well so it will clear the PCB, as there is very little room for error in there. ...And angled shot showing how it will (hopefully) work. ...And an extreme side shot showing it in action. I considered adding rubber bushings or something on them as well as the bottom front of the deck, but I use one of those total-desk mats anyway so no real need for it. Hopefully the finished deck will be heavy enough that it won't skate around though. Guess I'll see, and fix the issue when I get there. Alrighty, until the next update, thanks for wasting your time reading this schlop!
  3. Completed Log Feb. 2009 Here I am again to start off the new year with a new build. But it's not going to be huge. Not this time. I love large full-towers full of 800 lbs. of liquids and heat-producing hardware, sure, but I've decided to go the exact opposite direction. I've always wanted to build something small; like really small. I just never got around to it. And I was waiting for the hardware to get up to snuff for what I wanted to do with this vaporous idea of a build that had been bouncing around in the noggin. I think it's finally here. And a few of my piers on Bit-Tech have repeatedly stated for me to do a scratch-build, so I'm relenting. I'm throwing caution to the reckless wind. I'm just going to see what happens. This will be a HTPC build. And I've been hard at work on it already. Hell, I even scratch-designed a quasi-Blu-Ray font for the build's name because I'm anal. :lol:/> And yes, the "I" in the name signifies that I may continue to build future editions of it if this one works out well. Anyways, I present to you my first 'scratch-build' project. I'm going to be designing and cutting this thing out of different kinds of acrylic. Namely, transparent blue, solid black, and a cool mirror-blue acrylic for accents I've been itching to try. I may change things; I may not. Just have to see how it goes, ya know? ;)/> This build will comprise a few familiar parts. Namely, the motherboard. Bit-Tech was kind enough to review this board and what they found really perked my ears up (and eyes, if that's possible). Finally, a board that can get desktop performance out of a mini-ITX board, and fullHD playback too. ;)/> Of course, I speak of the J&W® Minix™ motherboard. System Specs (subject to change since it's not totally set in stone yet): Motherboard: J&W® Minix™ mini-ITX 780G AMD board CPU: AMD X2 5050e 45w AM2 RAM: GSkill DDR2-800 4gb SO-DIMM kit HDD: Western Digital Scorpio Black 320GB 2.5" SATA II Optical: LG GGC-H20LK Blu-Ray Disc / HD DVD / DVD combo unit SATA OS: not decided on yet, but probably Vista Home Premium 32-bit PSU: not decided on yet, but I have an idea Let's get started, shall we? Here's a concept of what I'm going to build... It's been interesting, to say the least. I've probably revised things with this build design over 17 times at this point. :hehe: I keep going tiny, then I expand it back out because I want more airflow, then I shrink it back down because of size. I've had designs with fullsize PSU's in it; others with 5 HDDs in it; even one with it on water with a custom chipset block, etc. I just realized I wanted to keep it simple and easy to maintain. As well as reasonably efficient, but mostly QUIET. While I'm working on finalizing intricacies with the design, I'll start with some of the actual hardware. Here's the motherboard. Bit-Tech was right; neat packaging! Here's a CD-R on top of the box for size comparison. It takes a bit getting used to looking at, I know. :lol:/> Here's some more of the junk-- er, stuff going in the build... HDD chosen.... Let's have a closer look at the chipset on the board. Hmm... I'm curious as to why this thing seems to cook so bad. Let's pop the stock sink off and have a look, shall we? That would be part of the problem. Augh. Okay, let's fix this up a bit. ...I really hate this stuff. Frackin' dried-bubblegum-under-the-lunch-table-at-a-filthy-elementary-school-style TIM... ugh.... It's ! After a quick cleaning with some TIM cleaning solution, this should make it a bit better. And a little bit of some Céramique... And pop the sink back on. I haven't been able to check on temps because I haven't actually run electricity through it at this point, but later on I was able to check power at the wall. Seems like the system under OS install was hitting 141w according to my Back-UPS. I don't think it's that high, TBH. Have to think I only have one HDD, and it's a 2.5". As well as one optical unit, 45w CPU and I'm not OCing or anything of that sort, and two 120mm low-power fans. Anyways, after I got into BIOS and let it sit for a while, BIOS was reporting that the NB was running around 52-degrees with a fan gently blowing over it. That seems consistent with others who have this board, but I haven't been able to flex the system's muscles just yet, so I really have no idea, lol. You're stressing me out, stop asking! :lol:/> System idled at 95w or so, according to the Back-UPS. Again, I don't think it's that accurate. I really hope the PSU I'm thinking of going with will handle this system fine! :worried: I'll get to that later. Installing the RAM... angle insert...click! Let's install the CPU... And some TIM of choice... There we go. All done. Here's the CPU cooler I've tentatively chosen. The Silverstone SST-NT07-AM2 1U cooler for up to 65w CPUs. Seemed to fit the bill fine what I need. Fitting on top of board to see if I have any clearance issues. Everything looks fine. Looks like it'll fit like a glove in there. I'm thinking of tossing the stock fan also for a thicker 25mm 80mm fan. I'll get to that later on though. ------------- Until the next update, I got nuthin'. :thumb:
  4. Jump to final photos if you're too impatient to read the journey! CPU Magazine Volume 14 - Issue 12 (December 2014) Welcome to Project Clunk! I must begin by issuing an apology for the seemingly jumpy posts, as I didn't intend on making a project log for this at first but was told I should, so I figured, "why not?" I should also mention that this mod was started the second day of January 2013, working on it on my free time during lunches, etc. and then it sat in a box in the shop for a few months until I continued work on it a couple weeks ago in secret, so the log may be confusing at 1st. I will be using spare parts I have left in the EEL shop so I can clean out some of it and give it a good home too. Also, it will be decked out with a lot of MNPCtech gear so keep your eyes peeled for those! This project won't be too extravagant or expensive either, hence the budget kind of feel to things. Which also makes things interesting to me because I like to flex the creative muscle for no money (other than time invested). This is a project for a friend based on a Bitfenix Outlaw chassis.... or what's left of one anyways... The story begins... Toward the end of last year, (somewhere around November I believe?) I was handed what was left of this case by Hank @ PPCs as it came in on a shipment of RMA cases from misc. retailers in the US on behalf of Bitfenix, and my initial reaction was to turn my nose up at it due to the low-tier case and horrid condition it was in with the stock front fascia busted completely off and pieces hanging left and right from it, dented panels, etc. But the more I looked at the case, the more I felt compelled to just destroy it. And that's not meant in a negative manner either, although I didn't really like the case to begin with due to the thin materials and low cost, but what really caught my eye was the inverted-ATX layout versus size. It's no big secret that I'm a fan of the inverted-ATX layout. I love it for watercooling! I had promised my friend Duke (whose favorite color is GREEN) that I would build him something sometime for him to transplant his *namebrand MATX AMD system* (cough cough) into a "better enclosure", and figured this was a perfect opportunity to do so. My initial idea was to build something kind of post-apocalyptic (due to working on BIO-A10 at the time) or something and it quickly moved to putting it loosely in the Mad Max arena, hence the name. It's just a name borrowed from a character from Mad Max, but nothing to do with the character. It just clicked in place and fit the idea perfectly. It's my take on the idea of it being a part of the gangs that the MFP tends to run down in those flicks -- or at least try to. So it's an anti-MFP build! ;) I should also place the disclaimer that this wasn't an idea stolen from Bill at all; I found it hilarious that he mentioned doing a Mad Max build sometime in the future on a past podcast and I decided to stay silent about it at the time so it would be a surprise when I finally unveiled this. I suppose insane minds think alike! So, just think of Clunk as merely an appetizer for whatever Bill has up his sleeve. I'm guessing something MFP related too. :) Can't wait for it! Let's get on with it, shall we? This is the POS chassis. Lovely, isn't it? I actually liked the way the case looked without the stock panel on it anyways, because those cheap plasticy front panels are a dime-a-dozen to me. I'll be fabricating a new front for the case. It's rather small, considering it an ATX chassis. I'm a packrat by nature, if some of you didn't already know, so I tend to keep a lot of weird things I remove off past cases. I also happen to keep a lot of solid materials that I can use, and I happened to have a front panel off a destroyed Lian Li V-2100B. And look, it also happens to be just the right size for a new front panel! The ridged nature to the panel also adds a certain coolness for it to me too, considering it's just a piece of aluminum (aluminium for Kyle)! And the 1st in a substantial jump forward... Here's what I've been up to with the opposite-mobo side panel... I'll be back when I have more to show after I've ripped the guts out of it and given it the B-Jesus! Thanks for wasting some of your time reading this hog-wash! Toodles!
  5. Jump to final photos! Well, hello! *waves* Hm, what's that? ...Ah, yes. LilyPC. Yeah... See, here's the thing. It was time to move on. The project was simply too big in size. That's it. That's the reason. The thing is she's a kid. Giving her a watercooled setup probably isn't the smartest thing to do, nevermind the simplicity of the loop, etc. She's a kid. So I decided to go a different direction. And I've considered the original project abandoned. So, very much like Hollywood's current film-making process, I've decided to reboot things. I just hope it'll be a different outcome in that it will be a little better than the original. ;) Once upon a time (going on 5 years ago), I had a project I was literally on the doorstep of using a Zotac ION ITX board (brand-new just streeted at the time; circa 2010). It was going to be my next Noire build, as well as being my next HTPC. It was going to be using Lian Li's brand new (at the time) Q-07 chassis. I had the custom powder ready to go. Acrylic done. That project was going to be called "Noire HD". Here's a mockup I did for the project log that never happened: The kicker is, I spent so much pre-design and planning on the project that I designed a custom full-cover waterblock conversion/re-purposing that would replace the stock cooling on the mobo, effectively simultaneously cooling the CPU and the GPU. Nothing new. At least now. 5 years ago it wasn't very common. Fast-forward to today -- it seems like a lot of the waterblock companies have their own version of an ITX block that cools everything on the mobo. Final block, tested working perfectly: Ironically, when asked if I had any new ideas for products, I presented the idea to one of PPC's EK contacts at the time a couple years back who was involved in R&D; he shot the idea down saying it wouldn't work because there wasn't a large call for that kind of thing. He moved on to other things shortly after that. ...EK now make tons of full-cover ITX blocks. :lol: It's a shame I didn't get around to the project, because just before I threw the switch is when I got laid off. And signed a lease the same day (before getting laid off). And found out we had a kid on the way. Etc., etc. Same story that I've already gone into in other (completed) logs. Anyway, Clean-slate. Fast-forward to now, I decided after building a floating desk in Lily's bedroom that the original LilyPC was going to be way too big for it. So I decided to also abandon (abort?) the Noire HD project (which I no longer have a need for a HTPC) and re-design everything for a new ITX LilyPC. I decided I was going to stay with aircooling too, so no waterblocks now. It's for the best. And for ease-of-use and maintenance. Now I'll be able to just give the rig a blast of compressed air with the compressor in the shop and clean out dust, bugs, etc. once in a while instead of draining and rebuilding occasionally. Besides, the ION chip isn't really supposed to get all that hot considering TDP. Although it seems (seemed) to get hot when everyone was buying them. Stock cooling sucks. It's as simple as that. So I have an easy plan to fix that using stuff I had laying about that just happened to work out with it. And with the wonderful help and support from great companies like MNPCTech and ADATA (who have both shown an extraordinary amount of patience with this project), I can make it happen! Now, on to the log proper. Here's the case I will be working on. Lian Li Q-07, ITX form-factor. I had already removed the front pair of USB ports; not necessary. Besides... I don't think Lily knows what USB ports are. :) ...And removed. Now, moving on to the motherboard. Zotac ION-ITX-K board. Stock cooling left much to be desired. :/ So I ripped it off and cleaned all the chewing gum crap they usually slather all over board's chips. I also began installing standoffs for a old Thermalright cooler I had that looked like it might fit. It did. :) Shot of both the CPU and the GPU chips.... ....and new cooler installed on the GPU chip. :) Closeup of the almost non-existent clearance for the bracket holding the cooler on... I also installed a passive cooler on the CPU using thermal adhesive. The board seems to run flawlessly with a fan somewhat pointed in the coolers' general direction, which is great because I don't plan on putting a fan directly on the cooler. I'm going to have a pair of 120mm fans in the case; one intake and one side exhaust. The air should simply run through the case, through the coolers, and out the side. Temps should be more than acceptable, and certainly lower than the stock cooling offers by far. Alright, back to the case now. Some of the mods I'm going to do to this case involves removing the PCI bracket area, since I won't be needing it at all. I'll also need to drill out the rivets that hold the ATX PSU frame on. Not needed as I'm using a Pico-ITX PSU and power brick to power this lil' thing. I'm going to be removing the stock feet on the case, since they kinda...well...suck. Replacing them with MNPCTech's mini feet of course! Let's do some drilling! If you're a modder, you most likely relate with this... :lol: Let's drill out those rivets now. I'm also going to remove the 3.5" HDD bracket since I won't be using that either... ...And removed. No matter how much experience you have with rotary tools, etc. you should always mask off your work-area. Just need to remove this little tab. It doesn't even need to be perfect as it's getting covered over anyway. ...And done. Masking off the front of the case so I can start marking out the holes I'll need to drill on the case. A good trick for fans is to mark out the four mounting holes and using a ruler, you draw lines criss-cross and the intersecting middle will give you the center of the fan's opening. ...and done. I went ahead and clamped down the entire chassis on my table-vise, since it's small enough. Drilling out the smaller holes and getting ready for the large one... Holesaws are very dangerous; use with caution and proper protection. I like to use eyewear, hearing protection, and condoms. Drilling.... Go slow; let the saw do it's job. ...And done. Just need to clean up the edge with a file or rotary tool sanding drum. Drilled out the 16mm hole for the new power switch and dropped in a dead test switch for checking. Looks fine! Alright, that's it for this log update. I'll be back with more in due time. Toodles!
  6. Log Completed Sept. 2012 Final Photos Computer Power User Magazine spread CPU Mag Dec. 2012 issue (digital edition) Well, hello there! It's been a little while; not too long though, right? I think? Actually, it's been way too long, indeed. I have some explaining to do and some dirty laundry to air before we get started on this new project log; the 1st of quite a few project logs that have been clogging up E.E.L.'s brain like three runs to Taco Bell in one day does to a lactose-intolerant without any fiber intake, so please afford me this much if I run off-topic before there really IS a topic, okay? I'm going to answer the main Q that some of you may be thinking right now, assuming you're familiar with me/my work from the past, so here we go. 1). What the bloody-jumpin'-freakin'-hell happened to you!? Well, see, the short answer is, my life has been turned upside down and back again. The long answer is, my long-time career-shattering job I was in possession of for close to two decades was ended. Not by choice, but by necessity (because of the piss-poor economy Stateside). I worked for a small business; family-run. I was the only non-family employee, but the odd thing was I was probably the most-valuable considering I was keeping them afloat with over 60% of the income from my department, but I was let go because the company was going to go under if they didn't let SOMEONE go; that person was me because I didn't share the last name with the rest of the employees. The worst part was, I was told on the SAME DAY I SIGNED A LEASE FOR NEW PROPERTY; was given the bad news when I returned to work that early afternoon. Needless to say, I was VERY irate about it. The pseudo-boss I had gave me the news with tears streaming down her face, along with her brother. I'm sure they were crying because the only person who could actually DO any of the work was being swept out the door like a two-day old turd on the brand-new carpet. But I digress. For those that didn't know, I was (am) a graphic designer and t-shirt printer. I have been tinkering with it since I was 11 years old. To put it into perspective, I worked on Macs when they had a killer reputation for quick and powerful processing, and it was the ONLY graphics platform available. My first "illustration" program I touched was MacDraw. I recall when Photoshop came out--the first one. Illustrator 88+. Etc, etc. Bottom line is, I had been around it for quite a while. And I loved it. I enjoyed every minute of it. I miss it more than I could even begin to iterate here in a stupid project log. It was (still is) a big part of me, and not having my print-room makes me feel naked and incomplete in an odd way. I spent so many hours there; so many records played in there; so many gallons of sweat spilled there because of no A/C on occasion and working in a 100+-degree room. I remember watching the Sept. 11 attacks on an old tube TV from Sears-Roebuck (with wood-grain!) in that room. I enjoyed that place, and enjoyed my job. And it really wasn't a job to me. It gave me an outlet to push my creativity out and flex that muscle we all seem to have (at least those creative types out there). I put in overtime, but wasn't paid because I was salaried. I loved those 2 hour lunches too. And my own keys to the place. And the 2-am modding escapades in that building! I was modding there when a hurricane dropped right on top of us and my car was flooded out. Bottom line is, I was very sad to see it go. So now I was unemployed. That fast. I was given what they could afford to me to help me out, but I was screwed, plain and simple. The hell was I going to do? I needed something QUICK, even if it was temporary because of the lease on the new rental being a major increase in rent. But, those $30/hr paychecks will be hard to match. Then I recalled something. The manager of Performance-PCs had offered me the modding dept about 6 months prior and I kind of laughed softly in his face about it because it was a couple tax-brackets lower. Hell, that could work. Right? So I talk to the owner about it all; explained the situation, etc. I'm hired easily. But things are really bad, financially speaking. I won't go into specifics, but things really sucked in comparison. A month later, I'm miserable. Work is so different. And irritating. And suffocating. The lady is feeling a little ill, but nothing really clicked. Then, on a whim we get a pregnancy-test... Yup. Positive. Oh. My. God. So life gets any more interesting. We scramble to get the wedding plans cemented; making everything from scratch including the clothes and cakes. We get it done. And it was beautiful. Perfect. PERFECT! And we get the house we were fighting with the bank over and I rely on my impeccable and exorbitant credit to float us into the house. I really believe had I not had such stellar credit, we would be sleeping in a cardboard box right now. And nine months later, the most-beautiful thing in the world to me was born. And it changed my life. For the better. Made me, along with his mother, a whole person. Complete in every way. Except, for those awesome paychecks I still miss. There is so much more to the story, like failed business attempts and massive debt, but I'll leave it there. Enough has been said, IMO. You get the picture. I miss my laser. ----------------------------------------- Now, time to move on the dirty laundry I mentioned earlier. Heh. Heh. Now, those that know me personally know I do not take kindly to being snubbed or mistreated in any fashion. I'm a very easy-going kind of dude, and I afford respect to everyone. But sometimes, some just piss me off. And that includes companies. Computer supply companies. For those with a longer memory can recall I was graciously given an article in Custom PC for my Blu-Bawx I scratchbuild project, thanks to the infinite kindness of Antony Leather and the rest of the staff at Custom PC magazine and Bit-Tech. But--there's a downside to this. There was prize-pack from misc. companies for having your mod or whatever in the mag. Prizes from companies including Corsair, Cooler Master, MSI and QuietPC. Guess what? I only received the gear from Corsair and QuietPC. ***update - As of August 27th, the issue has been resolved with Cooler Master due to the exhaustive help, support and badgering from Bill Owen, Antony L., Richard S., as well as some help from Nic - Cooler Master US and the Cooler Master rep that actually has a brain in his gourd - - Mr. Wu from Cooler Master Taiwan who put his foot down and fixed the whole issue. Infinite thanks, Mr. Wu! Your reputation proceeds you, kind sir. And it should be pointed out that there was no help at all from the UK team. Shame on you guys! :nono: *** MSI didn't respond to ONE attempt at contacting them. Nothing. Nothing! So, here's the bottom line with this issue. I didn't necessarily care that much for the prizes I was supposed to receive because they were mid to low-end gear and I tend to use good stuff myself, but I WAS going to give it to my step-daughter for a system for her. So, good job, MSI! You made my step-daughter cry, you morons! I had been using MSI boards off-and-on for a while as well. Socket 478 days I loved their red-PCB'd boards, since red-n-black was always my color scheme. But, because of this snubbing, you guys have lost me as a customer and supporter as well. You guys suck. You have a new name to me.... or three... I think "MSI" probably stands for this, since they don't seem to want us modders to use their gear, right? Or, perhaps this in my case: Nah....I think it just means this: So here it is, you jackasses. Enjoy it. It's for you. Eat my @$$ Award just for you. -------------------------------------- Now, finally, with all that BS out of the way, let's get to some friggin' moddin'! At least, assuming I haven't been banned at this point for my rant. :lol:/> This project is based around a Lian Li PC-A10 chassis. Back when Lian Li really new what the hell they were doing. What an awesome case. And so much potential! Being the new, svelt, and affordable E.E.L., I was able to snag a couple of these extinct cases from work on the real-cheap because they were both missing mobo trays and one was pretty beat up. I was basically sponsored these cases, for the low cost I paid for them. The irony of it all was, I happen to have an A10 mobo tray in my arsenal of computer parts I've pack-ratted over the years. :lol:/> So, that takes care of that. This build is for my best friend, who has been extraordinarily patient with all of this. He gets the 1st stab on these cases. His theme is always a "biohazard" type of thing. Some recall my previous build for him based around this idea. Well, he loves it. And who am I to mock him for it? ...I do. Yes. :lol:/> But still. To each their own, right? So, here's what I'm going to do: That's what he saw a little while back when it was in the preliminary stage of design, but-- I gave him the option of a "weathered" build or a clean build. He chose clean. ....sooooo, he gets weathered. :lol:/> I'm such a rebel. Let's take a look at the chassis, shall we? Nothing special. At least, at first glance. Some one had applied a horrid psuedo-carbon fiber vinyl film to the front door. I'll fix that. Oooooh, I will. It's in bad shape, but I've seen a lot worse. I can turn it around. Some dents on the panels, etc. I think it'll add to the theme though. I love the layout inside. Seriously. For the smaller size of the case, you can really fit some serious cooling in here. I love it. Let's start stripping her down. A lot of surgery needed. A lot of wiring I'll no longer need! Oh yeah...these are gone. Let's remove the racks, here... These are definitely gone! This too... Let's get rid of the top IO ports too. I'll need some room to work and maneuver so this will make it easier. There. Simple. I'll keep this thing for later. They always come in handy! There's a little fan controller built in. It's gone too. Peek-a-boo! This is going to be really fun! Now, hopefully I can post again within a couple more years! :clap: Forgive me; It's been a little while since I've been in the driver's seat and my log-fu is a bit rusty. Not unlike this case will be. I'm sorry, guys. Truly. I'll be a better modder. I promise.
  7. Completed Log June 2007 Final Photos The MicroSuperFly case started life as an Ultra Micro Fly M-ATX case. I had snagged one a while back for next to nothing, and quickly lost interest in it. It sat in a dark room occasionally getting kicked whenever I'd go in the room (not on purpose though!). I decided I'd modify what I didn't care for on it, which meant removing the whole front fascia and rebuilding the case. New paint, new acrylic, etc. I recently co-started a graphic design & screen printing company, and I needed a personal rig to be used for the business. Stock, it had a single 80MM fan up front and a single 120MM in back; removable mobo tray, etc. I decided I wanted to open it up a bit, so I cut out the bottom-half of the case's aluminum up front, and replaced it with a new piece of aluminum. I sketched out and digitally designed a new front for the case, as well as incorporating 4 USB 2.0 ports, HD audio ports, and a firewire port all using a 3.5" Silverstone add-on. I measured and designed the front, laying out where the three 80mm fans were going to go, as well as the aforementioned external ports. Also decided to use an unused lighted Bulgin switch for the power switch. In back, I decided to leave the stock 120mm UV fan, as it was sufficient and quiet enough for use here. I spliced together the three 80mm fans to one power-lead (the Sunbeam Rheobus has 20w of power on each channel, so this didn't even make it break a sweat), sleeved and shrinked all fans and the CCFL tube; shortened, cleaned up and sleeved the CCFL power switch lead. Stock case had a slide-in HDD rack on the right side of the IDE bays when looking at the front of the case. In it's stock form, there was no airflow at all to the HDD, relying on the bare-metal aluminum contact and using the chassis as a sort of heatsink for the HDD's. Using a Raptor, this just wasn't going to work for me (I like my HDD's cool as hell...which is an oxymoron...but I digress). So I tossed the stock acrylic windows and designed new ones, and the side that the HDD is on also got a low-profile 80mm intake fan right over the HDD. Sanded down, lacquer thinner cleaned, primed and painted the case in a metallic blue flake instead of the stock black paint (that was already ruined at this point anyways due to my previously-mentioned darkened room negligence). Summed up: Replacement panels measured, digitally designed, and lasercut. Case was stripped to individual pieces, modded and cut, sanded, lacquer thinner cleansing, primed, and painted with rattlecan paint. 2 layers of primer; 2 layers of paint, and one layer of clearcoat. Left to dry for at least 24 hours, then oven baked. Everything tied together using black buttonhead socketcap screws (some of my favorites). System specs: Foxconn M-ATX 6150K8MC-KRSCH2 mobo AMD 939 3200+ CPU (2.0 stock; no OC...I know...OLD! I'm gonna replace it with an X2 at least) 1GB Corsair DDR400 RAM WD Raptor 74GB SATA HDD Ultra 400W XVS-series modular PSU Zalman CNPS7000B-AlCu LED CPU cooler Sunbeam Rheobus Stealthed Samsung SATA DVD-RW Drive Cooler Master UV 80mm fans (intake; spliced & running in series) Ultra UV blue 120mm fan (exhaust) Hiper UV blue thin 80mm side HDD fan Results: Case is very quiet; almost no noise at all. HDD runs at 30 degrees under load. CPU, 32. board, 30. Overall, I'm satisifed! OS: Dual-boot Ubuntu and XP Pro x86 P.S. I apologize whole-heartedly to any of you who actually view this post for my longwinded typing...I tend to ramble...and the terrible pics; filthy benches and junk everywhere, and very amateur! They were done at work since I spend most of my time there anyways, and where most of my modding is done. Quiet, space, no distractions, and power-plugs! Here are the images of the case... Stock Case (not my pic but simply a decent pic of stock case) Modded Case Modded Case Close-Up of Front Modded Case Close-Up of Side HDD cooler Modded Case Nightime Shot Modded Case Side Panel Nighttime Shot That is all on this one. Hope it wasn't too painful. Thanks for your time. Drive safely and stay clear of significant amounts of saturated fats. :thumb:
  8. Completed Log Sept. 2008 The Biohazard case started life as a brand-new (and hard to find) AMS gTower CF-1009 full-tower case. This was a rush job build for my best friend's 30th birthday, and he's been running an ancient Koolance full-tower case (that I laugh at every time I go over to his house), so I wanted to do something special for him. Hey, call me a poof, but we've been best friends for 22 of my almost 31 years! He's always loved Biohazard-themed stuff on the comp, like case-badges and that sort of droll, so I wanted to go with a "Biohazard" theme for this mod. The idea may have been beaten to death as far as case themes go, but I really don't care and neither does he ;)/>. Note: This is just a case mod, not a total system build; I just modded the case for him. It's his job to add stuff to it! Stock, the CF-1009 had a single 80mm up front hidden by the acrylic plate (boo!) and a single 120mm in back and two 80mm's up top in the back. I decided I wanted to incorporate a Black Ice GTS360 in the top for a single block reservoir loop and using a fillport. The single 80mm up front had to go. So I painstakingly measured and sat down and designed a totally new front acrylic plate with a Biohazard theme to it. Measurements are within a tiny tolerance! I decided to keep the stock power and reset switches, as they were really quite nice for stock. The external ports were kept as well, in case he needed them. Also, I decided to not cover over the 5.25 bays, like I wanted to; he needs expansion. Why? I dunno! :hehe: I cut out the stock aluminum from the front and replaced it with a blank plate of aluminum for a 120mm intake fan. In back, I decided to cut out the stock 120mm 'grill' to open it up a bit, and inversed the direction so it blows into the case for pressure equalization. The top triple rad will be sucking air through it and out of the case, so I wanted to minimize dust coming into the case. The side panel was measured and digitally designed for a window to be cut into it (no stock window on this one; at least mine didn't). I also added a 120mm fan to the side panel acrylic as well for more pressure equalization and GPU fresh air!). Top two 80mm grills were removed also and cleaned up. Acrylic that was decided on by me was UV green and solid orange backing for it. I was inspired by this pic I came across while researching something unrelated... Ugly as all hell, but it works for the theme I was going for! :lol:/> Top acrylic grill was sketched, digitally designed and lasercut. The staggered to the left 5.25 bays actually helped me in what I wanted to do. It just jumped out. So I went with it. I incorporated the fillport into the 'O' character in the name, which leads to a Swiftech micro-res (g1/4" tapped on top for a barb) mounted inside. Summed up: Case was stripped to individual pieces, modded and cut (120mm front intake, top fans for rad, and fillport). Side panel measured and jigsawed out for window; cleaned up with filing to make everything straight and clean. Inside of case was sound-deadened to minimize rattle (although this case is built like a tank, so I doubt that'll happen!) but also to minimize noise (obviously). I left the stock finish on the case because I didn't have the heart to ruin such a beautiful stock finish! I read a little while back on one of Bill Owen's old case-logs about the paintjob on these things, but I didn't expect it to be this nice. Very nice. Sleeved all fans in UV green with UV green shrink. Designed and plotter-cut sticker for front top of case. measured, drilled and installed case handles. Case Specs: Swiftech Micro-res reservoir Black Ice GT Stealth 360 rad up top EK Waterblocks EK-Wave CPU block EK Waterblocks EK-FC88GT Nickel-plated GPU block XSPC UV Green 7/16" tubing throughout build Primochill UV Orange tubing coils Laing DDC pump acrylic top-modded for 1/2" barbs Xinruilian green led 120mm fans (on rad) Ultra 120mm UV green led fan (intake on case, side panel and rear) UV green acrylic-ringed mesh dust filters called Filteright™ (love those things!) Stock AMS CF-1009 case... Mockup design(s) I did for the case mod... Looking at the file now, looks like I did no less than 7 different versions for the front, side, and top before deciding on the ones I actually went with! :lol:/> Talk about overkill... Side window done... Top of case done... Another angle... And another... Modded case as it was... More updates to come....
  9. COMPLETED LOG - AUGUST 2009 Final Photos Hello again! :D/> Yeah, it's me. E.E.L. And I have another case mod project coming along here. What's that...? Oh, yeah. My other build. *sighs* Yeah, it'll get done. I have a small problem though. I can't sit idle for long or I go insane. Well, more insane than I am currently, that is. But I came across a kick-ass deal on a chassis that I couldn't pass up. And to be honest, I love a good deal. Who doesn't, right? Anyways, I've had this idea floating in my head for quite a while in varying forms, I just never got around to it. Now, I have. The 'excuse' for the mod even happening is that I've been thinking of retiring the SuperMicroFly. I need something bigger for work. No, I'm not trashing Micro, I'm just retiring it; meaning I'll be transferring all the stuff over to this new mod and possibly selling the old girl. We'll see how this goes and see where I ultimately end up. Initially, this mod was going to be based around a Lian Li PC-V300, because I had landed one for about 40.00 on FleaBay, but the guy screwed me. Typical, right? Oh well. He's been taken care of. But anyways... Decided to go another route. I decided a while ago to mod something other than a desktop chassis. I figured I'd go for broke and mod a server chassis. No, not a server tower. A 4U server rack unit! So I started my search for a suitable 4U unit I can cut up to my black heart's desire, and found one. First off, I wanted aluminum. I'll let ya in on a little secret: I hate steel. HATE it. I hate cutting on it. I hate looking at it. It's an ugly metal IMHO. Not to mention weight. I love aluminum in contrast. It's just...a little more kind to work with, you know? ;)/> So that narrowed down my search a bit. A 4u unit that's aluminum. Now, that's where the price skyrockets. I found a cheap unit from Ark, specifically the CF439. It states it's aluminum, so I figured okay then. Around $180 shipped to the door. I held off for a little bit, and I happened to come across the same exact unit from someone somewhat locally being sold as a company closeout. I guess they were getting rid of old hardware they never used, because it was still in the box. Great and all, but the price is was killed me; $70 shipped. Great deal. So, I found my case. And here's where the fun begins. "Express elevator to hell.....going down!" Now, the idea around this mod is....yup, you guessed it....yet another ALIENS-related build. Specifically, the Colonial Marines of the film. After my "Building Better Worlds" mod seemed to scare many with my fearfully strange sense of humor, I figured I'd go realistic this time. Besides, I have a soft spot in my heart for the Colonial Marines. And I'm hoping to try to do them justice with this build. I wanted to build something that looks like it would be apart of their arsenal or equipment that they'd use on a daily basis or perhaps when out in the field. Something that would perhaps dock inside the APC or perhaps with the dropship or something. You know, something general issued or perhaps MOS-specific. So that's where the server idea comes into play. Here's a quick quick mockup I did, that looks like ass but I don't really care. I spend more time clipping my nails than coming up with a mockup for case mods. And it probably will be completely different from this when it's all done too, but who knows. I'm going to 'weather' it, or beat it the hell up to make it well-used or well-loved. However that could be taken. There will be a total 'military' paintjob and SFX on top of that. I've been designing ideas for stenciling to go on the beast, as well as other more permanent mods. I've also decided, assuming I can swing it, I'm going water with it. I've dived into my 'spare parts box', and have discovered I have a lot of sh*t! How the hell did I wind up with all this?! Regardless of my mental instability, I'm going to try to get rid of some of this stuff by using it. Alright, onto the case proper. Let the journey begin! Here's the stock case removed from the box. The brushed aluminum reminds me of Cooler Master's aluminum. She's really light, considering the size. I'd say maybe 18 lbs or so? And the security door down. The top panel is held on with 4 screws at the four corners and it lifts off. Here's the inside. Wait-- What's this? Steel? Steel!? :duh: So much for 'full aluminum'. Thanks, Ark. :(/> Oh well. I can work with it. It's fine. Man, there's a lot of room in here, isn't there? I'm sure some of you administrative types are used to seeing this, but this humble modder usually cuts on normal stuff so it's new to me. Nice, regardless. This'll be fun! Front 120mm intake fan bracket. Looks industrial and sparse. I like it. Dunno if I'm going to keep it, but still. Let's take a look at these handles... Aw, man! :duh: Plastic. Bloody plastic. Oh well. I'll switch those out too, I suppose. Under the plastic handle reveals the 8 screws that hold on the front panel! I like this style of manufacturing. It makes sense to me. It's not all convoluted and annoying. Well, mostly anyways. ...Steel.... :grr: And the front plate comes right off. Nice and easy. The unit has a lead from the front of the case for a PS2 keyboard or whatever to be plugged in. I won't be needing this, so she's gone. That hole looks awfully close to 22mm or so. Perfect spot for a bulgin switch! :)/> I enlarged the hole just a smidge, and also drilled out the chassis with a holesaw where the PS2 thing was located. Everything fits great now using my test bulgin. I'll probably use a standard plain bulgin switch that I previously bought from Bill Owen's case mod store that I have laying around. It'll have that industrial look. Speaking of Mr. Owen, I'm also using some of his kick-ass billet machined black PC case feet that was given to me for Lumière Noire They're also available in Silver aluminum Billet finish here, https://mnpctech.com/pc-computer-stereo-desktop-case-feet/grooved-pc-case-feet-black.html Again, these case feet aren't hollow junk. They are heavy, solid, and American made quality pieces of kit. You will not be disappointed in these or anything you get from MNPCTech. Get some. NOW! These feet will go perfect with this build. They fit right in. The case will sit right on top of them like so. Looking inside the chassis, they made everything so easy to use and modular. Everything basically comes out with minimal effort; 4 thumbscrews remove it. Here's the HDD rack that sits behind the front 120mm fan intake removed. Even the IDE rack comes out with 4 screws too. ..And the 3.5" bay too! Oh, I also removed the front security door too. It'll require modding and other stuff. ;)/> Alright, Marines. Let's start cuttin' on this bitch, shall we?! Hell-Yeah! I can think of steel being good for one thing when cutting on it. A light-show! Here's me dremeling out the rear fan ports. Yeehaw! After you're done with the initial cuts, it should look like this. Now to sand down those barbs and make it flush. There. All cleaned up and ready for final sanding for the coating going on the whole chassis. I'll be using simple old school wire fan guards colored the same as the chassis to give it that 'subdued' understated military look but also to make sure there's enough airflow through this thing. I'd have preferred one 120mm fan to two 80's, but eh. Can't complain. It'll rock. Hopefully. Alright, here's some of the sh*t I found in my 'spare parts box' that everyone has, I'm sure. I'm going to try to use all this stuff, assuming I can get water running in this thing. I'm sure I can. I have a Black ice Pro II dual 120mm rad laying around, as well as a Swiftech Apogee water block that's seen better days but will be fine after a ketchup scrubbin'! And the previously-unused AM2 plate which will be used this time. I also had 4 unopened Arctic Cooling PWM 80mm fans. These things are quiet and move plenty of air. I'm going to use 'em here. Or try to anyways. Also had some clear hose coils. I'll need that because the hose will be tightly run in here. I also have a spare DDC pump laying around in here somewhere, that I'll probably use with 3/8" barbs on everything. Plenty of capability for this system. Now, the fans going on the rad? I'll get to that in a second. I also came across something else I didn't know I had. :hehe: It's a bloody Koolance PC2 control board and display! WTH? LOL. After some quick research on Koolance' site about the fans used originally with these control units state, "they must operate in the full range of 4.5-12VDC @0.2-1A. (NOTE: Many 12V fans do not operate below 5V!)". LOL. And the 80's used with it have a current of .23A. So I did a little more digging. I wanted to use 38mm thick fans for more static pressure. But I'm only cooling a stock AM2 CPU that runs @ 65W, so I'll be fine I think with 25mm units. After some digging, I've found that Scythe S-Flex 1600rpm fans supposedly have a startup voltage around 4v! Perfect! And they even have a current of .20A so they won't toast the headers on this unit. This is gonna rule. If I can get this to work fine. I don't have any of the S-Flex fans though, so a quick order with Hank @ Performance-PC's will fix the problem. I'm betting they'll work fine. It'll give me plenty of airflow when/if I need it, but they undervolt quite well too. Now, let's plug this piece of shhhhurely fine piece of equipment-- to Winona. Hm? Who's Winona? Is she hot? Well, not really. Winona's my POS 150w PSU I rewired to start when I plug her in the wall. Sorry for the misleading statement. Yes! :hehe: Works fine. And it even jumps up the speed on the fans with a simple push-button selection or automatically when the thermal probe gets heated up past a certain threshold. And as a bonus, it looks kind of cheapy militaryesque too, right? I'll mod this into a custom plate I'm going to make to go on the front of the chassis behind the door to make everything flush and clean and sparse. I have some other plans for this too, but they'll unfold in due-time. Whew! What a first post eh? Now, I just need to not post an update for like 2 months and it'll be like Lumière Noire is! Oh, wait...that's not funny! :eyebrow: This build's probably going to be fast. I'm brimming with ideas. ------------- Until the next update, I got nuthin'. :thumb:
  10. Completed Log Sept. 2009 Final Photos CPU Magazine July 2010 issue spread (digital edition) Well, here we are again. Every couple of years or so, I build a new 'main' rig, and I tend to refer to it as "Lumière Noire" each time. So if this is confusing, it's understandable. I had attempted to log the last version of "Lumière Noire" over at B-T, but right in the middle of it, I had decided to build a new rig. So, of course, the old one was scooted away like a bowl of cold mushy oatmeal. Hey, upgrading does it, right? Regardless, this is my main rig. This is my big beast. This is my pinnacle of evolution. This is my baby. Man, I'm a dork. Let's see what unfolds, shall we? I'll be building the current version of Lumière Noire around a Lian Li PC-A70B. Personally, I tend to go to LiLi most of the time because they're just a joy to cut on. Also, I'll state right now that I'm a W/Cer through-and-through. Basically every rig I build tends to be on water, and if not, they were originally meant to be. :lol:/> The system I am installing in this sucker is made up of a DFI DK X38-T2R board running a C2D e6850, 8GB Corsair Dominator DDR2 RAM, a single Raptor 150GB, and another WD Caviar Black 640GB for storage. Both of those will be housed in twin Scythe Quiet Drive HDD silencers. Graphics handled by an XFX GTX280. The PSU I chose was the awesomely quiet Ultra X3 1Kw. The CPU, GPU, and probably chipset will get pushed. The CPU, northbridge, and the GPU are all water-cooled using (some version of) EK's awesome blocks, in one form or another...but we'll get to that in due time. The fans. This theme was intended to be black and red from the get-go, because that's always the color-scheme I go with on Lumière Noire. So I wanted LED fans. Like I said, I'm a dork. I snagged five red LED Zalman ZM-F3 fans. I was using SilenX fans on the last version of the rig, but they aren't much for static pressure, or anything else for that matter, so I hopped on to Performance-PCs' site (PPC's is a mile away from me :)/>) saw that those just came out, so I ordered them and and picked them up the next day. All the acrylic work is simply a series of mathematical equations. Or vector, for short. Being a graphic designer, I tend to work in my native environment. I don't use Sketchup or anything like that, nor have the time to mess around with it. I draw 2-D illustrations (i.e. side, front, top, etc.) of the stock case and 'digitally mod' on top of it. It saves on paper. Also, I tend to generally tear apart the cases by removing the rivets while modding. I also measure everything and get it within a 1/16" tolerance or closer when designing my mockups. Accuracy is a necessity for such small spaces, or something like that. I tend to look at a case and 'see' what I want to do to it. Other mods jump out in the middle of it, or as I refer to as 'dynamic variables', lol. I know, sounds transcendent doesn't it? I hope not, as I'm not an expert or a mod-god or anything like that, nor would I pretentiously and narcissistically boast that as so. I just do what I do, just like the lot of you. I hope you like what I have to show, and I hope you don't feel like you wasted 10 mins of your life looking @ these things. Here's some stats... Current System Specs: Motherboard: DFI DK X38-T2R CPU: Intel C2D E6850 RAM: Corsair Dominator DD2-1066 4GB kit x 2 (8GB total) HDD1: System drive - Western Digital Raptor 150GB HDD2: Dump drive - Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB PSU: Ultra X3 1000w modular unit VGA: XFX GTX280 OPTICAL: Laptop slotload DVD burner with IDE-SATA conversion board Loop 1: CPU - Thermochill PA 120.2 Loop 2: Video card / Motherboard Chipset - Thermochill PA 120.3 Here's the case, all brand-new n' stuff. I'm unboxing it to make sure UPS Man's 'handywork' didn't, uhh...rupture anything. Taking the side panel off, you can see why I decided to go with this case. And if not, then just continue to read! Nice case! I love Lian Li. I can admit it. Here's the front panel. Nice. And as it breathes it first few breaths of life, I begin to strip parts of it off rudely and without remorse. :lol:/> Just excuse those things installed in the bays. I was measuring things. :D/> Overall, it's a gorgeous case for anyone to use just stock. But for me, that's not good enough. :lol:/> I've got to make it look like I want it to look. The mockup I came up with is as follows: Things may change; things may not. Who knows. I've got some more stripping to do before I cut on the case, coat the chassis, etc. But, let's mod, shall we? I'm going to install a window panel on the case. I just chose the Lian Li W-75B panel, for ease and it's just about what I was wanting. Besides, I need the stock panel for something else. ;)/> I'm modding this window panel though. The acrylic, frankly, sucks on these panels, and the screws have to match. Silver rivets FTL! ...and all drilled out. Holes enlarged for the larger socket cap screws to be used. Let's measure it for a custom window. And design it. I'm cutting this out of smoke gray acrylic, like the rest of the acrylic. I'm following the panel opening's curves so it looks flush and nice. ...Cut and installed. I always use large black oxide socket-cap screws on Lumière Noire. I love the look! Now, on to other things. The board. Okay, yeah. The board stock is nice. But again, I don't want it like that. So....I stripped all the stock cooling off. :lol:/> I decided I'm replacing the stock southbridge with an aftermarket Enzotech sink a bit larger and a bit more efficient. I didn't think the southbridge justified being in the loop, and I hate running massive amounts of hosing. ...and installed. Looks nice. And believe me guys, to those that are considering using anything from Enzotech, go for it. Quality is quite good. :thumleft: The mosfet sinks needed to go too. I decided on Thermalright sinks for these. There. All done. Nice! Now, for the northbridge. Okay, I want to add this to one of the loops. The problem is, at the time I got this board, there weren't much of any blocks that fit this chipset, and the ones that did I didn't care for. I sent an email to Eddy over at EK Water Blocks to see if he had anything in the works for the DFI boards. He didn't. So, I got an idea. :D/> I had a couple of these EK chipset blocks laying around. Since DFI decided to be a bit different and only use two mountpoints for their chipsets on the boards, I decided I'm just going to make a new top for one of these blocks. I measured it out and it looks like it'll be plenty of room for error. Plus, it'll be fun! So I started designing and came up with this. Measurements are pretty damn close. I'll tweak things a bit before I cut it, but it should work. I was thinking of cutting it out of 3/8" black acrylic, which should give it plenty of strength for mounting and it'll be nondescript and stealthy. :lol:/> Now, the CPU's block. I decided to ditch my old EK-Wave I was using for a higher-flow unit. I was going to go with Eddy's Supreme block, but decided to go for the proven D-Tek Fuzion. :thumleft: Nice! But-- :D/> It's not good enough for me stock. Gunmetal looks soooo cool. :headbang: ------------- Until the next update, I got nuthin'. :thumleft:
  11. Completed Log - Sept. 2009 Final Photos Time has come again for a new project log! I'm retiring my prior LAN rig, "Building Better Worlds", and putting it out to pasture. Hardware is getting a bit long in the tooth, but mostly I'm just bored with it. ;)/> I've decided I'm going to go to liquid in this LAN rig. I have an abundance of liquid cooling gear laying around that I hadn't even touched yet, so I figured I'd use it up before it rusts away into nothing. The chassis I decided on for this project is the Lian Li A05. I chose this particular case for a few reasons; there's a plethora of room inside due to the design and orientation of the tray, and it was bloody cheap at the time that I nabbed it. Oh, I should also state right now that the case has nothing to do with Chess, in case you're wondering about the name. ;)/> It's just a name that I was using when I was thinking stuff up a while back, and it just seemed to stick for some reason. This project really began, at least pre-planning, color-scheme, ideas, designing, etc. about 6 months ago (Nov. '08, I believe?) when I was hard at work on a commissioned build that used this very same chassis, and really enjoyed working with it at the time. It's getting the typical treatment of full powder coating, etc. But here's the funny thing; since I've been AFK for a couple months or so dealing with IRL stuff as well as other issues and have finally gotten around to getting back on the forums and actually starting this build, I've come to realize there's quite a few new projects on B-T that utilize the same exact bloody color-scheme! :hehe: So, I guess I'm going to get the usual, "ah, another white & black theme, huh?" etc. comments. Oh well. :sigh: What can I do, right? ;)/> In all seriousness, let's get right to it, shall we? Here's a mock-up of how things will look when finished... Here's some of the gear going in the rig... The system, at this time, will consist of: Mobo: Asus P5Q-E P45 CPU: C2D e6750 CPU GPU: XFX 8800GTS G80 HDD: Western Digital 640gb OS: ? Probably XP though Not exactly cutting-edge stuff, I know...but it's a LAN rig; not worried about it! It'll be plenty zippy for what I'm going to use it for. The GPU is my old (admittedly ancient) XFX 8800GTS G80 from an old Noire rig. It's going in the loop because I still have a EK water block for it. I've also replaced the original delrin top for it with a new acrylic top, as well as replacing the o-ring in it after a thorough cleaning that it probably needs. The CPU's block will be my old EK-Wave, but the delrin top has also been replaced with a new acrylic one as well as the o-ring. It's going to be fun cleaning these! :rolleyes:/> The typical mods will be performed on this chassis. I will be installing a triple rad up top with custom acrylic grills; a custom side panel with fan intakes; and I'll be modifying the chassis itself to enhance airflow because this chassis stock really suffers from awful airflow. I love these new Gelid fans. Well, they don't seem to be new anymore, but they're nice. I've been playing around with them. Pretty decent airflow for the noise level too. Frames seem kinda chintzy though. ;)/> The top rad will get some low-speed Akasa white LED pearl fans. I just loved how they looked. They may not move much air, but they don't really need to in order for them to do their jobs. Let's start to strip this thing down for sanding. Augh, sanding... :sigh: I need to yank literally everything off the case. Removing the rear fan is a breeze, at least! And the little rubber silencers too. Now, I'm only putting one HDD in this rig (that's all it needs), so I'm removing the entire stock HDD rack from the case. You'll see why in the near future! ;)/> Let's drill out those rivets, now... There. Easy! I love working on this chassis. Originally, I was going to install the HDD into the 3.5" bay, but I decided on a fan controller to go there. This one... So in order to mount the HDD, I acquired a little Lian Li HDD kit to mount onto the 3.5" bay's mount-holes. Perfect, and cheap too. The HDD will go in the top-most slot, and the DDC pump with Alphacool top will go in the bottom-most slot with mount-screws for it. Should work great and have just enough room for the hosing to be run without issue. I hope. A quick test-install of the Lian Li bracket along with a dead HDD I keep around just for this reason; testing! On to the liquid loop itself, I had an entirely untouched Swiftech MCR-320 sitting in my parts closet, so I figured what the hell. After a lot of measuring and re-measuring, instead of one of the handful of XSPC RX rads I've really been wanting to use, I decided to use this rad because it's thinner, lighter, and **ahem** cheaper **ahem**, so in the event of screwing up the rad I wouldn't be too upset. Why would I screw up the rad? Oh, I should probably show you then, right? ;)/> After a through cleaning with lacquer thinner and completely masking off the fins with some special high-temp tape... There we are.... And presto! :D/> Just to make sure I didn't bake the thing so bad that the plenum chambers and all the tubes inside have been ruined, I hooked up a quick little test-loop to check the rad's health out. After 24 hours of running the loop there wasn't a single leak, so it was a successful experiment! ------------- Until the next update, I got nuthin'. :thumb:
  12. PROJECT COMPLETED - JUNE 2009 Final Photos Greetings, all! This will be a quick little project I'll be doing on the side to move out some of the chassis I have laying around to make room for...well, probably more chassis. :hehe: This project will be based around an old Cooler Master ATC-210 that I've had laying around for quite a while and figured I should either mod it or toss it. So I figured I'd mod it first before I attempted to toss it. Stupid project name aside :hehe:, here's a pic of the chassis as it originally was... I've long since removed all the acrylic crap from it, but I still have all the little aluminum bits for it and I may use those or not; haven't decided yet. A buddy of mine's father has a system in a POS chassis, and I've always hated that his system sounds like a jet-engine with all the crappy high-speed fans he has in that thing. Ugh, a total eyesore. So I figured I'd make him another kind of eyesore! I really don't know exactly what I'm going to do to this thing, so I'm just kind of winging it. I had initally set up a mockup in red because I have some metallic red laying around, but I also have some metallic copper. I really don't know. Maybe I should 'age' things? I don't know, lol. I'll see what he thinks about it as well; that will probably show what I'm going to do about the paint-job. ;)/> Here's the concept anyways... Let's get to work, shall we? :)/> Here's the stock case as it sits right now... I had mentioned to Bill the other day that I was going to start a small project log (this one, obviously) using an old case I had laying around, and I would be using one of the MNPCTech Steampunk grills I designed that was graciously sponsored by MNPCTech. Bill then proceeded to ask if I'd make a tutorial out of it. So after a good 25 mins. of me whining, crying and complaining, I finally conceded and accepted doing it. :lol:/> So, here's my little tutorial integrated into this project log in it's entirety. Put on your sarcasm-caps folks, and enjoy! ---------------- So here we are... An easy, simple, little grassroots-guide to installing an MNPCTech Steampunk Grill. This guide can be applied to any MNPCTech acrylic grill, but will not work at all with any other (read: inferior) brand grills. ;)/> I don't know; I think it has something to do with DOS and BASIC or something. This guide contains certain assumptions of the reader. For instance, how to plug power tools in to wall sockets and how to breath. But these are all common things most human beings perform, but it's just a precautionary blanket statement. The case I will be installing the grill onto doesn't matter, but here's the top of the chassis for visual aid. And here we have MNPCTech's awesome, awe-inspiring and extraneously omnipotent grill. Well, one of them anyways. ;)/> I decided I'm putting the grill on the top of the chassis because the stock case has a paltry single 80mm fan there, and I wanted to cover that up. Normally, I'd go through the trouble of creating some kind of overly-complex stencil that only I could decipher with no small help from my trusty decoder-ring I acquired out of stale caramel popcorn box with a sailor on it, but for ease of use and for the reader's comfort, I'm going to go back to the basics and do things in a normal, simple and obviously logical sense. Granted, it's been a number of years since I've modded in this low-tech fashion, so bear with me, kind reader! (Inserted comment... Regardless of what I do here, you really should masking-tape the panel you're cutting to protect it from any possible mistakes or bleeding incidents before beginning work on it!) After placing and lining the grill exactly where I want it to reside, I simply apply some tape to hold the thing in place. This isn't totally necessary, but for those who do not have a steady hand or those that aren't that good at playing the game Jenga or perhaps not adept at performing brain-surgery for instance, might find this a good thing to do. Next, I simply take a writing utensil of some kind; in this case it's a pencil (#2 to be exact, because no other pencil will work; Beauty & The Beast graphics on it counts as extra points), and trace around the inside of the grill's edges as well as the (in this case) 8 (eight) fan mounting holes. Some like to just hole-saw the holes out or even dremel them out in a circle, but this particular (read: awesome, awe-inspiring and extraneously omnipotent) design of these grills complement the inside edges of the fan itself; i.e. flat edges with rounded corners. So, in this case, I'm going to be cutting the case to match the inside edges of the grill proper. After about 4 hours of making sure my pencil lines are straight, I'm left with this lovely sight... Now, let's get to cutting, shall we? All modders have their methods. Some like to cut with a jigsaw; some with a rotary tool; even some that like to use a scroll saw or their own teeth. Personally, I like to use a rotary tool. They're easy to use, fast, and convenient. Kind of like a drive-thru bathroom, I suppose. :worried: Now, I'm not going to to take the time to delve deep into the logistics and philosophy of utilizing a rotary tool, because there are plenty of guides for that already. Bill's video Guide to Dremel Techniques is well-worth a viewing or 5. It's almost a religious experience, and it may save one or two of your precious digits, not to mention that irreplaceable case panel! Personally, I like to use a Flex-Shaft with my rotary tool because it allows better control. Of course, that's my personal opinion about them, but others may disagree; similar to the boxers-or-briefs debate. I also tend to use the reinforced EZ-Lock discs. I can get three cases-worth of cutting out of a single disc (your experience may vary), and they're way more reliable than the standard ones. Oh, and it may be a good idea to wear some hearing and eye protection. Just food for thought. You could easily cut along the lines you've already drawn and it will come out fine, but I like to take it one step farther by 'beveling' the cut. I just make a new path slightly outside of the existing drawn line which creates a buffer on the metal. By doing this, the final cuts will be made slightly wider than the grill's edges which makes the grill overlap your cut edges. It looks more tidy, and it will possibly serve as 'insurance' to those that aren't that good at the aforementioned Jenga game and the cuts are everything but straight. Now, let's start to cut the case panel. Simply align the disc along the lines and let the rotary tool do it's job. DO NOT push down hard, or barely at all. Again, let the rotary tool do it's job; i.e. removing metal. And after another 4+ hours of back-breaking and grueling manual labor, we're left with this... I simply like to run a flat-file along the edges of the cuts to remove burrs and snags and to 'shape out' slight errors in the cuts. You can also use sandpaper (if you're careful not to ruin the finish on the panel if you don't intend to paint) or even a rotary tool's sanding disc attachment. Whatever you choose will result in wonderful, glorious excitement to be had by all. I forgot to drill out the holes, but that's okay. Let's take care of that as well. I had a scrap chunk of wood laying around, so I propped the panel on top of that allowing me a flat surface to drill into as well as getting it up off the table. Again, everyone has their own method. Now, after that's all wrapped up and dipped in awesomeness, let's see where the grill's going to sit, shall we? Looks perfect. I then remove the protective paper from the acrylic (I personally like to wear disposable latex gloves to minimize fingerprints, peanut butter & jelly, or whatever happens to be on your grubby little hands at the time from transferring to the acrylic) and place it on it's final home. I also align the (in this case) two 120mm fans roughly where I want them on the opposite side of the panel. Next, let's begin to thread in the mounting screws into the fans. If all your drilling was actually straight this time, the holes should all line up with their corresponding holes through the panel and the fans themselves. I personally use larger #10 5/8" length screws for fan install if I'm not using socket-cap screws, but the stock screws that come with your fan(s) work just as good. Although the black-oxide screws look beefier and better though, don't they? ;)/> Now, that 'beveling' I mentioned earlier? If you look closely, you can't see the edges of the cut metal. Looks killer and professional. Now sit back and admire your mod-godlike results... Let's flip on the fans for a little light-show action! (note: only LED fans will light up, so purchase accordingly. Some may not produce an actual light-show, but will create some light) And this concludes my little tutorial to cutting holes in your case and installing an MNPCTech grill. Again, this guide only works with MNPCTech brand grills, so please keep that in mind. ;)/> Now, enjoy the fruits of your labor and--D'oh! I just realized I now have to do the same thing to the top of the inside chassis too, since there's two layers here! :miffed: ---------------- Now, that was fun, wasn't it? :D/> ------------- Until the next update, I got nuthin'. :thumb:
  13. Completed Log June 2008 Final Photos It's that time again. And this time, it's time for a new log from ole' E.E.L. Ambiense. It'll mostly be dress-up/paint/etc. This case will be used for my tote-around LAN system. The hardware is from my old Drone I mod, since I decided to retire the old gal (the hardware's getting long in the tooth too...). The mod theme will be based around the film series of Aliens & stuff (again...), this time the favorite ominous "Company" that is repeatedly sited throughout the good (and bad) films in the series. Weyland-Yutani Corp.; "Building Better Worlds"! I plan on making the case look like some kind of company terminal/workstation kind of thing. I dunno. :confused: Like I said, dress-up. Like I used to do with my mom's lingerie. :eyebrow: What can I say? Good support, you know? :naughty: Final Hardware Specs: DFI Lan Part UT SLI-DR Expert mobo AMD 939 X2 4200+ CPU (2.2 stock) 2GB Crucial Ballistix DDR500 RAM w/ modded Evercool 60mm x 10mm aluminum fans cooling them WD Raptor 74GB SATA HDD BFG Tech 7800GT's in SLi, stealthing plated with debadged/modded Arctic Cooling Accelero X1's Creative Sound Blaster Live! 5.1 Platinum soundcard, stealthing plated Ultra XVS 700W PSU modded with Xinruilian 80mm green led fans, sleeved and re-molexed EVGA 680i MCP fan, modded, for chipset cooling Cooler Master Aerogate I rheobus, modded Stealthed and modded NEC DVD-RW Drive Thermalright XP-90 CPU cooler w/ modded Evercool 92mm aluminum fan 80mm green LED aluminum-frame fans, modded The victim for the new mod is this: An aging classic; Cooler Master's Praetorian PAC-T01-E1. The moment I saw this case years back, I fell in love with it. And this is coming from a LiLi whore too! But like many things in the computer realm, it got tossed aside for bigger better newer (like my lovelife...). Stock, she has 2 80mm's up front; 1 80mm blowhole; 1 80mm exhaust. Augh. I plan on adding a window, complete with a 120mm fan blowing in on the two 7800GT's in SLi. She needs more air, but I really don't want to cut on her! To paraphrase Dracula, "I just...love her too much...to condemn her...." :D/> Here's a quick dirty mockup of what I plan on doing to her... Anyways, structurely, she's gorgeous. Thick aluminum everywhere. Reinforced removeable mobo tray. Awesomeness. The plan is to strip her down to bare parts, remove all annodization, and cleanse and powder coat different parts in different colors. I've already jumped the gun, as they say, because I was shooting something in gloss black last week, so I removed the top and front mesh from the case to shoot it as well. I mean, why change out the powder twice, right? :)/> I have some designing done already for the misc. acrylic accouterments I plan on adding to the build, because like usual....acrylic's my canvas of choice for modding. I decided I'm going to add acrylic 'plates' on the video cards like I've done with my (not yet revealed) main rig I built last year already. Hard to explain, I suppose. I needed to measure the card's PCB to get accurate sizing for a digital mockup of it so I can make the covers for it. I'll let the pics do the talking... Measured the card... Illustrating it right down to 1/16th of an inch, complete with theme-related 'stuff'. It's pretty close, but it has to be for what I need it for. Yes, right down to the SLi bridge for clearance! :thumb: *Warp to another thing....* Installed the Accelero X1 to the card... I don't like that big-a*s sticker on there, so I debadged it. Still filthy, but better than before. I think I'm going to add something here....hmmmm...... :D/> I'll come back to video cards later. I want to get started on another part (Sorry...I tend to jump around a LOT when modding!) I plan on adding a custom RAM cooler as well that I'll make out of acrylic (of course). After measuring everything, the biggest fans I can get in there comfortably would be 60mm's, and that's cutting it close to the CPU cooler. I plan on using two Aluminum-framed Evercool 60mm x 10mm fans in which I'll, of course, powder coat the frames themselves to match with the theme. I have some other things in mind as well, but I'll wait until I get to them. Here's the digital illustration of the RAM cooler: As you can see, I plan on mounting this thing to the rear 80mm fan, with a 90-degree bend so it sits right over the two RAM modules. These aren't called Ballistix for nothing :lol:/>! ------------- Until the next update, I got nuthin'. :thumb: