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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!



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Glad to see you getting some time from work to actually play around. Looks like a dinky little case. Those cordless drills love those big bit's, I've had mine smoking a couple of times, but haven't killed it yet. 

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diggin it.... and again, Great photos EEL!

The Mini Billet PC Case feet are gonna be perfect for that case.



btw, this Robot Blog site likes your project, http://computer-hardware-overclock.blogspot.com/2014/08/case-mod-lilypc-v2-by-eel-ambiense.html

It came up on my radar this morning...

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Small update!  Been preoccupied with other stuff.


Let's get to it.


I was planning on replacing the crappy little rubber stick-on feet on the chassis because they, well, kinda suck.  lol.




Easy removal using a pair of pliers.  I'm guessing fire would work too, but I don't a pocket-lighter handy, or gasoline.  :)




Why replace them when the stock ones are fine you ask?  Well, see, I have to remove them so I can paint/spray things so they have to come off for that.  Plus they're held on with adhesive paper.  And they're tiny.  Tiny, as in too tiny for the chassis.


Besides, why would you choose whitewalls when you can have badass street-slicks?  ;)  MNPCTech's sexy 'lil Mini Case Feet!  Available in silver aluminum (shown), black anodized aluminum, and in white delrin too.




To show scale a bit, here's one next to a quarter...   Awwww, aren't they cute?  --Nope.  They're solid as a rock like a couple sets of billet testes!  :D




Alright, moving on to other stuff...  (sorry -- my project logs jump around worse than a Tarantino flick!)


I was going to use a simple, overused, non-lit 16mm 'bulgin-style' momentary switch.  But, frankly, I'm kind of tired of looking at them.  They're everywhere.  The worst part is 90% of them out there are knockoffs of the real Bulgin anti-vandal switch, which are amazingly high-quality and solid switches.  The cheapies are just that -- cheap. 


Sure, it would be easy to use one, but nah.  Why go the easy route?  Let's re-purpose and make a new power switch for the case!


I have a few of these old Lian Li power-PCBs laying about along with some machined aluminum plunger-style switches so I figured I'll make it work.  This way I can coat the switch to match the rest of the chassis and it'll stand up to repeated switch actuation (and little Lily fingers) pushing on it.




Plunger! Just not the type you see the trainee holding as he/she is coming out of the bathroom at your local sandwich shop in order to make your sandwich next.  You know; we've all been there... the kind of situation where they ask you what you'd like and you reply with, "Start with you boiling your hands and following it up with a peroxide bath, please".  :lol:




It looks like it will snuggle up right below the 5.25" bay and line up perfectly with my cuts already on the case.




Shot from front -- will work fine.  :)




Alright, I'll be back with more soon!  Toodles!




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Awesome pictures, nice to see a worklog from ya.

I'm really starting to dig smaller cases these days.


Thanks man!


Yeah building small is a refreshing change to the usual monotony I tend to go through.  It's nice because it doesn't use as much in the way of supplies either.  :lol:


Ah, yes. "Lose weight the Subway Way: dysentery!" Those places are a magnet for people who hate to bathe. :lol: Have you ran into the face piecing and gang-tattoo female achetype yet?


LOL, oh yes...  I think we all have at this point.  Of course you described the majority of the 'college crowd'.  :lol:   I'm not one to judge though.  I had a friend in high-school who worked overnight shift @ a 24-hr Subway and he got bored at 3am or so, so he locked up and left with a sign on the door stating "Closed Early due to lack of employee interest".

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I prefer the higher establishments, where the cashier position is filled by a shell-shocked "Daddy's little princess." Though I'll admit those are hard to keep in supply since they only work a week.

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Update time! 


Trying to plug away at this lil thing so I can move on to other things.  Let's get to it.


I decided I was going to use Bitfenix Spectre Pro all-white 120mm fan(s) in this.  It has FDB bearing tech, etc. so it's a decent, reliable fan.  Plus it looks cool and fits the theme perfectly.  :)




Only downside was it's not available with pink LEDs. :(  Not that I'd really expect them to; it is a rather niche color.  In fact, there are no pink LED fans at all short of complete trash fans.  So I decided I'd fix that.  Using a blue LED fan as a basis (I don't know if they're using differing resistors in the different colors, so figured I'd play it safe) since they have the same forward-voltage, etc. as the pink LEDs I'm using. 


The guess worked out fine.  :)




With lights down a bit...




It's pink.  Not my favorite color, but it doesn't have to please me.  ;)


Alright, moving on.  I needed to remove the little permanent-standoffs Lian Li puts on these cases for switches, USB ports, etc.  I don't need any of them, plus I'm putting up new 'wallpaper' inside so I need flat surfaces.  ;)




There are a few in here, but easily remedied with some rotary tool work.




Different methods work different ways, but it also depends on whether or not you know where your cutoff wheels and sanding barrels are...  :unsure:




Quick work on this aluminum (aluminium for Kyle).  It's very similar to shaving, actually.  :lol:






All finished up and I still have all this to go!  ;)




That's about it for this update.  I'll be back with more soon enough!  Thanks for looking!  Toodles!



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Update time! 


Let's get to it, shall we?


To make things a lot easier for installation of the fan in the case, I'm going to pre-tap the mounting holes for 10-24 threads so I can just slip the screws right through the acrylic and get the fan installed with relative ease.  The screws will be hidden behind another layer of acrylic so I'm countersinking them.




I like to use these drill-taps, which work well with soft and hard materials alike (as long as you're careful). 




One step and you're basically done. 




...And a quick install of one of the screws.  Will work just fine.  :)




...And finished up the other three.  Ready for sleeving!




Back to the case itself, I needed to drill out the stock teeny tiny little guide-holes on the case to install the real billet awesome mini-feet from MNPCTech.




I'm not going to be using the stock hardware that comes with the mini-feet though.  I want to use something a bit more delicate and small.




Just bored out enough to work with M3 screws.




Quick threading in of the screw/nut...




...And installed.  :)  I wanted to use acorn nuts instead of the lock-nuts.  *shrugs*




Completed the other three and it's already feeling a lot more stable.  :)




Alright, that's all for now.  I'll be back with more soon enough.  Thanks, and toodles!





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Update time!


I've been plugging away at trying to get this lil' project wrapped up in time for the party this coming weekend.  I've spent a lot of time on prep-work, etc to make sure the final outcome comes somewhat smoothly.  So I've had to take care of a lot of little things along the way.  Let's get to it.


I finally got around to finishing up on the fan's modifications.  Pink LED installation, shortened fan cable, sleeved in rose pink paracord and a grill to fit in the feel!




Along with the fan, I also created some modular cables for the Pico-ITX PSU in order to clean up the look of things as well as making it easier in case I have to remove anything in the rig.  I decided on a Y-connector with the two SATA-level power connectors to go to the SSD as well as the optical drive up top.  Most of the wiring will be hidden under a floor-panel, but you'll still see some of it.  White connectors along with the paracord.  I like working with it, and I hate sleeving.




Finally finished up the mini-feet from MNPCTech to fit the theme!




Finished up the optical drive's housing color too...




The lovely SSD provided by ADATA is wonderful...




...But it needs to fit in with the theme.  So I gave it a facelift as well.  Thanks, ADATA!




And finally, that little badge goes here....




I'll have more to come in the next few days to call this project a close! 


Thanks for viewing.  Toodles!




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Lots of LOVE invested here... excited to see final pics! 


Hahaha, more like love of the idea of getting it done on time so I can mark off yet-another project on the list of crap-to-do, only to be replaced by another project that will take forever to start let alone finish it.  Wash, rinse, repeat.  Seems that's EEL's lot in life. :lol:

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Update time!


Things are moving along at the speed of light, so sometimes I forget to clicky the shutter!


Let's get to it.


I was going to use some spare hex-mesh I had laying about, but the issue being it was previously coated and I didn't feel like tearing it all down to bare metal again.  I happened across some spare round modder's mesh from MNPCTech, so I figured I'd go ahead and use it!  Thanks again, bro!




It had some slight surface-rust from the lifespan, but nothing a little sanding and lacquer-thinner didn't clean up.  I literally had the exact amount I needed too down to about an inch of extra.  ...story of my life.  :lol:


Moving on to the side panel situation, I know I've been a bit quiet about the project.  Usually I have some conceptual stuff but I just decided to wing it with this one.  Anyway, I decided I was going to ditch both the side panels for the case.  It just doesn't fit the clean feel I wanted it to have.  So I basically recreated the panels in acrylic with dress-up stuff as well as some sneaky ingenuity.


The mobo side panel has built-in standoffs.  Sure I could've just used some standoffs on the acrylic, but the biggest issue is the acrylic is too thin for the threads on the size standoffs I needed to use (2mm too much).  I can sand too, sure, but what's the point?  I went about it a little convoluted, but it worked like a charm.  I decided I'd use set-screws instead.  :)


So with the holes ready to go...




I just needed to tap for 6-32...




6-32 set-screws installed using Allen wrench...






And now the outside of the panel is flush instead of having 2mm of threads sticking out. 




I simply install my female-to-female standoffs at the right length to try to replicate the stock panel (which I actually adjusted slightly because it was off from factory a bit -- go figure).




...And installed.  Three more like that and we're ready to go!




Sure, I know I'll still have holes showing on the outside of the panel with the set-screws in it.  But I planned for that too.  The dress-up work takes care of that like this...




No more visible panty-line-- er, standoff holes!


....And protective paper removed.  I have some clean-up and polishing to do on a lot of stuff, but it's coming out how I envisioned it.




Moving on the other side panel now, I decided no windows or anything.  No need.  After some much-appreciated advice regarding these mobos, I figured simply a mesh opening instead of an additional fan will work fine.




I'm going to use double-sided tape to install the mesh.  No need for anything complicated for this as it's a teeny little box.




...Shot from the outside of the panel now....




...And second layer applied! 




Again, I have a lot of cleaning to do when I get it all together, but I'm working as diligently as I can.  I have a hard deadline of this weekend, but I'm giving myself until tomorrow night as I still have final photos to take care of to call this log completed!


Thanks for looking.  See you soon!  Toodles!



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Not a bad technique for installing standoffs... I suppose I could do that with tapered machine screws through wood too, instead of threaded inserts to screw regular standoffs into...

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