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Shinai - Antec P380 casemod [continued tweaking]

150 posts in this topic

Welp, since I'm waiting on parts to finish up Spark, I figured I'd start on the next victim...


Shinai is a weapon used for practice and competition in kendo representing a Japanese sword.  The word "shinai" is derived from the verb shinau, meaning "to bend, to flex", and was originally short for shinai-take (flexible bamboo). Shinai is written with the kanji 竹刀, meaning "bamboo sword".


Let's start with the patient, Antec's P380




It's really a nice case with a lot of room and good spots for cooling, but what sold me was the aluminum panel on the front.  I like the look.


First thing, time for some disassembly.  There's a little too much stuff in here.



The cages have to go.  Luckily they're all screwed in, including the 5 1/4" bays.



The top should have room for a 360mm rad with minimal modification.



Same with the front.



There's a nice touch where you can swap what side your I/O panel is on.  I think I'll keep this functional.



Think I'll keep the front intake grill and screen functional too, since I'm planning on this being my daily driver.  There will definitely be some upgrades to the looks though.



So what, you might ask, am I putting in this nice big case?  Well, I'll tell you the plan so far...


Motherboard:  Asus Maximus VII Hero.  Very pretty.  



CPU:  Intel i7 4790K Devil's Canyon.  



RAM:  16GB of 1866MHz Geil Veloce Enhance.  The gold is growing on me. ;)



Drive:  480GB OCZ Vector 180 to start with.  I'd like to come up with two more of these bad boys.



PSU:  Cooler Master V1200 Platinum.  Yeah, yeah.  Overkill, smoverkill. :P



That's the loadout for now.


But Gnome, why did you name your case after a bamboo sword???  To answer this, we need to start rapping.


My name is Gnome,

And I'm here to say,

I hope you're having,

A very nice day.


Wait, not rapping.  WRAPPING!


Start with two, nice hunky pieces of aluminum.  Or aluminium, whatever your flavor.



Add in one large sheet of bamboo veneer.



Slather them up with some glue.



Once it's all dry, iron the heck out of it, and you wind up with...






While I was waiting for the glue to dry before the ironing, I managed to do some mock-ups as well.




Now I have a nice little template for the back wall, floor, and PSU shroud, plus I can start to pull parts together for the loop.


Thanks for checking it out and stay tuned!


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I predict greatness. Antec should take notes! It's a fun case to mod.

Gnome ordered these custom PC case parts from MNPCTECH

ASUS ROG tribute Overkill fan grill, https://mnpctech.com/pc-computer-cooling-fans-grills-custom/120mm-overkill-asus-rog-pc-fan-grill-aluminum-clone-en.html


and set of Mnpctech Large Grooved Billet Case feet for this build! http://mnpctech.com/pc-computer-stereo-desktop-case-feet/




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I predict greatness. Antec should take notes! It's a fun case to mod.


Thanks Bill.  I hope so, I'm gonna bust my hind end on this one.  It's no Star Trek case though.  :P


Antec could easily do designer panels that would totally change the feel of the case.  There's tons of possibilities with it.  One of the hardest things to do was figure out what direction to go.  I had 3 or 4 really good ideas for those aluminum panels before I went this route.  


We want MORE Insolent. ASAP ;) ;) ;)


Soon....very soon.

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Now that Spark is done and set up(cause we all need an i7 jukebox, right?), time to hit the ground running on Shinai!


First off, we got some more components in:


EK Supremacy block



EK D5 with acrylic top



Pair of Hardware Labs Black Ice 360 XFlow radiators



And plugging things in to see how it's going to fit






The radiators fit really well, with only a little bit of work to get some screw holes on the front rad to work.  Everything was looking peachy until I started to play around with pump placement.  Obviously with the acrylic top, I want to show it off, but with the way the XFlow on the front lays out, I'm not liking the tubing.  I could get it to work, but it wouldn't fit the look I'm going for, so I went back and ordered a standard Black Ice 360.  I know it will fit since it's a little shorter than a XFlow and I think the tubing will look a whole lot better.


After getting that figured out and working out some plans for the mb tray(unsurprisingly, I had to order stuff for that too), I decided to work on the outside of the case a bit.  I like the look, especially with the bamboo, but it needs a little more flair.  


Enter the perforated aluminum...



I decided that since the exterior panels have a side profile of brushed aluminum, I'd keep using aluminum for accent pieces.  So, time for some grills!


First off, we have to get rid of the slot stuff that Antec put in our way.




After some filing, on to the next step, hoping the aluminum piece we cut, fits.



Once we get that all figured out, tap some holes



And voila!




And with the USB panel and exterior panels in place




Sorry about the overexposure on that one pic, dang!  Now I just need to decide what to do with the USB bracket.  I had thought about putting a piece of the aluminum on the blank side of the bracket, but now I'm leaning to covering both sides with some brushed vinyl film.  I'll save that for another update though.

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So, small update.  Been dying waiting on one piece of acrylic.  It's just about shut me down completely, but I've done some little pieces.


Firstly, my new radiator came in




This is going to make the hardlines nicer but,




The hole spacing is just a bit off, so it wont be a direct bolt in.  This isn't a bad thing, as I can make a mounting panel for it that also cleans up the inside of the case.  


And speaking of cleaning up the inside of the case, I went ahead and cut a piece of aluminum for the floor




I only took it back to the rails for the PSU filter because I'm hoping to be able to still use it.  Fingers crossed.


One more thing I could do while waiting for material was figure out a pump cover.  I thought about just ordering one, but where's the fun in that.  Plus, making my own allows me use materials that tie the case together.  In this case, the perforated aluminum.


First off, I made a ring out of the aluminum, pump sized




The ring is held together by a solder joint on the bottom.  I did some homework about soldering aluminum together and let me say, I'd rather solder copper any day.  Although, with a few more tries, I'd probably get better with it.




After cleaning it up a bit.  Passable, but not pretty.  After a little filing and a little sanding though, I got what I was looking for.





Once all the mock up is done I can put a brushed finish on this bad boy and with some sleeving, I think it'll look great.

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Thanks RS!


Just a quick update before I go spend the weekend at a music festival in St Louis.  I had to get a few things accomplished before we went, otherwise I'd have spent the whole weekend thinking about a case.  :P


Built the new fan/rad mount for the front of the case out of some .025" aluminum.  Once I clean up a few bits of the existing panel and get it mounted, I'll figure out my opening for the radiator .





The materials that I was waiting on to really move forward with the case finally arrived, YAY!




2 pieces of 3/8" acrylic.  One of these is destined to be a motherboard tray, the other, well, don't worry about that one for now.  Let's get to the mb tray.


I got the acrylic cut to the right size and now it's time to get it into the case.  This requires a bit of disassembly.




At this point, the build started feeling a lot like my first build, F3, no back panel, and all wobbly.  Bad flashbacks.


Got the tray fitted and all the mounting holes drilled.  I know I'll be putting this together and taking it apart a lot, and I wanted to make sure my screw threads lasted.  I used a little trick picked up from another modder(Waynio) and put in some brass inserts for the screws. 




Then I slipped the back panel back on and screwed everything together.  Well, most everything.  I did wind up with a few holes being a bit off and rather than forcing things, I'll just open them up a bit next time I take it apart.  I'm also going to have to make some notches for my top panel to slide in, but all in all, it's great.




And the tray mounted.





It's a lot thicker than the steel panel and cuts into my room for cables and the back mounted SSD's.  I'll have to be a little creative on some mounting, but the thick panel allows me to mount components to it without having to worry about anything showing on the other side.  This is important to me because I'm going to be covering the panel in the same bamboo veneer I used on the outside of the case and I want a very clean look on both sides.


And that's all I've got today.  Time to get ready to go enjoy some music and have a good time! :D

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You say the pump mesh is passable. I say it is awesome. :D

The bubbling in the masking is unusual. I suspect it was severely tweaked in shipping.



It looked like a re-apply of new backing by hand somewhere along the lines.  Not the usual manufacturer backing.  Or maybe it got warm with something set on it and it bowed the sheets they flattened it back out?  I didn't really think about both pieces having the bubbling in the same spot until I went back and looked at the pic.  How the heck do you tweak 3/8 acrylic???  The piece I was working on felt solid and is getting covered anyways, but I probably ought to check the other piece for defects since I'm counting on it being visually perfect.

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Slowly plodding along...this part always seems to drag out. <_<


Cut the opening for the fans in my aluminum front panel and got it mounted.  I'm using 2 rivets on one side of the panel to hold it in place and letting the fans/rad snug it down.







The next project was the MB tray and getting it sorted out






Still have some work to do on it, like getting a pass-through for the cables and the reservoir and SSD mounts, but I need it in place to figure all that out.  Put it together, take it apart.  Put it together, take it apart. Glad I used the inserts for the mounting screws.  I might go back and switch to M3 standoffs and use the inserts for those too.  As for the clear plexi, it's just what I found in 3/8".  Although it would be interesting to use it for a MB tray, this one is getting covered in bamboo veneer to match the outside of the case.


And now to put in some hardware to start lining out the rest of the fab work, PSU cover, SSD mounts, etc.


I spent about an hour watching reviews of fans before finally going with the EK Vardar F3.  





It seemed that they had performance close to Typhoons and Noctuas, but a bit cheaper, and with the overkill on the rads, I could probably put some $5 fans in and keep the system plenty cool.


All mounted up with the MB and PSU thrown in so I can work out some measurements.






Thanks for following along! :)

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Moving right along now, tackling the PSU shroud.




2mm thick aluminum.  I was doubting that my cheap little brake could handle it and figured I'd have to heat it up some to get a bend.




Luckily, the brake handled it.  It wasn't pretty and the clamping bar slid because of the material, but it worked, so I'm not arguing.  :P


At this point, I had a couple of different thoughts in my head of what to do with the side of the shroud.  One was a solid piece of the aluminum.  Another was the solid aluminum with a window cut in it for a piece of perforated aluminum, showing the logo of the PSU.  And the third was a solid piece of perforated aluminum for the side.


I originally tried for the solid Al with a window, but my ideas on how to improve my soldering of aluminum failed miserably, and I put that idea aside.  So on to the perforated.





It worked out pretty well and I like it.  To attach the two pieces together, I'm gonna be epoxying either mod blocks or acrylic brackets to the solid panel to eliminate screws and mounting the perforated to those.  This will allow me to take it apart since the solid panel will be painted to match the frame and the perforated will get a brushed finish.


Thanks for checking it out and up next, SSD's???

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Nicely done on the PSU shroud. I'm dreading the day when I have to bend for the new front panel :P


Thanks.  I was sort of leery of it too, but I got a cheap brake that fit my needs and it's super easy.  Makes me wanna try more stuff with it! :D

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Someone say, "cheap" in here? -Oh, Hi!


How the heck do you tweak 3/8 acrylic???


It's something of a mail sorting room tradition: You put the flat stuff on the floor and walk on it. I've never gotten a batch of plexi without boot prints. Some had tire tracks.

The material should be fine unless you plan to heat form it or clean it with alcohol.

Sweet cover. You are really making me want to use mesh.

Also, 6 x 120 rad isn't very overkill judging by that PSU rating. :lol:

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Someone say, "cheap" in here? -Oh, Hi!


It's something of a mail sorting room tradition: You put the flat stuff on the floor and walk on it. I've never gotten a batch of plexi without boot prints. Some had tire tracks.

The material should be fine unless you plan to heat form it or clean it with alcohol.

Sweet cover. You are really making me want to use mesh.

Also, 6 x 120 rad isn't very overkill judging by that PSU rating. :lol:




Haven't got the boot prints yet, but I did order a 4x8 of polycarbonate and after seeing how they handled it, I'm glad the stuff is nearly indestructable.  What I've seen of my sheets, they're ok.  And no alcohol or forming so I should be good. 


The PSU is overkill too, lol!  I'm trying to stay around 600w max or lower so I can take it to some lan events hopefully.   :D

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