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InsolentGnome

The Gunslinger - CM MasterCase5 casemod [Completed]

26 posts in this topic

“The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed.”

The opening line from The Gunslinger, the first book in Stephen Kings epic that follows the quest of Roland Deschain, the Gunslinger, for the Dark Tower.  The Dark Tower series has to be my favorite, mixing western, sci-fi, apocalypse, magic, the current world, and quite a few characters from King's other books, and even King himself, into one big stew of a story.  It's amazing.  *Except for the lobster things.  Da-da-chum.  I hated Stephen King for a few days after that.  If you've read the stories, you'll know.  But with the new Dark Tower movie slated to come out next year and the stars of that movie tweeting things like:

remember-me.jpg

otherworlds-me.jpg

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And even King telling us that this is the next time around...

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I haven't been this excited for a movie for a while.  And with so much story to take from, I thought, this might be a great idea for a mod.  Or even two...

So let's get started on The Gunslinger.

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"Suppose that all worlds, all universes, met at a single nexus, a single pylon, a Tower. And within it, a stairway, perhaps rising to the Godhead itself. Would you dare climb to the top, gunslinger? Could it be that somewhere above all of endless reality, there exists a room?..."- Walter O'Dim, The Gunslinger 

The plan for The Gunslinger is to rework some of the internals more to my liking, add a custom cooling loop to the cpu and gpu, and to bring in some themes from the movie, mostly in relation to the Gunslinger, while the outside will get a brick look to mimic the walls of the Dark Tower.

Let's start with the case, a Cooler Master MasterCase5 Maker.

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I really like this case.  The styling isn't exactly my cup of tea, but for an all around case to build in, it's got a lot of neat little tricks up it's sleeve.  And you can take it down pretty far with just a screwdriver.

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Which nets you a pretty good pile of parts.

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After tearing it down, out came the drill to get rid of some rivets.  Why do my cases always seem to start out looking like this?

Gunslinger-2016-11-19_15.48.13-me.jpg

In order to move things around, the back panel needs to be....adjusted.  I hate the standard way cases lay out, there just seems to be a lot of room that you really can't do anything with.  To fix this, I plan on sitting the psu on it's side and move the mb tray to the center of the case, dividing it in two.  The psu side will house, obviously, the psu, and also the drives and pump and any incidentals that I need to mount somewhere.  The other side will get the motherboard, the gpu flipped pretty side out on a riser and some "decorations".  So to make the back panel work, I've cut everything out except for the edges.

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Once that was cleaned up, I fit a piece of .080" aluminum to give me a nice clean panel to work with.  That way I can mount hardware wherever I choose.

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Additionally, I've cut a piece of .040" aluminum to give me a nice clean floor.

Gunslinger-2016-11-19_17.48.42-me.jpg

Next up, motherboard tray.

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"The World has moved on. Bad times are on horseback."  The Gunslinger

Wow, has it been crazy lately?  But I managed to finally find time to get back to my pet project and get a few things done or figured out.

First up I got my back panel mounted up so I could start working out my component placement.

Gunslinger-2016-12-26_21.01.39-me.jpg

With that nailed down, or rather screwed, I can start figuring out my tray.  The plan is to flip the PSU and GPU on their sides so that I can drop the motherboard to the bottom of the case.  It's a more efficient use of space and gives me some extra room for fun bits.

Laying out the components.  That's not the final orientation of the PSU, just an easy way to set it for measuring.

Gunslinger-2016-12-26_21.41.32-me.jpg

And from the side.  The case is laying on it's back right now, so the whole deal will be rotated 90 degrees clockwise.

Gunslinger-2016-12-26_21.41.16-me.jpg

Now I've got a handy road map for making my mb tray once some aluminum gets here.

Gunslinger-2016-12-26_21.50.29-me.jpg

Also started laying out for the res, rad and fan setup.  In my original idea, I wanted the res showing through the front panel.  Now it's just a matter of figuring out how to make that work.

Using an extra tube to figure out the angle and spacing for the front panel.  If I nuzzle the bottom of the res up to the fans, it should just poke out of the front panel.  Enough to see it from the side view, but not hanging out in mid air.  And with a little bit of work on the mounting bracket for the res, I should be able to get the angle just right.

Gunslinger-2016-12-26_21.33.35-me.jpg 

Gunslinger-2016-12-26_21.34.03-me.jpg

Next is to get some nice pretty pictures to show off my sponsors products while I wait for the fab materials to get here. 

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3 hours ago, Bill Owen said:

Love the hardware layout! ........YOU JUST REMINDED ME ABOUT THOSE FITTINGS, lol

Thanks!  Something different and a better use of space.  Still got a ways to go so no big deal!  I still need to figure out how I'm going to finish them to fit in the theme.

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" We deal in lead." - Roland, Wolves of the Calla

Is it bad when you have to read your own log to figure out where you're at?  I've been so busy, but now I can buckle down on this baby and get going on it.

So let's start off by getting our motherboard tray bent and in place, and then riveted in.

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Then I had to start figuring out my back panel cut-outs.  First for the mb on 18mm standoffs so that I can run the wiring behind it.

TheGunslinger-2017-01-23_20.40.44-me.jpg

And then the cut-out for the PSU.

TheGunslinger-2017-01-23_21.02.39-me.jpg

Speaking of hardware, I probably out to drag out what I'm using in this build, and give some shout-outs to my sponsors.

First up, the Asus Z170 Pro Gaming/Aura.  I'm not really concerned about the LED lighting on this board, but it's the white variant of the Pro Gaming mb I've got for this builds twin so it's perfect.

Gunslinger-DSC00101-me.JPG

Memory is 16 GB of G.SKILL TridentZ 3200 DDR4 RAM.  In white as well of course, because the Gunslinger represents The White, or the force of good.

Gunslinger-DSC00102-me.JPG

Power is supplied by a Cooler Master V1000 PSU.

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Reservoir duties will be handled by a Primochill 240mm CTR res.

Gunslinger-DSC00105-me.JPG

And the rad is a Bitspower 360mm Leviathan Slim radiator.  I chose it because of it's slim size and the port options.  It lets me get the tubing to the other side of the rad without having to pipe it around.

Gunslinger-DSC00130-me.JPG

Next up we have the GPU, a NVIDIA GTX980Ti, provided by GeForce Garage.

Gunslinger-DSC00099-me.JPG

And to help with the cooling everything, Swiftech has left me in charge of some gorgeous cooling products.

Firstly, a  Komodo NV TITAN X ECO full cover waterblock for the GTX980Ti.

Gunslinger-DSC00106-me.JPG

And one of their Apogee XL2 CPU blocks with the Iris LED controller for the CPU.

Gunslinger-DSC00103-me.JPG

Also in the mix from Swiftech is a D5 pump setup with this beautiful acrylic top.  I freaking love clear tops.

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There are a few little odds and ends that I've picked up for fun to add to the theme.  Some iron of course!  Though it does need some work to get the look right.

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And since the Horn of Eld is very important, especially this time around, I hunted down my own battle horn!  Well a good starting point at least.  It does make some terrific noise!

Gunslinger-DSC00128-me.JPG

Also, keep an eye out on that piece of leather.  It's going to figure in as well. :) 

And HUGE props to my sponsors, GeForce Garage and Swiftech.  They work so nicely together!

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6 hours ago, Cheapskate said:

Cow parts... This is going to be weirder than the centipede, isn't it?  

Actually, no cows were harmed in the making of this case...so far.  I'm not really sure how they get the oxen horn, I assume they just lop it off live oxen.  The leather however, I'm pretty sure the sheep that was wearing it prior didn't survive that much skin loss. :)

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9 minutes ago, Cheapskate said:

Wrapping it in the 'ol sheepskin, eh? Now I'm worried about what shape this rig will be.

It's all about protection, hahaha!

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'At this nexus lies the Great Portal that so-called Thirteenth Gate which rules not just this world but all worlds.' - Roland, explaining the layout and path to the Dark Tower, The Waste Lands

Continuing on with making the back panel...

The holes for the I/O panel and the PSU are cut out.

TheGunslinger-2017-01-24_17.52.50-me.jpg

Though, I did miss a bit, but I'll adjust my risers to fix it.

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And mounted up with the components.

TheGunslinger-2017-01-24_18.29.55-me.jpg

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Next, we need to get this baby prepped.  I just finished another build where I eyeballed the location of the GPU without the block and fittings and wound up making things a little tight, so I want give myself plenty of room to work with this time.

TheGunslinger-2017-01-28_00.06.15-me.jpg

Off with the old...

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On with the new.

TheGunslinger-2017-01-28_00.39.57-me.jpg

And making sure I'm going to have plenty of room.

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While I'm at it, I probably ought to take care of this, an Intel Core i5 6600K.

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And with the board and everything out of the case, I can make up my GPU mount.

I laid it out and cut it, leaving one side attached so that I can bend it out and use it for a bracket.

TheGunslinger-2017-01-28_16.54.49-me.jpg

Unfortunately, I forgot this panel was 6061 Al, which doesn't like to bend at a 2mm thickness.  I realized my mistake about 2/3 of the way through the bend when cracks started popping up.  Finished the bend using a torch to soften things up and then brazed over the cracks to fill them and hopefully add a bit of strength back.

TheGunslinger-2017-01-28_16.59.56-me.jpg

Everything cleaned up and some mounting holes drilled.

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And it works like a charm.

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Once again, thanks to my sponsors, GeForce Garage and Swiftech!

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"No one ever does live happily ever after, but we leave the children to find that out for themselves." - Roland, Wolves of the Calla

Time to figure out the rest of the cooling loop for the Gunslinger, but to do this, we need to figure out how it will work with some of our "flair".  In the area next to the mb, I want to hang Roland's revolver in a holster, but I'd also like to fit the pump here, with the top on one side of the tray and the back of the pump poking out the other.

TheGunslinger-2017-02-09_20.34.24-me.jpg

At least I don't have to worry about extra room.

Marking out the pump.  The screws holding the housing together will be installed from the back of the tray to mount it.  I think it will be a pain to mount, but I won't need a bracket.

TheGunslinger-2017-02-09_20.40.18-me.jpg

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While I'm laying things out, another piece of flair is the Horn of Eld, or what will become the Horn of Eld.  Right now it's just a giant ox horn that needs to be trimmed down.

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Much better fit, but shortly after this I had to vacate the shop.  My bandsaw made quick work of the horn, but left me with quite a pungent odor.

After some airing out, I started fiddling with the radiator.  

TheGunslinger-2017-02-12_21.02.01-me.jpg

I debated a custom panel but decided to work with what's there.  

Since the reservoir will be sitting up front and peeking through the front panel, I needed to mock up the fans and build some brackets to hold it at an angle that matches the front of the case.

TheGunslinger-2017-02-12_21.40.47-me.jpg

A little piece of 2mm Al will make a solid mount.  Just need to countersink the screws for the pump brackets to makes sure they don't snag the fans.

TheGunslinger-2017-02-12_21.47.56-me.jpg

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Definitely going to have to do something about the look of the brackets, but that can wait.

TheGunslinger-2017-02-12_21.51.43-me.jpg

Mounted straight up.  Once I get the front panel cut out, I can add some spacers on my top bracket to get the angle I need.  I do think I need to move the bottom bracket up to the next fan to even things out a bit though. 

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"Ka like the wind" - Susan Delgado, Wizard and Glass

With the brackets for the res figured out for the most part, now it's time to cut on the front panel to show it off, and honestly, to make it fit, haha!

TheGunslinger-2017-02-14_21.53.27-me.jpg

I marked it out giving a little clearance on the sides for the CTR res and then cut it out with a jigsaw.  And let's see how it fits.

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Now to use some spacers to get the angle of the res right.

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After a little trial and error, I managed this.

TheGunslinger-2017-02-14_22.18.25-me.jpg

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Just what I was looking for, thought I'm probably going to make custom aluminum mounts and bands for the res to fit the theme and get rid of the chunky plastic ones.

With that done, I went in a cleaned up the edges of my cuts and pulled the insulation out of the front panel to make sure it didn't show and so that I could paint the panel later.

TheGunslinger-2017-02-14_22.30.09-me.jpg

While everything was torn apart, I went ahead and cut out my holes for the pump in the mb tray.

TheGunslinger-2017-02-14_22.51.43-me.jpg

TheGunslinger-2017-02-14_22.51.53-me.jpg

For this to make a bit more sense, I guess I should let you in on my plans for the back panel.  In the story of Roland, his era is a sort of feudal time that has come after a very advanced technological society has fallen.  This technological society, created by those Roland calls the 'Old Ones', has been in decay for thousands of years and at it's peak was more advanced than our own.  Even after thousands of years, some of this advance technology still exists and some still even works, though the people of Roland's time consider it evil or magic, and don't really understand it's workings.  Roland and his companions stumble across some of these old machines and computers in their travels, some built by North Central Positronics, a company of the Old Ones that specialized in robotics.  So my plan for the back panel is to give it a look of this decayed technology, electronics that have been wasting away for thousands of years, hence the pump and wires popping through the panel will fit right in with a bit of detailing and weathering.

Next up was mounting the SSD's.  I'm using a couple of Samsung 840 Evo's that I've got laying around to mock it up, though I might just use them in the build rather than buying more for my growing collection of drives, LOL!

TheGunslinger-2017-02-16_16.42.05-me.jpg

I want to make some brackets that allow me to mount the drives with the side mounts instead of the back ones so I don't have to pull everything apart just to pop a drive out.

I'm using some .05" aluminum for these brackets.

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And then using a vice to bend them into shape.

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Shot a little how to video for easily bending aluminum in a vice for my Down & Dirty Modding series.

The finished product.

TheGunslinger-2017-02-16_17.55.18-me.jpg

Right now I'm mounting them on 6mm standoffs, though I may mount them directly to the tray.  Haven't decided yet, and probably won't know for sure till I start finalizing what I'm doing on the detailing.

TheGunslinger-2017-02-16_18.48.24-me.jpg

TheGunslinger-2017-02-16_18.52.41-me.jpg

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The thunder of his own guns filled him with stupid wonder. - The Drawing of the Three

Now for something a little different with the CPU cutout.  My plan is to take the wires through there and run them under the board which is simple enough.  The only problem I have is that each side of the tray is a different look so how do I change over the look on the wires?  My solution, a junction box.  Simple enough and it fits the look on the back side. The plan is to make a set of wires that run to the box, then extensions that come out of it, somehow locking the receiving connector to the box.

TheGunslinger-2017-02-22_19.57.19-me.jpg

I'm going to start out with some .06" 5052 aluminum for the main body of the box.

TheGunslinger-2017-02-22_19.57.33-me.jpg

And after cutting out the piece I need, over to the vice to bend it.

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I didn't want to have a lot of brackets holding it together and I wanted all the corners to match up so I broke the piece in the middle of one side so I can braze it and get a nice clean look.  

First off, beveling the edges so that my braze has as much surface to grab onto as I can give it.

TheGunslinger-2017-02-22_20.15.26-me.jpg

Then set it up in the vice.  The marks on there are from a sharpie.  I figured out that sharpie evaporates a little before the aluminum reaches brazing temp, so I use it as a temperature guide.  

TheGunslinger-2017-02-22_20.18.55-me.jpg

Easy little joint.

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And then a die grinder with a sanding disc to knock it smooth.  A little paint and it'll be invisible.

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I mounted it up with couple of mod blocks and cut a pass-though for the wire.

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I'm using a couple of standoffs to extend the mod blocks up to hold the cover on.  The cover is .08" 6062 cut to shape.  I tried some thinner aluminum, but it wanted to bend the aluminum at the screws.  And well, I've got tons of .08 scrap.

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A few more brackets and some detail and CNC work on a few spots and I think we're ready for paint.  Yay!

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So, while I was hiding in my basement during a tornado warning, I figured I'd tackle the mounting brackets for the CTR res.  I tried a few designs in aluminum but nothing looked quite right so rather than new brackets, I tried to see what I could do to make the ones provided fit the theme better.

First step...leather.

TheGunslinger-2017-03-06_22.16.02-me.jpg

Then I cut some thin strips, maybe 1/4' to 3/8" wide.  I wasn't too worried about perfection since I'm really trying to recreate a rougher look, like something you'd make up while following the path of the beam.

TheGunslinger-2017-03-06_22.19.29-me.jpg

Then I took those strips and wrapped the brackets, starting on either side and meeting up in the middle with a knot.

TheGunslinger-2017-03-06_22.46.36-me.jpg

The res doesn't really fit in Mid-World, but the brackets do now!

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"When the shooting starts, we kill what moves." - Roland, Wolves of the Calla

Update time, and I guess, dirty copy and pasting time too.  I've hit a spot in the Gunslinger and the Crimson King where they are almost perfect mirrors of each other so it only makes sense to do the work on both at the same time.  

And as usually happens along the way, I've changed things up a bit.  I wanted a junction box on the back of the tray to fit the theme I'm going for and also for a place to hide some cable splices, so i bent one up.  It was functional but just didn't seem right to me.  And then wandering about the local hardware store, I thought I'd peruse the electrical aisle to see what I could put together for a junction box.  Came up with this.

CrimsonKing-2017-03-10_18.47.51-me.jpg

I think it fits better than what I made up, plus knockouts are way easier than what I had planned.  A few romex connectors and it'll work perfect, so I fit them over the holes I had already cut for my previous attempt.

CrimsonKing-2017-03-10_19.43.57-me.jpg

And opened up the pass through for a little more room.

CrimsonKing-2017-03-10_20.34.02-me.jpg

With 2 different cover styles installed.  I'm liking the option for a knockout in the cover.  Later, I can figure out what knockouts to knock out and it'll be good to go.

CrimsonKing-2017-03-10_20.37.17-me.jpg

With that sorted and somewhat finalized, I can start on the paint work.  This ones gonna be a stretch for me paint wise, there's gonna be a lot of weathering and airbrush work, which I suck at.  But first, something I'm totally familiar with, primer.

CrimsonKing-2017-03-10_21.19.10-me.jpg 

And since I'm going to match the SSD's to the theme and that requires a total repaint, I pulled them apart...

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So I could prime them too.  

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Next up was a coat of flat gray for the trays and laying parts out.

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Now that I can see what I'm working with I've got a better feel for the theme and can start to lay out my ideas.

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'Renounce the Tower. This is your last warning.' - Note left to Roland's Ka-tet, Wolves of the Calla

Paint, paint, paint.  This is always when a build starts coming together for me, but this one is a new challenge.  It's not picking out a cool color and laying down a glassy coat, it's all in the details.  And that means an airbrush, which I have, but have never been useful with.  Let's see if I can change that.

Since the back of the tray is supposed to look like 1000 year old tech that is more advanced than ours but seems a bit more clunky (I always pictured computers and robots from the futurists of the 50's and 60's), I wanted to give it a industrial feel with a ton of aging, plus add details from the series.  I'm starting with riveted panels that everything will attach to.  I started with some lines for the edges of the panels.

CrimsonKing-2017-03-16_22.57.06-me.jpg

Next came learning how to do rivets.

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And shading.

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Then all the components have to be painted to fit in.  First the SSD's are getting a chrome finish.

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And then tackling the PSU.

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Naturally, I tape off the sticker and this happens.

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And then adding some details.

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The hazard marking comes from a spot in the story where Roland's ka-tet finds some of the hardware that keeps the beam of the bear and the turtle functioning.

And the almost finished back panel with the SSD's, junction box, and PSU.  Next up for the panel is some rusting and aging to make it look like it's been wasting away for a thousand years.

CrimsonKing-2017-03-20_21.27.37-me.jpg

And a bit of a teaser of what's to come...

CrimsonKing-2017-03-20_21.28.24-me.jpg

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Had to add a quick update for the weathering.  It's 90% done, still have to add some holes on the Crimson King for some flash on the other side of the tray and need to clear both of the trays, but I'm super happy with how it turned out.

First pass.

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It came out too regular but not bad for a first attempt at weathering and the first time really using an airbrush.

Second pass.

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“There's nothing like stories on a windy night when folks have found a warm place in a cold world.” - The Wind Through the Keyhole

So with most of the airbrushing done, it was time to clear my panels to see how they turned out.  I have to say, the clearcoat really brought the detail out.

Before:

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After:

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I also had to do something for the corrosion on the SSD's to make them look like they've been sitting around for a thousand years too.  Since they were a chrome/alloy color, I decided to give it that whitish corrosion that you tend to see on alloy wheels.  First up, some white and black, dabbed with a cloth to give it some texture.

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Then a bit of green over the top, dabbed with a cloth as well.

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I hit them with some clear as well.  Actually two coats, one after the white, but before the black so they wouldn't mix or rub the white off, then another after the green.  I would say, unfortunately I wound up with some lifting and wrinking cause I hit the second coat of clear a little heavy and the bottom layers weren't at full cure, but I actually like the look, so I'm gonna roll with it. Gives it some texture and an interesting look.

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Now we get to the part where the two cases start to take on their own identity.  Each of the motherboard sides will have it's own theme.  For The Gunslinger I went with leather for the tray since leather was a pretty useful material in the story and fits the wild west gunfighter feel.

First was to lay out the leather in a way that let the most character of the piece show.

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Then some spray adhesive.

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And some trimming to finish it up.

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And with it's evil antagonist.

CrimsonKing-2017-03-25_16.13.13-me.jpg

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We spread the time as we can, but in the end the world takes it all back. - Roland, Song of Susannah

Now with the tray all decked out in it's leather, I can start adding the theme details to it.  First up, the Horn of Eld.  The horn originally belonged to Arthur Eld, Mid-World's equivalent of King Arthur, and has been passed down generations of descendants, finally reaching Roland Deschain.  So it's old.  And beat up.  Exactly not what it looks like now.

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In the promotional photo of the horn, it looks like it's got some decorative metal banding, but that might be a little beyond me.  I'm no prop maker, but I want it to look like it could fit in the world.  So first off, lets add some leather straps to it.

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Good start, now we need some metal work.  At first I tried to make some aluminum bands, but I couldn't really get them to fit well and holding it all together was giving me fits.  I needed something that was soft enough to match the shape.  Tried polystyrene, but that didn't look much better than the aluminum.  I started looking around the shop for ideas and stumbled on some 50/50 solder I had laying around, basically old school lead solder.  Easy to work with and made some nice bands.  Being a plumber paid off. :) 

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Then I had to make it look old.  This consisted of hitting it with a file and hammer to scratch and dent it.  After it was nice and beat up, I gave it an aged look by using acrylic paints, black and raw siena brushed on and then wiped off.  A little trial and error gave me this.

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Looks like it's been around the block a few times. :D  Not only was the lead solder perfect for fitting the horn and soft enough to make aging it easy, it was pretty simple to clean up where I joined it on the back side.  Just a bit of work with a soldering iron.

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With the horn done, I could start putting things together.  I mounted the horn with some wall anchors and just screwed the holster to the tray.

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And with most of the case painted and ready to assemble, I could finally put the tray in and see how it all worked together.

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To keep the back side of the tray looking right, I mounted my spacers for the motherboard backwards.  It'll require using nuts to mount the mb, but let me use screws with rusted heads on the back side, matching all my rust effects.

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I still need to get the back panel CNC'd and painted, but seeing this much of it together eased my worry of having three different looks going on at once.  The rusted out back of the tray and the themed front of the tray don't really overlap and both go along with the textured coat on the case itself.  But more about the case next time. :)  And a new sponsor too! :S 

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While I'm getting all my CNC work done, I figured I would start on the wiring.  It's that or sit around twiddling my thumbs listening to the Dewalt scream at me.  So let's be productive, eh?

Since I like making things complicated, I decided to stay with that trend on the wiring.  Both the Gunslinger and the Man in Black will have to sets of custom cables, one that matches the aged and decaying back side, and a pretty set of extensions for the other side with the connection between the two in the junction box.

To start off from the PSU, I wanted the cables to look like they had a purpose a thousand years ago, so I decided to step back into ancient times and go for color coded wires from an old PSU.  Luckily I had a couple of old Rosewills laying around that I had partially sleeved.  Since my run from the PSU is short, they should work just fine.

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So I did some harvesting.

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What sucks is that i used to have a box full of scrap wires that, somewhere along the way, I threw out.  But anyways, I got the wires pinned and connector-ized, taking the runs through the romex connectors so they look like they had a purpose.  I put them all together randomly since I'm not concerned about correct color coding, though I did manage to get the blue and green wires in the right spots.  I figured the PS on would make it easier to jumper the PSU later.

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Still have my SATA's and pump to hook up and some aging to do.  A friend suggested fabric wire wrap which I think could look awesome rotted out.  That, some paint effects and maybe a few burn spots should give them the look I want.

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OMG!  Does wiring ever end????  Apparently not, but I have made some progress.  Extensions, sleeved.

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But before we get into running the fans, I need to do something about the power and reset buttons.  Although I like having I/Os on the front of the case, I hate the mess you have to deal with on the inside, especially in a mod, so they've got to go to be replaced by a simple power and reset button pair.  First off I need to make a plate to cover the original I/O plate.  Using a pencil lead, I rubbed the outline onto some paper.

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I could then cut that out and transfer the shape over to some 1mm Al to cut out.

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Then some mounting holes to hold the Al to the original plate and while I was at it I notched the plate out with a dremel to allow my switches to run through.

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Voila!  Switches!  Even the case is excited about it! :P

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I'm painting the plate to match the rest of the case and the switches are white LEDs to match the color scheme.

While I was playing around with the wire, I managed to have my X-Carve die on me.  At first I thought it was a stepper, but it turned out to be a shorted wire so after working that out, I could start milling out a few symbols in the back plate that relate to the stories.  Everything started out fine.

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But two broken bits later I decided that this piece of Al wasn't having any of it.  It wasn't chipping very well and I'm not really sure why.  I've never had this problem with these settings on 6061 or 5052 Al before, so I decided to ditch that back panel and make a new one out of some 5052 I had laying around.  Three benefits to this, I just milled the same design in a piece of 5052 with no trouble, the 5052 will bend nicely for the GPU bracket on this new panel vs. the cracking that happened on the first panel, and I know what the hell I'm dealing with.  I'm pretty sure the original panel was 6061, I can't imagine what else it would be, but I also had to do some brazing on it when the GPU mount cracked, so maybe the heat was enough to screw with some of the properties of the panel?  No clue, but I busted out the new panel using the original as a template and the milling went smooth as butter.

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One more design to cut above the I/O shield and this baby is ready for a test fit and paint.

And speaking of milled parts, I just got some awesome milled parts in for the cooling loop.

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MNPCTech 1/2" hardline fittings.  A bunch of them!  Can't wait to get these babies in and start planning the loop.

And a big thanks to my sponsors:

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Back panel, milled, sanded, and ready for paint.

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So there's one thing that any self respecting Dark Tower build needs, and that's a rose.  The Dark Tower is surrounded by a field of roses and in one of the multiple worlds, there exists a rose that is the tower's counterpart.  So rose=important.  I had thought about putting a rose in the back panels, but liked the idea of Ka and the siguls of the King and the Deschains better.  So another place that was begging for a little love was the grill cover on the top panel.  It's kind of bland and boring up there and I'm hoping that the LED fans shining up through a silhouette will look pretty cool.

ABS on an X-Carve is like going through butter with a hot knife.  A nice change from dealing with aluminum, and probably a whole lot better than what is coming up, a steel side panel.  Not really sure how that one is going to work out.  But I got a nice vector drawing of a rose, set it all up, and let it eat.

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I taped the hell out of the first one to keep stuff from flying around and was a bit scared of breaking something taking it up, so the next one I went easy on the tape.  That was a mistake as one of the thinner sections let go and garbled the design.  Not bad and I could live with it, but I'm still going to look into a replacement.

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With the back panel ready for paint, let's look at how I painted them, since it doesn't really show in the pics.

First up is a a coat of rattle can black over primer.

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It's got a bit of orange peel but that won't really matter.  Next is a medium scratch pad to rough up the surface so that the next layer has something to grab on to.

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The top coat is a textured paint from Rustoleum that's supposed to look like rock??? Kind of?  It really isn't bad and basically turns the finish into coarse sandpaper.

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It's not the slate brick that's in the story, but it looks kind of rocky.  One nice thing is that as long as the base was black, it all pretty well matched, so I just top coated the parts of the case that didn't need paint and it matched the parts I painted black just fine.  Another is it'll cover blemishes in the base and doesn't scratch unless you really go at it.

With the back panel done, it was time to start putting it all together.

Wired up the switches and the fans.

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And did some weathering to make the back side wiring look older.

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Then the mb went in.  I like having the wire running under the board, but it can be a pain to get it laying right.  Still need to add some combs to clean it up.

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And the back panel was riveted on.

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I went with white LED's to light the interior and help show off the details.

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And the GPU finishes off the hardware.

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And a few shots with it's antagonist.

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Now the loop is the only thing left to finish!

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Ah the fun part, the loop. :)

Nothing too crazy here running clear 1/2" od Primochill PETG in between Bill's hardline fittings.  I do have one of the measuring and bending sets from Monsoon, but find that I actually get better results just bending by hand.  I tackled the res first.  The bottom bend was tricky, 3 bends, 3 planes, and no way to hold the piece in position to eyeball it.  Heck I could barely get the finished piece in since it had to go through a slot under the rad just over 1/2" tall.

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Once the hard bend was out of the way, the rest was just figuring out what looked best.  Ok, I'll admit that it wasn't that easy.  I spent a few days looking at it and deciding where i wanted the lines to run, but once the planning was out of the way, running the loop was a matter of a couple of hours.

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The big thing was making sure everything was straight.

And then I filled the loop with Mayhem's UV white pastel.  I really only wanted white but ordered the UV by mistake.  Oh well, it'll look cool in black light, LOL.

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Yeah, that run from the CPU to GPU is off.  Sometimes you've got to get the fluid in to really get an idea of what it looks like.  I thought it would be passable before I filled it, but wound up draining the loop to re-bend that piece.

While I was working on the loop, I was also cutting acrylic side panels.

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They still need a bit more work but are passable.  I thought I had the holes for the magnets figured out, but wound up having to glue them in instead press fitting them.  That was a bit of a pain.

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But now we're ready for final shots!

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