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thorkon

[Build Log] Metroid -A 3D printed computer case

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Hi guys, I'm 8-Bit Builder. I've been doing this for about 10 years now and just starting up my newest build. I build cases in the an old pixelated style as you will see shortly :D.

      I've been wanting to build a Metroid computer case for about 7 years now but plastic was always too expensive ($1 a cube) compared to .08 cents a cube of wood which is what all my previous PC mods are made out of. Once I found out how accessible 3D printers were, I jumped head first and picked up a Maker Select. After a few months of non-stop printing it dawned on me that I could make the Metroid computer case I've been thinking about for such a long time. Normally I spend about 200-250$ in wood/paint but 3D printing plastic is really cheap in comparison, about $80 in plastic. I'm also planning on having a really cool light sequence on the inside of the case to get the red effect of the in game Metroid. Being my first foray into a 3D printed computer I'm sure I'll run into issues but look forward to overcoming them. This will also be my first time with programmable LED's so it will be a learning experience on that front also! I'm going with an ASUS STRIX for the Aura Sync capabilities since this case is going to have a big focus on lighting. The more advanced lighting will be done with the Tinkerboard.

Expectations:
A strong gaming pc
100s' of LEDs programmed inside for a light show
95% 3D printed


Components:
ASUS has sponsered/supplied me with components for this mod (Really appreciate it) and also in the past on my Airship PC Case seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cz5muWnFMmg


ASUS ROG STRIX X370-I GAMING AM4 AMD X370 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 Mini ITX AMD Motherboard

ksHMYD2.jpg
3PQN9qd.jpg
ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 TURBO-GTX1080-8G 8GB 256-Bit GDDR5X PCI Express 3.0  
6cMYDs1.png

16 GB of ram
1TB SSD
Asus Tinkerboard with a few hundred LEDs programmed in a cool light show

And heres some photos of my past work:

Airship from Final Fantasy
pzeLIfu.jpg

Link from Zelda
Z3LXSbm.jpg

And a 3D model I've printed, Calcifer from Howl's Moving Castle
IxsuIiQ.jpg


Ok on to the build! This is what I'm building (modeled in 123Design/Tinkercad):
Metroid from ...Metroid!
 8eo94DO.png

The modeled case
FNwNYcN.png

My first idea of how the components will fit
82JOmHT.png

I started printing and doing test pieces to make sure I had it down pretty good and to test strength of the frame. Needless to say, it holds a LOT of weight (I weigh 185lbs)
8cr1OqQ.jpg

I've got the printer going in earnest on the final design now. The printer will be going non-stop for about 2-3 weeks to get all the pieces done. I'll be back soon though with photos of attaching sections together with glue and 3D pen welding! 

If you have any questions or ideas, feel free to ask :D

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1st: Welcome to the zoo. :D

2nd: Looks like a promising build.

3rd: Post your printer, not your feet. :terror:We don't roll like that here. -I think... I mean we have some oddballs here, but...

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Thanks for the welcome :D. 

I figured the feet were the best intro to me :D
v3oqXoo.jpg
Heres the mess of my work area with the printer (CR-10). Not pictured is a Maker Select that is putting in a little assisting work also

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Back with a few updates. I'm printing in earnest, and got a few progress shots and issues even, but nothing unsurpassable.

This is a gif of a lighting test for the build. I wanted to verify Red Leds would go through green plastic without to much color distortion. Alls well on that front
YmiSuH7.gif

Heres the printer starting on a 48 hour print job.
0ovpAjZ.jpg

This is the base of the metroid which will support the weight of all the components. Just prepping gluing it and clamping.
h72h0bh.jpg

kJNwjnc.jpg

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ON to some special super glue made for 3D PLA and a 3D pen to weld the pieces together. The glue is probably fine but I'm gonna play it safe and double up on strong connection points.

The glue
tA3LnZQ.jpg

3D pen action
JbHTu2a.jpg

After 3D pen
YyqXUr6.jpg

Give em the clamps!
WyMTJry.jpg

BM5iqmc.jpg

Finished base
r7nWvKT.jpg

r7nWvKT.jpg

Baby for scale :D
Lsyl2Yx.jpg

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The cubes are hollow, to give the best lighting effect (and save on materials cost). It will be a little big, but I've got quite a few case mods that dwarf this one. I want to make sure I have a little room for setting the LEDs up so I scaled the case a little bigger than planned also.

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This post is about printer problems :(

This is how it looks starting. This is about 3 hours into a print of 1 of the 14 sections left
qOhj57j.jpg

A little futther in the print, about 9 hours
U8yRxXF.jpg

Aaaaand heres the issue at about 12 hours in. The tube that guides the plastic let loose while I was away from home and just shot the plastic everywhere. Usually on 3D printing you can resume from where an error happened but due to the nature of this design, the pieces have to be complete in 1 shot. So this is about 12ish hours of progress loss and plastic loss :(
evEYaqV.jpg

Round 2 at trying the same print after I fixed the issue. Using my Fire light to keep it lit up at night for the timelapse I'm making.
JZbbsBI.jpg

ANNNND heres issue #2. This is hard to see, but at 46 hours in on this print WITH ONLY 2 HOURS LEFT!, I got a layer shift. A layer shift is usually because a belt slips or a cable got caught on something. In this case, the cable got caught on the section of the plastic as it was printing. It prevented the head of the printer to move to its correct position so it started printing to the left by about 4mm. i caught it after it happened in about 10 min. but it was too late. 46 hours loss and about 11$ of plastic loss ;_;. Since this happened, I don't print the sections more than 4 columns of cubes high (88.8mm), that way I don't take such a large hit of loss of time. Its not noticeable in this photo of the layer shift but i had to discard this piece.
WpVlB6X.jpg

These issues combined with my 2nd printer also running into problems (was down for 5 days while replacement parts came in), was a hit in my sails of progress, but I've been back on track in the last day or so and got them both running. About 7 days of non-stop printing should get the the top of the case complete. I'll be back in a day or two to update progress with the components being layed out inside the base, and will probably ask for opinions on what looks best. See you guys then!

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Been there with my mill. :( Is it not possible to grind the failed cubes down and make a new file to complete it where you left off? I'd think with the cube/modular pattern, it would be easier to splice.

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I tried to use a band saw to cut it down to the next row of cubes but it was too difficult to get a precise straight cut. Due to the printer being so precise, anything that is slightly off is visible or makes the next piece that adheres to it follow the unevenness. In my old style with wood cubes, it would definitely work as the cubes were always slightly different sized so variances in the patterns blended in. The printer being so precise to a mm or less is just to hard to replicate, at least with the tools I have available. Its not the end of the world, I learned from it, and just got to hit print again and wait. Would be worse if i personally spent the time on it and it messed up ha

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Heres a component placement update:

The ASUS Turbo 1080 just by its lonesome
h8YRcFx.jpg

The ASUS STRIX-370I alone also
ZwHF8Wj.jpg

But not for long! These are testing "legs" to hold up the motherboard. I'll make some beefier/sturdier ones soon, but I really do like the 45 degree angle of the STRIX 370-I toward where the window will be. Not often I get to do a motherboard at an angle like this

wQAGdeb.jpg

AXKT1dT.jpg

The bottom is for a 200mm fan, just using one of my placeholder fans atm to test with

Bottom with no fan frame base
zkgvFsZ.jpg

With base
ZCi7STN.jpg

With fan
JeFXxGM.jpg

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Thanks man, appreciate it :) I'm twiddling my thumbs as the printer prints. I'm so excited to get this thing together and get the lights on it :D (not necessarily as excited to program the lights, lol)

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Back with some more things:

Working on the "teeth" which are what hold up the case from the floor

Printed in tranparent red and white, with a hollowed out point for leds to light up
9QPYYUP.jpg?1


The teeth going through quality control (not sure how to embed gifs/youtube links on here so just a regular link for now:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCnpV0R2cNI

Teeth in place
VlJgBP0.jpg?1

This is neat, this is heat changing plastic. Its brown at room temperature but turns green as it warms up. In this photo, I drilled the holes a little bigger and the friction from the drill heated the end up to green as you can see
eRGghT7.jpg?1

Lastly, a new issue. This is a partial clog in the nozzle where not enough plastic comes out. I cleaned the plug and had to toss this piece.
hMpCqQm.jpg?1

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Working on the top frame now.

Heres the base in pieces
yDcsSpY.jpg

GFa3z40.jpg

Clamping it together
QltImon.jpg

All said and done with the lower section
qwFnV2t.jpg

I'm still waiting on the printer to finish the rest of the sections so will have whole frame done in a few days

Experimenting with different wire covers I printed
qD2hGsw.jpg

3HVcJw5.jpg

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Its so big, haha, seriously though... Yea, I really like this psu, its very small but powerful at 600w. 

 

Getting near the home stretch!

Heres a test lighting of one of the feet. No cable management yet...ha

YsWgd2L.jpg

Side being built up:
SX2ygyp.jpg
K9tJ38q.jpg
5sebGNQ.jpg
2zy5xTM.jpg


Not fully complete but just an idea how the window will be
wjM1ohf.jpg

I'll be back when I have the whole top finished with fans and whatnot. I'm gonna start working on getting the leds wired in

Heres a test run with them shoddily taped on the inside
Iv1QWAq.gif


 

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It will be a interesting challenge. I'm only doing specific cubes. Theres about 15-18 different patterns that will light up through the case. an LED for each cube would be quite a challenge, no doubt.

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Finished up the frame of the top!
7UAWWH5.jpg

Couldn't use any vertical clamps due to the say its smooth on the inside, so had to use some weights to help glue it down.
JRT2fm3.jpg

Baby for scale
4Yl3DUx.jpg
3tExsMW.jpg

Adult for scale
YxPPPHh.jpg

This is my wife staying "awake" past her bedtime trying to help by routing the pc wiring on the inside
uwbvdSy.jpg

Now I'm moving on to the LED wiring on the inside. Its going to be awhile of wiring and soldering... Heres what a pattern/schematic of the led paths
VCRGE6u.jpg


 

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Back now that I'm done with the wiring. Oh boy, was this an adventure. I've rarely done soldering/wiring and this has definitely increased my skill with it ha. There will be gifs of the lighting, I'll provide a link if the message board isn't showing it natively.

So my first test was my lazy test, which to say was I was hoping i could just fold the led strip to make 90 degree turns but I didn't like the way the lights would repeat flash whenever it came to a bend...
AvLLFvf.jpg
GIF of Light issue
IeL0tHB.mp4
https://imgur.com/IeL0tHB

I decided to cut the led strip and solder whenever there was a 90 degree turn. Heres the same layout, but with wiring instead of folding
ME0qMFu.jpg
GIF of Light fixed
https://imgur.com/Am1TJAy
Am1TJAy.gif

Next is some wiring shots
Splitting off the led strip
uAMxDMH.jpg
51KRmeK.jpg

The monotonous monotony of stripping wires and tinning wires
gP6hbKy.jpg
JhZEVfn.jpg

The finalized wiring on the inisde with everything hotglued in place. I'll need to print some covers to hide the wiring and clean it up.
6p6zxKB.jpg

and finally one section lighting up in the dark
Gif of section lighting up
KNzvVWC.gif
https://imgur.com/KNzvVWC

Next is programming the ASUS Tinkerboard so that the led strips will run on seperate timings. I'm just delving into this so should be interesting

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Yea it was worth the torture. I do like how it came out. 

She wasn't in the best of moods when used her for comparison in that photo ha.

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On 2/23/2018 at 12:12 PM, thorkon said:

Its so big, haha, seriously though... Yea, I really like this psu, its very small but powerful at 600w. 

 

Getting near the home stretch!

Heres a test lighting of one of the feet. No cable management yet...ha

YsWgd2L.jpg

Side being built up:
SX2ygyp.jpg
K9tJ38q.jpg
5sebGNQ.jpg
2zy5xTM.jpg


Not fully complete but just an idea how the window will be
wjM1ohf.jpg

I'll be back when I have the whole top finished with fans and whatnot. I'm gonna start working on getting the leds wired in

Heres a test run with them shoddily taped on the inside
Iv1QWAq.gif


 

Nice built!

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