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Project: Codename-C

83 posts in this topic


Right, so the summer is here which means it is time for another project! I am going to be doing a scratch build! I have done some fun mods before, from the fractal in MNU to the wonderful project with Bill in MNPCTECH on the lanboy air :cough:

As I am only in Belgium for the summer holiday for only 3 months 1 of which I am not actually here as I am in fact back in Glasgow/ Essex/ Lanzarote... So the clock is ticking! With that a scrupulous mount of planning is going to be required! I am planning to have the main shell, basically every thing you require to install the basic system installed into done by July, but most of you will know what I am like with planning - horrendous! With all the fun LED and other RaspberryPi stuff done while I am back at uni with access to the wonderful electronics labs and store - yay free stuff!

So I will be posting plans etc in this thread for you to shoot down, tell me I am wrong and generally suggest things that I should do but probably will not.

For now all I actually know is that the project is going to be mATX, maybe even Mini-ITX. Watercooled, with some other fun stuff. Finally basically all aluminium (oh, forgot to mention that) will be black and there will be LOTs of RGB LED fun :)/>

Rant away,

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Some of the 3D model of what will be the Chassis of the case, the sidepanels, front and back panels and the internal panels will connect to.



It will be 5mm acrylic which will be acrylic glued together... with 25mm angle for attaching all the other bits..

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I am back in Belgium for the summer, which means one thing it is time to mod! And no I have not got the final pictures of MNU done yet but what can you do? This is going to be what is technically my second scratch build although the first was made of wood and had an unfortunate date with a concrete floor resulting in the project being scraped. This current project is what I have dubbed Project: Codename C, the reasons for this will become apparent in the coming weeks as the project comes together. The case is going to be mATX although it is very likely to only hold a Mini-ITX board, I have never done a build with either form factor and I think it is about time! Either way it will be used as a mini LAN system while I am at university so I do not have to hulk the 30kg or so of Project: MNU along. Now that we have form factor and the reasoning for building the case over with, not that you need a reason to mod a new case…

The case will be based on a design aspect that keeps coming back to me! I just cannot get rid of it! The case will have 5mm acrylic wedged between 2 pieces of aluminium (aluminum for all you Americans and apparently ENGLISH UK spellcheck as well…); this acrylic will be lit by LEDs. I am planning on having RGB LEDs controlled by a RaspberryPi – mostly because I can – which will allow them to remain on even when the PC is off if all goes to plan!

Now this project is going to be split into two different sections to be completed in two different countries, it is only fitting right? The first is the main construction; this will be done in Belgium where I have space and all my tools! The other is the electronics, and assembly. This will all be done in Glasgow where I have the use of the Glasgow University electronics laboratories and supplies :P/>

Now on with it eh? I have had enough with typing guff and I am sure you have had enough reading it!

After getting some of the original concepts done and drawn up in either SketchUp, on paper or in my head I ventured down into the depths of our houses basement to find what I have lying about from previous projects...


Ok it is not that big, but in the boiler room I have a number of cardboard boxes courtesy of the movers. Anyway, I found a random assortment of stuff from Project: Deadline, and MNU and some aluminium sheets!


I have also got another large sheet of aluminium with a random assortment of acrylic that I have acquired of the last few years.


I was asked recently what I do with my projects when they are done, and the answer to that is that I reuse them. Project: Deadline is about to be recycled to make way for Project: Codename C!


I really only need the back plate as I really do not want to make one from scratch given my time limits this project moves to Glasgow with me in September!




After drilling out all the rivets there needs to be one of these pictures right?


Thanks all, please stay tuned and I WILL get the pictures for MNU up as soon as I can :)/>

PS can this be moved to logs please :)/>

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I am back!

First of all, I want to appologise for the quality of the images that I am about to show you, they were taken on my iPhone as the camera went MIA!

I have continued work on the PCI back plate, it needs a bit of a chop!


As Project: Deadline was an ATX build it had a full size backplate but for MATX we definitely do not need to have all the expansion slots! So I took a dremel to it, for both cutting and cleaning it up. I decided that something needed to go in the end to 'plug' the 'hole' so working on the whole acrylic and aluminium idea I stuck a piece of 5mm acrylic in the end!


I needed to grab some supplies to continue work.. and what better supplies then beer?


I chopped some aluminium to size and and viola, one end bracket with acrylic highlight! It is currently stuck together with friction and a good old bit of masking tape but a cheeky bit of super glue!


All glued up!


mod on :)/>

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Right, back 2 days in a row? What is wrong with me?

I got to work on the chassis, which is for this project an acrylic shell that everything else will connect to. I got a sheet of 5mm acrylic from Hindleys.com and they kindly shipped it to me in Belgium. The sheet is 1000mmx600mm which is just enough for the top, bottom and both side panels with a bit to spare. The panel was marked with a trusty fine tipped sharpie and of course an MNPCTECH mod ruler! I used the piece of aluminium angle that will will be used in the project at a later date to make sure all lines were straight and for guiding the jigsaw.


A sexy MNPCTECH ruler.


All bits chopped, and ready to be sanded down. Which is going to be a mission for another point in time as I need to get both the front and back edges to be "frosted"


I took a cheeky gander down into the basement again to start looking for aluminium pieces to use and in a corner I found a pile of random scraps that have been cut by a machine shop. Bonus for me as I now have loads more pre-cut edges to work with!


Anyway, this is what each of the edges will look like from the front and back of the case :)/>


I got sick of using the jigsaw and the smell of acrylic - I still do not why I choose it as a material I hate the stuff - I decided to get some priming done. The PCI back plate all ready for a coat of black (matt or glossy is still up in the air)



until next time :)/>

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So apparently work takes up a lot of time... I am doing an internship in the IT department of Bridgestone EU in Brussels :)/> So have been there all week and un able to work on this thing... however, with every week comes a weekend!

We all saw the acrylic cut and stuff in the last update, so after a bit of sanding here and there through the week it was ready to be stuck together - cement, welded, glued it does not matter. I decided to make a jig to ensure that everything was where it was meant to be and would stay there! This taks was under taken with one of those monitor riser thingys that none uses, a wooden box a few G-clamps and a screw driver. We are all modders right, we have all been there...


The glue, cement, weld (stuff) was applied using one of the adhesives (ok I am just trying to use as many words for it as possible) applicators. Mod Warning! It burns if you get it in cuts...


There we have it, one joint done!


Next up, you guessed it, the other joint. You see where 'Codename C' comes from now? I know that it is the wrong way around, but in the original concepts in my head it was all fine and dandy and that looked like a C but unless I made it BTX it will have to be the 5 year old (and backward) version of the 3rd letter in the alphabet..



24 hours later, it is all set and ready to go!


So with the main structure of the case assembled it is time to add some strength to it! So out comes the 3mm aluminium and the alu angle again! I am going to be using 3mm aluminium for the front and back panels.


I got as far as cutting out the back panel but then not a word of a lie Belgian law, or in my area at least meant I was not allowed to cut anymore as it was a Sunday and the jig saw is apparently too noisy... So will hopefully get the front panel done tomorrow night! But this is a rough idea of how the back panel will be.


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I am going to be leaving to go to London tomorrow morning for a week or so, with that in mind last night I went to go and pack up some stuff in the garage. Well you all know what it like to have an idea in the middle of doing something and just go with it...

So while packing up the acrylic I came up with how I would mount the front and back panels onto the main case. So I got stuck in, however the camera went MIA and my phone was flat so for the first 1 or so of work there was no pictures but I found the camera when I was waiting for the font panel to set.

As I want the panels to be flush with the acrylic I lay then on a flat surface stuck the 'c' frame around them then glued in the supports. Triangular supports for the motherboard side of the case and a long strip of 8mm acrylic for the open side.




There we go, we have something resembling a case now!





I am currently trying to work out the best wat of attaching the panels to the acrylic without the need for screws/ bolts but will get back to you all on that I am thinking epoxy but will need to see how it goes.

That is me for another 2 weeks or so until I get back from the UK unless I get really creative tonight...

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So I am now back from the UK, now it is time to get back to the modding!

First of all I am going to have to make apologies for the pictures in the following update, my sister went to Ghana with the camera and my other camera still has a dead battery and no charger... so the following is taken with my iPhone 4 camera, and because I use that for music and am generally bad at taking pictures anyway there is a lack of pictures with some of the work!


I need to get the front panel sorted, although this rig may not have watercooling in it to start with I want it to have the capability to do so. So there is 15mm spacing on the 2 front fans :)/>


I am going to be cutting them with a 4.5" holesaw with a hand drill... make sure it is BiMetal and WEAR SAFETY GLASSES!


Again sorry for the blurry picture the drill kind of destroyed my muscles a bit, I used 2 G-Clamps with the hand of drill in between them to protect everything if it kicked a bit!


Back plate done and cleaned up! Now ready to prime.



Backplate almost done...


Backplate ready for primer, frontplate primed!

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It is time for another update! I spent most of this weekend in pain/ in bed after our house's so called deactivated alarm system went off at 4am and we had to strip it down in the middle of the night... This was less then fun given that they are designed not to be taken apart so shock you, generally deafen you and all edges are REALLY sharp...

But I got around to doing somethings, the outside surfaces are all going to be painted aluminium so I found my trusty jigsaw and aluminium angle!


There you have it, can we call this mod finished now? With everything being cut by hand there are always some inaccuracies so I made sure everything would be too big rather than too small! Shhh no one can see the missing supporting pillar!


As you can see some cleaning up will be required but thats ok, you can always take material off putting it back is harder...


Unfortunately with all the weight from the clamps that I had holding it together while I was puzzling the best fit one of the supports snapped! As it broke at the joint I just got some more acrylic weld and stuck it back in place.


While that dried I moved onto something more aesthetic fan grills from MNPCTech.com, Bill posted an image of them together on facebook so I ran down to the basement where I have a hodgepodge of random billet goodness!



A quick primer coat and they are ready for me to do something interesting with them...


Before painting I make sure I open the garage door to ensure good ventilation, but the garage has a counter weight and DAMN it was so close to crushing poor little codename c!


Finally for all the people who keep saying nice car... Get your fill then take a look at the case? :D/>


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The 'supportyness' of the supports has been drastically improved! With some more triangles! They are going to help me in 2 ways, first stop it falling apart and second it is going to give me a place to attach the side panels.


All the supports in place!


Now the LED holes... get out the 10mm hole saw thing. It works quite well on acrylic!


I was considering just leaving it like that but as I do not have the LEDs with me I wanted to make sure I could add more if needs be.


Break the rotary tool out and now I remember why I hate acrylic so much...


The finished hole, I do not really mind if it is a bit iffy and stuff it is all going to be hidden!


I started trailing glue to see what the best method to attach the aluminium to the acrylic.


I have been working today as well so there will be another update soon!

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So I am back again!

The first coat of black paint going on the front panel! I am going for matt black for now but if I do not like it I will gloss it and give it a good polish.


Next up is to attach the back outer sheet of aluminium. This sheet is going to be permanently attached much like the outer panels of the top and bottom. I have made sure that the top and bottom are all filed and sanded down before hand. My sister was recruited to take some pictures... LOADS of glue on the panel.


Clamps! I love clamps!



To ensure that the middle stuck I shoved a few pant tins on top of it.


Now that I cut this all by hand, there is a little bit of a gap between the top and side, I was expecting this and so made sure my supplies of 'mud' were stocked. I do love filler! But it does look alright now.



A tub of Belgian mud, I have no idea what the instructions are so I just went with it.


Ready for some sanding... Lots of sanding!


We have a public holiday here tomorrow so wait for some more updates!

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So I have another update! After sanding down the filler on the joins I gave the case a quick coat of primer having masked out all the acrylic. I am impressed with the join almost invisible! YAY!


Lots of this update is bits and pieces I completed yesterday as all the big stuff is not ready to be shown/ I have not got around to editing the pictures. This is a bolt... M4 steel, you know the normal. What makes it special in codename-c is that it holds in a piece of angle that in turn holds in pieces of aluminium that cover the acrylic internally.




Obviously this is just a bit of scrap but it gives you idea about what is happening.


I started working on the "door" I have cut out pieces of acrylic which fit snuggly with the supports on the main chassis, this will stop the door wiggling about and guide it into place when you put it on the case. I am working on attachement devices so there will be no screws on it at all!


While that was drying I broke out the rotary tool and cut out a slot for the rear exhaust fan to sit.


Stuck some matt black on the back panel... Going to be painting all the aluminium in matt black :D/>


OOOOOoooo RaspberryPi! This wonderful little board is going to be powering the LEDs allowing me to set the RGB leds to whatever I like :D/> I know, I could have used an arduino or any other microcontroller on the planet, but where is the fun in that?


Until next time, mod on!

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Sorry for the delay in updates but I went off to Lanzarote for a week on a family holiday which was a laugh but it was good to get back!

So I am using magnets for holding on the side panel, cut out a slot in the aluminium angle for the magnet. They were spare from some kitchen cabinets that me and my dad made while we were still in Scotland.


I filled the open end in with filler, have I mentioned how much I love this stuff?


Now quickly glue the other side onto the side panel.


So this is where we are in terms of the actual case! Getting there!



Now back to the fan grills, it is always the details right? Painted and I have added some acrylic between the to grills, which will light along with the rest of the case.



I no longer have any work to do, so I will be finishing this case soon enough :D/>

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So I have had a few days of iffy weather, so have not managed to get much painting done, and that is almost all I have left to do. However, for some reason I do failed to keep the garage clean anyway... :D/>


I left the plastic from the acrylic for the window in place while I painted the side panel. So the matt black is now down!


Got the matt black down on the internal panels as well.


And the main case as well!


OOO, more RaspPi! I have started making the box for the Pi, but more on that later!


If this weather holds out I may have another update for you soon!

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Now, I believe I am the exception to the rule but most people do not actually park in the garage... However, I believe the real reason for it having a tiled floor is it was built by Belgians, what do they know :D/>

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"A tub of Belgian mud, I have no idea what the instructions are so I just went with it."

I have to admit, this sentence had me rolling.

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