Hello everyone, this is my first post since my last project concluded in August 2005, Passiv-Agressiv. You can see my brand new redesigned website HERE!
Also, you can follow this project on my site as well as here on Modders-Inc.
I began a new project in October of 2010, the purpose is to create a beautiful, functional HTPC case for my home. I chose Art Deco as the major influence of the case, and I hope to integrate the detail and design philosophy of Art Deco into the project.
A little background information on the theme source: Art deco features trademark geometric shapes, stark contrasts of dark and light, and fine detail. The period of Art Deco's popularity was from the early 1920s, through 1939 and the rise of post-war mid-century modern design, which replaced Art Deco. Art Deco is what defined the Roaring Twenties in America, and the style that shaped the nation's architecture during this period. I live in Phoenix, and many of our buildings downtown were built in the 1920's and 1930's. New York however is the most dominant and rich source of Art Deco architecture in the country.
All this in mind, my project will feature common Art Deco styling, using hand tools to create authentic Art Deco styled pieces and integrate them into the finished build.
On to the dirty bits:
-Intel Atom 330/Nvidia Ion based system
2GB Kingston DDR3
-1(2TB) Samsung Spinpoint F4 5400 RPM drive, upgradeable to two later on.
-1 SSD, undecided on which model to use.
-1 Asus or Samsung Blu-Ray drive
The purpose of the build:
-To be able to serve 1080p content, using a slick interface(considering XBMC at the moment. Thoughts on UbuntuXBMC vs Win7+XBMC welcomed)
-Playback BluRays, DVDS, and .mkv files(and less)
-Have the ability to disappear when watching movies(no noise/light)
-Look amazing sitting on the TV furniture we currently have when the lights are on, and no one is watching a movie.
The Atom platform with Ion GPU is a perfect choice because it is low power, the system will have just one fan on the PSU, so low heat generation is key.
Projected Budget: $500
So, this leaves us with nothing left but to get down to business. First I began with sketches, LOTS of sketches. And even and Art Deco book. It is important when learning about a certain theme to practice drawing and thinking in the methods that are commonly found in the theme. The way lines flow together, common shapes, textures. Art Deco motifs are very uplifting, projecting images of sunlight rays, gazelle, and plant-like structures, while adding the industrial, bas-relief feel to everything, as if the entire world were chiseled out of solid stone. Once I had a grasp on these principles, I came up with sketches like these:
Next, naturally the first thing you do with a shiny new expensive piece of hardware is rip it apart and make sure everything is up to snuff. It wasn't. Asus did a mega fail here, the Atom CPU(right, dual core) and ION GPU(left) are not the same height.
However they thought it was a good idea to use a flat base heatsink for the whole lot and fix the problem with about 0.100" of thermal pads (not pictured).
I confirmed the chip misalignment using a CMM, or coordinate measuring machine. We have a Mitutoyo and a Brown&Sharpe, these machines are capable of measuring with extreme precision, down to 0.0001" on a day to day basis. After examining the motherboard, turns out the GPU is actually 0.0231" HIGHER than the atom CPU!
Using the ruby probe to contact the surface of the chip.
Needless to say I wasn't amused by this laziness, and I simply fixed the problem using a 3/4" solid carbide endmill.
The total flatness of the surface is now less than 0.0001" overall, taken with a 16 point average.
Much better contact is being made with all surfaces.
Thats all I have for now, Currently working on this little bracket to mount the BluRay drive 0.125" off the case floor. The drive will sit on the left side of the case toward the back, facing out the left side. The motherboard will be mounted on a tray about 2 inches off the case floor above the drive. See the sketch above for details.
This bracket will hold the drive using little rubber grommets cannabalized from a WD external hard drive enclosure. Starting with an ordinary piece of aluminum angle stock.
Roughing the shape out
Time to get filing, my arsenal includes over 100 files of different size, cut, texture, and shape for different purposes, here I will just be using a few though.
Almost done, test fitting the rubber grommet dealies.
Add a little gold leaf accent in the middle, clearcoat for fingerprint resistance and surface finish, aaaand:
Until next time!