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Thread: D-Shady's Snoopy Sno-Cones

  1. #1

    D-Shady's Snoopy Sno-Cones

    After a relatively successful keg mod (which some of you may remember):

    I wanted to get even smaller. So I moved from the Via EPIA-SP Mini-ITX board down to the VIA EPIA-NX Nano-ITX board. This worklog will show in hopefully appropriate detail what I did start to finish to make this mod.

    Here's the parts that went into this, and for those of you that are curious, some close-ups of the board:

    Before putting on the heatsink:

    Hook it all up--I always like to get the OS installed before assembling the mod:

    I installed Vista just for fun and to see how the hardware would handle it (it actually ran very smoothly)...

    The first step on the "case" was to remove some of the internal support plastic to make room for the harddrive/etc. You can also see the inital shape of the backpiece here, but it was rough:

    I then filed it down to make it as smooth as possible. In order to get the plastic out, I cut first with scissors and then used diagonal cutters to remove as much as I could before filing. I didn't want any plastic causing the drive to not sit flat/etc:

    Nice and smooth--that will make a good pocket for the laptop harddrive:

    Reverse angle:

    Here's an idea of how it will fit:

    Next up is to attack the center column...

  2. #2

    D-Shady's Snoopy Sno-Cones

    This part was a bit tricky. Not knowing how strong the pieces were, I had to go slow.
    The original intention was to put a Pico-ITX board under the hole in the central column and then line the edges with silicon so it wouldn't leak melting ice down onto the board/drive/etc. I found out later that I couldn't get a Pico board from the source I thought I could--so I ended up pulling the entire column. None-the-less, cutting as I did actually made it easier to remove the column.

    In order to make the cut seen below, I simply took a hacksaw blade and held it in my hand (use a glove ) and manually cut as far as I could. Then I pushed the piece back and forth until it snapped off. A little bit of filing and this is what I had:

    Here's a better view of the break:

    Once I made the decision to remove the central column, I carefully drilled away the part of the plugs that were helping to secure the column:

    Then I pryed up the column from the glue--this was really stuck on there good...

    More prying:

    Hard work pays off:

    Next up I trimmed up the back piece...

  3. #3

    D-Shady's Snoopy Sno-Cones

    I took the back piece and trimmed it up to make it fit more exactly. The back piece was simply a plastic sign I picked up from Home Depot because it has a nice white back and a very slight thickness:

    That looks better:

    And from the other side:

    And from the top:

    Next up was to mount the board. Although it would be easier to wire and mount facing the other way, I wanted the board to face forward so that the fan would be relatively lined up to the hole. This wasn't for any specific cooling need--I just thought it would look more astetically pleasing. When mounting boards, I prefer to use nylon whenever possible. When making custom cases, you want as little risk of accidental short circuits as possible. I decided to mount with just three pegs. After lining up the holes I gave it a fit test:

    My nylon screws were too short, so I had to use some metal screws. Unfortunately, the available metal screws were either too short or too long. So I had to cut the screws to the right length:

    Refit with cut metal bolts this is in its final form:

    I made it snug but not tight. Having three nuts allowed me to float the board while keeping the head of the bolt secure:

    I thought this was a neat view:

    Here's a closer view of the mount:

    Here's a view of the front:

    Next up is the harddrive mount...

  4. #4

    D-Shady's Snoopy Sno-Cones

    The best way I have found to mount something to a foriegn surface is to use some simple paper and pencil. I marked the index card to reflect the positions of the mount holes on the hard drive. Then (and you can use tape here to hold it in place) I simply drill through the paper to get the holes right.

    I cut some custom spacers to help hold the drive in place and add a more pleasing appearance:

    I used flat screws so that I could later add a felt bottom or something similar:

    Here's the final mounted drive:

    Starting to come together now...

    Moving on to the power supply cables, I removed the extra connectors I wasn't using. The molex push tool is available widely and I'd recommend adding it to your toolkit if you don't have one. After popping the pins, I cut the split as close as I could to the pins and sheathed the wires to make them look nice:

    Next up was to mount the VGA port. I did this by drilling some holes and cutting them square to the appropriate size using a common nibbler tool. This also involved drawing before cutting:

    After assembly (yes I did make the hole a little wider than I should have):

    The power plug was very easy to install, just a quick hole:

    After assembly:

    Next up is the ethernet port...

  5. #5

    D-Shady's Snoopy Sno-Cones

    Same method for creating the ethernet hole--drill first then nibble your way square to the right size. This was a little tricky because the spot I picked was really close to the legs of the Sno-Cones machine and that made it difficult to use the tool. If I did it again, I would have picked a different spot (it also ended up being almost too close to the mboard for the ethernet to plug in--but it ended up just barely fitting):

    You might ask why I even did this. The Pico-ITX board didn't have a header for ethernet, it was actually the only thing that didn't have a header. Since I wasn't mounting the board flush against any of the sides, I needed to "jump" the ethernet port so that I wouldn't have a random hole for the jack. In normal use, I will use wireless, but for Quakecon/etc I needed the hardline. I used a simple home/office ethernet jack for this purpose.

    Once everything was cut, I made what possibly is the smallest ethernet cable ever made :

    Next I started putting in place the power supply and wiring harness (yes the power supply is built onto the back of of the ATX connector. This is the smallest power supply I have ever seen. It has a 6V-20V input range which makes it very flexible (I could have wired up an alternate battery power source very easily):

    Then a few minor details. In order to get the SATA connector to fit properly I had to trim it a little:

    I mounted the power switch:

    Here's the switch from the front:

    Next I'll show the remaining finishing touches...

  6. #6

    D-Shady's Snoopy Sno-Cones

    I glued in some mounts for PWR and HDD LEDs (I just stole these off of a standard Lian-Li case I no longer use):

    Here's the lights:

    The Nano-ITX form factor has an interesting quirk to it in that (and who would have guessed this, right?) the onboard headers are smaller. If I remember correctly, normal headers have 22mm spacing and the Nano-ITX is 20mm. While I appreciate the space savings, it is near impossible to find the Nano-ITX sized headers. As a result, I ended up simply cutting and filing the normal ones and with a little superglue, I had something that worked:

    The board came with some USB headers, but I didn't want all of the mounting molding on it, so I cut this off and split them appart:

    Next up is the reveal

  7. #7

    D-Shady's Snoopy Sno-Cones

    Here's the back with everything in place:

    A little closer for those of you with poor eyesight...

    With the cover on, who knows what this thing is...

    And the final view:

    The "picnic table" was Mrs Shady's idea, and one that I think adds a nice touch. Regardless, it was enough to earn 3rd place at Quakecon 2007's mod contest custom case category, so now I need to start thinking of what I want to do for next year.

  8. #8
    Master Modder
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    D-Shady's Snoopy Sno-Cones

    That is a super little unit, I like it and you did a great job of getting everything in and secure. Congrats on the 3rd place at QuakeCon2007. Happy Modding to ya.

  9. #9

    D-Shady's Snoopy Sno-Cones

    SNOOPY!!! WOOHOO ^_^
    I still have my Snoopy at my bed :P (*akem* altho I don't use it anymore as a toy.. :P)

    Very cool micromod indeed ^_^
    Would you mind sharing the info on the hardware? I'm kind of curious, if you said that Vista works nice on that rig


  10. #10

    D-Shady's Snoopy Sno-Cones

    Thats the motherboard. More specifically, I used the NX15000G.
    I put on a DDR2 667 SODIMM 1 GB memory module.
    I used a 160GB SATA Seagate notebook harddrive.
    The power supply is PicoPSU 60W wide input range (its actually 6-26V, not 6-20V).
    Wireless D-Link USB adapter and generic wireless mouse/keyboard for conference rooms (has good range).

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