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Thread: Level 10 GTS-M

  1. #1

    Level 10 GTS-M

    Ok, it's about time I posted this worklog. This will probably be the shortest worklog I've done, as I only had about 5 weeks to complete this project lol. This was a case I built for Thermaltake, to be displayed in their suite at CES this year. Due to the extremely tight deadline, I didn't have any time to take very many pics during its construction, much less post them in a worklog. So I am now finally catching up on things.

    The idea of this case mod was inspired by Thermaltake's latest gaming mouse, the Level10 M.

    I absolutely love this mouse. Designed by BMW Designworks, it has a free-flowing, open design that looks amazing, and it's functional too. It was a real challenge to integrate its design elements into the Level 10 GTS case and not end up with an oversized mouse lol.

    So here are the concept images. I was actually developing this design while I was at PDXLAN in November.

    The first thing I tackled was the button bar on the front. I got some 1/4" thick aluminum bar, and transferred the I/O ports and power/reset button holes using a piece of tape.

    Drilled pilot holes...

    ...and proceeded to widen the holes out to the marked lines using a file.

    After a few test fits, I then drew the shape along the edge that would mimic the side button area on the mouse.

    After a few cuts, more filing, and a little bending on the top, we have the final piece.

    Due to the proximity of the top USB port to the bend, I had to modify the I/O port circuit board a little to conform to the bend of the bar. I shaved the corner of the pcb down, and rotated the top USB port just a hair so it mated with the hole better.

    Luckily, there were no traces in those areas. But I did have to de-solder the mounting pins, drill new holes and re-solder them in.

    Now it conforms to the bend.

    A front shot.

    And with a USB cable plugged in.

    Next thing I had to do was fashion a cover for the side, to hide any unsightly cables and circuitry since the whole front of the case will be replaced with mesh. I took a piece of black alu sheet, bent it to match the bar, then cut the edge down to fit.

    It will be mounted to the I/O port bracket using black rivets.

    Next update tomorrow! Thanks for reading.

  2. #2
    For the side panel, I laser cut a 3/8" piece of acrylic with the honeycomb window cutout (thanks to Moddersmart)

    I then proceeded to bend the top ever so slightly over the top of the case. This was accomplished by first heating the entire piece in the oven, then finishing the bend with a blowtorch and a piece of aluminum flat bar.

    The Level10 M Mouse has an illuminated Dragon logo just underneath the honeycomb cutouts, so I thought it would be cool to reproduce that on the case. So I had Moddersmart cut me a dragon logo out of 1/8" red acrylic.

    I took a piece of clear and outlined the inner areas of the logo and cut them out.

    I used a couple clamps and some wood strips to keep the thinner areas locked down while I cut and filed the edges.

    After much grinding and filing, we have the finished cutout.

    Then it was just a matter of gluing the red dragon logo onto the clear piece.

    I neglected to take pictures of the mounting part, but I basically hung it from a cross bar on top, and fastened it to the back of the case at the bottom. Then I mounted the 200mm fan directly behind the logo. I wish I had more time to devise a way to light the dragon up better, but the leds from the fan will have to suffice.

    Next update will show the front bezel, and mesh fabrication. 'Til then!

  3. #3
    Here's a shot of the front bezel after getting hacked in two, clearing the way for the mesh panel that will span the whole top of the case.

    After measuring, cutting, fitting, and trimming the mesh, I ended up with this. you can see some of the extra cross bracing I made to reinforce the case frame, since I did away with the entire top panel.

    Here I added the side panel as well as a top trim piece I made from 1/4" x 1/2" aluminum bar. I routed out the bottom so it would fit over the edge of the mesh.

    A closer up shot. I angled the end so it would match up to the front button bar.

    Low angle shot of the front bar with mesh.

    For the lower part of the front bezel, I wanted to add some aluminum highlights, so I made some covers to fit over the hot-swap drive bay release buttons. I taped the area off first...

    Then used the tape to transfer the shape to the sheet aluminum. This stuff was pretty thin (think roof flashing) so I had to work carefully with the dremel when cutting.

    I got all four pieces cut, then filed and sanded the edges as a group. I also drilled the button holes all at once, with a piece of scrap wood as a backing to eliminate any burrs.

    That's about it for today. Next will be the last update, which will include the case feet (first attempt and alternative solution), a painting disaster that almost cost me the project, and final pics. ;-)

  4. #4
    Ok, now for the failures lol. For the case feet, I thought it would be cool to have Level 10M mice as the feet for the case. But since I didn't have four Level10 M's lying around, I decided to make dummies from the original. So I taped up the mouse using electrical tape. It has a smooth surface, and I knew from past experience the epoxy dough I was using wouldn't stick to it.

    After mixing up the dough and rolling it out to 1/4" thickness, I covered the mouse.

    It took a few hours to harden up.

    I didn't wait for the epoxy to harden fully, so I could more easily extract the mouse from the mold.

    Once the mouse was out, I could work the mold a bit more, flattening the edges and filling in any cavities on the sides. Then I made a circular depression in the middle for the original case foot. I figured if the stock feet were embedded into the new mice feet, I could simply pop them back onto the case without any further modification.

    I cut some notches in the sides of the feet to make sure they would not come out of the epoxy feet after curing.

    I applied a coat of mold release and worked the epoxy into the mold, then set it aside to set up. This is when it all came to a screeching halt. It had hardened into one solid block and I couldn't get the first mouse foot out of the mold. I tried prying it out, cutting the edges back, drilling holes in the top to relieve the suction, I even threw it onto the garage floor as hard as I could, and it still would not budge! (although I was quite impressed with the epoxy holding up after all that lol)

    So I ended up ditching the entire thing as I was down to the final days before having to ship the case out to CES, and couldn't afford to waste any more time. And I couldn't just pop the original feet back on because I had already cut them up in preparation for the casting. So I had to come up with a plan B.

    I remembered I still had the hexagon shapes that were left over from the side panel laser cutting. So I grabbed four of those, cut up a piece of black PVC pipe I had laying around and glued them together. I taped off the edges of the acrylic and threw a coat of black paint on them.

    I quickly wired up a string of red led's for each foot.

    All four done!

    After the case feet were done, I could move on to the next failure lol. This was almost the deal breaker here. When i was painting the side panel, it fell off its hangers onto the garage floor and broke into about 10 pieces. :shock: I sat there just staring at the broken shards on the floor in utter shock. This was about midnight on the Thursday prior to CES, and I was supposed to ship the case out no later than Monday. I figured it was over, and there was no way I could salvage the situation. But after a while I gathered the pieces up and decided to at least try to fix it, since it was impossible to get another side panel cut and bent in time. I brought the pieces inside and put them back together. I got out the Weld-On and used zip ties to hold everything tightly together, and left it alone for 24 hours.

    Miraculously, it all held and was pretty straight. It only took minor filling to get it flat again, and I was able to get paint on it by Sunday. While it was drying, I got the rest of the case assembled, and managed to get some final pics taken that night. And on Monday morning I boxed it up and got it shipped out to CES.
    I still can't believe I was able to pull it off in time. The moral of this story is, never give up! :wink:

    I'll get the final pics up in the next post. Stay tuned!

  5. #5
    Alright, here are the final pics. I didn't have much time to go crazy on these, I just set up the case on my dining room table and shot a few quick angles. Enjoy!

    And here are a couple shots I found online from CES:

    Special thanks go to Shannon at Thermaltake for working with me on this project, and being so accommodating and understanding. Awesome Shannon is awesome!! 8)

  6. #6
    Administrator crowTrobot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Very cool, those feet turned out great!

  7. #7
    The Main Man Dewayne's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Saw it at the suite and it looked sweet!
    Cut it, Paint it, Mod it. Void Your Warranty #moddersinc @moddersinc

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