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Thread: Dark Matter (Scratch Build) W/3D Printed Parts

  1. #31

    Acrylic Strips: Side Panels

    The acrylic strips for the side panels will be cut soon. Right now I'm finishing up the templates to cut them. There are about 8 strips in total that are about a half inch or less. These will be painted to match the build once they are cut and welded together.

    Side Panel Surrounds:

    Ive started re-checking the measurements for the surrounds or bezels that will go on each side of the case. The doors open out of the bezels instead of just having one piece that moves together. Having several separate doors gives me the ability to open the door I need opened. Once I'm done with the measurements I will make a cardboard or cardstock template of the bezel to make sure everything fits correctly.

    After cutting out some foam board I was able to see where the bezel would sit and its a little bit too low. I want the motherboard and main components to be easily seen so I decided to move it up. The pictures show the first mounting location. About a half inch around the inside will also be removed. I only need a slight under-lap of the bezel so the panels sit correctly when closed.

  2. #32

    Parts Order:

    Theres a small list of little things that I need to order for this scratch build. I am awaiting a reply from a manufacturer that builds the gas struts. I already have the large struts but, I need to special order the smaller set. I managed to find some SATA cables with 90 degree fittings for the OCZ SSDs. Another set I ordered was some vinyl; ice green and a few others were ordered for this build.

    The other Vandal switches were also ordered. I bought some that are a little different from your typical Vandal switches. I will try out a couple to see which will fit this build best. Looking into replacing the PSU cable ends with P-079 and C-079 pieces. They look sharp and can help to give the build an original look. The parts to make the Xbox 360 power ring were also ordered. These parts will make the power ring function as if it was still connected to the Xbox.

    Update: 3D Printed Hinges

    A while back I test printed the hinges for the doors. At that times I decided that the design needed to be scaled up slightly. When I get closer to having a side panel rough cut I will re-print another set of hinges.

    Right Side Panel: Rough Cuts

    I managed to make some time to do all the rough cuts on the main right side panel. This panel shows off the large Lexan water path that I will build. It also has a cutout for the SSDs.

  3. #33
    The Main Man Dewayne's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Liking the build so far.
    Cut it, Paint it, Mod it. Void Your Warranty #moddersinc @moddersinc

  4. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Americanfreak View Post
    Liking the build so far.
    Thank you very much. I appreciate the kind words; especially coming from you. My favorite part has just started. The side panels will be very difficult but, it will also be one of the main features.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Rough Cuts: (Right) Lower Panel

    I decided to cut out the main shape of the panel that has two 120mm fans mounted on it. I still need to make a template for the fan cutouts. I will use foam board to make a mockup of the surround for this side as well. The surround is much thinner on this side.

    I managed to take some pics so you could see my air cutoff tool. Its essentially a Dremal on crack. It uses 4 reinforced disks and chews through just about anything you can throw at it.

    Sata Cables: 90 Degrees

    I ordered Sata cables that have a 90 degree bend on one end of the connectors. This will allow me to come of the edge OCZ Vector 180 SSDs correctly. I still need to order thicker Telios sleeving so they can be wrapped to match the rest of the wiring.

    GPU Backplates: Original Design

    Below you can see the original design that I was going to use. It was going to made out of all acrylic and would have looked neat. I decided to explore other ideas because, I want people to see something new. On the next update I will post the progress of the new GPU backplates.

  5. #35

    Update: GPU Backplates

    Ive been playing around with ideas for the GPU backplates for sometime now. I will probably come up with multiple versions to get an idea of what I like. Its important to me to build backplates that are functional as well as original. Theres a lot of very similar GPU backplates and I love the majority of them but, its time to do something that hasn't been seen.

    GPU Backplate Idea #1:

    The first idea was one of those that is fairly complex and needs to be built to really see what it will look like. I started by cutting a solid lexan piece and painting it green. I then put a sweet pattern together so that it could be cut. I had enough time today to get the first layer on. The plan is to add a couple more layers of vinyl that will be cut in different colors.

    GPU Backplate Idea #2

    This idea is a little more traditional than the others. I made a sketched template to scale. The main portion of the design follows along with the design cues found throughout the scratch build. Two versions of this idea were sketched out but, I also want to try a iteration that is a combination of both of these.

    GPU Backplate Idea #3:

    I couple weeks ago I started cutting the main structure of an acrylic backplate as well as some pieces of thin metal to give it depth.

    As of now this backplate will be made from several different materials. The main piece is made of lexan which will help distribute the weight of the GPU evenly. The top pieces are made out of thin metal which adds depth as well as strengthens the lexan. Currently I'm designing the vinyl graphics that will be added to the top. With the weather being nice I took the opportunity to paint the metal piece black. Theres a lot more that needs to be done on this version in order to get it where I want it.

  6. #36

    Update: (Left) Side Bezel/Surround Mock-ups:

    Now that I have the test piece of metal cut I can mock everything up for when my new sheets of metal arrive. This will allow me to figure out exactly where every hole will go. Once I have the new metal I will use this as a template to transfer over the design. There will be a little bit of trial and error getting this fit correctly.

    Everything is either very close or exactly where it needs to be. Doing this mockup helped to re-assure that all the hard work will pay off. I also mocked up some of the doors that will open. The top panel opens upward towards the top and the bottom panel opens downward towards the ground.

    Painting The Bezel:

    I couldn't help but, paint the bezel. The side panels need their holes drilled around the window cutouts so I will wait on those. I like the industrial look of hexed headed bolts surrounding the lexan windows. It helps to add depth as well as rigidity to the doors.

  7. #37

    Acrylic Work For The Left Side Panel:

    On the left side panel there is a few acrylic strips that are black in the CAD design. They meet up at a bunch of different angles. I cut them out of 6mm acrylic. I intentionally cut them about a mm larger then they need to be so that I could hand file them to exact dimensions. This helps to insure that they are all the exact same width.

    To accomplish this I start by making sure one side of each strip is perfectly flat using a hand file. Once I have one side flat I will clamp them all together and file the other side so that they are within spec.

    Tip For Filing Multiple Edges Flat:

    Another trick I learned is to use a marker across the top edge of the acrylic. Once it dries you file across that edge. Any places that are high or even will sand off and it will stay where the low spots are. It gives you a quick visual of how much you need to sand/file.

    Lexan Windows: Side Panels

    As mentioned I am cutting the windows for each cutout. I am using hex headed bolts which need to be ordered due to the amount of them required. I was going to use a bolt every 30mm going around the perimeter but, I realized that it would require an insane amount of bolts so I changed it to every 60mm.

    Now that I have all the windows cut out I went ahead with filing and sanding them to perfection. The back sides of the windows wont really be seen but, just in case someone decides to look; they'll be just as beautiful as the rest of the case.

    SSD Window:

    The window for the OCZ Vector 180 SSDs is a bit thicker and will be mounted on the outside of the case using small standoffs. It will add some dimension and depth to the panel. The cutout for the water path will be tricky because some of the tubing comes slightly outside the panel. I will carefully cut clearances for the tubing.

    Painted Top Panel: Flat Black

    I finally had a few days of nice weather so I could paint and cure the top pieces. They are painted flat black to match the rest of the case. In combination with the side bezel you can start to get an idea of what the case will look like.

  8. #38

    Experimenting With Acrylic Cutouts:

    I made a few designs for acrylic panels that carry the design cues well. I have a couple different locations that they could be mounted but, I'll probably wait until the left side doors are mounted. These acrylic cutouts were also done on my scroll saw and filed to perfection.

    Prepping & Painting The Doors: (Left Side)

    Now that I have the acrylic strips mocked-up I can prep and paint the side doors. The lexan panels were removed and I used 220+ grit sanding sponge to rough it up for paint. I will wash the panel with water and light detergent before using a tack cloth. Tack cloths are great for getting any little fragments or dust of right before primer.

    Drilling Holes & Mounting Windows:

    I already market out where all the holes need to be drilled for the hexed headed bolts. I started by drilling pilot holes in the metal panels and then fit the lexan windows behind them using the metal panel as a template. I only bolted every other hole due to the amount of hexed headed bolts I have. Once I can get more I will drill out the rest.

    Part way through drilling the acrylic I had one of my famous arm ticks and cracked one of the lexan panels. You can understand why no one likes to mod with me due to my arm randomly jerking while using power tools. However it does make life more interesting. Of course it had to be one that I used the last of so I will use it as a template for when its replaced.

    Mounting Lexan: SSD window

    Now that the lexan is cut and files for the SSD window I can start drilling out my pilot holes. Small stainless steel tubing is being used as standoffs for the lexan window. I made 4 standoffs by cutting one piece into 4 even pieces. These little stainless steel tubes came off of a outdoor solar light that I salvaged about a yr or so ago. The stainless steel will go perfectly with the other stainless on the case.

    New Sponsors:

    Soon I will be announcing a couple new sponsors for the build. Stay tuned for more information on that.

  9. #39

    Update: Finishing Acrylic Strips on The Side Panels

    Now that I have the strips at the same width, its time to make sure they fit exactly where they are supposed to. When I hand cut acrylic or lexan I always make sure to cut it a tiny bit larger than needed. That allows me to make adjustments during mock-ups. This method has served me well and I almost never have a need to re-cut. They are now sanded and ready to be painted flat black.

    Update: Re-assembling Top Left Door

    Now that all the paint is cured I can mount the lexan windows and mock-up the black acrylic strips. Im still waiting for the rest of my bolts so I have every other one being used. I couldn't be happier with the way it looks and the door isn't even finished yet. Theres more work to be done on it but, I will continue work on the door below it for now.

    Testing LED Mounting Locations For The Left Side:

    Now that I have the main work done on the left side of the case I'm going to start trying out different locations to mount the LEDs. I think the best spot will be inside the frame rails pointing across the side. Another part I need to consider is the LEDs for the 3X OCZ Vector 180 SSDs that are mounted on this side. I want them to be easily viewed when the side doors are open or closed. To pull this lighting off I special ordered some new LEDs that I've never seen before. I will update with more information when they arrive at the shop.

  10. #40

    Update: Bottom Door (Left Side) Re-assembled

    Now that I have the bottom door mocked up and re-assembled I can start working with the custom hinges I'm going to make. I mocked up both the bottom and top doors to get an idea of what they will look like and I'm extremely happy with the way they look.

    Part Arrivals: Special Ordered Mini-Gas Struts & Vandal Switch

    I was happy to see that the mini gas struts I special ordered had arrived at the shop. These two gas struts are for the bottom two panels. Two new vandal switches were ordered as well. The first one to arrive has the power symbol that lights up blue. The second vandal switch is the blue ring that matches this one.

    Modding Mascots:

    I thought it was only right to show my Modding Mascots. The one closest to the screen is mine and the other one is on loan for the next two weeks. My pup is constantly with me while modding or fabricating. Believe it or not, sometimes she makes the final call on wether something stays in a build or not.

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