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

  1. #41

    Update: Custom Hinges For The Doors

    Ive 3D printed the new, larger hinges and I'm very happy with the size. They take a bit longer to print but, they're much stronger. The length also makes the door come out from the case when its open which looks sweet. I still need to purchase some more hardware to mount it but, I'm using temporary hardware so I can place everything how I want it.

    In the picture you can see the size difference between the original size and the new larger hinge. There is 6 more hinges that need to be printed. I will finish sanding and prepping this set over the next few days. Once they are painted; they will look like they are a mass manufactured hinge.

    Inner Door Panel:

    The inner panel still needs to be built but, I wanted to wait until the doors are on before making the inner panel. The reason I make an inner panel is to give the back side of the door a much cleaner look. Most builders don't care much about the back side of a door due to the fact that it is never seen.

    Test Mounting Door & Hinges:

    Today I was able to test mount the top door, one set of hinges and the long gas strut. Everything went together very well and I am happy that I wont need to make any adjustments to the mount. The side surround will need a few mm shaved off of it but, I knew that I would need to do this. This is needed to make room for the bolts that mount the lexan side windows.

  2. #42

    3D Printing More Hinges:

    I decided to go ahead and print a couple more sets of the custom hinges I designed. I need 6 more complete hinges which are each made up of 3 parts. One complete hinge takes about 17 minutes to print using my Printrbot Plus with the new UBIS 13s and a 1mm nozzle. I also added a picture of the program Repetier which monitors and translates the, “Geode” to movements. It shows you the layers its doing in realtime which is very convienent.

    New PSU Cable Route:

    The cables from the PSU will now go down into the frame behind the PSU and come out below the motherboard tray. The plan is to route them up the back of the motherboard tray and behind the cable management cover.

    I made a new piece that covers the back of the PSU. I also added a custom cut piece of lexan as a spacer to give some of the cables room to be routed under the mount. It'll look really slick once its all together.

    New LEDs:

    I special ordered a set of new true RGB LEDs. After testing these out I can definitely tell that they are well made. The entire LED system is fully modular. I will run all the wiring inside the frame rails to give it a very clean look. I will lay everything out first and test it to make sure the positioning is right before drilling/cutting the frame.

  3. #43

    PSU Additions:

    The majority of builds use PSU shrouds which I like. However I like to try and push myself. Another factor is showing off the PSU. It is very well designed and looks like it should be in this build, right out of the box.

    The fan side has a one of a kind grill that just looks sweet. I decided to use some chrome strips off of a 1950s car that I had laying around. I made two bends in the strips in order to carry on the design elements from the PSUs grill. It fits it very well and does a great job of echoing the design cues.

    Overlap Plate: Top Door

    I built the first of two overlap plates for the left side doors. This is primarily aesthetic but, it also helps to keep the doors closed in the correct order. When opening the side panels; the top panel opens first and closes second. The overlap plate assures that this is done every time. For now I've painted it black but, I will be doing some vinyl work to it as well.

    New Sponsors:

    EMI Design:

    EMI Design is a great company in Europe made up of some talented designers and fabricators. They will be laser cutting a couple parts for the build. Using a laser cutter on these parts will allow me to create an effect that would be impossible using the tools I have available. One of the panels is already designed and the other piece will be an addition to the design; so you'll have to wait and see (it'll be awesome.) I want to thank EMI Design for supporting the Dark Matter project.


    Another new sponsor is ENsourced. As you may know they have some sweet sleeved cables, DIY gear and cable combs. I came up with a really neat idea for the sleeved cables and its definitely different from what you usually see in builds. Originally I had planned on doing the usual cable combination by mixing the main colors used on the build for the sleeving.

    Sleeved Cables: (ENsourced)

    I originally planned to do the typical green, white, black and grey. After spending some time on the cable design I decided to go a different route. I wouldn't be able to pull of this new design if it wasn't for the large selection of sleeving that ENsourced has. I will update with cable info and pics once they arrive.
    Last edited by Envious Mods; 04-14-2016 at 10:38 AM.

  4. #44

    Mounting The Left Bottom Door:

    I went ahead and printed another full set of hinges and drilled out the mounting holes. Two out of the four holes use the lexan panel holes which will give it a polished look once its all finished. Planning ahead for little details like this helps to give your build a clean, manufactured look.

    I looked into all kinds of latches for the side doors but, I never really found anything I really liked. Last night I had a dream about using the case when it is finished. In the dream I used rare earth magnets that were imbedded in the side doors. Im going to give it a whirl and see how it works. The rough mockup went great and already looks good considering everything is just being held together temporarily while I finish the rest of the pieces.

  5. #45

    Vinyl Work:

    I wanted to get an idea of what the vinyl work I designed; would look like. In my head it looks sweet but, that doesn't always translate in real life. I started with cutting The hatch lift label and the triangles that will go throughout the case. I also design multi angled thin lines that will carry on the futuristic/industrial look that I'm going for.

    The side doors overlap panel came out better than I could've hoped for. It only needs a few small sections filed to make it perfect. There will be quite a bit of vinyl work done but it will be a lot of small, small details. You can see the detail that I'm talking about on the vertical PCIe mount. I am very excited with how this portion came out.

    I also added an overall shot so you can see some of the progress made so far:

  6. #46

    Dark Matter Article: “Dark Matter: A World Champion In The Making?”

    I recently found out that an article was written about the Dark Matter scratch build and me. Allerlei Designs wrote about the build.

    You can check it all out at:

    Prepping Gas Struts For Paint:

    I could have ordered some of the gas struts in black but, I figured I would be painting them anyways. You'd be amazed how many versions of black exist and my OCD would drive me nuts if it was off. Luckily gas struts are fairly straight forward.

    The cap on either end un-screws so that they can be roughed up to paint. I used 500 grit sand paper because they were fairly smooth to start with and plastic is generally more soft. Once I had the basic parts sanded I needed to tape off the threaded holes and the actual rod that slides in the struts. This will remain chrome.

    3D Printed: Cable Bezel

    The cable bezel will go around the cutout where the PSUs cables will come out of the frame. The bezel has a couple different purposes. It will give the cutout a clean look as well as serve as a mount for the cable organizer. The organizer will keep all the cables in the correct order on their way up to the back side of the motherboard tray.

    Vinyl Work: EK

    I also started doing some of the EKWB vinyl work. I started by first having the design file sketched out. After that I used some brushed aluminum vinyl to do the first prototype run. I couldn't help but, use the test run to put the EK logo on my cutter.

  7. #47

    Update: Xbox 360 Controller

    I managed to get the base layers down on the Xbox 360 controller that I am modding to be used with the Dark Matter scratch build. I went with the same green and black found throughout the build. These are the base layers. I will add more over top of this layer while leaving some of it exposed.

    Update: 3–D Printed Hinges

    Since I have the doors off the side of the case I am going to take the opportunity to finish the hinges. I will finish filing and sanding them before using A filler primer. Earlier in the build log I give a step-by-step on how this is done. Once finished ill move on to painting them.

    You can see what the hinges look like after the first layer of filler primer is applied. It usually takes between 6–8 coats of filler primer and sanding to get it perfect. Once its painted you'll never know it was 3D printed.

    Sata Cables Arrive:

    The Sata cables finally arrived for the 3 OCZ SSDs. I ordered ones with a 90 degree connector on one side. This will help keep the sata cables going in the right direction versus sticking out the side.

    Update: (Left) Side Surround

    Now that I've had an opportunity to test for the doors I realize that I can take more off of the side surrounds. This will allow more viewing space of the internal hardware of the case. I will take off about 20 or so millimeters around the inner edge. Or use my calipers and some painters tape to mark out where the cut should go. My handy air cutoff tool will make quick work of it. Hopefully there's only minimal sanding and filing to be done after it's cut.

    All Cut & Re-mounted:

  8. #48

    Custom Paint Matching: 120mm BeQuiet PureWings 2 PWM Fans

    The two fans on the lower right panel needed to be paint matched to the flat white paint. I taped off everything except the blades and then lightly roughed it all up. After painting the front and back I was able to attach one of the click in 3D printed fan rings I designed earlier. I will make two more like this for other parts of the build.

    Vinyl: BeQuiet Dark Power Pro 1,200 watt PSU

    I put together a design and font that carries on the overall design theme. At first I wasn't 100% sure of what I was going to put but, later it cane to me. I have a bit more to add to the rear PSU mount. The plan is to design and 3D print a bezel that goes around the PSU mount. This will give it a more polished look as well as help to add more dimension.

  9. #49

    Finishing The Holes For Door Windows:

    Now that I have enough hexed headed bolts I can drill the rest of the holes needed to mount the Lexan windows in the doors. I had to be extremely carful due to the thickness of the windows. I might cut or etch some of the windows but, that will have to wait for now. Now that all the bolts are mounted; it looks much better.

    Update: Tube Reservoir Mods

    A while back I took a break on modding the tube reservoir so I could work on other parts of the build. Now that I'm between sections; I can continue work on it. I wont be using this res but, its fairly close. I used hard stock paper to make a template which allows me to try out different ideas.

    I wanted to add 3 strips to the Lexan that is already mounted. These strips will run the full length of the reservoir. As of right now I just have the basic shape done. I plan to cut some sort of design or venting in the Lexan. Now that I have the 3 pieces cut I've started to design the cutouts. I will more than likely paint the lexan while leaving the edges clear. This will allow light to travel through the edges.

    Update: OCZ Vector 180 SSDs SATA Cables Routed

    Now that I have the SATA cables for the OCZ SSDs I decided to run the cables towards the motherboards mounting location. Im glad I didn't order longer SATA cables as these will be perfect. I took a picture from the opposite side of the SSDs so that you could see the cables. They are barely noticeable and will fit perfectly with the custom sleeved cables.

    ENsourced Custom Sleeved Cables:

    As previously mentioned, ENsource supplied the Dark Matter scratch build with custom sleeved cables. These cables were specifically built for this build and are a one of a kind creation. They are being finished up right now and I will soon unveil them. Here's a sneak peek to get you by.

  10. #50

    Hinges Test Painted & Re-mounted:

    I finally managed to test paint the hinges and I really like the way they look. It brings the theme together well and doesn't overdue the hints of green. The hinges are adjustable and need to be adjusted a little bit to make sure they are perfectly square.

    Once I remounted the side doors I realized that I could take another 10–15 mm off of the surround. This is important because it allows a better view of the hardware that will be displayed inside. Once I get it all situated I will go back and take out that extra bit.

    Im the type of modder that will go back 3 or 4 times if thats whats needed to get the look I want. I prefer that every build be the best version that it can be. Even if that means making adjustments a few times or re-building a piece of the build.

    Wiring The Modular LEDs:

    A while back I ordered some new style modular LED pods that are true RGB. I decided to run the wiring through the frame which keeps the build looking nice and clean. I have 6 pods to place and the first two are mounted on the back, top frame rail next to the controller. The other two will be on the opposite frame rail which will help light up the hardware once its installed. I had to unpin each cable to pass the wiring in and out of the frame rails.

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