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Portal: After The Explosion Work Log (All Done)



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  • Portal: After The Explosion Work Log (All Done)

    So, I posted my case mod over in the gallery section, and the reason for that was because I didn't know if I had to keep my Portal:ATE worklog exclusive to my forum (for an award). But, after checking, I found out I could so I thought I'd post it up. (I'll inform Americanfreak about it.)

    ================================================== =

    01 - The Start

    (boring background stuff) So, the idea. When the new Portal:Prelude came out (everyone should play that) and I finished the game, I had an all new love for the game of Portal. And, since I just got a job and been wanting to build a new computer, I decided I wanted to try my hat at a case mod, surrounding Portal. I looked over the net and the obvious good ideas of a companion cube case and the Aperture Science Enrichment Center (ASEC) case were already done, and I wanted something original. After coming up with many many different ideas, and what I wanted to do, it took about a month to come to a solid case mod plan. I'm going to build an ASEC case, but, instead of it being all clean, it's going to be all cut up, burned, tagged and broken looking. ...Maybe I should show some pictures now.

    Alright, I apologize for not having a picture of the case before, but posting the log on a forum just didn't cross my mind at the time. Pretend that there isn't any paint on the case. That's how boring it was.

    I started out spraying the top with white primer in hopes of putting a black spray design on top. The idea is the case to be rugged so while the paint was drying, I took a paper towel and dabbed the paint to cause it to peel. Then I sprayed my black design on, using parchment paper as the stencil paper. (I had it in my kitchen)

    After looking at how that came out, I decided to do that to the whole case with different Portal squares. Same white primer, same flat black paint.

    For what I could tell, it came out well. The overspray was intentional because I wanted that look. I also would point the black spray far away and spray to get black splatter over the white, to have a soot effect. The back was painted all flat black, as I have different plans for the back.

    Originally, the front was going to get the white plexi treatment, before the ASEC case idea, and I was going to make it look like one of those light up panels that say what level it was. But, because I'm on a time crunch (I'll explain), I ditched the idea and painted the front white primer with a spray.

    Now that I had the base of the case completed, it was time to work on the doors. I couldn't work on left side door yet (it's depends on the video card I buy) but I could get a start on my right side door, the one behind the mobo. According to the ASEC case, its all flat, no indents, and has an orange ASEC logo. Sounds simple enough, except my case had an indent used as a handle. So, it was spackle time.

    Sanded it down, respackled, sanded down, respackled, sanded down and painted later, it was white...well, enough of it.

    Next, I marked and tapped down the ASEC logo on the case, and after a half hour (and some choice cuss words), it was ready for spray.

    And here's how it came out, and then I had to respray white to touch up where the orange leaked. Then, I took out the black and did a soot look to the side.

    And that's where I am so far. The reason I only painted about half the door is because I'm going to take a jigsaw and a torch and I'm gonna cut the door, to give an exploded and burnt effect. I don't get to use a jigsaw until this next weekend, but I still have to draw out how I want to do the front, which will probably come after Wednesday (I have a physics midterm ) O, and the reason I'm on a time crunch is because I'm planning on entering it into the PDXLAN 13 case mod contest. I know I'm going up against some experts, but I thought I'd at least try.

    02 - Cut right side panel

    Alright, sorry for the long delay. I had a big physics midterm and, when that rolls around, I pretty much shut down everything (and everyone) around me and study. Hey, I got an A at least.

    Right, so, I worked on the case yesterday and finally got the pictures loaded. I'm not that snap happy, but you can get the idea.

    So, before I worked, here's what it looked like.

    I took the ASEC symbol side panel and a jigsaw and went medieval with it. I cut off a large chunk very roughly, then cut little pieces off and cuts into the side. Then, I took some pliers to pull up the sides to give a 3-D effect. Lastly, I took a propane torch and tried to burn edges without getting too hot. Here's how it turned out.

    And here's how it looks like on the case.

    Before anyone gets on my case, I'm.....not very happy with how the side panel turned out. It doesn't feel done and I think it needs more black spray near the edges of the side panel. I'll get that done by Wednesday (yes, another midterm, last one), as by then, I should have my pipe material, which will allow me to make the front of the case. Also, I installed a custom power button on the back, but its not done yet so I'll take a picture when it is.

    03 - More spray on right side panel

    There was no possible way I was gonna sleep and just let my side panel look unfinished. So, I took out the black spray and got to work. Here's how it turned out, and if you look at the before and after pictures, IMO, I think it looks MUCH better.

    Ya, and...yes, you can see what I'm doing for a power button. But, it's not done yet. Any real Portal fans know what I could be doing with that button? Hmm?

    04 - Button painted

    I know, small update, but I just finished it and thought I'd show everyone. I don't have a very steady hand, but hey, I tried.

    I'll put a little black overspray on it later, but for now, it looks alright.
    "Keep it up man. It's not about us liking it, it's about you liking it, cause it's your mod. So don't let a bunch of ney sayers hold you back, because I say :wheee" - Tator Tot

  • #2
    Portal: After The Explosion Work Log (All Done)

    05 - Front designed & cut

    Ok, second update on the day. If I get a chance tonight, I'll be sanding, painting and burning (propane! fire! yes!) the front of the case.

    So, I started making the front with measurements on a big piece of $1.01 Home Depot wood.

    Then, I borrowed my friend's jigsaw again and went to town. Cut the big chunk off.

    Cut off the "ripped" off piece, even though it doesn't look so ripped off yet. Just wait...

    Cut the border/middle-part-i-don't-care-about piece.

    I cut the middle part for the drive bay...but it was frustrating because I had to drill a hole in the drive cover part in order to cut it out. But...I couldn't think of another way.

    Took some extra wood, and on my 2nd try, got it really close to exact.

    In all those pictures, I kept getting more and more excited because I put the mesh behind and see how it'd look. If I have time before I go to bed tonight (Oregon/OSU Civil War tomorrow, go Beavs!), I'll try get some sanding and primer coats or something. We'll see. O, and I have the top being worked on, but I'm waiting to get the front mostly done before I take any pictures. More later!

    06 - Front sand/spray & Top ready

    Another small update. Got some sanding done (should have done more, but o well) and painting.

    Here, I sprayed some grey primer over the wood (not pictured is the black grate stuff being sprayed) I know, its a horrible picture...

    Lined up my piping on top of the case. Yes, the pipe split in half is on purpose. Just trying to replicate the original case. Don't believe me? Go play!

    Later, I sprayed some white onto the wood front. The white isn't acting that shiny, but I guess it doesn't really matter. I'm gonna burn it anyway.

    That's it so far. I'm sorta at a stand still. I want to complete the front but I can't until I complete the top and I want to complete the top but I can't until I get my dvd drive to complete the front. So, in other words, I have to complete the top and the front together. That said, I'm gonna sleep on it and come up with my set-in-stone design. This is looking scary...

    07 - Top cut/sprayed/glued/spackled

    Yay for updates! Finals are over and I'm back home for the break. Now, between hanging out with the gf and all the holiday mumbo, I'll get to work on the case.

    Unfortunately, if you look at the news, my area is covered in snow (which usually happens for a day or two, melts and then normal valley weather) and now that it's so cold, it has turned into sheets of ice and it's not going away. So, if the weather outside is frightful, I can't work in the garage because my father's new car can't be outside.

    Nonetheless, I got the chance to work today. I decided to work on the top part and get it all "worn in." Sorry I don't have a before picture, but here's how the two pieces turned out after I cut and painted them.
    aryxc/case27.jpg" alt="" />
    Ugh, you can't really see it in the picture, but I used red sharpie to draw the lines and it bled through the white. I tried to sand through the paint and get to the sharpie lines, but it was not worth trying to fix. Besides, after a couple extra coats of paint, it's not too bad I guess. When I paint black "soot" overspray, it'll be hardly noticeable.

    Ok, here's after the paint dried and simply tapped onto the top. There's a box of staples and some napkins helping support the top.

    I, then, proceeded to glue and plaster the top. The pink will turn white.

    And ya, that's it for now. Like I said, it's been really cold lately. O, and some of you may be wondering why that oddly shaped triangle is cut out of the top pieces. Well, my friends, you'll just have to wait and see.

    08 - Top soot painted, front layover

    Please partake in another update:

    I got back to work on the top trying to get it done as much as I could. So, I sanded the spackle and it came out really well. Amazing how patience can work sometimes... Then, I started painting the edges so the pieces look like they are combined.

    O, just to get an idea of how cold it is (18 & below), here's what happens to my paint.

    It cracks and peels! But, the more I thought about it, the more I kinda liked it. Funny how that works.

    Finished the white and thought, o what the heck, I'll just put the black soot spray on right now.

    I think I may have gone a weee bit overboard with the black, but I'll make up for. I promise!

    Before I stopped for the night, I layed the front on to see what it would look like. Not too shabby.

    Another picture with some stuff taped on.

    And then, I got bored thinking about my cold cathodes, which come soon, and turned the lights off and put a flashlight in. Here's what it looks like so far.

    Looks like fire!

    Ya, so it looks like the front is next on the list. I'm sure I'll have time to work tomorrow. Just the morning, I gotta go put flowers on my mom's grave. It's been two years already...amazing :sigh:.... Anyway, I should have more updates tomorrow for you to partake in.

    Thanks for following!
    "Keep it up man. It's not about us liking it, it's about you liking it, cause it's your mod. So don't let a bunch of ney sayers hold you back, because I say :wheee" - Tator Tot


    • #3
      Portal: After The Explosion Work Log (All Done)

      09 - Playtime with fans/CCFLs

      So, I got my cold cathodes and fans today and because I put all my parts into my computer to take some measurements with my other side panel, I thought I'd play around with the CCFLs and see how they look so far.

      Here's some looks:

      whoa! those UV lights are bright!

      Now, I know, that orange fan is going rogue and not screwed in, but I just threw it in there to see where the UV ccfls hit the fans the best. The reason for the orange and blue fan is to try to represent the two portals, but also because the orange fan for the outside and the blue fan will cool the HDDs. Also, that's not all my stuff. I still have two more orange ccfls to go on the front to custom fit and an orange fan that'll go on the side panel.

      Coming soon: side panel work (drill holes, spackle little holes, paint white, paint black soot, cause damage, torch, paint mesh, cut and glue mesh, glue fan)

      10 - Cut Front, Left Side Panel Work 1

      Another update by yours truly! (...pfft :lol

      Today, I decided to get started on my other side panel, but before I started, I got myself 'one of them fancy' rotary tools down at Walmart and wanted to try 'er out on cutting a couple notches out on the front for my CCFLs. Recalling what it looked like before:

      ...Not too shabby.

      I needed to cut two notches out to insert the orange CCFLs so they could light up from behind, but not be seen.

      and then if you insert the cathodes...

      They fit! They'll be hiding behind the front piece so all that really bad cut work I did won't be seen.

      So, I got started working on the other side panel. Here's what the side panel is supposed to look like not destroyed (referring back):

      O, and for the ASEC logo on the other side, I'm trying as best as I can to replicate the original ASEC case and so I'm trying to get my other side panel. So, it's gonna look something like this.
      I was supposed to use my friend's 3" hole saw, come to find out he lost the key to the bit and I can't use it. Being that I'm not about to pay over $20 for a bit I'll only use once and might even break during the cutting, I looked at my compass, jigsaw and rotary tool and decided to...dare I say...freehand the circle 0-0... I drew the circle out very carefully, cut it with the jigsaw very slow, and then rounded it with a rotary tool. It's the best I could do...

      Then, I had another problem. I needed the smaller circle to cover the fan. There was no easy way to cut it. So, I thought, what about if I took a CD and cut it, spackled, and sanded. It would be a smooth, thick enough, circle. I did some practice cuts with the rotary on it and it seemed ok to use.

      But then, I took the jigsaw to it, and within seconds, I yelled "S**t" and went back to the drawing board cause..." alt="" />

      Alright, that didn't work. I needed something fairly thick. Looking at my golf stuff, I ran across one of my golf ball boxes and thought that would work too. Measured and cut a circle out.

      It looked like it would work just fine.

      We'll have to see how well it paints up.

      I was happy and decided it was time to do the damage. I drew a line and cut the metal with ease (finally).

      When I was cutting, some of the spackle I put over holes chipped out so I had to respackle the holes.

      And that's where I am so far. Gotta wait for the spackle to dry. I'm not sleeping tonight so there should be another update or two today. Who knows lol.

      Coming soon: Finishing the side panel w/mesh and paint

      11 - Left Side Panel Work 2

      I gots the updates.

      So, I have finished the other side panel, and I think it came out alright. Back to where I left off...

      The spackle dried, got sanded, primed, and painted white again. Then, I pried on the metal to give an effect.

      I, then, sprayed the black soot. (sorry, no picture) While the paint was drying, I got started on the mesh screen part.

      I got this influence from a HL case someone did a while back, except I wanted to add a cool feature to it. So, I took the Aperture Science logo, sized it just right, printed it out, and started tracing it out on parchment paper.

      Very carefully, I cut the pieces out with my really sharp knife.

      Then, after measuring and cutting the correct size mesh, (the mesh came from a black mesh trash can from my going-out-of-business Office Depot) I sprayed the logo onto the mesh.

      When both the orange and black paints were dry, I glued the mesh onto the cut side panel. The glue took a while to set in strong, so I had the help of my crappy band saw. (The one thing it CAN do right...)

      I glued the fan on and after all the glue dried, I put the middle white paper circle on the fan. And tada! It was finished.

      Someone requested to put both my side panels side-by-side to each other and get a picture. Here it is:

      Now, for the show. I wanted to see how the side panel looked on the case with the UV light so I made a quick test run.
      Lights on:

      Lights off:

      Not bad!

      Coming soon: Getting the Front on, detail work

      Thanks for following!
      "Keep it up man. It's not about us liking it, it's about you liking it, cause it's your mod. So don't let a bunch of ney sayers hold you back, because I say :wheee" - Tator Tot


      • #4
        Portal: After The Explosion Work Log (All Done)

        12 - The Secret is Out!

        Right, so, if you've noticed, I have been hinting at something in my work log. Here, I'll point it out:

        ...O, and some of you may be wondering why that oddly shaped triangle is cut out of the top pieces. Well, my friends, you'll just have to wait and see.
        ::looks at his clock:: Boy, i better get done with my mod then. I have more work than you guys may think lol
        I figured since I'm getting close to finishing the main part of my mod, I thought I'd show you what I have in store. Now granted, I've had mixed emotions from friends regarding what I'm doing, but the great part about what I'm doing is that if it doesn't work, o well, the case looks good without it.

        I would like to introduce you to my friend:

        The Companion Cube.

        So, from now on, please "consider the following."

        The 2nd idea. I really wanted to make a companion cube computer case (say that 5 times fast :P). But, as you all know, there's been people making companion cubes into computer cases for a while now, which is awesome. I'm all for them. (My only complaint with the companion cubes so far is bit-tech's (they could have done a better job IMHO)). I was sad because I wanted to be the first, the original. In my head, I was...jealous. So, I thought to myself: I have to make a companion cube and somehow incorporate it into the case.

        So, secretly, behind OCN's back (i'm so mean ), I started making mockups of how I wanted to make the CCube work. Remember when I said dead week and finals week were really busy and tough weeks? Well, I wasn't lying, but then again, I wasn't telling the whole truth. Ya sure, work and school was tough, but I sacrificed sleep time just to get ideas out of my head. Here's some pictures I haven't yet showed you guys yet:

        First, I was playing around with sizes, so I made a cube out of pizza boxes and tried to get ideas of size.

        While I was doing these mockups, I told myself I wasn't gonna go smaller than an 8" cube. Why? Well, then I couldn't fit a MiniItx motherboard in there. Is anyone following where I'm going with this? (Private server with KVM switch maybe?) Remember, this was still idea phase.

        Then, I decided on a 9" cube after the pizza boxes. Not too big, yet, still not that small. After some measurements, I went to Home Depot, got some $1.01 wood, and started building.

        The black paper pieces are my stencils I made.

        I have cut out the corner pieces, but they aren't sanded yet and I haven't taken pictures.

        That's all the pictures I've taken of that stuff so far. You wouldn't believe how many pieces you have to cut out for the companion cube. I mean, here, think about it.

        1 edge piece = 2 pieces of wood, but there's 12 edges so that makes 24 piece of wood
        1 corner piece = 3 pieces of wood, but there's 8 corners, so that makes 24 pieces
        6 sides to the CCube
        6 circles for the centers
        60 pieces of wood

        According to my timeline, I should be getting the CCube done in time for PDXLAN for it to fit upon the Portal case. My only concern is that I won't have enough time to put a full blown computer inside. I might come up with another idea soon, but for now, I'm just focusing on getting the grunt of everything done. Portal case first, CCube second.

        Thanks for following! The secret is out!!0-0

        13 - Front is finally done...sheesh

        Updates yo!

        So, after fighting with the front part of the case for the past few days, I got it most of the way done. Just got some touch up work with spackle. Then, for the rest of the case, I have to make stickers, some electrical work and any other little touch up work I have left to do.

        I would like to explain how I did everything, but I'm a little tired and there's a lot of little details (and swearing) to go through. I'll give you a rough how-to though.

        I cut the mesh and a screen (like from a window) to put together for the mesh part. I took my optical drive and glued on the wood piece on the front. Took my torch and put some burn marks on the ends of the wood pieces. Glued the optical drive and cold cathodes in the case. Glued the screen on, followed by the f**king mesh that wouldn't f**king stay down and glue.:x:x Whew, sorry, very frustrating. Had to use cans of pop to hold the mesh down.

        Finally, it stayed down and I glued down the wood pieces. Not shown but I put the sticker on after the picture and sprayed black.

        I put a little orange spray on the inside and then took some glamor shots.

        After getting this far, I figured I was done enough to finally put all my computer parts in including fans and lights. Heres...
        Lights on:

        Lights off:

        Thought everything came out alright. Just got some sticker work, fixing an electrical circuit for the CCFLs, a tiny bit more mesh work (thank god), and some spackle work for the front. Should I spray the I/O panel black or leave it shiny chrome? Melt thumb screws on?

        Thanks for watching!

        14 - CCube Teaser v1.0

        Ok, a bit of a teaser pic while I'm waiting for some glue to dry.

        I know, it's far from perfect and probably not that good, but it's alright. I mean, when I get the soot paint on, it won't be that noticeable.

        O, and I realized that I forgot to cut out my circle pieces and 2 whole corners before I go on a week vacation... Looks like my last two weeks before the comp are gonna be rough.

        15 - Flickering Cathodes are a go!

        Small Update:

        Fixed the flickering cold cathode thing, here's a video:

        I just uploaded it so give it a few minutes to process.


        EDIT: Sorry for the crap video. It's hard to take a good video with a built-in webcam.
        "Keep it up man. It's not about us liking it, it's about you liking it, cause it's your mod. So don't let a bunch of ney sayers hold you back, because I say :wheee" - Tator Tot


        • #5
          Portal: After The Explosion Work Log (All Done)

          16 - CCube Teaser v1.1

          Quick Teaser 2:

          I'm extremely busy with school work and this last desperate effort to get all this case mod stuff done. I'll talk to you more when I get the CCube done, because then, I think, I'll really be done.

          17 - CCube Teaser v2.0

          Alright alright, I'll give you another picture, but I really wanna paint the corners and sides and centers before I show another.

          EDIT: Yes, I know. The slots I cut out for the pink to shine through aren't very straight. I think it looks cool with it not being straight anyway. It'll look even better when it's painted and lit on fire.

          18 - CCube Teaser v3.0

          Another CCube teaser:

          I'll have moar pictures later. I promise! Just let me get my homework done for the week. I'm super busy! 0-0

          19 - CCube Glamor Shots (not yet sooted)

          Here's some glamor shots of the CCube (not yet soot sprayed):

          I'm gonna be able to finish on time. This is exciting! I'll give you more pictures tomorrow. Sleep time.

          20 - CCube likes to be on the top

          Another small update by me. Nothing too special, but I took a short video of the cube lit on top. Again, crappy video but its all my webcam can do. I don't have a nice camera all the time. I have to borrow people's. Again, give it a second if it doesn't work right away. Just uploaded it.

          "Keep it up man. It's not about us liking it, it's about you liking it, cause it's your mod. So don't let a bunch of ney sayers hold you back, because I say :wheee" - Tator Tot


          • #6
            Portal: After The Explosion Work Log (All Done)

            21 - Better Pictures of the Final Product

            A friend let me borrow his camera, so I got to take some better pictures. The pictures may be in a pseudo-random order, but nonetheless, here they are:

            I tried to do some cool effects with the UV lights. It's hard to show a blinking light in an image, but you get the idea in the video.

            O, and here's another crappy video, but at least you can see a few more things than in the other videos.

            And, that's my case mod. I was gonna put some black mesh on the back, but I decided not to. Adding it didn't really add anything to my case, and I thought it would stand out so I left it out. I might put a little more black on the CCube or the case, for a last minute prep before the comp, but that's it.

            Just wanted to say a big BIG thank you to everyone who has helped me with my first mod and welcoming me with open arms. It has been a great experience and I hope to do it again sometime soon.

            Again, thanks everyone!


            Found a .PDF of the issue of the magazine im in. Here's the pages that talk about me and have a picture of my case.

            I thought it was pretty cool. Can't wait 'til I get my hands on an actual copy.

            I'm a little discouraged that CPU Mag only likes case mods that were once cases and then modded. They aren't into the whole custom case thing. Kinda sucks since my next two mods are completely custom. O well...

            Extras x2

            I also did a presentation at Oregon State with my case mod. It was a bit of a bust, but I made a cool poster and presented the mod as best as I could. (even for being a dirty mod )

            "Keep it up man. It's not about us liking it, it's about you liking it, cause it's your mod. So don't let a bunch of ney sayers hold you back, because I say :wheee" - Tator Tot


            • #7
              Portal: After The Explosion Work Log (All Done)

              Thanks and it is listed as a featured rig on the front page :-)
              Cut it, Paint it, Mod it. Void Your Warranty
              #moddersinc @moddersinc


              • #8
                Portal: After The Explosion Work Log (All Done)

                WOW! I really can't thank you enough! This is awesome! Thank you!! :mrgreen:
                "Keep it up man. It's not about us liking it, it's about you liking it, cause it's your mod. So don't let a bunch of ney sayers hold you back, because I say :wheee" - Tator Tot