Author Topic: Project Clean Slate - 2016  (Read 10605 times)

slipperyskip

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Project Clean Slate - 2016
« on: August 29, 2016, 10:43:47 AM »
New project inspired by vintage tube amplifiers.


I'll be using a Micro-ATX motherboard for this build. I like this model because it is a small Micro-ATX and it places the x16 PCIe slot in the second position instead of the first.
 


Comparison with a VIA EPIA 800 Mini-ITX motherboard which happens to be the very first Mini-ITX motherboard ever sold. VIA created and wrote the Mini-ITX standard. Mine has been modified..of course.



Instead of cutting a template out of a solid piece of paper I taped together a dozen or so 3 x 5 index cards so that they formed around the shapes. Just seemed easier that way.



Transferred the index card template to a piece of art board.



Finally I transferred the art board template to 1/8" 6-ply birch plywood. Using the intermediate art board template kept me from potentially ruining an expensive piece of wood.



All three pieces stacked together. Just because.



Motherboard mounted to the underside of the plywood with components sticking up through the top of the case. Similar to a tube amp that has exposed transformers, tubes and other components "displayed" on the top.






Thanks for looking!
« Last Edit: March 29, 2017, 07:08:33 AM by slipperyskip »

slipperyskip

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Re: Project 42
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2016, 11:36:40 AM »

Used two I/O plates to assist in making an I/O plate retention box.




Result.




Cut out section to make way to fit I/O retention box to the motherboard.






Added second layer to retention box to help form cowl.




Created slots to align and help secure box to case top.






Traced out I/O plate port openings for the graphics card.




Result. The other I/O plate openings are unused leftovers from an Intel NUC project. This aluminum plate will be trimmed down to size once I figure out what the size will be.






Model PLZ-71 stainless steel woven wire architectural decorative mesh from Banker Wire.



Thanks for looking!



slipperyskip

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Re: Project 42
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2016, 02:32:22 PM »

Trimmed the case top to size and prepared it for veneering.



Motherboard mounting stud with nylon spacer super-glued into place.



Screwhead of stud on reverse is leveled with wood filler.



Custom sized clamping boards are made from melamine shelves. One board has relief holes to accommodate the mounting studs.



Testing the fitment.



Two pieces of veneer are taped together using special veneering tape. This tape is water activated. When it drys the tape shrinks drawing the two veneer edges together tightly. The tape also keeps everything together during clamping and minimizes creep.



Clamping or as I call it "bringing the pain".

Thanks for looking!
« Last Edit: September 22, 2016, 02:34:20 PM by slipperyskip »

slipperyskip

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Re: Project 42
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2016, 12:05:24 PM »

Trimmed out the "holes" in the veneer and added a back to the I/O cover. I'm keeping these two parts separated for as long as possible to aid in additional veneering and sanding processes. They'll eventually be glued togther.







Added several courses of wood criss-crossing the ends like Lincoln Logs (ask your grandfather). Doing this creates the sides of the case.



The last course is a half course creating a ledge all around the perimeter. The bottom panel of the case will sit down into this.



Fit the motherboard to check clearances. The CPU cooler support bracket is temporarily taped into place. The bracket is the lowest point so the sides had to be built up enough to clear it. I want to keep the case, or as I'm calling it "the deck", as slim as possible.



The I/O cover and case sides will also be veneered in maple.




Eliminated the PCIe extension which drops the video card down to the deck. This test fit helps me figure out how to build the decorative box around the graphics card. The height of the graphic card I/O plate still needs to be trimmed and the pocket below the DVI ports needs finishing.




Audio component style feet I'll be using are on the right. By comparison, the feet on the left are off an HTPC computer case. They are plastic with a little rubber attached while mine on the right are heavy billet aluminum parts. I bought these over ten years ago for an outrageous price but have never used them. It's probably why I'm building this project.

Thanks for looking!
« Last Edit: September 28, 2016, 12:09:07 PM by slipperyskip »

slipperyskip

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Re: Project 42
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2016, 02:03:35 PM »

Cut a bottom panel out of 1/8" 3-ply birch plywood. It isn't load bearing so I went with a cheaper material at a quarter of the cost.




The bottom edge is veneered in maple with beveled corners. I always mark each factory corner with a 90 degree arch emblem. It helps me keep track of corners that can be trusted to be perfect 90s.



I handmade these corner guides by using sandpaper to form the 3/4 circle portion. The corners are all 90s.





Each corner is numbered to help control variances inherent in hand made parts.



Corner supports are made aided by the guides.



Each corner support has an embedded threaded metal insert.



The guides are used to control all the hole locations.




Each foot is made up of four components.


A neoprene rubber flat washer.



Neoprene bumper w/embedded washer and a stainless steel 8-32 screw.





Bottom panel removal is accomplished by removing the feet. The corner supports help keep the focus of the load bearing on the top panel instead of the bottom panel.



Doesn't wobble (pats self on back) :)

Thanks for looking!

slipperyskip

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Re: Project 42
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2016, 05:03:17 PM »

Finished veneering around the sides and I/O panel.




Started work on the CPU cooler box. This is about half done.


Finished fabrication except for a top cap that will seal the mesh inside.



I need to keep the mesh removable while I finish painting the interior and other stuff like auditioning other styles of mesh.









The box was built tightly around a cleat that will act as the mounting point. All five of the boxes will have a similar friction fit mounting system.






Something like this.



Thanks for looking!

slipperyskip

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Re: Concept 42
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2016, 02:35:40 PM »

Work on GPU box. This at about 50%.



27 pieces of wood and counting.



At 80% complete, 43 pieces of wood and 30 hours of fun!



Again, built tightly around a mounting cleat.



Close-up of I/O plate side. The opening will be made larger but for now it makes just enough room to clear the ports. Slot above it is for sliding in the top mesh. A plug will eventually fill this in.



Stainless steel mesh is cut using a Dremel cut-off wheel. The wood below the top vent still needs to be cut out. The temporary slots for mounting the front and side mesh panels are on the bottom edge.



Something like this. Still quite a bit of work including access for the power cable.



Although it might look like the mesh is all the same, the top and front panels are slightly smaller but with the same pattern. Smaller mesh for smaller panels gives me the optical illusion I'm aiming for.




Thanks for looking!

slipperyskip

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Re: Concept 42
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2016, 01:48:33 PM »

The three principal elements are the CPU, GPU and PSU Boxes.



slipperyskip

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Re: Concept 42
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2016, 04:33:36 AM »

slipperyskip

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Re: Concept 42
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2016, 02:29:43 PM »

The PSU box fabrication at 90%




Pile of wood becomes....


Decorative cover for the PSU cables.

slipperyskip

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Re: Concept 42
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2016, 04:08:35 PM »

Back of the memory box.



Front



24-pin ATX power connector cover.



Cover was built solid then the indent to clear the connector was carved out with a razor knife.



Memory box at 90%.


slipperyskip

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Re: Concept 42
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2016, 03:25:57 PM »





Instead of the stock attached 120mm CPU heatsink fan I'm using an unattached 92mm Delta fan. This is the construction of the decorative fan mounting system.













slipperyskip

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Re: Project Clean Slate
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2016, 05:22:52 PM »

Cleat for power supply cover is placed on deck top. The PSU is the only component that I can place wherever I think is best for the design.


Decided against using a modular PSU because a hard-wired unit is just a simpler solution for this application.


I needed to determine the smallest sized hole required to shove an entire wiring harness through. Instead of experimenting on the project box I used a sheet of scrap plywood.




Cut a hole in the deck top based on above calculation.


With cover in place.


Threaded harness through hole.


Checked clearances with cover installed. The aluminum finned decorative end cover hides the wiring.


First coat of paint applied to all components.


slipperyskip

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Re: Project Clean Slate
« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2016, 03:21:18 PM »

I left a long tail on the video card I/O panel so that I could secure it to the case. This is to replace the deleted attachment point at the top of the video card. Stainless steel bits screwed into a threaded metal insert.



22mm vandal switch with a white center LED.



Any opinions on where I should mount it? Choices seem to be...centered in front; left or right margin on front; mounted to deck top facing upward or POS switch hidden in the back.

slipperyskip

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Re: Project Clean Slate
« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2016, 01:01:47 PM »

I needed a reference shot before continuing. The project appears larger in photos than IRL because I'm using a mini-ITX form factor video card and an SFX form factor power supply. Coke can auditions continue.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2016, 01:04:20 PM by slipperyskip »