Author Topic: Unidyne - 2006  (Read 10102 times)

slipperyskip

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Unidyne - 2006
« on: August 03, 2014, 11:41:31 AM »
The Unidyne was my first attempt at writing a project log.  It was published at HardOCP (and no where else) in 2006.  It is much more detailed than my website posting.

Over the years, the Unidyne has been included in many "top ten"-type lists in case modding.  It is difficult to find a "Most Unusual" or "Weirdest" case mod list without the Unidyne being included.  I consider this a high honor. :D




The project starts off with 7 pieces of 3" x 3/8" x 8" laser cut basswood separated by six pieces of 1/2" x 1/2" x 8". This entire arrangement is backed by two adjoining sheets of 3/16" x 4" basswood stock.






I printed out an enlarged PDF file of the subject and cut out the top curve.






Traced out the curve on one side and then flipped everything around to get a tracing on the other side.






Resulting curve.






Tools of the trade: A Dremel with flex-shaft and a sandpaper drum bit, a hand rasp and sandpaper wrapped around  a scrap piece of plywood.






Knocking down the end pieces to the drawn curves.






Some spacers have been inserted to provide some support.






The center fins are rough-cut using the Dremel drum sander bit and the end pieces as a guide.


 



The center fins are brought further into submission with 60-grit sandpaper.


 



Result of efforts.






Let's do it again!






Exact copies.

slipperyskip

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Re: Unidyne - 2006
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2014, 11:42:51 AM »


Made up some "fin" stock by gluing two sizes of wood together.  Here are three samples of finished fin stock.






Using some fin stock as spacers, blocks are glued onto basswood sheets.


 



The results are these left and right parts.






Fin stock is glued directly onto a basswood sheet resulting in this center part.






All three parts come together and interlock at the corners.






A fourth part is added to the center to complete this section.  All that time playing with Lincoln Logs is finally paying off. :D 






Eash end cap gets blocks glued to the bottom.  These create channels that other parts fit down into.


 



The middle section sets snuggly down into the end cap's channels.  Like so...






Turned around.  What you see taking shape here is a compartment for the computer equipment.

slipperyskip

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Re: Unidyne - 2006
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2014, 11:44:05 AM »


Another pair of left and right side panels (w/spacers) get mounted into channels.






Fin stock gets fitted into the slots created by the side panels.






Other side.  The side fin stock fits up tightly to the backside of the front fin stock.






The top end-cap sets down snuggly onto the structure using its channels as guides.  The box for the equipment is fully formed.






The front doesn't look as rough as the back.






Photo with Universal Size Comparator.

slipperyskip

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Re: Unidyne - 2006
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2014, 11:45:08 AM »


Starting to put some curves into the structure.  The major sub-sections remain unglued for now to make it easier to do free form hand sanding.






The curve is translated across the face of the end-caps.






Re-assembled to check the look of the front curve.






Bits and pieces of the detail trim cut and assembled.






Each of the square blocks is notched with a large round file to form a semi-circle on each end.  These are inserted into the Matrix






The front decorative spacers and rough-cut logo block are inserted between the front fins.






The curve for the side fins is traced out on all the pieces (a few shown here) using a hand formed "master" curve (foreground).






The side fins are individually rough-cut down close to the master curve.  Final shaping is done by placing the master curve in the center of the collection and working them all down simultaneously to the master.





Re-assembled for a look and to translate the curve across the end-cap sides.

slipperyskip

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Re: Unidyne - 2006
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2014, 11:46:22 AM »


Switching gears to the computer stuff.  The basic idea here is to pack all the components into a tight, compact package that can be pulled out of the case as a single unit.  I call it a cartridge.





1/2" aluminum angle is supported by 6-32 threaded rods using nylon spacers and nuts.  The mini-ITX motherboard's mounting holes are the starting point.





The system's cooling will be handled by a fan blower that will be mounted in its own angle cradle.






More threaded rod and nylon spacers are used to correctly position the blower outlet.












The angle is repositioned and drilled out to support the 2.5" hard drive.  Additional support is also installed for the middle of the blower.






The blower's original grill is installed,  Its PCI bracket tab will be Dremeled off later to allow it to fit up against a flat surface.






I don't know why.  I think its a cool photo.  It all fits like a glove.

slipperyskip

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Re: Unidyne - 2006
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2014, 11:47:30 AM »


I needed more material so I added these blocks into the Matrix.  I'm just playing around with this stepped "How many bars do you get? photo.






Added some more material to bring the back out some.


 



Shaped the back end with my trusty sandpaper block.


 



Trimmed up the back of the side panels to bring it all together.  Notice the small ledge that was created just inside the box






A piece of sheet aluminum is cut and fit up using the ledge as support.






In these last three photos you might notice two small notches on the top and bottom box edge.  These are two channels carved into the inside of the box.  The edge of the motherboard fits into these channels and guide it when pushing the cartridge in and out. 






Pr0n






This photo brought to you by....Bawls.  The quality name in LAN party jitters.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2014, 11:57:27 AM by slipperyskip »

slipperyskip

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Re: Unidyne - 2006
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2014, 11:48:40 AM »


Some shaping is being done to the curve across the top of the end caps.






Everything is still mirror image between the upper and lower end caps.  This is about to change.






I filled in the back half of the upper piece with basswood blocks.  I call this the cubist dreadlocks shot.
 





Everything is finally glued up and set aside to dry.  Just before doing this I cut a section out of each side of the interior box to open it up for ventilation.  These gaps will be hidden behind the side trim.

 




The dreadlocks get knocked down and some serious sanding begins.






Work is concentrated on the fresh edges formed by the newly mated sub-sections.






Working hard to eliminate any evidence of the seams between subsections.  Additional sanding to get the final shape I want will continue for quite some time.

slipperyskip

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Re: Unidyne - 2006
« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2014, 11:49:19 AM »


The Thinker shows up for a detailed inspection.  Everyone's a critic.  I installed the side panel trim.  Air gets drawn into the case by going around these trim pieces and through the hidden gap behind them.


 



Work starts on the mounting lug.






Several pieces get glued up and clamped together.






The lug's shape is drawn onto the block.  The legs are designed to fit tightly into the Matrix.  The contact surface is gently curved to match the case's mating surface.






Work is progressing on the lug and the front trim pieces.  I painted the case's recesses flat black  in order to get a better contrast.  The ventilation "gap" can be clearly seen in this photo.






The mounting lug is inserted into the bottom of the case.  Sloppy paint will soon disappear with a few strokes of sandpaper.






Profiling.

slipperyskip

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Re: Unidyne - 2006
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2014, 11:50:44 AM »


For the I/O plate I start with the ports that "stick out".  Basically, drill small holes and finish the opening with sharp hobby files.  The thickness of the aluminum can make a huge difference in the amount of effort required to do this.






The remainder of the motherboard ports are drilled and filed.  The power jack, power switch and fan blower exhaust all get their respective holes.  The plate is held onto the motherboard by the tiny studs that are used to screw in plug retainers.  There are six of them located on either side of the three D-type connectors.






« Last Edit: August 03, 2014, 11:58:02 AM by slipperyskip »

slipperyskip

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Re: Unidyne - 2006
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2014, 11:52:26 AM »


The objective now is to get the project up onto a stand in order to help with the painting.  A hole is bored into the lug for the stand pole to fit into. 






This huge washer will be used in the lug detail. 


 



Another detail is this hex head PVC plug I got from the local hardware store.  I'll cut most of it off leaving only the hex head.






Glued together and "draft" sprayed to check the look.






The result is a faux detail to give the look of a pivot bolt.  These pieces are actually just glued to the surface of the lug.


 



First of many, many coats of industrial aluminum spray paint.  This is the stuff that contains actual aluminum paste in the paint formula.  There is lots of sanding going on between coats to eliminate any clue that the underlying surface is actually wood.


 



A never before seen photo.  I hand painted all the recesses with flat black paint. Under normal lighting you will not see this kind of detail.  This was a trick I learned while I was working at Disney.  The trick is to never shine a light down directly into it like in this photo.  The logo is a temporary test fitting.






I bought this cast iron microphone stand at a local music store.  I liked It because it has an art deco look to it and it was cheap.  One issue was the scale of the pole.  It just didn't have the diameter to match the project's scale.


 



The solution was this chrome kitchen sink drain pipe extension with beauty piece.  Also shown here is a 10-24 threaded steel rod, fender washer and wing nut.   






The drain pipe extension will fit over the original microphone stand pole.  To align all this I bored an additional stepped concentric hole into the lug.








The threaded steel rod is inserted through the lug and fastened into the inside of the equipment compartment.


 





The chrome extension tube and beauty piece are slipped over the rod and inserted into the lug.






The original stand pole is Dremeled off at the proper height and inserted into the tube/rod/lug concoction.  A wing nut with a fender washer is used to tighten up the whole mess.  This pinched together all of the components.  Don't you just love wing nuts?  I'll take every opportunity to use them.


 



Result.

slipperyskip

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Re: Unidyne - 2006
« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2014, 11:54:53 AM »








To achieve the illusion of a single cable microphone I threaded all the cables through a large piece of heatshrink.  What made this work was my quick-disconnect thin VGA cable.






I printed out the Shure corporate logo on some of my laser waterslide decal paper and applied it to the appropriate spot.






Money shot.




The Unidyne was very controversial when I built it.  It provoked a lot of discussion about such things as using wood for a case material.  Critics, and there were many, claimed it wasn't a case mod (that tired old argument) and that the Unidyne shouldn't be allowed to compete in case mod contests.

People would use the word "normal" a lot when discussing it.  "It doesn't look normal", "It doesn't use a normal hard drive" and  "It doesn't use a normal power supply". Blah blah.  They requested that I post benchmarks and chastised it for not being able to play the latest video games.  This was all very entertaining.

Cheers to all and thanks for looking!

slipperyskip

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Re: Unidyne - 2006
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2014, 08:31:29 AM »
If you play Civilization 5 then you might recognize the icon for the technology Radio. The game publisher used my photo without permission or recognition. The smoking gun is the posing "error" (circled in red) that was copied to the game icon.




slipperyskip

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Re: Unidyne - 2006
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2014, 08:35:04 AM »
Unidyne being displayed at the Exploratorium in San Francisco in February 2010. This allowed me to cross off the "Display in a museum" bucket list item.