Author Topic: Level Eleven - 2010  (Read 29654 times)

slipperyskip

  • Benevolent Dictator
  • Administrator
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 258
    • View Profile
    • Jeffrey Stephenson Design
Level Eleven - 2010
« on: August 06, 2014, 02:21:28 PM »
Official Photo Gallery


A sheet of birch plywood from my local supplier. My working surface is the backside of a chess board I bought in Spain many years ago.  I don't know what kind of wood it is but it is very heavy and more importantly, extremely flat.  I've been using this board for years with all my small projects.




This sheet cost me $19 which is kinda crazy but what you get is a 5-ply laser-cut piece of very nice wood. It's just not smart to skimp on materials and tools...IMHO, of course.




Using clamps to fix the straightedge I make my mark first in pencil and then in razor. I've learned over the years to spend the time to clamp these things properly instead of using human clamps.




Replaced the straightedge with a 1/2" square laser-cut board to use as a fence.

 


Weapon of choice is an X-acto Razor Saw with a fresh blade. I usually grasp it in the center instead of using the handle...better control of downward force and I can keep it up against the fence better this way.  I saw it half way through then reset the fence on the other side. At intervals I'll run my razor knife down the trench just to "abuse" the saw cut.




That done, I set up another fence to cut a short piece.




The final "cutting-through"  of the sawing process is always done with my razor knife.  Keeping those edges clean.




The second piece will be exactly the same size as the first. I could measure it but I prefer not to measure anything if I can. Using the two original laser-cut corners as reference I clamp the two pieces together. Sure, I could make a mark and then saw it but I'm going to use the first piece as a fence to cut the second. After about a third of the way through I'll replace the original board with a proper fence.




Clamp the two boards together and "work" the edges over a piece of sandpaper to clean the edges up a little. Not a lot of work done here.




The result is two identical pieces of wood with perfect 90 degree corners. Took around an hour and a half.




I need to sprinkle this first post with some sponsor goodness so here is a SODIMM of Crucial 2GB DDR2-800. Thank you Crucial!




This is my concept of Sketch-up. There will be equipment mounted to both sides of this board with openings for both cables and ventilation. 




The two boards I just cut will sandwich this slot-loader slimline optical drive. The drive's face plate has been removed.

« Last Edit: September 01, 2014, 04:31:23 PM by slipperyskip »

slipperyskip

  • Benevolent Dictator
  • Administrator
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 258
    • View Profile
    • Jeffrey Stephenson Design
Re: Level Eleven - 2010
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2014, 02:25:11 PM »

Box




Box inside box. Plain brown no-frills industrial box.




Mostly air and packing material inside the box.  Welcome to the world of itty-bitty.




Ta-da! The VIA EPIA P820-12L Pico ITX board with a P720-A daughterboard installed.




VIA Nano 1.2GHz 64-bit x86 CPU.




Turned around. The single 3Gbps SATA connector has a hole cut out of the heatsink just for it. To the left is the 44-pin IDE connector.  I'll be using both of these. Lined up along the front are the pin headers for four USB ports, audio, power, reset and a bunch of stuff I don't care about. :D




Backside showing where the SODIMM goes.  The yellow thingy is the CMOS battery. Yes, a remote CMOS battery. My biggest complaint about the PX10000 Pico-ITX board was the battery holder soldered to the bottom making the unit much thicker than it needed to be.




Didn't have a Coke can handy so I thought this iPod touch might do in a pinch to show comparable size. 




The P720 daughterboard adds 2 USB ports, a VGA port and a Gigabit Ethernet port to the mainboard's onboard HDMI port. That's what I said...HDMI.




Misc. cables I'll look at later.




For me, one of the most amazing things about this board is that it has an onboard power supply. This connector allows you to connect a standard external 60W ACDC power brick directly to the Pico-ITX. I don't have to use a Pico-PSU with this project like I did the last one. TBH..I'm...just...shocked. The power for the rest of the system like the SSD, optical drive and cooling fans comes directly off headers on the Pico board.

So what will this little sucker do? According to VIA I should be able to watch H.264 (BluRay) at 1080p with about 20% CPU utilization. Total system power should max out at around 20W. We'll see.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2014, 04:27:35 PM by slipperyskip »

slipperyskip

  • Benevolent Dictator
  • Administrator
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 258
    • View Profile
    • Jeffrey Stephenson Design
Re: Level Eleven - 2010
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2014, 02:30:15 PM »

A sheet of aluminum, a Sharpie and an old video card PCI slot cover for a template.  I drop the proposed hole in the center somewhere and make sure I have plenty of edge metal to "trim-to-fit" later.





Drill a nice big hole in the middle.





Using my set of hobby files I form the hole by hand. I use a busted video card's VGA port to help guide the work. I probably test fit the hole 50-60 times while filing out the shape.

 



Result.  I don't like a sloppy fit.  It is important to get this port right because it anchors the location of the others.  In addition to the I/O ports I'm planning on mounting the power jack and maybe the power switch to this plate. 
« Last Edit: August 06, 2014, 04:28:04 PM by slipperyskip »

slipperyskip

  • Benevolent Dictator
  • Administrator
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 258
    • View Profile
    • Jeffrey Stephenson Design
Re: Level Eleven - 2010
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2014, 02:33:07 PM »






The lighting/angle makes the HDMI port look bad. I included the last photo above to hopefully show that it is in fact not.  It WAS difficult to make. The screw was supposed to be used to securely fasten an HDMI cable but I'm using it to help secure the I/O plate instead.  I may just drill out that HDMI screw and install the DC power jack there instead.

Now I've got to mount this board to my plywood using this "inverse" standoff system I've been given:




slipperyskip

  • Benevolent Dictator
  • Administrator
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 258
    • View Profile
    • Jeffrey Stephenson Design
Re: Level Eleven - 2010
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2014, 02:37:35 PM »

I took the heatsink off to figure out a better mounting system and to put some decent thermal paste on.  The smaller chip to the right is actually the CPU. The larger one in the center is the integrated graphics/other stuff chip. Regular sized brass standoff posing for size comparison. In this photo I'm drilling a standoff hole into a 3" x 1/4" piece of basswood. Again, no measuring going on here.




Put the board with standoffs up against the "master plan" to figure out the length to cut. The discoloration is the left over glue from the factory sticker. Three of the four sides will be factory laser cuts. I cheat a lot. :D





I turned the board over and cut from the backside. A fence is clamped down and I'm using a smaller "finger fence" to help help keep the blade perpendicular. (Cheers to splelchek!)





Since the Pico is the exact same size as the SSD the mounting boards will also be the exact same size. The SSD board will go kinda right there sorta.





Align the three laser cut sides and clamp vigorously. Saw.





Still clamped together I run the fresh edges back-and-forth over a sheet of stationary sandpaper.




Result of efforts.


« Last Edit: August 06, 2014, 04:29:19 PM by slipperyskip »

slipperyskip

  • Benevolent Dictator
  • Administrator
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 258
    • View Profile
    • Jeffrey Stephenson Design
Re: Level Eleven - 2010
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2014, 02:52:21 PM »
I found something to do while I'm waiting on the post. I'm going to build some 2.5" hard drive mounts using an old 40GB Toshiba drive as a model.


I cut my 1/2" x 1/2" aluminum angle iron (yes, that is a correct term) to length with an old X-Acto saw blade. To clean up the aluminum cuts I clamp on a 1/2" square board with a laser cut end and use it to guide my flat hobby file.




I follow that up by filing all the sharp edges down until everything feels smooth to the touch.




For once I break out my rule and measure where the mounting holes will go. I use my old center punch and a one pound hammer to mark the spot. It is a one pound hammer because it only takes one pound. Ouch! Sorry about that.




Drill the holes out? Nah, it can't be that easy. [I have deleted this text because I fear it will be used against me in a future psychiatric evaluation]




Result of efforts.




And the big question is whether my angled SATA connectors will obey the boundaries. I realize this is an IDE HDD and not a SATA SSD but I can still tell it will be close.

« Last Edit: August 06, 2014, 04:30:39 PM by slipperyskip »

slipperyskip

  • Benevolent Dictator
  • Administrator
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 258
    • View Profile
    • Jeffrey Stephenson Design
Re: Level Eleven - 2010
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2014, 02:53:39 PM »

Calculated, cut and glued the extensions onto each mounting board. These boards will eventually have another very thin layer glued over the top of them so using extensions instead of completely re-doing them is reasonable IMO.




Sizing them up to the master board.





Time to make the boxes. These tops are identical to the mounting boards except for being 1/8" thick instead of 1/4".  When I finished cutting the boards I noticed that the widths were off which is very unusual.  It must have been a bad day for the laser because these boards are suppose to be exactly 3" wide from the factory.. I fixed it by tacking on a 1/64" strip shown here before trimming.

 



To make my 2" tall box sides I start out with 1/8" x 24" stock that are slightly wider than 2". My carpenters square is exactly 2" wide so....





I clamp the boards to the square on one end.





And the other.





Using my Olfa razor knife I shave the wood down almost to the steel of the square. Using 60 and 100 grit sandpaper I finish hand milling the edge down to the metal.








The result is two 2" wide boards with sharp edges.





I then cut out the box sides by measuring each side of the mounting board, adding an 1/8" and then adding a skosh. 4 long sides and 4 short sides for two identical boxes.





The sides will be assembled in what I call a "pin-wheel".  Here I have loosely arranged them to hopefully better illustrate the pin-wheel. Each end is facing clockwise.





To assemble I first lay down the mounting board and loosely place on top two 1/2" spacer blocks.





On top of that goes one of the box tops.





I assemble my pin-wheel with a rubber band to hold it all together.  This process usually resembles some sort of clown act until you get the hang of it. Here I have decided to go with a counter-clockwise rotation.  If I needed extra strength I would just add another layer of wood using a clock-wise pin-wheel rotation.





I next add another level of 1/2" spacers.





And the remaining box top.





I use yellow carpenter's glue applied with a small brush. The block is shown prying apart the seam to expose the gluing surface and is really just illustrating what my fingers are doing during the gluing process. Note that I'm only gluing the edges of the sides. The box tops and mounting boards are not being glued...intentionally.





Add a multitude of rubber bands and after about 5 minutes of drying I flip the entire assembly over to expose the mounting block. Here you can see the "skosh" I added earlier to each corner. These will later be sanded down.





I then push down on the center support and break any bonds that excess glue is trying to setup.  Wait another 5 minutes and repeat. Let assembly dry for three hours.

« Last Edit: August 06, 2014, 04:32:01 PM by slipperyskip »

slipperyskip

  • Benevolent Dictator
  • Administrator
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 258
    • View Profile
    • Jeffrey Stephenson Design
Re: Level Eleven - 2010
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2014, 02:54:35 PM »





The box tops are loose friction fit. The Pico box I/O plate interface work is next up.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2014, 04:32:33 PM by slipperyskip »

slipperyskip

  • Benevolent Dictator
  • Administrator
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 258
    • View Profile
    • Jeffrey Stephenson Design
Re: Level Eleven - 2010
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2014, 02:57:40 PM »





slipperyskip

  • Benevolent Dictator
  • Administrator
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 258
    • View Profile
    • Jeffrey Stephenson Design
Re: Level Eleven - 2010
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2014, 02:59:34 PM »

The twin boxes measure 32.3 cubic inches each and the support box measures 35 cubic inches.  I'm working at one-third scale of the original.

Velcro and rubber bands holding it together.  There is plenty of opportunity to move stuff around. It is freestanding in this photo. Smaller boxes for the two empty quadrants are being imagined. The top/back box will have aux jacks and a cooling fan. The front/lower quadrant will be pure form over function. Something tasty I hope.




« Last Edit: August 06, 2014, 04:33:25 PM by slipperyskip »

slipperyskip

  • Benevolent Dictator
  • Administrator
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 258
    • View Profile
    • Jeffrey Stephenson Design
Re: Level Eleven - 2010
« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2014, 03:01:47 PM »

Cut the I/O shield to size.





Cut out the I/O shield box opening.





Hand-turned a hole saw to start opening the vent port.


 


Used my four-faced hand rasp to finish opening the vent.





Pause for a pose.





Attached the I/O shield.





Checked the fit.





Showing the gaps around the shield area that will be dressed up.






Cut out and glued in some filler pieces.






The filler pieces tighten everything up.






Cut out a few pieces to dress up the lower section.  These pieces will be glued to the mounting board and not to the box.  This will allow me to remove the box while the computer is operating and cables are plugged in.






« Last Edit: August 06, 2014, 04:34:11 PM by slipperyskip »

slipperyskip

  • Benevolent Dictator
  • Administrator
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 258
    • View Profile
    • Jeffrey Stephenson Design
Re: Level Eleven - 2010
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2014, 03:04:39 PM »

I cut my vent screen gaskets out of 1/32" basswood.  The interior cut is precision but the outer cut was loosely hand cut.





Stainless steel screen is cut to size.





The gasket is slightly thicker than the screen so I can layer another slightly smaller windowed piece of wood across the assembly. I'll set this aside for now.





Cut some wood to use as a mounting system for the SSD.





The two smaller pieces are glued together.





This creates a "sliding bracket" kind of thing to insert into the aluminum angle.





The center section is slightly raised so that I can glue this bracket to another piece.





Cut some 1/2" square stock to use as spacers for the support box.





Dry fit.





I've gotta get a "glue drying" photo in here somewhere.



BTW, this project is more of a tribute to the Edelweiss case mod by Pius Giger than to the Thermaltake Level 10.  IMHO, BMW and Thermaltake just ripped off a fellow case modder's original idea.  I have been wanting to do an Edelweiss-inspired mod since I saw the original in 2006. I'm not a big fan of the Level 10 mainly because I believe the basic design is more suited for a smaller PC.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2014, 04:35:13 PM by slipperyskip »

slipperyskip

  • Benevolent Dictator
  • Administrator
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 258
    • View Profile
    • Jeffrey Stephenson Design
Re: Level Eleven - 2010
« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2014, 03:06:29 PM »

Mark the window size on a piece of cherry veneer.




Cut the windows out.




Gather the components.




First, the gaskets get glued on.




The stainless steel screens are layed in loosely.




The cherry windows get glued over the top and trimmed up after drying.








« Last Edit: August 06, 2014, 04:35:51 PM by slipperyskip »

slipperyskip

  • Benevolent Dictator
  • Administrator
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 258
    • View Profile
    • Jeffrey Stephenson Design
Re: Level Eleven - 2010
« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2014, 03:11:33 PM »

Time to dig the rabbit hole. To gain access to the support box each of the mounting boards will have a section cut out for the wiring and ventilation. 





This Pico box "rabbit hole" will have the 44-pin IDE cable, SATA cable, power and all the other auxilliary wires running down through it. The hole is rough cut for now and will be finished when it is matched up to its corresponding support box hole.




Air comes in through the mesh screen and down the rabbit hole....NOT using a 120mm fan.  It is there for a size reference.  The SSD box will have a similar setup. 




A few veneering shots. I start off with the I/O shield filler pieces and work my way out.  I'm not going into much detail about how I veneer because I have covered that extensively in other projects. I can provide links if anyone cares.




Grain continuation that no one notices unless you don't do it then everyone notices.:hehe: Knots and other natural imperfections are most welcome.




The 120mm fan seems to be the most commonly used fan these days so I'm auditioning one as a size comparator.




Raw, unfinished cherry veneer that has been in dark storage for years compared to lacquer-finished, light-exposed cherry.  My G-metric Nano is the only cherry-finished project I have done and it has aged for about 2 1/2 years.  It takes at least a year for cherry to turn to a nutty brown color that it is known for.

Special note: The basswood I typically use for the structure of my projects is not strong but it is very easy to work with.  It is much, much stronger than balsa, a material I would never use.  I discovered that basswood mixed in with birch plywood and eventually coated with hardwood veneer makes for a very strong, stable structure.

« Last Edit: August 06, 2014, 04:36:29 PM by slipperyskip »

slipperyskip

  • Benevolent Dictator
  • Administrator
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 258
    • View Profile
    • Jeffrey Stephenson Design
Re: Level Eleven - 2010
« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2014, 03:14:01 PM »

Dug out some of my 40mm fan collection.  A little bit of everything including a crazy loud Delta and a Sunon Mag-Lev.




Picked out this choice little T&T 11-blade 12V fan.




A size comparison to a 140mm unit.




Using my hand-held mitre box I cut out these 35 pieces.




Gluing up the first course.




Second course.




Skip ahead to fifth course.




Finished shot showing the vent opening created between the fins.




This box will contain the cooling fan and the power/audio jacks. It will be sprayed with my industrial aluminum paint to look like cooling fins.




The cooling fan will be mounted to the base of the auxiliary box and penetrate through to the support box cavity. I can't find my 40mm hole saw so I use a smaller one and use a file to work my way out.








Bits and pieces to mount to the back of the Aux box.




Some dry fit shots....






The back of the Aux box where the jacks/switches will be mounted is very rough....for now.

« Last Edit: August 06, 2014, 04:40:19 PM by slipperyskip »