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Pimpy Casemod

The last LAN-party I attended was in a tent in someone's garden, with very little space to put the PC case. I had to drag my big full-tower there, and had sore arms after the party from not being able to rest my wrists because of the lack of space. Also, my current case is noisy (well not really, but I want it to be perfectly quiet.) and inefficient (I have to leave the sidepanel off in order to cool the CPU - it's not a pretty sight.).

So what did I need? I needed a small case, with lots of room, efficient cooling in quiet, and a handle of some sort to carry it around. I already had an AOpen HQ45 case with no PSU and an Enermax 120mm fan. The fan was modded and equipped with a custom fangrill, so I won't go into that again. The case, however, still needed some 'minor' modifications ;) .

First, I made the case a bit longer. 125mm to be exact. This brought with it some complications, specifically the top and sidepanels, that didn't cover the entire case anymore. This had to be fixed. Also it was quite tricky to keep the case from torsing, so that was a bit of a pain as well. Anyhow, here are some pics before you start clicking to more illustrated places on the interweb.

The case, 125mm longer than original. I also moved the harddisk rack for reasons that will become clear a bit further down...

This is the rear-end of my case, with a drawing where a fan could be. I drew this years ago, before I initially used the case. Now, I finally cut the hole... Pics to come!

The handle I would put onto my case. It's slices of thick MDF, glued and screwed together. It's quite sturdy.

The handle, posing on top of the case. In this pic, it's not yet attached to the case. It's not even finished yet.

My solution for the larger sidepanels: new ones! No pics of the attachment method just yet, but this is just the cut plexi. The advantage: if it breaks or I get bored with it, I can easily make a new one to replace it. Also making a window in these is much easier than making a window in a metal one. You just paint a bit less.

The home-made tool I used to sand out the insides of the handle. Just a stick with very rough sanding paper attached to it. You can also see the handle semi-integrated onto the case top now. Starting to get the picture? Good. Read on!

The front in a very early stage. All that's changed here is the big blowhole. The current front is very different from this one.

Another view of the blowhole. You can see a similar picture in the fangrill-page. This was just to test if the fan and fangrill would fit between the case and the front. The fan is placed in between to save space inside the case and to keep the blowhole kind of shallow.

This has also changed: it's a lot more solid. In any case, here you see the pipe of the blowhole glued to the front using silicon.

This is what the front's made of: an old CD spindle.

work in progress...

The fan lining up to cool the harddisk rack. Now there's a duct in between, no pic yet.

New pictures: I found these hidden on some computer somewhere...

This is the handle (ofcourse) in an advanced state of readiness

The hole for the extra fan... Finished, but not pretty. A large fangrill will be added. It's already finished, but I have no pic yet.

The front, also nearing completion. I added frontal USB ports for ease of connectivity of those devices you need to unplug regulary (a memorystick, for example.)

Aaaah the handle, right before spraypainting it. Nice :) .

The airduct...

Yet another update: my brother bought a digicam, so new pics are here!!! Case is still far from finished, though...

Head-on view, front is not ready yet, only had 1 layer of paint in this pic...

Global pic

Quite smooth paintjob


Update 28/11/2003

As some of you may know already, I've decided to cancel this project. I hate doing this, but I really had not much of a choice. What are the reasons? Well, first off, there was the tremendous disappointment and stress when I tried to use the case for the first time. I had built in my components, connected everything and... The thing wouldn't boot. So after a lot of searchingI found out it was the power supply. Well, it wasn't really the PS, it was more like: SOMEWHERE there was a shortcircuit. The worst thing was: this was approx. 5 hours before I had to leave to a LAN party. So my heart was racing as I built everything back into my old case. Everything worked, and I went to the LAN with my old case. Later, I reconnected the new case, and started searching for the short circuit. I still haven't found it.
The second reason is that this case has already cost me a LOT of money, and if I was to finish it, I'd have spent even more money, on a case I would only use for a short time period. Why only a short time period? That's reason No 3.
The third reason, and probably the most important reason, is that I could not get the case to look / feel like I had imagined. It was very heavy, very big (still) and not too practical. The baybus I had in mind was also getting more and more impossible to build, and some of the LED lights inside closed compartiments didn't work. Maybe later, when I'm bored, I will continue working on this case, but I'm very busy now, and don't really have the time to continue at this time.
Anyway, here are some more pics I took before storing the case in the 'Killerkip Basement Of Lost Dreams'. Hope you like 'em!

This is the bag I made. Plexi is very vulnerable when transported, so I needed some sort of protection. It's the first actual sewing I did, and it looks nice. It's made out of a cheap fleece-blanket I picked up somewhere...

The side-panel, obviously. Too bad you can see the screws, but that really can't be helped. The drawing is painted on the inside of a thin plexi, behind which is a thicker milkwhite plexi. So actually, the drawing is not painted, it's an unpainted part of the plexi.

The temporary baybus-print. I wanted to be able to switch each color individually, so I needed 3 switches per light-emitting device (2 fans, caselights, and casebadge). This way I could create purple as well, and on the casebadge, stragely enough, white ;) (green + blue)

Yet another fangrill, made in the same way I made the 12cm one, but with bigger holes ;) . If you really want, you can still poke your fingers through the larger holes. So it's not really effective as a fanguard :p .

Aaaah yes, the casebadge. This one also lights up in 3 colors, which are mixable to create white and purple as well. I made a contraption that distributes the color evenly across the milkwhite plexy, and added my logo to finish it off. This is a bit I really liked, it worked really well.

The side panel. Seems like the camera's flash added an extra amount of scratches. It looks a lot better in real life. Anyhow, here you can see my 4 fans sucking fresh air in and blowing it straight onto the CPU. I attached the panel to the case using sliding locks. They take the case behind the metal profile, and are placed at exact positions so that they keep the panel in place (i.e. it's not able to shift in any way). The panel itself is made out of 2 sheets of plexi: one sheet has the blue painted on it, and the paint is squeezed in between the two plates. So if I sratch the panel, I will have scratched my plexi, but not my paint.

The fan-intakes. As you can see, I've cut fangrills into the top plexi plate. The bottom plexi plate just has a hole in it. I should have taken a better picture, you can see a lot of my mistakes in this one ;) . This system also worked pretty well, but unfortunately I put in PAPST fans, which are not really compatible with my PWM...

The back side of the panel, showing the duct. I first made the conversion from 16*16cm to 8*8 cm, and then adapted it to fit right over my CPU's heatsink. I also had to be careful not to touch the power supply or any other stuff in the case... Needed to be able to close the case...

The rear fan (the one with the new fanguard) and a LED-island. I placed 4 of these islands in the case, they provide the green and red light. Very low consumption, and a nice effect. Of course, this also requires a lot of extra wires, as each island needs 3 wires to be connected. The fan originally was a pink enermax type, which I sprayed blue. Pink's just not my thing ;)

The front blowhole.

My powerful PWM. It's from Velleman, and can easily control the 4 fans at the same time. It just needs a lot of tweaking.

The left side of the case. Notice the cables in the front. This is after I shortened and tied them. It was hell to find the right wire in there...

Finally, one last pic of the front. This is how it was about a month ago, and how it will probably always be ;( .


 

 
 

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