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  1. #1
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    Ground up Case Fabrication

    Hello all, I am new here and I seek the words of wisdom from Fabrication Guru's out there

    First off, I have been building computers for 12 years, but have never gotten into modding. I know my way around tools, but have absolutely no experience working with metal or acrylic.

    That being said, I was drawing up my components for my new computer build, and I decided that I wanted a case that was a bit different in dimension from any readily available case. So I figured, heck why can't I just make one? I wanted to do one that uses mainly sheet metal and acrylic. I haven't really maped out how yet, because I don't know what is possible or reasonable.

    Does anyone have a good suggestion of some places I can go to learn the techniques behind this? Additionally, any tips on what to start with. Ie, go make a couple of X widget first so you can get a feel for this technique before you go bending metal for the real deal.

    Thanks for the advice.

  2. #2
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    There are too many techniques to list when it comes to working metal and plastics. Each metal has certain propertys that allow one method over another to be easier, ect, ect. The place to start is work out your basic dimensions figure out aproximately what you want to build into the design(blueprints are good!, 3d models are better), and choose your materials exactly. IE What type and thickness metal are you going to use? what type and thickness plastic are you using? What special hardware are you going to need / need to fabricate.

    You can take a peek through my sig thread 450mm cube its a scratch build(I ran out of free time and havent finished it) to get an idea what I mean. Also there are several other great custom builders around here. Check out some of Navig's cases, or DeviceUnknown's stuff they are both serious craftsmen!
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  3. #3
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    Thanks Wizard!

    Any tips on programs I can use to make 3d models? Graphics stuff has never really been my thing.

    I look forward to diving into your project.

  4. #4
    Modz 4 Higher's Avatar
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    sketch up

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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Modz 4 Higher View Post
    sketch up
    Yup... Nothing beats free and easy to use SW.

    http://sketchup.google.com/intl/en/product/gsu.html

    I've used that program to make mock ups of full case mods with ease. It does require you to do a bit of learning, but nothing as complicated as any of the professional CAD solutions out there.
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  6. #6
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    Thanks you two! I'll start learning it. Unfortunately I can't start actually working on a case for a while.

    The Wife and I are trying to find a house to buy, hopefully I will be a homeowner in a few months. Then my I will spend the next few months being yelled at about how we got this house because it had a nice garage and now its filled with all my "junk"

    I think this weekend I am going to put some time in on figuring out the theme and general layout of the case. What section should I post in for ideas/help on that?

  7. #7
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    Good thing about planning is that you can spend as long as you want doing just that, and the longer you take in the planning stage the better your final product can be since you have more time to fine-tune all the details.

    I have been in the "planning" stages of a scratch build for months now with no foreseeable date as to when I'll actually start building. Sketchup should only take you a few hours to get the basics down and after that there are plenty of tutorials out there where you can learn how to do more complicated stuff. One thing I can't recommend enough is their 3D Warehouse; there are thousands of models ready for download so you don't have to spend countless hours modeling ~ say a fan from scratch ~ because it's already been done and you can use it as part of your case design.
    Daily Driver: GA-890FXA-UD5 - Ph II X6 1090T - 16GB DDR3 1333MHz - MSI R9 280X Gaming Edition/HD 5670/HD6570 - Venomous X Black + G1238B12BBZP-00 - TX850V2 - CM 690 II Advanced
    Join the "Benching Team" - We have secret sauce! - OptyTrooper: GPUs are for burning not playing games anyway
    Kona on League of Legends: This game sits about as well with me as a gallon of prune juice does, and the results are just as nasty.
    I done got Pinked...

    Be sure to pre-tin everything (even soldered stuff!) with leaded solder. None of the RoHS junk. You want good old fashioned toxic heavy metals. ~ Bobnova

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by xXSebaSXx View Post
    One thing I can't recommend enough is their 3D Warehouse; there are thousands of models ready for download so you don't have to spend countless hours modeling ~ say a fan from scratch ~ because it's already been done and you can use it as part of your case design.
    Thanks! I'm sure I would have found it eventually on my own... but you can't beat being shown the door you have the special key to (Matrix reference).

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winflakes View Post
    Thanks! I'm sure I would have found it eventually on my own... but you can't beat being shown the door you have the special key to (Matrix reference).
    LOL... I can only show you the door Neo. You have to walk through it.
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    Join the "Benching Team" - We have secret sauce! - OptyTrooper: GPUs are for burning not playing games anyway
    Kona on League of Legends: This game sits about as well with me as a gallon of prune juice does, and the results are just as nasty.
    I done got Pinked...

    Be sure to pre-tin everything (even soldered stuff!) with leaded solder. None of the RoHS junk. You want good old fashioned toxic heavy metals. ~ Bobnova

  10. #10
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    You might like this style
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  11. #11
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    This is more up my alley...

    Name:  80-20_Case2.jpg
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    Name:  80-20_Case.jpg
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    The whole frame will be made with 20mm 80-20 "X" extrusions and assembled using the 80-20 hardware (nuts, rails, screws, etc).

    The outside (side/top pannels) will be made in 3/18" thick acrylic in black and windows will be cut out of it and done with "Solar-Grey" translucent acrylic so that the inside is only visible when the lighting inside the case is on.

    This is all just at the planning stages, but once I get the funds going; it's going to get done with whatever HW is the latest and greatest at the moment... I've been wanting to make me a "dream machine" for a long time.


    Daily Driver: GA-890FXA-UD5 - Ph II X6 1090T - 16GB DDR3 1333MHz - MSI R9 280X Gaming Edition/HD 5670/HD6570 - Venomous X Black + G1238B12BBZP-00 - TX850V2 - CM 690 II Advanced
    Join the "Benching Team" - We have secret sauce! - OptyTrooper: GPUs are for burning not playing games anyway
    Kona on League of Legends: This game sits about as well with me as a gallon of prune juice does, and the results are just as nasty.
    I done got Pinked...

    Be sure to pre-tin everything (even soldered stuff!) with leaded solder. None of the RoHS junk. You want good old fashioned toxic heavy metals. ~ Bobnova

  12. #12
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    Wow Seba, Sweet mod, I hope you'll be able to build it. Than post pics here in the forums
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    RayStorm HP CPU block, RX360 V3 Triple Radiator, Alphacool "Full copper" Monsta 480 80mm thick and 10 FPI, 120mm CM R4 red fans 19dBa @ 2000RPM, XSPC Photon 170 Tube Glass Cylinder Reservoir / Pump Combo (D5 Vario), Monsoon G1/4″ to 7/16″ Compression Fittings, PrimoChill PrimoFlex Advanced LRT Tubing 7/16"ID x 5/8" OD, EK-FC R9 280X CSQ series water blocks, EVGA SuperNOVA 1300 G2 PSU - CaseLabs Merlin ST10 Case planning stage :) Build Log http://www.overclockers.com/forums/s...d.php?t=748131

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  13. #13
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    I'm tinkering around in sketchup right now, and Wow this will be fun!

    I was wondering if anyone knew the dimensions of the cutout in the MOBO tray for the CPU? Or is it just kind of personal preference?

  14. #14
    Senior Member Knufire's Avatar
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    Anybody know if there's a Solidworks database of computer parts? Or if there's a way to convert SketchUp files to Solidworks?
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winflakes View Post
    I'm tinkering around in sketchup right now, and Wow this will be fun!

    I was wondering if anyone knew the dimensions of the cutout in the MOBO tray for the CPU? Or is it just kind of personal preference?
    Dimensions for the Mobo tray are easy... Just look up the motherboard you're going to use and find its dimensions... You can then make the tray to fit your needs.

    As reference: ATX Mobos are normally 12" by 9.6"

    The size of the tray is not really that important; as long as you get the hole locations for the standoff right you're good to go.

    Quote Originally Posted by Knufire View Post
    Anybody know if there's a Solidworks database of computer parts? Or if there's a way to convert SketchUp files to Solidworks?
    What formats does Solidworks take? Sketchup can export .obj and other 3d file types.

    The way I do my work is I do the modeling in SKU, export it to .obj, import it to Cinema4D for texturing and rendering.

    BTW: This is what I'm working on right now...

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    That's the outer shell that will go around the frame I showed a couple posts back.
    The side panels will be 6mm translucent black acrylic (polished to high gloss) and the red inlays will be 3mm translucent red acrylic (also polished)...
    There is going to be tons of machining to be done on the black panels so that the red inlays fit flush with them, but since this is a "dream" case at the moment I can go as crazy as I want and someday I'll have the funds to get it done.

    Take a guess at where the power/reset buttons will be?
    Daily Driver: GA-890FXA-UD5 - Ph II X6 1090T - 16GB DDR3 1333MHz - MSI R9 280X Gaming Edition/HD 5670/HD6570 - Venomous X Black + G1238B12BBZP-00 - TX850V2 - CM 690 II Advanced
    Join the "Benching Team" - We have secret sauce! - OptyTrooper: GPUs are for burning not playing games anyway
    Kona on League of Legends: This game sits about as well with me as a gallon of prune juice does, and the results are just as nasty.
    I done got Pinked...

    Be sure to pre-tin everything (even soldered stuff!) with leaded solder. None of the RoHS junk. You want good old fashioned toxic heavy metals. ~ Bobnova

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