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Author Topic: TRON PC Case Build - 2011 Cooler Master Contest Winner  (Read 20715 times)

Boddaker

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TRON PC Case Build - 2011 Cooler Master Contest Winner
« on: March 28, 2011, 01:07:49 PM »

This is my entry into Cooler Master's case mod competition, scratch build category.



Been working in Sketchup, building a mockup of the lightcycle suitable for housing a full ATX system with watercooling.  It ended up being 40" long, but relatively short.  As for the design, I didn't want to make a spot-on replica of the bike, so I went with my layered acrylic  method, with just a few skinned areas around the wheels and top.  This allows me to hide more components inside as well.  Anyway, on with the mockups:









Upon removing some layers, you can see the initial motherboard placement and other components.


To give you a better idea of size, I placed a Cooler Master Cosmos case next to it.


PRELIMINARY PARTS LIST

EVGA X58 Motherboard
Intel i7 965 processor
EVGA GTX570 video cards in SLI
Crucial SSD
Crucial Ballistix memory
Pioneer Slimline slot load DVD drive
Cooler Master Silent Gold 850W Power Supply (qualifying product)
Dual bay reservoir by Primochill
Other watercooling parts TBD

I'm planning something special for the front radiator, more on that later.  ;-)

So that's the basic plan, I'll be adding more detail as I go along.  

There are quite a few entries already, including one from Bill Owen and Slipperyskip in the case mod category.  So it's going to be a good show!  :D
« Last Edit: June 01, 2011, 11:59:55 AM by Boddaker »
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Boddaker

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Re: TRON PC Case Build
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2011, 12:04:10 PM »

I'm already well into this project, and will post a daily update until we get caught up.  So here's the next installment:

Ok, so in the interest of time, I decided not to make these fairings out of fiberglass, or use my vacuum forming table, seeing as how I still have to rebuild it.  Instead, I'll be forming the pieces with a plastic paste, which is a much quicker process.  So the first step is creating a plug on which to lay the paste down.

So, time to cut some foam! :)  I laminated three layers of foam insulation sheets to get the thickness I needed.  I also made up a template that minimized the amount of foam I had to use.  In fact, all four fairing pieces will be molded from this one block of foam after I'm done with it.


There's a front and back fairing, and they are split into left and right mirrored pieces.  Here's half my template, with the back fairing on top and the front upside down on the bottom.  The gray and black lines show the difference between the edges of the fairing.  Gray is the wider part (over the center of the tire) and the black is the narrower edge.


Using a hacksaw, I started doing the rough cuts around the gray lines.


Then with an electric carving knife, I started shaving off the foam, following the black lines and curving out to the wider edge.


One half roughed out, next to the other side.


Here's a shot of them side by side in their eventual places.  You can now see the shape of the bike emerging.


Once I got the pieces roughed out, I used an exacto knife to get more accurate along the edges.


The thickness difference between both edges is 3/4".  I marked my square with tape and slid it along the edge to see where I still needed to remove material.  I used a drywall sanding block to smooth out the curves.


Both sides smoothed out.  This is the back end...


And turning it over we have the front end.


Next I'll need to add some cardboard and sandwich it all together.

Boddaker

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Re: TRON PC Case Build
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2011, 11:58:01 AM »

Ok, now that we got the foam glued, the next step is to sandwich it all together, with cardboard in between.  These will form the walls of the pour area.  I traced the foam block first, then scribed another cut-line about 1/4" wider.


Three pieces cut, two outside pieces, one center piece.


Using spray adhesive, I glued them all together.


While that was setting up, I used my flexible curve to transfer the overall curve shape to my custom screeding tool...


...which is just a piece of clear acrylic I just cut to size.


It will work like this.  It fits over the foam block, and after I trowel the plastic paste into the mold, I'll slide the tool along the top of the cardboard to level it off.  This will hopefully ensure a consistent thickness throughout the length of the fairings.  It will also smooth out the top surface of the plastic and minimize the amount of touch-up and prep work I'll need to do before painting.


One last thing I needed to do before I was ready to lay down the paste, was to incorporate some form of fastening tabs into the fairings.  So I dug out some cavities about 1/4" in from the edge, to account for the thickness of the ribs to which these will be secured.


Now I think it's ready for some plastic!

Boddaker

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Re: TRON PC Case Build
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2011, 11:22:03 AM »

Here is the Plasti-Paste II from Smooth-On.  It comes as part A and part B, and you mix it 1 parts to 2, respectively.


Opening up part B, the paste.


After doing some calculations, I figured out the volume of my mold, then converted to fluid ounces to get the total amount of mixture I needed.  Here I'm measuring out 2 parts paste.


Transferred that to a larger mixing container.  This stuff is thick!  No sag whatsoever, which makes it great for applying to vertical surfaces.


Measuring out 1 part liquid hardener.


Thoroughly mixing the two parts together.  This stuff normally has a 10 minute pot life, but due to the cold weather, that was greatly extended.  Took about four times as long to set up, which actually worked in my favor, allowing me to take my time getting it onto the mold and smoothed out.


After applying a mold release agent (seen in the first pic), I troweled the paste onto the mold.


After about 40 minutes, it had set up to a hard plastic.


I repeated the process for the other side, and in a few hours I should be able to demold them.


Having coated the foam with the mold release, it should be easy to pop it out of the mold.  I don't want to destroy the foam if I don't have to, just in case I need to make another set of fairings later.  Once out of the mold, I'll need to clean up the edges a bit, and start smoothing out the top surface.  I should be getting the acrylic parts in this week, so once they arrive, I can see how these fit, and find out if my template measurements were accurate!  :worried:

Boddaker

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Re: TRON PC Case Build
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2011, 11:42:53 AM »

Demold time!  So despite the use of a mold release spray, the fairings were still reluctant to come out of the mold.  So I had to persuade them a bit.

First I cut part of the outer cardboard wall away to expose the mating surface of the foam.


Then, using a hacksaw blade by itself, I worked it in underneath the parts to get them separated.


Success! 


Not too shabby, but it still needs some work before they will be bike-worthy.


The underside.  My integrated tabs idea didn't go over too well with the Plasti-Paste lol.


And all four parts demolded.






The fairings are pretty flexible and prone to cracking (don't ask me how I know lol), so they will need to be reinforced.  Smooth-On recommends a thickness of at least a 1/4" for optimum strength, but I fell short of that with these pieces.  I have a solution for this though, and it will also solve the mounting problem too, since my tabs were pretty much non-existent.  I will run a piece of 1/4" acrylic the whole length of the fairing underneath that will add strength, and serve as a mounting surface as well.

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Re: TRON PC Case Build
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2011, 11:27:08 PM »

Got the acrylic parts in!  3 boxes worth lol.  I couldn't wait to get home and dig into them.  Here they all are spread out on my desk.  The pieces with blue coating is the gloss black acrylic, and the ones with the tan coating are the blue transparent pieces.  Looks like everything is present and accounted for.


Hmmm, should I put it all away now?  Heck no!  I gotta see how this all fits together!  So I immediately start fitting the tubes into their wheel positions.  You can also see the slots I made for the cross sections.


Here is one of the cross sections in place.  This piece will also hold two 120mm fans.


I slide on another rib piece...


...Oops!  forgot the center rib that goes in between the other two.


This shows the cutouts for the power supply.


Why not put the psu in too!


And the other cross section in place.


Now you can see the interior enclosure taking shape.


Might as well add the rest of the pieces on this side:  window piece, wheel discs of varying sizes, and the IO plate at the bottom of the center enclosure.


Here's a close up of all the layers on one side of the wheel.  I got them roughly spaced where they're supposed to be, at 3/4".


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Re: TRON PC Case Build
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2011, 06:36:40 PM »

Did you have the acrylic sheets laser cut?  If so, how much did it end up costing?
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Boddaker

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Re: TRON PC Case Build
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2011, 07:08:11 PM »

Did you have the acrylic sheets laser cut?  If so, how much did it end up costing?

It was a couple hundred dollars, with the acrylic.  The tubes alone cost $60.  It was worth it for the time savings, since I'm under a deadline.  I could have cut it all myself, but that would have taken me quite a while!

-----------------------------

Update!

More fairing work.  Looking at the various reference pics I found online, I was able to determine the basic shape of the front fairings.


And since I had the bike parts mocked up, I could place the fairings onto the bike and see how they fit.  I had purposely made them wider than they needed to be, so I could cut them down to the exact size.


Cutting the fairings.  The foam plug was once again utilized to hold the pieces in place.


Pulling the excess away


Transferring to the other side, mirroring the shape.


Both cut and back on the bike.




After a few adjustments to the cuts so they matched up perfectly, I began the smoothing process.  I started by knocking the rough, bumpy surface down with the belt sander.


Once I got it down flat, it was time to add body filler.  For a glob of bondo this size, I needed about 3" of hardener.


Gave each piece a good coat of filler, and went a little thicker in the areas where the fairings were a little thin to even it up.


Skipping ahead past the sanding, application of a second skin coat of filler and more sanding, I still needed to fill some minor pin holes and low spots with glazing putty.


After letting that dry and sanding it smooth, the fairings were brought in once more for a fit on the bike.




A close up of the surface.  I still need to round the corners a bit more on the left side, to match the right.  Other than that, it's pretty much ready for some primer.


Boddaker

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Re: TRON PC Case Build
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2011, 11:24:18 AM »

Started working on the rear fairlings.  I measured and cut them just as I did the front ones, except it's just a straight cut on these, no patterns.

Cleaned up the cuts and set them on the bike for a test fit.


I didn't really fancy sanding and filling tonight, so I'll tackle that probably this weekend.  What I really wanted to do was make the tail part that will cover the tip of the edge where the light wall comes out of the bike.  This cover will be molded into the rear fairing, and as such, both halves will then become one part.

To make this piece, I will be bending a small piece of 1/8" acrylic into a U shape.  So the first thing I had to do was make a metal pocket for the acrylic to fold into.  I found a 3/4" dia. pipe and bent some sheet metal around it, then flared the ends so it sat in the vice like so.


Then I cut my piece of acrylic down to size and found another smaller 1/2" pipe to push it into the pocket when heated up.


I first heated up the pipe with a torch, then heated the acrylic with my heat gun until I could push it down into the pocket with the pipe.  I immediately stuck some wood scraps in there to keep the sides straight while it cooled.


After a few minutes here is the result... a perfect U shape!


Here is where it will go on the bike.  I will round the top of that center rib, and paint the sides and top edge black, leaving the trailing edge for the glowy light to show through.  Should look pretty slick!

Boddaker

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Re: TRON PC Case Build
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2011, 12:15:41 PM »

Ok, with this post, we are officially up to date! :D

Nearing the end of the fairing fabrication.  As I mentioned before, I was able to add much more strength to the pieces via a mounting edge on the under side.  I was going to use acrylic, but was worried the adhesive wouldn't stick to the formed plastic.  I knew that plasti-paste does stick to itself quite nicely, so I decided to make the mounting rails simply by throwing more paste at it!

So first thing was to tape the fairings onto the ribs, making sure they were placed correctly.


Also checking for symmetry.


Then I cut some cardboard pieces and taped them to the inside, to enclose the area where the plasti-paste will go.


Added the goop...


A couple hours later, I could pull the fairings off with ease, thanks to the plastic coating on the acrylic.  I had also taped the acrylic edges with electrical tape, so the plasti-paste wouldn't stick there either.


Removed the cardboard with a utility knife, and smoothed out the edges.


A closeup of the edge shows that the plasti-paste actually filled in the gaps between the fairing and the rib, resulting in a much better fit (once cleaned up and smoothed of course).


A shot from the underside.  The rail and fairing are now one!


As the plasti-paste was setting up, I took the liberty of adding depressions where the mounting screws will go.


Got one piece mounted, using 8-32 socket head screws.


A closeup of one of the mounting points.


And that about wraps up this edition of the Midweek Bodcast.  Next on the weekend installment, I should have the rest of the fairings mounted, and the two rear fairings fused together along with the U-shaped piece I made earlier.  Thanks for watching!
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