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Guide: Fueler's Custom Modded Folding Rig

hardnrg    -   April 23, 2007


Fan Brackets:


Ahh it's Saturday and it's cold and raining outside, so I have nothing better to do than to stay holed up in my garage and do some modding.

I started off digging through my boxes of PC junk and after an hour or so (I wasn't in any kind of hurry), finally came across what I was looking for....four accessory LED's with the leads still intact. I want to use these for the "Power and Hard Drive Activity" indicators. Now I just needed to figure out a clever way to incorporate them into the design.

Well after awhile nothing clever had popped into my head so I moved on to something else laugh.gif .

I had these PC's up and running on my kitchen counter for a week or so and they run hot with no air movement around them, but with just a little air blown on them, they cool down quickly. My original thought was to mount a fan onto each side panel so that they blow air directly onto the mobo's, but what good is it to have side panels that are easy to remove if you have to fumble around to unplug the fans every time you pull them off?

The new plan is to mount the fans above the mobo's on a bracket, so that they will sit flush with the side-panels and pull air through a vent in the panel. This way I can pull the panels on and off and the fans stay where they are.

I dug up a piece of aluminum (another left over from the WaveMaster) cut out a couple of rectangular sections and started shaping them into brackets.



After I finished with them I thought they looked a little plain, so I figured 'what the heck' and and carved a little plug for my favorite forum into them cool.gif



I plugged them into the mobo's, but the LEDs pulsed like a strobe light and that would just give me a headache, so I hooked them up directly to the PSU and stuck a giant overkill 10w 50ohm ceramic resistor into the circuit to slow them down to nearly dead silence.



And here they are mounted.


I stopped by a Fry's Electronics to see if I could find a couple of green led 80mm fans (I'm burned out on blue), before I headed back to FL. They had blue, red and tricolor but no green.....off I went to the electronic parts section to see if I could find some superbrite LED's that I could use to convert my blue fans to green. I found some mini green LED's that were labelled as superbrite, but they were unlike any superbrites I'd seen before....these were green in color to begin with.....most of the fans I have ever seen have clear LED's that light up in color. I didn't really think these were going to work, but since it was all they had, I bought them.

I got back home around 1am Saturday morning and after a little sleep, got back to work on the case. I had thought that this was going to be a good day,but it quickly turned into the most aggravating, frustrating, blood pressure raising day that I have had in a long time. It turned out I was right about the LED's.....apparently my idea and Fry's idea of a superbrite LED are vastly different. These were 'brite' only in the sense that they lit up and you could see them and if you power them at their rated voltage (3V) then they burn green then yellow and finally orange right before they failed (this would take anywhere from 5sec to 5min). I pulled all the LED's out of both 80mm fans....If I can't have green then I don't want them colored at all.

For the next hour I fiddled around with different resistors and finally figured out that I could get the LED's to burn green and not fail at a little less than 1.5v (half their rated value), but they were pathetically weak. If I wanted to light up anything, it would take bunches of them.

Okay, so if I can't light up the fans with them, then I thought maybe I could light up the "OCC" logo in the fan bracket. The logo's would have to be lit from behind and whatever I came up with to do this couldn't be much thicker than a 1/4", or it would come too close to the CPU fan.

I'm going to spare you the details except to say that for the next three to four hours I tried every combination of LED's, acrylic and aluminum blocks and various reflective materials before I came up with something that would work.



This is a 7/16" thick section of acrylic....the "OCC" logo has been machined into it and then the entire surface was bead blasted to give it a frosted finish. The back of the block is painted a brite gloss yellow (this helped smooth out the color) and the outside edge has reflective aluminum tape attached (this helped to bounce the light from the LED's around enough to get even lighting on all the letters). Stuffed in the bottom are eight LEDs (two banks of four LED's in series connected in parallel with a 50ohm resistor on the hot side).

Now I needed to somehow attach the thing to the back of the fan bracket.....I couldn't just glue it on (it has to be serviceable in case LED's start burning out). It had to be clamped on and the bracket had to be very thin.

After another hour or so of tedious machining at the mill (it really wasn't hard...it just took a lot of different cuts to make) I ended up with this.



Here's the whole assembly.



And finally the end result....daylight unlit......daylight lit.......night lit



This pretty much wrapped up one crappy day which was only made worse knowing that I only have one side finished and need to make another one of these.....at least now I know how to make it. cool.gif






  1. Introduction
  2. The Frame
  3. End Caps & Castor Wheels
  4. Power Supply
  5. Hard Drives & I/O Backplate
  6. Fan Brackets
  7. Top Fan Grill
  8. Panels
  9. Panel Retention
  10. Weight Reduction
  11. Finishing Touches
  12. Project Complete! (well, almost)
  13. Kill Those Watts!
  14. The Finished Case (Final Pics)
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