Guide: Fueler's Custom Modded Folding Rig

hardnrg - 2007-03-29 22:40:25 in Modding
Category: Modding
Reviewed by: hardnrg   
Reviewed on: April 23, 2007
Fueler
Fueler
Price: N/A

Introduction:


(Editor's note:  Fueler is a Manufacturers Rep for Automotive Tools, Equipment, and Paint and Body Supplies.  He has built several cases in the past, including one that featured on the cover of CPU Magazine.  This is his latest work-log, presented here for your enjoyment!  A selection of questions from the original forum thread are included as many of the answers are given in Fueler's descriptions and commentary.)






In an effort to get my electric bill under control, I shut down 8 of my folding rigs (I donated these to a local charity...I can use the tax write-off) and have replaced them with 2 E6300 rigs, running the new SMP client.

Now I need a case for them....here's the plan:

  1. Put both PCs in one case
  2. Run both PCs from one power supply
  3. No optical drives
  4. Integrated video
  5. Minimum number of fans
I have also set some parameters for the case.
  1. It has to blend in with the rest of the furnishings in my office
  2. I'm shooting for a retro look (sort of like the stereo receivers from the 70's and 80's with the wooden end-caps)
  3. Keep the case as compact as possible (I'm using mini ATX motherboards, but two of them still take up a lot of space)
  4. I don't want anything on the front bezel (no switches, ports, nothing....)
  5. Unlike my previous cases, this one will be made from aluminum not steel
  6. For ease of maintenance, the front bezel and side panels will be held in place by magnets (no tools required)
Okay, that's enough to get started - the rest I will just have to figure out as I go along.


 

The Frame:


I will be using 3/4" square aluminum tubing to make the frame, so I needed to find a way to bolt or rivet them together. Nothing I found at the local hardware store would do the trick, so I decided to make the "L brackets" I needed from scratch.

I picked up a section of 1 1/2" angled aluminum rod and cut it into a load of 3/4" wide "L" shaped brackets.













That was just the start though. To finish them up took quite a bit more work...First they all (30 pieces) needed to be milled to exactly the same size.



Each bracket will have 4 rivets going through it, so the next step after sizing was to counter sink the brackets for the rivet heads. Four counter sinks per bracket times thirty brackets.....It took a while. I used a dial indicator that reads in .001inch increments so that I could make sure that every bracket was done identically.



I used the same procedure to drill the holes for the rivets to go through.



Finally, after a run through the bead blaster and the better part of a days time, I had the brackets for the case.




Now it was time to cut the tubing for the case, so some decisions needed to be made. I sat there and laid out those mobo's for a couple of hours trying to get the best fit and still have good airflow when I came across the idea of mounting the boards back-to-back. In order to make this work, the case would have to be wider than a standard case (about 10"), but the other dimensions could be kept to about the size of a mini or mid tower. I fired up the bandsaw, cut the tubing (I cut them a little oversized) and cleaned up (read squared) the ends using a bench mounted belt sander.



The tubing then went to the mill and using the same procedures I used for the brackets, pre-drilled all the holes for the rivets.



This is where all the time spend milling and drilling to exact tolerances paid off.....It took me all of about a half an hour to assemble the case frame and thus everything fits like a glove.




sdy284: What do you use to design your cases before you start cutting?

Fueler: As much as I'd like to say I use one of those fancy 3D design tools (like Sketchup), the reality is I don't have a clue how to use those programs, so it's all in my head (probably explains the headaches). laugh.gif

sdy284: Do you draw a basic layout design on paper first, before you do anything?

Fueler: Yeah, sure....here's the work sheet for this rig




It ain't much, but it's all I need cool.gif


End Caps & Castor Wheels:


I picked up a nice piece of red oak at The Home Depot and cut the top and bottom end caps.
















I don't have any room in my office to set the PC, except on the floor. So to make it easier to vacuum the carpet, I'm going to put the PC on wheels. I already have two 1' x 1 1/2" x 1/4" steel bars to mount the wheels on from a previous rig, so I saved a little time not having to make them again. They are just ugly painted steel bars though, so I don't want to have to look at them. To accomplish this, I'm going to cut a recess into the bottom wood end cap so the bars will sit flush with the bottom and then make some aluminum caps to cover the ends of the bars that will stick out from the bottom of the case.

My benchtop mill has a 10" range of movement from left to right. Unfortunately the cut I needed to make was 10 1/4", so to finish the cut I had to un-clamp everything and move it over a little just to cut that last little bit.



To make the end caps for the steel bars, I had to cut a couple of pieces from some 3" 6061 aluminum bar stock. It takes the band saw about 45 minutes to make one cut through this stuff but if you have ever tried to make a straight cut by hand with a hack saw then you would know that you can't and even if you made it through, then your arms would feel like rubber. As it is, the band saw makes a nearly perfect cut and I kept busy with other things while it whacked away.



An hour and a half later I had two aluminum disks. Next I popped them onto the lathe, cleaned up the front and back surfaces and also cut them to the exact same width.



From here they went to the mill where I recessed the bottom, so that they would also fit flush with the bottom of the case. Then they went back to the band saw to be cut into four half moons. This is what I ended up with.



Earlier, while the aluminum was getting cut, I made the mounting plate for the motherboards (I used a piece of aluminum I had left over after cutting a window in my sons WaveMaster case). The boards will be centered in the middle of the case. My first thought was to use two mounting plates, but I ended up going with one because it was less material (I had enough aluminum laying around to make one mount - two would have required me buying more aluminum) and I could keep the width down to a minimum (as it is, it's still 10" wide).



Next, I fit up the motherboards, drilled the mounting plate and installed the studs that the boards will mount to (I'll use acorn nuts to fasten the boards down).

So this is how it looks so far.







This is what I meant when I said I wanted everything to be flush with the bottom of the case. If you look real close between the bottom of the case and the counter top you can see all the dirty dishes that have been piling up in my sink because I've been too busy working and trying to finish this case laugh.gif .






Power Supply:


ClayMeow: I didn't see if you stated this, but what PSU will you be using? I know you'll probably be creating one of your own as you have in the past, but I'm more curious about wattage. I assume you'll be going for something in the range of a 1KW PSU?

Fueler: I used an online wattage calculator (thanks for the link Roadrunner) and found out that at full load I would need just a tick under 500watts to run this thing. Now I wouldn't try this with just any power supply, but I had a PC Power and Cooling 510 ATX laying around and I'm hoping that it can do the trick. If not, then I'll just have to get a bigger PS. cool.gif


This next section is all about the power supply and associated wiring which is a pretty important part since one of the main features of this rig is running two PC's from one PSU. This is also probably the part where hardnrg will finally decide that I have gone completely over the edge ohmy.gif

A word of caution

Please....if you are the least bit uncomfortable with, or your knowledge of electricity is limited to "all I know is you can't see it and that it will shock you", then don't try doing any of the things I do here. First, once you even bust open the case your warranty is void, and second, I don't want to get any PM's from someones parents telling me that their kid blew his finger off when he touched a charged capacitor in a power supply trying to duplicate something I did

blink.gif

Okay, here we go.

On most of my cases I've spent a lot of time routing wires so that they are hidden, but because of the way this case is designed, none of the usual hiding places are available. Well, if I can't hide them, then I'm just going to hang them out in plain view and do the best I can to route them in an organized manner, to provide the best airflow.

I will be using a PC P&C Turbo-Cool 510 ATX power supply. This PSU has had a noisy fan since day one, so that is going to get replaced. I am also going to remove the PSU from it's case and just let it hang out in the open with the rest of the wires connected to it.

The first thing I needed to do was make a mounting plate for the PSU. This was pretty easy ... a couple of brackets and a section of 1/4" thick acrylic is all it took. (Keep in mind that this is just the fitting up part...once everything is built then it will all be disassembled, the parts cleaned and polished up, then reassembled)



This is the power supply with the cover off....in order to pull it out of the case some wires need to be cut.
  1. The blue and black wires needed to be cut from the 3 prong female plug recepticle (the other end of these wires are connected to the DPDT on/off switch mounted below).
  2. The green/white wire was disconnected from the grounding post at the bottom of the case.
  3. There were two sets of blue and black wires connected to the on/off switch...the two that go to the PSU board were cut from the switch.
Since I can hardly remember what I did yesterday I also made a little drawing of where each wire was cut from laugh.gif

Now the PSU could be pulled apart.



Since the PSU is going to be mounted back to an acrylic plate, it was important to figure out the grounding scheme. In addition to the green/white wire that came from the plug to the ground post, there was another green/white wire that went from the ground post to the PSU board. It would have been easy to assume that this was the only other ground, but if you follow the wires path it only grounds the top circuit board....the bottom main circuit board was grounded to the case by two of the mounting posts (you can see where in the pic below...left top and bottom corners).




Now that I knew how everything was grounded, I could mount the PSU to the acrylic. The only part of the case that I reused was the back panel, which I cut from the rest of the case. In the next two pics you can follow the ground path. I attached a wire to each of the mounting posts and routed those wires under the new fan and bolted them to the rear case panel just below the on/off switch. There is a third wire that comes from the rear panel to another ground post, where the two green/white wires are attached. This post bolts to the aluminum mounting bracket, which is riveted to the aluminum case frame, grounding the whole freaking thing.



Now is when things start to get a little hairy. For this build I need to have:
  1. 2x24pin atx connector
  2. 2x4pin aux board connector
  3. 2x4pin molex connector (for the hard drives)
That's it....any other connectors are just a waste of space. Looking at the atx connector I noticed that of the 24 wires going to it only seven were not either a 12v, 5v, 3.3v or a ground.....so gritting my teeth I grabbed a wire cutter and whacked all the wires off.



But I didn't stop there....deciding that there was way more wires than I needed I flipped the PSU over and proceeded to de-solder wires.



After I was done, there were still too many wires so I went at it again and this time I showed no mercy.



Much better.....Here's how it ended up....I bundled the wires up and attached them to a couple of six position bus bars. From left to right, the first five positions are the 5v,gnd,gnd,12v and 3.3v.....the next seven are the other wires that go to the 24pin atx connector. I only have one board up and running right now, but the important thing is that it is RUNNING laugh.gif



I've finished up the main bulk of the wiring. Not only did I have to double up on all the connectors, but I also had to convert both ATX connectors from 20pin to 24pin. I used a spare connector from a dead PSU and cut out the sections I needed to make two 4pin additions to the 20pin connectors and then swapped out the wire for the right colors.

You can kind of get an idea from the pic below....I was about a third of the way done here....the 4pin addition is plugged in, but the wires still need to be changed to the right colors.




Hard Drives:


I thought up all kinds of fancy ways to mount the hard drives, but sometimes the simplest way is the best way.
Two aluminum bars mounted to the center of the case will hold one drive on each side offset slightly, so that the drives line up with where the ribbon cables are.














Here's a quick look from the left, right, front and rear of the case with most of the components installed.





oldfett: How are the hard drives attached to the motherboards? All I can see is the IDE cable going under the motherboard.

Fueler: I guess when you say that all you can see is the IDE cable going under the mobo, you are referring to where the cable folds over to the back of the mobo from the IDE connector on the mobo.....right?

I folded, bent and mutilated the cables until I got them into a shape like this so that they would fit into the 1/4" of space behind the motherboards.



You can see here, where they exit from behind the boards and plug into the drives.





I/O Backplate:


This next part I wasn't really looking forward to doing, because I knew it was going to be a pain and time consuming, but it needed to be done and I'm glad to have it over with.
Since I bought OEM boards, they came barebones including no I/O shields, so I had to measure where everything was and then cut them out on the mill.....a slow and tedious process, because if you try to go too fast, the acrylic just explodes into pieces.



But I finally got it finished and installed....just a little clean-up left to do on the edges.





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



Top Fan Grill:


Sunday I just couldn't handle another day like I had Saturday, so instead of finishing the fan brackets, I moved on to something else.

The top plate still needed to be finished up.

Although I couldn't readily find any green 80mm fans, I was able to get a 120mm fan (in green) for the exhaust blow hole.

The first thing I needed to do was cut out the wooden plate for the fan.










Nice fit huh?



Next I cut a recess around the hole for the aluminum fan grill.



I made short work of cutting out the grill....here it is assembled.



Here are a couple more pic's just to give you an idea where I am at on this.



For now, the grill is just resting in the recess.....It's hard to see in the pics, but it is actually sitting about 1/32" below where it would be flush with the surface. When I do the final assembly it will sit on double-sided foam tape....this will bring it flush with the top and give it a little noise dampening cool.gif .


Panels:


I finished the front panel...as I said in the original plan, it is completely void of any switches or drives. It is made from 1/4" thick acrylic, which I painted on the back side with gloss black acrylic lacquer and then cleared with acrylic lacquer. This made a very high gloss black panel when viewed from the front, but I didn't want a black panel on the inside of the case, so I decided to coat it with a product called "Killer Chrome" from Alsa.














You can change the way this product looks by the surface that you apply it to. It has to go over a black base-coat but you can change the gloss from a mirror finish (like chrome), to a semi-gloss (like polished stainless steel), simply by how you prepare the surface. I was looking for a more dull stainless steel type look, so I wet-sanded the clear on the backside, but did not buff it so that it retained a dull finish. Then I coated it with the Killer Chrome. Here's how it turned out.



Next I started on the sidepanels....I had originally intended to use 3/32" acrylic, but after my experience with it on the back panel (it took 8 screws to hold it flush to the frame) I turned to "Lexan".



It costs four times as much as acrylic but it cuts like butter, is easy to machine, sands like wood and most importantly stays flat as a sheet of iron even though it's only 3/32" thick.

Fun Facts:

1) Lexan is what all the scratch prone iPod bodies are made from (so I need to be careful when I clean it)

2) Lexan is the molecule that was flashed up on the Apple computer in the third StarTrek movie and dubbed "Transparent Aluminum"

Now pay attention to this next picture because there is something very wrong with it.....you see that vice-grip at the far right side?....You're not going to find that under the "Approved Clamping Devices" section of the "Machinist Handbook", but when you have to fit a piece of material that is physically bigger than the mill bed.....well....I did what I had to do and just stood back and prayed it didn't let go laugh.gif



From underneath, you can see that it is quite a distance between the clamp points and it really doesn't matter what material you are trying to cut, it is going to flex when you try to shove a 1/2" mill bit through it. To make cuts like this you have to use "Parallels" (the two thin bars), to support the material you are trying to cut.



Because of the way this PC is built, the CPU on the left side sits at the top of the case and the CPU on the right side sits at the bottom. As thin as I managed to make the lit up "OCC" logo, it still was not thin enough. When I installed it on the right side of the case, with the side-panels on, the CPU on that side ran 12C hotter than the left side....it was just too close to the CPU fan. I tried cutting additional vents in the bracket but that still was not enough so I removed the device from the right side bracket.




Here are some pics of where I am now.





At this point at least 90% of the fabrication is complete.....to finish it I need to completely tear it down then reassemble it.

hardnrg: Is that so you can stain the wood?

Fueler: Yeah... to stain and clear the wood, polish and clear the aluminum frame and some other miscellaneous things I need to do to finish it up cool.gif


Panel Retention:


Mombo: Hey are you going to do anything about the adhesive to hold the sides on? I might be mistaken but I swear I can see it. Is that how you are going to leave it? Looks like its only visible on the four corners. Not sure just something I noticed.

Fueler: Yes there is a couple of pieces of double sided tape holding the side covers on.....no it will not be there when it's finished laugh.gif the front panel and both side-panels will be held on magnetically cool.gif


Today I began addressing the "double-sided tape" before I started the disassembly of the rig.

The pictures here are not pretty but they will give you an idea of how the panels will be attached (or at least how I hope they will be attached)

The first thing I will do after pulling the rig apart, is epoxy the magnets into the four main aluminum tubes at each corner of the PC case frame (two magnets per tube...one at the top and one at the bottom of each tube). Something like this: (this is not one of the actual tubes)



I made four small thin steel plates that will be permanently attached to the back side of the front panel....they will look a lot better after they have been painted.



For the side panels, I chucked up a piece of 3/8" steel bar stock and whacked out eight "T" shaped plugs that will press fit through 1/4" holes milled into each corner of the side panels. I had to use a mill and milling bit because a 1/4" drill bit (even mounted in a drill press) was just too inaccurate....there is just too much play in the spindle and I couldn't drill the same size hole twice. Using the mill, I was able to make eight holes all at exactly .255 inch. I made the outside diameter of the plugs .256 inch for a .001 inch press fit (I was afraid to try for a tighter fit because it may crack the corner of the Lexan panel).





Here they are pressed into the panel.




The magnets mounted in the two front aluminum case tubes will do double duty.....holding both the front bezel and side panel in place.




Time to tear this thing down cool.gif


Weight Reduction:


I never stated it at the beginning of all this, but one of the main reasons I wanted to use aluminum tubing for the frame was because it is lightweight. The steel framed PC I've made are ball busters to move around.

I also went with thin acrylic (later switched to Lexan) for the side and rear panels to help keep the weight down. There's not much I could do about the electronics that went into the case, as far as cutting weight goes (although I did ditch most of the steel case around the power supply). I also used aluminum for all the mounting brackets and the mobo tray. I do however have two weight offenders in the case. The first was a design choice, the oak end caps and the second is because it is what I had laying around, the steel bars that hold the castors.

I learned a lot about shedding weight building Drag Bikes in my younger days. If it's made out of steel then remake it out of aluminum. If it's made out of aluminum then remake it out of magnesium. If its a body part, acid dip it and if all else fails then drill holes into it till it looks like swiss cheese.

I used the swiss cheese method to lighten the wood and the steel bars.

Here's the oak caps after the treatment.




Here they are stained....can't clear them for at least 24 hrs. I struggled with which color to use but I finally settled on "Golden Oak" because I thought it would compliment the green lighting best.




I didn't have a scale to weigh anything, but I can tell you just by picking them up that the two steel bars weighed more than the aluminum frame so I gave these the full swiss cheese treatment.

A before and after.



After paint.



Next I went to work on the Power Supply and hard drive brackets.

A before and after of the PSU support brackets.



You didn't think I was going to leave them the way they were did you?

Here's a view of the bottom fully assembled with everything painted, stained and cleared.





Finishing Touches:


Next I scrubbed the frame down first with 320 grit, then 600 grit sandpaper and cleared it with Acrylic Laquer. The reason I cleared it was so the metal wouldn't tarnish when handled. The oil from your fingers leaves marks all over buffed aluminun, the clear eliminates that problem and can be wiped clean with a soft rag.














firky: Have you thought about your HDD LEDs, and on and off push buttons? I was thinking maybe you could mount each mobo's *bits and buttons* in the left and right of the front of the frame. May seem a lot of work now to drill and feed the wires through the box, but it would keep them tidy and hidden. Maybe it's a silly idea, I dunno lol!!

Fueler: No.....I don't think that is a silly idea at all, especially since that is almost exactly what I had intended to do with the Power and Hard drive LED's laugh.gif

I drilled four holes in the front lower part of the frame for the power and hard drive LEDs.



Then I drilled four larger holes on the backside (just big enough to fit the LED body), inserted the LED and a rubber grommet to protect the wire from getting cut on the frame.



Here's a couple more pic's with the frame attached to the bottom end-cap.



I knew from the very beginning that I was going to have problems with wire management, so I had convinced myself that it was okay if wires were running all over the place as long as they didn't obstruct airflow. But when I started the final assembly, those wires started to drive me crazy and the more I tried to convince myself that it was okay the crazier I got.

I took it apart again and spent the next three or four hours with soldering iron in hand and tried every possible wiring route I could think of to clean up the mess.

This was the best I could do but under these circumstances, it's better than it was.





Almost finished cool.gif



Project Complete! (well, almost):


Finished.....except that I'm waiting on two green LED fans that I broke down and ordered (the freight's more than the fan), so it will be a few days before any night shots.



















A few days later...

When I got home last night the new green led fans had arrived, so I slapped them in real quick and took a couple of pics. They are obviously going to need some additional tweaking before I get them to where I like them. The LEDs face outward towards the outside of the case, not toward the inside!. (they light up my office more than the inside of the case laugh.gif ) So I'll do some more work on them then post the final pics cool.gif but for now, here's the couple I took last night.



The first one was with a back-light, the second is in total darkness cool.gif

Fixing the LED's in my fans turned out to be a lot more involved than I originally thought it would be. Up until now, I usually used Antec fans (when I wanted LED's) or Panaflos for water cooling. The Antecs are easy to modify and they have a flexible PCB that goes around the outside of the fan. With surface mount resistors and LED's, the whole thing ties into the wiring for the fan with one set of +/- leads that can be easily cut and separated from the fan wiring.

These Coolermaster fans aren't anything like that. Not that the way they did it is bad, but it sure made things a lot harder to do. The reason I went with these fans for the case was because I liked the green color better than Antec's, plus these fans are crystal clear, not a matte finish like Antecs. They are also nearly dead silent at full speed, no need for a 50ohm resistor inline to slow them down to a low roar, with pretty good airflow (at least as good or better than the antecs with the resistors in place).

I had to pull the fan blades off to get to the guts of the motor....Coolermaster used one resistor per LED but at least they weren't surface mount which would have made things almost too hard. In order to separate the LED's from the fan circuitry, I was going to have to cut each resistor loose from the board on the hot side going to each LED. I left the ground side alone and tied into the fan ground.

The resistor leads are marked in red where I'm going to make the cut (I had to map out the board from underneath first to make sure I cut the right lead wink.gif



I pushed the resistors out to the edge of the board, so that the leads hung over the edge about a 1/16" then stripped about 3" of wire and soldered it (bare no insulation) to each resistor in a circle around the board, with the wire lead exiting with the rest of the fan leads.



I know leaving a bare hot wire hanging out seems nuts but unless you want to shove your finger into a spinning fan it's about impossible to get to and is completly surrounded by non-conducting plastic.




I don't think I mentioned it before, but the LEDs are glued in place and there was no way to just remove and place them somewhere else in the case.

I hooked the LED's up to a SPST mini switch which has a center off position.....so the choices are off, 5 volt or 12 volt.




I should have everything buttoned up again before too long and then I'll try some more pics. cool.gif



Kill Those Watts!:


My "KIll a Watt" meter showed up today and I couldn't wait to put it to use. I was fairly sure that I was going to be pushing the 510 ATX PC Power and Cooling PSU to the ragged edge, to power a pair of e6300 based PCs, two hard drives and three LED fans (especially running the SMP client at 100%), but I nearly fell out of the chair when I saw this:


















One of the main reasons for this build was to help with my electric bill (this rig did replace seven other folding rigs)......mission accomplished cool.gif


The Finished Case (Final Pics):


Still not completely happy with the lighting, but I think I'm making progress. This is at the 5 volt setting.















I'm sorrry guys......I went through $22.00 worth of batteries and nearly forty pics with every type of lighting I could think up but this was the best I could do for the final night shot (a photographer, I am not.... this was harder than building the thing)




I do have a few final thoughts though. The magnetic side panels and front bezel are like a god send.... I will never build another custom case without this feature.... they just work that good!! My next office computer will also be a dual PC single PSU design..... I see tons of possibilities.
The list goes on and on, it's only limited by your imagination.
Surely the 1 killowatt plus PSUs available now would be able to handle just about anything you could think of. (I think the power requirements that manufacturers claim are way over-blown to cover their a**)

I hope you enjoyed the build....I certainly had a lot of fun (and some frustrations) bringing it to you.

Until next time cool.gif foldon.gif




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(Editor's note: I hope you enjoyed reading through this work-log as much as me and many others who followed the original forum thread! Are you wondering about the case Fueler built previously that featured on the cover of CPU magazine? Well you can take a look on the gallery page! If you would like to learn more about the Folding@Home project you can find information at the OCC Folding@Home page, including details of how to join OCC's contribution to scientific research.)