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Guide: Fueler's Custom Modded Folding Rig



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

  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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