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Old 15-10-10   #1
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Project: Lambda- Half Life Themed Scratch Build


Well, as promised, here is my work log from BT. I hope you like it.

After months of reading through bit-tech forums, and picking up my jaw from the floor, i've decided that its finally time for me to get started on modding, especially so since my last 'mod' was the ugliest thing I'd ever seen.


Of course, back then, I didn't know the difference between a SATA cable and a Molex, and that the only only tools that I had were a knife, a screwdriver and a soldering iron, and I had no clue that you could get a machine to cut parts out for you if you had the appropriate drawings.

Anyway, the few months I spent reading the forums did help a lot (thank you bit-tech!), and now I finally have the courage and confidence to start work on a more ambitious project.
The mod in itself is quite simple, being just a cube case.

So without further ado, here goes:

I like Acrylic. However, living in India, there are obviously limitations to what you can do (oh and yes, English is not my first language, so please bear with any grammatical or spellings errors ). For example, I've never found a place which can sell acrylic tubes and rods. As such, given the fragility of my last case, I wanted something solid to support the panels, and so I decided to use Steel for the framework:


Note the presence of a bracing in the middle. That will come later, but I guess you already figured what it is going to be.

It is going to be heavy, but then heavy is good. As for the Hardware that goes in this baby, well, I was on a shoe string budget so I had to make the best of what I could get. I was however clear on a few things, vis a vis: No more mATX, no more Asus mobos (they are good but I cannot afford them), no Intel, make that definitely NO Intel.
That pretty much meant that I was going to have a bigger cube than the Companion. as it stands now, it will be 400x400x400mm

---------- Post added at 01:26 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:25 PM ----------

The hardware that goes in this baby would be:

1. AMD Athlon II X4 630 2.8Ghz

2. MSi 790GX-G65

3. 2x500 GB Seagate 7200 SATA Hdds (would probably get WDs later on...for now, all my music is on these)
4. 1333 DDR3 Corsair RAM 4 Gbs (2x2)

5. MSi ATi Radeon 5450 1 gb (don't really have the cash for the higher end cards, so I'll probably crossfire this later on)

6. As for the PSU, I wanted a corasair 850 or 1 KW but then those are too expensive for me (close to $ 250) so I will be daisy chaining two 450W PSUs (less than $10 each )


The whole bundle cost me about $500 which is good two months paycheck. It'll be a miracle if I don't starve to death before I finish this mod.
Any way, with all the electronic hardware purchased, the next step would be to start building the case itself. This would prove to be an arduous task due to two major issues which I hadn't taken into account:
a) Having access no other mode of conveyance other than public transport (which would be kinda expensive since I had no idea where to go), I was forced to march through half of Bangalore on foot. I'll explain why in a moment.
b) Knowing only two languages, that is, hindi and English, it was going to be hard to communicate to the people who could actually build the frame for me since they usually know only Kannada. Did i mention the only tools I have are a screwdriver, a knife and a soldering iron?

So, after about five hours of walking around in temperatures touching 40 C, I managed to find two gentlemen who would build the frame pictured above: Vishnu and Manjunatha.
Vishnu:

Manjunatha

Hearty thanks to you guys.
And build the frame they did, in less than 45 minutes, using only a hammer, a chisel and an arc welder.
The frame measures 386 x 391 x 390 mm. Why the weird dimensions, you ask. It is, after all supposed to be a cube. Well, we'll wait for the answer. to Vishnu's credit, he got the measurements bang on. Not a single mm difference in what I had specified and what I got.

With the frame finished, it was time to go out to get the other material required for the build, so i got these:
Two momentary switches (No one knows Vandal or bulgin Switches here so don't bother even asking for them), some wire, LEDs,resistors red sleeving (PVC, nylon is apparently not kept in stock here) and a Power supply.

Now it was time to actually start doing something my self so started on the dreadful task of sleeving the PSU. After two hours of trying to remove the wires from the Molexes, I gave up and resorted to cheating- I had to extend the PSU wires any way, so I opened up the power supply, cut off the wires one by one, extended them, and sleeved them.



Not too shabby, eh?

By the way, if any one would be kind enough to post a guide on how to sleeve cables I would be eternally grateful. There's still one more PSU to go!:wallbash::wallbash::wallbash:

---------- Post added at 01:27 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:26 PM ----------

Here's a sneak peek of what the mod is going to look like once it is finished. My friend Rajat helped me make a sketchup rendering of the mod, and has provided invaluable assistance during whatever progress that has been made.





Don't worry about the weird Lambda, I have have changed it to this:


Also, I hadn't been sitting idle all this time. I had prepared the drawings for the laser cutting, and had given them to a local firm which makes sign boards. The panels came in and I decided I would just place the parts to have a dekko if everything was was going to be the way I wanted.
Here's a small pic to show what I had in mind.


For some strange reason, my camera does not show the orange as it actually is- it always turns it to some kind of bright, bloody red. Don't worry though, I assure you it is exactly the same as shown in the Sketchup model.

Sadly, not much progress has been made since so far I have been unable to find the screws that I want, and once I find them, my next worry would be to get a drill some how so that I can make holes in the 2mm steel that I'm using as framework.

Also, I have yet to get the back panel cut, since I've so far been unable to get the dimensions of the Back Panel I/o ports and the Expansion Slots. I'll be posting the size of the back panel and the tentative placement of the motherboard so any help in getting this right would be much appreciated.

---------- Post added at 01:28 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:27 PM ----------

okay, just so that you don't think that I've been lazing around, I decided to post a small update. Progress has been slow, but not without reasonable cost. First off, I ran out on heat shrink, wires, and not to mention I needed some screws etc to hold the case in place, in order to not rely on hope and chewing gum alone, I had to make a trip to the Hardware market which pretty much took an entire day.
Secondly, in the past 72 hours or so, power cuts reduced the work to a crawl- we got power for only about 40 hours or so.
Any way, that aside, let's see what I got:

A power drill, A second hand drill for wood + some HSS bits


no more drilling holes with a knife, yippee. I'd love to see a guy who is brave enough to even think of drilling holes in steel with this:


Some screws, nuts, and some dome nuts. These will be painted later on so I didn't bother about the color.


Case feet

Paint


Fortification(that's been there for sometime though. Not an obstruction to progress though, I assure you.)


Internal fumigator:


First off, meet my friend, guy in mysterious and colorful polka dotted/doodle/flower boxers.


I started off with drilling holes in the Acrylic panels. The panels are placed asymmetrically, so I had to measure the position of each hole carefully. It is as they say, measure twice and cut once.

With this done, it was now to drill holes in the steel frame. This proved to be much trickier than what I had thought. Due to the odd placement of the panels on the frame, I could not directly measure and mark holes on the frame since I don't really trust my measuring skills all that much.

I decided that I would place the panel on the frame and use a pencil to mark the position of the holes. That didn't work. The pencil mark matched the color of the frame.:wallbash::wallbash::wallbash:
So back to square one, I came up with another idea. I had a ballpoint pen lying around, and I had managed to squish it with my feet. Clumsy, Clumsy hippo.
Anyway, the solution was this:

I removed the tip of the refill, and blew on the other side to get some ink out...and presto, I have a marker slim enough to fit into a 3 mm hole

With the holes marked, now it was time to drill some holes on the frame. I had naively assumed that I would have to just hold the drill against the frame, and that it would drill holes. I couldn't have been more mistaken.
Apparently, drilling steel is much tougher than drilling acrylic. The first hole took almost an hour to get done, and the bit was so dull by the end of it that it probably wouldn't even make a scratch anymore.
Convinced that I was doing something wrong, I scourged the internet for instructions on drilling steel, and learned that drilling steel was a two part process, first punching a hole, and then using the drill to, well, drill through.

Progress was slow though due to the frequent power cuts and voltage fluctuations, but somehow, I got four sides done. The bits that I had used must be poor quality ones because at the end of the day I was left with this:


Also, while the power was gone, I decided to paint the DVD drive.

sanded the drive with this.

Not a mirror finish, but then I don't really need one.

Didn't want the screw holes to get gummed up so I plugged them with some TP. It works!

Anyway, the power went off again, and didn't come back till 12:30 AM. By then, I was in no mood to mask the drive and continue painting so I decided to call it a day. Its now almost 2:00 AM here, and I have work tomorrow. Maybe I'll sleeve the remaining PSU today, having seen an excellent video on youtube detailing the technique. Not too sure about the 24 pin though.

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Last edited by Xanan; 09-12-10 at 07:55 PM.
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Old 15-10-10   #2
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Re: Project: Lambda- Half Life Themed Scratch Build

Sweet Stuff man. Well considering that you dont speak the local language and managed to this done from the guys who did the cutting and welding, Its awesome !!!!

Kudos !!!
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Old 15-10-10   #3
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Re: Project: Lambda- Half Life Themed Scratch Build

@Krashnburn

Thanks bro. I guess it is time I learn the language. Its been two years already and I have had enough from the autodrivers.

Btw, you're in B'lore too, right?
Maybe next time I need help I'll just ask you

Last edited by Xanan; 09-12-10 at 07:55 PM.
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Old 15-10-10   #4
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Re: Project: Lambda- Half Life Themed Scratch Build

Nice build and nice result in the end. Though would have been great if there was a picture with the build inside the case too, .

Keep up the great work....
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Old 15-10-10   #5
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Re: Project: Lambda- Half Life Themed Scratch Build

@thebanik

I wish I wish...too bad i don't have a cam at the moment...the lighting looks sweeter from the inside

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Old 15-10-10   #6
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Re: Project: Lambda- Half Life Themed Scratch Build

Damn. That's some effort dude. Reps all the way!
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Old 15-10-10   #7
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Some more pics+updates

Well, things have gone a bit downhill. First, some petty lowlife has stolen my camera, and I don't have the cash to buy a new one. The camera that I have at the moment is a low end one, so the pics are coming out a bit on the dodgy side.
Aside from that, since I didn't have a strip of molex connectors (the small metal clips that hold the wires) I had to cut the wires, sleeve them and then solder them back on. During this rather tiresome process, I must have goofed up somewhere- result: a blown up power supply.

Anyway, I bought another one, did all the sleeving again, and this here is the finished piece, minus a vinyl. Blurry pic alert.


I also got some LEDs to add some light to the case. First step was to sand them. This was done using a standard 100 grit carborundum sandpaper. Sanding done, I hooked these up to a resistor and a 12v line. Resistor value was calculated using the LED Resistor Calculator courtesy Metku. For 9 blue LEDs with vdrop of about 2.5v, this works out at about 45 ohms.

Also, in the original design, I hadn't given much attention to the fact that the wires from the Power buttons etc would be visible from the inside.

A nasty clutter is not what anyone wants so I decided to cover with a piece of plexi. However, a bland piece of plexi would not look very nice so I first created a mask of the lambda and painted the plexi black. The lambda was then buffed with sandpaper to make it a bit diffuse.

Next step was to put in some LEDs to make the Lambda glow.

I'm not satisfied with the Light leaking though. However, the LEDs are not yet fixed in place. Once they are, the light leaking though would create a border outside the plexi thereby highlighting the plexi.
To fix this up to the front panel, I had planned to drill holes in the front panel and screw the plexi on place. However, I realised that the holes would be too close to the front bezel. I therefore epoxied the 'nuts' to the front panel. The epoxy wont be visible from anywhere, and also, I would be left with a 2mm gap which would be used to thread the wires from the bezel to the mobo and PSU.

Some more pics. Sorry about the poor quality. I'll upload better ones this weekend once I borrow a camera from my friend.



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Old 15-10-10   #8
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Re: Project: Lambda- Half Life Themed Scratch Build

Originally Posted by Xanan View Post
@Krashnburn

Thanks bro. I guess it is time I learn the language. Its been two years already and I have had enough from the autodrivers.

Btw, you're in B'lore too, right?
Maybe next time I need help I'll just ask you
By all means
I did not grow up here myself but have learnt a lil bit of the language to manage. Will be happy to help.
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Old 15-10-10   #9
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Re: Project: Lambda- Half Life Themed Scratch Build

Looks amazing... keep it up!
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Old 15-10-10   #10
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Re: Project: Lambda- Half Life Themed Scratch Build

Looks good! Appreciate the work!
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Old 15-10-10   #11
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Re: Project: Lambda- Half Life Themed Scratch Build

Awesome stuff.....keep going
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Old 15-10-10   #12
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Re: Project: Lambda- Half Life Themed Scratch Build

Very nice.
keep it up.
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Old 15-10-10   #13
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Re: Project: Lambda- Half Life Themed Scratch Build

wow!! thats a LOT of work... keep em coming and good luck bro



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Old 15-10-10   #14
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Re: Project: Lambda- Half Life Themed Scratch Build

Looks awesome ... good luck
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Old 16-10-10   #15
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Re: Project: Lambda- Half Life Themed Scratch Build

Nice work man, at least some people can fulfill their dream :O
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