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AluminiX - Aluminum Mini-ITX Case Build

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by Thrackan, Nov 15, 2008.

  1. Thrackan

    Thrackan

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    Alright, since I finally sawed the aluminum sheets to roughly the right size, something I've been stalling for way too long, I guess it's about time I started a project log. This way I might actually work on it a bit more:roll:

    All pics can also be found here

    A little explanation:
    First off, I like to fiddle around with stuff. I'm not a skilled craftsman, but I'm prepared to learn anything by doing it.
    Second, I also have a weak spot called "buying second hand stuff", which made this system possible. The worst thing I had to do in my opinion is get brand new aluminum sheet :D

    This case will be dubbed AluminiX, simply because I couldn't come up with anything cooler that would express what it is (an Aluminum mini case).
    Its purpose is to be a fiddle-server, a music box and maybe something else I come up with.

    It's a work in progress and it will be updated right here on TPU.

    The Goal

    To make this heap of stuff:
    [​IMG]

    Into something like this:
    [​IMG]

    Lots of tiny fiddlings

    The first thing I did is encase two Zalman 120mm fans:
    [​IMG]

    This used to be a fullsize ATX mobo tray:
    [​IMG]

    As you can see on the first pic, the USB ports aren't on that spot anymore. The holes were too hideous and the cables would be a huge mess. Instead, I did this to the USB ports:
    [​IMG]
    They're nekkid now!:eek: Don't worry, I'll fix that later on.

    The PSU was de-grilled and the fan in it was mounted on rubbers (see first pic).
    I modded the 20-pins plug into a 24-pins version using four cables and a plug off of a converter cable. The result is rather bulky and needs to be wrapped or hidden :D

    To Do list:
    - Refine the alum sheets (grinding, sanding)
    - Fix the mobo tray on the base plate
    - Make a bracket to mount the PSU where the USB ports once were
    - Make a HDD bracket out of the same alum sheets (or modify the one I have to my aesthetic needs)
    - Lots of angles to saw for the outside frame
    - Make holes in everything to fit all the other stuff (also known as Peanut Butter Dremel Time:rockout:)
    - Fix the nekkid USB ports
    - If I get it working on VGA I'll add a small full-graphic LCD screen to the mix, as a primary display :D

    Stuff I feel the need to make into something useful or cool (or, the Ghetto Mod Section):
    - Asus Glaciator heatsink (stock from my 3870) without spacers, those I now use on my CF-IDE adapter card.
    - Tubing from rounded IDE cables
    - Leftover alum angles with wrongly placed drill holes
    - 92mm and 80mm fangrills, model "Plain old frickin Circles"

    Last thing for this first post: a big thanks to MKmods and CyberDruid for a lesson in alum bending (see first pic for my experimental piece) and confirming the 24-pin mod would work:respect:
  2. [I.R.A]_FBi

    [I.R.A]_FBi New Member

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    im in awe ...
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  3. Thrackan

    Thrackan

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    Thanks, and it's not even near completion yet :D

    This project will probably take a nice while as I "started off" gathering stuff this summer. Good side about it is that it has probably matured into a well-working design now.

    As always, I'm all ears for suggestions.
  4. Wile E

    Wile E Power User

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    You should embed a 7" LCD, like those found in cars, into the case.
  5. Thrackan

    Thrackan

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    Actually, I'm tracking down two options atm. I've bought a second-hand small LCD and I'm on the lookout for a pre-modded PSONE screen, they're pretty nice.
  6. CyberDruid

    CyberDruid New Member

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    Looks like you got Tinkeritus in Extremus
  7. Thrackan

    Thrackan

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    I'm specified as a homo fiddlerus in the biology books :D
  8. theJesus

    theJesus

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    This looks pretty sweet; subscribed.

    No suggestions at the moment, I'm tired :p
  9. Thrackan

    Thrackan

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    Currently on their way:
    Philips LP064V1 LCD screen
    http://www.datasheetcatalog.org/datasheet/philips/LP064V1.pdf
    PSONE LCD screen, working on 12 Volts, on S-Video and possibly through D-SUB
    Pix are from the guy I bought it from as I don't have it yet.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    One of these babies will be built into the case, obviously. I might keep the other too.

    Also, a fresh set of Corsair Dominators for my normal PC is coming in this week :D

    Oh, I'm going to have so much fun! Can't wait till it all gets here :roll:

    Attached Files:

  10. theJesus

    theJesus

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    Nice! You should sell which ever one you don't use here. If the price is right, I could be interested for sure.
  11. CyberDruid

    CyberDruid New Member

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    LCD mods. w00t
  12. A Cheese Danish

    A Cheese Danish

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    Nice find with the PSOne screens! If all goes well, it looks like it would be a really nice build
    :toast:
  13. Thrackan

    Thrackan

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    Neh. The LG/Philips screen got in today, but I don't think I can possibly wire it up. Especially since I only have a D-SUB VGA port and the LCD only has digital RGB channels.

    Who knows though, maybe I can put this beauty (cause it is!) on the PSONE screens controller :D
  14. Thrackan

    Thrackan

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    Hazzah! The PsOne screen is in!
    If I'm not mistaken this baby will immediately fire up as it's soldered for VGA and has the 12v Car Adapter, which I will modify for Molex :D

    Now, if only the workday would end...
  15. Thrackan

    Thrackan

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    Okay, due to my VIA board being unable to process custom resolutions and interlacing, I've ordered a composite cable for the video signal. Let's see how that will work out...

    On a side note, I fixed the stability problem on the Jetway board by flashing the BIOS:rockout:

    Though flashing a BIOS on a board that randomly reboots (yes, even when in BIOS) is not for the faint of heart, I can at least keep it running now and remotely control it and since I don't have a spare monitor and the PSone screen isn't working yet, that's at least one big step forward.
    Actual case work will probably resume next week. It's cold outside and I have to work in the shed:(

    I've done several tests today:
    1. The CF card has a throughput of around 25Mb/s on the CF->IDE adapter. Not too shabby for a $2 adapter from DX :D I might try the 6Gb microdrive I have here as well, but I doubt it will do above 8Mb/s anyway. Access times of 0,6ms ROCK though. I so want a proper SSD for my main rig now...
    2. PSU is giving me some coil whine. I'm going to apply some hot glue or nail polish to fix that.
    3. PSU fan is fricking loud, even with the grill cut out. Going to put a resistor on the lead to fix that since it's not running hot at all.
    4. CPU temps got to a wild 25 degrees using Orthos, measured by SpeedFan. I'd give it about 10 degrees more, but that's pretty cool under full load with just the push/pull fans on the sides. Guess the VIA C7 isn't comparable to a Core2Duo at all when it comes to (load) temps.
    5. My nLited windows install is crap. Still wondering if I will bother with making a new CD or switch to Xubuntu straight away. Either way, I will need a better remote control alternative by the time I switch to Linux, cause LogMeIn only supports PC and Mac.
    6. I probably won't bother trying to wire up the Philips LCD. It's a beauty, but I don't have the required connector cable, control board or documentation on how to actually make it work on VGA (VESA would probably do, but I don't have a VESA connector).
    7. I'm going to sleep now instead of trying to come up with more points :D
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2008
  16. ascstinger

    ascstinger New Member

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    yeah, dont you hate how decent psu options are very limited for small form factor? I've had 2 die on me so far, one blowing up but at least the safety features worked right, so i still have the board

    looks like a cool mod, I'll have my eye on it
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2008
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  17. Hayder_Master

    Hayder_Master

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    what a great work i see , really impressive
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  18. DrunkenMafia

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    That is looking great man. I will keep an eye on it. :D
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  19. Thrackan

    Thrackan

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    I could go for a Shuttle replacement if this one dies. Or nick one off my work. Those small Dell machines we have here are full of them...
    Anyway, I've tortured this €10 second hand PSU more than enough for me to not be surprised if it dies:nutkick:
    Then again, who cares for €10:rockout:

    I'll snap a pic of the running stuff tonight, since I've left you without pics long enough :p
  20. theJesus

    theJesus

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    If you weren't on another continent, I'd wanna try and get that Phillips LCD off of you :p.

    What actually causes coil whine? I've never heard of putting hot glue or nail polish on to fix it :confused:
  21. Thrackan

    Thrackan

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    It's supposed to be a high mechanical resonance on the coils. Sealing it off with hot glue or nail polish *might* fix it, but it's not guaranteed that it will work.
    Nail polish/hot glue will not kill the coils, so it's worth trying.

    Coil:
    [​IMG]
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  22. theJesus

    theJesus

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    That makes sense, thanks :toast:. Good luck with that.
  23. Thrackan

    Thrackan

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    Something to look at while I'm not doing anything...

    Just to keep you guys entertained: the system as it's currently sitting on my desk :D

    [​IMG]
    PSU internal shot. Notice the 3-pin adapter, which is holding a resistor (those Zalman thingies).
    Runs quiet as hell except for some coil whine now:toast:

    Did glue the coils with modeling glue. I tried heating a dried up piece of glue first and it did absolutely nothing, so I felt safe using it. Heck, if it doesn't work, I'll grab the hot glue gun:rockout:

    [​IMG]

    Well, it isn't running, since the glue on the PSU is drying, but you get the point:wtf:

    Sidenote: my composite cable was SO near my door today! But I wasn't...:banghead:

    Sidenote 2: I'm so going to make leftover aluminum into RAM heatspreaders :D
  24. ascstinger

    ascstinger New Member

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    oh man dont get me started on shuttles rofl. Quite a pain to shut them up, If i ever decide to finish it, I'm modding my shuttle
  25. Thrackan

    Thrackan

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    Well, my simple modeling glue does the trick! Now, with a resistor on the fan and the coils shut up, I can finally enjoy the sound of the two 120mm Zalman fans :D
    Some might have noticed that the big fangrills have been taken off. They made a lot of turbulence noise, so they're not getting on the cube. Bad fangrills! Shoo!

    I'm going to have to get the composite cable from the post office on Saturday, since I simply have to work tomorrow :( I should have had it delivered to my work in the first place...

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