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[Build Log] Metroid -A 3D printed computer case

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#1
Hi guys, I'm 8-Bit Builder. I've been doing this for about 10 years now and just starting up my newest build. I build cases in the an old pixelated style as you will see shortly :D.

I've been wanting to build a Metroid computer case for about 7 years now but plastic was always too expensive ($1 a cube) compared to .08 cents a cube of wood which is what all my previous PC mods are made out of. Once I found out how accessible 3D printers were, I jumped head first and picked up a Maker Select. After a few months of non-stop printing it dawned on me that I could make the Metroid computer case I've been thinking about for such a long time. Normally I spend about 200-250$ in wood/paint but 3D printing plastic is really cheap in comparison, about $80 in plastic. I'm also planning on having a really cool light sequence on the inside of the case to get the red effect of the in game Metroid. Being my first foray into a 3D printed computer I'm sure I'll run into issues but look forward to overcoming them. This will also be my first time with programmable LED's so it will be a learning experience on that front also!

Expectations:
A strong gaming pc
100s' of LEDs programmed inside for a light show
95% 3D printed


Components:
ASUS Strix X370-I mini ITX board


Asus Geforce GTX 1080 Turbo card



16 GB of ram
1TB SSD
Asus Tinkerboard with a few hundred LEDs programmed in a cool light show

And heres some photos of my past work:

Airship from Final Fantasy


Link from Zelda


And a 3D model I've printed, Calcifer from Howl's Moving Castle



Ok on to the build! This is what I'm building (modeled in 123Design/Tinkercad):
Metroid from ...Metroid!


The modeled case


My first idea of how the components will fit


I started printing and doing test pieces to make sure I had it down pretty good and to test strength of the frame. Needless to say, it holds a LOT of weight (I weigh 185lbs)


I've got the printer going in earnest on the final design now. The printer will be going non-stop for about 2-3 weeks to get all the pieces done. I'll be back soon though with photos of attaching sections together with glue and 3D pen welding!

If you have any questions or ideas, feel free to ask :D
 
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#2
Back with a few updates. I'm printing in earnest, and got a few progress shots and issues even, but nothing unsurpassable.

This is a gif of a lighting test for the build. I wanted to verify Red Leds would go through green plastic without to much color distortion. Alls well on that front


Heres the printer starting on a 48 hour print job.


This is the base of the metroid which will support the weight of all the components. Just prepping gluing it and clamping.




And this is my work area. Off to the right is my second printer with the Airship pc case nearby.
 
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#4
That is really cool! How much does it cost you in material to print the case?
 
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#5
Definitely watching this one.
 
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#8
Probably a little over 200. Going to have racing patterns go through out the case, Teeth will be lighting seperately, and the fans also.
 
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#11
This post is about printer problems :(

This is how it looks starting. This is about 3 hours into a print of 1 of the 14 sections left


A little futther in the print, about 9 hours


Aaaaand heres the issue at about 12 hours in. The tube that guides the plastic let loose while I was away from home and just shot the plastic everywhere. Usually on 3D printing you can resume from where an error happened but due to the nature of this design, the pieces have to be complete in 1 shot. So this is about 12ish hours of progress loss and plastic loss :(


Round 2 at trying the same print after I fixed the issue. Using my Fire light to keep it lit up at night for the timelapse I'm making.


ANNNND heres issue #2. This is hard to see, but at 46 hours in on this print WITH ONLY 2 HOURS LEFT!, I got a layer shift. A layer shift is usually because a belt slips or a cable got caught on something. In this case, the cable got caught on the section of the plastic as it was printing. It prevented the head of the printer to move to its correct position so it started printing to the left by about 4mm. i caught it after it happened in about 10 min. but it was too late. 46 hours loss and about 11$ of plastic loss ;_;. Since this happened, I don't print the sections more than 4 columns of cubes high (88.8mm), that way I don't take such a large hit of loss of time. Its not noticeable in this photo of the layer shift but i had to discard this piece.


These issues combined with my 2nd printer also running into problems (was down for 5 days while replacement parts came in), was a hit in my sails of progress, but I've been back on track in the last day or so and got them both running. About 7 days of non-stop printing should get the the top of the case complete. I'll be back in a day or two to update progress with the components being layed out inside the base, and will probably ask for opinions on what looks best. See you guys then!
 
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#13
I am printing in smaller sections now (4 cubes tall/88.8mm) instead of 8. I do have a special glue made for pla I'll be using and I'll use a 3D pen to weld them as a secondary bond. Just was hoping I could do bigger pieces but paid the price for it, ha.
 
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#14
I am printing in smaller sections now (4 cubes tall/88.8mm) instead of 8. I do have a special glue made for pla I'll be using and I'll use a 3D pen to weld them as a secondary bond. Just was hoping I could do bigger pieces but paid the price for it, ha.
The technology is still evolving in a couple years it will become better and more reliable on the consumer level.

Can you trim away the unusable parts of the sections that were misaligned? It wouldn't be as much of a waste if you could..
 
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#15
I tried to cut a row of cubes off with a band saw but you have to be so precise its very difficult. If you are the slightest bit off it won't align correctly with the other pieces. Most 3D pieces could be salvaged but in my project it has to be done in 1 go. If the printer has a problem in the middle of a cube, I can't fix it and resume like other print jobs. You can usually sand those so its flat and blends in, but I can't sand this or it will stick out like a sore thumb where I did it at.
 
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#17
I was curious about that also. I already printed the pieces that would be recovered but I may use the old piece as a test one to see what the heat gun will do to hollow cubes. Got to be careful as the walls are only 2 lines thick of plastic.

Heres a component placement update:

The ASUS Turbo 1080 just by its lonesome


The ASUS STRIX-370I alone also


But not for long! These are testing "legs" to hold up the motherboard. I'll make some beefier/sturdier ones soon, but I really do like the 45 degree angle of the STRIX 370-I toward where the window will be. Not often I get to do a motherboard at an angle like this





The bottom is for a 200mm fan, just using one of my placeholder fans atm to test with

Bottom with no fan frame base


With base


With fan
 

eidairaman1

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#20
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#21
That is actually why I went with this board specifically! I've been outside of using AMD for a bit and wanted to give them a go again. I'm mostly a Mini-itx kinda guy nowadays.
 

CAPSLOCKSTUCK

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#22
Epic. Great pictures and a really good write up too.

Please can you post a link to more of your wooden cases...........im a wood guy.
 
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#23
Here is a playlist of timelapse of me putting them all together.
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLArLSMaCgy1bu98ZTp6nAAq8fThLYsya9
In the descriptions of the videos you can find links to photos. I'm an amateur wood guy so go easy on me, ha. They are mostly glued wood cubes, as when I started 10 years ago I was in a a efficiency apartment and had little room and tools.
 
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#25
Back with some more things:

Working on the "teeth" which are what hold up the case from the floor

Printed in tranparent red and white, with a hollowed out point for leds to light up



The teeth going through quality control (not sure how to embed gifs/youtube links on here so just a regular link for now:

Teeth in place


This is neat, this is heat changing plastic. Its brown at room temperature but turns green as it warms up. In this photo, I drilled the holes a little bigger and the friction from the drill heated the end up to green as you can see


Lastly, a new issue. This is a partial clog in the nozzle where not enough plastic comes out. I cleaned the plug and had to toss this piece.
 
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