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Author Topic: Making (not remodeling) a Computer  (Read 8754 times)
Edith Myrrh
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« on: August 29, 2011, 05:04:56 am »

Greetings, all!
I'm a student, new to the steampunk scene. I've enjoyed the aesthetics of remodeled steampunk computers, but have been loath to tamper with my own because I know little about the machines themselves and would hate to ruin my laptop. Lo and behold, a required class I'm in this semester is all about building computers from parts! It is far too good an opportunity to pass up the possibility of making my very own steampunk computing machine. The only small details holding me back are my lack of knowledge, personal experience, possessing only small funds...
I've been looking through the how-to's, but so far have only spotted instructions and advice for remodeling an already-working computer. Any ideas/suggestions/etc. for how to make a steampunk computer from scratch, on a student's budget? Please also keep in mind that I unfortunately do not have very much time at my disposal for this project. I hope in the future to be able to work on/procure the perfect mouse and keyboard--if you have suggestions for how they may be more easily polished up please tell--but first on the priority agenda would be at least general possibilities for the CPU tower and the monitor. Any and all advice regarding any and all aspects of this project is most welcome, I'm rather new to ALL of this Grin
Thanks ever so much.
Yours,
-Edith
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Edith Myrrh
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« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2011, 05:12:00 am »

My apologies for the double-post! I was told that my connection had timed out and to attempt re-posting. *blushing*
Perhaps we may remove the first?
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Narsil
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« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2011, 10:22:10 am »


with modern hardware building a PC from components is actually a fairly straightforward process, the key items are :

-Case, this is the main candidate for scratch-building/modifying, basically it just needs to be a box big enough to hold all of your components and allow airflow for cooling.

-Motherboard: along with the power supply this is one of the most important parts since it will determine what components you can install and it will the extent to which you can upgrade it later.

-Power Supply: My advice is use the best one you can afford, a dodgy or underpowered on can damage the whole system.

-CPU : probably the most tricky thing to fit since you need to make sure you have good thermal contact with the cooler. It will have a metal pad on the top side which needs to be covered with thermal paste where the heat sink makes contact.

-Heat sink/CPU cooler : A good CPU cooler will allow you to overclock the processor to get more performance out of a cheaper model, care is needed but there is plenty of advice on the web. 

-Memory (RAM) : memory is pretty cheap nowadays so its worth putting plenty in as this will make a big difference to performance. Bear in mind that windows XP can only support up to 4GB of memory. Make sure that whatever RAM you get is compatible with your motherboard as there are various different types and speeds available.

-Storage (Hard Drive) : Again big hard drives are now relatively cheap. make sure that you partition your drive when you install the operating system, putting the windows installation on a separate partition to your data. That way if widows ever has a major problem you can just do a complete reinstall without losing any of your files. IF you want to get really ambitious you can get two or more identical drives and set up a RAID array. The new connection standard is SATA which has now pretty much entirely replaced the old IDE connectors, but if you are using an older motherboard it might be IDE only or only have a few SATA connectors to bear this in mind when choosing hardware.

-Graphics: most motherboards will have some sort of integrated graphics support which will probably be adequate for general use, however if you want to play games or more demanding graphics applications then you will probably need a dedicated graphics card. This simply plugs into a slot on the motherboard.

-Media drives: again these are now pretty cheap simply make connections to the power supply and motherboard, you will need the appropriate cables to do this, external usb ports or card readers will also require cable connection to the board. 

-Cooling: modern systems generate quite a lot of heat so at least one system fan is a good idea. Make sure that all fans (especially on the CPU cooler) are powered up and working before you switch the system on)

Installation

In general assembly is fairly straightforward. Get hold of the motherboard manual and identify all of the sockets for connecting the various components. Most system components like RAM and graphics cards will slot directly into the board, hard drives and optical drives etc will require cables to make the connection to the board itself and the power supply.

Keep all cables as tidy as possible, bundle them together with electrical tape or small cable ties, this is to ensure that they obstruct airflow through the case as little as possible and wont snag on fans, spare plugs should be secured out of the way.

It is a good idea to secure all power and signal connectors with a few blobs of hot glue, this stops them falling out and is easy to remove later if you need to unplug them.

Be careful of static electricity, this can damage delicate electronic components, most new parts will be packaged in anti-static bags to protect them, it is a very good idea to get an earth strap when working inside a PC (this fits round your wrist and connects to an earth such a s a water pipe and grounds and static charge from your body).
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« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2011, 05:40:55 am »

Ahhhhhh  piffle. You mean build one from a motherboard.

And here I was digging out documentation regarding my old college's project of duplicating a 8 bit CPU, ALU, etc using nought but flip-flops, 555 timers, And, OR, and XOR gates.

It was named Molasses.

For obvious reasons.

It never did function correctly.

It had grown to occupying at least 40 square feet before it was abandoned as "irrelevant" when the 6800 (and later the 6502) were introduced.

Ah dear, i do believe I have dated myself!

yhs
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« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2011, 02:17:38 pm »

Well, as you posted this on "How To" I suppose we need to build on Narsil's excellent foundation. I currently run two PCs, both built from components so it is not that hard! The heart of the PC is the motherboard, so, make a list of features that you need. How many hard drives? USB 2 or 3? Do you need Firewire for example to run a music programme with a good quality external audio interface? If so the Firewire chip set must be compatable with your interface. Optical or coaxial SPDIF to connect to a HiFi system? Maybe you want to do TV with it so do you really need surround sound? All motherboards (henceforth mobo's) will have an ethernet connection, but do you need wireless connection to your router? If you are going to use dial up do you need a modem in the PC? Work on all these factors until you have a wish list. Use the vendor's web site to discover what features you need and look at some of the on line stores to establish what price break you are going for. My personal favourite is Intel processors with ASUS mobos. If I were building a basic PC now I would probably choose one of the Intel i3 'Sandy Bridge' processors which then dictates what the pin out is (LGA 1155) which then tells you what range of mobo's are available to you. Select from the range which one most closely matches your needs. Can you get everything you need on a microATX mobo? As they are more common in built up PCs you should get these a bit cheaper than full size ATX plus your case can be a bit smaller. I have a full on ATX tower system built in a Llian Li aluminium case and I am always grateful that it comes with wheels!
Once you have your mobo chosen, look very carefully at what spec of power unit (PSU) it needs. Always err on the high side of wattage rating and make sure the standard is correct. Most new mobos require more 12 volts rail than before and so you will need the additional 8 pin 12V connector. Modular PSUs are nice, you have the power connector fixed but the hard and optical drive supplies are plug in so you only have as many as you need. This makes for a much neater internal wiring and better cooling. However, they cost more and regular PSUs are fine, just don't cut corners with power - it is probably the most important factor in the design. The mobo specification then will tell you what else you need. Hard drives and probably optical will be SATA these days, the mobo spec will list approved memory modules ~ 4Gb minimum. If you buy your operating system with the mobo and processor, you should be able to get the OEM version which will save you more money. I use Windows 7 and had no difficulty installing it without the indicated 'necessary' installer programme. I suggest you check this with other builders in your state as the law may be different for you, but technically it is no issue. What I would recomend is create a design on paper which you can check out with other builders and which will also tell you what your final build cost will look like.
I have not commented on Steampunk features as these are largely cosmetic and a matter of personal choice. Once you have decided on the internal workings, the case size will be determined and you can look for what cases are available and how you could make your individual choice steamy. I think the very act of deciding to design and assemble your own aethernet communicator and memory bank is sufficiently steampunk in it's own right!
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« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2011, 02:41:59 pm »

Unless you're actually planning to swap the heat sink for a boiler or the resistors to valves then the only feasible thing is a case mod.
Buy a cheap case from the local computer store then make it look pretty,

99% of the time building a steampunk computer is less about computer skills than it is about woodwork and crafting skills.

The last 1% of the time there might be some true internal gimmickery.
Perhaps the heat sink boiling water, spinning a turbine and linking cooling fans with belts.
Enhanced cooling based on a clockwork mechanism.
Nixie lamps showing the internal box temperature.

But this is nothing to do with computer building either really.
This is advanced mechanics and tinkering.
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« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2011, 03:16:04 pm »

Well all the good info was taken by the time I got here, so all that is left for my to say is do some research into heatsinks, as some are fancy copper tubing. There are also places that will plate your case, but that isn't really in your budget...

Rob and Mr.Fitziron have it right. Steampunking a computer almost revolves entirely around modifications to the case. I could recommend modding the removable side of the case to be glassed over or somehow similarly covered, then building some kind of single piece something (moving cogs, belts, its up to you) that doesn't contact any of the actual internal workings. The reason i say one piece is because it should be easy to remove for upgrades.

 Doing all this to a laptop would be very difficult, but I'm assuming that the class is working with pc's. Good luck with your project
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Edith Myrrh
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« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2011, 05:36:53 pm »

Wow!
These are wonderful and extremely helpful, thanks for taking the time to help a newb out Wink For this time around, at least, I'm keeping the machine itself on the simple side--if it can get me through grad school without too much trouble then I'll be very happy indeed. Right now I'm looking at a desktop which needs to be built and functional by November to pass the course. While I'm at it, I'd like to make sure it won't be slow, is sturdy, able to deal with a LOT of word processing and a good amount of media (I'm a future museum curator and amateur photographer who enjoys Hulu and sharing playlists via 8tracks). Plus, I don't want it to look like a bland black box sitting on my desk.
What is the difference(s) between a heatsink and a cooling fan? I'm still learning terminology and classification as I go.
I've ordered my tool kit (complete with an earth strap), and I'm sorting through my hardware options.
We're installing a Linux OS in class, I might change it to a Windows 7 later.
As for the external "steampunk" look, I do have a (rather simple) idea as to how I might pull it off. Whilst browsing through some of the computer how-tos, I saw someone mention using shelf paper which looked like wood. I looked it up and found several different options, and also a type which looks like black leather. My current idea would be using said faux leather (NOT covering the ventilation areas, of course), with small gold/metallic buttons along the edges to look like studs. Then, in the more open areas, applying a few metal gadgety-looking things like gears, watch parts, etc. Just an idea, right now I need to focus on actually getting the parts together and making it work.
Feel free to tell me anything more that comes to mind on the subject, any information is good information for me!
Thanks very much for your wonderful advice and suggestions.
Yours,
Edith Myrrh
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Narsil
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« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2011, 06:52:13 pm »


"What's the difference between a heatsink and a cooling fan ?"

Well Your processor generates a lot of heat and if it gets too hot it will slow down and eventually fail. A heat-sink is a fairly large block of thermally conductive material (usually aluminium or copper) which conducts this heat away from the processor, obviously the heat-sink itself also needs to be able to shed this heat, the cooler its is the faster it will cool the processor, this is usually achieved by having a lot of thin fins cut into the heat-sink and using a fan to blow air through them.

So in thermodynamic terms the processor loses heat to the heat  sink by conduction and the heat-sink loses heat to the surrounding air by convection. It's also important that there is good thermal contact between the heat-sink and the processor, this is achieved by applying a conductive paste, usually fine silver particle is a sticky binder to face where the two touch. For the same reason its important to ensure that the heat-sink is firmly clamped down.

There are also lots of other heat sources in a PC, power supply, ram, other chip-sets on the motherboard, hard drives, optical drives, pretty much everything in fact.

Most heat-sinks are cooled by small fans, but there are a few which have entirely passive cooling. These are usually copper and have extra large fins, some of them look pretty cool and quite steamy. Water cooling is also increasingly common on very powerful systems but this definitely comes into the category of advanced builds and they are mostly found on top of the line games machines.

If the air inside the case gets too hot then the cooling gets less and less effective since heat can only flow from hot to cold (this is a basic rule of thermodynamics). SO its also important to have a constant flow of fresh, cool air through the case from outside. this is achieved by one or more largish fans in the case.

It's also important to keep the interior as uncluttered as possible so as not to hinder this airflow and avoid placing components where they will block fans and vents. This is particularity important to bear in mind if you are building or modding your won case. 

Obviously more/bigger fans tend to mean more airflow and better cooling but the downside is that they create noise so its best to keep things as efficient as possible and use as much passive cooling as you can.

The final main cooling issue is dust. The high throughput of air tends to collect a lot of dust inside the case. This is bad news for cooling as, if it is allowed to accumulate it can insulate components and block vents and fans and particularly the fins on the heatsink.

So ideally you should include some sort of dust filtration on all air inlets, fine mesh or gauze will help a lot . Dust filters should also be easy to remove for cleaning.

The design of the case will also have an effect on cooling. A conductive material like aluminium will allow heat to conduct quickly through the walls of the case, reducing the need for forced air cooling whereas something like wood or plastic will tend to trap heat and demand more airflow.

As hot air is less dense it will tend to rise to vents in the top of the case will improve passive cooling as well.

There is probably quite a lot of scope for really clever design for a passively cooled case with very little requirements for system fans at all (perhaps something like a chimney or termite mound).

Sorry this is a bit of an information-dense post, please feel free to query if anything isn't clear.
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Narsil
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« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2011, 07:05:58 pm »


In terms of the case itself and general aesthetics  I think that functionality should be your guide, there are plenty of useful things you can add without resorting to 'decorative' faux gears.

-You might want to route some cables outside the case through copper pipes, this may help to control the cable clutter inside.

-Some CPU coolers look pretty cool and very steamy with heatpipes and copper fins, you could use one of these and have a window or porthole to show it off eg

http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=HS-034-AS&groupid=701&catid=57&subcat=1395

http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=HS-005-PL&groupid=701&catid=57&subcat=1395

http://www.legitreviews.com/news/8431/

-You could make elaborate brass guards for external fans, most of the time the fans are kept as hidden as possible but for a SP build it would be good to make a feature of them.

-Whatever you do there are things like optical drives usb ports etc which are fairly nasty looking plastic, tese can be hidden with various doors, flaps, maybe even an iris.

-Plastic switches can be replaces with nicer versions eg metal toggle or knife switches.

-Some fans come with manual speed control with a bit of work this could be a nice steamy feature.
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Angus A Fitziron
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« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2011, 10:48:42 am »

As for covering the case with fabric, it would be interesting to think what quilted faux leather would look like! Typical of the effect of an old leather Chesterfield.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
This could then be trimmed with mahogany stained wood mouldings and perhaps riveted with brass dome headed rivets. Narsil makes a good point about aluminium cases contributing to cooling so you would not want to cover one of those, but a plastic or largely plastic case is fine. Brass porthole in the side so you can see the processor cooling fan


My favourite...
As for case and power unit cooling fans (probably all you will need) go for biggest slowest possible as these can be the quietest - in my opinion it is always worth going for quiet fans and with careful shopping there is no need for them to cost more. Case fan, say 120mm silentfan, and power unit 120 if you can get it.

If you want a reasonably capable PC which can multi task, do music, photos and last until the end of your course then I would definitely look at Intel i3 or i5 dual core processors as a starting point. Maybe a helpful AMD fan could suggest the equivalent? Again in my opinion, I think that as a beginner you are unlikely to be able to fully extract the benefits from spending the extra on a quad (or more) core processor (and please don't think I am patronising you - I haven't done one yet either - that is being reserved for my next creation, probably with Ivy Bridge).

Good luck and happy designing
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stockton_joans
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« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2011, 05:20:42 pm »

i shall be watching this thread closely, as i am planning a venture very much like yours (as soon as i am in funds)

I'm planning on building a wooden case, with plenty of mad science type do hickeys and gubbins adorning it, the power supply and Hard drive will be housed in there own separate cases, a boiler driven generator and a brain in a jar respectively. these Will be connected to the main unit by either copper pipes of cloth bound cables. i may attempt to build an accompanying keyboard, or i might just buy one of datamancers and save my self the effort.

the working of the PC will be geared towards the gaming side of things, with a water cooling system which will have various parts mounted on the outside of the case, adding to the lab equiptment aesthetic.

i whish you well with this endevor and wait expectedly for a WIP log
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Edith Myrrh
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« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2011, 08:56:07 pm »

Narsil, thank you very much for the highly informative post. It wasn't quite over my head, and it completely clarified the idea. My class begins putting the hardware together next Monday, so I fear the parts you posted wouldn't arrive on time, but they were stunning to look at.
Fitziron, thanks very much for the advice and parts. The Chesterfield reminds me very much of the chairs which first gave me the idea  Grin
Joans, I look forward to seeing your project as well.

I've now ordered the necessary parts from a local supplier and will be picking up the whole kit & caboodle on Tuesday. I did in fact order an Intel i5 processor.
I was actually thinking of making a porthole of sorts in one of the sides of the case; what method would you recommend for such a task? I've found a few how-to's around the Internet for making the window part, even a kit that included a round window: http://www.frozencpu.com/products/9032/asw-26/DIY_Window_Kit_-_Round_11_Diameter.html?tl=g42c355s913#blank  I'm not sure how quite to manage the rim of the porthole--thoughts? I'm going to double-check of what material the case consists.
Don't worry, any information is very helpful, not patronizing at all. I am completely new to all of this, at the level where some are complimenting me just for using the term "RAM" correctly!
Thanks again for all of your help, I'll make sure to post as events progress.
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Edith Myrrh
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United States United States


« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2011, 09:01:29 pm »

P.S. Almost forgot, I meant to include these links!
Faux leather contact/shelf paper at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Black-Faux-Leather-Contact-Paper/dp/B001B013AE/ref=wl_it_dp_o?ie=UTF8&coliid=I8SM41PIP2P3E&colid=2WPV9FAASU3XC
And at Home Depot: http://www.homedepot.com/Storage-Organization-Closet-Storage-Drawer-Shelf-Liners/h_d1/N-5yc1vZb9nyZ12kx/R-100577483/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053
I'm going to begin hunting for buttons at my favorite fabric store, consignment shops, and that great virtual consignment shop, eBay Wink I've seen a few promising ones already.
I'm also looking at computer dust filters and such, any recommendations in that area?
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Narsil
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« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2011, 09:34:49 pm »

For a porthole the best bet would be to find some sort of brass ring, Cut an appropriately sized round hole in the case and fix some perspex to the back side.

Since you're only ever going to see one side you should be able to get away with doing it fairly simply eg the perspex can be square instead of round (much easier to cut) and the ring should hide any minor irregularity of the hole.
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« Reply #15 on: September 09, 2011, 01:43:51 pm »

case mods can be quite fun and actually help the computer cooling if you do things right.

most cases now include windows of some sort either outright or as a separate option from the manufacturer. actually getting one can be a big pain.

making your own can be fun but you will need some tools to make it go fast.
something to consider is what is available at the school. they may have a shop with some advanced equipment that can make things fun.

a plasma cutter will cut through the thin sheet metal like butter. if you can trace a line, you can use a plasma cutter.

if not available then its some sort of mechanical solution. if you are just going for a large window, its best to lay everything out on the door. draw the opening and the screw holes to
bolt the plexi in place. it's easiest to start with a thick piece of plywood thats bigger than the panel/door you are modding. lay the panel down on the plywood so you can drill the screw holes. as you drill them, go completely through the wood and put a screw in the hole to bolt the metal down. drill, bolt, drill, bolt each hole as you go. when its all bolted down, drill a hole inside the line for the window itself then using a saber saw, begin to cut the window out, through the metal and plywood.
you want to minimize the metal slapping up and down, that just stretches the metal and makes it bulge a warp, fighting the window. it helps to have a generous overlap of the plexi, to help support itself behind the metal.
the hardest part of all this is drilling the plexiglas holes to bolt it in place. put a generous layer of masking tape on the face of the plexi to protect it from scratches and lay it on your brand new hole. mark one of the bolt holes on the plexi with a marker then drill that hole in the plexi. bolt it to the metal panel then drill a hole opposite the first one, to hold it all together. you can even add the old plywood behind the plexi to drill into as you break through the plexi.
drilling plexi is easiest with a drill bit thats been modified a little. the working edge of a drill bit works like a chisel and throws a curl as its cutting along. plexi is too brittle and soft to aggressively cut so you have to change the angle of the inside edge of the bit so it scrapes the plastic away instead of gouging it.

the inside edge of your porthole will need sanding and filing to improve it. then a paint job to finish it. you can try to find something to hide it, like a bezel from a airvent or even a picture frame. best to find it before you lay out your hole.

the easiest way i've found to decorate a new window is with an electric engraver for marking private property and such. the kind that vibrate, not the kind that spin the tip. I just take a line drawing I like and tape it to the window so you can see it from the other side. its best to engrave the inside of the plexi so make sure the drawing is flip flop if there is writing on it or that it has to have a certain orientation. then its just a matter of tracing it on the plexi.
then when you put in lighting inside the case (which can be done very cheaply) the engraved "dots" catch the light and glow nicely. multiple lights from different directions will even out the effect.

I did one once with a line drawing of a spitfire airplane and some random guns, it looked great.

I haven't bought a computer since my first one, a comodore pc10, a 286 powerhouse! I've built every one since then.
my newest machine is a barn burner, a six core amd with a solid state drive for booting and buffering. makes a great foot warmer too.

a nice little trick you can do to hide optical drives is to either trim the filler plate from the computer case or make a new plate from sheet aluminum, the same size as the case opening.
you bolt the drive in the case but leave it recessed and stick the metal or filler plate to the disc tray with a strip of double sided tape. you use the tape on the the tray front opposite the eject button. you may need to double up the tape if it sits too close and the plate hits the button. if its too far away, you can add a piece to the plate where the button is, just dont peel off the sticky cover or if you do, cover that with scotch tape. the idea is you just push on the metal plate and it springs like a diving board and hits the button behind it.
I haven't looked that hard into windows 7 but you used to be able to make a shortcut icon to eject a disc drive from the desktop screen.

the first thing I usually do to a case is add a handle to the top. makes hauling them around much easier and keeps me from piling crap on top of the case.
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« Reply #16 on: September 09, 2011, 06:57:38 pm »


It's also worth adding that whan drilling polycarbonate/acrylic sheet it is important to make sure that the holes for your fixings give generous clearance, if the bolts/rivits are tight then the chances are that the holes will start a crack. For the same reason allow as much distance as you can between holes and the edge of the plate. This distance is often limited by the design but do the best you can.

I'd also add than when working with thin sheet metal it's usually best to try plan to finish cover any cut edges either with edge trim of some description or by folding them back on themselves. Whatever you do they will always tend to look a bit rough and uneven since there's virtually no way of cutting thin sheet which doesn't distort the edge at least a bit.
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Angus A Fitziron
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« Reply #17 on: September 09, 2011, 10:00:27 pm »

my newest machine is a barn burner, a six core amd with a solid state drive for booting and buffering. makes a great foot warmer too.

Oh yes, reminds me of a massive Pentium P4 based machine I built - who needs central heating?

Quote
the first thing I usually do to a case is add a handle to the top. makes hauling them around much easier and keeps me from piling crap on top of the case.
Words of pure wisdom as I look at my desk top which has 3 books a 15' XLR lead and sundry papers piled on top!
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Edith Myrrh
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« Reply #18 on: September 24, 2011, 06:54:32 pm »

Apologies for the break in time-- even after the parts were due in class, there were a few more details to be taken care of before we were allowed to begin.
So far, I've put in the motherboard and processor, as well as plugged most of the case cords into the motherboard. The instructor is having us take things slowly, and I think I'm already ahead in class.
The case is aluminum, and there's a heatsink/cooler on top of the processor as well as a fan in the back of the case. Is this enough cooling, or should I look into more?
I forgot my camera this last week, but I'll make sure to bring it into class with me on Monday so I can upload a couple of pictures to show progress and ask a few more specific questions.
Thanks very much for all of your help! Feel free to share any more nuggets of wisdom or design ideas  Grin
Yours,
-Edith
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Edith Myrrh
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« Reply #19 on: September 24, 2011, 06:57:07 pm »

P.S. How does one go about putting a handle on top of the case? I'm going to have to haul the whole apparatus back home at the end of the semester, so any way to make that easier is much appreciated.
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Narsil
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« Reply #20 on: September 24, 2011, 07:04:25 pm »


With an aluminum case the CPU cooler and case-fan should be plenty unless you  start adding lots of extra components like fast graphics cards and lots of hard drives.

As for fitting a handle the main thing is to find something solid to attach it to, the sheet material of the case panels probably won;t be strong or stiff enough without reinforcement. The bets bet is to see if you can fit a handle directly on to on of the stiffer beams in the chassis, if you fit it right at the front and right at the back you should be able to find some adequately stiff sections.
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Edith Myrrh
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« Reply #21 on: November 05, 2011, 02:17:49 am »

I'm attempting to add photographs of progress thus far, not at all sure I'm actually succeeding in any way... the suggested code for inserting an image a bit different than what I've done previously (so far all I know is just basic xhtml & css). Let's see if this works:

If it does work, I'll continue posting the other pictures. If it doesn't, I'll keep fiddling with it and post again presently.
Thanks very much for your patience  Grin
-Edith Myrrh
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Edith Myrrh
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« Reply #22 on: November 05, 2011, 05:29:45 am »

Alright, trying again! Learning BB Code as I go... I'm now successfully adding pictures (or at least I think I am!).
Still having problems getting the image to agree to being resized, so I'm including a thumbnail image (with link to full) instead of the behemoth that a regular image would be at the moment through the typing of my bungling fingers.

Here's the guts of the machine, with all of the hardware placed in it. I was surprised at how much of building the hardware was really just wiggling things into their proper places (I'm assuming that's just because they're some of the more newfangled parts and pieces?).


(From a different angle, so that one may see the back of the case a bit more).


With the removable side screwed back on--really a nice solid black, the light merely made all my fingerprints show up rather un-picturesquely. Would the openings require a screen? I have a cat and would rather not have to worry about its hairs getting into the computer. Also, both of the fans I'm using at present came with the case or the processor, and I'm therefore not quite sure what size of screen I would need.


The front of the case-- inexplicably a metallic beige, the only part of the case that isn't black. Can one paint a computer case? If I'm going to have a contrast in color, I would like to choose said color.


The Bios setup screen-- the regular part, not the advanced screen. Apparently pretty spiffy, according to the reactions of passerby and the prof. This is from the first time I was allowed to boot the machine, next week I'm getting to install my OS. Is a running temperature of 47 C on the CPU and 27 C on the MB alright (with no real systems running), or do I need another fan?

Last and least, my first quick sketch of the old design idea:


I'm not certain anymore if I'd be able to put in a window, the MB etc is against one side and the other (removable) side has the ventilation area. Also, I unfortunately see no evidence of a workshop with the required tools at school.

I'm open to any and all suggestions, creative and/or mechanical; all I ask is that you kindly remember I'm on a student's budget. I should be able to bring my computer home in 2 weeks and from then on will be able to tinker with it as I will. Still trying to think of some design idea(s) that will not affect the cooling properties of the case or general functionality, but will look somewhat elegant and at least generally fantabulous. I think the look I'd be going for is a bit less mad scientist and a bit more lady scholar/internet librarian/curiouser museum curator, if that makes sense.

Thanks very much for all of your help thus far! It has truly made a difference.
-Edith Myrrh
« Last Edit: November 05, 2011, 05:46:52 am by Edith Myrrh » Logged
Edith Myrrh
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United States United States


« Reply #23 on: November 05, 2011, 05:40:09 am »

P.S. Besides the case, I will also have a flat-screen monitor, mouse and keyboard to match to the case mods--just using the ones at school for the moment.
If there's any other details wanted or needed, let me know & I'll be happy to share. I'll even tell amusing stories of my attempts and failings thus far Wink
Let the ingenious ideas flow!
-EM
« Last Edit: November 05, 2011, 05:55:04 am by Edith Myrrh » Logged
MechanicalMouse
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« Reply #24 on: November 05, 2011, 09:16:36 am »

Asus, good choice in motherboard manufacturer. Those chaps have served me well for a long time.

As for painting. The metal panels should take paint fine, however the plastic front plate my need priming first. Have a search through the forums, I'm sure there are some painting tutorials.

Just make sure you took all components out before painting.

Modern Computers are much like very expensive lego, most things will only fit in the correct places and you really only have 2 types of screw to worry about.

What kind of thing will you cover in you computer course?
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