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"Dark Matter" featuring one off 3D printed parts

Calen Saddler

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Acrylic Work: Between The Floating Mounts

Ive started working on the space between the two floating mounts in the bottom of the case (on the inside.) I had spaced the lips between the two floating mounts so that there would be a 3mm gap. This gap was the exact thickness of the acrylic. I haven't completely decided how I'm going to finish the piece other than this piece of acrylic. More than likely it will make for a good location to do some sweet vinyl work.


The primary reason for mounting the two “floating mounts†was to keep them above the actual floor of the case. That way I can mount the PSU, pumps etc without having wiring going everywhere. The platforms are raised about 20–25 mm which leaves a lot of space to run wiring.



I have been recently hinting at a couple announcements for the build recently. The major announcement is about BeQuiet joining the build and sponsoring Dark Matter. I will wait to announce the exact PSU and fans that I will be receiving until they arrive.

I can tell you that Dark Matter will be getting some Dark Power though. I would also like to thank BeQuiet as well as my other sponsors: (Printrbot and RantoPad) for believing in this build. You'll be seeing this monster at some shows this year for sure.


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Finish Work: Case Mod World Series Badge

I had to re-cut the Case Mod World Series vinyl because I messed up when applying it to the acrylic backplate. Unfortunately I have involuntary hand jerks at time due to my brain damage. When I was just about to apply the 1st one my arm jerked and it was ruined. It takes a long time to weed small lettering in vinyl so it took a bit to get a second one ready to apply.


This one came out perfect and I couldn't be happier with the way it looks. I also took the opportunity to test one of my new photography LED lights. I have another idea planned for this badge before it mounted in its final location.

Update: 3D Printed Case (Animated Case Badge Electronics)

I am finally down to the last few layer of filler/primer and sanding. The more I look at the case the more it reminds me of an old IPod. As you may know I'm a stickler for the details in a build. I think the small details really do a great job of bringing the design together. This case will go behind the front panel of the case so it really wont even be seen as mentioned. I still think its important to make it look like its a feature.


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Part Arrival: BeQuiets PSU & Case Fans

Today the parts arrived from BeQuiet. They sent one of their 1,200 watt Dark Power 11 Pro PSUs and 7 X 120mm PureWings 2 PWM fans that will be used throughout the case.


DarkPower 11 Pro PSU:

I am in love with this 1,200 watt, platinum rated and modular PSU from BeQuiet. You can tell that it is quality immediately after opening the box. It comes well packed and is comprised of some of the best components available.


A neat feature is the ability to, “overclock†the PSU. You can turn it into a single rail 12v that packs close to a 100 AMPS. Thats right I said, “close to a 100 AMPS.†If you prefer running multiple 12v rails; all you have to do is flick a switch. I can't wait to start mocking up this PSU. It also comes with every little do-dad you could ever want including a huge set of modular cables. I will be building a 3D printed cable management system for this setup.

PureWings 2 PWM 120mm Fans:

The PWM version of the PureWings 2 fans are relatively new to the market. Its always exciting to get parts that just became available. The overall look of these fans is impressive. They will fit in perfectly with the design cues found throughout the case. I am going to design and 3D print some inserts for the fans. These inserts will add originality to the fans. They will also allow me to add my own flare of color and design. The design phase for these inserts will start right away


Replacing Rear 80mm Fan:

The rear fan on the donor parts used is an 80mm fan. Almost all newer cases have a 120mm fan or larger in this position. I will cut out part of the old donor backplate to make room for the new 120mm fan. Once the final back panel is fitted you wont be able to tell that there was ever an 80mm fan.

Its always easier to go larger than smaller as long as you have enough space. This wont be diffacult due to the fact that I designed the case to have 120mm fan. I will use one of the screw holes from the 80mm fan to position the new 120mm fan. Once I level the fan I can drill the second mounting hole. All I have left to do is cut out part of the backplate to give the 120 enough space.

Here's the 80mm fan that will be cut to fit a 120mm fan:


I mounted the fan to the outside so that I could see where I needed to make cuts. It will go on the other side of this panel when fitted:


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PSU Surround & Mock-ups:

Now that I have my PSU I can start prepping the surround pieces and mocking it all up. I made a template for a piece that will go around the bottom of the PSU. This piece will serve as a platform for the extensive cable management setup I will be building. I cut this piece out of thicker lexan than I typically use (8mm.) Later on I will add some detail to this piece but, it will be left fairly rough for now.




3D Printed Snap in Rings: 120mm Fans

After the BeQuiet PureWings fans arrived I noticed that they have a tapered edge around the outside. I immediately thought about designing and 3D printing a piece that could be snapped into the edge. I haven't completely decides if I will use the rings in this build but, I decoded to make them anyways. That way I can decide if I want to use them or not. If I decide to use them I will paint match the rings so that they match the build.

It took two iterations of these rings in order to get everything perfect. I had to allow for the filler primer and paint when I made the 2nd version. Each print only took about 6 minutes on my Printrbot plus 3D printer using a 1mm nozzle. So far they look great and I'm almost ready to test paint the first one.


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Metal Fab: Inner Work

In the top of the front portion of the case theres a overhang that has all the rough work almost completed. Now I need to make a plate that fits inside and covers the back portion. It has a few angles on each side as well as some odd shaped bolt mounts that run along the length of the aluminum top. I need to make sure it fits very snug so I used my air cutoff tool to get the general shape correct.


Now that I have the general shape I will use several different metal files to get it perfect. This will take a good deal of time as you shave a small amount on each pass until its exact. I use a set of needle files for any detail work I do. Needle files typically come in a set. Each needle file has a different shape and size which make them the perfect tool for acrylics, plastic, metals and wood. I save the larger files for straight lines or when I need to remove a lot of material.



Switch Bezel: Ideas & Design

Recently I've been playing around with different ideas for the front switch bezel. As of right now I have two audio jacks and the angel eye Vandal switch mounted. I went with the mic and headphone jacks in the front of the case primarily for gaming. This will allow for easy access when using voice and headphones.

The plan is to add two smaller indicator LEDs and one more Vandal switch that is different from the one already mounted. One of the indicator lights is for the capacitive lock-out feature. This feature is custom built and requires the user to touch the hidden capacitive switch while pressing the power switch. Doing this combination is the only way to power on the PC. This is especially handy when kids are around or at shows. It also helps to eliminate accidental switch activation.


Click In Fan Ring Prototype: Update

This is an update to the 3D printed rings I made. I'm not 100% sure if I'll use them in this build but, if I don't try it out I wouldn't know how they'll look.


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Inner PSU Mount:

Now that I have the PSU I cam start work on making the inner panel thar the PSU mounts to. This panel also fills the lower gap on the back of the PC. I designed this setup so that there is a gap between the final back panel and the inner panel. The gap between the two will be boxed in where the cutouts (passthroughs) are.


The inner PSU mount has the go around the 3D printed frame brackets. I decided to cut the hole for the PSU a little different due to the layout of the PSU. Lots of little adaptions like this help to show off the hardware as well as giving it an original look.


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Painting Triple SSD Rack:

I decided to start priming some of the pieces in the case. The primer is the same color as the final paint in the next few pieces I do so it'll be nice to see what they'll look like. I had already primed the mounts for the SSDs but, now I'm doing the main piece that holds the SSD mounts.


Im also going to do the motherboard tray as it looks horrible in the stock silver. I will remount the motherboard tray after I build the plate for the new 120mm fan and the new surround. I had to make the new surround because the 120mm fan is wider than the back of the donors case.

LED Testing: Mounting Locations

I am still awaiting the arrival of some intelligent LEDs that I ordered but, I do have the 5050 true RGB LED strips. I also have pre-wired 3 way splitters that I will use for the build. The main reason I did the testing today was to determine the best location to mount the strips.

The first spot I tried is on the inside of the main cross frame rail. Mounting it in spots like this allows the glow from the LED to be seen without actually seeing the LED strips. It also does a great job of giving an even glow to the inside of the build.


The second spot I tested was inside the curved stainless steel that runs along the bottom edge of the case. I had originally planned on mounting strips here so I intentionally left a small space that runs the length of the case. When the LEDs are lit it gives a clean straight line. As the build goes on I will test a few more spots.



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PSU Mount: Painted (black)

The backplate for the PSU mount is finally cured enough so that it can be remounted. I think it looks great and its a perfect fit. I left about a half of a mm of space so that it would fit correctly after the paint and primer was applied.


Top Acrylic Pieces:

Currently I'm doing some test painting on these pieces to see which color combination I like. I have two more pieces to do which will more than likely be black. This will help make the small bits of green pop which is what I'm going for. I still need to find the right materials to hand make the top grill. Ive been looking into using either acrylic or aluminum.


3D Printed Fan Ring: Update

I managed to paint the 3D printed fan ring I did for the BeQuiet PureWings 2 120mm fans. This time I used my paint gun which made a huge difference. The coat is much more even and smooth. The lime green is one of the paints I've been looking into using.


Overall Update:

Lately I've been splitting my time between fabricating metal pieces for the build, drawing scale templates for the side panel and priming as much as I can while the weather is decent. Ive been getting a lot done but, not a whole lot of showable progress. Once I get to a good point I will have a decent sized update.

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Painted Top Acrylic Pieces: Update

Due to another day of good weather I was able to paint the rest of the top acrylic pieces. I probably shouldn't be modding today due to an early morning seizure but, I really cant sacrifice a day of work. Im having issues with my right shoulder. I managed to mock up the top panel so that you can see the green and the black. I made the bottom green panel slightly larger then the top black panel so that the green would pop. Its neat to see the idea come to life.


Paint Work: Rear Panel & PCIe Slots

Over the last few days I've been painting the rear panels and the motherboard tray. Theres a lot of individual pieces that make up the back so its taken some time to get them all finished. The PCIe slots and the vertical PCIe slots are finished and cured.


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