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Gigantea - CM Elite 130 casemod


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Update time!  I had a lot of things going on but I haven't forgotten about the giant.


First up, some storage.




I did want to pull the PCB's out and show them off, but they're tiny and different sizes, so I stuck with the standard enclosure.  I'm going to have to figure out an interesting finish for them to make them more...interesting.


In keeping with my backlighting of the MB and GPU, I'm mounting these on some 1/4" acrylic for backlighting as well.  A few of stand-offs.




And a couple of pieces of acrylic.




I wanted to come up with an interesting bracket to hold the drives out a bit.  I actually screwed the bracket up the first time and measured one side off the wrong line.  I played around with it a bit and made it work, and the end result was better than my original idea.




So far all the brackets I've done have been a little rough, and I was planning on going back to radius corners and such while working on paint and finishes, but now I'm thinking that I'll actually remake them with a little more flash in the design.  Same general idea, just prettier.  But getting on with things, mounted the SSDs.




This is also the start of the raceway for all my cabling.  


And then my new rads and fans came in.  I'd originally planned to use 120s, but the size just didn't work out for what my sections ended up being.  Way too big to look right.  So I went and got some 80mm fans and rads.  They're, dare I say, "cute".






They're tiny!  I'm hoping with 4, the loop will keep up with the CPU and GPU.


And mounted up with some temporary brackets.






All that's left is the PSU and then I can start fabbing parts for the body.

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So I've got the CNC router up and going and mostly figured out.  That means pretty aluminum parts!


Made some of the spiffy-ed up brackets so far.  I'm using 5052 alloy so the bending goes easier.  






And then bent them into shape.






Next up...the belly pans.

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With the belly pan designs all mapped out, it's time to get really moving on things.




Lot's of tiny little hex cuts.  In retrospect, I should have either made them larger or smaller.  At their current size they leave a little tit that gets caught by the bit when you profile cut them.  Marks up the edges on some of them.  I tried pocketing the cuts but that wound up turning the 2.5 hours for a segment into 8+ hours.  I'll deal with a few nicks.


And the first one fresh off the router.






Now for a little bending magic.  Thank god I went with 5052, bends pretty nicely.








Talk about cutting it close on the second segment.  No waste except for the tons of shavings.




So far, two segments done and mounted.  The third is cut.  At 2.5 hours per, I think I know what I'm doing this weekend.  LOL.



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I wanted to get a small update in before this weekend.  It's been hectic, we're moving my 'real job' shop and I've spent the last week trying to get new image hosting up and going.  Not sure how much work will be getting done on Gigantea this weekend, but on with the update.


I wound up hanging the whole thing from the ceiling in order to make working on the body sections a little easier and to begin working on the "case feet".






And speaking of case feet, some materials arrived.  If you've seen my Scout build, then you might have an idea of what's coming up.  But hopefully I've still got a few surprises.




Changing it up a bit from Scout, I needed to make some mounting points.  So I had to cut what felt like a thousand little parts.  Here are 20 plates and 20 tubes sections.  The arrows on the tubes mark the side that is the most square.  This will be important later on.




Drilling a thousand holes.  Ok, so it was only 80, but it felt like a thousand.




Once the holes were drilled, I stuck a plate together with a piece of tube in the vice.  I lined the square mark on my tube up with the vertical centerline of the plate.  I did this so that if there was a slight deviation from square, it would be in the horizontal plane and not the vertical.  Or in English, if I get all my measurements right, the legs might be a little off side to side, but they'll all be touching the ground.  And yes, I said legs.  Case feet are so mainstream anymore.  Every case has them.  But legs...  And to be honest, without legs, this thing would just be a giant worm, and that doesn't sound very cool.  But back to our vise...




You'll notice that one side of the vice only has a mounting screw in it instead of the normal jaw.  That's to reduce heat transfer to the vice.  I'm brazing these pieces together and keeping the vice from soaking up the heat makes things go so much easier.  After a lot of fire and some low temp brazing rods we wind up with this.




x 20.




And this is the crux of the giant centipede idea.  9 body sections seemed like a pain, but 18 legs and 2 jaws is just crazy.

Mounting some up and checking out how they're gonna work.






These are gonna give me some nice strong mounting points for the legs.  Also, since the square tube that I'm using for the actual leg is sized to just slip over the round tube on the mounting points, I've got rotational adjustment to make things sit nice and it's only going to take a set screw to lock the legs in.  A bonus to this set up is that if I want to cart a 3 foot by 3 foot giant centipede case around the country, I can pull the legs off to make it a little easier.


While I've been running the cnc router like crazy to get the body panels made, I snuck in my radiator brackets.






I'm a little worried about airflow considering all the cabling and tubing running between each pair of rads.  But I've still got a lot of adjustment with switching the rads and fans around, push vs. pull, and even the ability to angle them slightly so I should be able to make it work out in the end.

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Wow!  What a crazy week last week!  We sold our building that we run our plumbing shop out of and had to move EVERYTHING to a new building.  It's amazing how much stuff we accumulated in the past 10 years in that building.  Needless to say, I didn't get much done on Gigantea.  It didn't help that I broke a belt on the CNC router last weekend.  Is it just SOP for things like that to break with 5 minutes left of a 2 hour run rather than 5 minutes into a 2 hour run?  So this weekend was all about getting the router up and going again and making headway on this crazy project.


The CNC router was a easy fix, just replace a belt, but while I was at it, I went ahead and made a spoilboard of 3/4 MDF and surfaced it so it was nice and level.  Musical track for this portion...The Raconteurs "Level".




I had noticed that it fell off a bit going to the back right.  Just a hair, but when your making .005 cuts, a hair is enough to be a problem.  While doing this, I noticed that my spindle was a bit out of level front to back as well.  It's not a big issue now since I'm just making profile cuts, but that's the next fix.


With the router going on Gigantea's next body section, it was time to make some case feet.  Or rather case legs.  Track for this portion...ZZ Top's "Legs".


Let's start off with some 1" square aluminum tube.




Cutting aluminum with my bandsaw is tricky.  The single speed it runs is really too fast for aluminum and melts the Al into the teeth.  To cure this problem I brought home a new friend.  Meet Mr. Portaband.




If you've never run into one of these before, it's a portable bandsaw.  Great for cutting stuff that you just can't put on a bandsaw.  We bought it years ago for cutting iron pipe and all-thread rod but never really used it much.  It's just been collecting dust.  The great thing about it, for me at least, is that it has a slow running speed for cutting metals.  It made quick work of my aluminum tubing.  One note, being in construction you pick up some bad habits.  Smoking, cussing, improvising tool stands.  So yes, that is pretty dangerous power tool clamped in a vise.  Don't try this at home kiddos.


I used a piece of bailing wire to get an idea of the angles and length I wanted for the legs.  I mocked up a 12" leg with two 45 degree bends, but it wasn't quite right.  Did some re-figuring of the angles and around 30 degrees looked perfect.  So lets start hacking the aluminum.




After it's appointment with Mr. Portaband and in the vise for a little bit of heat.  Using a propane torch, I just heated where I wanted the Al to bend and used a pair of pliers to manipulate the part.  The spires at the top all get bent in to form a point and the V cutouts will give me the angles in the legs.






Perfect.  The joints will be brazed and ground down for more strength, but this is a good start.

Now just to mark up the rest of the legs.






This is never going to end...


For the first batch I did 10 legs.




These are going to be the legs on the ground and an extra pair reaching out.  I've got something special planned for the rest of them.  I couldn't resist and had to stick these 10 on.  They aren't pushed all the way on their mounts because I still need to sand a little on the round tube to get it to easily fit in the square.  This setup, along with a set screw I plan on adding, lets me adjust the legs' angles and even remove them if I want.  Track for this portion...ZZ Top "I'm Bad, I'm Nationwide".






Definitely happy with where this is heading and with my progress this weekend.  And the weekends not even over yet, so back to work.  Next log we'll hopefully be listening to ZZ Top's "Tush" and "My Head's In Mississippi".


Thanks for playing along!

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It's time for the Weekend Update!  Woo hoo!  What have I been up to this week?  Keep reading to find out!


Let's start at the top.  Because the head's at the top and that's what I was working on.  Musical track to accompany this portion...Basement Jaxx "Where's Your Head At?"  Which incidentally, has a crazy, weird, monkey based video.


And to answer, my head is on the router table.




This was original go at the head section but I missed subtracting the horizontal dimension of the angle, so it turned out to be a nice shiny piece of cut aluminum.




After a quick adjustment and re-cut I wound up with this.






The three empty holes on the angle part will be filled with LED's for it eyes, because, well, if they didn't glow, it would be disappointing.


While I was re-working the details of the head and waiting another couple of hours for it to cut, I finished up the legs that I had cut and bent last time.  Musical selection for this part...Donna Summer "Hot Stuff"


This was definitely some hot stuff.  Brazing the joints of the legs and also the tips.






The tips look pretty rough and that's mainly because the joints are a bit too wide to braze well, and I'm not the best at brazing.  But I wasn't too worried about it since I mainly just wanted some of the gaps filled so that it would be easier to apply filler on them later.


After some touch up with a die grinder.




Before marrying the legs up to my mounts and the body, I decided to back up my brazing with some epoxy in the mounts.  Never hurts to play it safe.  This sections track...Men Without Hats "Safety Dance", because we can dance if we want to.




Next step was to mount the mounts.




My idea with the mounts and the legs was to be able to adjust or remove the legs, so we need some holes for the set screws.




And now Gigantea can stand on it's own.






I figured this would be a great time to see if all my planning would stand up to the weight of the system, so lets throw some components in.  Music for this section...anything by Led Zepplin, cause it's heavy man!


Booty shot!




The nice part of having legs pretty much everywhere is that it allows you to set the case in a lot of different positions to reach the hard to get to parts.  First rad set in and the second on the way.






Looking down the belly of the beast.




The components in their homes.










The two way mirrored acrylic on the PSU makes it a little hard to tell what's going on when it's off, but it should look nice lit up in there.




Another booty shot to 'end' on...



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When you first started this build log I have to admit I wasn't sure exactly what you had in mind. As it started to take shape I thought this guy is possibly insane. Now I am starting to think this is the coolest build I have ever seen. Can't wait to see you finish this, truly inspired.

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