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Gigantea - CM Elite 130 casemod


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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.


Thanks!  Your response was exactly what I was going for..."WTF is this gonna be?"  It's such a 180 from what you expect from an ITX case that I didn't want to give it right away.  And I'm right there with ya, I can't wait to see me finish it either, LOL! :D

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Figured I'd get some pics to give a sense of scale. At the moment Gigantea is 37" tall, 21" wide, and 46" long and straightened out would be over 6 feet long tip to tail.

For comparison I stuck it next to an upcoming project case, a Fractal Define R4.



But that wasn't a fair comparison, so I went with a pair of R4's.



After moving it around for these shots, I think it's definitely getting a stand. Those mounts are getting tweaked pretty hard and I just don't know how long the braze joints will take the abuse.

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It feels like I'm slowly plodding along, but I'm to the point where I can make a list of things to do.  Definitely better than the "OMG there is sooo much to do!" feeling.


First off, I'll start with the back armor.  Giant centipedes have it.  Every evil robot who knows anything about being an evil robot has it.  So Gigantea has it!

I've had an idea of what the back armor would look like from the beginning, but I wanted to test it out to see that it made sense for looks and in function in the semi-reality where Gigantea would exist.  Break out the paper!




It's going to slightly overlap and the bends in the spine are going to be interesting.  I might have to cut them down a bit so it looks right.  After a bit of work in SketchUp, I cut out a few of them from some 1/8" acrylic.  It gives them some bulk but will still be easy to bend.






Haven't gotten around to bending them and figuring out the mounting yet.  Mainly because of what's next...Reservoir Time!


If you've kept up, you're probably wondering where the heck are you going to mount a reservoir on this thing?  It's stuffed pretty full.


How right you are!  There are a few spots a bay res might fit, and space for a custom reservoir, but not really a spot for a 200mm tube res with a D5 on the bottom.  Hmmmm...well let's check out the res.



One of Monsoon's new MMRS setups.  Very pretty with the frosted reactor tube.  The standard mounting brackets don't really help me, but they do hold the lighting kit for the res, 2 CCFL bulbs.  So we'll be keeping those.




What I will be using to mount this are the extra holes tapped into the top and bottom of the res that allow you to offset their mounts.




This is all fine and dandy but where's it going?  Well, since there isn't a good mounting spot, Gigantea is just going to have to hold it, lol.  


I wanted it to look like it had just found this amazing item and it was holding it up.  So we need to customize some legs.  I had to pull them in tighter so it would look like they were actually holding the res.




Almost, just need to cut some of the angles a bit more.




Pretty close!


I cut the tips of the legs off and drilled a hole for the M4 screws to go through.




Once you slip the screw in through the base of the leg, the threads pop out, but the leg holds the head.  It's a total pain to screw together since you have to use pliers on the threads, but it works well and I'm not planning on taking it apart too often.


And the finished product.






And a closeup of the mounting.




Still a lot left to do, but I'm so happy that this worked out like I pictured it in my head!

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More progress!  I finally got the body sections and legs finished up!


I had most of the body sections done, but ran into a tight spot at the bend by the head and the design had to be tweaked at bit.  An extra angle in a couple of pieces and shortening another section got it to work together.






It's a pretty tight spot and Gigantea claimed it's first victim, my knuckle.




But I did get a preview of how the blood red I'm planning on using will look. :P




Trying to fit the last 4 legs and 2 jaws in that little space with the 2 legs that were already there was a nightmare.  I definitely feel for centipedes after this, getting all those legs to work together.  Of course they have a socket joint at the body which would have made my life a whole lot easier.  Since I'm not getting that crazy, I had to play around with angles and positioning to fit all 8 limbs in that tiny space.








It's an eye poking hazard.




All that was left were the jaws.  I figured I'd show you the progress of how I make one of these.  After figuring out the angles I want and cutting sections out with a bandsaw, I'll throw it in the vice and grab the torch.




I start at the top just because that's the easiest time to bend the point.  Applying the torch to the base of the prong, I'll take some pliers and apply pressure until it starts to get soft.  Then you just squeeze the prong in and work your way around all four of them, bringing them to a point.  After that, I'll use the pliers to grab the top and hit the back side of the notches with the torch.




And then you just apply some pressure till it bends right over.




And you get this, ready to have it's joints brazed.




With these jaws done, it was time to finish up the limbs.




With 8 limbs all on top of each other, there really isn't a camera angle that makes it make any sense, especially with everything all shiny aluminum right now.  IRL, it's a little easier to follow what's going on, and I think paint will help too.  




I will say, in person, it looks like something you don't want to mess with. :D


Next up is the back armor.  I cut my original pieces down a bit to where they cover the body sections but don't overlap.  It just made life easier working around the bends in the body.  But while drilling and tapping mounting holes, this happened.




My 6-32 tap just couldn't handle it.  And I didn't have any luck in getting the tip out.  It's about impossible to drill cause it's hardened and I really can't go after it without risking breaking something.  Once I disassemble everything for finishing, I'll either set it up and drill it out in a drill press or take a punch and put it through.  And if neither of those plans work, I'll just fake a screw top.  It's one of 4 screws holding a piece of 1/8" acrylic so it's really for looks anyways.

Since my 6-32 tap was dead and not really cut out for tapping this bar, I jumped my screws up to M4 and mounted my pieces of acrylic.




Then I grabbed my trusty heat gun.




With a little heat application, I bent the armor pieces to give me a contour between the spine and the sides of the body sections.




I'm still debating on bending the little winged edges down.  That was my original plan, but I think leaving them alone looks alright.  At least for now.:)  


Thanks for following along! :D

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Tiny update.  Got the armor completed!








That's pretty much it for fabrication except for the head and tail sections and some stands.  Speaking of stands, had a little accident that reinforced the need for them.  While moving Gigantea to the floor so I could work actually reach what I was working on, a leg joint braze gave out.  Luckily, the aluminum is sturdy enough to take some abuse.  So, after fixing that, I started on the stands.


I planing on taking some 5/16 threaded rod and threading one end into the spine, the other into small bases.  I'm just planning on these to hold weight and not balance the whole thing, so they don't have to be very big.  Luckily I ordered some thicker plastics to play around with so I've got a selection of 12"x12"x.5" acrylics and HDPE.




Since I've never worked with HDPE, I figured I'd give it a go.  The snow white is not really useful, hopefully it will paint well.




Speaking of snow, this stuff leaves nice fluffy white chips EVERYWHERE!




And the bases are cut out.  6" round, or as round as my router will make them.  I need to look into that, but for Gigantea, angled polygons aren't that far out of line since it is covered with a thousand hexagons.  This is the bottom side, you can see the pockets for the nuts and washers to sit in.




Once I get everything disassembled for finishing and paint, I'll put some holes in the spine for the threaded rod and get the stands put together.  Thankfully, finishing and paint is next!

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Little update on what's going on.  Got it all disassembled and ready to prep for paint.  I think this thing has about a million screws in it.




Using filler to clean up the legs.








Why did I make something with 20 legs?!?  Another final coat of filler to catch some spots that got missed and these will be ready for primer.  


Most everything else has gone through a quick sand and is ready for primer as well, so it's time to get painting!cool.png

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Impressive work... but not really a case mod? Should this be in the scratch build section?


I understand where you're coming from, and I've waffled over it too.  I think it stands as a case mod since it used the 130 as it's starting point.  When you get past all the craziness of the build and the added parts, the basics of the build have been to meld 3 cases together, cover the bottom of the cases for a clean look, and replaced the exterior panels with custom panels.  Had I done the same things but stacked the cases on top of each other where they looked like a "case", maybe it would be a more "standard" case mod, though it wouldn't be nearly as cool or bad :).  Plus, it would have been a boring re-hash of the stacker idea using different cases.  This is new, different, crazy, and all sorts of insane.  I like to think it's pushing the limits and challenging the idea of what a case mod has to be.

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