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InsolentGnome - La Brezza

Insolent Gnome

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My log has been lagging behind my work and jumping around so I'm gonna try and catch you all up to where I'm at now.  It'll be just busy work at the beginning but the main mod of the build will come at the end, so stick around!
Firstly, I painted the frame of the case.  Since it doesn't really show much, I went with a semi-gloss black.  Something that lets it blend into the background.
Nothing special there.  Next I wanted to secure the top panel.  This will keep it from falling off or sliding around if I'm moving the case.  Also lets me draw it down a little tighter than it wanted to sit.  I started with some 6-32 threaded rod and assorted nuts and washers.
Then it was just a matter of getting it set up and adding some epoxy to the mix.
I'll go back and trim the rod down once I have the panel I/O panel back in and use some nice nuts to finish it off.
Anymore, if you want a clean look, a PSU shroud is almost a must.  So, let's make a shroud!  I wanted to make something that had some swoops and curves to it, like you might find on a center console in a car.  One way to do this would be to make a buck out of foam and carve my swoops and curves out and then build it out of CF...buuuuutttt, I recently picked up a 3D printer for reasons and after getting more comfortable in Fusion360, I wondered if I could blend the two, using the printer to print out a mold or buck.  So I gave it a try!
Unfortunately, my printer isn't huge, so I had to break it into pieces to print it. 
It's getting there, but I also had a thought while working all this out.  Why does the print have to be a buck or mold.  Why can't it be a part of the part?  So the idea was to put the shroud together then cover it with a few layers of carbon fiber, with the CF doing the heavy lifting on rigidity and looks and the print giving it the shape and having mounting tabs built in to secure the final product.  Even if it doesn't quite work out, the print will still act as a buck and I'll just have a full carbon fiber part.
I strengthened all the glue joints with some extra epoxy to help it stand up to me laying CF on it and added a little length of wire to keep the bottom of the shroud the right width.
All sanded and ready for laying up.
Before I started with the epoxy, I used some Super 77 adhesive to tack down a couple of layers of carbon fiber to the print.  Normally I don't like to do two layers at once, but this shape posed a bit of a problem.  The CF handles gentle curves well, but I knew it wouldn't want to lay down tight on the sharper corners at the ends.  Adhesive keeps everything in place while the epoxy goes down and two layers at once because I wasn't sure the epoxy would keep the second layer tight, and well, adhesive doesn't really work on wet epoxy.
Came out pretty nice! That'll get some more layers of epoxy after it cures.
And now the front panel.  I've been working around it cause to me, it's the centerpiece of all this.  So with the aforementioned 3D printer, I worked up a new front panel.  I wanted something that was different, but still looked like something that might be stock or started as stock, so it probably won't knock your socks off at first.
Of course I was just happy designing something that fit and approximated what was in my head without having a lot of experience with the printer or program.  Let's throw the fan in it, it'll look a lot more interesting.
Crazy, ain't it?  Wait, you can't see the fan in this angle....but that's kind of the idea.  I don't know if anyone else has tried it before(and if someone has, let me know), but I went with 'bladeless' case cooling.
I know, I know!  Yes it does have a fan and it does have blades, but you'll never see them once the case is together.  So far, I don't really know how much air it'll move because I haven't gotten the fan sealed down yet, but I can tell you that it does blow air and also pulls air from in front of the case, adding to what the fan is pushing.  Speaking of the fan, this is why I needed the extra airflow in the bottom of the case.
But that's it for this update and the big reveal.  Next round, I'll go into more of putting this together and some of the choices I made to hopefully make it work.  Thanks for following along!
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  • 2 weeks later...

So bladeless cooling...how did I get here? How does it work?? Will it work???

I have to give credit to a friend of mine. We were at the last QuakeCon(way back when you could go to a BYOC) talking about what's up for my next build, spitballing ideas, and she threw out the idea of bladeless fans. I knew a little about the principles of them, and thought it was a really interesting idea. Since I like to go against the grain in just about everything I do and we're modding in the age of throwing a dozen LED fans in every case, it was an especially alluring idea. So I started looking into it and pulling things together for the build. The Cosmos II was great because it has a lot of room to work with and with the side panels, I figured I could hide a lot of sins, because I had no clue how I was going to make this panel.

Bladeless fans work by creating a low pressure zone similar to an aircraft wing. So my first problem was figuring out how to make a small, hollow, and precise wing. Or rather two of them that matched. I thought about how I could form something out of aluminum, acrylic, or styrene, cutting and bending PVC pipe or aluminum tubing, or especially with this case form something out of carbon fiber, all sorts of ideas. They all seemed workable, but pretty janky and makeshift. That's when I decided to bite the bullet and get a 3D printer. It allowed me to design exactly what I needed. Once I had filtered through a paper that looked at the specifics of designing a bladeless fan and learned how to fumble around Fusion360, I printed up my first parts.


Yeah, small printer so some assembly required. It's basically two boxes, a collector on the bottom and a connector at the top to even the pressure between sides, with foils in between. The boxes are simple, but the angles and apertures on the foils have a major effect on efficiency.


It was a decent first try, but I knew that it would be a prototype just to figure out how things would fit and work out.



The chamfers weren't cutting it and, oh yeah, there's a curve on the top panel to figue in. Back to the drawing board.

With those issues redesigned and beefing up some walls, it was time for new parts. More curves and less straight edges should match the case better.


Before putting everything together, I glued in some nuts for mounting. I don't really trust the PLA to hold 6-32 threads the way I tighten things down.


With it all assembled, I think it fits pretty nicely.


One more modification before I start to finish it...probably ought to cut a hole for the fan. BTW, PLA cuts like sh*t.


Now it's just a matter of primer and filler to smooth it all out for paint.


Powering all this was another problem I had to work through. My first thought was to build a box that had the capability to hold multiple fans that fed into the front panel. But that was complicated and messy, plus it took up space. I had a 120mm fan mount on the case that worked perfect for the new front panel and I really wanted to just string a couple of fans front to back if I needed more air. But it doesn't work like that. You get some more pressure, but you really don't add air because the second fan is just moving through the column of air the first fan produces. And that led me down a rabbit hole. Turns out jet turbines have that same problem.

Bear with me for a sec, this is my very general understanding, but one way to shove more air through a hole is to spin the second fan the opposite direction(if the front fan is spinning clockwise, the second spins counter clockwise). That way, instead of the second fan just moving through the column of air, it's changing the flow and biting into it. Or at least that's my grasp of it. Now, what do you do if you don't want to have multiple drives and fans spinning different directions? You use vanes to change the direction of the air coming from the first fan to the second fan, giving the second fan a column of air to bite into.

Kinda makes sense, right? So theoretically if I have two fans and a set of vanes, I could make a compressor setup to force more air and pressure into my front panel. That's doable, but what if there were a fan that had vanes built into it...


I think this might be the ticket. Now this is all 'just in case' theoretical stuff. I'm hoping that one fan will be enough, and to bolster that hope that one fan can pull it off, this is a 5300 rpm fan. I have to admit, I can't wait to plug it in and see what it does. But just in case, I ordered two.

That's it for the front panel until it's painted so thanks for following along!

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With the front panel sorted and under way, I can get to all the other little bits wandering around.

Let's start with the pretty stuff. I started paint on the exterior of the case. A nice red for the side panels and black for the trim using single stage 2K urethane.




And then the boring but useful. I mounted a HDD tray to the case for my spin drive. This is just a nicety in case I ever upgrade to a bigger drive. Pop it out and pop a new one in.


And the more interesting??? I finally got the trim panel for the mb tray smoothed out so now it's time to get that mounted up. First up, I trimmed the excess CF, using a leftover block from the mold to mark my panel.



And then after a whole lot of measuring and marking, I cut out the spots for the hardware.


You can see where I marked out the cover for the southbridge, but I want to wait cutting that out till I have the mounting for the panel figured out so I don't miss.

I wanted to be able to pop the panel off and on pretty easily, so I started looking for knuckle catches, because I thought they would work pretty well. Unfortunately I couldn't find any that would fit in the 1/2 height of my panel so I made some. Imma get my use out of that 3D printer.


I then epoxied them to the panel and the tray. You might notice the holes I drilled in them to give the epoxy more to grab onto.


With that done, I cut out the hole for the southbridge. That board was expensive, I want to be able to see it!


With the trim panel done, along with the tray and the top panel, I had enough to justify laying down some clear coat.



With my PSU shroud almost done, it's time to start thinking about wiring.


I'm taking a different direction on the wiring than what's common. I'm going to be running unsleeved wire from the tray into the shroud, all of it spaced out to hopefully give it a neat effect. This means a lot of holes in the shroud that kind of need to be perfect, so lets make a drill guide.


With these glued together, I'll be able to drill my 47 holes across the shroud and be pretty sure they're in the right place.

On the other end of the wire, I wanted a comb to keep everything coming from the tray spaced out right.


Same plan, glue them together and I'll have a comb for all 47 wires. And then just glue that to the tray.


And use a permablock to modify the trim panel for the wires to slip through.


That's all there is for now, but with time running out, I'm sure there will be more to come.

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So now that the motherboard tray is ready to be wired up, I just need to finish the PSU shroud to continue the journey of my wire throughout the case. Welp, look at that...



And it fits. I layed out my drill guide and superglued it to a piece of tape to hold it in place. I had doubts, but it worked!


Naturally, I missed one of the holes.


After drilling the missing hole, it was time for clear.


Now for the wire...unsleeved red.


Since I was running unsleeved wire and needed to keep everything tight, I printed up my own tiny combs.


I'm just gonna say wiring this thing was a beast.





I did go back and use a multimeter to make sure I had it pinned right. With that done it was time to start assembly.

I'm using weatherstripping to seal any gaps between the case, fan, and front panel.


Also on the front panel, I added a power switch, cause you know, it might be handy.


It was quite the process because everything had to be done in a certain order because of how things are mounted.




There was a bit of modification during assembly. I cut a recess to add some relief for the gpu cable to sit better. Luckily I had some leftover carbon fiber to cover it with.


Doing a one piece full cover shroud does pose some problems, you're not getting back in there to plug anything in so the wiring was cut long enough to plug the PSU in outside the case and then it can be mounted.


With the side panels and bars on, I could finally see how things turned out.


Looks like I'm rewiring it's head while installing Windows.


One of the last items on the list was to cut down the all thread rod holding the top panel down and put an acorn nut on it.


And she's done all that's left are the beauty shots.



Thanks for following along!

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