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CM CosmosII - Eagle


dmcgrath

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The COSMOS II

is now available, in some places, like... my house, for example.

After some email correspondence with a rep from CM, they decided that one of my ideas had merit enough to continue forward.

I researched the case as much as I could, it is made from mostly aluminum but the only one I had seen was black, and the one at MaximumPC Magazine, for their Dream Machine, was custom painted hot-rod yellow.

But what to do with this amazing piece of work?

As you may know by looking at my other mods, I'm heavily influenced by architecture.

My Inspiration this time was the Chrysler Building in New York, covered in iconic symbols, the "gargoyle" eagles in particular.

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My idea was fairly simple in scope to start with. It honestly was only half-formed.

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Doing an Art Deco Themed Eagle wings along the sides of the case was really all I had to go on.

I did have one trick I wanted to flip though, under each wing shelf I wanted to run a series of lights that would shine downward on to the next wing piece. If that drawing makes sense.

Well, in reality, the case was considerably larger that what I had originally thought. And the doors are a fair amount thicker as well. Which will come in very handy. I want to come up with a nifty plan to use one light inside of the case to light up the wings on the outside.

And something even more striking.

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Shipped up from So. Cal. in this. Boy was it heavy. The UPS delivery guy was really nice about it when he brought it in though.

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After cutting away all the tape and plastic wrapping. I realized it was packed very well.

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I had been sent a test sample, that happened to be sliver, hooray!

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It's beautiful, and silver, and BIG. Boy it's BIG!!!!

And pretty heavy as well.

It's got a nice set of controls on a pad up top, and a complete interface bay for all your plug in needs.

I'll be getting rid of that. Probably just relocating it though, not omitting it completely.

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The sliding door is a nice touch too. Two neodymium magnets hold the door in place and it's set up on a friction gear so it doesn't bang down when you break the magnet contact.

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The doors on this are super slick and open very easily, they pop right off to get them out of the way for interior access.

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The door skins themselves are firmly attached with double-sided adhesive tape. Not too bad to take apart though.

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A great little piece of proprietary controls is located under the head of this unit. Hooked to a mini ribbon cable is the touch pad.

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While removing the touch pad, it was pretty well secured with double-stick adhesive tape. And my "gentle" prodding and prying became more than it could handle and I broke it. OOPS! Okay that needs replaced. or modded, or something.

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The handles, and runners (legs, feet, whatever you call them), are solid metal, very good construction, and well attached to the cage. They are so nice, I might even keep them.

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And the cage in it's most skeletal form. I'm almost sure I'm going to leave it completely alone.

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Good product overall. Everything comes apart relatively easily and is sturdy and strong when fully assembled.

Coolermaster's done a great job with this case.

Thanks for looking!

Dan

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The picture below illustrates my intentions pretty well. I want to have light coming in, from the interior of the case, shining right into a place where the whole fiber optic cable is secured. From there the cables will be split apart and routed to their specific locations. All of this cable will be hidden within the door. There will be no wires or lights actually in the doors, so they will still be easily removable.

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Each wing section, as I mentioned earlier is going to step outward from the bottom wing section to the top. Under each “shelf†is going to be a series of tiny lights, using the fiber optic cables, to create a very subtle but dramatic effect. Especially, I assume, in lower light environments.

A little close up, the aluminum is going to be either tooled with "rivets" in it or I'll find some way to do it with little silver dots of glue or something.

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A few more ideas flowed out regarding the overall design of the case. I may do even more drawings, it can’t hurt to get as much out as possible. I am really liking the wing design on the bottom drawing, it’s much more sleek and stylish. The other ones I’ve illustrated previously seemed too angular. I am still going more for a bird style in the case. I know the drawings look a bit more like the newer Cylon from Battlestar Galactica (which would’ve also been kinda neat to make), but that won’t be my intent.

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I think a bit more like this face. hopefully it will all translate into formed metal.

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Looking at a few more in process pics, while I wait for the aluminum sheet and fiber optic cables to arrive. I glued a bit of styrofoam on. It's pretty solid stuff and should make a great backing for the aluminum.

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And then I get in there and get messy, and scratchy, man that stuff is pretty coarse when removed from the blocks and it piles up like unmelting snow.

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I might put the control panel back in here somewhere. It seems a likely place, but I'm not worried about it's placement...yet.

Thanks for looking!

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cosmos2_Eagle066.jpg

Well the aluminum has arrived and I have gotten to work!

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I've gotten a kind of neat looking plan that involves making smaller square(ish) sections with rivets around each border.

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I shaped the beak area a bit more. It looked very weird being so broad. So it will taper quite a bit more.

I also drew lines where I think the wings will start off the front as well.

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Then while waiting for the fiber optic cable to arrive. I decided to get working on the aluminum squares.

I cut about 200 of them. I may need as many as 500, but I'm starting with less and working my way towards that.

It's very time consuming work.

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I created a modified metal punch by rounding the tip to prevent it from cutting through the material, and pounded a bunch of dents around the edges.

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I didn't really like just doing that, I ended up taking a small pastry roller, really just a wooden rod, and I flattened out the dents again.

- It looks really great in person. -

The dents represent rivets, without having the actual rivets. And they stay easier to work with in the long run, as I can layer them over one another with very little effort.

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This is a few of them, just laid flat for a quick picture, to view the overall effect.

I also had to file and sand the edges a bit to dull them for handling.

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Then my good old trusty MS Optical v1.0 mouse decided to die on me. I think it's just dirt, but I swapped in a temp anyway (one that's really worse but works more consistently). I took it apart for the USB cable, so I could have a tool to hook up a single LED and start testing because the fiber optic cable arrived.

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I just used the 5v lead in the USB to pug directly to a LED and light it up. Then I hooked it to the end of the fiber optic cable to play around. I really don't think it's going to be enough light using the micro strands that I purchased. They are .5 mm in width. And despite my best efforts it's just not enough light.

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Thankfully, the company I bought them from also provided me with a sample pack of other width strands. They had a 2mm strand that is a lot harder to work with but ultimately should provide exactly the type of illumination effect I'm going for.

Below is the LED, it's very effective, but a tad on the bright side. And the worst part of it to me is that I'd have to wire up the doors. Something I didn't want to do. I wanted to light it without having to use power going to the doors.

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Now this looks a bit better. I used a pretty short piece of the 2mm to show the lighting effect, that's why you can see it above. But I think 10 or so of these lights on every wing shelf will look pretty dramatic without overpowering it. Which is also what the LEDs would end up doing, I think.

cosmos2_Eagle082.jpg

Thanks for looking!

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I've gotten the fantastic human named Paul from fiberopticstore.gif to donate my much needed 2mm strand of fiber optics.

It's going to work out wonderfully for the project and I thank him immensely for his participation.

The store has pretty much what you need in the way of fiber optics (of course), and even things I had never seen before, like side firing fiber optic strands.

A great idea for a computer mod using that material has GOT to be in someone's near future, so I recommend you click the above link and go check that stuff out. There's even an embedded video of it's testing and usage.

Here's what he sent me.

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And here is another cheap online purchase I made, I wanted the clustered LED panels from those flashlights and they put out a bunch of light.

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I'll probably keep the housings around in case I need them for something, they are all aluminum and I hate to throw stuff away. (I might even use the switches out of the back of them in this very project)

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I started making some of the aluminum covering the top piece. Arguably, the easiest part first. It still took several days to complete.

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Some of it was pretty tough to clamp during gluing. I do love Gorilla Glue and I will continue to use it. But the "WHITE" version is not as effective, I've found. It works fine for porous materials, but the stuff I'm working with is anything but that.

The white Gorilla Glue has failed on me several times in the process so I've gone back to the brown version, and it's working as intended. It takes longer to set and cure, but it has not failed and forced me to re-glue on anything I've ever used it on.

For the final product, it's turning out pretty nice I think.

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I tried just sanding and polishing it, I got it quite shiny and even used some metal polish compound. It looked pretty spectacular. But, then I got fingerprints all over it. It looked terrible and was never able to hold that shine for long, so I rethought my approach and have decided to make it a matte base, I have a little brass wire brush that attaches to my Dremel.

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The textured look really grabs light from all kinds of directions and looks a lot better in my opinion, as well as being a much more resilient surface in general.

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I got some car body filler and used it to patch the holes on the top of the case where the handles used to come out of.

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And on the next installment I'll be building the wings. Maybe out of MORE FOAM (like the foam core poster board, below).

cosmos2_Eagle106.jpg

Thanks for looking!

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Thanks for the comment - PCJunkie.

Working steadily but slowly on the next part.

I'm trying to make both the left and right sides match with one another and so it feels like it's taking a lot longer than I wanted it to.

I started with the sharper and more angled wing tips, but it didn't seem right to me looking like that.

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Here it is with the 5 tiers almost originally as I envisioned. I'm really liking the design by now, thankfully!

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Stacking and shaping them to what's appealing to the eye.

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It's 5 levels deep, but it's only adding about 1 inch (2.5 cm) width at the top of the case on each side. It will stand out, without being too obtrusive.

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This is a decent shot to show the curve around the door. There is a big angle there and just bending it didn't look good. I like the sharper turn.

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Here's a great pic to show the sturdiness inside of the door, behind their aluminum panel.

Routing of the fiber optics will be coming soon!

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I've also decided to cover the vents on the sides. Turing them into rear facing ports. It will still be usable but just more along the style of what I'm trying to achieve.

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Also getting some of that fan mesh over the ends. I'll probably have to get in there with some black paint so it doesn't stand out so much.

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  • 2 weeks later...

In my last update I had a specific idea of using a circular flashlight head, it really seemed like a great idea at the time. The reality of using a 2mm strand of fiber optic is the fact that it's really quite springy and resilient to bending. And they snap like dry twigs if pushed too far. Below is a mess, in a manner of speaking, that I am trying to tidy up.

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I ended up not using the flashlight idea because the entry point of the light beam is too extreme. I decided to use a piece of plastic stock that I had lying around, it's a bit too thing, only around 4mm in thickness. I drilled 24 holes in there and put all the optic wires into it. The idea here is to have the light beam into one end of the plastic and have it do the work of distributing the light a bit more evenly to all the optic fibers.

cosmos2_Eagle125.jpg

And then to fit that plastic bar into the plastic shell area if the door. I want to cut a window to have the light coming in from a different area.

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I ended up getting these nifty little LED strips instead, they are meant for a 12V supply, which works great for me.

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And they pump out some serious light. Too bright to stare at, as I found out later when installing them into the top rail of the door frame.

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The two door frames are pretty easy to take off of the case, the upper part is a perfect place to place the light strip.

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Cut a little channel through the top area. Removal of as little as possible is better. Keeping the strength in that area is pretty important.

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I also went with a thicker plastic piece.

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Then I marked off and cut out the slot where the plastic will be located in the door.

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Nine lights for just a mere six inch strip is a decent deal. As I mentioned already they do put out a fair amount of light.

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I got the lights set through there, hot glued into place and it's shining pretty well.

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I like the result.

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And the fit in the door is nice and snug.

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Here's a preliminary light setup. I have a bit more to cut up in the door for everything to fit. I have discovered that using my heat gun solves a lot of the fiber optic problems. But the downside is if it's bent too steeply the light won't travel as effectively though the fibers.

cosmos2_Eagle139.jpg

Thanks for looking!

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Well, As I mentioned on the previous post I've been having trouble with the Fiber optics a bit and it's still not resolving itself. Or rather, I haven't been able to resolve it. So I have to move forward with a secondary idea. I really wanted to create a mod where you do not have to detach wires leading into the doors.

Unfortunately it's becoming impractical to run 30-40 feet of optic cable, in the limited door space I have, and still not get the same light output that a few LEDs on only 18 inches of wire can achieve.

The place I ordered the LED strips from is out of stock on the 12" light strips, so I'll try and make something happen with two 6" strips per door.

It will look something a bit like this.

cosmos2_Eagle168.jpg

I will put it only behind the wing, sort of rear facing, so it's not flashing out forwards and blinding the user. Also it's only on the trailing edge of the wing instead of on each tier. Any other possibility seems unfeasible, both financially and in the interests of time. It will still look great! And I hope to prove it soon.

It's not exactly what I wanted as far as materials used, but it is much closer to what I wanted to achieve as far as light output.

Perhaps I can use fiber optics elsewhere, in another mod, I do have a few extra feet of it in various diameters.

Now, back to the eagle head...

I added some foam, and then did some trimming and moderate shaping.

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After adding the bondo resin, I took a look at it and decided it was too short, and not shaped the way I wanted it.

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I really didn't like what I had so i chopped it off and started over on the beak.

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I also changed the design on the front door cover. It looks a little more inline with the Art Deco theme, as well as the eagle head.

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After finishing the door area, I once again didn't like the eagle head (that was the third rework of that area if you're keeping track) So this time I chopped the entire head off.

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And broke out the monster clay and got to work on shaping something a bit more pleasing to my eye.

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I think I'm heading on the right track here. The silhouette of the eagle head is much more recognizable and pleasing.

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Now to rework it in foam, coat it one last time with resin and then aluminum.

Thanks for looking.

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On to getting the door into a workable state.

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This worked out pretty well for me, it's super easy just to stitch these LED strips together. A little solder, and a little heat shrink tubing and it's done.

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And as you can see, the effect is still pretty great. Maybe even more so over the fiber optics. (I promise one of these mods I WILL get a decent working model out of those fiber optics, it's too fun an idea not to play with more).

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Even in the daytime this lighting effect works really well. The LED strips have a sticky backing on them, and that's nice to hold it in place, while I used a little extra hot glue just to be safe.

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I dropped some black spray paint in the air shafts, just so they don't attract too much attention.

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And then I began the long and laborious process of installing the aluminum chips.

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Clamping around the edge was time consuming and I was using the Gorilla Glue still at this point. It took me hours before I could see if they would hold. Some did, some didn't

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So I got plain old fast cure epoxy. I have to test fit every piece anyway, and shape them, sometimes more than once, sometimes more than twice. The epoxy has helped immensely.

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This still takes days to do.It's pretty labor intensive.

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But I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

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The effect, in my opinion, is quite spectacular.

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The lighting is still a bit of a troublesome area. It's great. and I still need something to cover the area so I opted for a single piece of metal wrapping the entire area. It took a couple of attempts, but it's secure and still works!

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This may take me days to do, but it's arguably the hardest part. The surface area is complex and enormous.

The good news is, there's only one more door to go! And the eagle head... haha.!

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