Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wheels Motha FO!!

These bigger casters give the clearance I was looking for. After all my intention is not to turn this bottom intake fan into a vacuum cleaner. Theses two and a quarter inchers are no joke. I suppose these would be the DUBS of the computer world.

I hit this one one up with the black spray paint I got, just to test it out. Let me tell you, I was not happy with the shinny shinny. I am going to have to go with straight up flat black. Although I must say I would take the shinny black over chrome any day.

Here the black VS. chrome. Both really stupid shinny.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Armor MX+ Blackout Project

I frequent online computer parts stores more than I care to admit. I have been noticing a growing trend in the computer case scene, cases are going black. I don't mean just the exterior shell, I mean completely black, inside and all, and it looks great. Modders have been doing it for years, but the mainstream just woke up and is offering it to us out of the box. This is great, but I wanted to pay my respects to all those who did mods like this before. I decided to take my spare Armor MX+ case and black it out, the good old fashion way.

My Plans for the case:

1.) Black out all the bare metal pieces in the case. (of course)

2.) Possibly replace the fans with either white or black fans. Except the huge 230mm side fan. I am stuck with that one, and the blue LEDS in it.

3.) Replace the power LED (blue) with a white LED, as well as the hdd activity LED.

4.) Add holes on the bottom (either one or two) for 120mm fans. (Just like the Armor+)

5.) I believe there are already pre-drilled holes for casters. I would really like the extra clearance if I am adding fans to the bottom. Also it would make moving the case around so much easier!!

For those of you not familiar with the case, here are some pictures:

So this adventure begins with first being slightly nuts, and taking apart a perfectly good case.

The above are most of the parts from the case. Disassembling the case was pretty simple, except for one thing:

The clear side panel had these plastic rivet things. About a million of them. Not really. More like 20 of them, but they took much fussing with. All the while I had to make sure not to break them or the side panel. So funny enough, I handed that job to my patient girlfriend (that's her hand below). It was worth it though, because taping up the clear acrylic does not sit to well with me.

Below is the side panel with the window removed. Behind it is the "taping in progress" bare shell of the case.

I am using 3M tape. I am hoping it will stick well enough, so I don't get paint on what I am trying to cover. The roll looks like this:

The taping and dissembling are finished. I have yet to put up the rest of the pics. They will be up maybe tonight? I have yet to buy the SEM self etching primer as well.

Just for fun I thought I would post my current "in use" system. The case is an Armor+. You can get somewhat of an idea of what it looks like in action.

In the picture below, it looks like my heatsink is on crooked. I am pretty sure it is not, but this angle sure makes it seem like it. Also, the bottom spots for the 120mm fans can be seen. I want to achieve something like this in the Armor MX+.

I hid the Zalman fan control in the accessories tray, I would hate to have it stuck on the side of my case like some kind of cancerous growth. I had to dremel out a hole in the back of it to do this. Sometimes the cable disconnects. I should just glue it, but then I am kinda stuck for future changes.

I am taping up a foam PSU spacer in the case. I could have pulled it off, but taping was easy enough, and I did not want to have to glue it back. A lot of glues react pretty bad with foam.

All taped up, and ready to rock.

Below are what I think are pre-drilled holes for casters. There are holes like this on each corner. If there were no holes, it would be easy enough to drill them out anyway.

Trimming the excess tape would be pretty hard without my trusty razor. Go Exacto! Remember, this is not a how to, but if anyone has any questions feel free. Any requests for how to videos or anything will be considered.

Whenever I could, I would tape the screws to a piece that was not being painted. The less time I have to spend figuring the correct places for screws the better.

I am looking forward to taming these case wires, not real sure what I will have in store for them just yet. Perhaps, I can take a crack at sleeving what I can. They will be hidden for the most part, but if I am already going this far might as well go for gold.

I have been doing A LOT of research on parts lately. I am thinking about white case fans and white LEDs. I know it looks great already because it has been done before on black cases. See below:

This guy obviously knows his way around a computer case. The thing is freaking gorgeous. So many are tempted to stuff as much silly stuff in their cases as possible. I suppose I am minimalistic, in that I don't like to be bombarded with gaudy fan guards and a zillion cold cathode lights. I really am about the hardware inside the case, and that's what this is all really about. Letting the technological beauty shine. Don't get me wrong, some theme cases are simply awesome. I definitely can appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into them. Those cases are supposed to scream "Hey, look at me!" because after all, they are center pieces. I want to build something that really requires the viewer to take a closer look. It is not always about what is there; it is what you choose not to put there as well. I could very well go into an "Art Kid" rant. I won't. Haha, I will save that for some other time.

Enough talk, here are some fans I am looking at:

(Nexus 120mm Black & White case fan)

SilverStone SST-FM121-S (Silver Panel White Fan) Case Fan with Manual Adjustable Fan Controller (9 Blades)- 120mm


Part of my parts list is done. You can view it below. The Thermaltake is for the bottom, the Nexus is for the rear exhaust. Bought a grill to cover the inside bottom hole once it is drilled out. The Molex pin remover, will let me take off the plastic connectors. This is the only way I could get the Xoxide sleeving over fan wires. For the case wires, an Exacto blade works pretty well.

Good God. I just found a monster 250 mm white and black fan. Problem now is getting it. I am not sure if I can make it work. The stock side fan is 230 mm. The mounting holes are going to be way off probably. The real problem is that I think I will run into where the side panels clip goes in the Plexiglas. Damn, it is nice though.

I was also looking at the fan from the Cooler Master HAF (A23030-10CB-3DN-L1). It is solid black and exactly 230mm, and better yet it is pretty widely available.

The main reason that I want another side fan is that the blue LEDs are going to bother me in this case. I might just have to settle, but I really don't want to.

I started marking off the fan hole for the bottom.

The case wires are all sleeved after much work. Some before and afters for you all.

Yes, got to love beige cords. God all mighty, why beige of all colors? I think that pre-wrapped case wires will be the next step in enthusiast cases. They are already coming out with pre-painted cases right, why not go the small extra step and sleeve the case wires? Manufacturing costs would not be that high, but they could charge a decent amount more.

Not sure how I feel about the spit cable wrap in place of sleeving. It looks ok, but in the future I will figure something else out.

My fans are also in! Well some of my fans...

Below is the black and white Nexus fan after sleeving. It came with a 4 pin Molex attached, which I removed. Side note: the shrink tubing was not so good, I had to get slightly creative at times.

Below is a picture of the caster clearance vs. fan thickness. I am going to have to get bigger casters.

More to come...