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-   -   Project A.R.E.S. (https://forum.overclock3d.net/showthread.php?t=95494)

SaaintJimmy 06-10-20 08:50 AM

Project A.R.E.S.
Hey everyone! Back at it again, this time with my big project for the year, which will be the main entry in CMWS20. :D

Project A.R.E.S. (acronym for Astral Robot Enclosure System) will be based on the Cooler Master C700M and, as the name suggests, it will be a project themed around SciFi design and space. In particular, my main inspiration will be Robot from Netflix's Lost in Space, from which I will take some elements and merge them into the build. It won't be some sort of Lost in Space themed mod, I will just take some inspiration and make my own thing out of it.

First of all, I would like to give a big shout out to my partners and sponsors, because without them nothing of all this would be possible:

HWLegend Modding - Trippodo - Cooler Master - INNO3D - Asrock - XPG ADATA - Bitspower

Now let's go through some pics of the parts I'll be using, then start with first disassembly of the case and preparatory modifications! :D














The case will be rotated by 90 so that I can get a more symmetric look with the handles at the front and back, as you have seen I have two C700M's just because the first one had a faulty LED strip and CM was so great that they sent me a second case instead of just a replacement! So I had the idea of taking the top panel from the first case and replace the bottom one with it, so now I have the same panel front and back.




Since I started using a CNC for my projects, I obviously had to start working more on 3D software than just directly on the panels, so that took a looong time to get used to and still trying to get the hang of it, but I must say I almost got used to this by now. Anyway, I start taking some measurements and doing some trial and error on all the internal pieces.


Now to the first real modifications: I took my beloved aluminum L-profiles and splattered them all around the internal frame taking advantage of all those threaded holes that the C700M offers... so handy!

This will allow me to mount all the internal panels and give me some extra clearance between those and the external ones to fit stuff like rad/fans and other fancy stuff that will come later.





The initial idea was to have what I would call "suspension arcs" attached to the handles, those would suspend the case from the floor and create some sort of orbital ring look around the case. I made a couple templates of those arc out of MDF and well, I realized it wasn't really a great idea as it looked silly no matter how I put them. So I almost totally scrapped that idea and went another way, which you'll see in later updates.





SaaintJimmy 17-10-20 10:43 AM

Now that I got the CNC up and running (was doing an upgrade on it), I can start making the juicy parts! First one is this panel for the back of the side, where the Bitspower Hex reservoirs will go. I started by making an MDF template since I had modelled the new panel to be exactly like the original ones so I had to see if all the angles and fillets were right. Turns out everything is good except the bottom section which has to be adjusted, so I went ahead and only cut that piece this time, which turned out 100% accurate! Well then, time to load acrylic up on the CNC for my first time! :D


As you can see, I added a V engraving to the panel, to follow the alien technology design idea.




Aaaand it's done! Huge success for a first time :D



Obviously, now this panel has to be bent, because it covers the whole length of the case, while normally this section is divided into two parts. This will give it a much cleaner and seamless look.

To bend it, I made a couple jigs using some clamps and the original panels to follow the bend radius.



And here are some nice pics of it mounted! It's sad that this panel will have to get painted because that glow from the engravings is sooo good, but something very unique will be done here so I'll have to save the glow for other pieces that will be clear! :D



I then went ahead and cut another panel, this time with just a few holes to mount it in the internal back section, and to mount the three reservoirs on it. This way the external panel will be freely removable and the internals will be easily accessible even one all the tubing is installed. I'll have to make some spacers for the reservoirs because I want them to stick out a bit more.



And now the true MVP... Christmas balls!!! Yeah literally, those are Christmas balls, the type that you can open and fill up with anything you want. I used them to create some sort of space helmet look :D



SaaintJimmy 24-10-20 09:32 AM

Quick update today! I made these two air flow panels that will go internally on top and bottom, where the two 360mm rads with fans will go. I tried to find the best balance between unique design and optimal air flow. I also added a nice engraving to keep the theme going. These will also get painted so still no light party :D







Bartacus 24-10-20 03:35 PM

My god man, that looks incredible, terrific work!

SaaintJimmy 31-10-20 09:15 AM

First part of the pivot mechanism for the motherboard (and everything else basically) tray. This will probably be the key feature of this project, the whole main panel will be able to rotate 180 degrees to give the option to keep the PC on the right or left side of the setup, and this will be possible on the fly, just by unscrewing a couple screws and releasing the pivot mechanism.



Let's start with some 5mm aluminum to make the front and back panel and the two rotating discs!






Now 8mm aluminum to make the clamps for the main panel. This will be drilled on the edges later and screwed to the discs.




I milled a pocket at the back of the front and back panels to be able to fit ball bearings which will help the rotation



Current state :D


SaaintJimmy 31-10-20 09:32 AM

Double update this week!

Got to work on the base, and this will be a rather particular part of the project! I started by designing and cutting the piece that will attach to the bottom of the case out of 8mm aluminum. This piece has: three pockets with holes for acrylic inserts and blocks, mounting holes for the case, mounting holes for the 360mm radiator and air vents. It was a pretty intricate job for me to be a CNC newbie :D







Then I fired up my new Datron 6mm polished edge endmill and saw what it was capable of... well, it's nuts! This pieces will be fit into the aluminum pockets you just saw and they look like jewels!



Speaking of jewels, the real MVP of this part of the project are the acrylic blocks, which I like to call pillars, which will connect the case to the pedestal that you'll see in a minute. These are 4x4x8cm blocks and they look absolutely magical! My goal with this is obviously making it seem like the case is suspended, and given how clear these are, I'm pretty it'll work out!





Now time to load up the 15mm acrylic to make one of two parts of the pedestal. This piece was perhaps even more complicated than the aluminum one, because this time I chose to give it a huge 15mm chamfer on the edge, other than a cool engraving resembling orbital discs, the same pockets we found on the aluminum panel, a channel for LED strips and a bunch of holes here as well. The chamfer was made using a 3D scallop operation and a ball endmill, since it was so huge.





The endmill had left pretty noticeable ridges though, and I wanted a perfectly smooth surface on the chamfer, so I fired up the orbital sander and took those down.




SaaintJimmy 14-11-20 10:04 AM

Took a break from updates last week as the pandemic raged back on in Italy and I had a moment of panic where I was afraid I lost the chance to complete this year's project... but for now I'm still managing through so I hope I can make it to the end! :D

First things first, making the last piece of the pedestal, which is this aluminum panel that will go below the chamfered acrylic one. You can see it has a little slot underneath to pass the LED cable through the back of the case


Then I proceeded to bring some elbos grease out and used my new drill press to drill this profiles I made from 8mm aluminum, there was 35mm of material to drill through :D


Those holes were then M5 tap threaded on both side so that the profile can be attached to the case and the 8mm panel to the profiles themselves


Meanwhile I glued the little acrylic cookies to the pillars using K450 acrylic glue, and made a little plate out of 2mm aluminum which will serve as a cover for the LED groove on the camfered acrylic panel



Let's get it on with some fit testing!




Now onto the next part: designing all the hardware mountings and panels. First steps I went through were making the motherboard backplate (5mm alu) which will include mountings for the custom GPU brackets (8mm alu)


I started with a couple prototypes made from MDF to check for holes alignments and other measurements, and after having fixed a few mistakes in the model, I proceeded with the real pieces





Some eye candy of the X570 Steel Legend with its fresh new backplate next to the case :D



Now fixing the GPU brackets after having drilled and tapped holes on their edges to allow for a seamless mounting





SaaintJimmy 21-11-20 01:07 PM

I finally figured out the design for the PSU side and came out with some sort of armor for the PSU itself which will add a lot to the overall looks. The main goal was to make it look like some sort of core of the spaceship or something like that :D


Started with the acrylic parts




Then went to the two 8mm aluminum plates that will go front and back. These two will have all the mounting holes for the acrylic plates on the edges, drilled at the drill press and M4 threaded



Next up is the big 15mm acrylic panel which took a whole lot to design because it will have all the cables routed inside, integrated lighting and it will obviously house all the main hardware. I started by cutting an MDF prototype of the silhouette with holes and nothing else, so that I could trace down the placement for the watercooling holes and test fit everything



To be able to mount the whole module to the case and test the pivot system, I went to make some big countersinks at the back of the two pivot disks you saw a few updates back, and drilled M5 holes on the edges of the U brackets also seen earlier



Obviously something will go wrong in such an ambitious project... I had designed an integrated detachable waterchannel that fit into the big acrylic panel, and connected CPU OUT to GPU IN. Thing is there wasn't enough space to make it the old oring+screws way, so I tried the glue technic. Cutting went great, nice pocket for the channel, nice G1/4 hand threading etc... then I went to the glueing process, and things trickled down quickly. Turns out I wasn't using the right glue for the job, it was a specific glue for acrylic but it was way too thick and cured way too fast, meaning that I couldn't do capillary glueing because the glued wouldn't flow through, and I couldn't lay the glue on one surface to put the other layer on because by the time I had finished l putting the glue, it was already dry. So I started doing a bunch of research and found out pure acetone could work in my case. So I picked up some pure acetone and tested it on a little test hex res I made, with the same glue-able surface and... it holds water but doesn't withstand the air leak test. So for now I just gave up the idea of integrating it in the acrylic panel because I just don't have enough time to make a bunch of tests, and I don't want to risk having bad leaks once I'm done and ready for the deadline, so I'll see if I can make an external one later or I'll just used a tube at the back for this one. Pic of the poor first pieces before I messed them up


Now to some more cheery content! Here's a demo of how the pivot system actually works. It has 180 degrees of free movements and can be set at any angle withing range. Obviously it will be even more mindblowing once tubes and cables are in :D





As you can see, I tried that diagonal tubing layout, which I came up with while I had the assembly laying on the table with misaligned tubes and thought it could be interesting... but honestly, parallel tubing just does it better for me :D





Bartacus 22-11-20 02:30 AM

Looking amazing!!!

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