A New Case Bottom

posted Dec 23, 2012, 6:34 PM by Andrew Stock
Hello Everyone!

So, I moved forward with the plans to replace the bottom of my case with a new plate... but I decided to take it one step further and make a feature out of it! Sometimes missteps turn into opportunities! 

First of all, I managed to grab a piece of 2mm thick aluminum scrap from a friend. After playing with a few ideas, I decided I would bolt the piece to the bottom of the case, along with a 5mm thick piece of clear acrylic as a 'spacer'. I threw together a little 'proof of concept' piece out of some scraps I had first, as I didn't want to waste my clean aluminum piece on experimentation. There are a lot of things going on along the bottom of the case... I have wheels to attach, a drain port that comes through the front of the case, and several screws to hold the radiators to the case. After several iterations, I decided I liked this layout the best:

With that all worked out, I sized up a clear piece of acrylic for the bottom of the case, and drew a line where the edge of the acrylic would be. I would have liked to keep the whole ledge out to the depth shown in the picture below, but the case won't reassemble with that ledge sticking over the perforated area:

Next, I lined up and trimmed the aluminum piece to match the planned edge of the acrylic:

After some fiddling, I decided it would likely work out best if I created a template out of MDF for the front area. The drain port will be surrounded by a thin rim of acrylic, which will be a bit too fragile to do by hand... 

A quick pass on the router later:

After that, I used my unibit and the drill press to punch a hole for the drain port in it, and tested the assembly:

So far so good! Next, I carved a hole in the aluminum plate to match the outer diameter of the acrylic rim around the drain port using my jigsaw and a metal file:

Okay... but not quite right. I consulted with a few friends that were over at the time, and ended up with this design:

Much better! More fluid and appealing. (Yes, I know the acrylic isn't quite centered in this pic... I'm going to make some final adjustments during wet sanding!)

After that, I took a brief brake from that piece to quickly cut out a 'prism' for the center of my reservoir:

I had hoped that I could make a hollow version to put some lights in the center of, but there ended up not being enough space... so I'll be playing around with my options here, as I would like to really illuminate that prism. 

After that, I played with the LED light / Arduino side of things. I mentioned quite a while back, but I have a friend developing a custom LED controller out of an Arduino uno, and he's made some good progress. 

What I was thinking of doing was using one or two strips placed inlaid between the aluminum plate and the acrylic plate to light up the edges, giving a neat glowing effect between the two (eventually black) plates. Here's a very early preview of that, just for fun.  

The shot is dark (intentionally), but what you are looking at is the aluminum plate on the bottom, the acrylic on top of that, and the bottom of the case on top, with the radiator block sitting on top of that. I simply smooshed the LED strip between the acrylic and the bottom of the case for now, but ill be carving an inlay soon that hopefully will give off better light on the edges.

Also, here's a quick video to give a better idea of what it looks like: http://youtu.be/gmVg79SDWlE

Until next time!