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Hardware and Case Mod's You Paint it, Cut it, Solder it, bend it, light it up, make it glow or anything like that, here is your forum.

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Unread 09-21-2006, 01:53 AM   #1
crazylittleman
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Default Project:Big Loud Server

Hey all
This is my first project log so it might be a bit crap.
Well my current generic tower case has got to a point where it can't hold anymore hard drives so I've decided to build a file storage server from scratch.
The basic idea is a duel PSU 14 3.5" drive tower case. It will be based around an aluminum frame with aluminum chequerplate panels on all sides.

Should end up something like this.
The basic dimensions are 450x230x580 (L x W x H). The area of the side panel marked in blue will be a MeshX type vent. Cooling will be via 4 120mm intake fans in the front, 1 120mm exhaust fan in the top and 2 92mm fans in the rear. As well as exhaust through the PSUs.
This is the basic frame that will support all the components.


This is basically how the corner joins will work.

This design enables all gluing surfaces to be hidden on the inside of the frame as well as maximizing contact area for the glue to ensure a strong bond.





The Frame
The frame is based around 20mmx20mmx3mm aluminum L rail. It is then bonded using pop rivets and Araldite. This produces joins stronger then the aluminum between them.



This is basically how the top of the frame turned out first with just the basic frame and then with the Hard drive supports in place.
The original idea was to countersink all the rivets to allow the panels to sit flush but that idea didn't turn out well so I ended up just grinding them down with a dremel.

(The flash kinda over did its self.)

Hard Drive Supports



The hard drives will be supported on rails made from the same L rail as the rest of the case. The drives will secure via screws from underneath. The idea is to put together all the supports for the hard drives so they can be place into the frame as one unit. The first step is to cut all 28 support rails then drill the holes to secure the drives. The holes are drilled with the aid of a wooden template.



Next the support rails have to be riveted to the upright supports. I did this by cutting correctly spaced grooves into a block of wood the clamping then uprights into the block. This allows me to easily place the support rails to be drilled with a hand drill. I then glued and riveted 3 of the support rails to keep the whole load square before I try and drill the rest of the holes.



One completed set of supports for hard drives. Took about 90 minutes of drilling and riveting.


The next step is to put together the second set of supports. The difficulty with this is that each horizontal rail has to be at the exact height of its pair on the 1st set of supports. So the easiest way to do this is to clamp both sets of supports together and just line them up. Like so.....
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Unread 09-21-2006, 01:55 AM   #2
crazylittleman
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Default Re: Project:Big Loud Server

Construction Error
At some point during the construction of the top section of the frame I wasn't paying attention and I made a rather large error.

(looking down at the bottom of the top)
The original idea was to have a 63mm gap on the right side of the case to hide all the cabling in. But for the above said reasons I have ended up with the 63mm gap on the left.
I cut out most of the L rail with a hacksaw just leaving the two ends glued down. Then I drilled out the rivets and drilled away as much of the remaining aluminum as possible.

Then I cut away as much of it as possible with a Dremel, the Dremel discs i was using were those $20 a set generic crappy ones so it wasn’t really effective at cutting but it did generate enough heat to just melt away the remaining glue.

That was the method i used to remove the 1st 2 joins, the 2nd 2 after i drilled out the rivets then just hit them with a hammer and they came loose.

Finished refitting the cross pieces in the correct position.



All the panels arrived today. It ended up costing $95 for all of them.

Frame Base/Panel

Now I have to panels cut and ready to go i could continue with the frame. The panel and L rails for the base were clamped onto and chip board and the joiner pieces are pre drilled on a drill press are put into position. The pre-drilled joiners are used as a template to drill through the L rail and base panel with a cordless hand drill.


Rivets are test fitted into the holes.


The L rails are then glued directly to the base panel and riveted in each corner.
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Unread 09-23-2006, 11:10 PM   #3
CYberDruid
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Default Re: Project:Big Loud Server

Looks Good M8. Looking forward to some more pictures. I too enjoy building fom scratch...it's very satisfying
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Unread 09-24-2006, 04:18 AM   #4
pinetar
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Default Re: Project:Big Loud Server

I knew you were not in the USA when I saw the Euro deck plate which I like.
Nice project.
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Unread 09-25-2006, 06:06 AM   #5
crazylittleman
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Default Re: Project:Big Loud Server

Hard Drive Supports

I finally finished the hard drive supports. I was having issues getting all of the supports to line up so i ended up clamping each set of supports ontop of each other then drilling right through.


The Frame
I finally completed the top and base of the frame then cut the uprights then today finally dry fitted the entire stack together with clamps.


This uprights are supported by 2 rivets in each corner as well as a 45 degree angled support. Each of the holes is countersunk to let the panels fit flush.

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Unread 09-25-2006, 05:34 PM   #6
CYberDruid
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Default Re: Project:Big Loud Server

Looks very sturdy--you are doing a neat job off making so many parts line up.
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Unread 09-27-2006, 06:44 AM   #7
crazylittleman
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Default Re: Project:Big Loud Server

After the glue sets the whole frame is turned over and its the same deal with the top of the frame.

(rivets dry fitted)

Hard Drive Supports


So the supports can be riveted into the base and top of the frame I've attached these small L brackets at the base and top.

Misc


I got these handles yesterday. I know they are ment for bathroom draws but i think they match ok.

I also test fitted the panels just to get an idea of what its going to look like in the end.
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Unread 09-27-2006, 10:38 AM   #8
HammerSandwich
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Default Re: Project:Big Loud Server

Very cool! I enjoy seeing someone make their own metal case for a change. A few comments...

The reinforced cutoff wheels are FAR better than the standard ones.

You're doing a lot of trimming for your corners. How big a PITA is keeping the dimensions you want?

Maybe there's more space than I'm seeing, but it looks like replacing the topmost HD would require removing ALL of the other drives. Can you really fit a screwdriver between the drives? I suppose there might be enough room for thumbscrews.

When you realized that the frame's top was wrong, why did you not make it the bottom?

I'll be watching!
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Unread 09-27-2006, 05:59 PM   #9
CYberDruid
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Default Re: Project:Big Loud Server

How many HDDs are you planning on using?
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Unread 09-27-2006, 07:22 PM   #10
crazylittleman
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Default Re: Project:Big Loud Server

Quote:
Originally Posted by HammerSandwich

You're doing a lot of trimming for your corners. How big a PITA is keeping the dimensions you want?
Its really not that difficult because all those trimmed corners were designed on the original computer model so I've just stuck to those original dimensions and its work out rather good.
Quote:
Originally Posted by HammerSandwich
Maybe there's more space than I'm seeing, but it looks like replacing the topmost HD would require removing ALL of the other drives. Can you really fit a screwdriver between the drives? I suppose there might be enough room for thumbscrews.
To be honest there isn't really enough space once the drives are in. They basiclly have to be installed from the top down. Yes this isn't ideal but it's not like I take the drives out so I'm not to concerned. It makes the once off install of hardware a little more difficult but in the long run cause few issues and allows me to fit the drives in more compactly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HammerSandwich
When you realized that the frame's top was wrong, why did you not make it the bottom?

I'll be watching!
The top and base of the frame are of an similar design but are out together differently. While the top frame is riveted together as a seperate component to the top panel which is screwed on at the end. The base has the frame and panel riveted together as one component.

Also as you can see from this pic the base has a large cut out at the back to allow for the bottom mounted psu, the top frame doesn't have this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
CYberDruid
How many HDDs are you planning on using?
I really don't know how many I'll end up using. To be honest I don't think I'll ever have the need for 14 drives nor justify the cost but it's still good to know I have the capacity.
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Unread 09-27-2006, 07:59 PM   #11
HammerSandwich
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Default Re: Project:Big Loud Server

Quote:
Originally Posted by crazylittleman
The top and base of the frame are of an similar design but are out together differently.
That's clear now that I look at the pictures more carefully. Sure wasn't obvious to me when I checked the CAD picture of the frame.
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Unread 09-30-2006, 06:35 AM   #12
crazylittleman
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Default Re: Project:Big Loud Server

Fan controller

It switches all the fans between 12 and 7 volts.


The Frame

I used to dead HDDs to correctly space the two hard drive supports then braced them square with a spare piece of metal and clamps.

Then after extensive use of a hammer I got it into the frame and got the top to fit correctly. Then braced the frame with wood and more clamps so i can finish counter sinking all the holes and to make sure it was all square. Then glued and riveted everything together.

I then drilled holes through the base as well as the top frame. Then riveted through these holes into the L brackets on the top and bottom of the hard drive supports.

And thats the completed frame. Next is panel work but I don't know when i'll start that.
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Unread 10-22-2006, 12:36 AM   #13
crazylittleman
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Default Re: Project:Big Loud Server

Top Panel
Finally got a bit more work done. The top panel is attached by 10 screws with nuts plus 4 screws that will attach the handles.

First the frame and top panel are lined up and clamped to a piece of chipboard. The holes are then measured and drilled with a cordless drill.

To cut the fan hole I screwed the panel down to a piece of chipboard then drill the pilot holes using a template from Sketchup. Then cut the hole using a hole saw.

It all fits together which is always good. Also now i have a cool chequerplate drink coaster.

Front Panel


To drill the attaching holes for the front panel I clamped the panel down and drilled straight through from the outside.

Because the top and bottom of the frame sits 3mm forward of the uprights I need to put in these little spacer pieces along where the screws go through. They are araldited in place.

The front panel is clamped and hole sawed in the same way the top was.
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