Prototyping 6.5L ITX case for both horizontal and vertical setups

CC Ricers

Shrink Way Wielder
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Nov 1, 2015
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This is full-sized version of my MT4 case- still made with the same materials, but extended to fit full-sized cards and a Flex-ATX power supply, in the same back-to-back layout. A SFX version could be made as well.

Currently in 3D print prototyping phase. An all-aluminum version could also be possible

Essentially it will have width extended to fit the power supply, and length for reference-length cards (including some extra-tall ones).





Tentative specs (3D printed):
  • Volume: 6.7 L
  • Dimensions (without case feet): 295 x 200 x 113.5 mm
  • Expansion card support: 276 x 140 mm, 2-slot
  • Motherboard support: Mini-ITX
  • Power supply: Flex-ATX, 3"x5" switching power supplies (MeanWell, etc)
  • Power inlet: C14 standard, extension cord for Flex-ATX power supplies
  • Max CPU cooler height: 43mm
  • Storage: TBD- at least one 2.5" drive
  • Materials: ABS or HTPLA plastic shell, acrylic panels
  • Colors: A bunch, at least black and white
 
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CC Ricers

Shrink Way Wielder
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Nov 1, 2015
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Second this, great job! let's see how it develops further, also I see mounting points below, hats? (would be cool)
They're not for hats but they are meant for mounting SSDs and fans on the bottom.

I still have to do more changes on the bottom. It may be a lot better to have a laser cut panel to cover the bottom side with the mounting slots cut on the panel.
 

CC Ricers

Shrink Way Wielder
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Nov 1, 2015
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So starting out I want to make the case available in these colors: Black, white, red, blue, green, and possibly orange. I want to add at least color as a degree of customization to these cases.

Being 3D-printed, the per-unit customization is easier to put through production, making incremental updates easier for future cases produced.

Side panels are limited to clear color for now, but that could change as it becomes easier for me to pre-stock some inventory. Because right now I rely 100% on third party suppliers, these cases will have to be made-to-order and I project a minimum order quantity of 5 for the orders to become worthwhile.
 

CC Ricers

Shrink Way Wielder
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Nov 1, 2015
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I have adjusted the bottom mounting slots to fit both 80mm and 92mm fans. Here's an example with two 80x15mm fans being placed below the motherboard area. Small feet can elevate the case some 6mm to allow air to be pulled in from the bottom and pushed through the CPU cooler.

 

robbee

Airflow Optimizer
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Sep 24, 2016
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Another great 3d printed concept 🙂 I think you'll need to provide good support in the middle of the case or you'll risk quite some sag. Also I don't envy the printing time on this thing, I imaging it'll be north of 30 hours 😅

How many parts will this be printed in?
 
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BaK

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May 17, 2016
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Dunno if this could be achieved without ending up being too flimsy, but looking at yours MT4 vs MT7 makes me think... why not have removable (blue) lengths in the middle of the MT7, and here comes an MT4? 2 cases in 1! XD
(Sorry for butchering your render)
 
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CC Ricers

Shrink Way Wielder
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Nov 1, 2015
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Another great 3d printed concept 🙂 I think you'll need to provide good support in the middle of the case or you'll risk quite some sag. Also I don't envy the printing time on this thing, I imaging it'll be north of 30 hours 😅

How many parts will this be printed in?
You're right, my previous MT4 case had some sag in the middle spine if you flip it horizontally like I did for a few hours. May be okay if you just take enough time to install the motherboard but otherwise, must be kept in a vertical position

But I'm doing away with 3D printing the spine. I'm moving on to using cast acrylic which is somewhat more brittle than ABS in comparision but also less likely to flex. Anchor points are on the front and back corners. May or may not add a fifth in the bottom center (where the mobo meets the PSU).



The case will be printed in three parts- left side (GPU compartment), right side (mobo and PSU compartment) and the power supply bracket. The bracket is a much smaller part, but I haven't designed the bracket yet.

Dunno if this could be achieved without ending up being too flimsy, but looking at yours MT4 vs MT7 makes me think... why not have removable (blue) lengths in the middle of the MT7, and here comes an MT4? 2 cases in 1! XD
(Sorry for butchering your render)
I thought about that for a bit, making the case extendable length-wise. But I think it will come out too complicated in design plus I do worry about flimsiness (especially with the concerns I talked about above). Best to keep the MT4 and MT7 as separate cases.

However, it is very possible to have the GPU side replaceable with wider extensions. It would not be hard to print single-slot or triple-slot versions of the GPU compartment, and these will be handled as a special request option.
 
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CC Ricers

Shrink Way Wielder
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A minor update- this case will be renamed LMT7, for "long mini tower". But there's a reason for that. The MT7 name will now be for a different product, and that's all I'm saying for now ;) I'm putting this long case on the backburner as I'll be concentrating my work on releasing MT4. Then, I can focus more on other things.
 

CC Ricers

Shrink Way Wielder
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I've been on hiatus with my case designs but have jumped back in recently. This time I decided to try rebuilding most of the design from scratch again and tackle the issue of the motherboard mounting more effectively. The case is also downsized from 7L to 6L and accepting Flex ATX power supplies, and reference sized cards as the maximum length. I don't have the confidence yet of using 3D printed parts to support oversized cards or SFX PSUs.



This time the mounts are integrated as part of the shell of the case, with a more rigid assembly for the mounting points. This is done effectively when the motherboard is close to the edges so I did have to sacrifice fan mounting features. I might still add top vents, though. Testing thermals would sure be interesting once I can get one of these made, that's for sure.

Again, this was re-done from scratch but with similar design language (also helped do away with the micro-measurement quirks that the last model developed in Sketchup). The frame is 1.5mm thicker on all sides and requires 2 main parts to be printed instead of three, potentially reducing cost in parts.

The hairline texture of the print will be prevalent, which I want to emphasize as a cheaper plastic alternative to DAN A4 and its clones while retaining some of their style :)
 
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CC Ricers

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Did some work on the power supply bracket as well as adding case vents. It took me two different designs before I settled on something that would be functional and easy to install as a separate piece.



The power supply plug comes out of the bottom, and the opening serves as both ventilation and an easy access to screwing in the power supply without removing the bracket. The top front flange of the bracket is held with an embedded tab and slot that locks it into place when both halves of the case are joined.



A single 2.5" SSD can be installed beside the power supply. This is similar to some cases found on Taobao, most notably the ZS-A4S. But since this will be made out of plastic the bracket needs to be made to support it well. It is 4mm thick which should be well enough to hold a typical Flex ATX power supply's weight.
 

CC Ricers

Shrink Way Wielder
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Nov 1, 2015
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More updates!

The final design for the MLT6 is here, also this time in a "uni-shell" version. That one's printed as one single piece for the shell, as long as the printer has enough print area. However, it can still be possible to print as separate left and right pieces.



The single piece version has three rows of front bottom vents that could be provide intake air for case fans or exhaust for PSU fans. Like my MT4 case, they are spaced in order to have mounting points for 92mm fans. But also can be used for power supply brackets that either hold a Flex-ATX PSU or a switching power supply like the Mean Well 300-500W series. A bottom 92mm is mountable underneath the bracket, then blowing air into the open-frame PSUs for better performance.

Additional holes will be in the bottom corners to provide places to screw in feet, allowing air intake from the bottom.
 
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Tazpr

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I like he adoption of FLX-ATX PSU's, I feel like this differentiates the case compared to other offerings and is something I think a lot of SFF builders are opting for these days.

I'm wondering how long before Silverstone releases a NightJar passive FLX ATX PSU?
 
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CC Ricers

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Thanks, and there haven't been many cases outside of Taobao that have been using Flex-ATX. Just literally a handful I can think of. A passive Flex-ATX would be pretty novel, and I don't think there's been such a PSU before.

I like the idea of their 350W Flex-ATX PSU, but I think they dropped the ball with the non-modular cables, as those would get pretty cramped in the SFF cases that were made for one. My favorite ones for now are the Seasonic SSP-250 and SSP-300 SUG. They have detachable cables so it's possible to make your own custom length ones easily to fit a gaming PC build in a smaller case.
 
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zzmadd

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Nov 18, 2017
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I build PCs.
I've purchased around 7 Modivio 3D printed cases this year. All the sizes and a few colors.
I own myself 3.
From the photos of your original project I can tell the ABS structure is WAY too thin. I mean WAY. It curves in the middle.
Consider this info.
The case otherwise looks good.
 

CC Ricers

Shrink Way Wielder
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Nov 1, 2015
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I build PCs.
I've purchased around 7 Modivio 3D printed cases this year. All the sizes and a few colors.
I own myself 3.
From the photos of your original project I can tell the ABS structure is WAY too thin. I mean WAY. It curves in the middle.
Consider this info.
The case otherwise looks good.
Yep I've noticed, that case bows outward on the front. I've used it for several months now. Fortunately I had no more issues other than the motherboard tray sagging when I had it sitting side face down. These experiences have lead to the redesign you see in this thread. (I will also be making a new short case based on the new findings)

In the original case, the walls are 5mm at their thickest and 3mm at their thinnest. For the case in this thread they are 9mm at their thickest and 5mm at their thinnest (only in a middle top part of the case). I've added flanges that contribute to the added thickness of the structure so that that the walls are less likely to bend.
 

zzmadd

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Nov 18, 2017
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Yep I've noticed, that case bows outward on the front. I've used it for several months now. Fortunately I had no more issues other than the motherboard tray sagging when I had it sitting side face down. These experiences have lead to the redesign you see in this thread. (I will also be making a new short case based on the new findings)

In the original case, the walls are 5mm at their thickest and 3mm at their thinnest. For the case in this thread they are 9mm at their thickest and 5mm at their thinnest (only in a middle top part of the case). I've added flanges that contribute to the added thickness of the structure so that that the walls are less likely to bend.
Thanks for the reply.
Nice that you made those modifications. Strength is a very important point to take care of in 3D printed cases.
My main system is a modified xCase M that uses Flex ATX PSU. It's basically mounted back to back with the video card. it measures 36x22x10 and yours is smaller.
Your design it's actually a very good idea. It's overall very small.
Only complain are FlexATX PSU noisy fans. I use a Modular Geeek version of the Delta 400W Gold and even though the PSU fan is swapped with a 40x40x15 Noctua I find it unbearable. FlexATX PSU tend to be very hot even a low power.
BUT your case design is interesting. With your case I'd have the FlexATX PSU fan removed. Then I'd plug the 92mm fan, the one that sits underneath the PSU itself, to the PSU internal fan header. Basically having the 92mm fan run by the FlexATX PSU. That would solve one issue.
Another issue here is CPU cooler thickness. A Cryorig C7 can run an i7 8700 without power limits. But I'm not sure there's a 40mm cooler that can do that.
Do you have a price point for this case?
 
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CC Ricers

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Thanks for your feedback! Right now looks like design is still under review by the shop but I'm confident that it's easily printable. I had split the case in order to make it more manageable for printing time.

I was meaning to make 3D printed cases with a sandwich layout for quite some time. Figure there could be a need for cases that would more affordable than the Dan or Kolink cases, if they are fine with choosing one made of plastic.

The Geeek PSU that you mentioned would unfortunately be too long to fit inside this case as it is. It is 170mm long because of the modular connectors, and the attached cables need at least 12mm more room. Not to mention the angled power plug coming out from the bottom, would need 20cm of room there. I know there are some very slim angled C13 power adapters that come from Taobao and I might try those out.

The types of FlexATX PSUs that would fit are 150mm non modular PSUs, with one main exception. The SeaSonic Flex SUB and SUG series. I like these PSUs because their 24-pin modular connector is at a right angle, and it sits within the 150mm length (The M1U is too long being 190mm). It is possible to make custom cable sets that would plug into the 24-pin connector, to make the lengths fit better inside of the case. The only limitation is that these PSUs top out at 300W so I wouldn't expect anyone to throw in a 9900K with a 2080 Ti along with them.

The case's internal height is 182mm. So I'm figuring that a Noctua NF A9x14 fan cmbined with a Seasonic Flex PSU of 150mm with a bracket that attaches the PSU to the fan. The 92mm fan holes are also to be used with various adapters that can fit several PSU and fan arrangements.
More potent power solutions require the use of a MeanWell EPP-400 or EPP-500 with a 92mm fan and DC-DC power board, and those are more DIY solutions if you can manage with them.

I may consider producing a somewhat larger case that would fit a SFX PSU and coolers up to 48mm tall if I think the structure holds up very well without requiring drastic changes to the design.

EDIT: I haven't set a definite price point for it yet but tentatively could be $90-95 without the PCIe riser. It would include acrylic panels and necessary screws. Also I may buy a few of the low-profile power plugs and test them out. These would add compatibility to more Flex PSUs.
 
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