Prototyping 6.5L ITX case for both horizontal and vertical setups

NateDawg72

Airflow Optimizer
Aug 11, 2016
307
231
I'm hesitant to say much since I'm not in the market for a case, but I've been intrigued by the idea of a 3D Print + aluminum / metal case for awhile now. That's something Lazer3D & others haven't done as of yet.
 

CC Ricers

Shrink Way Wielder
Original poster
Nov 1, 2015
1,687
1,761
I haven't seen a 3D print/aluminum combo myself. If I go that route might as well use a higher quality print service such as Shapeways since printed parts would be smaller. That might be interesting to do- make the case with small rounded corner pieces that are printed or CNCed out of metal, and sheets for everything else, joined by exposed screws. I would like to push the industrial look that would result from this.
 

NateDawg72

Airflow Optimizer
Aug 11, 2016
307
231
That's kind of along the lines of what I've been thinking of for my scratch build, printed corner brackets and aluminum panels. My 3D printer has a small print area so I either have to go with smaller individual pieces like the corners or glue it together to form a larger structure.
 

zzmadd

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Nov 18, 2017
100
48
It's something that I would need to see.
I personally don't get excited by ideas. I do get excited when I see an interesting object.
I would need photos to judge.
In relationship to having the sides transparent I'd probably like glass better than acrylic.
Transparent acrylic can be so cheap.
 
  • Like
Reactions: CC Ricers

CC Ricers

Shrink Way Wielder
Original poster
Nov 1, 2015
1,687
1,761
It's something that I would need to see.
I personally don't get excited by ideas. I do get excited when I see an interesting object.
I would need photos to judge.
In relationship to having the sides transparent I'd probably like glass better than acrylic.
Transparent acrylic can be so cheap.
Glass does look nicer but the problem with it is that it is very tricky and expensive to cut vent patterns on glass. Larger SFF case makers have had trouble with glass panel pattern cut outs.

The most feasible way to include glass panels is for it to be completely solid except for screw holes. And then offset the glass panel with standoffs to let the hardware breathe in cool air.

I'd say keep it all plastic and go with acrylic.
That's where I'll be going for this case for now. The prototype will have some very simple top and bottom openings on the side panels for ventilation but I'm also trying out different vent patterns and getting quotes on those.
 
  • Like
Reactions: NateDawg72

CC Ricers

Shrink Way Wielder
Original poster
Nov 1, 2015
1,687
1,761
First prototype parts just done from the printer shop. For a first time, they look pretty good.



I have sent a print for only one side of the larger case parts (out of the two). This is so I can review the quality of the part and test GPU fitment before continuing. Then I'll order the part for the remaining side, with the same printer and supplier.

The smaller parts are the motherboard mounts, printed in ABS plastic. The larger part was printed using HTPLA when ABS printing wasn't available at the time. It's a more impact-resistant version of PLA.
 

zzmadd

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Nov 18, 2017
100
48
First prototype parts just done from the printer shop. For a first time, they look pretty good.



I have sent a print for only one side of the larger case parts (out of the two). This is so I can review the quality of the part and test GPU fitment before continuing. Then I'll order the part for the remaining side, with the same printer and supplier.

The smaller parts are the motherboard mounts, printed in ABS plastic. The larger part was printed using HTPLA when ABS printing wasn't available at the time. It's a more impact-resistant version of PLA.
I was saying...what design did he print out?
Looks good!
It's the first time I see a case printed in one piece (they'll be two).
Modivio needs four bits to make a bezel like that.
How will you fix the two main bezels?
It this the vertical layout?
Do you know the printer model they use at the shop?
 
  • Like
Reactions: CC Ricers

CC Ricers

Shrink Way Wielder
Original poster
Nov 1, 2015
1,687
1,761
I was saying...what design did he print out?
Looks good!
It's the first time I see a case printed in one piece (they'll be two).
Modivio needs four bits to make a bezel like that.
How will you fix the two main bezels?
It this the vertical layout?
Do you know the printer model they use at the shop?
The two main bezel pieces are joined with screws and standoffs inserted at the corners, and the diagonal bumps and gaps interlock the pieces to prevent shearing and sliding. This is also how my current smaller case is assembled.

This is the vertical layout but it can also be adapted to be horizontal like a typical sandwich style case such as DAN A4 or Ghost S1.

I had the parts printed with a Formbot T-Rex, more on the higher end of cost for DIY printers but has a large print area.
 
  • Like
Reactions: zzmadd

CC Ricers

Shrink Way Wielder
Original poster
Nov 1, 2015
1,687
1,761
I'm going to put more emphasis on being able to position this case both vertically and horizontally. Here's a render of a case build in the vertical position.



In a horizontal position the PSU might have to be mounted on standoffs to route the power cable below it.

Plus, the width has been increased on the CPU side to allow CPU coolers up to 47mm tall :)

Edit: Also, I have settled on two side panel patterns to use for the case.



Both patterns have diagonal angled cutouts to let warm air vent from the edges, and are mirrored on both sides. I have calculated the pattern on the left to be cheaper than the one on the right, because even though they are similar in total area ventilation, the pattern on the right requires more individual shapes to cut out, using more cutting time.
 
Last edited:

CC Ricers

Shrink Way Wielder
Original poster
Nov 1, 2015
1,687
1,761
Still waiting on my case parts (the shipping option used is slow), so in the meantime I have been conceiving other ideas for case layouts. Here is a 5.1 liter case concept that could belong in the same family, a shorter variant that fits ITX length GPUs.



It occupies mostly the same vertical space and footprint as similar cases for shorter cards and Flex-ATX PSUs. However this one uses a vertical orientation for the GPU and motherboard. This allows hot air to more easily exhaust through the top.

But like the case for full-length GPUs, it can also be oriented horizontally with the PSU cable exiting from the bottom.

Because this is also closely related to the smaller case I have worked on, I think that this will be the option I'll choose for that moving forward. So, both cases will use Flex ATX PSUs, one for mini ITX and another for full-length GPUs, and be 5 and 6 liters in volume respectively.
 
Last edited:

jujudk

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Oct 1, 2017
100
83
Haven't followed for a while, still a very nice job, i would merge the mt5 and 6 then, one being the normal shorter version and another well, the bigger one
Or just scrap one altogether
i really love those vertical cases ^^ (still not in a hurry, mini itx am4 boards are stil rare :/ )
 
  • Like
Reactions: CC Ricers

CC Ricers

Shrink Way Wielder
Original poster
Nov 1, 2015
1,687
1,761
I'll be keeping the MT5 and 6 as separate but related cases.

Also, I finally got my first case parts! The bezel for the GPU side and the two motherboard mounting pieces. These parts came out spot on accurate, accounting for the minor imperfections inherent with 3D printing.

However, the motherboard mounts made in ABS plastic have an even more refined look due to using a different filament. Compared to HTPLA, the ABS parts came out more smoothed out and a more matte finish. Wish it were possible to print the large bezel with ABS but HTPLA still feels very sturdy and durable with the 6mm minimum bezel thickness.

The only setbacks I found have to do with my own minor design errors. GPU mounting bracket hole is 1.5mm too narrow for the angled bracket, and one side of the mobo mounts runs into the screw holder in the back corner. I'll have to file off some of the plastic to get those parts to fit.
 

CC Ricers

Shrink Way Wielder
Original poster
Nov 1, 2015
1,687
1,761
They're not many, but I have pictures now! This is of the GPU side bezel only.


Not shown are the motherboard tray parts, which I have only installed in the last two pictures where the motherboard is resting on. So far it feels like a more sturdy mounting solution than my previous case. No bending or warping!
 

CC Ricers

Shrink Way Wielder
Original poster
Nov 1, 2015
1,687
1,761
A bit of news: I may have found a shop that would be able to print single parts exceeding 300mm. This means it's possible to have a case made that would fit SFX PSUs and oversized cards.
 

CC Ricers

Shrink Way Wielder
Original poster
Nov 1, 2015
1,687
1,761
And I've been notified the second case shell part arrived at my home today, a few days earlier than expected. I will get around to assembling the case later today.
 

NateDawg72

Airflow Optimizer
Aug 11, 2016
307
231
I know your early MT4 prototype was a bit flexy because of how thin a few parts were. How are these parts feeling strength/flex wise? Do you feel you are at a good spot now, or do you think an optimal thickness would be slightly more/less?

Is it too much for me to ask what kind of infill settings you are using?