Build Log - a SMALL scratch build case. - My Way # 21

neilhart

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Apr 18, 2017
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I am starting another Mini-ITX scratch build case. This is a keep busy project and I am going to use the components from the Asus Z170I Pro Gaming system that I built last year.

I am now a big fan of the DAN case A4-SFX V3 and the LOUQE Ghost S1 case. I have one of each of those cases on order and may see them in May.

In past years I have not had much luck running GPUs on riser cables and thought I should take another look. The current crop of riser cables are much improved to those available just a few years ago.

Also I thought I should try to build a SFF aluminum case and discover the issues of space allocation and low profile CPU coolers.



I am starting out with 1/2 inch (12.6 mm) and 3/4 (18.9 mm) inch aluminum extrusions from the local hardware store and corner cubes from Parvum Systems.

The Parvum cubes are attached to the 3/4 inch extrusions with socket flat head M3 screws and then the i/2 inch extrusion is mounted with the JB Weld. The extrusion wall thickness is 1/8 inch (3+ mm) and the aluminum panels are the same thickness.



The length of the extrusion assemblies is 5 3/4 inch and with the side panel the finished width of the system will be 6 inches (151.5 mm).. I cut these panels as seen and then went back and increased the length of the front and back panels. This makes the system (less any feet) at 11 3/4 inches (296.7 mm) deep, and 8 1/2 inches (214.6 mm) tall.



After cutting the panels, I made up a small drill guide template. This allowed me to match drill corner rails and the mating panel end. I then M3 tapped 24 holes in the rails. I enlarged the 24 holes in the panels and counter sank each to achieve flush or just below flush state for the SS M3 socket flat head screws.



The result is this in process raw case.



I am concurrently working on the compute module and was able to get the back panel nearly complete.




More to follow soon. Questions and/or comments are welcome.

Neil
 

neilhart

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Apr 18, 2017
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No rush to complete this project as I wait for the Ghost S1 to arrive; June? July? August?

Anyway these are photos of the main compute module installed into the raw case. The systems runs macOS 10.13.3.

I am working to sort out the front panel which will have 2 USB 3.0 ports, power LED and HDD activity LED and an RGB power switch (switch on order from Adafruit).







More to follow

Neil
 

neilhart

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Apr 18, 2017
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I notice extra space above the motherboard. What CPU cooler are you using?

This iteration is with a ScythE BIG ShurikeN 2B.

I am toying with the idea of building several compute modules that will slide into this case. This system is a Sky Lake i7-6700K and I have most of the parts for a Coffee Lake i7-8700T system.

I am trying to have common front and back panels for the case.

Neil
 
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Gautam

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This iteration is with a ScythE BIG ShurikeN 2B.

I am toying with the idea of building several compute modules that will slide into this case. This system is a Sky Lake i7-6700K and I have most of the parts for a Coffee Lake i7-8700T system.

I am trying to have common front and back panels for the case.

Neil
Looks great. I don't think I'd be able to go for an off-the-shelf case after putting in that kind of elbow grease into my own. :)
 

neilhart

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Apr 18, 2017
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The case is now mostly complete. I have to decide on what to use as feet and I am waiting on a 20 pin short USB3 cable for the front ports.

This compute module is made up of the following:

Motherboard: ASUS Z170I Pro Gaming
CPU: Intel i7-6700K
CPU Cooler: ScythE BIG ShurikeN 2B
SSD: Mushkin 2.5” 240 GB
HDD: HGST Travelstar iTB 7K1000 (2.5” 7200 RPM)
GPU: MSI GTX 760 ITX
Memory: Corsair -1 6GB DDR4 (2x8GB)
PSU: Silverstone SST-ST45SF-G 450 watt
WiFi/BT = Updated module to m.2 BCM94352Z
Riser Cable: Thermaltake PCI-E 3.0 X16 Reinforced Cable, 200mm


I have most of the bits and pieces to build the second compute module. This will be with a Gigabyte Z370N WiFI and a i7-8700T. More on that soon.

Neil
 

loader963

King of Cable Management
Bronze Supporter
Jan 21, 2017
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One of the reasons I love this site is seeing the talents of the members come together in cool ideas. This is one of them, and you sir are an artist!!!
 

myfirstpcyay

Average Stuffer
Mar 7, 2018
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BRAVO on the build. I've wanted to do something like this next - angle aluminum along with the cube connectors. Only shortcoming I have is the lack of more "precision" tools so my cuts won't be as clean as yours. Either way. GREAT build :D
 

neilhart

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Apr 18, 2017
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BRAVO on the build. I've wanted to do something like this next - angle aluminum along with the cube connectors. Only shortcoming I have is the lack of more "precision" tools so my cuts won't be as clean as yours. Either way. GREAT build :D

Yes the tool set available has a lot to do with the project out come. And the process used makes a big difference.

For years I followed Attila Lukas’ projects and admired his work. Attila is what I call a “Master Craftsman” and he maintains a web site (http://www.stillthinking.com.au/home.html). Check out the “Guides” as Attila shares his process in a photo story manner.

I have seen where some people feel so compelled to construct their own case that they do it anyway possible with a minimal tool set.

Anyway I encourage people to be creative and make things.

Neil
 

neilhart

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Apr 18, 2017
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Th1s series of photos is to show how the current system is opened and the compute module removed.

I start by removing the left side panel (remove 4 screws).

Remove the GPU bracket (remove 2 screws)

Then remove the top panel (remove 6 screws)

Remove AC power cord (remove 2 screws)

At the top front, disconnect the front fan three pin connector and the front panel 6 pin connector

Slide the front fan out of the system

Slide the compute module towards the front to clear the GPU of its rear mount

Slide the compute module out of the left side of the system

Here I have added a piece of electrical tape to the top rear of the GPU to the center frame. As it is currently, when the module is outside of the case there is no support of the GPU other than that provided by the riser cable connector.

Multiple views of the compute module



The compute module running free of the case


More to follow - diss-assembly of this compute module and plans for improvement in the next module.

Neil
 

CC Ricers

Shrink Way Wielder
Bronze Supporter
Nov 1, 2015
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Great case! You got way farther than I could making a custom case out of metal... the rear I/O was the most time consuming attempt for me. Plus cutting metal was too noisy lol. If you are up for it, you can give it a brushed finish to make it even nicer. It takes quite a bit of time, but you can pull this off manually, and well!
 

neilhart

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Apr 18, 2017
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A small update.

Lost time yesterday as the original compute module was crashing via a spontaneous reboot. Anyway I ran MemTest86 and was reassured that the memory was good. I updated the Mac OS to 10.13.4 and the problems went away.

I did however get the second module started. The module frame work is made up from 1/4 inch (6.3 mm) black ABS. This is my material of choice as it is easily cut, drill, tap and solvent weld.

As seen here the main parts are the vertical rib, the base and two small pieces for the PSU mounts.



Here with the PC standoffs installed both sides. I am using 6.5 mm items for motherboard and 8.4 mm for the riser cable.



And my collection of new parts for the second module.



I am going to start off with this well used Power Man 300W SFX PSU which will need some work to get the cables where they need to be.



I have a used EVGA GTX 1060 ITX which did not make the photo shoot.

The module will become a hackintosh and this is my first experience with the Z370 chip set and the i7-8700T (35W TDP). I have a small set of low profile CPU coolers to select from.

More to follow.

Neil
 
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neilhart

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Apr 18, 2017
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I tested the 300 watt PSU and found it to be “bad” on the tester and also tried it on this motherboard which would not POST.

So I am using an old Antec PSU and have ordered up a Silverstone 650w SFX unit which should arrive tomorrow.

I have the new module started and I am using my drill press vice to clamp the module frame in the up right position seen here.



I would like to check out the system before marrying the frame to the base (align the rear IO to the rear panel).

Neil
 
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neilhart

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Apr 18, 2017
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I found that the new system would boot and run from a clone copy of High Sierra from my rMBP which encouraged me to use the latest TonyMacX86 UniBeast and MultiBeast tools to build a USB installer. I had an AppStore copy of High Sierra 10.3.3 on my server and used that with UniBeast and was very pleased that I was able to boot into the installer after going back through the UEFI BIOS at least once.

As per my usual mode, I was doing several things at a time. I was pleased that the 10.13.3 installer booted and the installer ran and finally completed after a restart or two. Again I was not paying that much attention and clicked on some dialogue box and found the system was installing the 10.13.4.

So there I was with 10.13.4 running and ran MultiBeast a few times and had the system booting form the hard disk with most everything working. WOW! That was just too easy.

I had Bluetooth but no WiFi as expected. So I powered down and pulled the Intel WiFi/BT module off the MB seen here.



The Airport card is from Amazon/Bestcompu New Airtport WiFI Bluetooth Card BCM94360CS2 and the M.2 adapter is from Amazon/Hobbypower BCM94360CS2/BCM94322aPCIEBT2 Card to NGFF(M.2) Key A/E adapter for Mac OS.







And while I had the module a part, I added thin ABS shield between the riser cable and the back of the GPU. This EVGA GPU does not have a smooth back plate.



After re-assembly, the module booted and both Bluetooth and WiFi came up! This is great.







While I was drafting this post, I had the 10.13.4 security update running. It completed and the Nvidia Driver Manager was prompting me to install the update for this version of the OS. That process ran and the GTX 1060 is now happy.

I am waiting for my new PSU to arrive and toying with the idea of installing the Samsung 250GB M.2 960 EVO (NVMe SSD).

More to follow;
Neil
 

neilhart

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Apr 18, 2017
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I was some what disappointed with the Silverstone SX650-G PSU in that the inlet power receptacle was oriented in the assembly turned 180 degrees from that of the ST45SF-G. I looked at several alternatives but finally decided that I needed the form of the ST45SF-G. My solution was to swap the PSU into one of my other hacks where the AC inlet orientation made no difference to that system.

I also found that the plastic air shield on the EVGA GTX 1060 exceeded M-ITX standard by about 3mm and impacted my desired PSU mount location. And I found that removing the shield was not as simple as it should have been. However I did get it apart without much damage to anything important ( I did have to install a band-aid to my left hand fore finger as I was leaving a bloody trail on the hack).

I used my belt sander mounted in the vise to quickly remove the offending material from the plastic shield. After re-assembly the modded GPU does not appear to be modded.

I proceeded to modding the PSU cables for best route with best appearance. I built a new 24 pin cable and the SATA power cable now feeds both SATA locations in a “Y” manner.

I found that I did not have any appropriate length SATA data cables so I ordered 8” (202mm) Left-going angle cables which should arrive in a day or two.

I will provide photos of this module after finishing the build. I have to still build the interface to the case and the local Power and Reset switches and LEDs.

And I am toying with the idea of doing a third module using aluminum instead of ABS for the frame work.

More to follow,
Neil
 
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neilhart

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Apr 18, 2017
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Well the good news is that it appears that my “on order” Dan case and Ghost S1 are both getting closer to shipping. The word is that Dan case ships before the end of the month.

Good timing as I see this project nearly complete.

As seen in this post, I have completed the second compute module and now just looking for the loose ends to tie up.

This table is show the configurations for comparisons.



The system with the second module installed.







and a shot of the second module.



This is a wrap. However if anyone has a question I will attempt to respond in a short period of time.

Again this project was/is a time filler as I wait for the two cases that I have on order. While I would like this to be my last scratch build project, I know it is not. I have a third compute module started where the module frame will be made from aluminum instead of ABS.


Neil
 

xcrco

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Apr 16, 2017
111
84
Dang nice job, I wish could be as skilled as you when it comes to machine work. love this!