Stalled Freilite Brevis S: <5L Gaming Case with internal PSU

Discussion in 'Custom Cases & Projects' started by iFreilicht, May 28, 2015.

  1. iFreilicht

    iFreilicht FlexATX Authority
    Thread Starter

    Well the solid outer panel is still there, so it's not like that benefit would go down the drain, you just lose it if you choose a different material for the outer panels.
  2. Josh | NFC

    Josh | NFC Not From Concentrate
    NFC Systems Silver Supporter

    Now that I am done with my project I can spend some time browsing the web. I did this is in the wrong I could have learned SO MUCH from this forum hahaha!

    I love your stand! This would look really nice on my media center table.

    There is so much talent on these forums its unreal...
  3. iFreilicht

    iFreilicht FlexATX Authority
    Thread Starter

    Oh hi, thanks for visiting! :)

    Thanks, that stand really was kind of a two minute light bulb thingy, but I'm quite happy with it.

    Well without trying to sound uppity, there's a lot of talent in the world and in the SFF community in general, but Aibo and PP found a way to unite us all in this one forum. If you think about it, pretty much every SFF case project that is aimed at production has a thread here.

    I'm actually working on a vertical stand now as well, right now it seems to become a two-piece interlocking kind of thing that will make the case taller still when mounted to it (~2-4cm), but can get flat when you're transporting it. For mounting I'll probably go with captive thumb-screws.
    There are some very interesting ones (Pages 5-8, 12-13) by PEM, but I'm not sure which ones are the best alternative. The MAThread technology seems to be quite promising for ease of use, but it's not available on the low profile versions.

    The new Mainboard mount is pretty much complete.

    Also, I'm spending a lot of time reorganising my CAD assemblies. Now that I'm actually taking courses on CAD in university, a lot of mistakes in that regard become apparent that were holding me back previously when trying out new variations of different parts.

    Additional features that I'm working on now:
    • Full-fletched cable management with a kind of modular cable tunnel, which will make cabling in this case look ultra-clean (this one I'm most excited for)
    • Compartmentalisation between PSU and Mainboard
    • Modular I/O section that allows the user to either choose from pre-determined I/O options and panels or make custom I/O panels themselves, which will come in handy for built in wireless controller receivers or IR-connectivity. This also allows the front of the case to be 100% clean if that's what the user wants
    • Alternative mounting solution to allow more diverse kinds of power buttons
    It sounds like I'm falling into the trap of feature-creep, but all of these things were options that I wanted to explore in one way or another and now have concrete ideas for. I'm getting ever so closer to my goal of making a uSFF case that is extremely easy to build in.

    Prototype won't happen before new year, though. Uni is stressful once you take it seriously and significant funds will be used for a couch table I'll build for my SO for Christmas. But it seems like nobody's really waiting for this case to come out, so I've at least got all the time in the world to make it the best I can. :D
  4. Josh | NFC

    Josh | NFC Not From Concentrate
    NFC Systems Silver Supporter

    This is one area where getting it perfect really does count, and you are the only judge of perfection!
  5. Aibohphobia

    Aibohphobia aka James
    Chimera Industries

    Any tips on this? I'm starting to run into this issue.

    You may have to be careful there, I believe these guys have a patent on modular front IO:
  6. |||

    ||| King of Cable Management

    It says:


    The product is pending International Patent.

    And then:

    Copyright © 2000-2014 . Frontx CPX Sdn Bhd

    How long ago did they submit for a patent? Was it not awarded? My searches for Frontx and CPX Computer Port Extension did not return anything...although it wouldn't if the patent was filed but still pending.

    However, I think there are probably many work-arounds to whatever patent they are getting. I would imagine it may be limited to the stacking of the individual I/O ports. I/O has been adjustable through 5.25" & 3.5" bays, PCI brackets, and front panel brackets for CompactPCI, VME, VXS, VPX, and other embedded applications for a long time now. There are also modular I/O solutions for server racks, as well.

    So, if your solution is all of the I/O individually attaching or a singular grouping of I/O attached together (e.g. on a bracket), as opposed to a plurality of separate I/O ports attached together, I think you'll be in the clear.
  7. iFreilicht

    iFreilicht FlexATX Authority
    Thread Starter

    Think of your case as a tree of parts. The root is the whole case, and it splits into seperate pieces/assemblies. The case is comprised of an outer shell and a skeleton, which in turn are comprised of multiple parts. The mainboard mount for example could consist of a bent sheet of metal and press-fit standoffs. So you model those first, then piece them together in an assembly. Then that gets pieced together as an assembly with the other parts of the inner skeleton and so on.
    I also make components that mount to one of those assemblies part of the assembly, that way the main assembly is much less cluttered.
    Another thing I'm thinking about is making work axes and planes for referencing the parts to each other, so that constraints won't get alleviated when I'm remodelling a part.

    Those assemblies can then be put in separate folders. Give them names that all start with a unique letter if possible! Then you give the parts in the subassemblies names that have that in front as well.
    So for example, the mainboard mounting sheet is part of the mainboard mount assembly which is part of the inner skeleton.
    So you could call the skeleton S_Skeleton, the Mainboard Mount assembly, SM_MBmount and the sheet SM1_MBmountSheet. The standoffs would then be SM2_Standoffs.
    This highly eases communication and allows you to different versions of parts more easily, so if you remodel the mounting sheet, you just save the older version to SM2-2_MBmountSheet-old or something like that.

    I'm still starting to learn all about that, though, so take that with a grain of salt.

    It's not really going to be modular, I don't have the space for that. The only thing I'll be doing is having mounting points for custom brackets and exchangeable front covers in that area. Much more proprietary than what they are offering.

    Haha that's actually quite funny. I'll have a look at their patent when I've got time for it.
  8. iFreilicht

    iFreilicht FlexATX Authority
    Thread Starter

    @Aibophobia: Another great thing that we covered today was the use of work features, UCS' and the Origin features to assemble components before they are even built. For example, you know that the back of the inner skeleton and the back edge of the outer panels are touching each other, so you constrain their origin planes against each other and then construct both parts in such a way that they will always align at that point.
    This is especially great if you want to try out a new side panel design because you don't have to base it on the current part file to be able to replace it in the assembly without destroying relationships, because all parts have origin features.

    You can do similar things with work features, so a work plane could handle the alignment between the front of the skeleton and the front panel, while a work axis could be used for aligning a sliding HDD cage.

    Another way of doing this would be a UCS. In the assembly, you just place a UCS where the origin point of the part is supposed to go, in the part you create a UCS at the origin and then you constrain them to match each other. Very handy!
    Josh | NFC likes this.
  9. iFreilicht

    iFreilicht FlexATX Authority
    Thread Starter

    Good news everyone! I've managed to shrink the case a little bit again, it is now 59mm slim, so we're back below 5L at a whopping 4,88L!
    At this point, it is pretty much impossible to go slimmer, the I/O shield of the board has a little more than 1mm left to the beginning of the top mounting flange and the hard drives, PSU and ribbon cable make for a tight package with practically no room to spare, excluding the foam padding that should reduce vibrations of the HDDs a bit. The only way I could now shrink the case is by ditching support for 9.5mm drives, but that's simply not worth it in my opinion.

    Rebuilding the whole case is a tedious process, but it starts to show its benefits. I'm now experimenting with different Hard Drive mounting solutions, and having all of them on a single mounting point really eases the process of replacing them in the assembly.

    Anyway, things are still progressing, just not as fast as one would like them to. One day I'll present a prototype, I promise!
    Josh | NFC and Phuncz like this.
  10. Phuncz

    Phuncz Lord of the Boards
    Moderator Gold Supporter SFF Purist

    Do keep up the good work, I'm awaiting eagerly what this project will look like !
  11. Josh | NFC

    Josh | NFC Not From Concentrate
    NFC Systems Silver Supporter

    Can't wait to see the new design!
  12. iFreilicht

    iFreilicht FlexATX Authority
    Thread Starter

    Well it's not really a new design as much as a rebuild, so don't expect anything too exciting, except for 5mm less width of case. It does enable me to try out vastly different designs for the front panel, though, and I've got loads of ideas for that.

    Thanks for your excitement, though, both of you :)
  13. Josh | NFC

    Josh | NFC Not From Concentrate
    NFC Systems Silver Supporter

    When I increased the width of the S4 by 5mm I had to cope with an entire bottle of Glenlivet 18...

    So I think you need an entire bottle to celebrate shaving that off!
    iFreilicht likes this.
  14. iFreilicht

    iFreilicht FlexATX Authority
    Thread Starter

    That is some dedication right there! When I did the initial increase in size it haunted me in my dreams, I couldn't believe I had to do it. This is the cross an SFF case designer has to bear.

    New years eve isn't far, I guess I'll throw the two celebrations together.
    Josh | NFC likes this.
  15. Phuncz

    Phuncz Lord of the Boards
    Moderator Gold Supporter SFF Purist

    The times I've read users suggest "if you make it 20mm taller, you can fit more fans in there" and thought: "dude STFU before you open Pandora's Box." Now we know the hard battles a passionate case designer has to fight :D
  16. iFreilicht

    iFreilicht FlexATX Authority
    Thread Starter

    #76 iFreilicht, Dec 30, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2015
    Good that you're mentioning it, one of the battles I'm currently fighting is close to being won! It seems like I've finally found a good solution for the HDD MOUNT!
    For comparisons sake, this was the old design:


    It is nice and simple, a 1.5mm thick piece of aluminium, four holes for each drive. You can either mount two across the longest edge or a single one along it. The mount can be moved by about 20mm to allow the user to either use available space above the motherboard or next the GPU, depending on GPU height and socket position.

    I've disliked a lot about this solution, and experimented with a multitude of designs until I finally had this idea:


    So as you can see, each HDD is screwed to a small bracket with two screws, which is then screwed into a slot on the right side of the mount. Again, this is mounted to the case through slots, so it can move to accommodate the components inside the case.
    While it seems like a simple concept, the advantages of it are plentiful:
    1. Because no countersunk screws are needed, thinner material can be used (currently 0.5mm).
    2. As only the screw holes on the side are used (where space is less of an issue), the overall package becomes thinner.
    3. The drives can now be decoupled more effectively with foam strips on the mount and on the side panel.
    4. Theoretically, 5mm thick drives are now supported as well, those only have mounting holes on the side. Not that anyone would want to use those, though.
    5. Drives can now be mounted upside down, which allows the connectors on the back drive to just barely fit behind the Motherboard I/Os Audio stack and gives a bit more clearance for CPU coolers on boards with their socket close to the PCIe slots. Both of these issues only appear with the widest of GPUs and can be resolved by using angled connectors, but if it eases the life of a just single guy, it's absolutely worth it.
    The only slight disadvantages I've found so far is this:
    1. The front HDD now extends over the PSU slightly by about 5mm. Not really an issue, but it of course blocks a little bit of the airflow for the PSU.
    2. Drives are connected to the chassis less sturdily, which could pose a problem during transportation. This is probably not going to be a real issue, as the drives are sandwiched between the drive mount and the side panel.
    3. The screws on the side ever-so-slightly increase the width of the whole package by about 4mm. I'll have to check whether that would actually be a problem or not.
    This is how a single drive would work:

    Now there are a few questions arising:
    1. Should I migrate (at least for this piece) from aluminium to steel? It would allow me to make the material this thin or even thinner without sacrificing stability, and I could get strong threads without using threaded inserts, which are hard to use so close to the edge anyway.
    2. How do I best fully decouple the drives? It seems like I could use rubber grommets where the drives attach to the brackets, but maybe there is a better solution that I can't think of?
    3. Any other suggestions on how to improve this piece?
  17. Phuncz

    Phuncz Lord of the Boards
    Moderator Gold Supporter SFF Purist

    Awesome solution !

    1. I would think steel would be the better choice, 0,5mm seems really thin for aluminium with this shape. Maybe add a small lip on top (across the length of the vertical part) to provide more rigidity ?

    2. this isn't easy as the drives will be touching the adapter on the flat surface and the brackets where it's connected to. Maybe add some form of thin rubber surface on the flat side (decouples and electrically isolates) and add thin rubber grommets between the screw and the bracket that attaches to the large adapter ?

    3. if the adapter is only suspended by two screws on one side, won't it be able to resonate severely ? If possible, I'd use an extra mounting point to the chassis.
  18. iFreilicht

    iFreilicht FlexATX Authority
    Thread Starter

    #78 iFreilicht, Dec 31, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2015
    Thanks for the suggestions!

    1. EDIT: Not sure whether I understand which part you're talking about. It seems to me like none of the parts needs additional reinforcement.

    2. I think it could be possible to change the shape of this mounting bracket to accommodate for the thickness of a rubber grommet without requiring the adapter be be made longer, i.e. spacing the two HDDs out more. This would be done by changing the shape from an L to something resembling a 7.
    Your solution is an interesting idea, though, I wanted to add padding on this flat side anyway, so maybe that's a better way of doing it.

    3. The adapter will be resting on the PSU, so I doubt it will resonate on the opposite side.
  19. Phuncz

    Phuncz Lord of the Boards
    Moderator Gold Supporter SFF Purist

    1. like this:


    But it might not be possible with bending and holes by the manufacturer.
  20. iFreilicht

    iFreilicht FlexATX Authority
    Thread Starter

    Ah, I see. Not sure how much this would actually increase the rigidity of the piece, but it's worth a consideration.