Prototyping Kimera Industries Cerberus: The 18L, mATX, USA-made enclosure

Discussion in 'Custom Cases & Projects' started by Aibohphobia, Feb 11, 2016.

  1. Aibohphobia

    Aibohphobia Admin aka James
    Thread Starter Site Staff Kimera Industries

    #1 Aibohphobia, Feb 11, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2017
    [​IMG]

    We're working on bringing Cerberus to market even though the Kickstarter campaign did not meet the goal. Keep an eye on this thread for the latest news or sign up for the newsletter if you don't want to miss the update when we have more information on when the case will be available to order: http://www.kimeraindustries.com/subscribe

    May 22 Update: We're closing in on a production plan and will hopefully have solid information within the next few weeks.

    April 4 Update: Post-Kickstarter Survey: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1IyFt7b6EGRQElvnXA_b3t66kj-Adw_ilavm5EXR1COM/viewform

    As we tweak the design to make a smaller production run feasible, please help us out by answering this survey so we can make informed decisions based on what the community wants.

    Nov 19 Update We're waiting on development of a new internal power cord. In the meantime, we may have a few spare units from a business order available in the nearish future. More info here: https://smallformfactor.net/forum/t...atx-usa-made-enclosure.454/page-83#post-23859

    Jan 6 Update: https://smallformfactor.net/forum/t...atx-usa-made-enclosure.454/page-86#post-26366

    Also, if you wanted to back the campaign but couldn't (price, shipping cost, etc.), you can let us know why in the first question.
     
  2. Aibohphobia

    Aibohphobia Admin aka James
    Thread Starter Site Staff Kimera Industries

    #2 Aibohphobia, Feb 11, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2016

    Update Feb 28: SketchUp model of the case for playing around with build ideas available here.


    — Hercules in Homer's Odyssey

    We are so excited, and so incredibly proud, to be able to introduce Project Nova's final form: a product that's the result of nearly two years of work, three generations of prototypes, hundreds of thermal and performance tests, and ongoing community discussion throughout. When James and I [to be clear, I'm James but I'm just copying what Joshua wrote] first began to work together, I don't know that either of us knew where Project Nova would ultimately take us - and yet, as we look at the final version of our project, everything about it seems completely logical, and beautifully inevitable. Our patience has been mightily tested over the past few months, but we are now able, at long last, to reap the rewards.

    Friends, followers, and newcomers: the wait is finally over. Say hello to Cerberus.

    [​IMG]

    The last substantive update we've provided on Cerberus, in terms of features and functionality, was all the way back in Fall 2015, and although we've mentioned or alluded to some of the changes we've incorporated since, their sum vastly exceeds the individual value of each one. The final version of Cerberus, even with its clear lineage with past prototypes, is very much distinct in both form and function. It is the essence of Project Nova, but refined in a manner only possible with experimentation and the passage of time.

    Of course, our work has hardly been limited to design: everything from our manufacturing pipeline, to our crowdfunding campaign, has been in active development for months, and some of our most substantial (and late-breaking) developments will come from those fronts as well. A good design is merely half of the equation when it comes down to delivering quality enclosures to you all - a capable manufacturing pipeline, strong crowdfunding campaign and robust fulfillment plan all carry just as much weight, and therefore took up just as much of our time and energy to perfect.

    In any case, the updated product page on our website details the fundamental features of Cerberus at a high level, but for our followers I wanted to provide a write-up that focuses on the specific changes we've introduced into this final version - as well as some more words spent on how Cerberus will be built and sold in the months ahead.

    We've waited long enough! So let us begin to explore, starting with the newest features we've incorporated into Cerberus's design.
     
    Acalanata, gffermari, Lone and 4 others like this.
  3. Aibohphobia

    Aibohphobia Admin aka James
    Thread Starter Site Staff Kimera Industries

    #3 Aibohphobia, Feb 11, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2016
    Part I: Features

    Dimensions
    Cerberus's final dimensions are 303 x 170 x 354mm, leading to an overall volume of 18.2L. Though this is a tad bit larger than the last prototype, the benefits of the minor space increase are substantial (and to which I'll elaborate on in a moment), and the increase itself constitutes a mere 5% difference that's imperceptible to the eye.

    Portability and space efficiency were among the original tenets of Project Nova's design, and they remain in full force within Cerberus. For portable workstations, multi-GPU rigs and VR-focused contexts, Cerberus's combination of component flexibility and size make it a revelation, and a substantial leap forward, for enthusiasts and for the industry as a whole.

    Aesthetics
    Cerberus sees a dramatic refinement in appearances for its final iteration, and its facelift is undoubtedly one of the most exiting updates we've made. Our last prototype embraced an industrial look to match the utilitarian focus of the design, but Cerberus strikes a much better balance, finding a way to retain that practicality and marry it with a refined, minimalist, and distinctive look.

    Much of this evolution is a direct consequence of the materials and manufacturing methods made available to us through our manufacturer. For example, through them, we've been able to secure industrial-grade powder coatings that will be available in Obsidian Black and Pearl White as standard - with a rich Carmine Red available as a stretch goal for our crowdfunding campaign. And across all the coatings, we've selected a fine-textured matte finish that imparts an ultra-premium feel, exudes vivid color, and provides exceptional durability. For the black powder coat in particular, the texture and color lends Cerberus a particular sheen that catches the light in an interesting and eye-catching manner, shifting the hue ever so slightly as you shift your perspective.

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    [​IMG]

    Of course, changes weren't limited to our selection of coatings. Cerberus's panels have also seen a complete redesign: gone are the sliding hooks, and all the seams and bends they introduce; all panels on Cerberus are now uniform flat sheets of metal, with sharp edges that complement the enclosure's minimalist design. The face of Cerberus has eliminated several bends along the edges, embracing a simplified gull-wing-like profile. The I/O for the enclosure has been moved to the top, lending the front a cleaner and more understated look. And, best of all, we've adopted an industrial-grade pin-and-clip system to secure all panels to the chassis, relying on 100% steel hardware to provide convenient toolless removal, without the fragility of the plastic clips commonly used in industry.

    Finally, the external vents themselves have been adjusted, with smaller cutouts, minor adjustments to positioning, and the elimination of the non-functional vents behind the motherboard tray.

    Infinite Vents
    Speaking of vents, perhaps the most impressive single feature we're introducing with Cerberus is an original and innovative mounting system, that we've decided to call "Infinite Vents". For past prototypes, we relied on traditional static mount points that essentially pre-determined where and what kind of hardware could be installed - but for Cerberus, we wanted a solution that could more effectively use the limited internal space of a SFF enclosure.

    [​IMG]

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    After considerable experimentation, we've developed a low-restriction vent pattern of tessellated slats, which freely allow air through whilst providing a continuous plane upon which hardware can be mounted. This means that, wherever there are Infinite Vents, anything from storage to fans to radiators can be secured to the enclosure, at precisely the desired location, with nearly infinite adjustability.

    [​IMG]

    Another benefit of this vent design, coupled with the alterations in Cerberus's dimensions, is greatly increased component compatibility. 92mm, 120mm, and now 140mm fans can be mounted on the front or bottom of the enclosure. Pairs of 2.5" and 3.5" drives can be secured anywhere along the Infinite Vents by use of the included brackets. 120mm and 240mm radiators can be installed. Pumps and reservoirs are now more easily and readily installed, for the adventurous. And we've even put in place two additional 2.5" mount points on the motherboard tray itself, adjacent to the motherboard, for users who have many drives, or who otherwise want to keep the vents free to hold additional hardware.

    With Project Nova, options for internal hardware were numerous. But with Cerberus, they are seemingly infinite, achieving a level of customizability that few enclosures of any size have been able to provide to date.

    ATX PSUs
    Cerberus's default configuration is that of mounting a SFX or SFX-L power supply at the front of the chassis, and we recommend this method for the great majority of enthusiasts and builds, even across most dual-GPU rigs. However, given the desire by some to use standard ATX power supplies, our most recent prototype included a (clumsy but functional) optional bracket that allowed for such units to be installed on the back, above the motherboard.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    With the final version, however, we've been able to work with our manufacturer to provide a much more elegant solution: enthusiasts can now decide at the time of purchase whether they want SFX or ATX support, and they'll receive an enclosure that was designed and built specifically for that form factor. In this way, we're able to do away with brackets entirely, provide a clean and more rigid frame, and eliminate the extra cost of a bracket for those who choose to go the ATX route.

    Options
    Finally, throughout Project Nova's evolution, we've been working on the option to add an integrated handle, in order to provide the absolute best possible portability to those who desire easy travel above all else. With Cerberus, we're now able to provide this solution as an upgrade that's custom-made for the enclosure, rather than as an off-the-shelf add on.

    Each handle we make is custom-designed and carved from solid billets of aluminum, with chamfers and a powder coat finish offering superior ergonomics and just the right amount of friction to provide a confident grip. And the handle itself integrates directly into the internal chassis of Cerberus, with a pre-installed bracket providing the strength necessary to support carrying even the heaviest of rigs around.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Another popular (and frequently requested) option was that of adding a plexiglass window to the bottom of Cerberus, for those who desire to showcase their meticulously-built desktops from the outside, and we're very happy to say that this too will be available as an upgrade option for enthusiasts. With the recent attention that AMD, nVidia and component manufacturers alike have given to the aesthetics of GPU shrouds, the window is a simple yet powerful way to personalize your build, and show off the potent hardware that powers it.
     
    Acalanata, gffermari, Jello and 4 others like this.
  4. Aibohphobia

    Aibohphobia Admin aka James
    Thread Starter Site Staff Kimera Industries

    #4 Aibohphobia, Feb 11, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2016
    Part II: Manufacturing

    Now that the picture of what Cerberus will be like is complete, we should take a step back and explain how Cerberus will be made. As we've stated on numerous occasions throughout the past year, a considerable amount of our work and development on Cerberus involved us finding a manufacturer that would meet our exacting standards of quality and reliability.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    During this search, we quickly realized that domestic manufacturing of Cerberus - compared to relying on third parties in China or Taiwan - would yield impressive benefits that lined up well with our biggest concerns and priorities. A US-based manufacturer would enable faster and more constant communication between us and engineers on the floor, for example, expediting production and enabling any issues to be resolved quickly. A local factory could produce enclosures rapidly, and get them to many of our campaign backers weeks or even months faster. And quality controls and engineering inspections could remain airtight, and follow our exact criteria.

    Knowing all of this, James and I set forth on a multi-month odyssey, reaching out to a laundry list of manufacturers of all sizes, located throughout the United States. And every time we combed through our options, made calls, and sent out emails to potential partners, one firm stood out above the rest: Sliger Designs, a manufacturer based out of Sparks, Nevada.

    Our manufacturing pipeline is so important that we've actually made a page on the website detailing what it looks like, and why it matters, so I won't elaborate too much on those points here. But to summarize: As we've worked with Sliger for the past six-or-so months, making the last run of prototypes and finalizing our design, their communication and craftsmanship alike have been superb, and we've been thoroughly impressed with the level of transparency and access we've been given into their production processes - all of which fulfill our primary concerns of ensuring timely delivery of quality cases to our backers. Furthermore, the facilities, capacity, and talent they have at their disposal is impressive, and builds significant confidence in their ability to deliver what we - and you all! - are looking for in a case.

    Simply put, we are stoked to be able to work with them on Cerberus, and the prototypes they've provided to us already are a testament to the quality they can deliver, and that we've been looking to provide, come time for production. As a luxury enclosure, Cerberus is meant to be crafted, not made, and Sliger's engineers genuinely fulfill that title of being "craftsman" within their discipline.

    And finally... our thanks

    To be honest, we weren't sure how to wrap up this announcement, other than to repeat over and over and over again how humbled and thankful we are for all of the dialogue, engagment, and support we've received over the past two years in connection to this project. So I'm just going to go ahead and do that:

    Thank you to our first followers, and those who provided critical feedback and insight during the earliest stages of Cerberus's development.

    Thank you to the professors, industry insiders, fellow project creators, and other community members that contributed their time and expertise (often pro bono) in order to realize our vision.

    Thank you to the manufacturers and other third parties we've worked with, building prototypes, iterating designs, and spending long afternoons and evenings spent fixing those darn half-a-millimeter tolerance issues.

    And, most of all, thank you to everyone reading this right now, for your interest, your support, and your care. We'll find a way to pay you all back, we promise!




    Edit: And big thanks to @QinX for the renders on the website, they look great!

    [​IMG]
    PCI slots are 20.32mm tall so subtract that from the measurement if you're talking about the 5th slot.

    [​IMG]
    Note: The vertical dimensions are from the inside of the top panel to the inside of the bottom panel but at the front and rear edges, the lip of the middle frame section and the threaded nuts for the screws reduce the available space by 3-4mm.

    [​IMG]
    Dimensions are to the inside of the frame

    [​IMG]
    Dimensions are to the inside of the middle frame section, there is another 1mm on top/bottom/left side if the rad is offset from the front by a fan.

    [​IMG]
    Bottom vents

    Also, all dimensions are rounded down.
     
  5. JimmyC

    JimmyC Minimal Tinkerer

    The Cerberus is born. Looks great.

    Now can I fit an ATX power supply, i7 5960x, EVGA 980ti FTW and a Corsair h100i gtx into it?
     
  6. Brian

    Brian Caliper Novice

    I'll take one with Window and handle please.
     
    Lehani likes this.
  7. jsco

    jsco Caliper Novice

    pretty stinkin brilliant. well done.
     
  8. Aibohphobia

    Aibohphobia Admin aka James
    Thread Starter Site Staff Kimera Industries

    I believe the FTW uses a reference length PCB so you could either mount the radiator to the front of the case or the bottom. Here's an Alphacool ST30 mounted to the front:

    [​IMG]

    We'll be sending out a survey in a few days to figure out what options people want so look out for that :)

    Thanks!
     
  9. JimmyC

    JimmyC Minimal Tinkerer

    Shut up and take my money! :-)
     
    WadeAK78 and Lehani like this.
  10. Aibohphobia

    Aibohphobia Admin aka James
    Thread Starter Site Staff Kimera Industries

  11. Winebaths

    Winebaths Caliper Novice

    Great work! Beautifully done, really excited when the indiegogo goes live!
     
  12. tedlas

    tedlas Average Stuffer

    #12 tedlas, Feb 11, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2016
    Oh my fuck, it looks like sex, freaking amazing job. What a wonderful birthday present.
     
  13. Phuncz

    Phuncz Spatial Philosopher
    Moderator Gold Supporter

    #13 Phuncz, Feb 11, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2016
    The flexible mounting combined with the grille pattern, the hinge, the exterior and interior design, the color red, these are all speaking to me in words of desire. I cannot wait.

    I can appreciate that manufacturing is done in the US, I like more products that are designed and manufactured in the same country.
     
  14. Tek Everything

    Tek Everything Cable-Tie Ninja
    Site Staff

    Looks fantastic! I love the windowed pane and matte finish.
     
  15. Aibohphobia

    Aibohphobia Admin aka James
    Thread Starter Site Staff Kimera Industries

    Thanks!

    Happy Birthday! And even better, you can now sing the song without having to pay royalty.

    I've seen the red NZXT Phantom in person but the cheap glossy plastic look really detracts from it. Here though, the matte textured finish looks very nice.

    Yeah, the window works very well with spaced cards.
     
  16. Entrenin

    Entrenin Efficiency Noob

    Just woke up to see this, so excited for this case! Can we get more comparison pics?
     
  17. Aibohphobia

    Aibohphobia Admin aka James
    Thread Starter Site Staff Kimera Industries

    I can take a pic later today with the Prodigy. Was there anything in particular you wanted to see?
     
  18. tedlas

    tedlas Average Stuffer

    Also, thanks for using mm everywhere :D
     
  19. hiepphotog

    hiepphotog Chassis Packer

    First of all, congratulations to you. You must be very proud of this beautifully crafted creation. Definitely a work of art, not in the sense of the current gaudy gaming case. Despite the slight increase in size, I have to say I love everything about it, very smartly designed overall.
     
  20. Winebaths

    Winebaths Caliper Novice

    Can we get another soda can comparison pic? haha
     
    Entrenin likes this.