Production Lazer3D LZ7 - Quiet Gaming Cube PC Case

K888D

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Maybe you could combine the part it will be mounted to and the part of the case where it sits to be one L-shaped piece that allows to mount the I/O to either the front or the side. That way you'll get super-clean looks for one group of people and super-quick access to I/O for the other group.
Good idea, yes I can see this working with some tweaks to the bracket, I will see what I can do to make this happen.

The only downside to having both of these options available would be 2 different sets of panel designs for each case variation. Although I guess I could make 1 design the 'main' design at the standard price, and charge a bit more for the less popular version due to lower volume.
 

iFreilicht

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The only downside to having both of these options available would be 2 different sets of panel designs for each case variation. Although I guess I could make 1 design the 'main' design at the standard price, and charge a bit more for the less popular version due to lower volume.
I was actually thinking about a way to not need two different sets.
Look at this:

|
L_______

If the "L" is the corner of the case, the | is the side and the ____ is the front, you could make the L part of the outside of the case, and if both lines of the L are equal in length, you can just put it in two ways. In one combination the power button would be at the top, in one it would be at the bottom.

If you want I can try to make a drawing or something to explaining it better.
 

Thehack

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Great design! This is actually the exact same layout I had in mind about a year ago, including the chambered design. Glad to see someone out there is actually implementing it.

I find this segment is currently the most under-served. Affordable SFF below the 10L mark. All the other chassis are high-end.

I think the taller version should be the standard version, my reasoning is this:
1. It allows the use of taller CPU coolers like intel's stock cooler and the cryorig C7. The Noctua L9i is absurdly priced at $45-50. It also doesn't perform that well for being such an expensive cooler.
2. It allows the use of mITX GPU that have power connectors on the side.
 

K888D

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Great design! This is actually the exact same layout I had in mind about a year ago, including the chambered design. Glad to see someone out there is actually implementing it.
Thanks for the comments! The £100 target still isn't low enough to appeal to the mass market, but I know what you mean about the availability of low priced sub 10L performance cases.

think the taller version should be the standard version, my reasoning is this:
1. It allows the use of taller CPU coolers like intel's stock cooler and the cryorig C7. The Noctua L9i is absurdly priced at $45-50. It also doesn't perform that well for being such an expensive cooler.
2. It allows the use of mITX GPU that have power connectors on the side.
I agree that the taller version should be the main version, the lower profile version will cater for more specific builds.

The Noctua NH-L9i costs around £32 in the UK, which is steep, but what you get for that money is one of the quietest on the market in a low profile package, so it depends on how much you value silence as to whether the Noctua is good value for money.

The Silverstone AR05 is another good choice at the same height, but costs £10 cheaper. I've found that it's pretty much silent under low usage, but you can hear it a bit more than the Noctua when your pushing your CPU.
 

Thehack

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I'm not very keen on the cost of bent acrylic, but I have an idea I'd like to share with you and hope you don't mind me adding to your thread. I got this idea while building a t-slot case.

Instead of using bent acrylic, perhaps consider edge joiners. I shall illustrate it:


Rather than using bent edges, replace it with slotted edges to join the acrylic panels. This removes the need for bending the edges and creates a very scalable system. If durability is an issue when using self-threading screws similar to fan screws, either insert metal threads or have a slot for a hex/square nut

Pros:
+Scalable. Once you design the edges and corners, you can have any dimension of the case without a lot of re-engineering. Just increase the size of the panels and edges.
+Only requires laser-cut panels to specs, no bending.
+Can be 3D Printed or injection mold for volume.
+Smaller packaging, can be laid flat for shipping because it does not have any bent edges.
+Can be used with any type of panels. Possible for laser cut wood, PVC, Etc. Can be rescaled to fit thinner panels.

Cons:
- More small individual parts. Possible increase in cost.
- Possible structure weakness?

Let me know what you think.
 

K888D

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I'm not very keen on the cost of bent acrylic, but I have an idea I'd like to share with you and hope you don't mind me adding to your thread. I got this idea while building a t-slot case.

Instead of using bent acrylic, perhaps consider edge joiners. I shall illustrate it:
Thankyou for the input. The design is using a very similar system to what you have sketched out.

Currently there is only 1 bent acrylic panel which is the transparent side panel by the graphics card. The reason for this is due to how close the graphics card sits into that top corner, it would foul the connection system. Putting the connection system the other side of the card resolves the issue. A bonus for this though is that you get a transparent window surrounding the graphics card to show it off.
 

K888D

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I understand your point about acrylic cost, I am hoping that as there is only going to be a single a bend the overall component price will only be minimally increased.
 
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jottwehh

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Mar 19, 2016
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I really like the Idea of using these edge elements, but where do you get those?!
I had a similar idea and found a case, using these things:

But could not find a store selling them...
 

K888D

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I really like the Idea of using these edge elements, but where do you get those?!
I had a similar idea and found a case, using these things:

But could not find a store selling them...
That looks like some kind of plastic extrusion, but interestingly it's a similar profile to what I am going with.
 

Thehack

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Thankyou for the input. The design is using a very similar system to what you have sketched out.

Currently there is only 1 bent acrylic panel which is the transparent side panel by the graphics card. The reason for this is due to how close the graphics card sits into that top corner, it would foul the connection system. Putting the connection system the other side of the card resolves the issue. A bonus for this though is that you get a transparent window surrounding the graphics card to show it off.

I see. I was under the impression you were going to build it similar to how GEEEK does their cases. I'm not a fan of the sharp corners they have. What would be the cost of the case at a small production? Say 50 orders.
 

K888D

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I see. I was under the impression you were going to build it similar to how GEEEK does their cases. I'm not a fan of the sharp corners they have.
I like what GEEEK have done with their cases, the designs look really nice and the prices are very low indeed. I would not be able to compete with these prices as I will be getting the parts laser cut by a third party, I imagine GEEEK will have their own laser cutters with large cutting beds.

Making parts out of a single sheet and bending them (if you have the equipment to do so accurately) is a very cost effective method as you reduce the amount of fixing parts/brackets/extrusions, etc, required to assemble the case.

Acrylic panels will always result in at least some flat edges, unless, as you sketched out above each edge had an angled/rounded profile joining the panels together. But that is where the extra cost comes in and will make the case expensive. For example a single 3D printed edge at a length of 200mm costs in the region of £10. Multiply that by 12 edges and the cost soon mounts up.

What would be the cost of the case at a small production? Say 50 orders.
My initial cost estimations have been worked out based on production batches of 20 units. From my initial estimations based on quotations received from laser cutting companies, plus the 3D printed component costs, the front USB and I/O panel, nuts, bolts, screws, rubber feet and packaging, the total raw component cost is in the region of £80 - £90 (GBP Inc. VAT). Assembly and packing time will also need to be included and any other costs that may arise. This is where the target price of around £100 - £110 has been worked out from (plus shipping).

If the minimum production run was to increase to 50 units, the only components which would really see any benefit of scaling up production would be the Acrylic panels which are currently around 30% - 40% of the total component cost. So the price may reduce by around £10 or so if the demand was there.

But, if I was able to get this level of demand then I would probably consider investing in a laser cutter and try to bring the costs down that way. The laser cutter would need to be partially paid for through the initial case orders and so the price would likely remain the same as mentioned above. But, a benefit to the end user would be a variety of colour choices and design options could be made available as I would not be reliant so much on the economies of scale with ordering through a third party manufacturer. In other words each case could be customised with minimal cost increase.
 

K888D

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Just a bit of an update, I've been working on the frame and fleshing out various details of the case, nearly ready to get the first 3D prints made.

A first draft of the hard drive cage can be seen in the screenshots below, as the cages are to be 3D printed I can offer different configurations depending on how many drives you want to install.

The cages are designed so the drives slide into the cage and clip into place without screws. Each bay can take a 2.5" drive from 7mm up to 12.7mm. I could also offer a 15mm version if there was interest.

Single Drive version:


Double Drive version:


A triple drive bay could be designed, but I think the maximum drive thickness would need to be 10mm.

The case pictured above is the taller version which can accept full height cards with the power connector facing upwards. I've decided to put the power/reset buttons and USB ports on the side of the case next to the intake fan, this keeps the front cleaner looking, it has also given more space for the hard drives along the front of the case.
 
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Mango

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I'm excited for this case! Everything is looking good and it being (likely) cheaper than steel/alu cases means I can spend more on the internals XD
 
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K888D

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Here is a quick render of the case in white with a few different vent patterns (still experimenting with styles). The case feet are missing in this picture as I haven't modelled them yet, they are going to be stick on rubber feet:


Another render from th other side showing the intake fan side and USB ports, the fan be covered with a dust filter or fan grill. The Power buttons are also on the to-do list:

If you have any comments about the aesthetics please let me know.

These are the rubber feet:

 
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Thehack

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Great design. Personally I like industrial and functional looking vents over decorative. You may want to do a test with vent sizes. I had a system with 1/4 vent openings and 1/4 material (1/4 = approx 6mm) thickness that caused swooshing sounds due to to the tunnel effect of the vents. Something to keep in mind. The swooshing sounds ended up causing more noise than the fan.
 

Ceros_X

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I'd rather have screw in feet then stick on feet, personally. I feel that adhesive will only give out over time.
 

K888D

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I had a system with 1/4 vent openings and 1/4 material (1/4 = approx 6mm) thickness that caused swooshing sounds due to to the tunnel effect of the vents. Something to keep in mind. The swooshing sounds ended up causing more noise than the fan
Yes this is something I have noticed aswell when putting various cases together - most noise from fans is not generated by the fan itself, but is caused by airflow obstructions on the intake path.

For example, if you have a fan that is quiet in free air that is spinning above say 1500 rpm, if you then introduce a slotted/holed vent on the intake side it suddenly becomes loud. But if this same vent is instead put on the exhaust side it does not generate any where near as much additional noise. In other words if you obstruct the intake it will create fan noise.

I experimented with fans, grills and obstructions (ATX power/USB 3.0 cables etc). The effect of the obstruction is lessened the further the obstruction is away from the fan. 10mm reduces the noise but is still loud, 30mm adds a small amount of noise, above 50mm seems to take away the noise. If the same obstruction is placed into the exhaust path the additional noise is minimal and not that noticeable (to my subjective ears!) beyond 20mm distance.

So a case fan used as an intake in most setups will be louder than if it was reversed as an exhaust in the same location.

Cooling a small case seems to work better for most scenarios if the case fans are set as intakes to create a positive pressure setup, however as described above this is a noisier configuration.

I also experimented with different vent styles to see how much of an effect they had on reducing airflow, I dangled a piece of paper about 10cm away from the exhaust to see how much the paper moved (very unscientific I know!). So a fan in free air bent the paper to about 45 degrees in the exhaust wind. The interesting thing was that when you introduce even a small object near to the intake side the output flow is reduced and the paper bends less. Also even more interesting was if a vent was placed against the intake side similar to what you find in a PC case the output airflow was dramatically reduced.

The style of vent also affected the level of restriction, for example a vent made of small round holes almost completely blocked the flow of air with only a trickle of air felt coming out the fan that did not bend the paper at all, this was also the noisiest type of vent. Slotted vents seemed to work better, but they still rmore than halve the airflow and introduce noise. The wider the slots the lower the restriction, but it gets to a point where the slots a razor thin and will probably be too weak.

What I did find from my experiments was that there are 3 types of vent you can use to give best results for airflow and noise.

1) A round hole cutout the same diameter as the fan blades. This is the optimal setup for intake fans providing best airflow and noise results, but no protection for your fan (or fingers), for this reason it is not practical or advisable.

2) Same as number 1 but add a metal fan guard:

https://www.scan.co.uk/products/120mm-akasa-mg-12-chrome-fan-guard

The thin wire protects the fan but allows almost unrestricted airflow, they also don't seem to add any noise. I reccommend this setup if best (safe) performance is your priority.

3) Same as number 1, but add a fine mesh dust filter. In my experiments a fine mesh dust filter added very little noise to the fan which I was quite surprised about, although they do reduce the airflow a small amount, but it was not as much as slots/small holes.

The added benefit of the dust filter obviously is that it filters dust, but I would recommend using a dust filter over a complete round hole cutout for best all round performance and practicality.

As one of the priorities for this case is to be as quiet as possible, the side fan and GPU vent will be a round hole cutout, over which a fan guard or dust filter can be attached depending on user preference.

Some people prefer the aesthetics of grilled vents built into the case panel, so I can offer this style as a variant if there is an interest for this type.

Great design. Personally I like industrial and functional looking vents over decorative. You may want to do a test with vent sizes.
I will post some renders of alternative exhaust vent styles for people to comment on.

I'd rather have screw in feet then stick on feet, personally. I feel that adhesive will only give out over time
This is a good point and something I will have a think further about. The reason for selecting these feet was the price, they cost £3 for the set of 4, they are wedge shaped and will compliment the case aesthetics.

I could incorporate the feet into the 3D printed corner parts which would add less cost than separate feet, but the base of these feet would be hard plastic, but vibration isolation and grip are concerns for this method.

Is it important to have soft/grippy feet?
 

Thehack

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I think it is. I remember seeing a video of an acrylic case being put together and it ended up scratching the desk surface. It wouldn't bother me personally but I am sure there are many people with desk surfaces prone to scratching.

On the topic of the vents what about the PSU? Also I think the material thickness has a lot to do with the noise. A thinner material wouldn't create the tunnel effect to add noise.

If these were laser cut to order already, I am sure customers would like vent options.
 

K888D

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I think it is. I remember seeing a video of an acrylic case being put together and it ended up scratching the desk surface. It wouldn't bother me personally but I am sure there are many people with desk surfaces prone to scratching.
It would he the 3D printed corners which would rest on the desk if I went this route. The 3D printed material is not as hard as Acrylic so it won't cause scratches as easily, but it is still something to consider. The 3D printed material has a slight grainy textured surface finish.

The 3 possible options are:

1) lowest cost - design feet into 3D printed corner sections.

2) medium cost - source high quality stick on rubber feet

3) highest cost - screw on style feet with rubber grip base

I know some of you may be thinking what is an extra few quid (£) difference going to make, but it's all these small decisions that stack up and will push the case price above what is being targeted.

However, it could be offered as an upgrade perhaps.

On the topic of the vents what about the PSU? Also I think the material thickness has a lot to do with the noise. A thinner material wouldn't create the tunnel effect to add noise
Yes it makes sense that vents in thicker materials will increase fan noise further when the fan is placed against them. It isn't something that I tested.

The plan is to try and avoid intake fans passing through vents, but instead pulling though dust covers or fan guards. The vents will be used as exhaust areas.

The PSU intake will be facing upwards which will require a vent above it, but if you are clever with your component Choice (e.g. corsair SF450) then the fan doesn't spin unless under quite a high load.

If these were laser cut to order already, I am sure customers would like vent options.
Customisation of the acrylic panels will be the most difficult part to achieve, this is because volume does affect laser cutting price when using external manufacturers which is the current plan.

The only way I can see this would be possible is to buy a laser cutter and do the cutting myself, this would allow for a more options without raising the price too much away from the standard configuration/design.

Buying a laser cutter would probably need to be done through some kind of Kickstarter campaign with the initial case run.