Prototype Mikros – 3D printed low profile GPU case

robbee

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Sep 24, 2016
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This case is now open source.

The source files and complete instructions can be found on instructables: https://www.instructables.com/id/Mikros-Tiny-3D-Printed-Computer-Case/



After successfully building a Modivio xCase, I got hooked to the idea of 3D printing computer cases. So I started designing a similar case that could replace my current HTPC case. My current HTPC setup has a low profile GPU and is powered by a pico-style PSU, so it should support at least that.

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been sketching, drawing and rendering and I believe that I’ve gotten at a phase where the project is ready to be shared with the community. So here we go.

Features
  • Strong 3D printed bezel, printed in one piece with multiple colors available.
  • Side panels are laser cut out of acrylic or wood.
  • Low profile, double slot GPU allows for potent gaming builds.
  • Don’t like the noisy low profile coolers? Replace the fans by 80mm fans which are 15mm or even up to 25mm thick (Aiming at 25mm fan support for MSI low profile cards).
  • Large CPU cooler clearance allow for high power CPU's, with or without GPU.
Specifications
  • Dimensions: 92mm x 200mm x 245mm, totaling 4.5L
  • Mini ITX motherboard
  • 70mm CPU cooler clearance (Noctua L12S compatible)
  • Support for one 2.5” HDD up to 15mm high
  • Optional front USB and audio bay
  • Supported PSU’s: any pico-style PSU (recommended are HDPlex 160 DC-ATX, Dynamo Mini or Mini-box PicoPSU 160xt)
  • External AC-DC or internal with the HDPlex 160 AC-DC (only when not using a GPU)
Images

 
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robbee

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Sep 24, 2016
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No feedback, anyone? I'm making this mainly for myself but figured that there could be some interest on here as well. Hope i do spark some more interest as this project processes!

About printability

While waiting for my MK3S, I'm optimizing the printability of the bezel. Being able to print it in one piece is a requirement for me, as I don't want any glue or weld lines visible on the outside of the case. That does mean that I'm stuck with a lot of parts that create heavy overhangs which are hard to print and require a lot of printed supports.

Mainly the mounting points for the motherboard and side panels create annoyting overhangs. To make this more efficient, I'm seperating them from the bezel so I can weld them together after being printed. As the weld points are on the inside of the bezel, this should't be visible at all.

For those wondering how you weld printed plastic, acetone disolves ABS and allows you to effectively join two pieces together.

Here's the proces I've made. In the last picture, the cyan parts are the supports that still need to be printed:





 
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Poblopuablo

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Jan 14, 2018
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Kind of reminds me of the modvio xcase asthetic. :)

Looking good keep up the good work. :)
 

Bjornyyy

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Jan 22, 2017
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You mentioned welding the mounting points to the rest of the frame using aceton, is it plenty strong or is it going to flex a lot?
 

robbee

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Both ABS and PLA, the most frequent used printing plastics, are plenty strong for a pc case like this. There should be nog flexing in the bezel, only the acrylic sidepanels might flex a bit but that shouldn't be an issue. I'll make prototypes out of both materials to test strength and thermal properties.
 
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robbee

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Received my MK3S last week. I've spent the weekend assembling it and printing some tests. First prints are great but I feel like I have some more calibration to do before I try larger prints. Keep tuned!
 

robbee

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Can it be configure to use flex atx psu if you are not using LP GPU?

This is something I actually tried a couple of times, but it required some tradeoffs that made gpu mounting less convenient. I might make an alternative version for flex psu without gpu, if someone would like that, though.
 

smitty2k1

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Dec 3, 2016
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Hey not sure how I missed this before. Looks like a great idea! Love the fact you're aiming for 25mm fans next to the LP GPU. The 15mm ones are really disappointing in terms of cooling performance. I finally used an 80mm hole saw and completely removed any restrictive vents on my case... got a lot better cooling performance out of the 80x15mm fans. Just have a wire fan grille over them now. Good aesthetic.

It would be extra cool if you found somewhere to squeeze in a Meanwell 200w with the LP GPU ;)
 

robbee

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It would be extra cool if you found somewhere to squeeze in a Meanwell 200w with the LP GPU ;)

I know right! I'm a bit stuck with my 21cm x 25xm print limit. Meanwell uhp 200 at the front of the case could work, but would require to move the power button and wouldn't work with a gpu longer than 17cm (MSI). I'll be attempting some more mounting positions because an all internal gpu build would be sweet.
 

robbee

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So, after some tests, I decided to search for another vent pattern. Due to the nature of fdm printing, round holes in a vertical wall will seem choppy unless you set the layer height super low. But that will make the print take too long. So I went looking for a square-ish pattern and came up with some patterns:



I'm leaning towards 3 or 6 atm, as I like the non-symmetric look it creates. I'll have to test how well 3 prints though, as there's quite some overhang whereas the bridges on 6 are always supported on both sides, making it easier to print.

If printing the pattern proves too difficult, I'll have to resort to also laser cutting those top panels.
 
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Poblopuablo

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So, after some tests, I decided to search for another vent pattern. Due to the nature of fdm printing, round holes in a vertical wall will seem choppy unless you set the layer height super low. But that will make the print take too long. So I went looking for a square-ish pattern and came up with some patterns:



I'm leaning towards 3 or 6 atm, as I like the non-symmetric look it creates. I'll have to test how well 3 prints though, as there's quite some overhang whereas the bridges on 6 are always supported on both sides, making it easier to print.

If printing the pattern proves too difficult, I'll have to resort to also laser cutting those top panels.

Personally I like 4 or 5. 4 might look cool as triangles too. :)
 

robbee

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After a bunch of calibration and printability test prints, I'm getting ready to print my first test case. The vent pattern will be somewhat like number 4 but I may try a couple others as well. Looking at about 24 hours of print time at .2mm layer height atm, so I'll have to wait for a moment that I can stay at home for so long, as I'm not yet comfortable with leaving my printer run while not at home.



Note to self: use better camera and not phone to take those pictures :)
 

robbee

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So I've received a very interesting filament that I want to try to print this case in: Extrudr PLA NX2 white. It has a beautiful finish, very matte with almost no reflection. Problem is that it's PLA so it starts to loose strength when going over 60°C. While components may get hotter, I don't expect the case or case walls becoming that hot, though. So I'm giving it a try.

I'm planning a first test print this weekend. Fingers crossed!

On another note: the USB PCB I've ordered for the front panel has been stuck in customs for over three weeks. From what I've heard from others, it may be stuck for another couple of weeks >_>

This case but for the new amd mini-stx motherboard but with same height would be my dream case.

I might actually design something like that if i manage to make this case and it works out well.
 

robbee

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After 20 hours of printing, the first prototype is ready. It did warp a little bit in 2 of the corners so I'll have to tune my printer a bit, but that didn't prevent me from test fitting the hardware.

A couple of things need to be optimized a little bit, but generally everythign fits well and sits snug inside the case. This is the hardware I've installed in the case:

- Asus H170i-plus ITX motherboard
- Intel i3 6100
- Noctua NH-L12 (non S)
- 2x Be Quiet Pure Wings 80mm fans
- MSI 1050ti LP without the fan shroud
- Crucial mx300 M.2 256GB SSD

Unfortunately, My USB front panel has still not been cleared from customs :(


Next step will be to laser cut acrylic side panels. I've requested some quotes but they're quite expensive for prototyping, so I'll try to go to my local university's fablab to do it there.

PS: sorry for the shitty pics again, I'll try to make better ones soon o_O