Prototype MT5: 5.4L Expandable case for mini GPUs

CC Ricers

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Doing final checks on the design for the main case shell, and getting ready to send it off for printing in black, again with ABS plastic. If all goes well, this case would be among the first to go for sale!
 

CC Ricers

Shrink Way Wielder
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Been weeks since I updated, but I actually didn't put the order through for the prototype. I wanted to revise it because the motherboard tray piece in the middle was still bothering me. I thought, for a case this small that is meant to have a thicker bezel and the motherboard hugging close to it, there must be a way to make a whole tray unnecessary. So I did away with it.

I created a new design from scratch that again uses a 2-piece shell design, but without a middle tray area. It is similar to the last design but the lack of tray is the most important change. Another big change is the top area vent has been reduced. I did need to give up the need for 80mm fans, and instead emphasize the GPU for performance reasons.

The dimensions are somewhat smaller, like the previous prototype, but with better ease of use than that one. Despite being smaller, the bezel thickness has been increased from 5mm to 6mm. Card compatibility is still reasonable at 183mm max length.



I still have to work on the joiner corners, which are just a carry over from the previous design so that shouldn't take long.

After having seen bunch of other similar sized cases printed with PLA materials, this gives me more confidence that it can also be printed in PLA without seeing any noteworthy degradation to the strength of the case. I will make the .STL files for the case available once the design is complete, but for those that don't have access to a printer I could also take orders to have one made, in ABS plastic.
 

robbee

Master of Cramming
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Sep 24, 2016
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Nice, removing the mobo will make working in the case a lot easier I think. Is there anything other than the PCI slot to hold the GPU into place now, though?
 

smitty2k1

King of Cable Management
Dec 3, 2016
915
453
Been weeks since I updated, but I actually didn't put the order through for the prototype. I wanted to revise it because the motherboard tray piece in the middle was still bothering me. I thought, for a case this small that is meant to have a thicker bezel and the motherboard hugging close to it, there must be a way to make a whole tray unnecessary. So I did away with it.

I created a new design from scratch that again uses a 2-piece shell design, but without a middle tray area. It is similar to the last design but the lack of tray is the most important change. Another big change is the top area vent has been reduced. I did need to give up the need for 80mm fans, and instead emphasize the GPU for performance reasons.

The dimensions are somewhat smaller, like the previous prototype, but with better ease of use than that one. Despite being smaller, the bezel thickness has been increased from 5mm to 6mm. Card compatibility is still reasonable at 183mm max length.



I still have to work on the joiner corners, which are just a carry over from the previous design so that shouldn't take long.

After having seen bunch of other similar sized cases printed with PLA materials, this gives me more confidence that it can also be printed in PLA without seeing any noteworthy degradation to the strength of the case. I will make the .STL files for the case available once the design is complete, but for those that don't have access to a printer I could also take orders to have one made, in ABS plastic.
I'm surprised you chose to remove the top fan capability. From what I've read with other mini-sandwich style cases the top exhaust fans really help with temperatures on both the CPU and GPU. Looking forward to seeing the prototype :)
 

CC Ricers

Shrink Way Wielder
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Nice, removing the mobo will make working in the case a lot easier I think. Is there anything other than the PCI slot to hold the GPU into place now, though?

Right now the PCI slot/cable will just hang in place while the GPU is attached in the back with two screws on the top of the bracket, and one on the bottom. I took some case ides from Limit Cube 3 in which they had the cable just free hanging in between the mobo and GPU. Since this case only supports short cards, there's very little risk of GPU sagging from the limited size.

I'm surprised you chose to remove the top fan capability. From what I've read with other mini-sandwich style cases the top exhaust fans really help with temperatures on both the CPU and GPU. Looking forward to seeing the prototype :)

if it helps air circulation a lot, I'll probably re-add fan support. Will use one 92mm fan instead of two of 80mm this time. Any slim 92mm fan 15mm thick or less would work, or a 100mm fan with 92mm mount points.

Update: Here's a view of the new vents, which supports mounting slim fans such as the Noctua NF-A9x14 or the Thermalright TY-100 (pictured below). The Thermalright fan is found in AXP-100 cooler, @Thehack sold fans seperately but don't know if they'll be back in stock.



I don't know yet if push or pull works better on the bottom with case feet, but it should at least provide more benefits in cooling, especially if you are using a Mean Well 200W power supply. Using a bottom fan gives up the spot for a 2.5" hard drive.
 
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CC Ricers

Shrink Way Wielder
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Wanted to give you guys an update. With the process of manufacturing the prototype for other 6 liter case I have going on, I have to make a lateral change to the design process of this particular case. There's a separate thread for the other case, but I consider both cases to be part of the same "family" so to speak as they have the same design language and design constraints.

First important thing: The design in post #222 has been deemed difficult to 3D print because the overhangs would require too many supports. So it's back to using a third piece for the motherboard tray, but with what I have come up with the 6L case, I have figured out how to make it sturdier and more robust.

Second: It won't be 4L in size anymore. I have gone back and forth with whether or not I will support Flex-ATX PSUs. But for a while haven't found a PSU mounting mechanism that would be satisfactory. So I settled on a longer, vertical design, like those found in some Taobao cases or the Velka 3. With a slight twist- the GPU and mobo will also be oriented in a vertical fashion.

So, the MT4 case has now become the MT5...



This still incorporates thicker walls over the original prototype, and, for now at least will have to ditch case fans (sorry, @smitty2k1) but the vertical orientation should also help with exhaust airflow. The interior room is such that it can also support the modded Geeek PSUs with higher wattage and slightly longer size due to modular cables.
 
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smitty2k1

King of Cable Management
Dec 3, 2016
915
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Wanted to give you guys an update. With the process of manufacturing the prototype for other 6 liter case I have going on, I have to make a lateral change to the design process of this particular case. There's a separate thread for the other case, but I consider both cases to be part of the same "family" so to speak as they have the same design language and design constraints.

First important thing: The design in post #222 has been deemed difficult to 3D print because the overhangs would require too many supports. So it's back to using a third piece for the motherboard tray, but with what I have come up with the 6L case, I have figured out how to make it sturdier and more robust.

Second: It won't be 4L in size anymore. I have gone back and forth with whether or not I will support Flex-ATX PSUs. But for a while haven't found a PSU mounting mechanism that would be satisfactory. So I settled on a longer, vertical design, like those found in some Taobao cases or the Velka 3. With a slight twist- the GPU and mobo will also be oriented in a vertical fashion.

So, the MT4 case has now become the MT5...



This still incorporates thicker walls over the original prototype, and, for now at least will have to ditch case fans (sorry, @smitty2k1) but the vertical orientation should also help with exhaust airflow. The interior room is such that it can also support the modded Geeek PSUs with higher wattage and slightly longer size due to modular cables.

Cool change - so I/O will come out the top or do you anticipate the power button will be on the top?
 
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CC Ricers

Shrink Way Wielder
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Cool change - so I/O will come out the top or do you anticipate the power button will be on the top?

Now that you mention it, there would be a good spot to put the power button on top, just behind the GPU.

The current position puts it right in front of the PSU which I had trouble trying to place just right so it doesn't interfere with cable management, but the top location sounds like a better suggestion so I'll take it!

This case is designed to be rotated so you can stand it either horizontally or vertically. In horizontal position the power button will be in the back.
 

Windfall

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Nov 14, 2017
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Now that you mention it, there would be a good spot to put the power button on top, just behind the GPU.

The current position puts it right in front of the PSU which I had trouble trying to place just right so it doesn't interfere with cable management, but the top location sounds like a better suggestion so I'll take it!

This case is designed to be rotated so you can stand it either horizontally or vertically. In horizontal position the power button will be in the back.

Room for HDPlex 400W and 205mm GPUs is a must for me.
 

CC Ricers

Shrink Way Wielder
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Room for HDPlex 400W and 205mm GPUs is a must for me.

That should be very possible :) Max length for GPUs with the HDPlex is 214mm, so a Zotac 2070 OC Mini would fit, but a MSI Ventus, not quite. The 400W unit would be able to fit in completely without a fan. The fan mount will have to be partly sticking out of the case.
 
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Windfall

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That should be very possible :) Max length for GPUs with the HDPlex is 214mm, so a Zotac 2070 OC Mini would fit, but a MSI Ventus, not quite. The 400W unit would be able to fit in completely without a fan. The fan mount will have to be partly sticking out of the case.

I would be using a quadro P2000.

Oh, and I was talking about the 400 AC-DC.
 
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CC Ricers

Shrink Way Wielder
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What would I have to do to get the fan to fit?

And I would be bifurcating with an amerirack riser.
Thanks.

I'm still working on that solution. The PSU opening was mainly designed for Flex-ATX so some of the HD Plex screw holes won't align. But it's not impossible to add more holes. The fan will be spaced a few mm away from the vents but still blow air into the AC outlet side which is the side HD Plex recommends. The right side is for the GPU and where the C14 AC outlet will attach to.

 

CC Ricers

Shrink Way Wielder
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Some good news- these part designs are now considered production ready, based on the larger MT6 case that I have printed and tested with some hardware. I'm able to get the final version printed in ABS for relatively cheap.
 
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CC Ricers

Shrink Way Wielder
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Given my experience with my 6 liter prototype case so far, I can say with confidence that the design is now production ready and I'm able to take pre-orders.

There are two versions I'll be selling at the moment- the standard version takes CPU coolers up to 40mm tall, and the extended version is for CPU coolers up to 48mm tall. Aside from the width, the specs are identical for both. These cases start at $80 for the standard version, and $85 for the extended version, and include side panels. PCIe riser cables are not included.

Also take note that these cases will be pre-assembled, no annoying bolting or screwing in of case parts to start your build! (there isn't any benefit of mine to pack these disassembled anyways) Only screws you'll deal with are taking the side panels off and installing GPU and motherboard.

Shipping fee will be $15 in the United States. For other countries, inquire within and we can discuss the best shipping method for you.

Inquire by DM if you are interested. I may create an order form later on in order to streamline the process.
 
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Makusan

Chassis Packer
Nov 27, 2019
17
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Been weeks since I updated, but I actually didn't put the order through for the prototype. I wanted to revise it because the motherboard tray piece in the middle was still bothering me. I thought, for a case this small that is meant to have a thicker bezel and the motherboard hugging close to it, there must be a way to make a whole tray unnecessary. So I did away with it.

I created a new design from scratch that again uses a 2-piece shell design, but without a middle tray area. It is similar to the last design but the lack of tray is the most important change. Another big change is the top area vent has been reduced. I did need to give up the need for 80mm fans, and instead emphasize the GPU for performance reasons.

The dimensions are somewhat smaller, like the previous prototype, but with better ease of use than that one. Despite being smaller, the bezel thickness has been increased from 5mm to 6mm. Card compatibility is still reasonable at 183mm max length.



I still have to work on the joiner corners, which are just a carry over from the previous design so that shouldn't take long.

After having seen bunch of other similar sized cases printed with PLA materials, this gives me more confidence that it can also be printed in PLA without seeing any noteworthy degradation to the strength of the case. I will make the .STL files for the case available once the design is complete, but for those that don't have access to a printer I could also take orders to have one made, in ABS plastic.

I'm in the market for a 5 Liter case (sandwich design). In my research I have seen more than one video showing how plastic is NOT a good material over all for case material. Very poor for cooling. Just because you can use plastic does not mean you should use plastic. It has also mentioned that "exhausting" cooling system has better thermals, and reduces dust for this kind of design.
 

robbee

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Sep 24, 2016
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I'm in the market for a 5 Liter case (sandwich design). In my research I have seen more than one video showing how plastic is NOT a good material over all for case material. Very poor for cooling. Just because you can use plastic does not mean you should use plastic. It has also mentioned that "exhausting" cooling system has better thermals, and reduces dust for this kind of design.

I've not just watched video's, but i've owned metal cases, wooden cases and printed plastic cases. My experience is that the difference is minimal. A metal case does conduct more heat so might act as a radiator. But since there's no airflow outside of the case, it only looses heat by radiating it, and that is really quite minimal. Getting hot air out of your case with airflow is really the key to cooling.
 
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ZMan

Average Stuffer
Oct 12, 2017
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I'm in the market for a 5 Liter case (sandwich design). In my research I have seen more than one video showing how plastic is NOT a good material over all for case material. Very poor for cooling. Just because you can use plastic does not mean you should use plastic. It has also mentioned that "exhausting" cooling system has better thermals, and reduces dust for this kind of design.
I'm using 3d printed cases from PLA for the last 3 years. Your thermals depends on the case design. NOT case material.
All components cooling is sufficient by OEM design. Case role is to keep components together and prevent foreign objects to get in to fans. Case design should not obstruct components cooling intake and exhaust.
 

Kilrah

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Feb 20, 2017
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My 3D printed case is obviously plastic and works just fine, and I'm not making it easy by requiring it to dissipate 330W in less than 5L volume.
 
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