!nverse: A Highly Versatile Steam-Box Design

esplin2966

Cable-Tie Ninja
Original poster
Mar 2, 2015
169
113
Hi everyone, I'm here to tell you about an exciting PC case design I am working on. It is called "Inverse". I would very much appreciate any comments or criticisms you may have regarding its design!



My venture into the world of custom-designed cases began when I started building in the tiny Minibox M350 case. Being in a long-distance relationship, I needed something small and powerful so I can take my research with me on a 13-hour train ride every weekend. My pragmatic need for a portable PC soon developed into a full-on obsession as I find myself endlessly tweaking parts and designing mounts to cram as many components as I could into every last bit of space. It is from this obsession that "Inverse" was born.

Shaped by the ethos of fitting the most performance and versatility into the smallest amount of space, Inverse is a sub-10L computer case that can accommodate a full-length graphics card, a 240mm closed-loop liquid cooler, 3.5" and 2.5" hard drives, and a SFX power supply. Its versatile internal layout accommodates hard-core gamers, enthusiasts enamored with water cooling, media hoarders looking to create their own home theater, and anyone in between. Its smooth yet eye-catching exterior will blend into and enhance any desktop or home theater setup.


No exhaust holes on top for a smooth and unobtrusive look.
__________________________________________________________________________


All intake holes on the bottom.
__________________________________________________________________________


Patterned exhaust holes on the front and side gives a unique flair.
__________________________________________________________________________


Internal components are inverted to allow a smooth top panel.
__________________________________________________________________________


Monitors, speakers, and other desktop peripherals may be placed on top to created an integrated entertainment unit with minimal footprint.
__________________________________________________________________________


Available in black, white, and possibly other colors. Let me know what you like!
__________________________________________________________________________

Specifications:
Dimension: 464mm x 308.5mm x 72mm (10.31L)

Material: 2mm aluminum for the exterior, and 1.5mm steel for the interior skeleton.

Inverse is designed with 4 interior configurations in mind, though other configurations are possible.

1) Gaming with air cooling
i) Accommodates Mini-ITX motherboard.
ii) Accommodates SFX or SFX-L power supply.
iii) Accommodates one graphics card up to 12" (305mm) in length, 5.91" (150mm) in width, and 1.81" (46mm) in thickness.
iv) Accommodate air coolers up to 55mm in height.
v) Accommodate up to 3 x 3.5" drives and 4 x 2.5" drives.
vi) Accommodate up to 2 120mm x 15mm case fans over the graphics card for added cooling.

Interior, angled top view:

Internal components are mounted in an "inverted" fashion to allow for a smooth top.
__________________________________________________________________________

Bottom view, without bottom frame attached:

All fans intake from the bottom.
__________________________________________________________________________
Low-angle side view, without fans:


Graphics card is separated from the rest of the components for focused cooling. A stabilizer bracket is provided for the graphics card to prevent sagging.
__________________________________________________________________________

Top frame, zoomed-in view:

Cable management loops on the top and bottom frame for ease of building.

2) Gaming with 120mm closed-loop liquid cooling
i) Accommodates Mini-ITX motherboard.
ii) Accommodates SFX or SFX-L power supply.
iii) Accommodates one graphics card up to 12" (305mm) in length, 5.91" (150mm) in width, and 1.81" (46mm) in thickness.
iv) Accommodate closed-loop liquid coolers with 120mm radiator and total thickness (including fan) of no more than 60mm.
v) Accommodate up to 1-3 x 3.5" drives and 2-4 x 2.5" drives, depending on the height of the water block.
vi) Accommodate up to 2 120mm x 15mm case fans over the graphics card for added cooling.

Bottom view, without bottom frame attached:

120mm case fan with a radiator on top.
__________________________________________________________________________

Low-angle side view, without fans:

3.5" drives and 2.5" drives mounted beside the 120mm radiator and over the motherboard.

3) Gaming with 240mm closed-loop liquid cooling
i) Accommodates Mini-ITX motherboard.
ii) Accommodates SFX or SFX-L power supply.
iii) Accommodates one graphics card up to 12" (305mm) in length, 5.91" (150mm) in width, and 1.81" (46mm) in thickness.
iv) Accommodate closed-loop liquid coolers with 240mm radiator and total thickness (including fan) of no more than 60mm.
v) Accommodate up to 0-1 x 3.5" drives and 2-4 x 2.5" drives, depending on the height of the water block.
vi) Accommodate up to 2 120mm x 15mm case fans over the graphics card for added cooling.

Bottom view, without bottom frame attached:

Two 120mm case fans with a 240mm radiator on top.
__________________________________________________________________________

Low-angle side view, without fans:

One 3.5" drive and up to two 2.5" drives mounted over the motherboard, depending on the height of the waterblock.

4) Media Storage
i) Accommodates Mini-ITX motherboard.
ii) Accommodates SFX or SFX-L power supply.
iii) Accommodate up to 6 x 3.5" drives and 8 x 2.5" drives.

Bottom view, without bottom frame attached:

Four 3.5" drives and four 2.5" drives in the graphics card compartment. Two 3.5" drives and four 2.5" drives around the motherboard. The compartment divider and the graphics card stabilizer is removed.
__________________________________________________________________________

Low-angle side view, without fans:

No ODD supported for any configuration. This is to maintain the smooth look of the exterior, as well as make room to accommodate a 240mm aio cooler.

Project Status:
1) Production of the second prototype is now underway.

2) We are designing a stand for this case.


FAQ:
1)
Q: There are no exhaust holes on the top, only on the sides. Doesn't that go against "hot air rises"? How would that impact temperatures?
A: The effects of hot air rising are negligible compared to the forces produced by fans. Please read this article for reference.


2)
Q: You are drawing cold air in from the bottom only. How tall does the case feet have to be before heating becomes compromised?
A: I did a study on this, and it suggests that the case feet just has to be above 9 mm in height, which is pretty standard. I own the Silverstone ML07, and its feet measure 10 mm in height. Here is the link to the study I did.


Thanks for reading!
 
Last edited:

Aibohphobia

aka James
Gold Supporter
Feb 22, 2015
4,956
4,720
Cool, it's got a name now :)

Few suggestions: You may want to do renders in perspective mode. Parallel projection is usually the default for CAD programs but it looks odd to most people since they're not used to seeing products rendered that way.

I wouldn't try 20 gauge steel (~1.0mm) with your current design. The long thin strips of metal you have in several places would be too flexible with the thinner steel. I had to carefully place lots of bends in Nova for everything to be strong enough.

Is there a gap between the frame and the bottom panel for the screws and zip-ties? Couldn't tell from the pics.

Other than that it's looking good!
 

esplin2966

Cable-Tie Ninja
Original poster
Mar 2, 2015
169
113
Thanks man! I have my designer working on the perspective mode right now, as well as just better viewing angles for the renders.

Hmm, interesting. I prototyped with 1.5mm aluminum, and it felt nice and strong, so I figured 1mm steel would be about the same. I should probably prototype something quick with 1mm steel and see how that feels.

Oh yeah, good catch. Right now there's no gap between the skeleton and bottom panel, so I gotta take care of that. I think I'll just have it bend down a few mm's to make space. Awesome, more details for the next iteration!

Edit: Updated render.
 
Last edited:

fusionxr

Cable Smoosher
Mar 4, 2015
8
0
You can flip it and get a top down view render. Easier to see the layout that way. Are you paying your designer btw?
 

esplin2966

Cable-Tie Ninja
Original poster
Mar 2, 2015
169
113
You can flip it and get a top down view render. Easier to see the layout that way. Are you paying your designer btw?

That's a good idea. I will be working on that.

My designer, my manufacturer contact, and I will be splitting any potential profits/losses :)

...which means none of us are getting paid :(
 

PlayfulPhoenix

Founder of SFF.N
SFFLAB
Chimera Industries
Moderator
Gold Supporter
Feb 22, 2015
1,049
1,960
I really like the name :cool:

Have you though at all about front I/O (USB and audio)? I suppose that for a LRPC it might not be missed as much (wired controllers, maybe?), but I'm mostly just curious.
 

esplin2966

Cable-Tie Ninja
Original poster
Mar 2, 2015
169
113
Hey everyone, quick update and a quick question. Right now, I have the exterior of the case designed as 2 pieces that come together, like this:



However, since nothing can be manufactured perfectly, there will be a small slit between the 2 pieces. So my question is simple: Does it bother you?
 

esplin2966

Cable-Tie Ninja
Original poster
Mar 2, 2015
169
113
I really like the name :cool:

Have you though at all about front I/O (USB and audio)? I suppose that for a LRPC it might not be missed as much (wired controllers, maybe?), but I'm mostly just curious.

Just realized that I haven't replied to this yet. In the design, I have allocated space for the power button, USB, and audio, but I haven't figured out exactly which switch to use, the exact size and layout of the PCB board, etc.
 

4RTEX

Trash Compacter
Feb 24, 2015
51
11
It doesn't bother me at all. My suggestion is to check with your fabricator for that punch tool to see exactly what rad is going to be produced on this thickness of material, so you would get a perfect match of the other piece.
 

PlayfulPhoenix

Founder of SFF.N
SFFLAB
Chimera Industries
Moderator
Gold Supporter
Feb 22, 2015
1,049
1,960
Hey everyone, quick update and a quick question. Right now, I have the exterior of the case designed as 2 pieces that come together, like this... However, since nothing can be manufactured perfectly, there will be a small slit between the 2 pieces. So my question is simple: Does it bother you?

I voted "Not Really" - that you have the gap run along the sides, and only the bottom edge of the front, is (in my mind, at least) the best way to do it.
 

esplin2966

Cable-Tie Ninja
Original poster
Mar 2, 2015
169
113
Apparently about 55% of the people are bother by it (kinda + yes). PlayfulPhoenix, we're looking into how much more expensive having your suggestion implemented is, since it involves welding.