Prototype THE TINY BOY'S ADVENTURE! - Join me through the wonderful story of a tiny case... of 3.68L

_ONE_

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The Tiny Boy’s adventure





From drawing to shipping, walk with me through this adventure where I create more than a PC case: A Product!

Music suggested for reading my thread (c'mooon...just tryyy! 😇) :







 
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_ONE_

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Resources (in progress) !Updated

Here you’ll find many links that will improve your knowledge, all It need in exchange is your valuable time & attention…
Please, if you don't want your work to be linked here, just PM me:

(link will be added soon)

Manufacturing:
STX160.0 - The most powerful ATX unit, in the world! (GOLDEN THREAD)
Protocase.com (well known, reliable & expensive!)
Protolabs.com : (OMG their resources are so well documented!! it's also very friendly designed!)

Udemy prototyping story So you have a great idea - now what? (MUST WATCH, first inventor of the world smallest guitar!)
Grabcad.com (Free cad file for everyone, around 1.3 millions objects)

Crowdfunding example :
SENTRY: console-sized mini-ITX gaming pc case (Ho boy, that's how we do!)
SENTRY 2.0: Evolution of console-sized gaming case (Ho Boy...Here we go again)

!nverse: The Most Versatile Small Computer Case (clean product presentation)

Website example:
Not from concentrate
(Golden man 😊 !)
NCASE (Top level Product website!)
W360MOD aka DAN Case (Another nice looking product website, similar: so it's maybe a theme!)
VELKA CASE (World smallest produced PC case...until I come! 🤗)
J-Hack company (Many option on the shop)

Website making:
Wordpress (basically 36% of internet websites)

Woocommerce (It's so simple to sell online)

Marketing Tools:

Element.envato.com (affordable & unlimited content)
Freepik.com (Same, but more on picture side)
videohive.net (Same again, but more on video side)

Software:
Autodesk Fusion 360 (Will you marry me!)
Luxion Keyshot Pro free trial (Now your rendering will not be ugly anymore!)

Blender (Powerful Freeware with endless possibility, nice for rendering)
Adobe Creative Collection (This is how you make beautiful pic)

Regulation duty:
WEEE and CE



More to come as the thread grow up
 
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_ONE_

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1- Before we start: Few 462 Words

( Heyyy remember me? I'm the guy who doesn't know how to use color! )
( After almost 3 year out of this forum, and a very weird first project where I was... Well... kinda immature)
(don't look into it)
( I'm back to give you the best out of me... )


So my first thanks go right to Joshua Sniffen for what he shared for years with us (what a cool and funny guy…), he truly is someone to be inspired of. Without him I wouldn’t even know about this forum 🙃

2 Year ago I saw his video about the STX 160 build and came back one year later to this golden thread once I really needed it: when building my case.


Before reading my thread, I highly recommend you to watch his video


And even more to read the related thread: STX160.0 - The most powerful ATX unit, in the world!


Obviously, BIG thanks to the staff who is doing an astonishing job, and deserve a lot.


I also thank the inactive but missed Aibohphobia who gave me some precious knowledge. Now that I’m just sharing back mine, I hope that he’s fine.

I’m actually being inspired by his thread on many point… Somehow, I’m trying to be complementary to him by covering aspects he didn’t talked about. I’ll also go beyond manufacturing… to talk about production, marketing, website, pricing, selling, shipping etc etc… all of that with you!

I won’t go as deeper as him on some point (for example screw type), because it’ll mean uselessly duplicating content and because I want to cover my own subjects, I’ll therefore fully explain my choice as I walkthrough them.

Again, please read it’s (well written)
thread before continuing…



Keep in mind that I’m a newbie on some points:

I never manufactured a product, did mass shipping, created a website for it, using render to create some nice shot etc etc…

Therefore, this is why it’s exciting, it’s made by someone who start from zero, it also means that if I manage to accomplish something great (which I will), then anyone can do it… Including you!


Right now, the prototype is done and work flawlessly as I’m writing to you, I’m also working on the website, and as you saw right at the beginning, I’m pretty darn good at giving stunning render shot of the case.


So… don’t even think for a second that this thread will not go hard on the result, cuz it will 😉

Tiny TEASER!!!





Keep in mind that it will take time for me to write it, and that I might make some mistakes, like every human being. If you spot them, be among those who just share their solution to help us get even smarter!


Now... Let’s deeply dive into:

 
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_ONE_

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2 - Introduction: a study about creativity!



“Copy one idea, it’s plagiat. Copy 1000 idea… It’s inspiration “- root



Our brain is wonderful, but as wonderful as it is, it actually can’t truly imagine straight from nothing.

We basically can’t think from nothing, like matter can’t come from void.

It may sound tricky to understand but one day I came across a study
(still trying to find it) where specialists have proven that the man is incapable to create something completely original. (the study was about asking volunteer to solve a special problem in an unique way, I don't exactly remember the circumstances)

"Are you sure about that" you might ask? While I'm not certain, I felt like it was true… To sum up their conclusion:

Every idea we have is (consciously or unconsciously) inspired by what we saw, heard, thought, felt, dreamed, touched… basically by every interaction during our entire life: this is how we feel "inspired".


Still not convinced? let's try the opposite way:
It'll be near impossible for someone borned blind to imagine a color... 🤔
interestingly , Their dream are about other working senses (Smell, touch, taste, hearing...)




_______________________________


From nature to advanced high tech, every creation is a mix of other ones in the brain of the designer.
The venting hole from the top of a coolermaster stryker might have been inspired to its designer by the body venting hole of an old ferrari 275 gtb



(it’s probably not true, but you get the idea 😁)



You’ll certainly realize it with the following example:

Currently, my “organically shaped” case vent you saw up there were inspired by the idea I had of cells:



Those cell are from an onion… the last time I saw them was inside a microscope.... I was in high school, many many year ago…

I eventually found out that It does also look like a Voronoi diagram, which Is a known pattern we see in house interior object design:




and just like in the onion flar… Nature !



I’m absolutely sure that this venting hole pattern idea came from those objects, which one exactly?
I don’t know, as it’s probably a mix of them by my brain. But what do amaze me is that I’m figuring that out while I’m writing this thread, I actually didn’t needed to look at those images while designing my case, I was inspired by them because I saw them during my life.

Before that I was going with a more classical pattern which look like the one from the well-known Skyreach S4 mini


yeah, I know, I wasn’t original… but I didn’t know from where to start and this one was both beautiful and effective for me, nice job Josh (cf Free Area Ratio).

Then after few dreamawing (you’ll understand this word in the next part) I came out with a unique pattern, check this out!



Now It feel way better to not look like someone else anymore... Isn't it J. 😉



Dear reader, I want to ask you a question:

Did you saw this kind of pattern in a case somewhere else? If yes can you give me a link to it? I'm not sure, but I might be the first one to make a case with this kind of hole...

Anyway, I’m pretty happy about the originality and look of it… for cooling airflow performance, I don’t even worry about 😅 , I should calculate the Ratio for fun, maybe in the next update if don't forget to. But I'm sure to nail it:


Remember the rule of thumb for pc case?
if you can put your thumb in the hole, then you're good to go with airflow 🤣

(eventually, this is not good for safety...)



Now… I’m sure that many of you are already thinking about how many fingers you can put in there, but hey:

Isn’t that a surprising extra for carrying this case? It also gives me an idea for a funny quote on my future website…

“ There’s 1000 way to carry this case, As much as reasons to buy it” - ONE

________________




Now let’s get back to our “inspiration/creativity” theory: why am I Insisting on that?

Well... While this study hurt the felling of people who tend to be original (like me), It also tell us the key to creativity, basically:

The more your brain know stuffs, the more you can be creative.





Anyway, here's an advice to sum it up:

Take inspiration everywhere, not only from others PC case but also from a lamp, a machine, a toy, a shop entrance, a train, a fish…. from nature, food or everyday object.... Everywhere.






Your incredible brain will mix that up and one day, in front of a problem, while your wonder about how to solve it, your neurons will ignite and from that, a spark might spring…

This is your idea,

- Catch it -


And move with me to the next step:

 
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_ONE_

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Piouuu.. now i'll take some rest.

How is it for you guys? i'm kinda going freestyle in there.
 
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_ONE_

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I like it! It is interesting to see the whole creative process, not just pictures and dimensions of various prototypes.
Ho ParallaxStax, this go right to my ❤

Ok then, I've added a tiny teaser in the 1- part, enjoy!

I'll add more content in the future.
 

Colinreay

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This is awesome. I'm glad that you are sharing the full journey of creating a product with us.

Joshua Sniffen has also been an inspirational and educational figure for me. Smart, talented people openly sharing their ideas and techniques (like you!) pushes the community forward. I remember pouring through every detail of the STX 160 build and trying to understand sheet metal manufacturing. That build log is one of the main reasons I got into SFF.

Please keep us updated! I really hope this thread evolves similarly to STX 160 (sans screw minutiae :) ) and becomes a comprehensive guide that will inspire many future makers. Huge kudos for giving credit to all of the ideas/people you mentioned in the writeup.
 

Till - Revoccases

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You really put a lot of passion and heart into your project. I like that and wish you the best of luck.

Maybe two more points you might want to add to your to-do-list (if you are going to sell it one day):

- CE Certification / Declaration of Conformity
- WEEE registration (if you plan to sell it in the EU with any cables, buttons, etc. included)

I know, legal stuff is the last people thinking of when designing a case, but unfortunately it's necessary.
 

_ONE_

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You really put a lot of passion and heart into your project. I like that and wish you the best of luck.

Maybe two more points you might want to add to your to-do-list (if you are going to sell it one day):

- CE Certification / Declaration of Conformity
- WEEE registration (if you plan to sell it in the EU with any cables, buttons, etc. included)

I know, legal stuff is the last people thinking of when designing a case, but unfortunately it's necessary.
Ho that's interesting! I Knew that at one moment I'll need to get this "CE" label: I don't exactly know what it does stand for, but guess that basically it mean our product will not blow up a customer house (or bite his finger...)

We will do that together fellows!
(around the prototyping chapter)

I have... no idea how... But that's why it's an adventure right? 😄

More to come in <36h
 

rfarmer

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Well, it's a little bit more than just a label you stick on...

Dan who is doing the A4 cases wrote a detailed post about that a few years ago. You might want to check this.

post #17
This was also a problem Ncase had recently and shipments to Germany, there were a couple incidents when the person receiving the case had to leave the power cable with customs because the box did not have the CE label.
 

Lone

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I like it also! Well done with the organic vent design, and overall appearance. Even the exposed screws seem to suit it nicely.
 

CC Ricers

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Nice job on the case! Would look pretty interesting how you fit the components in that small of a space.

The power button doesn't look like a typical anti-vandal switch, what is it? It actually reminds me of Sanwa arcade switches.
 

_ONE_

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Well, it's a little bit more than just a label you stick on...

Dan who is doing the A4 cases wrote a detailed post about that a few years ago. You might want to check this.

post #17
Sure, I'm aware of regulation, I'll deal with them once it'll be the time.

So I just saw Dan's post, CE and WEEE... 2014/35/EU & 2011/65/EU... hummmm 🧐 ....

I ALMOST had a heart attack when he said "It will cost between 2000-5000€" before realizing it's the cost for other to make the test for you, thanks god. 😩

(great doc, I'm adding it to the ressources)

it's a challenge I'm willing to take, I'll definitely have fun with this Label as i'm also having dumb idea for the packaging.

Nice job on the case! Would look pretty interesting how you fit the components in that small of a space.

The power button doesn't look like a typical anti-vandal switch, what is it? It actually reminds me of Sanwa arcade switches.
for the power button it's a QG16F from ONPOW
 
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_ONE_

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3- Dreamawing = Dreaming and Drawing



Dreamawing is a word I’ve just invented while writing this title, I kinda like it, especially when English isn’t my main language, anyway:

It’s easy to dream, cost nothing but breathing! (Did I just invented a valid byword ?)



So here you have it: This famous idea that your inner creator spirit won't let go for days and nights!

You start thinking about your idea, dreaming about your concept, your case, your mod or anything like that.

So it's the right moment to
write down and draw your idea on paper: I want you to sketch it out everywhere, even on the palm of your hand if necessary. The more you do that, the more engraved your idea will be.



When enough thoughts have been allowed to your idea, you'll start to automaticaly add new concepts and improve it through time.
(You'll see that in detail when I'll talk about the different design of the case)




I don't want to hear a single one of you saying "but i don't know how to draw... 🤕", cuz:

You don’t need to be a master in our case, what you need is just 8:20 min to understand how to greatly improve your perspective skill (2 points perspectives), If you're a fast thinker, you'll get the concept within the 12 first seconds:


You MUST watch this:

(thank me later)




Actually, I'm in fact asking you to sketch, which is different than drawing; one doesn't need to be beautiful to look at 🤭



Once you get the idea, you’ll be amazed of beautiful your cube will be…. Because yes, at the end we are just drawing box right? I’m mean seriously, a flat 17cm² square with a short cube on it is an ITX with an NH-L9i


A long rectangle is a GPU, a short one is an ITX GPU…. You got it, it’s not that hard to draw components!

Here's an actual design using this technique, from
Soul_Est on this thread:

Thanks for the thread Sir!



Let's take a look at my first concept:


(on the left, The very first sketch of this adventure, years ago)

It was about flattening a powerfull build in a very very very thin case, and watercooling both gpu & cpu. I wanted the case to be so thin that waterblocks fittings are out of the case,

it’s not the moment for CAD but this is just a shot of the idea when I started to conceive it before hitting a wall:


This is what I call The "bare minimum skeleton" (more on that in the next part 🤫)


...Wait a minute....


The case panel is LOWER than the component Bracket/IO
Does that mean... That we are having a shot at the very first NEGATIVE volume case 😱?!!?
(of course not)


Let's add the Radiator:



So yeah... As I said, at one moment... I hit a wall, I just realized that this idea might require a lot of work and will not be that accessible to all since not everyone can or want to build a custom water-cooling system.

I also didn’t have enough to purchase a specific heatsink for the gpu, or bother finding a way to cool the vram with a gpu waterblock next to it (which was the problem on the upper CAD picture, there was just a waterblock for the gpu ship, but nothing to cool the vram = bad idea for a tiny but powerful 1070).

But don't worry, I never give up an idea! What I did instead is something to learn:


I duplicated this idea: on one side, called it the Flat Boy, zipped every files had about it (like the 3 pic above & CAD files) and archived it... which mean... more adventures to come for the next year 🥳

On the other side, I made it much simpler & accessible for all:

Let’s instead build the smallest possible case using common ITX component with their original heatsink!




While this sketch was made right now (after the prototype) to illustrate this thread, it's still a good thing to add it. Therefore, back in the time were I didn't even start to 3D model it, I did NOT knew that it'll look like this:




Warning: I repeat that at this moment of the process, I didn't had a single idea of what it'll look like, So again, this sketch is POST process, just for the thread.
I'm insisting on that, because many of you think that creators need to perfectly now what to design to start, Which is FALSE


- We often go without blueprint, and let our creativity drive us to our destiny. -



Hey! Just like the Venting hole, They were found and AT THE VERY END:

If you look clooosely at the left side of my case, in the Josh's s4m & nature inspired hole comparison, you'll notice that the GPU venting zone is EMPTY!


To perfectly illustrate that:

Raaaiiiinnnnbbbbooowwww
Thanks Colinreay: Thread
(he's working on the filter)

Indeed, I had to make some dreamawing to find the venting hole pattern 'll try 3D modeling:


Huuhh.... it's already 1:40 AM here...

After enough sketch, you should be able to narrow your choices and define a more specific goal, for me:


- Building the smallest possible case using common ITX component -




Fair enough, It’s a simple guideline to follow, I'll end with this wonderful quote that my sleepy brain found:



"We often go without blueprint, and let our creativity drive us to our destiny. "

I'm insisting on that because... I lost so many year thinking that I needed to be a graduated 20years+ experienced engineer to invent something...


Okeyyy 😴, See u in few days to move onto the next step: 4 - Component selection: A baseline for our build
 
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_ONE_

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what are the dimensions in mm?

Ho boy....
This will be revealed in chapter 7 😂😂😂 else I'll spoil the story 😟

But looking at the "Tiny Tease" video, you'll see that I compare it to a Logitech g502 and a Razer nostromo (I'll let you get an idea of the size from that)
 

Colinreay

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Hehe, I do plan to add some filters in the future, just haven't gotten around to it yet :). The Voronoi pattern is looking super sexyyy.

Keep it up! I like the passion that you're bringing to the project.