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[Scratch] Project: Crimson Server Desk Module (Update: 14-04-14)

Luciel
Level 7
Hi Guys,

I´m currently only a couple of days away from finishing APASF (which hasn´t had any updates in months due to work and life in general getting in the way) but that should be done real soon, a lot of more has gone in to it but I´m saving it for one big final update.

Anyhow enough on that.

This new project has many "new" things for me.

1: It´s the first project I actually plan for an extended period of time. APASF, Fallout Cause SP, PS2 Corset, etc where all simply ideas I had in my head and they just developed as I did the projects. On APASF, having such major modifications to the case I realised how important it was that certain things I should plan out ahead to save me trouble later on when certain things didn´t work out the way I would´ve liked them to.

2: Even though I´ve done quite a few casemods, improved my paint effects skills tenfold and learned a lot, I felt it´s time I did my first scratch build. The reason I had never done one before is merely because I like to have a "canvas" if you will to work on, therefore prefering to do casemods. In this case (no pun intended) however it´s different as the following project is meant for my room, as an extension of my desk and I´ll get in to the details further down the text. That said, I do expect this project to be relatively simply in design, work put in to it and final look, being my first scratch build, I don´t feel comftable overdoing it in design and details as I tend to do with casemods.

3: It´s the first time I do a project which I intend to use myself rather than just doing it for the fun of it (and having my everyday pc on the side)

So, a lot of "new" aspects to this project and a lot of potential things that could go wrong but the fact is, this project is essentially an experiment, if I enjoy doing it and would like to improve my skills with wood I wil most definately do more in the future, with the final idea being a wood take on my APASF project on a much larger scale (you would´ve though everyone would be sick of steampunk by now but hey!)

Right! Now thats all out of the way...

...let´s start with a bit about the concept of this project. The idea is simple. In my "mancave" I have one desk that´s long enough for my 3 screens and my PC and next to it, on the left, is an extension "desk" or "module" mostly for aesthetical reasons, it fills up the side of the room nicely and adds more space to store stuff in, place crap on top, etc.and next to it there´s another piece that´s only for storage.

So, under this "desk-module-thingie" is my bin and my server. It´s one of those servers that we use for media streaming around the house (2 floors with 3 rooms and the lounge with TVs in all of them), downloading over night (our connection is rather crappy at only 3mb, so big downloads happen over night), music streaming and general storage. It´s one of those where we put all the old hard drives that are kind of small for today´s main PCs but still work perfectly and would be a shame not to use them, so for example, there´s a 160Gb in there, a 250, 2x 500 and 1x750Gb.

Unfortunately lately the server has been failing, a couple of the sata ports don´t work all the time (the HDDs are fine though), the motherboard´s ethernet stopped working a long time ago, so it has an added pci card for that and in summer it gets very hot due to poor ventilation. Yes I could add more fans or even liquid cooling, but you have to understand it´s a pc with all the old hardware inside that only has a sharing purpose so, spending money on upgrades just to extend it´s life a bit doesn´t seem right. It´s an old M2N ASUS Motherboard with an AMD X2 3400+ and in summer, the poor thing suffers (we get up to 45c on a hot summer day in the south of Spain, so the CPU easilly reaches 70-85c). and the hard drives... wow.... yes. I´ve also never liked the fact of having the server on the floor, it gets very dusty, dirty and generally ugly. But I don´t really have space on the desk plus, it´s kind of ugly so don´t really want it up there.

Here´s a picture of the current desk-module-thingie with the server (and bin, of course) under it.



The concept of the project is to replace this desk-module-thingie unit with one that will match the desk on the right and storage unit on the left as this one does. This new unit will have the same height, width and depth but the actual "box" will be deeper using all the space between the top and the metal legs (which I will be re-using from the current unit in order to match the style of the rest). The surface will have nothing on it as it will be partial glass/acrylic (depending on what seems like the best idea) and 200mm fans with filters in strategic possitions (one above all the hard drives and the other I haven´t decided yet (as in I know where it will go but not what to put under it). The reason for this fans being on top is because there´s no breathing space on either side of the desk nor the back, and I didn´t want them on the front. Within the "desk-module-thingie" will be the server, that is, same hard drives but new hardware, that´s right, I´ve decided to retire this server for good.

By doing this I hope to integrate the server and by doing so, keeping the same style of furniture within my room and adding a stylish surface with the server in it and solving once and for all, it´s heat issues, dust issues, etc.

Yes, I know, we´ve all seen a lot of desk mods, and some of them are trully great and amazing, BUT! has anyone ever seen a desk-module-thingie-mod before?! Didn´t think so.

Let´s start then.

I went out and bought the screws, drill bit and a new tool for my collection, basically some of the stuff I´ll need to do this.



As I said before, I´ve actually been planning this for a while and checking out loads of projects from several moders out there, to see how they worked the wood, problems they encountered, etc. By doing some research I encountered my first issue. The fact of how expensive good wood is. Don´t get me wrong, I have no trouble paying whatever I need to pay if it means I´ll be happy with the result, be it hardware, tools, materials, you name it. But! being my first wood experience I figured it would be criminal to get good wood and potentially screw it up and have to get more, and essentially not do it justice, so. I took the desk-module-thingie apart and saw that it was made of plywood, which was surprising as I always though plywood was weak and not sturdy yet this thing is rock-solid, so figured, well, I could do it with plywood as long as I can find something as good or better than this. Went down to my local wood warehouse and in deed, I found some stuff that´s actually a lot better, and they even offered to give it a "wood-look" finish, it also happened to be cheap enough so I went for it.

Now, I have some pictures of the wood itself, which I had them cut to the right sizes (obviously, measured everything up weeks ago in preparation for this) but they are in the camera which I don´t have right now (the first picture I put earlier in this thread is done with my phone and so are the other three you will see before this post is over, so I will add the others later on and everything from then on will be done with the camera I normally use.


(Future edit: Insert wood pictures here).
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Luciel
Level 7
Hi Everyone,

So it´s been a couple of work hectic days so I haven´t been able to do anything but today, I had a couple of hours free so I thought I´d do something I thought about. If you remember, in previous posts I was concerned about the vibration the HDDs would have considering they are not attached through one side, and while they do seem pretty solid/stable, I couldn´t help think it just isn´t enough. So I played around with a couple of ideas but none of them quite did it for me until I thought, plexy! So here goes.



Cut out two pieces after measuring it all up and did the mounting holes.



I think I will need to do 2 more smaller pieces for the 2 2.5 hdds on each side, but that´s for another day. Anyhow, screws in.





I like it but.. there´s something missing... I know! A small led would really add to it, have in mind in the following picks, the led is held in by a bit of tape, Obviously this isn´t how it´s going to remain, it´s just for testing 😉







Love it. The downside of course is that the disipation of heat provided by the fans on top is dimished a bit as now all the hdd heat will leave by the sides since the top is blocked, but I think it´s a decent trade-in. And well that´s all for today, should be able to do a fair bit this weekend (fingers-crossed), and as always...

...thanks for reading! (Oh and, happy weekend-ing everyone!)
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Luciel
Level 7
Hi Everyone,

First of all, White Rabbits and happy April Fools day to all 🙂

I was really looking forward to getting some work done on this over the weekend, unfortunately on Saturday afternoon I burned my left hand, nothing hospital serious but definately meant that I wasn´t going to be doing much if not at all over the weekend in terms of this project. Today however I was tired of "taking it easy" so I did a bit of "easy" work, don´t get to excited however, nothing flashy about this update but things that needed doing 🙂

Firstly I recicled another old case for a base and I/O plate mount for the ITX board, this case was from the P4 era, so as you can imagine, it was awfully dirty as well, but did the same as with the previous one and got the parts cleaned up. Unfortunately this case did not have both sections put togueter as the previous one, but nothing I can´t work around.



More leftovers for the scrap metal pile.



Next step was to fix the other mounting to both the surface and back panel of the module.







Next step was to mark its surroundings so I can start measuring where to cut (I need to, obviously, take the back panel of the module off in order to cut it).



But I can´t start with that until I get the other mount ready (and a couple of other components that will be featured hopefully in the next update), which meant painting. I also took the opportunity to do the 2.5 drives and the I/O plate for the ITX board. So I took out the mix ratios I wrote down for that special matte/glossy black mixture and got it done.



And that´s all for today folks, as always...

...thanks for reading!
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Luciel
Level 7
Very small update today, not so much that I had little time but rather than in order to show these picks, the process takes considerable time. So, first thing´s first, finished the 2.5 drives (2x hdds & 2x SSDs)





Took the back panel off and did the cutouts for both mobos, after that I painted the wood-color bits so they don´t stick out as much, I didn´t have any wood paint at hand so used the paint I normally use, because it is water based the wood sucks it in and doesn´t leave as deep of a colour, but I think the tone difference looks good so going to leave it like that. Didn´t attach it back with screws yet as I still have to do the PSU and a couple of other cutouts so made no sense to screw it back in but, I did put it in possition for a couple of pickies.





It goes without saying that I will be painting the metal parts of those cards so as to match the I/O plate. I didn´t do the X-Fi card in red today, it was like that from another project (it´s also a different tone of red than the one I´m using on this project) and while I like it, I will be doing something else paint wise with it, just thought I´d mount the hardware to see how it looked 🙂

And that´s it! More tomorrow and as always...

...thanks for reading!
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Luciel
Level 7
Hi Everyone,

Today I started painting bits and pieces.



While those dried out I figured I´d get started on the front, while not pictured I had already taken care of paiting the exposed wood colour bits (except where the switches go as those would be completely covered aniway. So, the first and only thing I had ready to be installed is the controller. Being this a server, it only seemed right to use the Lamptron CM615 for remote access (through my main PC) on the same LAN.







Originally I was going to make some mounts for the frontal devices but figured It would just mean more visible screws so instead I opted to use hot glue instead. So went ahead and mounted the lamptron.





Nice fit 🙂

Now that the painted bits where dry I figured I´d mount them (note the little detail on the X-Fi, same as the HDDs).

.





Figured I´d put the back in place to see how it looks (note that the screws of the M-ATX mount are not in place on the back, this is because I´m not finished with the back, they are on the ITX mount because if you remember it´s two pieces rather than just one.



Following the theme, I did something special with the PSU 🙂 (Also, photo number 100!)







I decided this is where an 80mm intake fan will be located (may add 2 as it means it will also be ready for a 160mm rad if in the future I want to upgrade to liquid cooling).



And lastly, this will be the possition of an SFX PSU that will power the itx board (obviously, needs to be painted).

.

You may notice the fan of the ATX PSU is pointed towards the wall. There will be a piece of metal or wood blocking the air spreading to the rest of the case and a mesh aperture on the back panel to allow the air to flow. By doing this, none of the heat created by the PSU stays in the module.

Anyhow, that´s about it for today and as always...

...thanks for reading!
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Luciel
Level 7
Hi Everyone,

Today´s update isn´t much of a work update as such, but rather an update on materials as I haven´t had much time these last few days. Unfortunately my compressor died the other day, it was 6 and a half years old and to be honest it was never very good, I´m convinced it leaked air as it could never hold a full load within the tank, had no pressure control (so it was useless for smaller sprayguns) neither did it have an auto on/off depending on the quantity of air within it´s tank which was a pain in the rear, I bought it when I first started painting and it´s what happens when you buy something without knowing any better.

So, I went down to the same shop I always go for paint supplies (sure I could´ve provably bought the following cheaper online but it´s a local shop, not part of a chain and they´ve always been extremely good to me, hell if it wasn´t for them existing I wouldn´t know what to do so I like to support them) and got myself a spanking brand new compressor, this time round however with all the bells and whistles.





For the same price I could´ve gotten a 50ltr one, with the same specs all round but it was simply to big for the space I have allocated for it, plus fact is I don´t need it to hold so much air at any given time. So I mounted the wheels on it and placed it where the old one used to live, just outside my "paintbooth". I was going to install the tubing I have from the old one but the fittings where different!



So had to go back to the shop (thankfully, it´s only a 5 min drive from where I live) and get some new fittings, I figured for the price I might as well also get some new tubing (what you also see in the picture are some measuring cups I use for mixing the paint components, I change them once a year or so as they get rather dirty after many paint sessions and it´s increasingly harder to read the measurements on them)...



...and just as I was about to leave... the owner knows I´ve been keeping an eye on 2 sprayguns they have there (a mini and a detailing one) but I couldn´t really justify the price since I already had some (even though they weren´t exactly expensive) so he mentioned that they are now the last two and they are end of line models so I could have them at cost price if I wanted (love this shop!) so I figured... what the hell...PLUS it is my BIRTHDAY on Sunday the 13th and of course while I was at it I figured I needed some new suplies aniway (I was going to get them next week, but while I was there I figured I´d get the lot as I know when I buy a certain amount of stuff they give me a further discount) so...



And the spanking new sprayguns! (I´m veeeery happy right now!)





While I was out, a package arrived (love the feeling of coming home to even more goodies).



Cables, cables and more cables, all the cables and extensions I ordered and need for this project.



At one point when I started this project I thought about sleeving but, to be honest I´m not a huge fan of sleeving and just looking at the amount of cables gives me a headache plus the fact is, you´re going to see next to none of them once installed so, figured, no point.

Anyhow, next thing I decided is I´m going to install a small kvm switch on the back of the module. You see the servers are going to be connected to a TV i have on the wall above where the module will live, so, not just a server, but as I mentioned at the beggining of this project, also a media center and streamer. Don´t really need the KVM as all the files and storage will be on the M-ATX, but I already had it laying about, never really used it much so figured, hell if I ever can´t access the servers remotely at least this way I can see what´s going on without having to move the module to plug a monitor in the back. So, haven´t fitted it on yet nor have I decided it I will get rid of the enclosure it comes with but, just so you get an idea of where it will go:





Lastly, but no less important. I was taking some measurements to cut the opening for the 80mm fan. While doing so I realised, as I mentioned in a previous post that I could fit two. I also realised the cpu heatsink that I was going to use for the M-ATX is to tall! So started looking for a smaller one online and though... I can fit 2x 80mm fans... I have spare fittings... I have some tubing... I have a spare basic cpu block... I have a spare small reservoir... hell I´m not going to buy a new heatsink, instead I´ll get a 2x80mm radiator, sure it´s a small but it´s only cooling a very low end 1155 cpu so what the hell and so I did. I bought the only one I could find which wasn´t to expensive (there are not that many 2x80mm models out there), 57€ with shipping, not to bad! It´s an Alphacool NexXxoS XT45 Full Copper 80mm Dual and should arrive at some point next week.



Anyhow, for an update without any actual work progress, it certainly has turned a few things around and... crap I just realised I don´t have any decent 80mm fans laying about...!!

That´s all for today folks and as always...

...thanks for reading!
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Luciel
Level 7
Hello Everyone,

Small update today, it´s been my birthday weekend and well, you shouldn´t use powertools when... not sober so no work this weekend. So, got a couple of hours in of work today, not much though, measuring hole placements and so on. I wasn´t going to show anything until they where all done but I really felt like seeing how it looks.

Before that however, got the card reader in place, so that´s done.



So, after I did the holes I started getting everything togueter for a mock shot, because of this have in mind the holes exposed wood needs to be painted, nothing is held down by screws so parts might look somewhat out of placement and so on, this is purely so you get an idea of how the cables could look once done, at least on the right side of the module (just one set of hdds and the m-atx mobo).

As I started, I was so glad I got the idea for the trap door, sooo many cables, and this is only a part of the whole lot!



And here are a few closeups of the lot, enjoy 🙂











And that´s it! Will try to get some work done tomorrow though no promises, a lot of "real-life" work to catch up to from 3 days off.

And as always...

...thanks for reading!
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