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Project: Hellcat

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I've been on the forums for a while now, so most of you will know me - to those who don't know me or I don't know, hello and nice to meet you :) To be honest, I've been wanting to do a case mod for a while though; my first thoughts on when were about a year ago when I saw Crimson Sky's work on TheBestCaseScenario, and I spent a few weeks planning it all out (the idea was a test bed style display case, maybe a future mod?) but I never got round to work on it due to lack of funds. However, after reading the amateur worklogs on a number of forums (CPCFF and Overclock.net being the main two) and having a bit of encouragement from masters like Mashie and other people who have done their own mods, I've decided to embark on my first case mod adventure! So, thanks for reading and I hope there will be more pictures from here on in (I love the pictures too) :)


Mods that have inspired me


Thought I'd make a list (ever expanding).


Monolith - craigr1982 - CPCFF

Goby's TT Armor LCS Build - gobygoby - Overclock.net

Extreme - 3xtr3m3 - Overclock.net

RelatiV Mod - D3DAiMtwo

Skull's First Mod (Irridescent paint job) - Skull_fcuk - CPCFF

All of Cyberdruid's mods (and no, I'm not listing them) :roll: - Overclock.net

BGAIOC - CrazyModder - Overclock.net

All of Mashie's work logs - Mashie.org

High Roller - Stu King

All of TheModNation guy's mods (especially the Harley Davidson and Pink Floyd mods!) - The Mod Nation

T2's Spinner Case - THRASHER2 - The Mod Nation

Dream - 3lfk1ng - The Mod Nation


As I said, the list is ever expanding, so I'll add mods as I remember/see them :)




My plan is to mod a partially modded Chieftec Scorpio (see pics here) into a sleek, elegant but large case. I'm going to adapt and mod the existing fan mounts to take 120mm fans for the majority of the case, and a 140mm for the top of the case. My colour scheme will be red and chrome with a black interior and blue/UV lighting. I plan to relocate the hard drives above the PSU (don't forget its a full tower case) and completely replace the front with a aluminium sheet (I have plans for this, don't worry!) - I'm guessing replacing the front will be one of the hardest bits. The large shelf across the middle of the case will be removed and replacing with crossbracing, as I feels this gets in the way. Other mods include a top blowhole and window, a new side window, and a PSOne LCD :)


My planning thread can be found here: http://www.cpcff.co.uk/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=13597


As I do each mod I'll post pics and detailed plans.


PC Specs


The components which will go inside the case are (as of the current time):


AMD Athlon 64 3700+ with Scythe Ninja (in the post, still waiting!)


2GB G.Skill HZ PC4000 (2x1GB)

Sapphire X1900GT (again, if it ever turns up in the post, if not Leadtek 6600GT or a better card)

Tagan 480W PSU (lots of wires!)

Pioneer DVD burner


Zalman 5.25" fan controller (4 channels)

Creative Soundblaster Value! Live (can't get my onboard sound working)

3mm LEDs (blue and UV)

80GB Samsung Spinpoint and Seagate Barracuda 200GB (latter may be replaced with second 80GB for RAID0 or 1)




As I've seen in many mods, a good paint job can easily make a good mod great or, on the other hand, a good mod much worse. Because of this, before I even went anywhere with my mod I chose a colour - red. I love red :D Its not seen on too many cases (like blue), and goes well with black or silver, or even white. After a search on the Internet for different car paint colours and a trip to the local Halfords (an automotive shop which stocks lots of car paints) I picked up a 500ml spraycan of white primer and a 300ml spraycan of Peugeot Diablo Red Pearlescent Spray Paint. The lid of the paint can actually looks nothing like the paint (typical Halfords :roll: ) but after reading up on line I was pretty confident that it was the colour I wanted.


To test it, I sprayed the removeable back of an old CD-RW drive with a single coat, just to see what it looks like. Some pics:


Dim light:




Brighter light:




Medium light:




I was blown away TBH :O Seriously, I'm really annoyed I can't pick up accurate colours - the paint is pearlescent and in bright light the pearls are nicely visible and glint, while the colour is a proper bright "red", and shiney, but not too red.


Larger pics can be found here: http://s5.photobucket.com/albums/y189/prosser13/Painting/


I plan on doing several coats of both the white primer and the red paint, along with a couple of coats of clear coat (the single coat scratches very easily, so I think this will be vital)




After seeing the RelatiV Mod, I decided to definitely go for LED strips - instead of his method though, I plan to use two different colours - blue and UV, with the LEDs in groups of two. More info coming soon, but I've got the blue LED and resistors and they look sweet. I plan to switch between the two colours, and switch the lighting on and off, using two switches ;)




The PSOne LCD has already been modded and setup, so incorporating into my mod will simply involve a new bezel to put it on the front of the case (I'm surprised at how good the viewing angles actually are).


More to come, so keep an eye out!

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Fan Grills - Primer


A while back I picked up 6 silver fan grills on eBay for £6 delivered - new as well :O I was well pleased ;)


A picture of the fan grill:




Full details can be found here:




Anyway, I decided that, while the standard finish is nice, I wanted something to be a bit more unique ;) So, I decided to paint them :)


First of all, I taped up the whole mesh area (it took a while, but ah well)




I then scuffed it lightly with 800-grit sandpaper, and sanded the whole thing down with some very fine, micron-rated paper (from my lapping kit :rolleyes: )


I spray paint in the garden, as we've not got a workshop, and then take it up to the house to dry. However, moving it after the first coat:




(Bottom left) Whoops! Nearly dropped it and touched it, pulling the paint off.


So I waited 15 minutes, sanded it down with a light micron, and did another coat:




Its impossible to tell in that picture, but in the bottom left there were definite bumps. Heres a better pic, its hard to tell again that there was THAT much wrong but it was pretty obvious (thats the problem with white paint!):




So, I waited another 15 minutes for the coat to dry, and whipped out the 800 grit sandpaper, and sanding right back down (sorry for the bad pic!)




Finally, I sprayed a 3rd coat of primer on:




Which finally I am happy with :)


Gotta wait 23 hours (been an hour since I did it) before I can sand it down lightly and start with the metallic red!


Thats all for now :)

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Sorry for the delay in the update - had quite a bit of work to do, loads more today though :( Ah well, two weeks holiday are worth a day and a half of solid work :rolleyes:


Unfourtunately, I won't get to even see the case itself for another two months :( The reason is, I have no workshop at home (you might have guessed seeing as I spray paint in the garden) so the only place I can work at is at my grandad's workshop, who lets me borrow his tools. With my exams coming up fast though (oral on the 2nd May,


Removing the hard drive cages


The Chieftec Scorpio comes with a total of 6 internal 3.5" bays, in the form of 2 removable hard drive cages containing 2 bays each. These slot under shelves at the front of the case; my annoyance with these are any number of hard drives will block the airflow into the case, and with so much space above the PSU I've decided to mount my hard drives up there.


I removed the hard drive cages to start, which just left the two shelves, which can be seen here at the front:




They were held in place by rivets - the rivets circled in red are the ones:




Sorry for the poor quality pic :P


So, out came the drill, and away the hard drives shelves went :)




Unrestricted airflow for the 2 x 120mm fans which will go there! :D


Removing the center shelf


One thing which really annoyed me about the case was the fact its massive, but space in the bottom half is smaller than it could be as there is a massive shelf running across the middle of the case. Its the piece of metal with a large hole and two smaller holes here:




And as you can see from this picture, it extends right the way into the 5.25" bays:




Well, I say "extends". I should say "extended" :rolleyes: as out came the drill again, and away went the rivets:




And a picture of the drilled out rivets:




Drilling this out meant the metal making up the 5.25" bays had nothing to connect to at the bottom, so it was flimsy. I grabbed a few self tapping screws and screwed the cage at the top (to the top) and at the bottom (to the motherboard tray) and this sured up the motherboard tray as well as the cage. I didn't get any pics of it though, sorry :(


As you can see though, the case is a lot more spacious and, thanks to the screws, has retained its rigidity, so I'm a happier bunny now :)


Heres a picture from the back:




I used screws and nuts to hold on the top, in the end it will be pop riveted but I need to be able to remove it to spray it and to fit the acrylic window and blowhole so I don't want to use them yet. You can also see the large amount of space which wasn't there before in the middle of the case.


IIRC though, I took this picture to show the large hole at the back of the case. I've measured up a replacement panel for this but couldn't find any metal cutting jigsaw blades - I think my grandad will pick some up and cut the sheet out for me though.


What I did and didn't get pictures of


I thought I'd finished what I could do so I took the camera down - when I'd put it away though, I realised there was more to do.


First thing I did was get rid of this nasty hole:




I hammered it out on an anvil to make it flat, then used a circular file to even out the edges, and I also cleaned up around the hole with a flat file. I'm probably going to put my CMOS switch in that hole, so I don't need to block it up :)


Next, I removed the wrecked handle:




I don't have a clue what happened, but the whole of that panel had the same, bumpy texture - I would imagine the sanding went wrong or the wrong type of paint was used, something like that. I unscrewed the handle, removed it, and tried some paint thinner on it - while it got rid of all the blue paint, it still had the same bumpy texture, so I'm going to get rid of the handle and replace it with a simple catch or something. Luckily, I'd already planned to take it out so I dont need to worry about filling in the little holes left by it.


With the handle off, I whipped out the trusty orbital sander, put on some P120 paper, and sanded down the left side panel. The bumpy texture disappeared right away, so I've now got a nice smooth left side panel :) I used the sander on the right side panel too, and got rid of the clear coat finish and sanded that down too. I didn't do the top - the screw holes have some jagged edges sticking up and I don't see the point in filing them down when I'm going to be cutting them out anyway - and I finished the side panels by hand-sanding the edges down with some more P120 :)


I also found an old fridge being thrown out by next door, which has a front door made from what looks like mild steel - if it is, and is the right size, it will be perfect for the front panel, so my grandad will have a look at that for me and see if he can remove the door ;)


I think thats all the work I did (I only had an evening :( ), but fan grill updates coming soon :)

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Fan Grills - Painting


Hmmm, with just update I think I need a 56kb warning :cool:


So, I left my fan grills last time with the primer drying. We shall now follow the progress of each of the three ;)


And outside to show the different light:




Fan Grill 1 - Red with Mesh Masked Off


Coat 1 drying:




20 minutes later I sprayed on a second coat:




And the second coat dry:




It looks good enough, so I didn't feel the need for a third coat :)



Fan Grill 1 - Black with Mesh Masked Off


The black spraypaint:




From my old Warhammer days :cool: :rolleyes:


Coat 1, sorry for the dodgy light:




Coat 2, wet:




Coat 2, dry:




I wasn't happy still, so I added a third coat:




And the third coat dry outside;



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Fan Grill 3 - Red with red mesh


A forgot to get a picture of coat one :O but it looked just like coat two :rolleyes:


Coat 2, wet:




Coat 2, dry:




Coat 2, dry and outside:








And the problems start


I was very impressed, up to this point. I let them dry for a good half a day, then decided to take the tape covering the mesh off. I knew there was a very fine line between this working and not working, and I hoped I was dead on.


Turns out I wasn't :(


Grill 1:




Grill 3:




What had happened on Grill 1 was the tape had simply been not precise enough - it didn't go exactly along the edges. The problem with Grill 2 was that it looks like in two or three places the primer had stuck in "flakes" to the tape - when the tape was removed the primer, and all the coats on top, were ripped off. Grill 1 could be saved, but Grill 2 was wrecked :(


Adapting Grill 1


Out came the spray can again, and Grill 1 was resprayed.




No problems there this time, but to be honest I'm not too keen on the red mesh :(


Whats to come?


Well, this afternoon (5 hours or so) I'm going to clear laquer both Grill 1 and Grill 3 to finish them off :)


Grill 1 will then become my testing grill :D I need to get a picture to show this, but where the rounded corners are theres metal on the back as well - what I'm going to do is cut out the mesh around the edges, then get some new stuff (need to buy some anyway), silver probably, and add it to the grill by sticking it in the rounded corners :) I'll get some pictures and a large, sharp knife and show you what I mean ;)


More to come soon :) Comments welcome, as always!

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Woohoo, an update!


Did some work before I go away for two weeks on temporary work, but at least I did something. Didn't all go well, I forgot something :(


Measure twice, cut once!


Anyway, you'll see what I mean soon.


So here we go, pics galore!


First thing to do was expand the hole on top, took it as close to the front as I dared - its still gotta hook over the front. Braced the back after cutting so I could file it without it bending. Need to pick up some U-channel...




After measuring I also worked out I might as well mount a 120mm fan with a UV RadGrillz (the AcRyan one) on top, I think that'll look pretty good.


I then put in the acrylic, cut the acrylic to size, and put in four temporary bolts:




They will be replaced by M4 allen headed bolts when I get a chance. And from the inside:




Came across a *slight* problem when trying to fit it. Theres a little bit sticking out the top of the 5.25" bay cages which stops the acrylic being able to fit :( So I took a 4" grinder to it to see what would happen and it looks like it should grind away pretty easy, so no problems there:






Onto the side window now. After measuring up and drawing out:




Just a tip - NEVER try and cut with a 4" grinder, I had a go cos the sparks amused me (great reason or what) and it simply burnt through, even with a diamond tipped bladey thingy:




The jigsaw, I found, was much easier, and I *think* this was after I filed it:




Again going to take a look at U-channel to see what it looks like...


So, here was the problem. Poor measuring by me means:




Slight gap :( And when I say *slight* I mean a good cm or two :( So, my plan is to get some mesh and have a mesh strip instead, as I can't afford to buy more acrylic...ah well...


The angle in the bottom right corner looks pretty good:




BTW, the acrylic will be mounted on the inside, so the vent holes should look fine and not be obscured...


Window overview as if the case was on its side and the front was closest to you:




Remember this hole?




Cut this out to cover it. I still need to cut the PSU hole, might do something above that too but that'll come later:




Loops over the top, and then the acrylic top part goes over it. Won't be too viewable and it can be filed and painted later :)


Next random stage was checking the back fans. Rather than a single 120mm, I'm going to go with dual 92mms - cut out some templates from plywood with a jigsaw and checked they would fit:




Looking good ;)


Then onto the front fans. Cut out another template to go along with my Akasa Amber which I'm using to measure. These are 120mm fans ;)



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Cut out the 80mm fan grills (shot is from later on in the day with some more work done, but you can see I've cut them out. Used a jigsaw and quickly filed them:




Next I got a sheet of metal, cut it out to approx size, and bolted it over the holes left (thats the white thing you can see covering the fan holes on the inside in the picture above)




What I'm then going to do is just cut the 120mm fan holes straight through that and drill holes through it. Going to get some better bolts, use more of them and thick rubber washers to stop it vibrating with the fans attached.


Well, thats it for now :) More to come soon, any questions just ask.


More info on the front panel BTW - need to measure up the front of the case and I'm getting a fibreglass panel custom cut to exactly the right size. I will then use 1cm or 2cm standoffs and long M4 bolts to mount it, 3 bolts down each side (top left, top right, middle left, middle right, bottom left, bottom right) and the standoffs will allow the light from inside to filter out from the sides and maybe the front fans :)


Currently looking at AcRyan UV fans for the top to light up the UV RadGrillz and then maybe something like Xilence Red Wings to help match in with the rest of the case.


Lots more to come :)

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