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Hi-diddly-hey modderinos!

Welcome to the project log of my entry in the Thermaltake 2020 Case Mod Challenge; Project: I.S.A.C. - themed on Tom Clancy's The Division 2, a game by Ubisoft Massive.


For the competition, 5 of us have been given the same components to do a case mod with and we have until 15th June to complete our mods. I'll try and post regular updates to keep you updated on the progress. A huge thanks to all of the sponsors for making this competition possible; Thermaltake UK, Scan Computers UK, AMD, ASUS and Seagate. First off lets have look at the parts we'll be using for the mod:



Thermaltake View 51 Tempered Glass Snow ARGB Edition


Thermaltake Toughpower GF1 850W PSU

Thermaltake ThoughRAM RGB 32GB 3000MHz

Seagate FireCuda 520 500GB M.2 PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD

Seagate IronWolf Pro 14TB NAS 3.5" SATA HDD

ASUS ROG Strix X570-F Gaming


AMD Ryzen 7 3700X


ASUS Radeon RX 5700 8GB


300mm Thermaltake TT Premium PCIe 3.0 Extender

Thermaltake TtMod Sleeved Cables & Combs Kit

Pacific V-RX 5700 Series Plus GPU Waterblock


Thermaltake Pacific C360 DDC Hard Tube Water Cooling Kit and Hard Tube Bending Kit




Again huge thanks to Thermaltake UK, Scan Computers UK, AMD, ASUS and Seagate for sponsoring the competition. I'll be back soon with some progress, so stay tuned Crap fans. Same Crap time, same Crap channel.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've sometimes done builds where I have an idea in my head of what I want to do, I might even have sketched some quick plans of what I want, but when I come to actually do the build I find things don't fit in like I thought they would. Sometimes it can be solves with a couple more parts or fittings, but sometimes when things REALLY don't fit, you have to scrap then plan all together, or get drastic with a Dremel.


I had to make sure that all the components worked, so what better way to do that and get to know the case properly than do a complete build in it! Whilst this is quite different from the final configuration of the mod, it has allowed me to evaluate some of my design ideas while building and try/figure a few things out.


So sit back, put your feet up and enjoy the ride.


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Just a few pictures from the test build, includes some "behind the scenes" (and by scenes i mean motherboard tray 😅)



A Spaghetti mess of cables 🥴



Cable Management just means you managed to get them in, right?




In these difficult times there's no tissue available for leak testing. Fingers crossed! 🤞



Pretty from pretty much any angle. 😍



A look with the lights on (wish I'd taken a few more picks like this)



All working A-OK 👌



While editing my mouse kept catching on something and I saw this poking off the bottom. 6-7 years of owning my R.A.T. 7 and this sticker has only just come off.



I never thought editing would be such a PITA.



Stay tuned Crap fans! Another little update should be hitting you soon. Same Crap time, same Crap Channel.

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Ahoy hoy Modderinos!

So now we've tested everything works. It's time to break it all down and start modding!



I can't believe how well the case stood up to the pelting I gave it, just shows the quality of the finish on the case. There's a lot of sharp, jagged, pointy edges on those stones and they've really not done much at all. Really going to have to give it some welly to rough it up like I want.




The brick on the other hand did manage to leave a mark....



....and a bit of a dent.....



....but nothing that wasn't easily fixable.




Now it's time to get serious and bring out the big guns



This will be my home for the next couple of months, best get comfortable.



That's all for now folks. Don't worry, there's already PLENTY of damage dealt already for the next update, so stay tuned Crapfans! Same Crap time, same Crap Channel.

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Ahoy hoy modderinos!

After my woeful attempt to cause any damage with rather unorthodox methods, it's time to get back to good old fashioned power tools.



I didn't really have a defined plan for what i wanted or how I was going to do it, just more of an idea of how I wanted it to look. I decided to tackle the back panel first, as that would be taking the brunt of the damage and I could try a few things out. First up I had to get rid of those nice neat grills.






The jigsaw cut through them so much easier than I thought it would, so glad I've got it in the toolkit as it would have taken an absolute age with a dremel. The Dremel is good for getting the smaller bits and grindin stuff out though.




But in those small places it can get caught up and break discs, which is why safety gear is an absolute must. You may look a bit funny, but losing an eye is not.



I didn't want to make it too perfect, so i left some of the protruding bits and gave it all a quick file to take any sharp rough edges off.



Then things took a bit more of a drastic turn. Armed with a couple of hammers, a screwdriver and a chisel, I dented up and scored out this line and put a little gouge in with the Dremel, as though someone had tried to smash there way in. It will be developed further as I go along, build it up a bit at a time.



Next up I started putting some wear marks in places that would get a lot of action and likely to get bashed a bit. These bits were done with a grinding stone bit on the Dremel.



The edges took a beating from a sanding wheel, as well as some other areas of the panel, wearing off some of the paint to varying degrees.



To try and blend those in I thought I'd try a wire wheel, and while it did work to an extent, it mostly just left a mark on the panel, the metal rubbing off on this extremely sturdy paint. Now as luck would have it, it was exactly the kind of grubby look I'd wanted to put in places, give it a dirty man-handled effect.



Here you can see someone's dirty fingerprints and wear where the panel would be pinched on along the front edge.



I don't entirely know what I was going for on this bit, I was kind of experimenting with different bits and seeing what happened. I did get some nice deep score/scratch mark across the panel bit these 2 bits though.



Now the panel is largely finished in terms of damage and relieving it of it's paint. I might give some sections a very light sanding to blend some of it in and there's a little painting and other touches, but overall I like the brutality of it. It should contrast nicely with the clean clinical look I'll be going for in the front chamber.




Perhaps most importantly, it still fits and functions as a side panel!



Against the clean rear side of the case you can really get an idea of difference and what a hard life that right hand side has had.


As have these little troopers, #### rest their shanks.



That's all for now folks until the next update of more damage and destruction and I attempt to blend in that panel to the rest of the case.  So stay tuned Crapfans! Same Crap time, same Crap Channel.

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Hi-diddly-hey modderinos!

I've not been too well over the last week, fortunately not from you know what, but it has meant there hasn't been an awful lot of progress. I haven't been completely idle though. I've done a few test fittings as the odd part has come in and done some detail plans for some of the things that weren't fully fleshed out. I've also had some more destruction equipment turn up, so toward the end of the week I got back to it.

First on the agenda was to continue the "ageing process" and try and blend the side panel into the rest of the case. After I'd finished the side panel I was a little concerned that maybe I should have had the panel on and been doing it in-situ, but I needn't have been.



Being a bit of a clumsy oaf and having dropped more than my fair share of computers, I know they can get a bit dented and nicked around the bottom edge. What better way to expedite that than the pointy end of a hammer.

I had been using my Dremel with the stand just on the floor. It had fallen over a couple of times and wasn't exactly the ideal orientation for free use of the flexible shaft (quieten down 😉), so I rigged up something a bit more secure that would allow better movement and it helped no end in getting in to it at the right angle (I said quiet in the back! )

I want to try and make sure there are nice little touches here and there, things that may not be immediately obvious or possibly hidden from view, but it's those little flourishes that can make all the difference. In particular I want to try and put in little touches of wear where there would be from actual natural use, not just outright destruction. The little HDD access panel at the back seemed like a prime candidate for just such a thing, where the 2 tabs sit into the case.

Taking my trusty 'not for wood any more' chisel, I slowly ground down into the paint and I tried to do it with the same kind of small pivoting motions you'd get from moving the panel about.


And not forgetting the panel itself of course.

I'm not going to be using the fan filter on the bottom of the case and the tabs that stick out to hold it in place are no longer required.

They also kept getting caught on stuff and it got annoying so.....



There's also something else missing here. Care to guess what?

Can you tell what it is yet?

Next up for ruination are the door hinges. First up a little sanding, trying to swing round as the door would and make it look like natural wear.

Then I took them out so they could spend a little time with Mr Dremel the Destructor. I used this pointy grinding bit to get in the nook of the screw threads on the first one, which was a bad choice as it left a lot of score lines.

I switched over to the abrasive wheels for the other side and the other hinge.



Of course when I go to put them back in I drop one of the screws, it bounces once then down through the crack in the floorboards of the shed. 🙄 So I go in search of a replacement, I've got loads of screws from this and that, one is bound to fit. First stop is the screw tin.

I didn't find a screw that matched, but it did appear to be the same thread as a motherboard stand-off, so off to my bag of screws to find an M3.5

No luck there either so we turn to the tin of last resorts, where screws go to die, there must be something in here.....


Ah. Just whole bunch of junk and tat. 🤨  So armed with the remaining screw and a stand-off I went back to check that was indeed the size.

Success! So I ordered some nice shiny nickel plated replacements. Probably for the best anyway, black ones would look a little daft once all those rivets have been removed. But that's for another day.....






..... as is this rather large parcel 😜


That's all for now folks. Will you ever find out what's in the box, or what's happening to the rivets? Stay tuned Crapfans! Same Crap time, same Crap Channel.

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  • 2 weeks later...

An Open Letter To No Work

Hi-diddly-hey modderinos!

I just wanted to apologise for the lack of progress and updates, as since the last episode of Project I.S.A.C. I've not been very well. I have nerve damage from a botched hernia operation and subsequent ill-advised treatment, so I have to be a careful with any kind of physical activity. After the last break due to a stomach complaint, I pushed a bit too hard in an effort to try and catch up and ended up aggravating the nerves and have had to take a couple of weeks to let that die down and concentrate on my physio (all 3.5hours a day of it!). Even though I've been feeling a lot better and doing some stuff around the house, just yesterday I was in a lot of pain after 10-15mins of washing up. It's immensely frustrating.

I'm not after any sympathy, so put the violins away, just a little understanding that whilst I'll do my best to bring you an update and some meaningful progress each week, there may be times when I have to down Dremel and look after myself.

There should be a little update video being pushed out by Thermaltake tomorrow, be sure to keep an eye out for that. For now I'll begetting on with a few little bits and pieces of 'lighter' work, so stay tuned Crapfans! Same Crap time, same Crap Channel.

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I feel ya mate.

I only manage to do a little bit here and there myself when the pain allows (degenerated disc between S1/S2); been on Gabapentin and Co-codamol for my sciatica since last summer. But it still flares up fiercely after tinkering with stuff or sitting at my desk for too long.

At least you’ve got the sense to put the tools down and rest, half the time I just push through and moan about it later!

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46 minutes ago, AcuteJungle66 said:

I feel ya mate.

I only manage to do a little bit here and there myself when the pain allows (degenerated disc between S1/S2); been on Gabapentin and Co-codamol for my sciatica since last summer. But it still flares up fiercely after tinkering with stuff or sitting at my desk for too long.

At least you’ve got the sense to put the tools down and rest, half the time I just push through and moan about it later!

Thanks mate  I'm on a fistful of painkillers you need a degree to spell too. Ended up losing my job because of it, can't sit at a desk or table for half an hour without being in agony, although the physio is helping. That in itself is pretty darn grueling though.

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Ahoy hoy mod fans!

While I was waiting for the rest of the parts to turn up before I could do anything further on the case, I set my sights on some of the internals that could do with some tweaking.



I needed to brighten the motherboard up as the main chamber of the case will have a bare metal finish and it would look like a black hole in amongst all the bright shiny metal. I've also never been much of a fan of modern motherboard heatsinks. I loved the fin-stacked heat-piped up solutions of yore and I'd even kept the one's off the Striker II NSE/Extreme boards for the ages after I'd binned the boards, but lost them in a move. 😔 What I did have was some Thermalright MOFSET heatsinks and a beefy Supermicro 1U copper cpu heatsink that I could use instead of or in combination with the existing ones


Time to get this board stripped down.


The CPU heatsink's mounting holes lined up perfectly with the mounting holes for the cover, almost like it was made to live there.


Not sure it's supposed to come out like that 😳


Was very lucky not to strip any pins out of the CPU. Can just imagine how well that conversation would have gone down with Thermaltake 😅 After that heart exploding moment I gave the CPU, block and board a bit of a cleansing.


This was the kind of setup I was looking at doing. I plan on milling a flat channel into the boards original heatsinks and using thermal glue to attach the Thermalright MOFSET heatsinks to them, rather than on there own. MOFSET sizes have grown a bit since these were made! There may be a bit of a fitting issue for the one on the left side MOFSET bank as it clashes a little with the IO shield. I'd rather keep that intact if possible.


Those original heatsinks would still be too dark as is though, so we'll have to do something about that gun metal grey anodising. First off taking the fan off the chipset cooler, stripping the thermal pads (after measuring the sizes for their replacement) and giving them a good clean with TIM cleaner to remove the grease from the thermal pads, before they go for a little dip.....


... in some of this horrid stuff. Also know as Sodium Hydroxide.


I'd picked up these old sweet containers to bathe the parts in and then rinse. Sadly I didn't get to eat the contents first, but given my ever increasing waistline that's probably for the best.
I'd given them a good clean several times over and then a thorough rinse as I didn't want any contaminants in there that may react with the Sodium Hydroxide.

You'll have to forgive me for the lack of pictures of the process, I was dolled up to the 9's in PPE (including a waterproof coat with a bin bag over it, was quite a sight) and didn't fancy getting my phone out whilst in the middle of it all. I placed the 3 tubs in the bath, seemed like a good place to do it as there's good ventilation in the bathroom and if things go south it can turn the taps on and ditch it down the drain quick. With the drain on my left, I used the left most container to have the solution in. I filled the other 2 with water as a 2 stage rinsing set up. I put 1 litre of water into the other and added 50g of sodium hydroxide crystals in gradually, in about 5 or 6 stages, mixing thoroughly with a toothbrush I had to scrub the pieces as the anodising came off. I used cold water to control/slow the reaction a bit so I could leave the pieces in long enough to get all the anodising off, without it just eating the aluminium away

I put the large MOFSET cooler in first as I figured it could probably do with going in when it was fresh. It took a little while to get going and do anything, but sure enough bubbles started to come. I turned it over a few times, giving a little whirl in the fluid and you could see the colour fall off it. I then started giving it a helping hand with the toothbrush, especially in the little gaps. When the anodising had all come off I pulled it out and gave it a gentle shake, dropped it into the next tub with the clean water in, gave it a good whirl in there and and gentle clean with a second tooth brush, then into the third container for more fresh water, before finally putting it on some kitchen towels I'd set to the side to dry off. I then repeated the process with the rest of the pieces.

The end result was better than I ever could have imagined 😍


The Aluminium on the newly stripped heatsinks is so bright, almost white. Look how it contrasts here to a piece of Aluminium sheet that I've had for a few years.


And they look so good on the motherboard too! Super chuffed with the result. At least 3 chufty badges!


Sadly the copper cpu block isn't going to fit, although given it's gargantuan size it shouldn't be all that surprising. I could have had a go at cutting off a corner here and there to get it to fit, but I don't think I've got the tools for the job and I'd probably end up ruining it. In all honesty with the amount of silver that's going to be around, the copper would probably look out of place anyway. Best to keep that for another day.


I had a little test fit with the MOFSET heatsinks, either just sat on or with the help of an old thermal pad. Still not convinced that one on the left if going to fit without interfering with the IO shield.


Thought I could maybe switch that one to the lower M.2 slot cooler. 🤔



In all honesty I'm not entirely convinced. Now I've got the stock heatsinks stripped, they look pretty dam cool. I have to be 100% sure as if I commit to it and it doesn't look good with the heatsinks on, I'll have wrecked the originals, so there's no going back. That can go on the back burner for now. There's a lot to be done still and I can always come beck to it later. It does look pretty dam sweet as is though.



We got some new parts! 👏
Huge thanks to the guys at Scan (and DPD) for getting these over to us.🙌
Lots of fittings and adapters, a couple of litres of coolant, some 1m tubes for longer runs and backup for the inevitable mistakes, a nice thick rad and 9 of Thermaltake's new Riing Quad fans which I'm looking forward to getting snazzy with the NeonMaker software. I am NOT looking forward to the cable/sleeving job of 9 RGB fans 😭

Now putting heatsinks to one side, I'm still not done with the motherboard and whilst I have done some more stuff, it's not finished and I don't want to put it out half baked. I had hoped to finish it today but after 3 days of working on it on and off, this morning my body said no. 🤕 This seemed like a good place as any for a little update though, I hope you all enjoyed the show. For now I'll leave you with one last shot of those heatsinks in all their glittery glory. Hopefully I'll have another update for you later this week, so stay tuned crap fans! Same Crap Time, same Crap channel.


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Gooood Moooorning Modding faaaaaaans!

So with the motherboard heatsinks nicely brightened I couldn't just stick that black plastic shroud back over them. Luckily I have some 2mm aluminium laying about that I've had forever and this will make an ideal replacement. I started by tracing round the the original cover, but because it has mounting struts and other stuff underneath, this was better done turned upside down to get it flush(er) against the paper, which is why the drawing is backwards. Then I took measurements for the rest of the board so that I could expand it out a bit and cover up more of the motherboard.


This is the area I want to cover, colour coding showing the original and then different additional bit that I might want to add.


I did the drawing on card so that it would stay relatively flat once cut out and got it lined up with the mounting point and punched them through. Once on the board it didn't look right having a lot of square corners given the boards original angular designs, so I marked out bits I'd want tweaking with rough angles from the heatsinks.


Back off the board I used the cover to get the proper angles and see about different levels of cropping.


Couple of snips later and I think we have a winner!


Now this was a fairly rough drawing so I then traced round this template in pencil and took to the drawing board to get all the lines true.


Again I used the original to get the angled lines in, it was an awkward angle and I don't have anything like a sliding bevel. I could still find ones that were out like the one I circled in orange.


With a couple of lines done this way I then turned the paper so the the angle was horizontal, checked them against each other to make sure they were correct and then filled in the rest. With the design completed I did a couple of photocopies and also scanned it for safe keeping.


From right to left we have the original plan, the final design, the photocopy to be used as a template and the aluminium, with the original cover centre and glue to stick the template on.


Only that's completely the wrong glue 😖 Looks more like spider spooge. 🤣


Still, it stuck that template down pretty good, if a little on the lumpy side. I also had to rub dirt around the edges where there was no paper to remove the tackiness of the glue and stop the jigsaw from sticking.


That very morning I had been reading up on a cool little scratch build someone was doing as their first mod and advising themon how to cut outside the line and file in, so what do I do on the very first cut? Cut BANG ON the line 🤬🙄 It was the edge on the far right next to the SATA ports so wasn't a complete catastrophe, but was very careful and took my time with the rest and came out fine, although the small vertical edge under the angular protrusion top right was hard to get at.


The Filing went ok, I'd bought a set of steel jaws for the workbench to clamp it in which helped keep it nice and steady. This tight angle was tough though as I didn't have a triangular file that matched or was under that radius. i had to edge in with the half round file, flipping it over every few strokes.


A bit of folded sand paper helped get it a bit tighter, but it put up a good fight,


Took a good lot of doing, had to go at it in a few goes to save me from injury. But was all this mess worth it?


It fits! 🤘


There were a couple of areas that needed work that I highlighted in green, either to straighten them up, change the angle or stop it overhanging headers I'll need access to.


Bang on. 👌


To get it to sit flush in the recesses of the M.2 heatsinks I needed to drill holes for the screws holding the heatsinks down. To mark where they were I put masking tape on the back, coloured the screw heads with whiteboard marker and pushed the piece onto them, being careful that it lined up with where it needed to sit. Seemed to work well.


I used a punch to mark the centre and make sure the drill bit didn't wander.


I thought the screw heads were 4mm so I drill a hole with a 4.2mm bit to give a little wiggle room, but I must have measure the wrong screws (the ones that will mount this to the motherboard i think) as they were a little too small. I needed 5.37mm holes minimum.


My step bit had a 7/32" step which is 5.56mm and would do the job nicely. Unfortunately, due to either a wandering bit or inaccuracies in how I got the positioning the top hole was just out. 😞


To be honest I wasn't THAT upset. There were a few edges that were a bit naff and there were a couple of tweaks I wanted to make, so I widened those holes a fair bit so I could get it into place, check the fitment elsewhere and make sure the markings for the mounting holes were accurate, which they were.


And just for fun I took off the paper and gave it a really quick and dirty "brushing" with a washing up scotch pad, but was mostly just from trying to get all that nasty glue off. Still looks pretty tasty 😍


It's a shame it's going to end up in the recycling, but for a first whack it's not gone too badly. I had prepared myself that it might take a couple of goes to get it right and with the design tweaks for Mk II already in my head, I wouldn't have been happy till I'd redone it anyway. So stay tuned crap fans! Plenty more of Makin's metal manipulation to come. Same Crap time, same Crap channel.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Welcome back Crapfans!

Has it been 2 weeks already!? Time just has very little meaning or reference any more and it can really get away from you. Let call it a mid season break 😉

In the last episode, I got close to finishing a piece of motherboard armour before #### up drilling out a couple of holes, but there were some little tweaks I wanted so not the end of the world. I used the original drawing I'd done on card and cut out a new section to fit around the SATA ports, took a few snips to get it right and then I could transfer the measurements onto a copy from the scan I'd made.


So I went to print out a couple of copies of the scanned design but they didn't look quite right. Measuring it against my cut out I could see it was clearly too small. Odd. Tried printing again checking that the print options weren't resizing, now it was too big. What!? No matter what I tried, 4 or 5 different programs, on the JPEG or the PDF versions, countless settings, I could not get it to print the correct size. So frustrating, but I had the cut-out and I could trace round that. It'd likely add a degree of inaccuracy, but what you gonna do?


Now I knew I had the holes for this pieces mounting screws correct, so I used them as reference points and took measurement from there to both of the M.2 cover's screw holes. Using a compass I could use those measurements to plot against each other and get the locations. Simples!


I'd got myself some proper mounting glue so the paper sat flusher to the metal.


But then stupidly used cutting lubrication to drill a hole for the jigsaw which of course dissolved the glue in that corner 🙄


Didn't take long to have it cut out though and no further mistakes thankfully.


I worked my way round the piece filing down the edges, it was going really well at first, nice and straight and flat, but it got harder and harder to get it right and I realised my files were getting clogged. I tried freeing them up with a cat brush (as it has similar thin pins to a file bush) but it didn't work that well and they just got too clogged to carry on.


So I went to Screwfix and picked up a set of Magnusson files. I have a set of their pliers and a wire stripper and they're decent so thought they'd do. Plus they came with a file brush. The file brush broke on the second stroke 😠  So I went to take them back but they're not accepting returns at the minute with all the pandemic shenanigans. I ordered myself a nice set of Bacho files and while I waited I thought a little more use of the Magnusson ones won't hurt, I'd almost finished when the file brush broke so I'll get the basic outline done, leave a smidge to finish with my new one's once they arrive. The edge next to the SATA ports would need to slope with their profile.



It didn't quite fit and would need some little tweeks in quite a few places. I decided to wait till my new files came, in theory they should be better and allow for finer adjustment than the others and I didn't want to take the mick if I was returning them.


While waiting for the new files I didn't rest idle. I stripped all the sleeving off the fans...


... did some prototyping with card for parts of the mod coming later...


... had some stencils made by the guys at 4D Model Shop, top quality work and quick turnaround....


... then I had to do a photoshoot for the album cover of a cat boy band I manage, Mew Kitts on the Block.


Then the Files Arrived! 😃


After installing the handles on most of them I thought "Hey, I should do a video on how to mount file handles", so I filmed one, wasn't great, shot another and I mumbled a lot. Shot another one, was a great take, went to watch it back aaaaand I'd hit the selfie camera button so had filmed the wrong direction. 😖 And that was the last file. 😤 Still, They were all in with only 1 minor mishap from when the hole wasn't big enough for the tang. Luckily for you that was on film





I started with the edges that sat against the sloped sides of the M.2 heatsinks and added an angle to them for better fitting, top right and bottom left.


I trimmed a bit more off the SATA port edge so it could sit in properly and drilled the 2 mounting holes to check it all fit properly. So far so good.


Now, despite having done umpteen measurements to get the hole position the the M.2 screws, I was worried about history repeating itself and started doubting myself. To check I had those measurements right I used the cutout I'd done by card and punched holes through into all the threaded mounts. The I lined up the 2 mounting holes and marked where the holes for the M.2 screws were.


Now a bit more confident I drilled the holes out, just 2mm to start with and you know what? If I'd drilled them where I'd originally marked they would have been perfect 😅😭


It's not easy to see in the picture but they were just out, but that's why I started with a 2mm hole, I needed to get it to 5.5mm so I had room to adjust and correct, first with this nifty carbide milling bit.


Then when it was big enough I switched to using a file, while is a bit more controllable. By twisting the file into it, then rotating back and forth it would gradually increase the hole.


I'd file a little out, dust it off and then check it on the board to see how it was going. If I needed to move the hole over in a particular direction I'd file that side with a needle file, before returning to the larger file to round the hole out.


Until eventually.....


Success! 😃🤘 A real snug fit too which is just perfect. I could leave those screws in and have a quick reference to work on any minor adjustments that were needed. With a little trim of the top edge along the PCIE slot, a few other minor tweaks and a bit of finishing all round it was almost done.

Now I just needed to drill the other holes out to allow the mounting screws to sit flush. The mounting points sit about 1.1mm below the bottom edge of the alu, so I'll be attaching a couple of washers to the underside for the screw to fit into and the whole thing would actually rest on them then. Almost done! :happy: Oh and spraying clear plastidip on the underside to prevent shorts. Then put a brushed finish to the top and apply a clear coat. And some other bits. So no, not nearly finished. 🙄 lol

Since it had been a while I thought now was as good a time as any to drop in and give you an update. Hopefully I'll have it ACTUALLY finished next time. So stay tuned crap fans. Same Crap time, same Crap channel.

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Morning Crapfans!

Well that's another week that's flown by. We've now been given a date of 24th July to have the mods completed and a video submitted so I best get my skates on. Particularly with this motherboard armour which should have been finished already. What's that old saying? Keep it simple stupid! 😅

So with all the holes now in the the right place, I had to enlarge the 2 holes for the mounting screws as the threads for them sit a little over 1mm below the bottom side of the alu plate. I'll be mounting some washers to the underside of the armour for the screws to pull on and then they'll sit flusher to the top surface too.


So I enlarged the hole from 2mm to 3mm to 3.5 to 4, all with no problems, was nice and centred still, but needed them a little wider still. I thought about using the round file again like I did for the others, but it wouldn't fit in the hole yet. "That's odd" I thought, "I didn't think the other holes were that much bigger. The file must not have had as much taper as I thought." So I pull out the 5m drill bit and


😖 As I looked for a file or something suitable for cleaning that up I found my smaller round file, the one I'd used for the other holes, that would have fit in these to enlarge them. Joy. 🤬 I ended up countersinking the hole to clean it up, which meant doing it on the others as well for some continuity. Was pretty darn annoyed at such a stupid mistake, I hadn't wanted to countersink them but it doesn't look too bad. More importantly, I can continue with this piece and not start again. I think I'd rather cover the motherboard with duct tape than start again.


With those all sorted, now we needed to tackle the chipset cooling, as the fan will find it difficult to breath through the alu plate. So open sesame!


After marking the centre of the hole by lining up the original cover, I drilled a pilot hole then used a step bit to get it that big. but it wasn't big enough. I'd got some carbine milling bits for the Dremel, so used one of those to get close to where I needed to be. I was apprehensive about using it to go all the way as it could get a bit grabby and I didn't want to mess it up at this stage.


After filing most of the rest out I checked where I was in relation to the fan, see if I needed to remove some in a particular direction, which it did.


I'd drawn the circle on the back which wasn't great, especially as the pencil rubbed off fairly easily. Should have measured the centre point on the motherboard, then drawn a circle on the front with a compass, but at least I'd checked and could fix it from here. I drew a slightly larger circle that was centred to help gauge the edge which helped a lot. I kept checking it against the original and the motherboard to make sure it was going in the right direction and wasn't getting out of shape.


In the end I was pretty pleased how it came out and how round it was. I won't claim it's a perfect circle but it's really close. I decided to leave it at that point as I have a tendency to go too far with trying to get something absolutely perfect and end up making it worse.


Next up I needed to fashion a fan shroud to direct the air over the heatsink, for which I'd use some aluminium angle. I decided to try and get the shape fairly close to the original so used several small pieces.


These pieces were too tall and I needed to get them down to 8.5mm. I had this little compound table and figured I'd try and use it in conjunction with my Dremel stand.


It was not as easy as I'd hoped to get this set up. Just mounting it to the Dremel base took an age. I'd have it set right start tightening the bolts and a washer would slip and get stuck so I'd have to pull it off again, get it lined up, get the bolts back on, tighten, slip...... 🤬 I ended up having to lie on my back under it to get the bolts tightened and stop the washers slipping. Not made easier by my decision to use nylon lock nuts to stop them coming undone from the vibrations it would make. Then I wanted to mount it direct to the workbench, but the bolts I'd bought to ensure they fit flush underneath the Dremel base were too short to fit through the workbench top. I had to search the house for a piece of conti board to mount it on. Then I tried to get the bolts flush with the bottom of that, but I didn't have the right bit to drill out the nut recess and I ended up wrecking the first set of holes. Luckily the bolts would sit either side of the workbench piece so I just let them poke out and then attached it to the bench with some grip clamps.


At least it worked! 😃


But it was slow. Really slow. It had at least given me a platform to be able to get at the edge that needed removing, which was nigh on impossible in a vice. So I cracked out the "rough cut" file and used that instead.


Now I needed to look at the side that would attach to the armour, make sure it didn't hang over the edge or cover any screw holes. So I transferred the pattern over to the underside where they'd live.


I'd also need to check some pieces against the original. As you can see here, the long straight piece would interfere with the fan and would need to be trimmed.



It took a little while to get them all done, filing angles onto the corners to get them to fit properly as well. I had to file a bit, check it's alignment, file a bit more, but eventually I had them all done and stuck down with double sided tape for a test fit.


It needed some more work doing to it. The fins of the chipset heatsink hit the angle and they were also still too tall. Must have measured that wrong thing as I needed to take at least 2mm off.


Back to the shed I went, filing away like a man possessed. Luckily the "rough cut" file can take material off pretty quick when given some welly. As the clamps on the compound table went to about the height I wanted I could use that to gauge where I was and just give a few final strokes with a second cut file to smooth and make sure they were level. I also changed the setup on the corner that sticks out. After filing the original piece out there was barely anything left to stick it down with, so I made a new piece to point outwards and took some of the other piece to give it some room.


And it fit! 😃 🤘


The compound table had taken a fair bit of abuse though. It's only a cheap chineseum ebay one with an aluminium bed, so fairly soft material compared to the nuts and bolts of the clamping mechanism.


I wanted to stick the pieces together as a single unit before fitting to the motherboard armour, so I got one of the old card templates and glued it to the original armour plate I made, then stuck the pieces to that with double sided tape.


Then give it a test fit just to make sure everything was in the right place. Good to go! 👌


Now it's time for our good old friend JB Weld 🤩


The original plan was just to put some on the joins to stick them together, maybe spread a little to reinforce, but things kind of got out of hand 🤪 At least I can be #### well sure it'll be stuck together 😂


I then turned my attention to the armour piece itself. I gave all the edges a good sanding, try and get rid of the filing marks. It was filthy after so I gave it a wash, which took the paper from the template off. The finish underneath was still decent so wont require too much work to put a nice finish on, so I covered it in masking tape to protect it. This top edge had been bothering me a bit. I'd cut it too tall but I didn't know if I wanted it brought down flat or at an angle to match the M.2 heatsink.


After asking around a bit, the general consensus was to angle it and I do think that would look better there. I just wasn't sure if it would look out of place being as all the other edges are flat. Didn't take too long to sort it out and it does look so right.


I'm waiting on a final piece to finish off the armour, which has just taken way longer than it should have. Probably didn't need to do all this for the chipset cooler, probably could have left it and it would have been fine, or made it simpler, but sometimes I just have to do things right or it will bug me to oblivion. In the mean time I can finally start working on something else, but that's all for now folks. See you next time for "what crappy overcomplicated next" :winking: Same Crap time, same Crap channel.

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Ahoy hoy modderinos!

What's this? Another updatealready!? And it doesn't involve the motherboard armour!!!??? 😲

Yep that's right, mostly due to needing one last part for it, but also because I need to do something else before I go mad 😅 So inline with the brightenisation of the motherboard, the CPU block was next up for an enlightening. First I needed a good copy of one, didn't work out too well just sticking it on the copier.


By cutting out the first copy to reflect the light in the surrounding area and then shining a bright torch through the plexi block....


I was able to get a much better copy and clearer image. I put the block back together and taped up the coldplate for it's trip to the shed, to make sure it didn't get damaged.


First up to the chopping block were the mounting arms. Soon got rid of that paint with a Dremel sand drum. Nice and easy 👍


What wasn't so easy was getting rig of the deep score lines from using the roughest grit sanding drum 🙄 I went over it again with the higher grit drum I have, it was already used, but I thought that would be better for not putting more score lines in. It helped, but the worst bits remained still. I was conscious off taking too much material and the arms no longer fitting the block properly, so I thought it would come out when sanding the finish into it.

Much, MUCH sanding later and there's still some deep scores about. I try one of the abrasive wheels I got for the Dremel. That only removed the sanding lines and did nothing for the bad bits. More sanding, still looks crap. I remember I have scotch pads, give them a go, get a nice finish pretty quick but there's still those bad bits. 🤬 I think about giving in and just having it crap, so I go indoors and clean them up. But I just can't leave it.

So I go back to the shed. I tidy up a little while I have a think about how to solve it, put some Dremel bits away. I do have some new drums, let's try again with one of the new higher grit ones..... Yep, that's done it. 10 mins later they're good for a quick final brush with a scotch pad. Another 20 mins. Done.


And I'm thoroughly done in. However seeing as they're steel I don't want them rusting, so knock up a quick paint booth and give them light dusting of clear coat to seal them.


Onto the next day and the next part, the block. In a similar vein to the motherboard, it'll get a nice new aluminium cover. I stick the photocopy on a small piece and cut out the rough shape. I decide to do the 2 inner holes for the fittings first before doing the outer edge. First I need to find the middle.


After finding the diameter of the holes, I dial the compass into half that value and make a small arc in the middle from 3 points on the edge. They didn't intersect exactly as there's a fair degree of inaccuracy from my initial measurement, compass setting and then placement, but there's a tiny triangle there to centre on and punch.


I drilled out a 4mm hole then used the step bit to it's largest diameter, before filing from there using a round file.

To finish the inner circles I switch to a half round file when it will fit. With those complete I started on the outer edge and neatened it up with a rough hand file.


From there I moved to using the flat side of a second cut half round file to get a smoother finish and begin getting it to a better shape.


When I got close I moved to a smooth cut half round file. I'd go round the edge once or twice and then check against the block to see how it was going. The cover on the block sat in a little lip and wasn't completely flush to it, which combined with a little bit of light bleed meant the size I was aiming for would probably be before I hit the black edge.


I worked slowly at it, brushing the file often to keep the file clean and the cut true. I moved from working at it from a very front-on position to almost from the side, after I found I hadn't quite been getting it perpendicular. From this angle I could better watch the file and how it was working the piece. Slowly i edged in, checking it on the block until, bingo!


I gave it one last very light passing just to smooth the finish out, put it back into the vice, tilted it back and filed a bevel into the edge, then finally cleaned the template off. I had intended on brushing the surface to have it match the motherboard, but the smooth sheen of a finish the alu came with is just gorgeous and I was very tempted to keep it that way.



The mounting arms ended up looking great with just a couple of light dusting coats and really complimented and evened out the finish.


Rather annoyingly I managed to scratch the surface of the cover when trying to twist it into the right place, just above the right hand port, so I'll definitely be refinishing it now. It was the original plan though and I think will look better if it matches the arms and the rest of the motherboard. Might look out of place being shiny with the rest a more matt look.


I will however be trying to polish up the bevelled edge to give it a little highlight, which I wanted to start on before brushing the face. Using some sandpaper wrapped around an off cut of aluminium to make sure it's flat, I first sanded the outer perpendicular edge to make sure than was nice and even and smooth, then gave the bevel a quick going over to try and get the worst of the filing marks out.


And with that we have to end this episode, for that's all I had the time, energy and mental capacity for. 😔 But fear not, for I will return in no time at all for our next enthralling encounter, so stay tuned Crapfans!  Same Crap time, same Crap channel.

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It's Friday, it's deadly hot outside, my shed is now a kiln and I've got a broken tooth throbbing away. That can only mean one thing...... UPDATE TIME!!!!!

Seems like forever since last time, so much has happened, so many ups and downs, there's a whole load of pictures so I'll try and keep it brief. Maybe.....😅

So we left off with the cpu block cover cut, bevelled and a little sanding done, but a lot more needed to be done to finish it off. I strapped some 400grit sandpaper to a piece of furniture board and went to town.


Came out pretty nice.


Then moved down to 600 grit, this time with the piece stuck to the wood and the sandpaper on a block. I had finished off and then managed to scratch it again 😖 So annoyed with myself, but it would likely need refinishing after the next step, need to crack on.


I wanted to try and get a polished look on the bevel, at least have it smooth and shinier than the face. so I dry sanded it with 600 grit, then 1200 grit, then wet sanded with 1200.


Next up came the polishing wheel, I'd do about 1/4 of the edge at a time, then rotate it 1/8 so it overlapped well.


Used some smurf #### polishing compound with it.


Managed to get it looking pretty nice, some of the polishing had slipped onto the face, but I was expecting that to happen and would be dealt with in a final sanding of the face.


Once again I strapped paper to the flat board (600 this time), this way I figured the 2 flat surfaces together would just do the face and not the bevel.


Whilst I was able to sand the face without the bevel getting scratched, it wasn't sanding evenly, very odd. I thought it might be the janky way I'd stuck the paper down, so I'd go back down to 400 to even it up but I had ran out, as had the 2 Screwfix, a Toolstation, B&Q and Wickes that were local to me. 🙄


Whilst waiting for replenishment of sandpaper I had lots to do on the motherboard piece. First off was to take some of the back out where this cap was.


Back to the makeshift milling machine!


Didn't have too much drama milling it out, had one little wobble, but I gave it regular squirts from the metal cutting lubricant and it smoothed out.


Very nice. 👍 But does it fit?


Sure does! 😄


Now I had to tackle the big fan hole, couldn't leave that open and bare. Some nice brass mesh might sit well in there. 😉


I clamped the armour down with the hole over the gap in the workmate and pushed the mesh into the hole, first with the hammer head face, then using the screwdrivers bit holder to push it into the edge.




Now it was time to tackle the finishing on the front of the armour, look lovely, but too shiny to go with the motherboard heatsinks.


With a large awkward shape I decided it would be best to stick it to the wood. When doing the cpu piece in this manner I noticed the bits that didn't have tape on wouldn't get sanded as much as they'd bow with the pressure, so I wanted to make sure it was well covered to get a nice even finish. Maybe a little too much? 🤔


First off was the 320 grit Mirka pad.


Nice. After this I went onto the 1200 grit grey Mirka pad...


Noice. 😁


Now time to get it off the board. Just pull it up here, just pluck it, oh, hmm. It seems to be a bit stuck. Thought I'd heat it up with a heatgun to ease it up. Started at 50, think i went up to 100C in the end.


It began to pull up a little, a corner here, a corner there, finally got an edge going. I was using a thin metal scrapper to get under where I can, using a chisel to leaver it up. Yeh a chisel. You can see where this is going can't you..... 🤬


Devastation.😭 Looked quite deep, felt deep too. I swore a lot, managed to get the metal off the wood, swore a bit more, almost cried, I thought it was game over, but managed to bring it back from the brink and sand it out. Think it felt deeper than it was as the edges of the gouge would have protruded from the displaced material. Such I heart stopping moment though. I needed a cigarette after and I haven't smoked in 4 years! 😂


It was then very carefully cleaned and quickly sprayed. It was looking good, added a second light coat, still good, one bit looked like it wasn't quite as covered so did a third coat, at which point I got a couple of spitty bits from the spray can :sigh: It would probably be fine once it dries, but I should have left it. Always have to overdo things when they aren't quite perfect and then they get worse. It's so annoying. (this is pre-spray)


Luckily it turned out absolutely stunning 😲😍
(Larger expandable pic)

Unluckily it was when the heatwave kicked off and it had got so hot in the shed that the clear coat had got soft and a little tacky and I got finger print impressions in it. I had to remove the whole lot. 😔 To be honest I'm not entirely convince the clear-coat I got is suitable for bare aluminium. When I first got it I contacted Rustoleum to check and they said it would be fine to use on it's own. Maybe it was the heat, maybe it's just not the right stuff, but I don't really have the time and funds to be experimenting with that kind of thing at the minute, so I'll leave it bare for now and maybe look at it again towards the end if I have time.

Now onto the the brass hole cover. It looked good, but something wasn't quite right.


Should have had the wire in the mesh align with the angled edges of the armour of course. I even set it like that in the first pic I showed of it. Silly me. 🙄


I quickly knocked up a new piece with the mesh lining up at the right angle and then taped the bejesus out of it with the fan guard I'd made earlier for a test fit.


It did not fit. 😔 I'd forgotten that I'd ended up getting mesh with larger holes than originally planned as I didn't want it to be too restrictive. Larger holes meant larger diameter wire and quite the difference in mesh height. I had been waiting an age for the mesh and had made the fan shroud before the mesh came. I thought about attaching it all to the armour anyway and then milling it down (I did think that might have to happen anyway to get the right height), but I wasn't confident in the strength of the bonds in the pieces of the shroud, Since it had broke in 2 already, I did not want odd pieces flying across the shed while milling, so I resided to leaving the shroud out for now. I might try again later with a small strip bent to shape, but I've got to crack on for now.

To attach the mesh I returned to our good friend JB Weld. I covered the back of the mesh in masking tape, spread the JB weld onto the mesh leaving a gap around the raised hole section so non would go into that space from any spread. I then placed the mesh on the armour and lined it up with the angled edges before pressing the tape down and clamping a piece of aluminium sheet over it to keep it flat and the pressure even.



Worked pretty well. There wasn't any ingress into the main hole, but there was some into one of the screw holes.


Soon had that cleared out. Cut the back with a stanly knife then cleared to hole with a file and deburring tool.


The holes for the screws that actually attach it to the board would need some washers underneath so the 2 surfaces would meet properly. For this I will use some brass washers; an M4 the screw would actually pass through, then and M3 and M2 for the screw to sit on and put pressure onto and make it up to the right height. This should give a nice little brass edge to them to match the mesh. I decided to glue them together before glueing them to the armour.

While they were drying I went back to the CPU block cover. I'd managed to get some more 400 grit sandpaper from Halfords, got it taped to some wood and started sanding it carefully. But it still wasn't sanding evenly, was the wood flat? Yes. Sandpaper ok? Yep. Hmmmm. Oh, is the cover flat? Nope. Definitely bent. :duh: Seems because of the shallow jaws of my clamp and the pressure of the polishing had got it quite out of shape. I did my best to get it flat and for the best part it was, but also not quite. In the end I had to abandon the polished edge and use the Mirka pads to brush it. Disappointing, but not the end of the world. I had been told by someone in the know (a lecturer of art who specialises in metalwork and such) that what I was attempting was very difficult, but I gave it a shot anyway. Still looked good. Shame I forgot to take any pictures of the entire process 😖🙄😅

With that done and the glued washers drying I thought it was time for a sneak peak


Maybe less sneaky?




Happy with the result I went in to cool off and do some physio. After I was looking back at the pictures I'd taken and I wasn't happy with the cpu block cover. I'd brushed it with the same pads I'd already used on the motherboard armour and it hadn't quite come out as well. So I went back and cut some new pads and did again with fresh 320 and 1200 pads.


MUCH better. Shame I can't rid the armour of streaks entirely. Used isopropyl alcohol which I would have thought would leave it streak free, but would still leave some. But it does look so good. At least I think so anyway. 😄



Just got to glue those washers on and they're all done and it's time to move back to the case. With that it's all over for this update Crapfans. I'll leave you with a few more pics of the finished motherboard, which I'll post without the URL link and a larger size for you all to ogle at 😍. Stay tuned for the next enthralling roller-coaster ride that is Project ISAC. Same Crap time, same Crap channel. Until then Crapfans....



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Ahoy hoy Crapfans!

Despite telling myself that I'd update more often I just don't like showing stuff before it's finished, but the end result today is worth the wait.

So, remember that big package?

It contained a sheet of mild steel, 1000mmx600mmx0.9mm. 😲

It's a heft beast, you don't appreciate how light aluminium is until you start working with steel. Getting this first piece cut was quite an ordeal, having to try and balance it with one hand and cut with the jigsaw with the other hand. Was much easier when I got the first cut in and it fit on the workbench properly.

Now I had thought that the corners of the piece that came would be nice and square, but they were slightly out so my piece ended up a bit off and needed some careful adjustments.

Filing the 0.9mm steel was a lot tougher than the 2mm alu too, was really hard going and took 2 days to get it finished, but finally had a nice square piece exactly 360x460 😁👍

Which will be a new motherboard tray and pass-through plate.

This bottom left corner has a bit of a tricky profile to it, which meant the sheet wouldn't sit flush.

At least until I gave it the profile to match 😉

This sheet isn't replacing the original motherboard tray, as that provides a lot of the rigidity and support for the case. To attach the new one, I'll be drilling the motherboard mounting holes through it, then sitting it on top of the original motherboard mounts and #### the new one's into them. To get the hole positions I clamped the trays together, used a Sharpie to put a mark where the hole was and a centre punch to scribe the centre.


With the hole positions marked out it was time for drilling.

I started with a 2mm hole so I could check the positioning and adjust the hole for any errors in either the marking or drilling. There were a couple that were a bit off, but I was able to pull them back to the correct position with a round needle file and then my 6" smooth cut round file, also using them to enlarge the rest until they were all 3.5mm and centred.

To give me more room for the fittings, tubing and cables I took out the original cable holes out with my Dremel. Sadly, when removing the lip on the motherboard tray it attached to, my Dremel died 😭  But at least he died doing what he loved best, destroying cases 😄

Now with the motherboard and CPU block having new custom armour, the clear plexi block would look a little vulnerable so...

Getting the design sorted was such a faff. it was just small enough to fit onto an A4 sheet of paper. "Brilliant" I thought, "I can make the design in SketchUp and print it out so it's nice and accurate ". Could I get it to print out properly scaled? Could I heck.  Spent ages searching for how to guides, none of which worked when I tried. 🤬  Sod it, I'll just draw it, but at least I can set the Division 2 logo size in paint.net and print that properly...... Nope. 😖 That wanted to play silly-beggars too. I ended up putting the picture into word and setting it's size using the margin ruler to get the right size printed. 🙄 I glued the paper to the sheet of alu I'd be using, drew the pattern onto it by hand, cut out an 80mmx80mm square with my Stanley knife for the logo and glued that in.

First up I drilled out the outer circle using a 3.5mm bit. In hindsight I should have used a 3mm bit as the 3.5mm didn't leave much room for error, of which there were a few 😬

I had planned on filing that out before doing anything to the '2', but luckily I realised if I did that, there would be very little holding it in placed when drilling and filing, so that got drilled out too and was the first bit to be filed.


Came out just perfectly 😃👌

Here you can see where the drill has strayed over, so annoying, but I should be able to work it in ok.

The circle was MUCH tougher to do than the '2', with such a small space to work in. I'd increased the size of the 2 from the original design so you'd be able to see more of the block through it. It was easier than trying to get the circle thicker, but I wish I'd spent a bit more time trying to get the circle thicker. Still looks great though and good to finally have something Division related going into the mod.

With the logo pretty much done it was time to get the rest of the shape out.

In no time I had it filed out and stripped the paper off. I needed to get a better look at the circle and see what needed doing. The 2 looks perfect though, just needs the burrs on the edges taking off.

Couldn't resist getting it on the block for sneak peek.

It wasn't till I was doing my morning download of pics that I realised I'd forgotten to file out the gap for the power connectors 🙄 Had to redraw the pattern on the metal and hope I'd filed the rest accurately enough not to put the measurements out.

Soon had the gap done though and afterwards I set to work tidying it all up. I did some work on the circle to smooth and even it out and deburred it all. I'd also started work on trying to sand out all the little pock marks where I'd got a little "overenthusiastic" with the needle file 😅

I'd also filed a small bevel around the edge of the piece to soften it up.

Much MUCH sanding and brushing later...

I hadn't been able to remove the pock marks entirely, let’s just call them battle damage 😅 Still looks 🤤

Now it was time to make it a shell. I used my square files to cut a grove in the sheet to make the bends cleaner and easier.

No bending brake here. Just some steel grips for my workbench and a bit of brute force.

What I hadn't accounted for was that the hole for the power cables making that section very tricky (and unwilling) to bend. There may have been a hammer involved 🤔 The tab on the side didn't go smoothly either, I hadn't removed enough material for the bend to go 90degrees, so I had to bend it back to file some more out then try bending again. This unfortunately led to stress fractures forming on the edge, might be able to do something about them, will have to research that. If anyone has any tips that'd be much appreciated.

You might just be able to make out the be able to make out the errant edge here. Hopefully I can smooth it out, maybe a light hammer tap and a sand?

It doesn't look bad though 😃


Now I was going to end the update here, but then this morning I thought, why not put everything together for a few shots? 😉 I'm going to try and gets updates out more regularly, every couple of days in the morning when I have a bit of time in between my morning physio that gets me moving again, along with a Columbia's worth of coffee :lol: So stay tuned Crapfans! Same Crap time, same Crap channel. Until next time.....

(*larger expandable pics)






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Ahoy hoy techerinos!

Time for an update already?

Yes Ralph, in the first attempt at mini updates (that may or may not be mini in size), yesterday’s work seemed as good a point as any to pop in some progress.

The original plan was to measure and drill out all the pass-through holes before bending, but having seen from the GPU shroud how much difficulty a hole added to bending I thought it best to get that done first. So first up was scoring a bend line in, which was really hard work in the "mild" steel. I was almost tempted to get the Dremel out, but the chances of cutting right through would be too high. After a few little sessions I got what I thought would be deep enough, it's only 0.9mm thick after all.

Dodgy Bending Break Mark1. I have 1"x1" aluminium angle in the workmate jaws, quick-grip clamps holding 2 galvanised steel angle pieces onto the sheet as well as acting as arms to bend. It got a small bend in but the clamps quickly hit the surface of the workmate and it would go no further. 🤔 This is why I had originally wanted a Black and Decker one where you could make one of the pieces vertical for clamping on top of the other. Would have made this so much easier.

I also hadn't positioned the steel pieces very well and the bend hadn't formed on the score line properly, with the tray bending with it. To correct this, I clamped the 2 steel angles to it, making sure they were right on that line, then used a G clamp to force them together and straighten it out. Actually worked very well 👍50093426862_466abfe916_c.jpg


Dark clouds drew in and started emptying on the shed, so I had to close the doors to. This left it very dark inside so I had to come up with a lighting solution to get more of the shed lit up. 😅

Dodgy Bending Break Mark2. Sheet flat on the workmate, but the workmate bows in the middle so a flatter piece had to be put on top, steel angle over the edge to strengthen it. Then another steel angle over the top of the sheet with a piece of wood across to try and make the pressure more uniform. Then a piece of steel angle either side of the part to be bent up, secured with 2 grip clamps and the G clamp holding it in the middle. But the steel angle just isn't thick or strong enough and the sheet I'm bending start deforming where there's no clamping as soon as I start putting pressure on it. 😬

 Dodgy Bending Break Mark 2.1.


It surprisingly worked ok, but again the score line didn't really assist the bend much. You can see there's a decent amount taken out, so 🤔

Thankfully the old G clamp squeeze came to the rescue and flattened it out nicely. 👌


I got the file back into the groove to take out a little more material, see if we couldn't get the bend to behave and then lay it down to contemplate my next move. And then it hit me 💡 Use the jaws of the workmate to put the squeeze on it and get it bent that last bit.

Dodgy Bending Break Mark 3. Aluminium angle on the jaws (I know it's softer than the steel but it has a nice sharp clean edge), sheet placed with groove on the edge of the alu, 2 steel angles and a wood beam clamped over the top. I slowly turned the screws and got it evened up and slightly tensioned, then began tightening them up properly.

It went ok at first. When it started getting really tough, I’d have to do one handle at a time with both hands, it required the kind of strength I just don't have at the minute so took a while with having to break often. I'd tighten it as much as I could, then slack off a little, then tighten it back up, sometimes offering a little "encouragement" from the hammer on either the beam across the top or the sides of the workmate. Eventually it was pretty dam closed and just wouldn't budge.

The piece was really good and squished in the jaws, the top was a little rounded and not properly flush, so with a small piece of wood and the hammer I beat the edge into it as best I could.

Ended up pretty decent 😃

And fits nice and snug with room for the thick 360. 👌

Short(ish) and sweet today, but be sure to catch the next episode. Same Crap time, same Crap channel.

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Ahoy hoy modderinos

Back once again for the renegade master, wait, no, for another episode of Project ISAC.

You know how I should the tray fit nice and snug? Yeh well a little 2 snug, it needed a few mm trimmed off the edge as well as a couple of notches put in for where to top rad hole has a lip. This took far longer than I thought, even with the rough cut file, it's likely down to me not having very good technique as I'd do a couple of strokes that would take a lot off, then apparently nothing would be removed for the next 5 mins 🤔 Probably made harder by the difficulty in clamping it to something solidly.

Also had to take a smidge out the corner to go over where the rad mount is fixed to then floor.

With the tray now sitting properly flat I could get to work on planning, measuring and marking out where the pass-through holes for the water and main power cables. This took quite some time as things didn't quite line up as I'd previously thought, so the loop needed a re-think. What I'd previously been planning for the power cables got scuppered when covid dried up my supply and 'plan b' turned out to not be viable either. Rather than passing the cables through holes I'll be using aviator connectors, this will separate the front and back nicely though and their different styles/themes.

Even once the overall layout and design was set, it took quite a while to get everything exactly right, particularly with the aviator connections as I'd have to make sure the thin hex nut that fixes them in place has room to turn, while also trying to get them as close together and lining up with the connections on the motherboard. As they're quite small and light they'd have a tendency to shoot off at the slightest nudge. In the end I had to stick them down with blu tack, but that made adjusting their positions harder. A lot of faff, but it was important to get these positions and measurements spot on.

Ever seen a GPU backplate with a 6-pack? Well now you have 😂 I had planned on getting into those lines with a wire brush wheel, but when I saw how awesome it looked after the initial pass with the abrasive wheel, I had to keep it.

I punched and then drilled out all the holes with a 4mm bit to start off with. Once they were done, I took the tape off so it didn't interfere with the next steps and marked what size hole was needed next to them. I also put a cross through the motherboard mounting holes, just to make sure there wasn't a mix up, as that's exactly the kind of ####-up I'd make 😅

Particularly for the 24pin holes, I wouldn't be able to get the drill in from the back of the sheet because it would bump into the bent-up section, so I had to do it from the front. Took an age to get a configuration that worked, trying different combinations of my odd bits of wood propping it up trying to get it to rest on top of the workmate, when all it took was hanging it over the edge and 1 piece on the rails. 🙄

First I widened them all the just under half an inch with a step bit with lots of increments, which helped keep them all in check and in line. Then It was time for the big boy 😲 I'd be taking it up to 5/8", so marked the 11/16 in red so I knew when to put the brakes on.

Like a glove 😄

I was using cutting lubricant to stop the step bit trying to grab on and dig in too much, kept the swarf fairly neat for the clean-up.

Pretty happy with the first set. The last hole has strayed off a little, but you can only really notice up close and once it's got the connectors and wires over them it won’t be noticeable. People probably wouldn't have noticed if I hadn't pointed it out 🤔😅

After drilling out the holes for PCI and EPS power, now it was time for the G1/4 pass-throughs, for which I'd bought this 20mm hole cutter specially.

Get some interesting patterns of swarf in the saw after cutting. One looked like a christmas tree!

After that I deburred and cleaned up and holes and then had to cut some out of the bottom of the case. Now I always where my safety specs, but I hadn't been wearing any other face protection while cutting and sanding most of the time and had seen some horrid sights while blowing my nose, so I'd been careful today and worn a mask. While cutting with my jigsaw something shot out, hit the face mask and ricocheted under the safety glasses and into the corner of my eye 😖😳

Luckily, it was one of those moments where everything seems to slow down (like some sort of danger activated Max Payne-esque bullet time) and I'd seen whatever is was flying towards me and managed to get my eye shut in time. Still stung like a #### though. I rushed off to the house and checked my eye for any damage or debris which there didn't seem to be. I thought my contact lens out and rinsed my eye with the contact lens cleaning drops I have. Seems I had very lucky escape, especially as it was the left one, which is my dominant eye.
WARNING - Eyeball closeup

With my eye cleansed and calmed, I grabbed the goggles from my mayhems blitz kit and quickly finished off the cut and tidied it a little. My reaction to being struck in the eye had caused the cut to go a deeper than intended, but it shouldn't matter too much. I'd had just about enough and my nerves were still pretty shook as I hastily filed and sanded any rough edges from the case and called it a day. Really please how the holes came out, all bang on bar that one, which is really tricky with a hand drill and an aggressive chunky step bit, especially in such a tough material.

Obviously there still some more to come out of the case for the PCI and EPS power cables, but that can wait till my hands stop shaking. 😕 That's all for now folks. Be sure to stay tuned for another episode of "What Andy maimed next" 😅 Same Crap time, same Crap channel.

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