View Full Version : Metropolis

Crimson Sky
03-26-2005, 02:52 AM

Project Metropolis is a PC display designed for <a href="http://www.via.com.tw/en/index/index.jsp">Via Technologies</a> to showcase their latest Mini ITX mainboard offering. Project Metropolis and their new product will be revealed at the <a href="http://www.cebit.de/homepage_e?x=1">CEBIT</a> event in Hanover, Germany later this month. I can't show the actual mainboard they sent sent me, so I've used an EPIA M10000 in its place for the photos here. Special thanks to Sascha from www.epiacenter.com for his help and inspiration on Project Metropolis. Metropolis is inspired by the 1926 Fritz Lang German classic film of the same name. What I've done is take their mainboard and placed it among impressionistic replicas of the famous buildings and architecture of the city of Metropolis. I took liberties with the design and placed the mainboard under a clear dome, like so many filmmakers and artists visualized the future of cities in the 20's and 30's.

For photos of the finished project, take a look at it in the Case Gallery (http://www.thebestcasescenario.com/index.php?module=photoalbum&PHPWS_Album_op=view&PHPWS_Album_id=10&MMN_position=51:51).

The first renderings show an early version created in Sketchup, and little has changed except for the dome and placement of the buildings around a circular form. Thanks to Mashie, who during his visit in the US recently, helped me with the design and construction of the city.

Plexi circles in increasing diameter will be cut in translucent smoked 1/4" bronze Plexiglass material. The center tube is frosted acrylic, and will hold 3 CCFL Green lights along its length from base to top. The top and base will be made from 3/4" MDF and painted.




The three smaller diameter tubes are aluminum electrical conduit that will be brushed and polished, then sealed. Each plexi circle will be attached to the three alum rods using black rubber O-Rings.



Crimson Sky
03-26-2005, 03:10 AM
Now for the construction: Mobo Stand offs on a yellow plexi circle


Cutting holes for mounting on the press:


Mounting the Hard Disk Drive, Mashie lending a hand here!


Here Mashie is re-wiring the very cool 4" CCFL's we got at an auto store. One red and one yellow will be mounted under the mobo:


I made the white plastic rings from styrene sheets:


The clear dome is vacuum blown plexiglass, so its really quite thick and durable, and not that flimsy polyethelene of other such domes.



The outter ring with the buildings will be removeable. Here is a shot without it:


Crimson Sky
03-26-2005, 03:16 AM
For the pedastal I chose a translucent smoked/bronze ChemCast plexi. Here are the 1/4" thick pieces back from the laser cutting service. The next step is to cut my holes in each for the tubing and pipes. Should have pics up of the pedastal assembly soon.


The first of six buildings is complete. Some sheet styrene, acrylic tubing, Plastruct® Architectural model parts and findings from the plastic store went in to create the structure and details.




Time to drill the holes in the plexi disks in preperation for the pedestal assembly. A 2-3/4" hole was put in the center of each. This hole is for the frosted acrylic tube of the same diameter that will have the lights inside.

First a pilot hole to guide the hole saw:


That bit looks scary but it went well, resulting in an acceptably clean hole. One side of the disk was drilled halfway, then it was flipped over and drilled again to avoid a blow out of the acrylic.



Next I made a jig for making pilot holes. These 7/8" diameter holes are for the three aluminum tubes that are part of the design of the pedestal. I cut a slice of the 2-3/4" acrylic tube and used it as part of the jig, since all disks now have the center hole cut:




Crimson Sky
03-26-2005, 03:22 AM
I made a fan bezel that will go on the base of one of the buildings...It's the 'False Maria' robot from the movie. I created a Photoshop image and printed it out to scale, then used spray mount to glue it to a piece of styrene. My trusty Dremel scroll saw captured the fine details.



After the pattern was scrolled I peeled off the paper and cleaned the styrene off with a rag and some mineral spirits. Next I will print out a high resolution image on glossy paper and mount that to the styrene cut-out. After a little paint on the ring I'll coat the entire bezel in high gloss resin to seal in the printed image.


Circles...and more circles...This time it's the parts for the top and base of the pedestal. MDF circles were cut and stacked for the base of the pedestal. the acrylic tube in the center and the aluminum pipe.

2 Morex 60 Watt PSU kit for Mini ITX will be hidden in the base of the pedestal, one for lights and one for the Mainboard:




Once the MDF circles were cut, I used a router to give the edge a little decoration:


Starting to assemble the pedestal:


When I purchased a Belkin wireless mouse and keyboard for the project, I had no idea that it would come with a neat looking RF unit. Once I saw it, I knew it would become the top of another building, since there had to be access to the button that links the devices. With some acrylic tubing and square stock, I created this "Radio Tower". On the right is a sound activated neon light stick I got from an auto store, and this became the radio antennae. The tubing came in handy for running the wires.




Crimson Sky
03-26-2005, 03:26 AM
Here we have the assembly of the pedestal at last. After polishing the aluminum rods they were screwed into the underside of the pedestal top (I'm working with the unit upside down here). Next I rolled the rubber O-rings onto the three rods (they are pretty damn tight) and lined them up, placing the first and largest of the 12 Plexiglas disks on. There is an o-ring on each side of the Plexiglas to lock it in. It took a few hours of lining them up to get it just right.



Meanwhile in the base I'm making a slide out "tray with bezel" that will hold the PSU's, the female connector for the monitor and the audio out jack.


And finaly here is the unpainted pedestal. There is still work to do on the base, but I'll get to that tomorrow. Its hard to see in these pics but the 2-3/4" acrylic tube is down the center of the disks.




Testing out the lights on the Radio tower building.


Here is the top portion of the USB building under construction:



Crimson Sky
03-26-2005, 03:29 AM
Conducted a simple test of the light tube to verify the effect. I think it looks fairly kick ass.


Construction continues on the remaining buildings. Here we have whatwill be the 10 Hour Clock Tower, with working quartz clock.


The Cathedral played a central role in the film, from the meeting place for Maria and Freder to the demise of the love-lorn Wizard. In the film, the false or "Robot Maria" causes such a sexual commotion in Metropolis that The Seven Sins are awakened in the Cathedral and let loose upon the city. I had an acrylic laser cutout of "Death" in my parts bin, so it was only appropriate to add it to the doorway.


Crimson Sky
03-26-2005, 03:30 AM
Here is the Metro Building. The base has the Maria fangrill, (behind which will be an 80mm silent fan for exhaust ) the power and reset buttons and indicator lights.



All the buildings just prior to painting.


This concludes the Metropolis worklog, hope you enjoyed it!. For photos of the finished project, take a look at it in the Case Gallery (http://www.thebestcasescenario.com/index.php?module=photoalbum&PHPWS_Album_op=view&PHPWS_Album_id=10&MMN_position=51:51).