View Full Version : Cobra-matic : Retro Bakelite Phonograph

09-06-2007, 11:15 PM
Ahh new work log! Retro-freakiness continues. :)

This one's going in the books as: Project Cobra-matic. Its a mod based on 1951 Zenith H664 Cobra-matic phonograph. Behold the Bakelite goodness.

This is probably the largest piece of Bakelite electronics that I've found next to a Bakelite TV. It measures10"x16"x20" and is made from very heavy quarter inch Bakelite. I'm pretty excited about this one.

So much so, I forgot pics during the tear down. This is what it looked like before I started(From:www.radiophile.com)



I'm mostly interested in the case not the record player. Interestingly enough, I was able to flip the record player mechanism on eBay for more than I paid for the whole phonograph. EBay's a funny place.

The plan? This is a gaming, performance PC, not too cutting edge as I want to keep it as quite as possible. I considered water cooling but am going to stick with air. Although I do have a wicked brass and copper fire extinguisher or a copper toilet tank float :) that would work as cool reservoir. So yeah, like Retromod, brass and copper will play a part as will more "tube-punk"accents.

Hardware specs:
Motherboard: Gigabyte 965PDQ6
Processor: Intel Core Duo E6600
Video Card:XFX GeForce 7950GT
Memory: Corsair XMS2 2GB
Power Supply: Seasonic S12 550
HD: WD SE16 250GB
Thermalright XP-90C CPU Cooler
Antec Bigboy 200mm fan
Nexus 92mm fan

Hardware pics:

The pic shows the Thermalright 120. It had to be swapped out for the 90c after I saw all the copper on the motherboard. :)

Yowza it's big. This will provide the primary air intake after some modding...of course.

That's about it for now. I'll be time sharing with Retromod (http://www.thebestcasescenario.com/forum/showthread.php?t=272) but thought I'd share a little of the excitement. :p

09-07-2007, 04:26 PM
I'm going to try to keep the exterior as original as possible. I like stealthy "found-object" mods too. I look that maximizes appearance and minimized guilt for the modding but after the experience of not cutting the bakelite on Retromod, I'm a little more relaxed about it now. It'll never be a phonograph again likewise for Retromod on the radio but I love the design of these things so exterior-wise not much if anything noticeable will change.

Inside there will be changes, mostly out of necessity. The case is huge but the space is configured wrong for the motherboard. The record player is supported on 4 3 inch "legs" that eat up half the vertical height in the case. They'll be encouraged to leave with the help of my dremel. ;)

The CD/DVD is a bit of a problem. I've got a full size drive and a slot loader that I can mod. I'd love to try this:


Imagine, push the cd eject, the lid raises with an exposed cd. Put in a CD and the lid closes.

My plan is to install the Bigboy behind the grill. Major fan hacking underway.

But....ever have a moment where an idea is so obvious that you get pissed you didn't see it first?
Datamancer (www.datamancer.net) is a steampunk madman. Checkout his other mods. :eek:

So this is what I should have thought of but it'll be the bigboy back there and the lift kit on the lid for the cd.

09-16-2007, 11:11 PM
A little sketch-up mock-up to explain where this is going. The motherboard and case aren't exactly right but for sizing it'll work. I may need to flip the motherboard around and move the PSU back further in the case to fit the DVD drive in the front.

The case from the outside. It had about 6 inches of clearance on the inside before modding with the top of the video card just grazing the lid.
(These pictures were taken after the carnage)

The original phonograph turn table was mounted about 2-3 inches above the floor of the case on bakelite standoffs. I'm guessing for airflow(?) reasons.

With a dremel cutoff wheel, I removed the standoffs to open the case up.

With the standoffs in place the PSU and video card were sticking out of the case.

After the dremeling, much more room. The metal is cool perforated steel that I found awhile back. It will eventually be brass plated (along with the front bezel) when I've figured out the final place for everything. Needs some primer tho...I can see surface rust in the pic.

The front bezel - the gold/brass plating is wearing thin in a few places. It's pot metal underneath.

09-16-2007, 11:18 PM
Remember this fan? It's an Antec 200mm
http://lh4.google.com/MachModAlbum/Rt951K8IobI/AAAAAAAAArc/PlGUT5rQWV0/s800/IMG_3081.JPG (http://picasaweb.google.com/MachModAlbum/Cobramatic/photo#5106934456838037938)

Turns out the fan was about 1/2-3/4" too wide to fit behind the bezel. The cover wouldn't fit back on. After I dremel'd the outside housing ring off, it fits with some tweaking. I put a thin styrene skin around the outside edge to even it out. (Note to self: White putty (http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?&I=LXFP28" title=White putty) melts styrene if you put too much on.)

Ready for painting..,

The Bigboy has a 3 way switch for 980~1720 RPM, 34-60CFM, 20-32 dba depending on the switch position.

Here it is after paint. The fan blades were painted with Fusion (http://www.krylon.com/main/product_template.cfm?levelid=5&sub_levelid=10&prod uctid=1751&content=product_details" title=Fusion) brown, and dusted with black, and panzer grey. The housing was painted with fusion Brown and then coated with textured Rustoleum (http://www.rustoleum.com/product.asp?frm_product_id=642&SBL=1" title=Rustoleum). The color is autumn brown.

I put a piece of copper contact paper where the Antec label was.

To mount it to the bezel took some trial and error.
To hold the screen on the bezel, it has posts for friction nuts that I just threaded. Then I tapped nylon spacers to hold the screen in place.


And to have a place to mount the fan. Sometimes the simplest answers are the best.

The fan mounted

From the front, it's shifted down about 3/8 inch from dead center due to space.

Which pics are better for worklogs? The bigger ones or the smaller ones in the previous posts?

09-16-2007, 11:21 PM
PSU mounting bracket made from 1/2 aluminum angle and aluminum modder's mesh. (How do you like my simulated fan grill? ;) It helps me remember which side is which.)

I'll either paint it black or a red primer color like the front bezel screen. The angle is one piece notched and held together by JB Weld type epoxy.

09-16-2007, 11:37 PM
The CPU cooler in place after a good lapping. The hardware survived burn in so no hardware RMA's yet. It's alot faster than any computer I have now. Sorry I didn't think to get a screen shot of the test scores.

Don't let anyone tell you that the Thermalright XP90c fits on the Gigabyte 965PDQ6. Adapter plate my hiney. I made it work with standoffs and the temps are fine but I'll lose 1/2" in vertical clearance due to the extra long standoffs if I don't cut a hole in the perforated metal to allow the adapter plate to clear.

07-14-2008, 02:41 AM
One of the first hurdles was the location of the DVD drive. I wanted it to be upfront like a record player, kinda like this:


The DVD is a slimline drive mounted on a piece of copper with an art nouveau design acid etched (http://www.fullnet.com/~tomg/gooteepc.htm) into the surface. The bezel is from an old mantle clock and covers the cd while spinning. Since the DVD has a locking hub, it'll work with a cutout in the top.



07-17-2008, 02:37 PM
Borrowing an idea from Retromod, here's the HD suspension system. It's suspended to eliminate vibrations. Suspension system add to the HD heat so I'm interested in seeing how it fares.


Actual (brass channel and springs sourced from the local hardware store)

The fan grills are supposed to be back from the laser cutter today or tomorrow.

The grill will replace the mesh in the front

with something like this (it'll be either copper or brass plated) for better airflow from the Antec bigboy.

07-18-2008, 12:00 AM
DVD Test - Spin up, Spin Down, and LEDs on

07-18-2008, 05:58 PM
Got the fan grills today. Wow, do they look good. :banana::banana::banana:

Need to add Vintage Manufacturing (http://www.vintagelaser.com/home.html) to the Laser Cutting supplier list. They got the files on Saturday and they mailed on Monday.

Behold the laser cutting goodness:


Polished a little and in the bezel:


The grill is laser cut from 0.0625 (1/16") carbon steel.

I got 3 grills as I want to try copper plating and painting to see which I like better. Just got back from the platers. They won't be able to give me a quote until next week. It'll be about twice what I expected but not enough that I'd try doing myself. Need to check a couple of other places to see if its going to be cheaper.

Next up: EL & LED Lighting and how not to mod a power supply :rolleyes:

07-19-2008, 06:53 AM
Given the problem with the adapter plate on the motherboard.


I added a quarter inch acrylic spacer with standoffs to raise the motherboard:


With 8 leds:


Inspired by the Decobox mod (http://www.mini-itx.com/projects/decobox/default.asp?page=3) and a desire to try out El Wire:


The El Wire is run inside of polyethylene tubing for a more muted effect. Helpful El Wire soldering tutorial (http://www.instructables.com/id/SCWIMIKF82EU3OK/).

Once in place behind the fan and grill, the El wire will add a soft amber glow to the inside:

Taped in place for now:

My girlfriend pointed out that the copper shelf liner on the back of the fan looks cheesy so I'll etch a replacement at some point.

Fan spinning:

07-20-2008, 10:41 PM
Instead of the update on the psu, time to do something about the backside cover for the fan. Speed mod time:

Review method at:

Design new back cover in CorelDraw:


Race to Kinko's and print the reverse image (always pays to have more than one):


Cut copper to approximate size (note stove background):


Put cutout laser print on copper; turn stove to 11:

Ensure SWMBO is gone :twisted:; use rolling pin to apply a metric assload pressure:

Turn off stove; dunk copper in water to peel paper:


Use thumb to clear more paper off; cover back in duct tape:


Recite "Do what you oughta, add acid to water" 3X, dunk in acid/ peroxide mixture for 45 minutes:

Rinse with baking soda & water, remove tape, clean with acetone:


Grin, Clean-up and go to bed:

07-24-2008, 04:25 AM
Small update, the etched fan label epoxied in place

99.9% less cheese.

07-25-2008, 01:42 AM
Original color looks anodized but its paint:

Boiling in water and detergent:

Came off, easy-peasy, with a paper towel after boiling.

Polished with steel wool

Boiled the station selector also. It's solid brass, not plate.

Teaser shot of the paint for next time.

07-25-2008, 11:42 PM
Mixed results on the paint. Alot of overspray and uneveness. I'll strip it off and try again tomorrow. The color is not too bad on the bezel but the grill is too flat.



07-27-2008, 12:45 AM
Alot of progress to report on today. First, the second attempt at the dupli-color, went too heavy with the orange.


Stripped and polished for a 3rd attempt

The key was 7-8 light coats and wiping down the metal before each coat to remove powdered paint. I wasn't painting in the sun so not sure why the paint was powdered as bad as it was. It was hot today so maybe that's part of it.

Here's the final result. I'll let it cure for a week before hitting it with some rubbing compound.

Power supply painted

Aluminum mounting plate for the knobs

More later...

07-30-2008, 02:26 PM
Attempts to put together a PWM controller for the bigboy fan based on the a QKits Speed Controller (http://store.qkits.com/moreinfo.cfm?Product_ID=411) met with mixed results.

Soldered kit together:up:, tests fine :up:, wired to fan :up:, growls like a cat :down:. Plan B. Anybody have the pinouts on an Antec Tricool 3 way switch. Details would help the tear down that's going to occur.

Edit: Ok, think I understand (http://www.bcae1.com/switches.htm)

The idea is to make the middle knob control the fan speed.


The interface for the 3 knobs that can be manually controlled goes like this. The left knob = Power, On, Reset
The right knob = Volume but can be switched to other inputs
The middle knob = Fan speed?

For programmatic control, the leds and the el wire will be controlled by a phidgets relay control (http://www.phidgets.com/products.php?product_id=1014).

07-30-2008, 10:14 PM
Some of the wiser TBCS member schooled me on the need for a momentary switch to turn on the pc and to also reset the pc if it locks up. Rotary switches are NOT momentary; they're in it for the long haul. Old radio knobs are no exception...or are they? Exhibit #1 for your perusal.


Thats a 3 pole - 4 throw rotary switch. Google will give you a better explanation but that means 4 knob positions that control 3 different things at once.


EEs and folks who've been at electronics for awhile will think thats nothing but to me, pretty cool to think a granny somewhere was using one of these to shift hundreds of volts around. But that's neither here nor there.


See that wire bit there? That's a return spring! Or momentary switch in a knob. You see the last position isn't locked; it'll snap back to position 3 if you let go of the knob. It can work as reset or power button. Here's where our story goes wrong though...


See that nicely painted power supply with the yellow lamp cord sticking out the base? Yes...lamp cord...I am duly ashamed to admit it. Tell me who I turn my dremel into now.

In a modding frenzy, the idea evolved that I could use the first position on the knob to replace the switch on the back of the power supply (which would have been hidden in the case). That means 115 volts through the center of the case attached to an antique radio switch.

Decidedly cool for granny's, not so much for me.

After doing this warranty voiding mod,which involved opening the power supply, cutting the switch post, and bridging the two halves with lamp cord, I got the feeling that there was an easier way....staring me in the face all along.


That's the jumper to make the power supply work when it's not connected to the mother board (http://www.frozencpu.com/psu-173.html). It does the same thing as my bright idea but a lower voltages......





Let us never speak of this again. :rolleyes:

Note: In the following posts, xmastree tries his best to de-noob me in the ways of electronics. See the original worklog if you want to see the noob-tacular discussion in full -Mach

08-01-2008, 03:35 AM
Hmm, so just three position.
1 = off
2 = on (via pulse)
3 = reset (via pulse)

I thought that 4 could be to hold down the power button and force it, but then you'd need to go back through 2 when turning off. And if you really need to force it off, just go to 1 anyway.

Should work, so long as the switch can handle the mans power.

08-01-2008, 08:20 AM
More like below. I'm shorting the contact because its a break before make switch. I didn't think that the motherboard sense wire (green wire) carried mains power. I'll put a multi-meter across it tonight.

Pole 1
1-1 OFF
1-2 Green mother board sense wire
1-3 Shorted to 1-2
1-4 Shorted to 1-2

Pole 2

2-1 Empty
2-2 Empty
2-3 Motherboard header "On" with circuit described
2-4 Motherboard header "Reset" with spring return so no circuit needed

Does this make sense, more importantly do you see a problem? Thanks much for the input.

08-01-2008, 04:28 PM
In a modding frenzy, the idea evolved that I could use the first position on the knob to replace the switch on the back of the power supply (which would have been hidden in the case). That means 115 volts through the center of the case attached to an antique radio switch.

I didn't think that the motherboard sense wire (green wire) carried mains power.
Now I'm confused as to what you are trying to achieve with this switch. The earlier post suggested you want to interrupt the mains, replacing the black switch on the back of the PSU.

And why are you messing with the green wire at all?

By far the simplest solution is to leave the mains alone, and just use the momentary switch to operate either the power or the reset. If you must turn off the mains too, it's still possible, but the switch needs to stay in two positions.

I think the wiring would be:
Pole 1 mains in
1/1 NC
1/2 mains out
1/3 mains out (2-3 connected together so there's power in both positions)

Pole 2 one side of pulse trigger
2/1 NC
2/2 other side of trigger
2/3 other side of trigger (again, 2-3 connected)

Pole 2 one side of mobo reset header
2/1 NC
2/2 NC
2/3 other side of mobo reset header

So, position 1, mains is off, nothing else matters.
Position 2, mains on, power signal is pulsed
Position 3, mains still on, power unaffected, reset is activated.

It would be nice if the spring could make pos'n 3 spring back to pos'n 3

Also, the switch needs to me make before break or you'll interrupt the power when going for the reset, and probably retrigger the power on pulser too.

Personally, I wouldn't mix mains and low voltage on the same switch. I'd just go with the simple solution. Failing that, get a wafer switch (http://www.tpub.com/content/neets/14175/css/14175_138.htm) and two wafers, one regular and one for the mains.

08-01-2008, 04:44 PM
I think the original plan was to jumper the green wire, then use the mains switch to power up the psu.

He then realized that it wasnt a very safe idea, so removed the line to the mains switch, and instead wants now to use the green line on the 20pin connector to power up the board.

Doing so *would* technically save you from having to add a power switch to the header pins on the mobo, so if you are really against having unnecessary cabling to the board, this option *should* work.

HOWEVER.. xmastree's idea is better.

08-01-2008, 08:01 PM
Hmm, Luke122 has the general gist of it. Original plan was to move the mains power (but that didn't seem very safe). So xmastree the plan was to replace the toggle switch on the psu.

Then I thought that I could in essence do the same thing by switching at the atx connector green wire instead of the toggle switch replacement. I thought this because the power supply doesn't work without the jumper on the green wire. I assumed that the power supply is dead if the green wire is not connected. I'm starting to believe that's wrong given the confusion. In other words, the psu is hot when plugged to mains with the toggle switch on and the atx connector not jumpered. Yes?

As you mentioned, mains connection on same switch with low voltage is bad so I'll do as you suggest but with just the motherboard header. I can change the rotary swich to a make before break and a 3 position fairly easily with the spring back to position 3.


1/1 NC
1/2 pulse circuit->MB header On
1/3 MB header Reset with spring return to On with a solder bridge across the contact path from 2-3

Any clearer? Thanks for the patience.

08-02-2008, 03:34 AM
I assumed that the power supply is dead if the green wire is not connected. No, it's still live. Basically the motherboard makes or breaks that connection as necessary. There's really no need to touch it.

1/1 NC
1/2 pulse circuit->MB header On
1/3 MB header Reset with spring return to On with a solder bridge across the contact path from 2-3

You don't need the pulser either.

Spring load the switch to pos'n 2. Then 1 - on, 3 = reset.

That way you can also hold it in pos'n 1 to force a power down if necessary.

08-04-2008, 03:57 PM
Ok I think I understand. I'll give it a go this weekend. Thanks!!

glad you do because i dont =) nice paint work

Right, it seems that what's obvious to me may not be quite so obvious to non-electronic engineers, so here's a quick and dirty diagram.

Most rotary switches are supplied in multiples of 12. So that's 1x12, 2x6, 3x4, 4x3, 6x1. Mach is using a 4 pole 3 way, so I've drawn that one.


You'll see that it's normally in position 2. The four poles are labelled A-D to save confusion.

The animation is pretty close to the actual construction of the switch.

Power on is position 1, so connecting two wires, one to A and one to the 1 associated with A will short them together when the switch is turned to position 1. Releasing it back to the centre opens them again.

The reset works similarly, but using position 3 so using a different pole, two wires again, same principle.

Is it clear now?

08-12-2008, 08:04 PM
Hey folks, small update as the weekend progress fell victim to jet lag. Wound up stripping the bezel again cause the paint didn't stick to the pot metal on a pea sized place on the top edge. Tried to convince myself it wouldn't bother me but in the end, had to re-do it. Waiting on more paint now as none of the auto parts stores had it in stock.

Mounted the switch plate and the volume control encoder. I hope to get the on off switch mounted this week.




Started work on the servo lift mechanism. I've landed on a crank slider setup. Still needs to be tested against the lifting capacity of the mondo servo.

08-13-2008, 02:13 AM
Doesn't look like the slider crank is going to work either. It comes down to space and time at this point. Take a look at the test fit:



There's about 5-6 inches for the crank to fully extend on close. The PSU is going to be in the way and a psu duct still needs to be added. A linear actuator might still work but I'm going to cut my losses on the idea of a lid lift. Disappointing to say the least but not enough space and I'd like to finish this mod some time soon.

08-25-2008, 02:36 AM
Buffed out the bezel which came out a little greener than expected but not too bad otherwise. Still need to add white paint for the letters.

The knob in the center didn't match with bare brass so as much as it kills me, I had to paint it also. First try failed so that's next on the to do list.

Converted the switch on the Bigboy fan to a rotary switch for the front knob.


The rotary switch is a 3 way light switch from a lamp that I cut down to clear the fan when mounted.

Installed the sound card and the wireless card with a few tweaks to the hold down bracket and antenna. The cards attach to the bottom of the case which is the reverse of the brackets requiring a chop and flip.

Also painted the video card cable ends. The white connectors didn't go with anything in the case.

Still a bunch of wiring and cable-gami to do.


09-12-2008, 02:17 PM
Milestone post! The first post from Cobra-matic. Woot!:banana:

I connected everything and fired it up. DVD and wireless work fine. Big sigh of relief after the modding on both.


Still have some wiring to do but it's close...so close


Added the power led to the front using an amber led and acrylic


Added a duct for the psu to vent the exhaust from the case.

09-30-2008, 12:56 PM
Still waiting on the thin usb cables to be delivered but look what came in.

This is a half ounce of glow powder. Apparently a little goes a long way.

Lights out, how cool is that? I can see what they mean about a little going a long way.

Source: www.blacklite.com

Hooked up a Top Shelf Led controller (http://www.frozencpu.com/products/4098/lit-134/Top_Shelf_Labs_PCLC-1_PC_LED_Controller.html?tl=g6c79s127) to the power led so now Cobra-matic has a heart beat. :)


While waiting for the paint and cables to arrive, I hacked together a control program. This launches at startup to turn on and off the LEDs and El wire, adjust the system volume and mute from the knob (http://www.phidgets.com/products.php?product_id=1052) on the case, and sample case temperature.


This is all being driven by a phidgets 8/8/8 interface kit (http://www.phidgets.com/products.php?product_id=1018), a 0/0/4 relay kit (http://www.phidgets.com/products.php?product_id=1014), and a temperature sensor (http://www.phidgets.com/products.php?product_id=1124). Slight overkill without the linear actuator lift kit but I can add other sensors if I want.

Lastly, I've been playing with the DVD drive. To recap, I hacked a window in the top so the DVDs go in and out without closing the CD tray.


The problem is that XP doesn't know a new DVD has been put in (no open close event) so it doesn't refresh. Using google-fu only finds people with autorun setting problems. I'm guessing it'll take a software hack or to cycle power on the DVD rom.

10-03-2008, 03:27 AM
Good news: It's possible to make the DVD work.

Bad news: It'll take a hardware hack. The sound you hear is one step back :bash:

The killer is that I've been lurking at austinmodders but never saw that thread. I went looking over there tonight cause I had a bookmark to a mod done by Zapwizard on a slot loading DVD. Looks like it's time to find the tiny soldering iron tip. :devious:

10-11-2008, 10:03 AM
So I had a go at the DVD Rom.

This has to be the toughest soldering that I've ever done. At 2.5x magnification, I could barely see the connections. How you guys do this I'll never know.

This is to move the dvd eject button to a limit switch on the lid. Those 2 black wires are 30 gauge.

For the tray sense switches, from this:

To this:

The switches are about the size of a pencil eraser.

If you ever have to de-solder something this small, Chip Quik (http://www.curiousinventor.com/store/product/102) works like magic.

Next up is the limit switch for the lid and computer code to sequence it all.

10-13-2008, 01:41 AM
I've spent the better part of a day getting the drive back in working order. I've been posting progress pics over at Austinmodders.com but haven't really given you guys a full breakdown. So here goes...

If you review the worklog, you can see that I cut a window in the top of a hub locking, tray loading slim line drive. This makes the DVD visible while its spinning (which is cool) and makes it look more like a record player (which fits the mod theme). The problem is in changing out DVD discs. Windows doesn't know a new disc is in the drive because the drive hasn't reset (a Windows (f5) reset doesn't work).

What make it reset? Pushing the button on the front and opening the tray which clues the DVD rom into the fact that a new DVD is coming. When the tray closes, it resets the drive. Its pretty simple actually. Making it reset without opening the tray is a little more difficult. Add to that the drive needs to stop before you can pull out the DVD makes it an interesting problem.

With the help of electronics kung-fu master, 486hawk, I've learned that you have to simulate the eject button press and simulate the open tray event. By soldering wires to pins 3 and 4 of the drive control header, and using a relay, then I can simulate the button press by shorting the two pins momentarily.

The header is found here:

A close up shot:

I used an ohm meter to test all 10 pins of the header with the button pressed and open to find that pins 3 and 4 were the correct ones. YMMV.

With that done, then I de-soldered the switches and soldered wires to the contacts. My drive had 2 switches but after testing, I only need to trigger one to reset the drive. The two images in the previous post describe what it looks like after soldering.

Lastly I had to remove the mechanisms that physically move when opening the tray. Wouldn't want it to pop open.





Then I soldered on connectors for the switches and added a small limit switch to the lid to sense when its open.



I then sealed the entire underside with foil tape to keep out any dust.

It works as expected when connected the phidgets controller but I'll need to test further when connected to the motherboard to be sure it works properly.


Finally, here's the link to the austinmodders.com discussion.

http://www.austinmodders.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=1467. Thanks again to 486hawk for all the help! To anyone who wants to try it, I hope the pics and description help. The only hairy part was soldering to the header. I was fortunate to have access to a decent soldering iron (Hakko 936) and a great deal of luck.

That gets me pretty much back on track which is seeing how badly I can plug up an airbrush with glow in the dark paint. :)

10-27-2008, 12:43 AM
When Cobra-matic was up & running, the video card and HD were running on the high temperature side. (Both of which were passively cooled) I didn't like the looks of an add-on fan on the video card, so why not a new one, video card that is...


And one of these:


Only problem is the ram heatsinks and the fan leds are blue which don't fit the theme of the mod. The heatsinks were easy.



The leds took a little bit of effort, dremeling, and chipquick.








Silenx 60mm fan mounted on the HD:


11-02-2008, 10:56 PM
Today was a good day to mod!:banana:

I dug out my Paasche VL airbrush (http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?&I=LXDD38). I got it years ago as a christmas gift but never got around to using it. I then loaded up an ounce bottle of Floquil crystal clear (http://www.internettrains.com/merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=IT&Product_Code=FLO-110004) with a quarter ounce of the orange glow powder. The powder only stayed in solution for 2-3 minutes before it settled in the bottom of the bottle. I had to keep shaking the airbrush to keep it in solution. I was blown away with how well it worked.

You can see the texture of the powder. Oh yeah, it went on great but more importantly how does it glow?


You be the judge, :)

Remember the bezel?

It got some paint also. It needs some glow too but the paint will need to harden up first. This is all brush work so no airbrush here.

In the meantime, I started sanding out scratches from the case. Ever hear of 12,000 grit sandpaper (http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=11435&filter=micromesh)? The guys who know bakelite (what the case is made from) tell me I can use it to sand out scratches and polish the case.

After a few hours of sanding, the case is exceptionally smooth but still doesn't have the shine that I'm looking for so next step is the buffing wheel.

11-09-2008, 01:00 AM
Spent the morning polishing and painting the knobs and bezel. I painted an indicator line on the on-off and volume knobs as well as a painted in the recesses on the fan pointer.


The fan pointer mounted:

A little glow:


Finished wiring the case by adding connectors so the motherboard can be easily lifted out if anything needs to be reworked. Still need to add another usb header cable for a goodie that has yet to be delivered.

In the upper left corner is the on off switch and the phidgets input/output and servo interface boards. In the middle, the black square is a Gigaware Ultra-compact usb hub that will be connected to the motherboard header. It's the smallest one that I could find that takes an external power supply. The retractable cables can be pulled out from the bottom of the case if needed. In the lower left corner is the phidgets usb encoder for the volume knob and the Top Shelf Labs LED Controller.

Shortened the psu cables and put heatshrink on the ones that are not being used. I debated whether to remove them entirely but decided to leave them.

11-16-2008, 09:17 PM
Polishing is finished, labels are on, all that's left to do is…nothing :banana::banana:

I could bore you with details but I think I'll let the pics do the talking.

















11-16-2008, 09:18 PM
As I was sanding down the case, I found these on the bottom side.
They were pretty far gone but this one in particular gave me an idea.
I made a new label; one a little more appropriate.
I think you'll agree, no?


Story summary - Badness happens:facepalm:, Modding occurs:think:, Upgrades follow:up:, Happiness ensues:banana:

That's the gist of the story. The details include a failing motherboard that wouldn't post, an RMA to Gigabyte (no fuss, no muss, Gigabyte rocks!), another tussle with the open faced DVD-Rom, conclusion that DVD Sata boards from Hong Kong suck, a discovery of an easily moddable slim line DVD-Rom, the addition and modding of a ram cooler, and an upgrade from an E6600 to a Q6600.

If you want to window a slim-line drive, find one of these:

See the red wire in the lower right?

That connects to a mini PCB that is simple to desolder the micro switch and solder in a set of wires. No need to solder to a tiny, tiny pins like before.

It wouldn't be a tear down without an upgrade.

Stock clock wasn't stable after several tries re-seating the CPU heatsink, upping the fan speeds, and finally, adding a ram cooler killed off the problem.

with a little modding of course.



Link To Original Worklog (http://www.thebestcasescenario.com/forum/showthread.php?t=10511)