View Full Version : Water Cubed

12-23-2008, 03:05 AM
I recently finished school and have found some spare time so I decided to work on a mod! I can't take credit for the idea, someone else mentioned it in the "idea zone" some time ago but I really liked it. I am rebuilding slapped-together media center computer to resemble the Beijing National Aquatics Center otherwise known as the "Watercube". Here are some pics of it in case you didn't see it during the Olympics...





This build is going to be done on a very tight budget so no new shiny components and such, just enough for a few sheets of plastic scraps (I think it is polycarbonate) and some angle aluminum stock.

12-23-2008, 03:13 AM
I started by cutting a motherboard tray...


Then using the aluminum I built slide rails on top of a square flat-stock spacer to lift the board to the correct hight...





Then I built some locking mechanisms to attach to the slide rails so I could secure the MB in place...











12-23-2008, 03:26 AM
Then, using more of the plastic sheet I made a base-tray to house the wiring and provide an easily modifiable mounting surface...




I'll clean that up and paint it later. For now, I used more angle aluminum and made some braces on the inner perimeter to both strengthen the shape and provide a mounting edge for the lid...



Then I built the lid...

Next, I needed to find a way to mount the hard drives. There are two 750GB drives and one 250GB system drive here. I used some U-shaped aluminum to build a couple of mounting rails with thumb-screws to allow for easy removal if needed...



Here is how the layout will be...


Next, I needed some walls...





12-23-2008, 04:24 AM
Looks incredibly clean and well constructed so far. +Rep
The base tray was an excellent idea, great way to hide wires.
I also like the slide rails, an interesting approach to mounting the mobo.

12-23-2008, 06:07 AM
that looks super slick, really nice, looking forward to the final outcome! :D

12-24-2008, 01:10 AM
I got a little more done today. Here are the guide rails fastened to the base...


and the rear plate...


currently quite ugly, I'll clean this up later...





Here is how the motherboard tray will attach to the base, these guide rails allow for a nice snug connection and the thumb screws allow for easy removal if needed...






12-24-2008, 01:16 AM
Here is an over head shot showing the interior platform...




I need to free up some space so I'll shorten up the molex connector a bit, later on I'll shrink-tube the tips and make a new, clean connection...




Time to set up some airflow...




I'll install a second fan on the other side tomorrow.

12-24-2008, 02:57 AM
Beautiful. +rep

12-24-2008, 02:58 AM
Excellent work so far, love it. +rep

12-24-2008, 03:43 AM
Man, I love that motherboard tray. +rep much deserved.

12-24-2008, 10:32 AM
I could be mistaken but, isn't this the first build you've ever done? or am I thinking of someone else. Either way, Good work so far! Keep it up! +rep

12-24-2008, 10:36 AM
lookin nice so far! :up:

12-24-2008, 11:28 AM
Thanks fellas! It's not my first project, but I've not done much.

12-24-2008, 05:47 PM
Mounted the other fan...



Here is a small brace added to stabilize the right side panel and PSU together, very snug connection since I tapped the steel on the side of the PSU.



12-24-2008, 07:40 PM
Aww man, see...now its down to Curt and Me who haven't done a mod!

Thanks jon.


Good lookin so far mate :)

12-25-2008, 03:45 AM
Aww man, see...now its down to Curt and Me who haven't done a mod!

Thanks jon.


Good lookin so far mate :)

im not gonna say anything to this xD

lookin great jon! glad to see the modder bug has taken a nice chunk outta your ass again. keep it up!

12-25-2008, 01:56 PM
The man comes out of "retirement" with a killer build! Merry Christmas Jon!

12-25-2008, 08:47 PM
The man comes out of "retirement" with a killer build! Merry Christmas Jon!

Same to you bro! I don't know if I ever retired from modding because I never really began. I've built a couple of half-finished projects and a simple laptop cooler, but not much to speak of.

I worked a bit today but there isn't much in the way of pictures, just lots of sanding and adding screws to the base for support. I'll snap some pictures of the progress and post it tonight.


12-25-2008, 09:46 PM
Awesome looking build Jon! I can't wait to see more.

12-25-2008, 10:07 PM
Thanks Rick! I hope to have this done before I leave on Jan 19th so we'll see if I can pull it off.

Drum Thumper
12-25-2008, 10:40 PM
Wow, Jon can mod with the best of em!

Keep it up!

12-26-2008, 02:31 AM
Thanks fellas!

Not much excitement today, mostly sanding and reinforcing joints but I'll toss up some pics anyway...

There are still lots of edges from the initial cutting that need cleaning up so I start with a metal file, then 220 grit sandpaper, then 600 grit, then smooth cloth to polish them up nice and tidy. I don't have any finished shots, but a couple of near finished shots...













then I drilled and tapped some holes around the inner ridge to bolt down the platform...






lastly, I cut out the drive bay windows for the optical drive and the LCD screen...



12-28-2008, 06:27 PM
This is a very nice clean build! :)

12-29-2008, 05:59 AM
seriouisly sleek, love it.

12-29-2008, 11:19 AM
Looks really nice and clean. Did you ever consider black screws? It might make it even better..... :)

12-29-2008, 11:32 AM
Nice job on the polishing!

12-29-2008, 08:42 PM
Thanks fellas! I didn't think about black screws at first because I plan to conceal them all by the time it's finished. The black cube structure you see now is only the inner frame and will be mostly covered in due course.

12-29-2008, 09:32 PM
very nice and clean,just what i like :)

12-29-2008, 10:51 PM
What did you use to polish the aluminum angle?

12-30-2008, 12:20 AM
What did you use to polish the aluminum angle?

I start with a fine metal file to work out any notches and deep scratches made while fitting/cutting. Then sandpaper, depending on the need I usually just start with 220 grit followed by 600 grit. Lastly, I run them over a buffer wheel ($6 at Lowes) to bring out the clear shine.

12-30-2008, 12:40 AM
Okay, I've been sick for the last couple of days so I haven't been able to do any work. Today I started feeling a bit better so I made it out to the shop for some simple work. The last image shows the optical drive and the LCD/media display module placed in their respective bays but I had yet to fasten them down. For the optical drive, I opted against building any bracket to hold it in place and simply used the mounting holes drilled in it's base to secure it to the platform. But for the LCD, I needed to design a mounting bracket that held it firmly in place as well as allowed for easy removal. I mounted the drive and fixed the facade to it's mounting bracket seen here...


here it is from the front...


Here is the LCD I am using. It's an M Play Blast (http://www.vlsys.co.kr/) from VL Systems and it's among my favorite devices for HTPC control. Aside from displaying just about any type of media/system properties as well as customizable graphics, you can power the PC on/off with the remote and it has remote temp monitors with wired thermo tape and fan speed controls etc.... Altogether, a very nice addition to any HTPC.



Here is the mounting bracket I threw together to handle the task...






And here is the unit placed in it's bay to check for clearance, it turned out to work quite well. Very snug hold on the LCD and just enough room to fasten everything down...



I also wanted to mount a couple of USB ports near the front of the PC and luckily I found this PCI slot fixture from an old motherboard that should work perfectly. But I won't get into this part until later...



12-30-2008, 12:47 AM
I like the look of your build; it's shaping up nicely. I'm thinking of using a dead DVD/VCR combo for casing for a HTPC.

01-02-2009, 08:46 PM
I haven't been putting up any updates because most of the work I have been doing is just tedious detail stuff like polishing and sanding. I got a little more structural work done today so here is a glimpse.

I mounted the USB ports on the right front panel of the base...



There was still much to do on the rear panel to get everything to fit together. I made some new cuts to fit the TV card (ATI TV Wonder Elite) and some to make room for the mounting screws. I also had to shave off about 1/8" for an angle bracket for the PCI cards to be secured to....







I also had to deal with the remaining spaces on the back panel including a cover for the PSU edges. I cut another piece to fit the spaces and drilled holes to attach to the PSU mount holes. I also drilled and tapped holes on the top side of the PSU for further reinforcement...





Drum Thumper
01-02-2009, 11:03 PM
Man, this just keeps getting better and better!

01-02-2009, 11:29 PM
:stupid: its coming along very nicely :up:

01-02-2009, 11:54 PM
looks awesome, keep up the good work

01-03-2009, 12:33 AM
love the design, great progress so far.

01-03-2009, 12:40 AM
Hey Jon! Glad to see progress on this!

I have two thoughts for you; first, the case seems awfully big for the components in it. Is that for cooling performance? You could likely get away with an "almost" completely passive system for the ultimate in quiet.

Secondly, (and I suppose this affects the first also..) are you planning on using clear sheets of acrylic for the "water effect" casing? (etched and/or painted and lit) If so, then that's going to make the overall dimensions of the case even larger.. What are the external dimensions so far?

01-03-2009, 07:37 PM
Thanks Luke! I forget the exact measurements so I'll have to get that posted later. When I was first designing the layout I had several things to consider. I did initially want to watercool it but I cannot afford the hardware so it needed loose enough quarters for heat dissipation. I could have stacked the hardware a bit to reduce the size a little, but I opted against that to keep the design simple. I am a novice at modding so I wanted to keep it relatively simple thus all hardware was to be mounted on the same plane. Other than that, if you look at the top down pics you can see that the components are in pretty close proximity. I tried to leave a little bit of room between them for individual removal.

As per the covering, yes, I plan on making an acrylic shell illuminated with LED's that will fit over the case. This will indeed expand the dimensions a bit more but I was never consigned to build it tiny. It should turn out to be about the same size as an ATX case on it's side.

01-04-2009, 07:34 PM
Well, I forgot to measure the frame but I got some more work done. I added one more bracket with a thumbscrew to completely secure the PSU in place...


I have been spending most of the time polishing aluminum and cleaning things up. I primed and painted the base tray with a satin finish black and then I wanted to offset the satin with a matte texture to add decent contrast. I wanted to cover the inner floors with black foam but couldn't find anything that fit. So I asked my mom if she had any ideas and she came up with this foam padding from Michael's craft store, it worked perfectly!




I also decided to apply strips to the superior surfaces of the mounting brackets...




Here is the controller bracket polished up with a strip of foam concealing it's superior mounting edge...



And then I mounted some foam to the base tray's top shelf and trimmed away the wire passages with an Exacto knife. I am undecided as to whether I should try to apply some type of trim around the inner edges, it would have to be very thin. The last pic shows a plug from a fan cable extension. I intend to use these to run attach the fans directly to the top floor as opposed to running the wires through holes in the floor.




01-04-2009, 08:16 PM
So what are your plans on mimicking the watercube look?

01-04-2009, 08:28 PM
I have a pseudo-plan to get it done, which will begin with testing a few different ideas on small scraps first before committing to an entire shell. Mainly, I want to use layers of acrylic. The inner layer will be mounted with the LED's and it's outer surface likely frosted. Then the outer layer will be used to make the design, and I have several ideas, just none that are worth mentioning until I have tried them.

01-04-2009, 10:39 PM
Will you bend it into almost shells? To achieve the bubble look? But, I agree I think layers of acrylic will look nice.

01-05-2009, 12:27 AM
Dude, this is turning out nice. Keep it up!

01-05-2009, 01:40 AM
Thanks for the kind comments guys, I appreciate it!

Now that the foam is down it's time to re-check some measurements and mount some of the brackets...


I picked up some nylon washers to keep from scuffing up the aluminum and also got a few more hex screws with a lower profile to fasten down the shelf...




Since the foam has a considerable width, I needed to trim out the spaces below the motherboard rails or it would have skewed the rear plate alignment...



This is what I decided to go with for the shelf mounts...




I mounted the LCD/remote controller to begin the wiring process, it will power and control the speed of the two fans mounted on the side walls. I wanted to set this up so that most of the wires could be run beneath the stage, we'll see how well that works out in the end I guess...











01-05-2009, 11:29 AM
lookin awesome! :bowdown:

01-05-2009, 03:29 PM
Oh man this is looking way cool. What are your plans for the outside? The blue and what not.

01-05-2009, 05:42 PM
Thanks! I will be trying a few things out before I commit to any certain plan for the outer shell.

01-07-2009, 12:16 AM
No major updates, just been messing around with wiring the hardware and thought I'd show you how it's coming...









Drum Thumper
01-07-2009, 12:36 AM
Pretty slick cable management!

01-07-2009, 05:54 AM
This is looking great. Very clean, very neat, excellent work thus far. +rep

01-07-2009, 08:02 PM
I knew this would be a great idea! +Rep

01-07-2009, 09:41 PM
The best cable management is "what cables?" hehe. The foam is a VERY nice touch! I've been grinding some ideas on your outer shell too, so if you need some brainstorming sessions, I'm in to help!

01-08-2009, 02:21 AM
Thanks so much fellas! And Luke, once I get to the outer shell I may just hit you up but for now I am just concentrating on finishing the base before I head out to California where I will be for a month or so.

Not much in the way of updates today, just been trimming away sections of foam for supporting brackets around the inside edges. I have made 3 more angle supports which I have painted black and are now drying but I didn't take any photos of those. I did start on the power leads for the hard drives also, still much to do but I have a couple of pics of the progress so far but I can't do much more until I get my set of cable sleeves in the mail...



01-08-2009, 05:58 AM
damn jon, looks like spending some time around paul has done you some good! this is modding at its finest

01-08-2009, 10:25 AM
nice and clean :up:

01-08-2009, 05:17 PM
i missed this? how did i miss this!!!

this looks awsome jon!:D rocking design! go for it:D

01-08-2009, 06:02 PM
looking freeking sweet dude, i love the lack of cables!

01-08-2009, 07:26 PM
dude, whoa.. like, just.. whoa

01-08-2009, 10:35 PM
Love the cable management!

01-09-2009, 01:56 AM
Thanks so much everyone!

The boy 4rm oz
01-09-2009, 04:10 AM
I haven't been paying as much attention as I should have been lately, I have no idea how I missed this mod jdbnsn.

Very well though out and executed. Everything from the cable management to the shell construction and even the foam has been done with remarkable accuracy.

Keep up the awesome work jdbnsn, I can't wait for your next update.

01-10-2009, 12:45 AM
Not much to report today, just been getting the cables set up. Here are some pics of the progress...






I decided to paint some of the brackets I made to brace the walls to see how they looked. Painting aluminum is a new one for me and I suck at painting anyway so it was a trial. The first time didn't work out so I cleaned them up and tried again, I'm satisfied with this result...



01-10-2009, 12:59 AM
That's looking awesome Jon!

The boy 4rm oz
01-10-2009, 01:39 AM
Brackets look good, rubber grommets and all.

01-10-2009, 07:03 AM
wow this looks freaking sweet and gives me a few ideas. Me likes!!! :D

01-10-2009, 10:43 PM
very good man!

01-11-2009, 12:19 PM
Thanks again for the nice comments everyone!

I have been pretty busy lately, but I have also managed to get bits and pieces of work done. I installed the power and reset buttons on the back panel, just need to wire them up now...


I had to modify the molex cable running to the older hard drive so that it wouldn't smash into the side of the optical drive, I showed you this picture of the chopped plug before...


I then took 4 molex pins and cut them in half with a dremel disc...



Next was the soldering, now this is my first time soldering since trying it as a teenager, and I was terrible back then too, so be lenient please...








I still have a bit more work to do on the connector before I consider it complete, but that's it in a nutshell.

01-11-2009, 03:50 PM
That black sheathing looks kick ass with that case. you going to sheath all of the cables?

They make some cool industrial sheathing that has copper wire spun into it. helps with EMI protection. I've seen it at my buddies job. there Glass optimizer (picture a cutting machine the size of a apartment) has the stuff all over the place.

That machine is nuts. Straight slice your arm off if your not paying attention


[edit] made it a link so it doesnt throw off your blog.

see the arm chopping ability though?!

01-11-2009, 11:31 PM
nothing wrong with that soldering job... this case is sick as man

01-12-2009, 12:43 AM
Thanks guys!

Twigs, that is a cool machine and definitely looks like it could take some limbs away. I do plan on sleeving all of the cables possible, but I am on a very tight budget so any high end sleeving material is out of the question. But thanks for the idea!

I finished up the connector earlier today with a hot-glue gun to insulate the individual leads from getting damaged/exposed. Then, I coated it with some of that spray-rubber used for wrench handle grips...





The boy 4rm oz
01-12-2009, 12:54 AM
Nice work on the connector, really compact.

01-12-2009, 05:39 AM
very cool molex mod... looks very good as good as stock!

Crimson Sky
01-13-2009, 02:44 AM
Jon I'm so happy that you're finally getting a chance to build a mod and show your surgical precision--!~! I have an aluminum angle fetish so I'm diggin' this project. Great choice on the polycarbonate material. Keep it up!

01-13-2009, 04:19 AM
Thanks Paul! It's been very therapeutic and fun to finally get behind the modding wheel and join the fun.

01-13-2009, 04:39 AM
I've been getting odds and ends finished up lately, mainly cable work so bear with me for this relatively boring update...

If you were curious, this is the stuff I'm using to coat the custom fashioned molex connectors...


Here is a glimpse at the unsightly underbelly of the platform lid...


I spliced some wires using the same short-cut molex connector method that I used for the HDD power to supply the optical drive...






I have an idea for these that I'll get into later...


I am trying to keep all of the cables uniformly black in color and I only had one black PATA cable so I coated a gray cable with that spray on rubber. Still not sure I'm going with this, I want to try something else first...

This was it's color before...


and this was the result after the rubber coat...


Otherwise, I just soldered, sleeved, and cleaned up lots of cables like these power and reset buttons...




01-13-2009, 04:53 AM
nice effect on the cable, similar to vinyl dye in appearance, does it make the cable harder to bend with the coating of rubber on it?

The boy 4rm oz
01-13-2009, 07:25 AM
That cable looks much better. Why not get a round cable, AC Ryan make black ones that cost $6.50AUD.

01-13-2009, 01:04 PM
nice effect on the cable, similar to vinyl dye in appearance, does it make the cable harder to bend with the coating of rubber on it?

No, the rubber coat did not change the rigidity of the cable at all. But I am not entirely pleased with the outcome either, it can be a bit rough and peels from edges slightly. I may have to come up with another solution.

That cable looks much better. Why not get a round cable, AC Ryan make black ones that cost $6.50AUD.

Several reasons. One, I am not interested in buying pre-modded materials and substituting them for my own effort. Another is my budget, must spend as little as possible and I have a whole trunk filled with spare cables and parts. The rounded cables are nice, but I think I would rather try to make something that is much "made-by-me" as possible. But there is always a middle ground that must be settled upon.

01-13-2009, 04:55 PM
oh the things that make me stain my pants....

01-13-2009, 04:55 PM
i also find that flat IDE cables can be easier to hide, round ones can sometimes be hard due to them not bending as easy, atleast flat ones can be folded into shape, i used to have all my HDD's backwards just so you couldn't see my cables!

01-14-2009, 02:07 AM
Still working on minor details lately, here are some of the molex cables...




I decided to build a trim/guard so that the larger power cables and others don't screw up the foam beneath the mother board. I started with a piece of the same plastic as the case and some clear plastic trim that I once used to seal the edges of a subwoofer box...


The trim that I used was crap that was lying around in a junk pile so over time it lost it's clean 90 degree angle. An easy fix was to throw together a jig and use a heat gun to soften them up while a pressed them back into shape...


The rest was just cutting, sanding, and gluing...






The boy 4rm oz
01-14-2009, 02:21 AM
It was just a suggestion. I know money can be a bit tight when it comes to modding. I admit the flat ones are easier to route and manipulate but I'm a sucker for UV round cables lol.

The progress is looking good mate, keep it up.

01-15-2009, 02:26 AM
Well, I leave for California in a couple of days so this project is going on the shelf until I get back. Here are some shots of the progress thus far...

This one is just the beginning of another trim piece like the last...


And the rest are the assembled components...














The boy 4rm oz
01-15-2009, 02:36 AM
Internal layout looks fantastic my friend, very nice work.

One thing, please tell me your going to paint the front of the disk drive ;). +rep

01-15-2009, 02:40 AM
Thanks bro! Yes, the whole front will look much different in the end result. I probably won't paint the drive, but I will more likely "stealth" it in a way.

The boy 4rm oz
01-15-2009, 02:52 AM
Ah glad to hear, I forgot you still had to make the outer shell. Best of luck with that, I can't wait.

01-15-2009, 11:02 AM
looks great, super clean :up:

01-15-2009, 12:56 PM
Nice wire management. Although dislike the white optical.

01-16-2009, 02:30 AM
Lookin amazing!
But like Kumo said, the white drive needs something done to it..
At least in my opinion anyway.
it all looks very neat and professional :)
Great work!

01-16-2009, 02:38 AM
Thanks guys! If you read a few posts above you will note that I am not finished with the front, the drive will not remain like that.

01-28-2009, 12:51 AM
I found some relevant information on the Beijing National Aquatics Center
in the October issue of LED Magazine. Haven't downloaded it yet, but it looks to be good.

01-28-2009, 02:19 AM
I haven't been keeping up with this one like I should, excellent progress! The box itself came out very well, and the cable management is excellent as well. Waiting to see the finished front. +rep

Crimson Sky
01-28-2009, 02:25 AM
Feachured, Biatches!!

01-28-2009, 02:55 AM
lol nice work con grats... and nice work crimson

The boy 4rm oz
01-28-2009, 03:03 AM
Congratz mate.

01-28-2009, 03:04 AM
Yikes!!! I am very honored for the bump to featured, though I'm not sure my little project compares to some of these other mods. Many thanks in any event, and I'll get right back on this as soon as I return home.

BTW- Thanks for the tip Eck, I've been looking for something like that.

The boy 4rm oz
01-28-2009, 03:22 AM
You deserve it mate.

01-28-2009, 03:31 AM
Thanks guys, it means so much!

I need some help from the LED gurus though. Once I build the outer shell, I need to design a programmable LED array to do things like this:



Any ideas?

The boy 4rm oz
01-28-2009, 04:24 AM
Perhaps you should get onto rendermandan, he is pretty good with LEDs and his mate is good with everything electronic lol.

01-28-2009, 09:31 AM
Found these at Sparkfun.Com
BlinkM (http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=8579) - I2C Controlled Programmable RGB LEDs.

BlinkMs are Programmable! With ThingMs sequencer software, you can create
a mix of colors with different time slices, upload that sequence to the Blink, and then let it rip.

They also have the BlinkM MaxM (http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=9000) - I2C Controlled RGB LEDs.
MaxM Master runs our unique firmware that creates virtually any RGB color,
fades smoothly between two colors, and blinks in virtually any pattern.

Not sure if these are what you need or not. That is the best I could find.


01-28-2009, 09:35 AM
Maybe a good way to go about creating the shell would be creating a mold, and using clear plastic. To create Lens basically. And spread those all around in different directions, with LED arrays underneath them.

The boy 4rm oz
01-28-2009, 09:56 AM
That's a great find Eclec.

01-28-2009, 10:26 AM
Perhaps you should get onto rendermandan, he is pretty good with LEDs and his mate is good with everything electronic lol.

You could use someting like my xps ground effects controller. Send me a PM.

Oh, yeah. Congrats on getting featured.... Sure wish Dark Carbon was, (hint, hint)... LOL

The boy 4rm oz
01-28-2009, 11:29 AM
Oh, yeah. Congrats on getting featured.... Sure wish Dark Carbon was, (hint, hint)... LOL

I'm sure you will get there :D:banana::banana::banana:

01-28-2009, 02:41 PM
Those were some great suggestions Eck, I looked into them. The problem with the LED Mag issue was that it was only talking about the lighting of the actual water cube which didn't help me much, unless I'd like it to be brighter than the sun. The other BlinkM's are interesting, but they look a bit bright for my application. Plus they are out of stock, and expensive. But essentially that is what I am wanting to produce, just with my own two hands and for less money. The closest lead I have found is something called a "Peggy (http://www.evilmadscientist.com/article.php/Peggy2)" which actually posts the blueprints online for free. I'm just not sure about the multicolor and how hard it would be to build. But it's a start. Any more ideas?

01-28-2009, 04:26 PM
Wow! Absolutely stellar work Jon.

On the LED front, my old stand by is phidgets who have a 64 LED controller. On another thought, what about ps1 screens(can you still ebay these?) or similar lcds instead of leds?


On the water cube effect, have you seen illusion film from Tap Plastic.

It's holographic and available in blue serpentine or clear honeycomb pattern. I have a sample from Maker Faire somewhere. Pictures on the web don't do it justice as the effect is fairly trippy. Here's the link: http://www.tapplastics.com/shop/product.php?pid=451& I can't recall how transparent it was. If I find the sample, I'll post video.


The boy 4rm oz
01-28-2009, 10:12 PM
That's pretty cool stuff Mach.

01-29-2009, 01:59 AM
Yeah, I need to find the piece of it that I have.

On the point of the PSone screen, here's what I was remembering when I mentioned it


There's also this:


01-29-2009, 02:05 AM
Thanks for the input Mach! I'm not sure i understand that video though, I thought a PSone was a handheld game. Anyway, I definitely want LED's in a controllable array. The Peggy board is almost perfect. If I could figure out how to broaden the array a bit and then convert a 2D array into one with 4 walls that seam together at the edges I'd be exactly where I want to be. That material you pointed out is very slick, but I have already picked out some acrylic that I plan to use to make the "bubbles". It's getting the light show to work that is killing me.

01-29-2009, 03:59 AM
Very nice man great atention to detail +rep

01-29-2009, 07:45 AM
Sorry for the confusion. Watching the colors change in the building video reminded me more of a muted LCD than it did LEDs. The PS1 mod is the old trick of putting a PS1 LCD into a case. The benefit was that they were cheap and easy to ebay.

01-29-2009, 08:51 PM
Damn Jon, that's looking slick dude! Congrats on the feature. I'm trying to work something out in my head about the lighting for you, but Im not good with circuits. I can get LED's to turn on and off for you, but that's about it. Check out ledshoppe.com when you go to buy LED's (if you don't already have them).

Drum Thumper
01-31-2009, 12:34 AM
Lookin sweet bud. Like Rick, I'm at a loss as well--circuits are not that strong of a point with me.

For some reason I keep thinking "sound activated". Although it would detract from watching a movie.

02-12-2009, 12:14 PM
Hey, any progress on this? We are dying for an update.

02-13-2009, 08:25 PM
rip me... lol been waiting.. lol

02-14-2009, 02:55 AM
Sorry guys, I'm away from home trying to find work. Might have some updates in the near future, at least I hope so.

02-14-2009, 07:15 AM
so do i :P

02-16-2009, 04:26 AM
Wow Jon, this looks great!

I found this little video using an 8X8 RGB led panel.


They are 2.38 inches squared, so unfortunately it will take a bunch to cover your case.

You can get the plain panel
For 29.95, but you will still need the circuitry to drive it.


OR they have one with a SPI serial input backpack attached for 59.95


Both are pretty expensive.

If you check the datasheet here.. http://www.sparkfun.com/datasheets/Components/YSM-2388CRGBC.pdf if shows the schematic of how its all put together which could give you some direction if you want try and build your own diy style.

Also you should check out the Arduino boards and project forums. Maybe someone has done something similar that you can use.

Looking forward to how this turns out, its fantastic work so far!!

The boy 4rm oz
02-16-2009, 04:30 AM
That's an awesome find OvRiDe, thye look amazing.

02-16-2009, 05:07 AM
just had a cool idea... not really what you want but..

on battle star galactica by boddaker.... the top airstrip lights
that 'zoom' along... the would look cool horizontally on your case so it like circulates around the case.... then have just a few leds to give constand light...

lots and lots of leds.... but cheaper the ovrides great find...

if you need a better explination just ask

The boy 4rm oz
02-16-2009, 10:41 AM
I think Bod used LED strips for that effect, I'm not sure, better check.

No I was wrong, Boddaker used a "Qkit" lighting system to get the effect.

02-17-2009, 01:41 AM
These would be pretty cool if just wanted more of a color wash effect, rather then a pixel by pixel effect.
Appears to even have a remote control in the video, but the site has no information on pricing.

The boy 4rm oz
02-17-2009, 02:21 AM
That's pretty cool, I have never seen a control rig like that before.

02-17-2009, 10:30 AM
You should check into these. this is the company that I bought my red led light strip from for DK.


Specifically RGB LEDS. http://www.superbrightleds.com/light_bars-rgb.html

02-19-2009, 01:02 PM
Wow, thanks for all of the really great ideas everyone! +rep to each of you. Unfortunately, progress will be an unlikely event pending budgetary problems (unless anyone sells modding supplies for government food stamps). I'm currently in a real bad way for money, can't even afford medications (uh oh, here come those voices again....). At some point I'll hopefully sell a kidney on the Puerto Rican black market and get some cash to buy more supplies, that is unless I can scare up some sponsors....or donations ;)


02-19-2009, 08:09 PM
Wow, thanks for all of the really great ideas everyone! +rep to each of you. Unfortunately, progress will be an unlikely event pending budgetary problems (unless anyone sells modding supplies for government food stamps). I'm currently in a real bad way for money, can't even afford medications (uh oh, here come those voices again....). At some point I'll hopefully sell a kidney on the Puerto Rican black market and get some cash to buy more supplies, that is unless I can scare up some sponsors....or donations ;)


I've got lots of LED's to donate, but they arent the fancy RGB ones..

02-19-2009, 08:26 PM
Really??? I'm not even sure what type I need to be honest. I suppose they need to be bright and colored since I am going to shoot for a clear shell and colored LED's beneath rather than coloring the shell and using white LED's. But hell, beggars can't be choosers.

02-20-2009, 01:48 AM
:( bad luck mamte...

hope yA sell your kidney :)

ill sell mine to eh?

02-20-2009, 03:15 AM
I don't know why I didnt think of this one earlier...

Some of the guys at MIT built a dance floor back in 2005. They published all the schematics, software and even board designs. To the website http://www.scotttorborg.com/disco-dance-floor/index.html

Each board can handle 192 LED's so that would be 64 Red, 64 Blue, and 64 Green. Its controlled over USB, and I believe you can link mulitiple boards.

It appears that they have gone into business and will make the boards for but they are pricey. Under the downloads section of the site they still provide the software and the board stencils.

Here is the result...

on a smaller scale one guy made a bar top.

I don't think there is a way to do it super cheap, but maybe this will give you something to research until that kidney sells. :P

02-20-2009, 03:58 AM
Oh yeah, I have seen that dance floor before. That might just be the way to go provided the construction is not too complicated for me. I wonder though if I can get away with using so many LED's of different colors in such close quarters? Great resource though, thanks a ton Curtis!

03-22-2009, 11:29 PM
So are you at on this? Its been over a month.

03-23-2009, 12:34 AM
I have no income. Without the money to buy the plexi and LED's, this can't go anywhere. So it's dead for now.

03-23-2009, 12:21 PM
I have no income. Without the money to buy the plexi and LED's, this can't go anywhere. So it's dead for now.

Do you want those LEDs? I have a bunch of red, green, white, blue, and orange LEDs.. they are yours if you want.


03-23-2009, 01:49 PM
Wow, I love this pc. It is also completely made by hand which was pretty cool, but I have a few questions.

With one molex power cable do you think I can power two IDE drives, or would that not likely happen?

03-23-2009, 02:09 PM
Luke, sure free LED's is something I would never say no to. I'm not certain what type are best suited for this project but I'm sure I can make use of them one way or the other.

Knowledgegranted-Yes, you can splice in another molex plug in parallel and it should work fine provided you don't have too many other devices hooked up to the same rail.

03-23-2009, 10:45 PM
Jon, I have some blue and UV's I can send you.

03-24-2009, 12:14 AM
What if you made a variety of molds, to simulate different "bubbles". Then take your pieces of clear plexiglass and get it hot so it forms to the molds. frost the backs of the pieces, the glue them in whatever (random?) panterns. Then take your led's and sand down the tops so the color makes the bubble glow. That should give each bubble a soft, even glow.
Can't help too much with the controller aspect, though. I am trying to learn that myself. I'm sure there is a way to make your own....:think:
Mebbe check out http://theledlight.com They have some interesting stuff.

The boy 4rm oz
03-24-2009, 12:37 AM
That is a very interesting idea Mark.

03-24-2009, 01:20 AM
OK,I have an idea for the lighting controller idea. read through it all before you start to laugh.

Lets say you want to use 3 Seperate colored leds. Red, blue and green. (Instead of RGB leds.)

Just buy some colored led christmas light sets. three sets of each color. and
buy 3 sets of christmas lights that have the chasing pattern box on them. the kind that as 7 or 8 random styles of patterns like glow/ fade, flash, pulse etc. Most of those controllers control 3 different stands of lights. simply hard wire each lead of the controller to one strand of led christmas lights. one of each color. Just make sure you use a mix up the colors. Now you can also add some more variety by changing out some of the leds in each set for other colors.

If you do it right. you will have 9 total "zones" of light. each zone can be one of three colors, RBG. or it can be mix and matched if you swap out leds. Now when each controller is set to random mode. all nine zones will randomly light at different intervals giving a random color pattern, along with the colors mixing to form colors other than RBG.

Now just group one of each 3 rbg leds behind a frosted piece of plexi that is chambered off from the others and sand the leds so they diffuse the light.

that should give you a random light pattern that changes and alters constantly.

I hope that makes sense. It will be a tremendous amount of wire to hide!!! So good luck.

03-24-2009, 02:12 AM
hes pretty good at hiding wires :P

nice idea dan..

03-24-2009, 01:14 PM
Thanks for the great ideas and also the offer from Rick for te LED's, if you have some that you aren't using I'd graciously accept your offer.


05-07-2009, 12:03 AM
Found this to add to the idea pool!!



05-07-2009, 03:14 AM
This is looking great so far. The time you spend on small details is admiring. I'm still wondering how your going to turn this into the water cube from the olympics, But looking forward to what ever you come up with :) +rp

The boy 4rm oz
05-07-2009, 04:24 AM
OvRiDe, that is soooooo cool.

05-07-2009, 06:18 AM
/\ yeah agreed

05-07-2009, 02:47 PM
That is cool! Actually, peggy2 was my original inspiration when it came to LED lighting for that box but it was the limitation of it's (at the time) one color system that killed it for me. But using a setup like his would be perfect, great find Curtis!!!

-Regrettably, I don't expect there will be any progress on this mod in the near future, or possibly ever. My current workload is unbelievable and I start my residency in Early July. Who knows, maybe I'll find some time before then.

05-07-2009, 03:40 PM
waaaww !!! that's amazing !!! :eek:
:up: I didn't understand the idea of the big LEDs at first... but after seeing it with the paper ... omg great work :D

05-09-2009, 10:36 PM
yeah thats a really pitty this thing is genius...