View Full Version : Project Clockwork vII

07-30-2009, 03:38 AM

Ok, for those just tuning in, this is a new worklog for a build I’ve been working on for several months now. I got some work done recently and was going to post the progress when I realized what a bewildering mess the worklog had become. I had changed the design of the thing several times, done things that weren’t even in the project any more, and just generally made a muddle of the whole thing. So, to make it easier on everyone (and to calm the OCD) I’ve decided to start a new worklog, call it Clockwork vII. (Notice I did not call it Clockwork 2.0? God I hate that.) If anyone wants to slog through the quagmire of my old worklog, feel free (http://www.thebestcasescenario.com/forum/showthread.php?t=15678).

----- Let's Try This Again -----

Ok, it’s time for another build. This one will be a lot different than my last sleek smooth glowing plexiglass construct. It’s another scratch build, because no matter how I try I seem to be incapable of simply modifying an existing case. In contrast to that last build, this one will be made primarily of wood, with some brass and copper accents. Here is the first inspiration for the case:


The gears from five clock movements I scavenged from various sources. I love gears and cogs, and thought it would be a cool contrast to the machine itself.

This is the initial construction of the case itself. I had originally planned to install the drives as usual, two optical drives stacked horizontally above two hard drives, so I built a wooden “tower” to house them. This has since been phased out, but I think it looks very good in the pic. :D


I’m using a motherboard tray from an Apevia case that I dissected, with some wooden circles cut to fit the depressions and screwed into brass inserts to hold it in place. (Does that count as a mod, since it’s a major part from an existing case?)


Shortly after I had the drive tower finished I had a turn of mind and decided to mount my hard drives externally on the side of the case. That gave me a lot more room to work, and I didn’t need the wooden drive tower. I also decided to turn the optical drives on their sides, just because they look cool that way. The lens in the center is the cover for the analog temperature gauge that will eventually fit there (also scavenged from the Apevia case.)


Since I did away with the wooden drive tower I made a new cage for the optical drives out of copper pipe.



Turned out pretty well. For the front intake fan I’m using a motorcycle sprocket I picked up on Ebay. I got really lucky with this find, the measurement between the outermost edges of the outermost holes is exactly 120mm.


This build will be what I like to call pseudo-steampunk, mainly because I don’t want to be categorized, but also because I plan to have a couple of more modern elements than are normally found in steampunk work. I plan to get the look mostly from corrosion, making all the metal parts look old and neglected (most steampunk I’ve seen looks old but at least cared-for). Here is my first attempt at aging the front sprocket:


Not too bad, but not exactly what I wanted either. It’s too uniform, and actually looks more like leather than rust. It’s a start.

It took me a while to find hard drive enclosures that were in the plain simple industrial style that I wanted, but I finally came across these:


Perfect. I bored out countersunk holes in the bottoms and mounted them with screws into brass inserts on the right side of the case. Very solid.



Don't they look pretty there?

07-30-2009, 03:45 AM
Ok, on to the gears. The plan has always been to put them together on the left side of the case in a geartrain powered by a small motor inside the case so that they turn when the power is on. I pondered and worked a long time to make that happen. Remember these are clock gears. They’re already mounted on a shaft that’s perfectly centered on the gear, and they are designed to have that shaft held in place on both ends inside a metal cage that is custom-machined for these gears. What I was trying to do turned out to be a huge puzzle in three dimensions. And since I was using the gears from five clocks it was like using pieces from five different puzzle boxes.

The first problem was drag. I couldn’t just slide the gearshafts through the wood, as they would either wobble or bind and not turn freely. I solved that with roller bearings. I bought a bunch of bearings that were 3/8” ID and 5/8” OD. I bored 5/8” holes in the side panel and pressed 3/8” oak dowels, cut to length, into the bearings.


So far so good. I then pressed the gearshafts into the exact center of each dowel.


It was a lot of work and I won’t go into it all, but here is the finished result:




Beautiful. I absolutely love the way it turned out. BUT, it was not to be. Even though all of these gears turned perfectly when these pics were taken, the holes in the oak dowels wallowed out quickly and they started to wobble. Not a lot, but these gears are very thin. Even a tiny wobble will cause them to come unmeshed and then the train is broken. I had to come up with something else.

The new geartrain uses different gears for the actual motion transfer, with the above gears on top of them for cosmetics. The gears I’m using now do not have shafts in them, they have separate shafts that are customizable. Problem is, they don’t come close to fitting the bearings I have, and I'm not spending another $50 on different-sized bearings.


So what I needed was a way to get these shafts to fit tightly in the exact center of these bearings. I needed bushings, but to find bushings the exact size I needed wasn’t going to happen. So I improvised. ;)

Two sizes of nylon tubing, usually used as water lines.


The smaller fits snugly inside the larger. Cut a piece off of each:


Put them together, press them into the bearings and press the shaft into the center. Perfect. :D


This whole system has worked out very well, finally. As usual it took some work and some (gasp!) modification, but in the end, the drive gears are WAY better than the clock gears were. BUT (there always seems to be a but), since they aren’t brass there is no way I can get them to the burnished brass finish that I liked so much in the original geartrain. I CAN get them to look old, but the old will be of a different nature. Think Shadows of Chernobyl instead of Bioshock. Old and neglected. After a great deal of experimentation and work, I finally got the thing done. That’s right, the side panel is finally complete. It’s a lot different than the original, but I actually like it better. :D







I got the copper to look that way with simple heat. I hit the pieces with a mapp gas torch until they were almost glowing and dunked them in a water bucket. Beautiful. The gears were a combination of a rust paint system from Rustoleum, two shades of blue-green paint from Lowe’s and the trusty mapp gas torch again. I love the final result, and the inclusion of the chain was a huge benefit.

I was also able to improve on the front fan sprocket:


And got the first stage of the rusting done on the motherboard tray:


I have the motor for the geartrain almost mounted, have already motion tested it all. I have also recently acquired a digital camera that will take video. Now I just have to figure out how to post video here. :D

07-30-2009, 05:03 AM
wow i forgot how cool this was.!!!! repppppp

The boy 4rm oz
07-30-2009, 05:36 AM
I was lik OMG WHAT!!! he closed the worklog, until I read your last post lol. Glad to see this is still alive mate, I really do love this project.

07-30-2009, 05:38 AM
Glad you're still with me. :) Share your opinion of the new look?

The boy 4rm oz
07-30-2009, 05:53 AM
I'm really liking the look, the rusty/weathered look is really well done and the gears and cogs add a very unique look, very very cool.

07-30-2009, 12:14 PM
LEGOS!!!! Nice implementation of LEGO Technic...

07-30-2009, 03:34 PM
That is correct. They are the *best*. Anyone who needs absolutely *anything* Lego, by the piece or by the lot, needs to check out bricklink.com. If Lego makes it, you can buy it there.

I looked long and hard to find something for this deal. It was the chain that finally decided it. :D

07-30-2009, 04:22 PM
lol I was literally just looking through your clockwork worklog yesterday. Nice to see it going again. Those hard drive enclosures are sweet. They would look good on my computer lol. Great work man, the gearing, the chain, way cool!

07-30-2009, 04:26 PM
Go to hobby lobby, go to the craft paints. They have a real iron surfacer and rust developer that will put REAL RUST on anything. Same with verdigris. It's the same stuff PilouX used on the two HL2 cases. I have it for some projects I'm working on...

07-30-2009, 06:38 PM
I've tried Metal Effects paint in copper, bronze and iron with four different oxidizers (green, blue, black, and rust) and didn't like any of it as well as this.

07-30-2009, 11:40 PM
Ahh glad to see this one back. Looks as good as I remember. I'll be watching!

07-31-2009, 02:37 AM
hey try muriatic acid. it will corrode the metal. then add poolshock to nuetralize the acid.

07-31-2009, 03:49 AM
i like it mate :P

07-31-2009, 04:19 PM
8) Looking very awesome m8 keep it up :up:.

08-01-2009, 07:00 PM
ahh. this case truly put me off building gear trains for mine, but it looks so good...

08-04-2009, 05:05 AM
I finally got the motor for the geartrain squared away. :) Been trying to figure out how to mount it. I *knew* all that Intel mounting hardware would come in handy someday!


Too big of course but it's a nice piece of flat stock to work with. Cut off what I needed:


The motor I got from Solarbotics actually has two smooth-bore mounting holes in it but I wanted to mount the bracket from the inside, so I tapped them to 6-32 machine thread and ran bolts through the bracket and into the motor. The threads are plastic, but the motor is an inch and a half thick and the bolts go all the way through, so there are nearly fifty threads on each bolt holding it in place, very solid.


The shaft on the main drive gear runs all the way through the panel and sticks out an inch and a half into what will be the interior of the case. I mounted another Lego drive gear onto the motor, slid it onto the shaft and bolted it in place with machine screws, brass inserts, and some pieces of copper tubing as spacers. It turned out to be extremely solid, I'm very happy with it.



I plan to build a box to put over it so the plastic isn't showing when the case is opened, and it looks like it's going to have to be larger than I had planned originally, but it will work.

Video to come! (Waiting on youtube to "process" it, whatever the hell that means. #$^&*#@^&*!!!!)

08-04-2009, 05:13 AM
Got it! :)


The chain is flopping a little bit, but I'm pretty sure it's just the paint in the links grabbing the teeth on the drive gear, it will smooth out as it wears in. So far so good.

The boy 4rm oz
08-04-2009, 06:08 AM
Dude that is soooooo cool. Yeah I think the problem with the chain is due to there being paint i nbetween the links, it will move more freely with time, or put a little drop of grease or oil on every joint, that will loosen it up. +rep

08-04-2009, 06:38 AM
/\ yea

one thing tho .. is that the speed ur gunna keep because i imagined it slower..

The boy 4rm oz
08-04-2009, 06:42 AM
Hmm, slower would look better also I think after watching the clip again, would also help with the chain kink a but.

08-04-2009, 07:13 AM
I thought the same thing, I'll be putting a speed control in, probably with the shaft connected to a gear on the outside of the case. I had planned to have it turn more slowly without the need for a controller, but space constraints forced my hand on the motor I used. No big deal, turn a gear and it slows down or speeds up, however you want it. :)

08-05-2009, 05:46 PM
:banana: Fantastic, looks sooooo nice and authentic :up:.

08-06-2009, 02:49 AM
ahh resistor? not a controller.?

The boy 4rm oz
08-06-2009, 02:54 AM
Controller would be a better option, resisters eventually burn out.

08-06-2009, 04:41 AM
then replace the resistor.. small price to pay if he has no room or if it will wreck the look

The boy 4rm oz
08-06-2009, 06:05 AM
Very easy to conceal a variable switch plus you have the option to tweak the speed if need be, with a resister you have a set speed, although you would do testing before hand to get the speed right. You could always make a software controller and eliminate the need for a switch or a resistor.

08-06-2009, 07:19 AM
Software controller is not gonna happen. :) As for the controller, I haven't decided yet. I could always add it later if I want one, but for now I am actually looking at a different motor with a lower RPM and higher gear ratio. At $7 each I can afford to try a different one. Space is my main limitation, forcing me to use a motor with a 90-degree output shaft (or make some kind of gearbox to transfer the motion 90 degrees). I'll see what this other motor does. The one in the video is rated at 46 rpm at six volts, the new one is only 30 rpm at six volts and 12 rpm at 3 volts. We'll see.

The boy 4rm oz
08-06-2009, 07:32 AM
Whichever way you go about it I'm sure it will turn out great ;).

08-07-2009, 03:47 AM
/\ yeah for sure!

09-21-2009, 03:52 AM
Just a small parts update (and to keep this worklog from drowning in page 5 or 6 or wherever it had sunk to)...

During the recent demise of Xoxide I scored a couple of great deals for this build. :D I'll be replacing the Scythe Musashi air coolers on my HD4870 cards with Swiftech MCW60 waterblocks.


This obviously frees up a LOT of room, and also allows me the space to use better ramsinks than the aluminum that came with the Musashi.

I also scored a 1000-watt modular PSU!


I've also made a minor design modification. I'm going to chop up the motherboard tray I have a little bit and mount the new PSU on the bottom of the case, sliding the motherboard up several inches. This will not only free up a lot of room on the bottom, but it will make power routing easier, I think.

This project isn't dead, it's just sleeping, as I have a lot of other stuff going on right now. Stay tuned, more news as it happens.

09-21-2009, 04:30 AM
sweet. cant wait to see this going again

The boy 4rm oz
09-21-2009, 12:02 PM
I use an MCW-60 to cool my 8800GTX, it's a fantastic block.

09-21-2009, 12:43 PM
Nice project espacially all those little wheels are sick !

10-10-2009, 06:22 AM
I finally got some of the corners made for it today. I love acrylic, it's one of the most versatile materials I've ever worked with. I made these corners out of some 1/8" sheet acrylic I had left over from some old storm windows. :)

The corners I had in mind needed to be more than 1/8" thick, so I doubled them up and glued them together. Then cut four sets of material: four squares, four rectangles matching the squares on one side, then four more squares matching the shorter side of the rectangles. I put these together to form the corners of the case:





These will be the base corners, I have to make four more for the top, but that can wait. I also finally got ahold of some angle iron to use for the edges. I don't have enough yet for all the edges, but when you put together what I have it looks like it's taking shape!! I don't have the angle iron painted yet, but I took some pics to show how it will look. (The finished product should look exactly like the corners.)





You can tell in the pics that the back panel isn't stained, I built a new one so I could cut the hole for the PSU now that it will be mounted on the bottom. Got that hole cut and the hole for the fan on the bottom also. I still have to cut holes for the I/O plate, the secondary 110 connection (for the water pump and possibly the lighting - still deciding whether to use LED lights or 110 lights with a dimmer switch), and the fan, though I haven't decided how I'm going to do the radiator yet so that will have to wait.

Opinions on the corner/angle iron appearance?

10-10-2009, 03:48 PM
Looking awesome. That angle iron almost doesn't need to be painted. Great job on the corners they look incredible. :up: This one just keeps getting better and better. :up:

10-10-2009, 04:26 PM
Man that looks cool as he,... i wish i had that vision man . Great job i will take one in cherrry lol . +rep

10-10-2009, 06:22 PM
That angle iron almost doesn't need to be painted.

That thought had crossed my mind, actually. I was planning to make all the "metal" look the same, but this does have a nice contrast. Anyone else have an opinion on leaving the angle iron as is?

10-10-2009, 06:36 PM
The angle metal looks good as is. But I'm sure it will look good if you change it as you originally planned as well.

10-10-2009, 08:48 PM
lookin awesome man! cant wait to see more progress

The boy 4rm oz
10-10-2009, 10:00 PM
Those corner caps look amazing, really nice work mate.

10-11-2009, 02:37 AM
I think the natural angle iron looks GREAT! I can't wait to see this mod in full swing!

Nice work blue.

10-11-2009, 05:47 AM
looks great man!

10-11-2009, 01:22 PM
That's awesome! I love the gear train in motion and the acrylic cubes with the rust are incredible. I wouldn't have guessed that they were acrylic.

10-23-2009, 05:32 AM
I'd like to build a cover for my motherboard, but I'm concerned about heat. I plan to make cutouts for the heat sinks already in place, but I honestly don't know enough about how much heat the rest of the components put out to know if I should be worried. I want the cover as close to the board as possible, and there will be exactly zero air flow behind it, so I don't know. Here's my board:


And here are the areas I plan to cover (I forgot to leave a hole for the 8-pin power connector but it'll be there):


That leaves the heat sinks uncovered, and a slot for the video card, but I plan to make a cover for that as well. I could upgrade the stock heatsinks for the chipsets and MOSFETS if needed, but obviously I'd rather not. Remember also that there will be a 250mm side fan blowing on the board, and a 120mm also, with a blowhole in the top of the case.

Anyone have on opinion on heat being an issue here? Thanks!

10-23-2009, 01:08 PM
awesome looking mod so far! I love the aged copper and wood look, and I've used that Rustoleum paint before, it's good stuff, especially the texture it adds. For your mobo, I have mixed feelings on the cover. I doubt you'd run into any real issues, and with both those big fans blowing, some air movement will probably happen between the board and cover. Best thing I can think of is test it: if you've got some kind of temp measuring program, fire the machine up with the cover on (maybe make it out of a cheap/easy material first, like a thin MDF or something, before you potentially waste time making it out of the final material), and run whatever you can throw at it, see what happens.
In my own experience building my sandcrawler case, I'm on version 3, and I left a lot less room inside this one for airflow, so I'm constantly having to adjust it to try and improve things. the main lesson I've learned is there's no such thing as too much airflow room.
Here's one other idea: what about cutting a fan opening in the cover over the PCI slots, and putting in a similar-looking fan to the ones on the outside of the case? That'd provide plenty of airflow directly onto the board, you'd have nothing to worry about, and it'd be in keeping with the design of the rest of the case.

10-23-2009, 02:46 PM

Check out the spotlight here (http://www.thebestcasescenario.com/frontpage/?q=node/411).

10-23-2009, 03:09 PM
...secondary 110 connection (for the water pump and possibly the lighting - still deciding whether to use LED lights or 110 lights with a dimmer switch),

I would definitely advise against using a 110 with dimmer inside the case. Dimmers create tons of noise, both audible and RF, and could cause other problems within the case.

If you really want that same sort of warmth you get from an incandescent bulb, why not use 12v automotive bulbs? Interior lights, signal lights, etc?

If I'm not mistaken, you can just run less voltage to them to dim them.. like a fan controller maybe?

10-23-2009, 04:05 PM
Spotlight!!!! Thanks guys. :banana:

10-23-2009, 04:26 PM
@ Luke: I was planning on the 110 lights because I found some the right size with very cool filaments that look perfect when the voltage is dropped. If I can find some 12-volts as good, then great. I was able to find a potentiometer that's supposed to be used as a volume control, would that be better than a dimmer? I wouldn't think they would use something that causes noise in a sound system?

@ arto: Thanks very much, it's finally starting to come together to look like a case. :) I don't have a problem testing a cover on the system, and may yet do that, but I hand't thought of putting a fan into the cover itself. That's a good thought, I'll look into it, thanks!! That has also gotten me thinking about a simple vent in the cover, in front of the big side fan. That may be all I need.

The boy 4rm oz
10-23-2009, 07:31 PM
If you are keeping the heatsinks and all that uncovered then you shouldn't have a problem with heat. You could even cover up the heatsinks and have 40 or 60mm fans built into the cover with a rustified cog grill :D. The downside of this is that you do get slightly more noise and the cover has to be slightly thicker.

Check out Defyant's work, he made a mobo cover for practically every mod lol.

10-23-2009, 09:06 PM
As long as you find a POT rated at 120 volts or so and a few amps then it should work fine to drop the voltage. I saw a rotary dimmer at Homedepot the other week for like $7 IIRC.

10-24-2009, 05:54 AM
This is looking great! Looking forward to the finsished thing.


10-24-2009, 09:39 AM
*low whistle* grats on the front page.. there seems to be more electronics than an E&E retard like me can handle here xD

10-28-2009, 03:47 AM
Looks really great ! kuddoos and rep +1

11-11-2009, 06:37 AM
Quick update, I got the holes cut for the newly bottom-mounted PSU:


And the lovely 1000-watt monster in place with its wires tucked neatly away out of sight. (The purpose of the plexi taped to the top of the PSU will come clear in time.)


I made a cover for it from three sheets of plexi and gave it the first step of the rust treatment.


Got some small angle iron and gave it the real rust treatment. I love the way this stuff looks!


And again with some holes carefully measured and drilled:


I don't like the smooth look of the angle iron, so here we have a brass spiral nail with convenient round head:


I took a bunch of these and drove them into a board in rows. Obviously I can't have any shiny brass in here, so I hit them with a mapp gas torch until they were glowing.


To get the shine off of the heads:


Not so shiny now, are ya?? :)

Not content with mistreating them like this, I cut their heads off.


Gruesome, ain't it?

But it was for a good cause. I think stage 1 of the PSU cover came out very well:



I know, I am going to have to raise the whole machine up a little bit to allow the PSU to breathe. I'm still pondering something that will serve as feet.

Next update may be a while coming, but it will be worth it.


11-11-2009, 08:21 AM
that came out awesome! :bowdown: +rep

11-11-2009, 08:30 AM
wow thats sweet! lovin the rust look! it came out really good :up:

The boy 4rm oz
11-11-2009, 10:39 AM
The PSU looks amazing, fantastic work mate, can't wait for more :D.

11-13-2009, 06:54 PM
Awesome blue! Coming together fantastically. Watching...
On the bottom, what if you set it up like a boiler with a flickering flame effect? The entire case would be lifted up 2 inches or so and vertical slots cut all the way around.

11-13-2009, 07:19 PM
On the bottom, what if you set it up like a boiler with a flickering flame effect? The entire case would be lifted up 2 inches or so and vertical slots cut all the way around.

Ineresting. Not sure I care for the flickering flame, but the elevation with the vertical slots sounds excellent. I'll ponder on that, thanks!

11-14-2009, 01:29 AM
VERY inventive! I'm gonna have to get out my steampunk project yet, you know...

11-14-2009, 02:10 AM
It's looking great Blue!
Good to see it coming along. I like the PSU cover; makes wire management a snap.

11-17-2009, 08:31 AM
Lots of pics in this update, be warned. :) I have *finally* managed to get just the finish I've been chasing after all this time!! New finish on the PSU cover:




I am SO glad I finally got the formula sorted out. I've got other things to paint and now at least I know I can make anything look like real rusted iron. The formula turned out to be:

Primer (for plexi I used Krylon Fusion)
Spray-on base coat of American Accents rust paint (this gives it rusted iron texture also)
Wash-on-and-dab off diluted coat of American Accents rust paint (they come together in a package)
Use a solvent brush to splatter on two shades of blue-green paint: Lost Atlantis and Hanging Vine. Apply sparingly and immediately dab off with a paper towel. Do not wipe, dab. Get as much of it off as you can just a few seconds after you put it on. This part should be subtle.
Dab on large blobs of Modern Masters Metal Effects iron paint. Just large random blobs, keep the edges clean but not sharp like tape.
In an hour spray those area with Modern Masters rust activator. Again, randomly. Do it again in another pattern in other places in half an hour.

Done. Looks good, no?

Anyway, to the real work of the night. I wanted to give this thing a few more modern elements, as mentioned previously. I'm going for a Jules Verne feel, old but advanced. When I started planning this build I wasn't going to use any lights. It's old, we don't want CCFL tubes in it! But I thought of a way to bring light to the box. Vacuum tubes. :D

I lucked into two large boxes of vacuum tubes of various sizes and configurations, over 200 of them, and all in their original boxes.


I love these things. They convey a sense of the old, and the insides are just very cool to look at. The plan originally was to light them from underneath with red LEDs. That looked OK, but I really wanted the filaments themselves to glow.

I bought some small 120-volt halogen bulbs that I found that had very loosely-wrapped filaments, planning to insert them into the body of a vacuum tube and turn them down with a dimmer switch. Those looked excellent, but I was forcefully reminded of one aspect of halogen lights: they get HOT. I might as well put a fire inside my computer. :facepalm: Needless to say I felt stupid.

So here's the answer. First off, check these out:



These are very cool, but I needed to light them from the inside. Take a look at these examples of what you can find in these little jewels:



Just amazingly complex assemblies in these things. I wanted the inside to glow but I couldn't get the light source into the tube with the insides there. So I hollowed some of them out:


I'll tell you, getting the insides out of a 50-year-old piece of thin glass that's wrapped around a vacuum without shattering it is not easy. I'd say I had a success rate of about 10%. Glad I had a lot of them!

So I hollowed them out, then I took some other, smaller tubes and just broke the glass and took out the interesting insides, whittled the glass base down enough to fit, and put the hollow shell of the first tube over the insides from the second:


Now they look cool but they still don't light up. I got to play with EL wire for the first time tonight. This stuff is awesome. Anyway, finished pics:







Woo hoo!!! And to top it all off, I found this awesome plaque on an old piece of electronics I got at my local flea market for $8:


"Department of the Navy - Office of Naval Research" "Special Devices Center". I couldn't have ordered a better sign. I added the stamped plate in the middle, a nice name for my fictitous power source.

All in all I think it came out great. I'm not entirely sold on the large EL wire on the front, around the plaque, but it's in there in such a way that I can take it out easily if I decide I don't like it.

The boy 4rm oz
11-17-2009, 09:02 AM
Damn man that looks awesome, the vacuum tubes add an amazing piece of detail to the build, I envy your luck in getting hold of so many that were intact. And that plaque, that plaque is so cool, I wish I had one.

A word of warning though, EL wire tends to burn out very quickly but before it dies completely it will keep getting duller until eventually there is no light source. Also is the purple your final colour choice? I would have thought an orange, a red or a white would have suited the theme better. Have you tried experimenting with LEDs? By the looks of things the center of some of those tubes is just large enough to hold a single amber LED :D.

Amazing work so far mate, keep it up, it is looking beautiful.

11-17-2009, 09:10 AM
Appreciate the info on the EL wire, I knew it died eventually. No big deal. And yes purple is my final color choice. I actually started with orange, but I thought the purple gave it more of the Jules Verne feel I'm looking for. I can tell you I'm *not* taking it all apart any time soon. When that EL wire dies it will stay dead. :)

11-17-2009, 09:37 AM
that EL wire looks awesome! +rep

The boy 4rm oz
11-17-2009, 09:50 AM
Ah ok. The purple reminds me of the new Wolfenstein game is all haha.

11-17-2009, 01:56 PM
I'm sorry blue, tbcs rules clearly state that this much awesome is not allowed in single post.:)
The rusts effects were amazing enough but the el wire tubes are insane! The plate had me grinning too.
If I might offer a suggestion on the el wire on the side of the psu, run it insde of polyethylene tubing (ice maker tubing) for a neon / plumbing look, maybe even rust effect it too?

Love the watermark btw.

11-17-2009, 02:24 PM
Thanks guys! :D Getting this part of this thing done has gotten a HUGE load off my mind. It's starting to keep me awake at night again. (Or during the day in my case.)

run it insde of polyethylene tubing (ice maker tubing) for a neon / plumbing look, maybe even rust effect it too?

That is an interesting idea. As I mentioned, I'm not sold on it myself, it's not as straight as I would have liked, but the tubing never occurred to me. I'm working with limited space there due to the side fan, but I'll definitely look into it, thanks!

11-17-2009, 02:34 PM
Simply Amazing work! Can't wait to see more!

11-17-2009, 03:45 PM

I need to change my shorts...

11-17-2009, 06:35 PM
Awesome :banana::banana::banana:.

I sure didn't see that coming, the rust paint job looks perfect, the bulbs with el wire inside and the awesome plaque (good find) is the cherry on the cake, nice work mate :), going to be an epic mod when you're done, just keeps getting better woohoo :up::):up:.

11-17-2009, 06:50 PM
Just beautiful. I love the vacuum tubes...if you could get a mini-jacob's-ladder-ish thing going between those two ears on the center one, it would be perfect :D

11-17-2009, 07:34 PM
Funny you should mention that. I was actually planning a jacob's ladder somewhere in or on the thing, but I decided the voltages involved were probably not a good idea that close to my hardware. :)

That's not to say I've entirely written the idea off as an accessory...

11-18-2009, 09:51 PM
after looking this over (and believe me, it's SO hard to nitpick on such an amazing build), I would advise sticking the EL wire you have around the plaque into tubing like you have on top of the PSU cover. (did someone else already suggest this? I feel like I read something similar earlier...but I'm tired and I don't feel like going back and checking :D ) anyway. I think if you do that, it'll straighten it out nicely, and it'll meld better with the rest of the cover. looks sweet though, love the purple!

How soon can you build me one? :rolleyes:

11-19-2009, 12:20 AM
Man that looks awesome i love the el wire and old tubes i know i get kinda sick thinking about all the cool stuff like that i had access to before i heard of modding . +rep dude loosk great

11-20-2009, 03:30 PM
Congrats on that work dude!! I liked a lot when the little gears started moving XD didn't think your plans included that!!

And those old tubes with EL wire are simply awesome!!!

I want moreee!!!!

11-23-2009, 10:47 PM
I can't believe I missed this update until now! Simply awesome!

The other thing I can't believe, is that we haven't moved this to the Featured section!

Well I can fix that right now! :D


11-23-2009, 10:50 PM
Congrats BoB!!! I missed that too, very cool effect with the EL wire. I just love clever solutions :freakedout:

11-24-2009, 02:58 AM
Wooo hooo!!!!!!

:banana: :banana:

Thanks, guys!

11-30-2009, 03:53 PM
WHAAAOOOO!!! how the hell did i miss this one! amazing projekt dude!

12-03-2009, 06:03 AM
congrats on the feature! :)

12-03-2009, 09:47 AM
featured in edbpriser.dk (http://www.edbpriser.dk/Articles/Article.aspx?aid={AB02F366-C25A-4F18-9183-E1353C3B804D})īs newsletter and itrends.dk (http://www.itrends.dk/5883/) ;)

love it man:up:

12-04-2009, 11:16 PM
Congrats on the International exposure BoB! Well deserved indeed, and thanks for pointing it out p0Pe!

12-05-2009, 04:54 AM
Hee hee. Very cool to see my work on a site that I can't read. :D

Thanks indeed Pope. :up:

12-05-2009, 11:48 AM
Hee hee. Very cool to see my work on a site that I can't read. :D

Thanks indeed Pope. :up:

Art is art no matter the language. And this is art.

12-07-2009, 05:54 PM
This mod is incredible, good job mate!

12-08-2009, 06:15 AM
Well, I broke my wonderful Asus full-ATX motherboard. :mad:

Good news is, I got a new board already, and while it's not the performer the Asus was, it has some good points. It's a microATX, which leaves more room inside for cool stuff to look at, it has more SATA ports and they are much better positioned, and best of all it has an industrial look to it so I don't have to cover it up:


I may end up painting or dying the blue bits on the board black, just for continuity (why in the hell did they put them on there anyway??), but probably not.

Since I don't want that big motherboard tray showing at the bottom I'm going to have to figure another way to mount it, but overall I like it a lot better for this build. Down to one video card, but that's OK. I have to say the only place I ever saw an improvement with Crossfire 4870 cards was in the benchmarks. One of those will do me just fine. :)

Stay tuned, I'm working on something extra special, update in a week or so. Muuuuahahahahahaaaaaa!

(Damn, that really doesn't carry well in text, does it?)

The boy 4rm oz
12-08-2009, 08:55 AM
MSI make great boards so you should be happy with the performance. It does fit in nicely with the style of the mod though. As for the blue parts on the mobo, you will probably not see the PCI-e slot with the card installed anyway, if it bothers you it's nothing some permanent marker can't fix. Hiding the VGA port is as simple as making an alu cover, painting it black and attaching it with some double sided tape.

12-08-2009, 08:22 PM
Hiding the VGA port is as simple as a black sharpie.

12-09-2009, 02:54 PM
Hiding the VGA port is as simple as a black sharpie.

LOL! A sharpie and duct tape will fix anything!

01-06-2010, 03:10 AM
Update!!! Wooo hooo!! :banana:

I've been wanting to do something with the top of this case since its inception, but I haven't been able to. The design calls for the top to be easily removable, so I couldn't tether it with any sort of wires or cables or even copper tubing. So I've been thinking it would be plain but for the angle iron on the edges and the corners. I figured out a way to add something to it. :D

First off, the victim:


This is an alarm clock that I found on Amazon for $25 shipped to my door. It is really a fascinating piece of work. It runs on 2 C batteries, and the motor in it has two shafts. The first turns most of the gears you can see in the picture slowly, but easily enough to see. The other shaft turns at a *much* slower speed and actually runs two gearsets to keep time in hours and minutes. Awesome little clock, as I said, but I've got plans.

First off, I stripped it and gave it the rust treatment (I have two of them because I screwed the first one up and had to order another for parts.)


I had to cut out some of the copper drive cage I made to add a mount for the new gearset, and I had to use a different motor. The one that came in it was a tiny little induction motor with exactly zero torque. A fruit fly could have stopped it. Not a buff fruit fly, either, I'm talking about the fruit fly that always got picked on in gym class. Obviously, one speck of rust in any of the gears and it was useless.

I got a little gearmotor from Solarbotics for $7 (and another $9 to ship it, %$#&*#@&*!!!!) and it works perfectly. After much deliberation, teardown, rebuilding, tearing down again, painting, sanding, filing, and many many examples of language foul enough to burn the hairs in the ears of your nearest Catholic bishop, I am finally satisfied with it. Many pics to follow, and hopefully a video. I realize that I have some minor touchup work to do, most notably the wiring, but also some minor paint flaws. It's not quite done, but very very close. :)












Video to follow soon I hope. :)

01-06-2010, 03:12 AM

Hee hee! The speed will be turned down in the finished product, but I need to run it like this for a while to wear in any tight spots where the rust paint is a little high.

01-06-2010, 03:55 AM
I like it...


That is very cool looking.

It would look great with some lighting inside of it. Not sure if you can swing it or not.

01-06-2010, 04:33 AM
Thanks! It will have the purple lighting from the vacuum tubes, and possibly one other source, still pondering that.

01-06-2010, 06:20 AM
BoB, I bestow upon ye the crown of Rust-King. No one does rust like you! lol

01-06-2010, 07:10 AM
Woo hoo!! A crown!!! :D

Edit: And no, Curtis, regardless of what you may have heard it is NOT a tiara. It is a CROWN.

01-06-2010, 01:25 PM
That is some beautiful work there; I think the only thing that would make it better is if it actually still worked as a clock :D

..also, you sir, just got sig-quoted :P

A fruit fly could have stopped it. Not a buff fruit fly, either, I'm talking about the fruit fly that always got picked on in gym class.

01-06-2010, 01:42 PM
I really like it. thumbs up the rust is also perfect.

01-06-2010, 05:01 PM
Rust-King :D lol, great to see it coming along, keep it up BoB :up:.

The boy 4rm oz
01-06-2010, 09:12 PM
Dude, that looks amazing. Fantastic work as always mate. It is fitting together very well.

01-09-2010, 02:46 AM
Dude, impressive gear search fu. How did you ever find that clock? It's perfect! I still can't get over how real the rust effect looks. Even close up it looks like rusted steel. Awesome, awesome work!

01-09-2010, 03:12 AM
Thanks very much. I stumbled across that clock during some gear research. They have others also, which I plan to put to use. :whistler:

And yes the iron effect is almost perfect. I'm not entirely satisfied with the appearance of the green and blue highlights, they're too bright in places, but overall very happy. I think it's cool that I can apply that finish to anything. That ring around the gearset is plexi. The "rivets" on it are thumbtacks. :D That's real rust on those, I used Metal Effects rust activator and a MAPP gas torch to do them.

01-09-2010, 11:57 AM
One word describes this mod. EPIC

I saw this (http://www.ponoko.com/showroom/Whystler/igor-laboratory-lamp-3204) while browsing Ponoko and immediately thought of you.

EDIT: He actually has some pretty cheap gear train sets (http://www.ponoko.com/showroom/Whystler/shadow-wall-gears-kinetic-wall-art-2949)... $12

01-15-2010, 10:39 PM
looks great man.. loving it!

02-06-2010, 06:46 AM
Update time! I'd really like to watercool this machine. With a good water-cooling setup the pump is inaudible, and as such I've always liked flow indicators. As usual, I prefer the mechanical variety, as opposed to digital or LED. The ones with a window and an impeller.

So, this machine will have a flow sight indicator on it, but I want to be able to see it from outside the machine, and since it won't have a window that put me in a quandary. These indicators are simple, water flow spins an impeller and you look at the impeller through a window. I had to figure out how to transfer that motion outside the case. I want to see motion, I don't want to see water.

I started with this:


Simple aluminum flow indicator I got from Thermaltake, $13 delivered to my door. I even came with three sizes of compression fittings.


The impeller rides on the little plastic spoke inside the plexi windows. To tranfer motion from the impeller to the outside of the indicator housing I decided to use magnets:


Cheap powerful neodymium magnets I got off of Ebay for a couple of dollars. These things are fun all by themselves.

I don't have the parts to watercool this case, so this is just a proof-of-concept model to make sure I can make it work before any serious building happens. I had to affix some of these magnets to the impeller, and in the final assembly that will be done with epoxy. For this test I used tape. :)


And here is the test assembly together with 1/2" fittings and the newly-modified impeller:


Without any actual water-cooling components, my test setup is crude but effective. I used a $7 fountain pump from Harbor Freight and some cheap tubing from Lowe's.


This will be going on the front panel of the case, through two sheets of 1/8" plexi and one sheet of 1/2" plywood. I built a test setup to match that and assembled a magnetic coupler to drive a shaft to turn a gear on the outside of the front of the case:


Got the indicator assembly clamped up and slid the test setup up to it to check the clearances. see the end of the shaft where it touches the plexi? Tiny point on the shaft, this thing is going to have to be damn near frictionless to work. In case any of you are wondering you can't buy mag-lev bearings this small.


So to the test. I am sorry to say that this took WAY longer than I thought it would. I had to go through a dozen configurations or more to find the one that worked. From three magnets on each impeller fin to two to three on just one fin, different combinations on the coupler gear, etc etc etc. But I got it!


Ha! Lots to do with this yet, obviously, but it works.

02-06-2010, 07:43 AM
Awesome blue! Bet you were grinning when you finally got it to work.

02-06-2010, 01:37 PM
Ingenious idea!

02-06-2010, 08:58 PM
Nicely done. Now I see why you were asking about magnets in WC loops ;P

02-07-2010, 09:41 AM
:alien: :up:, Thats going to make a very unique feature blue, dunno where you pulled that idea from but its awesome :banana:.

02-08-2010, 02:15 AM
Well, I'm in for it now. I found this water block (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835708019)for $35 and I couldn't pass it up.


Isn't it pretty??

Unfortunately, I'm at the point in the design that I have to have all my components on hand to plan the placement of everything, so this will really slow down my progress until I get my radiator(s) and pump.

02-12-2010, 01:30 AM
Well, that didn't slow me down all that long, did it? My impulse control is sadly considerably lower than my credit limit. Bad for me, good for this build.



The basics of what I hope to be an excellent loop. With the components I have and no plans to overclock a single dual-pass 120 radiator should be plenty. I'll be researching tubing tomorrow, since of course regular tubing of any sort just won't work. I've got something in mind but it will require some very specific parts that may or may not exist. Hopefully I'll know tomorrow, but at least I've got what I need to finish planning the layout now. Woo hoo!!!!!

02-15-2010, 08:45 PM
OK, it's time to get this thing done. I only have one functional motherboard and video card at the moment, so every time I want to work on it I have to move the motherboard from my main system to this case for reference, as I'm down to that stage of the build. That plain sucks, so I've ordered a new board, exactly like the one I use, so it can stay in the shop inside this case. It has on-board video so I can move the video card from my system to this case also. That should speed things up considerably, and when I'm done I'll have an extra micro ATX board that will work beautifully for a HTPC. :)

I've also found another motivation. I bought Bioshock 2 two hours after its release. I've been waiting to play this game since the original. I've decided that I will not play it until I can play it on Clockwork. This is a first for me, the game is in my closet and not installed. Maybe this will help me get this thing done. Cross your fingers.

On progress, I am happy to report that I have solved at least half of the tubing issue and it will be absolutely beautiful. More news on that as it happens.

02-15-2010, 09:30 PM
Hehe, good idea for motivation :), the game is awesome blue. I've seen quite a few knocking it on forums but I guess they don't know what a great game is ;).

02-22-2010, 04:30 AM
Update time. I've been pretty busy lately and haven't had time to work on this like I should, but I managed to get a major visual feature done tonight. :D

I've wanted some bubbling tubes in this thing since the beginning. I finally got them. I started with a bubble light normally used for a Christmas decoration.


After some careful Dremel and razor work, we get the useful part:


The copper elbows I'm using were almost big enough. The difference was actually less than the thickness of the copper walls. I managed to drill out the straight portions by 1/64" to get the tube to fit. That was a joy.


Here they are mounted. They look cool just like this.


Small automotive 12-volt light bulbs are inserted into the bottom of the copper elbow from the rear of the panel.




02-22-2010, 05:04 AM
haha those are freakin sweet man! we used to have those bubbly lights on our christmas tree back in the dizzay. I think my rents still have them. +rep for ingenuity and the nostalgia. :D

02-22-2010, 05:20 AM
Thanks, I have to say I am really happy with the way they turned out.

I forgot one other thing I got done. After much thought I decided on the Aerocool Extreme Turbine fan for the rear exhaust/radiator fan, for aesthetic reasons:


I love the way it looks, the blades and the cone give it the industrial look I wanted, and it is dead silent, but it doesn't move hardly any air at all.

I had a Thermaltake turbo fan on hand, which turns much faster and moves plenty of air, but doesn't look as good. So I took the blade assembly off of each of them. The shaft diameter is the same, but the motor on the Thermtake fan is considerably smaller. Just to try it, I mounted the turbine blade on the turbo fan housing and even though the motor is a good 3/16" further from the magnets on the blade it turns it much faster and moves a lot more air. Looks better too:


Do any electricians know if I'm looking for trouble with the motor/magnet gap being so high? I don't see how myself, but I know motors can be picky about their load, especially cheap little DC motors like these.

Dueling Chainsaws
03-01-2010, 03:42 AM
Do those fans spin in opposite directions? If they do then you could stack them for more airflow. Additionally it creates a weird visual effect when looking at it strait on.

The boy 4rm oz
03-05-2010, 06:58 AM
Nice progress Blue, it looking really good, I love this mod :D.

03-05-2010, 12:09 PM
The bubble lights look awesome & cool thinking on switching the fan blades, I've often thought it would be great is some fans had better motors, & now you've gone & done it :) I don't know the techy side if they'll be fine, but I don't really see why not, transformer fans ftw :D.

03-14-2010, 12:38 PM
I'm still loving this work, more and more every day!! congrats on the sponsors and on the lights!!!

03-23-2010, 08:12 PM
oh my god that bouble light looks amazing! do the fluid just have a low boiling point or something? Thats a wicked cool idea man!

03-24-2010, 02:03 PM
I think it's an alcohol based liquid, so yeah it has a low boiling point, and since it's sealed it has nowhere to evaporate to. I've always loved them during christmas time, never thought you could work it into something though. Nice.

04-14-2010, 09:58 PM
Been a while since I updated this, and I'm sorry to say there are no updates today, just a question for the masses.

I'm going to have eight fan/speed control knobs on the front of this case, via two 4-channel controllers, and I'm trying to think of something I can use for the knobs themselves. My first thought was Bakelite knobs off of some old electronics, and that would work, but the odds of finding eight identical knobs are slim in my area, and I was thinking something older-looking would be better. The best I could come up with were small valve handles like these, in brass. Problem is, they have to be tiny, like an inch in diameter.


Anyone have any suggestions?

Edit: Small brass dials off of combination locks would be absolutely perfect, but cost-prohibitive. :)

04-14-2010, 10:12 PM
I think those valve handles would look great.

04-14-2010, 10:17 PM
maybe find a model ship and use the steering wheel from it :? or something to that effect

04-14-2010, 10:18 PM
maybe find a model ship and use the steering wheel from it :? or something to that effect

Now that's an interesting idea. +rep for creativity :D

04-14-2010, 11:03 PM
These would also be great, but McMaster doesn't have them small enough. Which means they don't exist.


04-14-2010, 11:13 PM
Cabinet knobs

or something like this?



What about keyholes and brass skeleton keys?

Edit: Small brass dials off of combination locks would be absolutely perfect, but cost-prohibitive.

What do these look like?

04-14-2010, 11:19 PM
Oooooooo... I love the bottom right, #4bc-132, those are very cool.

The boy 4rm oz
04-15-2010, 07:12 AM
Yeah I like the bottom right as well.

04-23-2010, 12:07 AM
What do these look like?

Sorry, I missed this the first time. I'm thinking like these (only smaller):


04-23-2010, 01:07 AM
A friend of mine suggested these:


They're *perfect*, but I can't figure out the size. It's an HO scale Ajax brake wheel from a model train setup. HO scale looks to be 1:87 (correct me if I'm wrong), anyone know how big an actual brake wheel is/was?

04-23-2010, 02:33 AM

04-23-2010, 02:36 AM
Post office box combination knobs!!! I wouldn't have thought of that in a million years. :D

04-23-2010, 02:47 AM
HO scale is tiny. G Scale is what you want.


Those wheels are about 16" inches (varies depending on train) in size so G-scale (assuming 1:24) would be 2/3". Still pretty small.

Post office box combination knobs!!! I wouldn't have thought of that in a million years.

:), I've got a couple doors in the modder closet that you're welcome to. Unfortunately the knobs are aluminum. I can grab photos if you're interested.

Like this http://cgi.ebay.com/1958-Vintage-Post-Office-Postal-Mail-Box-Door-Bank-/330426323519?cmd=ViewItem&pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4ceef1923f

04-23-2010, 03:52 AM
I'd love to see some photos, when you get time. :up:

You don't know what I would give to see the entirety of your "modder closet".

05-14-2010, 05:50 AM
Yes, I've changed it again. I've decided to use just one DVD drive, that's really all I need anyway and it frees up a lot of room. I decided to run two fan controllers on it, for all the fans and also speed control for the geartrains.

I made a mistake on the rear panel. Since I would have to build a new panel for that, and also a new panel for the front due to the changes, *and* since I plan to rebuild the left side panel also (just not satisfied with it), I decided to build a whole new case. I was worried about space and this was a good opportunity to make some. Here are a couple of comparison shots to show how much bigger the new case is than the old:



Quite a bit more room, but I still managed to keep it with a reasonable footprint, unlike my last creation.

I also, for one of the few times in my life, have bowed to function over form. I decided against the custom water-cooling loop I had in mind, which was to be made of solid acrylic tube and copper elbows. It would have been very cool, but parts fail, far too often, and I really wouldn't want to take it apart. So the whole build has now taken on practicality as an imperitive. Hardware should be easy to access and easy to replace if needed. I'm going to have to take a whole different approach to the build.

So anyway, pics of the update. The new front panel is almost done:


I kept the bubble tubes in the same spot, but the rest is new. I moved the single DVD drive to the right, and will stealth the door in an industrial style. The fan controllers are to the left, and I have to find better knobs for them.

When I started this I planned to have a pair of gears linked to the hard drive activity leads on the motherboard so they spun when the drive spun. That idea didn't work, as any motor I found with a decent response time drew *way* too many amps for those leads. That's where the gauge below the DVD drive comes in. I'll have to do another writeup on that when it's done, but the front that's mounted there is from an old voltmeter I found at a flea market.

The switch on the left is the power switch. Here's the back:


It's not a momentary switch, but it is a three-position switch. I'll just hook the power leads to the two prongs on the switch that close in the middle position. That way to turn the machine off or on I just turn the knob fully from one side to the other. Cross the middle position on the way and it acts as a momentary switch. The feel of the switch is perfect, but I have to make a baseplate for it with some writing of some kind.

I've gotten the holes cut for the front inputs, two USB and one eSATA.


When I'm done there will be two magnets inset into the wood, one on either side of the ports. When not in use, this beautiful brass gear has an iron back plate on it, and will stick to the magnets to cover the ports. The stem on the gear even works very well as a handle.


On to the inside:


In place of the custom water loop I've decided to use a Corsair H50 closed-loop water cooler. Cosmetically it's wonderful, and with the addition of some paint and a few well-placed doodads it will be absolutely perfect.


The fan controllers are visible there, as well as the DVD drive. What you're seeing in the pic is an acrylic drive box that I made for it, so that I can paint it and make it fit the theme, but if the drive fails I just have to replace the drive, and not worry about having to paint anything again. Practicality. :)


That's about it for now. VGA cooling is next I think. The cooler I have is great, but it doesn't have any sort of ducting to either draw in ambient air or to expel the hot air, so I'm going to try to route fresh air from outside the case straight through the cooling fins, with no chance for it to go anywhere else first. I'll be using this little crossflow fan:


That's it for now, more news as it happens. :D

05-14-2010, 12:45 PM
Looks great, I love the new front panel!

The boy 4rm oz
05-15-2010, 01:55 AM
I really like how you staggered the fan controllers, you get a great effect on the front panel. I also like your cover for the USB and e-SATA port, excellent work.

05-20-2010, 02:23 AM
Just another parts question for the masses. Anyone know where I can find more of these?


It's a faceted lens for a light bulb, only about 1/2" in diameter. My Google Fu has failed me. I got this one off an old electronic test board of some kind I found at a flea market, but there's nothing else there that has them.

Edit: Correction, I had the source of this item confused. I got this from a friend who acquired it from an aircraft boneyard.

The boy 4rm oz
05-20-2010, 09:01 AM
Sorry my friend, I haven't been able to find anything like that off the shelf either but I have thought up a way for you to make something similar yourself.

We all know you can get surface mounts for LEDs right. So why not combine THIS (http://www.phenoptix.com/shop/10mm-chrome-effect-plastic-holders-p-137.html) with THIS (http://ecoscraps.com/files/2009/05/plastic-jewels.jpg) and possibly make your own? Of course they will be smaller in size but could possibly save you a headache. If you use a white LED and frost the bulb with some sand paper you could get a nice glow.

You could also try making holders from scratch from some plexi or alu, you could still use the jewels to get your desired colour and shape.

05-20-2010, 03:33 PM
That is outstanding! I can adapt that idea to many things, including one that I was still puzzling over. Some engineer at MSI really loves his lights, and decided it would be a good idea to embed a ludicrously bright blue LED into the upper portion of this motherboard that flashes like a HDD activity light. I've been wondering how to deal with it, and these plastic jewels are just the thing. If I put a light red one over it, that should turn this annoyingly bright blue LED into a nice dim purple, and look old to match the theme.

Edit: I have since realized that this won't work, as I won't be mixing blue and red light, but instead filtering blue light to the red wavelength. It will be red. And that's all right.

Not I have to figure out how to give plastic a patina. :D


Edit: Modder's intuition tells me that Mach has a drawer somewhere dedicated to nothing but these lenses. In several sizes and colors.

05-20-2010, 08:24 PM


The green ones are glass dots from 1950s cars. They were apparently used as insert for tail lights and come in all sorts of colors. The rest came from a local electronics surplus store. I can check for a particular color if you're interested. Note dime for scale.


Here's the gas lamp pipes that I was telling you about. They're a little bit bigger than 1/4" thick and about 8 to 10 inches long.


Here's an auction to give you an idea of the different shapes that you can find.

The boy 4rm oz
05-20-2010, 09:16 PM
Not a problem, glad I could help :D. I am very interested in how this all turns out.

05-20-2010, 11:03 PM
Ooooooo, the pipes are beautfiul! I'll have to think on how I could utilize something like that.

On the lenses, if you can find any purple ones please let me know, the smaller the better. Appreciate it!

05-24-2010, 07:21 AM
I did some digging and came up with these. They are Fender Amp panel indicators.

Red -

Violet -

They come in all kinds of colors including clear.

Not a bad price either. Hope this is what your looking for.

05-24-2010, 08:44 PM
Absolutely perfect! THANKS!!!!

08-13-2010, 07:10 AM

08-18-2010, 06:39 AM
I've been working on some finish and paint on this thing. I got the new panels finished using the same color as the last one but with an extra coat for a little more shine. After buffing it with 0000 steel wool I got a very nice satin look.

Also been doing some rust painting again. Remember these?


Now they look much better.



Can you believe I DID that?? :D The motherboard tray and expansion slot covers are done also, and the optical drive box I built is almost done. That is turning out very well.

08-18-2010, 07:43 AM
those came out great! nice work!

08-18-2010, 12:33 PM
Wow, nice rust!

...ok, that just sounds weird...

Are you going to be aging the wood any?

08-18-2010, 03:28 PM
LOL.. I should follow this thing more closely. I saw your post from May about the jewel light, and I instantly thought, "That looks like the one on a vintage fender amp!"

Then CJ beat me to it.. also in May.

08-18-2010, 04:08 PM
.. also in May.

Yeah, yeah, I know. I've been busy. Hope to have some more pics of the newly-aged components up soon. Next will be the angle iron I made for the corners and then to age and dress up my H50 cooler.

Are you going to be aging the wood any?

No, I don't think so. There are a couple of chips in the veneer, and with that, the old controls gauges and gears on the outside and the rusted angle iron all the way around it I think it will look perfect as is.

12-12-2010, 08:22 PM
I seem to remember you mentioning something about a Jacobs Ladder to me once. Well if the High Voltage is too much, this might be the perfect solution. http://hackaday.com/2010/12/12/jacobs-ladder-using-el-wire/

12-12-2010, 11:40 PM
Now that is exceedingly cool. +rep for the find, thanks!

I'm also seriously digging whatever that light is to the left of his Jacob's ladder in the video, you have any idea what that's called?

12-13-2010, 12:45 AM
Plasma tube http://www.strattman.com/products/plasma/tube.html

12-13-2010, 08:46 AM
You are very welcome. I check HaD about 15 times a day and when I saw that I just had to show it to you. Thanks for the Rep!

Yea it looks like a plasma tube to me as well.

02-11-2011, 07:56 PM
As much as it saddens me to say it, as of today this project is offically dead.

Countless hours and many dollars went into this project, but I enjoyed it and learned a lot from it. And that's really what modding is all about for me.

Hopefully someday you will come across some other derivation of the theme from me on these pages, as I do love the way it was going, but I promise you I won't subject you to Clockwork vIII. :)

02-11-2011, 08:02 PM
Aww, I got all excited. :(

Oh well, it was fun while it lasted, yeah?

02-11-2011, 11:00 PM
Oh well, it was fun while it lasted, yeah?

Yeah is was. :D

02-12-2011, 12:13 AM
Ugh sorry to hear that mate :( really liked this one, had many awesome touches but like you say you had fun & learnt a ton more things from doing it so your next if you have another go at a mod (which I sure hope you do mate) should be even better :up:.

I written off my first scratch build but learnt quite a lot from it so wasn't too much of a loss.

02-12-2011, 01:24 PM
b.o.b how did you get the rust effect? Is it really just painted or has it actually been allowed to weather naturally? It's a great effect and I could use something like that lol Very very cool :)

02-12-2011, 01:40 PM
Sorry to hear that but onward and upward, what does the blueonblack secret labs have planned next?

02-12-2011, 01:43 PM
b.o.b how did you get the rust effect? Is it really just painted or has it actually been allowed to weather naturally? It's a great effect and I could use something like that lol Very very cool :)

Thanks very much. It is actually painted on, and took me a LOT of trial and error to get just right. I was planning (and had actually started) a tutorial on it but Life got in the way once again. It took seven layers of different effects to get that look, but you can make *anything* look like old rusted iron. A lot the rusted parts on this are plastic and one is even wood. :D If you want a step-by-step on the process let me know.

The boy 4rm oz
02-13-2011, 02:02 AM
That sucks mate, I was really looking forward to this one getting finished, was looking awesome.

02-13-2011, 06:50 AM
Oh, just seen that it's over, didn't notice that yesterday. That's a shame b.o.b it looks really great.

02-13-2011, 08:58 AM
That sucks mate, I was really looking forward to this one getting finished, was looking awesome.

Oh, just seen that it's over, didn't notice that yesterday. That's a shame b.o.b it looks really great.

Thanks guys. Yes I was very happy with the way it was going, but I've recently had to move and my shop has become the vessel for chaos incarnate. Add to that a major schedule change and pay cut at work and my modding time and funds have dried up. I like this piece well enough not to want to see it gathering dust in my attic, never to be touched again. Add to that my desire for a fresh start and I've decided to let it go.

As I mentioned, you'll see another project from me along this line in the future. One of the things I learned from this one was to think long and hard about the design, get it *finished* on paper, gather *all* the parts and supplies I need before I start and then do it, start to finish. This project took so many turns in design along the way that I had to start a new worklog and change the name. That was fun in a sense, but it is not conducive to a completed project. When I built Onyx (http://www.thebestcasescenario.com/forum/showthread.php?t=14476) I knew what it would be when it was done.

So sometime in the future you will likely see another worklog. When you do, it will go a lot more quickly and in a lot straighter path than this one.

02-13-2011, 02:42 PM
Just out of interest B.O.B... How far from finished would this thing be if you put it back in the old case? If you still have it that is... I've just looked through the whole worklog for the first time and it's amazing. Now I've seen everything you've done I can really agree with these guys that it's a real shame we'll never see it finished. How about just finishing it up however you can and auctioning it off or something? Bet someone would take it, I certainly would but I have no money either :p Just seems so sad to have all that time and effort go into something that noone will ever get to enjoy...

02-14-2011, 09:43 AM
I agree, but someone *did* get to enjoy it. I enjoyed it a great deal, as did those who followed this worklog, or so I'd like to think. In fact, I enjoyed it well enough not to want to finish it anything less than all the way. All the time and money weren't wasted if the time was enjoyed and things were learned along the way.

You'll see elements of this case in the next one, and the next one will go a lot more smoothly (and hopefully get finished) for what I learned on this one. Yes, it's a shame it won't see completion, but I don't regret the doing for a minute.

For a direct answer to your question, if I had to guess (and that's all it would be), I'd have to say to finish it right would take at least another 50 hours of work and another $200-$300. Unfortunately, by the time I have either of those available to me, the design will have changed in my head yet again. No, this one was a lot of fun but I need to stop where I'm at.

02-14-2011, 12:05 PM
Well consider me pre-subbed to your next one and good luck in advance! What's happened to the geared assembly you had on top of the old case? I loved that, would be nice to see it used in the future. But then I liked most of it to be honest so roll on the next one!

02-14-2011, 12:13 PM
Well consider me pre-subbed to your next one and good luck in advance!

Thanks. :D

What's happened to the geared assembly you had on top of the old case?

That is with the other parts at the moment but I may salvage it. That was a righteous pain the *$$ to get right, and being kind of a self-contained element I may well use it in the next one. We'll see.

02-14-2011, 12:39 PM
That was a righteous pain the *$$ to get right

Well you did get it right, definitely! It looks awesome, definitely hold onto it for the future if you can. I'm sure sooner or later it'll find a perfect home :D

02-18-2011, 05:47 PM
Ah man, say it ain't so... I really liked where this was going.

02-18-2011, 06:13 PM
Ah man, say it ain't so... I really liked where this was going.

Yeah Jon, 'fraid it's so. I loved where it was going too, but it was never going to get there.

You'll like where the next one goes even more. :D

03-05-2012, 03:59 AM
Necro bump. Your working on another project now. Any plans to resume this? I have questions about it.

03-05-2012, 07:41 AM
Sorry, but no. This one is done for. Ask any questions you like though.

03-05-2012, 08:21 AM
What did you do with all the old parts?
What rust paint did you use? (I reread but didn't see it)
Where did you get the gears?

03-05-2012, 09:14 AM
The parts are in a box in my new basement workshop.

The rust paint was a 6- or 7-step process that started with a product that is evidently not available any more: American Accents faux rust. The process is described briefly on page 7, post #64.

I'm sure it could be duplicated without the American Accents kit, it provided the flat rust-red bottom coat but that could be found in a different paint. The biggest advantage was the texture. It had really fine grit in it that made the parts even feel like rust. Combine that with the Modern Masters Metal Effects top coat and they even smelled like it.

The gears were sourced from two places. The brass gears came out of clocks I scavenged from local flea markets and one movement I got from a local clock shop. The plastic gears are Lego Technics and can be had by the piece or by the lot at bricklink.com. You can buy just about any Lego piece ever made there, one or a hundred at a time.