View Full Version : LotusBlossom

08-24-2005, 08:41 PM
first off..... a little something to introduce myself.

i am still awaiting the arrival of the actual **case** that i will be working with for this project, but i'm dying to do something. so i ... um ... MODDED my monitor.
"modded in all capital letters? that's craaaaazy!" you say. well, when you see what i've done i think you'll understand just what kind of mad skillZ you're dealing with here. ok, before:
that's right people. i was poor and in college, and the monitor was a gift from my parents. at least it's a step up from CRT. well, that was then.
THIS IS NOW!!!!! (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/monitor02.jpg)

yeah, be-atch! flip back and forth a couple of times so you really get the full effects of my master craftsmanship.

ha. ok. if you're still reading this and i haven't lost ALL credibility already.... here's an outline of what i'm going to do, and also some pics of me testing one process.

i'm moving a few old parts and several new parts (nothing mind blowingly spectacular) into a new system that i'm going to use as a rather low-traffic webserver for two websites that i run and all my mail and other goodies. (gotta love the Gentoo, people) i'll be working with an all crystal clear, acrylic mATX case and adding a few more drives than the case manufacturer suggests, but not adding any PCI cards because i really don't need screaming fast graphics for my command line. i'm looking forwards to the challenges of working with the tight space and the nowhere-to-hide aspect of the acrylic. note: many HUGE thanks to those who have been posting to help me sort out my cooling issues <3 you rock.

this is what's going in the box:
mATX socket 754 sempron 2800+ mobo
3.5" Floppy & 8-1 Card Reader
2 HDDs
5.25" Fan/Light controller
2 80mm intake fans
1 120mm outflow

because all my hardware is separated into three zones: 1. motherboard/cpu heatsink, 2. PSU, and 3. drives , with no extra gobbledygook, i got the idea to sheath each of the three areas in a thin box.

see what i mean:
side view (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/plans_revised.jpg) (old version on left, improved version on right)
front view (old version) (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/plans_front.jpg)

the zone with the motherboard will be surrounded with a white holey mesh (maybe metal, not sure yet) that will allow plenty of airflow but still visually obsure the board's components. OH - unless the motherboard arrives to me and it's purple. i think it might be purple. cuz that would rock and i would totally leave it uncovered to go with the theme..... don't be scared. the other two areas will be covered with super-thin wooded cubes (think balsa) with slightly rounded corners. each of these will be all white. all the cables are white. the fans are white-translucent. everything will be covered in a superhard, supershiny epoxy layer that will create an ipod sort of surface. that's right - it's a clear case with all white glossy insides. this is because when i first saw acrylic cases with all the components showing, i thought it was the coolest thing ever, but now i feel like i've been there done that (no offense to anyone) and i'd like to do something a little different.

but in the end, that miiight get kind of boring. so i've got some UV paint that dries very close to clear. (that totally needs to be tested cuz if it sucks i have to rework this idea) i've read the reviews, people, you don't have to tell me that some people have had problems. i'm gonna try to figure something out with it. sooo assuming it does actually work, i'm going to paint traditional style lotus blossoms in UV green and purple in a few strategic places and do some other decorating. anyway ... i don't want to talk out of my ass yet if the UV paint gets all messed up. so while i wait for the UPS man to pay me a visit, i tested an idea that i totally decided against. but hey - that's part of the process!!! i was **going** to cover the drives themselves in very thin acrylic, and then paint that white and epoxy it. but... i realized grouping the components together made the look cleaner, easier to pull off, and provided more channels for airflow. oh, and i will also be working in a more, um, workshoppy area than my livingroom in the pics. but The L Word was on!

without any more ado... the pictures of things that will completely not be in the final project. yea!!!

practice safe modding!

laying out the design and measurements


uncovering the cut acrylic (it was really thin, i could use a utility knife)

i should really do my nails.

right angles are our friends!

testing size of first mock-up. this is the point when i said, "DUH i should, like, cover all the drives at ONCE!" ha. ha.


it will be cool. i promise.


08-26-2005, 11:35 PM
so now that i'm NOT sitting with no power in the middle of hurricane force winds, i thought i might finally get around to doing some test painting. overall, i'm quite happy with the method that i used and the final results, although the one OBVIOUS problem was that there is some "fuzz" around my stencil lines which is easily fixed with some spray adhesive when i'm stenciling. no biggie. at any rate...

so i'm planning on having these all white covers inside my clear case, which have some UV art that is invisible unless the UV lights are on. here's the image/theme i'm going to use, it's a lotus blossom. they're pretty. also, i've been saying that i'm going to get a lotus blossom tattoo on my neck for like 5 years now, so this should placate me for a while.

this was achieved through a high tech method called "tracing against a window." works great. i actually traced it really thinly and then beefed up the lines later based on where i though the positive/negative cuts would look best later.

i placed this transparent template plastic (meant for quilting i think) on top of my traced picture and cut out where necessary with an exacto knife.

this is at a bit of an angle or you can't see the stencil at all. it matches nicely.

test board i painted white. in the future i'd spend more time sanding priming and preping but i really just wanted to get to the painting!

stencil on the board, ready to go.

the UV paint i'm using.

this is a big UV light i had left over from high school, when apparently i thought that at any moment my bedroom might turn into the best club ever and demand some high quality lighting scheme....

painting like this is so boring....

but painting like this is COOL!

random art shot. moving stuff around.

the big reveal

like i said, a light spray adhesive would have solved that fuzzy problem. the parts where the lines are crisp do look nice though, just what i was going for. one comment... this is supposed to be PURPLE and green, not BLUE and green, but maybe if one had their blue paint next to it then this would look purple. in fact, in the picture it looks more purple than it does in person. i dunno. i was also really happy that the WHITE board didn't glow like crazy under the UV light. that was one thing i was testing for. also, i left two of the green leaves uncovered and painted over them with the purple to see what would happen. surprisingly (or not, as purple and green are almost complementary), it created kind of a soft whitish glow, something that would be very useful for highlighting later.

the board in the light again - the UV paint is entirely clear. kinda makes me want to paint all over my apartment just before i move out....

comments? and don't say the fuzz!!!!

:p amberella

08-27-2005, 08:50 PM
well as i said i would, i got some spray adhesive to fix my overspray lines and the results were great. also, i created two templates that would have some overlap to control where the highlighting would be. take a look.

penciled shading to decide what goes on what template.

side by side and on top of each other.

useless but fun action shot. i should play some grateful dead or something when i paint UV.

layer one done

both layers

more realistic coloring. yea!

i need some ideas of other things that would go with this theme to use as borders, etc. i thought japanese symbols, but too overdone. dragons? maybe a little violent for me. i like the asian zen theme i'm going with.... suggestions?

:p amberella

10-12-2005, 10:14 AM
On a side note, there is an incredible Japanese garden and gallery near my house that I went to this weekend with my girlfriend. If you're still working on this mod, I could go shoot some reference photos for you, there are some great scenes there to shoot. Great flat stones creating a walkway across the pond leading to an island with a wooden bridge and a huge artificial waterfall. Very neat place.

Wow - that would be awesome if you're already gonna be there. I actually finished a 70mm fan cover that i did an Ouroboros design around the fan hole and then kind of..... "japanese dragonized" it. I'm very happy with the results... must post pic. And I love your photo and idea, btw. Definitely something I could work with.

a standard ouroboros design (just for reference so you know what I'm talking about ... the one I drew is more "hefty" and has talons in the style of a traditional japanese dragon design and some small wings just cuz i like 'em and cuz i wanted a slight celtic influence):

In other news, I wanted to drop in and explain my absence since this worklog began:

1. Was looking for a job/moving to Manhattan - very time consuming flying back and forth and pretending to be all stuffy and businesslike.

2. During job search, current firm closed (like, forever) and so I will be officially out of a job in 2 weeks. Job search intensified.

3. My current firm's sysadmin (and entire IT dept... and friend) decided to start a consulting firm for other brokerages/businesses down here, based on all the work offers he's had over the last few months. And (drumroll, please) he's asked me to partner with him on the venture. =D So I will be doing the web design, custom app coding, etc. in addition to all the financials (accounting, balance sheets, CFO stuff). I actually wrote some software for my current now-defunct firm that was ready to be deployed THE MORNING they closed, lol. So..... source code... mine.


4. You might remember that I had this whole ipod-y box idea, which was going really well. I was cutting out all the pieces when - WHAM - utility knife slipped and i sliced through my thumb. Like -THROUGH my thumb. No exaggeration. Longways from the knuckle through the nail and out the front tip. It was connected by a tiny little piece of skin. So emergency room and 12 stitches and a lot of Perkoset later, I'm down to a bandaid now and can almost bend it. Yikes. Watch out kids, don't play with knives. I was gonna post a picture for you here, but I didn't want anyone to be like, "dumbass.... you shouldn't have been cutting like that..." which is, of course, true - but you know when you think "I just have one tiny little thing to cut just this once......" Yeah, it sucked hardcore.

At any rate, I'm settling down again and ready to start work again, so come back and check out my progress, and I'll post the dragon pics soon.

Thanks for reading, everyone!!

amberella :p

10-17-2005, 02:28 PM
RE: Hurricane

That sucks! Apocolypse planning can be fun if you have enough weapons at your disposal. ;)

RE: Pics of my thumb

Yea.... it is healing so well right now that i think it's not even that gross anymore. half my thumbnail still may fall off though, so i could post that! sidenote: i ran into this guy that i occasionally play shows with (i play guitar) and he was like, "what happened to you, you dropped off the face of the map" and i just held up my thumb. the look on his face was priceless. i can't press the buttons on a remote yet, let alone hold down a bar chord. se la vie.

amberella :)

10-17-2005, 02:30 PM
Quick question: Is that the same dragon as the tattoo on Scully's back in the X-Files?

nice catch (or did my signature quote give it away??)! I think that graphic may be the same one. The one I drew (not posted yet) is different. But yes, Scully's tattoo was indeed my inspiration. I've been a crazy obsessive x-phile since the show started in 93. jesus - now i feel old.

oh, and thanks for the compliments. it'll rock if i can get back to work.

amberella :p

11-02-2005, 03:43 PM

PRAISE RANDOM DIETY OF YOUR CHOICE - I FINALLY HAVE POWER & INTERNET AGAIN ... i couldn't get a hot shower OR slashdot for a WEEK!!!! :eek:

once again here's me...

like - wtf??!! the universe soooo hates me. bonus, though, of being bff with the sysadmin - the first day after the hurricane that we were actually allowed back in the office, he told everyone that the generator was running low on diesel and he had to shut it down and have everyone go home. then we came back, fired that sh*t up, watched movies on the CEO's big screen tv, and drank 3 bottles of 1986 merlot he found in the server room, lol.

anyways --- thank you all so much for your kind words, let me see if i can respond accordingly:

congrats on the upgrade to a Feature!yeah thanks, i totally didn't even notice that until you said something. i should really get my ass back to work!!!

GO 'WAY, WILMA! see above - yeah, i hear ya. everything here is destroyed. there's trees everywhere, traffic signals in the middle of the street, police curfews and crap - totally teh sux0r! oh - and the damn NIN concert was cancelled. and i had floor tickets!!! grrrrr!

I think I'm in love...sweet! i just broke up with my girlfriend last night, and i'm super excited to be single! pass the dirty martinis, please!

A pretty girl that wants to turn her room into a bar, works in IT, plays guitar and enjoys modding!
Where do I stand in line for your number...well apparently you're second now, after phreak99, lol. maybe i'll whip up a quick PHP app to apply..... did i mention that i also dyed my hair hot hot pink and play a kickass game of pool? yeah - i rock .... :p .

What was the name of the transparent/uv reactive paint you used? And do you know where to purchase it online?it was clearneon, which i was warned against, but ended up being fine. c'est la vie.


i think that's it for me for now, as you can see just recently got back my internet connection, so i'll be online more now. and i'm gonna do some work tonight since y'all are so encouraging!

thanks, rock on, peace out, etc, ad infinitum

11-14-2005, 08:51 PM
aloha! so, news:
upgrades: i have a stable internet connection!
downgrades: i no longer have a kickass digital camera :( so i apologize if these are not the bestest quality ever, but they should suffice. hey .... at least i finally have some new pics to share!

this is just a basic mock up to show you the case itself - and might i add that while there's plenty of room vertically and in front of the motherboard sideways, fitting those IDE cables by the power supply is ROUGH in that upper area:

here is the most basic idea of what i'm going for... you can see that my goal is to enclose the stack of components in this thin wood box (there's already acrylic there, so it's not affecting airflow, purely cosmetic) and give that box the finish that you see in my previous test posts. that lotus blossom is evenutally going on that nice clean expanse of wood right there. also, there's going to be a fan in the bottom of the cube (and the back is more open than the sides) to make sure there's no circulation probs.

next are some pics of the little fan cover i made for the CPU fan. it only covers the actual fan itself, not the heatsink, so it shouldn't warm anything up either. since most of the stuff i'm doing in this project is inside the case instead of, say, covering it's outside with skulls (still a noble cause if you're into that...), it's important that i don't interfere with anything actually WORKING, lol. i didn't take pictures of the stencils and everything like i did for the lotus blossom previously, but you can rest assured that the process was pretty much the same. overall, i'm happy with the way that this dragon worked out, but i might end up not using it anyway, as when it's actually inside the box it is already a tight fit, and i'm worried about running some cables around it. it seeeems to work as of right now, but we'll see. and see that shiny little glint on the lower right hand side? that's cuz it's all glassy from the thick, pourable epoxy. i'm so happy i thought to use that, it really looks awesome in person.


here's the motherboard. you probably can't tell (due to my parents' crappy digital camera i was forced to borrow) but it is a deep purple color. purrrrty. also, the lines of the dragon are actually nice and clear. again, camera. ugh.

soooo that's that for now, more later this week. i have the basic forms for all sides of my main cube area, which includes a front panel, so i am getting ready to really get my hands dirty .... next up:

enlarging the back fan hole from 80 to 120mm
mounting the fan bus and cutting the 4 corresponding knob holes
procuring some appropriate length screws for the PSU ... the manufacturer's aren't quite long enough to compensate for the additional thickness of the acrylic case
cut and add an additional HD slot for my second harddrive

oh, and last but not least:

my thumb! it's actually all healed and growing out now, so it looks pretty decent. you can still kinda see were it was cut in half.


and this last one is a joke, really. so... it goes out to who it goes out to, lol. ;)


peace out, and goodnight.

amberella :p

02-09-2006, 05:30 PM
As the resident naughty-painty-stencily-graffiti-artisty I feel obliged to A) congratulate you on a very nice stencil. And B) give you some tips!
firstly, reg marks! If you cut two little squares in the same place on each layer, you can line up the layers much more easily. 'but then you will have 2 little squares on the stencil!' well, if you're sensible you stick 2 little pieces of masking tape where the squares will be!

heya - yeah, i have marker dots that line up the stencils. and thanks!

ok so i am like the worst person ever for not finishing this damn project yet, but i am starting a new IT consulting biz right now (Blackwire LLC) and it is like sucking my time away from me. i know more about partnership taxation than anyone should at this point. here's an artsy-fied picture of me at work, doing a little routine maintenance on a some rack mounted servers:


HA! JUST KIDDING! (ok it is me and i am at work, but it was just a joke)

anyway - I prooooomise to finish this thing before the hardware becomes obsolete. ugh, i swear. at least my business is up and running (and profitable, so far!) and my thumb is healed!! it is back to 100% of it's previously thumby antics, and i only have a kinda-weird looking scar. c'est la vie.

-amberella :D

02-09-2006, 05:44 PM
Your beautiful..... I mean your case roxxors all soxxors. No seriously looks good. Hope your thumb heals up, but seriously your hott....Im not a petififle either<.<

or am I? heh heh heh heh

somehow i missed this post when i was just reading stuff.

thanks for the compliment, i think, but i am curious as to your concern about being a petififle. as i'm sure you're aware, the spread of petififilia throughout this great nation threatens the very fabric of our core values - freedom, democracy, and access to all the pr0n your bandwith can take.... so please, should you feel even the slightest tendancies (petite-petififle, i believe that first stage is called), get help. for yourself. for america.

and i'm 23.


ohhhhh waaaait ... i get it. you meant petiFIVEL .... the compusive need to watch "An American Tale." You gotta admit, that mouse is spunky!

08-01-2007, 09:44 AM
Holy crap she's posting an update! :banana:

So last we spoke (16 months ago **ahem**) I had sliced my finger basically in half while working on my case mod. It was one of those things you think, "Nah, who could REALLY hurt themselves if you have half a brain?" Well, the answer to that is apparently, me (and you). So be careful - a simple slip and you end up with 12 stitches, a lot of painkillers, and three months without full use of your left hand. :(

At any rate, this was only the first nail in the coffin of my mod at the time.

Nail #2: my lease was up and I had to move. I trucked all this project stuff to my parents' house where I was staying while looking for a new apartment (in New York, not Florida). Then the company I worked for closed (nail #3) and I was also sans job. S'ok, I thought, since I would need a new job to go with the new apartment anyway. Instead, the IT director at my company asked me if I wanted to stay in Florida and start an IT consulting business. I did, so we did (nail #4). Oh, and then 2 months later I ended up moving into his house/our office and we got married in march (nail #5). That's a lot of nails!

And during this whole time, the case and all it's accompanying tools, paints, components, and stuff sit in my old room at my parents' house, where my mom had so thoughtfully covered the entire eyesore with decorative pillow shams. I kid you not.

Now though, Axel (the business partner/husband) and I are back on the moving-to-new-york bandwagon. We're selling a TON of systems and components left over from the old company on ebay, along with all the extra tech stuff we've accumulated around the house. That means a lot of cleaning up and "refurbishing" of systems. It's taking over my house. Seriously - this is what my house looks like right now (and this is not even the half of it):

The bedroom:

The couch:

The hallway:

The office:

Hey wait... what's that on the floor??? Why ... It's the lotus case mod project!!**

**kind of

Soooo - yesterday I suddenly got it in my head to set up the "lotus blossom" system to see if the components even work at this point and upgrade the hardware with stuff literally lying around my house. Then I will keep just that ONE system to play with and I'll be able to sell even more stuff. Basically I'm preparing to fit 1200sqft of house into 800sqft of NY apartment, any Axel already has multiple servers and desktops that can't be sold because they're our daily workhorses. Hence, most of my stuff is now useless as, quite frankly, I never considered myself to need a terabyte of storage or my very own RAID array. :think: Sad, but true.

Long story short, Axel and I hooked everything up to see if it works, completely sans decoration. It is not, as one might say, the "Best Case Scenario." Rather, it's a messy rats' nest. BUT - it's a messy rats' nest that WORKS!


Some things I noticed upon exhuming this project:

1. Do not spraypaint those pretty round IDE & floppy cables! (Unless you're using special paint for plastic, I guess.) I had tried sprying white cables with the UV paint (and sealer) and they turned into a sticky MESS. :( Gross gross gross dust magnet. I threw them out (hence the ugly floppy and too long IDE cable).

2. Once piece micro form factor acrylic cases are a bitch to set up. But you knew that already.

3. Someone asked what UV paint I used. It was ClearNeon (http://www.clearneon.com).

3. Under the wrong conditions (like a hot garage and a Florida summer), epoxy yellows like that's it's job. The test board that I did my initial lotus stencil design on looks like this:
The board was in the heat for a few months, then inside for the rest of the year. The board is on the left, against a white sheet for comparison.

4. Modding with a friend is fun! It's like having extra hands.... and someone to clean up after you!**

**Just kidding++

++not really.

So from here, I am back on the bandwagon. I NEED to get my house ready to go on the market, but I WANT to work on this project again. So I might not be able to update again ASAP, but I will finish it, I promise. After re-reading the thread, I realize how frickin' cool of an idea it was, and how sweet it will look when it's completed. I have had some great new ideas about how to approach some of the artwork that will be more feasible in the real world. For example, painting the components themselves rather than introducing "covers" would be a lot more practical, and potentially look just as cool, but work better with the space allowed in that TINY case. Also, I got so many little 3 bulb UV lights that really are kind of unnecessary. And I painted their covers before thinking that they needed to have clean plastic joints, so there's clear coat paint globs on some that keep them from snapping back together. C'est la vie. There's more, I'm sure, but I'll have to meditate on it and post later.

And one more thing: Thanks so much to everyone that sent me replies and messages over the last year; I had no idea I'd have so much feedback when I finally logged in again!

Best Wishes to all and sorry for the monster post!

amberella :bunny:

08-01-2007, 08:07 PM
So this evening I re-approached the project from a logistical standpoint. The first thing I noticed is that this is a crazy small case. The wood panel that is meant to cover the top of the optical drive wouldn't even go into place without removing the motherboard.


With the wooden pieces I had already crafted propped in place and me holding the power supply, you can see what a tight squeeze it is. It was hard enough to connect all the cables before there were any obstacles in the way; I'm going to need to be very careful not to block access.


On the other side of the case (which I didn't photograph) the acrylic jogs around the 5.25" down to the 2 3.5" drives. The shape is kind of like a "Z". At first I was going to make the far side of the wooden box straight and ignore this jog, but now I see that where the motherboard juts out to - in combination with where the front power switches and lights are - means I'll need to follow that zig zag. Furthermore, I'll need to complete this box and install it piece by piece while simultaneously screwing in the drives each step of the way or I won't have access to those mounting screws later. So basically once this mod is done, I won't be updating this system EVER. But it'll look cool, so whatev. Here are all the wood pieces to make the main box, laid out so that I can figure out what to draw on them:


I've decided to stick with the themes that I initially intended, but maybe to expand upon the designs. This is mostly because I can't really remember what I wanted the finished design to look like from before. I know that I wanted to use the lotus blossom and some eastern thought concepts. I had created that fan cover with the ouroboros on it, but now I see that it's too tight a squeeze to use it. Instead, I'm going to incorporate the snake theme somewhere else. This is what I came up with just free-handing it as a start. I want the 3-dimensionality of the box to be reinforced, but with something simple enough that I can stencil. I want the finish product to look "stenciled" as a style choice.


Now that I'm thinking about it - Maybe I should try to set up the box as it will be in the case and draw the snake moving through the box like it was crawling through the drives? The right 3 panels are the "Z" jog and aren't very visible in the case so they don't need to be too complicated. Thoughts?? Something completely different?

08-09-2007, 07:34 PM
Under my amberella, ella, ella, ...
LO-frickin-L ... no - that has yet to come up.

Are you going to paint the wood, or leave it looking like wood?
It's going to be painted super clean white with the UV paint so that with UV lights off it looks blank and sterile, but with lights on it's all bling-a-fied.

I've been preparing to move, but found some time to do research on the type of dragon i'd like to add to the project. I'll have that to post soon. Today I created a paper mock-up of the main box structure since working on it flat was not quite jiving and I want to make the snake/dragon look less like it's crawling ON the box, and rather more THROUGH the box. So here's a little pic of the boxy paper thing. No biggie.


In the meantime while I have the camera out, I finally took a pic of this mixed media art piece thing I did in an unrelated incident. (It's big and hard to photograph). The thing is about 5 feet wide. It's old comp pieces on stained wood with acrylic paint. And the binary is that old school punch labeling tape stuff. Also, here's a link to bigger version (1400x702) (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/artwork1400.jpg) if you're interested.


Ok, perhaps more tonight - I'm going to work up a dragon.

amberella out. :bunny:

08-09-2007, 09:27 PM
New dragon? Gotta make the body all 3-d stencil-looking woven around the box there.

08-09-2007, 11:10 PM
Did some more work on the dragon - working on creating the right positive/negative space so that the stencil won't fall apart. That's so anti-climactic.

goodnight. :)

amberella ::bunny::

08-10-2007, 03:32 PM
I finished as much as I could with the box taped together, then I had to cut it open and lay it flat to finish. I think I'm ready to start cutting out some stencils! Plus - hopefully I finally figured out how to make my pics small and clickable to the larger image within the forum's posting structure. Yeah, I'm kinda slow sometimes.

http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070810-layout300.jpg (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070810-layout800.jpg)

amberella ::bunny::

08-10-2007, 11:04 PM
on the wood it looked like a weak little snake lol.

my thoughts exactly - though i was leaning towards "worm." it was late, i was being lazy.

Today I cut the last of the wood pieces I needed. This was not and easy task. First of all, I forgot to add in the extra horizontal distance of the screw heads holding in the drives since the case was empty when I measured. So I cut everything, went to mock it up ... and there were gaps. So I re-measured and re-cut. What's that saying? "Measure once-ish, cut three or four times?" At any rate, now it's fine.

Second of all, and more importantly for anyone considering doing a case mod with one of these "one-piece" clear acrylic cases - THEY ARE NOT SQUARE!!! They're **close** to square - but they ARE NOT. So add in the fact that the thing is so small I can hardly get the pieces in place even with the thing empty, and it turns out that making a square box inside one of these cases is somewhat akin to creating a 3-d model of an escher print. This blows.

But nevertheless, I am pushing forwards and have "fudged" the square shape to a reasonable degree that I don't think it will be noticeable in the finished product. Of course, no one would notice if it weren't for the fact that THE WHOLE DAMN THING IS CLEAR!!!

Ugh - just a little frustrated tonight, apparently. 8) But the pieces are white and once i finish fixing the sketch so that it matches the new dimensions, I can start on the stencils. Some pics:

My very high-tech painting layout:
http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070810-painting2300.jpg (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070810-painting2800.jpg)

Perhaps even more ghetto, but it works (and don't worry - all the possible holes are covered):
http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070810-painting1300.jpg (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070810-painting1800.jpg)

My assistant:
http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070810-assistant300.jpg (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070810-assistant800.jpg)

Peace out.

amberella ::bunny::

08-11-2007, 10:21 AM
Of course, they have no excuse if they have actual tools. Like, if they have a table saw at place-that-your-case-was-made, then they have no excuse. They just suck. .

This is my point exactly. I would have made the whole damn thing myself, but I thought I would eliminate a lot of errors by letting the "professionals" do it at the cost of it not having the exact specs that I wanted. I mean, most of the case is fine - and if I was just screwing crap into it, I probably wouldn't have even noticed. But that's not their market, and they should know that people who want those cases want right angles. Not to mention that the screw holes for the motherboard are also slightly off. I mean, if the board was flush with the side of the case and there weren't little spacers to hold the board off the wall, the holes wouldn't match up.

BTW - "they" is ClearPC

I know there have been a lot of reviews of this case and I was going out on a limb with it. It has pretty rounded corners you wouldn't get in a flat-lack acrylic case, but not much flexibility. Yet, none of the reviews mentioned this inexactness. Heck, I had to enlarge the front installation holes for the indicator LEDs that THEY provide with the case!

Anyway - I have to teach my Saturday yoga class now. Good stuff, since I clearly need to chill out. Om.

amberella ::bunny::

08-11-2007, 02:40 PM
I am working more on my stencils today, and I've decided to change my approach a little from my initial concept. At first, I thought that I would be replicating the same lotus more than once around the case, and therefore the stencil's main goal was to provide the replication of the same pattern. Now that I've changed the design, however, each stencil will really only be used once and it's more of a style choice (and because when I started the project this uv paint was only available as spraypaint - now they have brush on, too). Instead, I've decided to use the stencils to get all my straight lines, but I'm also going to focus on the blending of the colors.

During testing, I realized that when the purple and green crossed each other, I got a white color. Now - I'm not sure if this is due to the pigmentation (where purple and green would normally make brown) or the chromatics of the spectrum (where neon UV colors seem like they should bend some amber/magenta/green rules) ... but it's white in practice, so I'm going with it. What I've done is cut some of the areas on the main (green) stencil over where they would contain both green and purple coloring, with the intention of taping over the area that would contain the color I'm not spraying. This should give me a "fuzz" effect that will blend the colors when I switch the tape. The secondary stencil has holes only where the entire area would be purple. I'm not sure if I'm explaining this well, but hopefully you'll see later.

This is the first stencil, scored, not entirely cut out yet:

Stencil A (Green color & some purple shading):
http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070811-03-300.jpg (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070811-03-800.jpg)

Stencil B (Purple Only):
http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070811-02-300.jpg (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070811-02-800.jpg)

Stencils on top of each other:
http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070811-01-300.jpg (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070811-01-800.jpg)

amberella :bunny:

08-12-2007, 10:18 AM
This is cool. :) + Rep for showing us your methods...no matter now ghetto :p-Dave

Thanks. I had to go read up on this "rep" system since I don't think it was in place when I started this log so many eons ego. :think:

So it took me 11 hours of stencil cutting to finish them yesterday (and an ouchy blister on my finger), but they're finally done. Because of the semi-transparency of the plastic sheets, getting pictures is not so easy, but I tried.

http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070812-03-300.jpg (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070812-03-800.jpg)

http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070812-01-300.jpg (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070812-01-800.jpg)

http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070812-02-300.jpg (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070812-02-800.jpg)

If I can get my big UV light today, I should be able to paint after the sun goes down.

Funny - last time I was working on this mod I was also getting ready to move apartments and I really wanted to paint everything inside on the assumption that the next residents probably wouldn't have any blacklights ... in which case the overspray and such is invisible, And if they did for some reason - free bonus surprise! I'm a dork.

amberella :bunny:

08-13-2007, 05:14 PM
I was thinking about what to do with the power supply over the weekend (I already painted it white) and thought it might be cool to put a japanese themed pattern on it - something that would add a nice contrast to the "scene" of objects in the rest of the design... almost like the mod design aesthetic ("60's" mod not "case" mod :p ) of pairing small busy prints with larger design elements. Then I ran across this pattern via google image search, which reminded me of an almost hippie-style paisley, but with that japanese lotus print you might see on a kimoso or decorative fan:

http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070813-04-300.jpg (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070813-04-800.jpg)

Despite the daunting copyright protection via istockphoto watermark (/scarcasm) - I wriggled the design around into this via photoshop. This was actually more difficult than you'd think because the design is not actually along a grid that is a replicated pattern - or at least if the original pic was, this is only a portion of that pattern. I need something that can be tessellated next to itself around the whole cube and still look randomish. I ended with this:

http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070813-03-300.jpg (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070813-03-800.jpg)

Then I made the stencil and sprayed it up (yes, inside a cardboard box inside because it's daytime). This project is inherently difficult to photograph due to the UV and lighting conditions, but it came out quite well. Perhaps I didn't put as much tacky spray on the stencil as I needed because there was more fuzzing than I expected, so I ended up going back with a paintbrush and edging out parts of the design with the same white spraypaint. That's the slight finish difference that you can see in the non-lit picture. I think that if I had put another base coat on the power supply initially, you probably wouldn't have seen the re-touch at all. And truthfully, you can only see those brush strokes when the light hits at the right angle and you're close up, so I'm not so concerned about it. Oh well.

http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070813-01-300.jpg (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070813-01-800.jpg)
http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070813-02-300.jpg (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070813-02-800.jpg)

The pattern is a little shifted to the right so that I can wrap the pattern around the left edge so the whole thing is seamless. Overall, I think this was a fun, kind of whimsical touch and a good way to do some final testing before tackling the main design (which is kind of scary).

Also - After checking up on how some of the other projects on TBCS are coming (which are all amazing, duh) I realize that my ... uh ... procedure ... is very different than others. Of course, if you are planning on hooking something up to a very specific place with a specific outcome intended, you'd better have a plan from A to B to C. Buuuut - that's not really how I roll. I tend to start in the middle and work my way out to both ends in a really flexible way. I have an idea of what I want in the end, but I tend to get there organically and change my mind half way through. It's my process. So please don't think I'm crazy disorganized or not obsessive about minutia of my design, but ... uh ... it's the journey not the destination?

Ok, back to work.

amberella :bunny:

08-13-2007, 10:30 PM
Power Supply with multiple sides done now:

http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070813-05-300.jpg (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070813-05-800.jpg)
The pattern is actually nice and crisp, but focusing the depth of field blurs parts of the pattern.

I think I'm going to start hallucinating soon. They mean that whole spray paint ventilation thing. Spraying inside with your head in a box is not such a smart idea.

amberella :bunny:

Judging by the amount of spelling corrections I had to make I might be hallucinating already. Whee.

08-14-2007, 01:19 AM
Left side of the main box...

Lights on:
http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070814-02-300.jpg (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070814-02-800.jpg)

Lights off:
http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070814-01-300.jpg (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070814-01-800.jpg)



oh - and pearls of wisdom gleaned from trial and error: if you are re-using plastic stencils and use sticky tack spray to hold down the edges, a little WD40 (followed by a degreasing soap and water rinse) will get all the sticky residue off without making goopy nastiness or hurting the stencil between uses.

amberella :bunny:

08-14-2007, 01:59 PM
I posted this in the general question forum, but I'll repost here in case someone has an idea since you know what I'm going for:

I have a tight squeeze with the work I'm doing in my case right now and finding some replacement "slim-line" screws to mount the hard drive would really save some hassle. They have that bulky head, you know, so I'm looking for something that's more like a regular, flatter screw head. I compared them to all the other electronic and non-electronic related screws I have around, and none are a match. I even called my local over-priced "computer builders' warehouse," but no dice.

I'm sure I can find some somewhere with a lot of footwork and visual comparison, but perchance one of you has a simple answer?


amberella :bunny:

And furthermore, here is the conversation I just had with the woman at the Computer Builder's Warehouse (it's a small place, I'm sure she wasn't just hired to be a dumb cashier)...

Comp. Builder's Warehouse Employee: Hi, thanks for calling CBW, this is Kathy...
Me: Hi. I was in a few weeks ago and saw that you carry some replacement hard drive mounting screws with little skulls and such on them?
Kathy: Yes...
Me: Well, I was wondering if you have any that have a flat screw-head on them - no decoration or thumb-screw?
Kathy: Um... Is this for a desktop or a laptop?
Me: [pause as I wonder the last time someone mounted a hard drive with custom skeleton thumb screws into their laptop...] Desktop.
Kathy: Well, we have some of those screws in our workshop that you're welcome to, but if they're not standard we probably don't have them.
Me: In your workshop you just fix people's regular systems, right?
Kathy: Yeah...
Me: So then they probably don't have any special screws. So all you have is the skeletons?
Kathy: We have lots of screws, maybe you can come in and look?
Me: Well, before I drove all the way over there, I thought I could ask you to look for me...
Kathy: Well, we don't really carry anything that's not normal, so...
Me: But you are Computer Builder's Warehouse right - so I thought you might have some specialized parts for computer building...
Kathy: No, not really...
Me: [resisting the urge to scream] ok, thanks kathy. [click]

08-14-2007, 03:36 PM
Maybe something like THIS? (http://www.frozencpu.com/products/3481/scr-38/Coarse_Thread_Flathead_Steel_Screw.html?tl=g43c157 s329)

Thanks - that would probably work. I ended up going to the hardware store and matching the thread to a 6/32 machine head screw. There is a taper on the head instead of being flat like your picture, but maybe I can countersink it. Not a big deal ... it is way smaller than the regular thumbscrews. And $0.98 for 14. :)

amberella :bunny:

08-14-2007, 07:04 PM
Hey, I think you have something to answer for... :p


Hmmmm - you have a point there LOL.

Actually Axel and I finally came up with a purpose for this system - we're going to use it as our music server so it can be in the living room where it'll be a fun conversation piece. Lord knows we have so many high end everyday systems around here that it's not going to be good for much else. We replaced our old "media center" computer with a PS3, which has been great so far - though streaming music wirelessly from the home network has been sluggish (still tweaking the setup). We have more than two times as many mp3s than the PS3 has hard drive space, so storing it all locally is not possible and certainly not a long term solution. Hence, we ordered a new 500GB drive for the lotus blossom system (which coincidentally arrived toooday) so that it will be good to go for a while with just holding our mp3s. Axel's a little OCD about the music ... it's all ripped to FLAC, tagged, equalized, converted to mp3, and backed up in a VERY specific sequence ... I think it was 6 months before he trusted me enough to add my music to the library LOL. :smoker: Once this thing is together it's going to be difficult to get apart to upgrade, so I think it's a good compromise that's still useful. Ok, I'm babbling.

Since I got the new screws I re-fabricated the front faceplate to fit the new dimensions. I think it will be a cleaner look than the compromises in the old one to fudge the non-square dimensions.

amberella :bunny:

08-15-2007, 11:26 AM
Since I spent last night re-making the faceplate, I didn't get to do any sexy UV painting. BUT I did mock up the pieces to see how things are coming along. Since I'm both holding the stuff together and taking the picture with a big & heavy Nikon SLR camera, the pics might not reflect the really nice way that it's all matching up and coming together. I tried. **sheepish grin**

First off, here's another reason this ClearPC case is a first place winner (NOT):
http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070814-03-300.jpg (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070814-03-800.jpg)

That screw there is supposed to hold on the case side-panel and isn't really meant to be removed. I decided to remove it, though, because it was cramping the space where the dragon-head side of the box goes. Unfortunately, the space is sooo tight that it took some pliers and a good amount of praying that the acrylic wouldn't crack to get it out. You can see it the picture that it's unscrewed as much as possible to where it's hitting the wall behind it, and it's not yet out of the screw hole. All this left a nice swirly scratch mark on the side of the drive bays. It doesn't matter to me since it's getting covered up with a panel, but if you're looking for tips with a case like this, here's one: don't remove that screw!

http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070815-01-300.jpg (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070815-01-800.jpg)
Here's the shipment of drives that arrived yesterday. Oooh. Ahhh. They're all the same 500GB Seagate SATA drives. 1 is going in this mod, the other 5 are going into our fileserver.

Three quarters view from the right:
http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070815-02-300.jpg (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070815-02-800.jpg)

Front faceplate:
http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070815-05-300.jpg (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070815-05-800.jpg)
It's square, I don't know why it doesn't look so in the pic. Must have been the camera angle. And some of the material on the left side is going to be removed, once I am super-sure of how the left panel is going to fit in there with hardware, drives, and all.

Left three quarters view:
http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070815-04-300.jpg (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070815-04-800.jpg)

Left side:
http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070815-03-300.jpg (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070815-03-800.jpg)

With the UV light on:
http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070815-06-300.jpg (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070815-06-800.jpg)
Not as brilliant during the day, but ok. I'm thinking about changing up where the UV lights are placed and maybe bringing in a tube or something to make sure I have the light directionality to really get it where I need it.

I'm pretty happy with how clean and simple it's looking. Sorry no crazy dancing monkeys exploding from the case or anything ... just some minimalist design. ;)

More stenciling later.

amberella :bunny:

08-15-2007, 03:01 PM
Here's the back part of the dragon's body ... still adding some details like the bottom of the ... spikes/fans/scales.. whatever it is that dragons have on the ends of their tails. I'm also going to freehand some grip marks so the claws have something more to "grab" onto.

http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070815-07-300.jpg (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070815-07-800.jpg)

amberella :bunny:

08-16-2007, 05:51 PM
Finally finished the main artwork:

http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070816-01-300.jpg (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070816-01-800.jpg)

http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070816-02-300.jpg (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070816-02-800.jpg)

amberella :bunny:

08-17-2007, 12:47 PM
I stuck the box element together permanently last night and then dry fit the main components to make sure everything fits. It does.... barely. Now I can see how things are coming together and create a nice to do list.

I know it still looks all jumbled now, cleaning up all the cabling is really going to finish off the minimalist feel. And there's dust and fingerprints EVERYWHERE. Wiping them off right now is a futile pursuit.

Regular lighting... my floating box is finally complete!:
http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070817-01-300.jpg (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070817-01-800.jpg) http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070817-05-300.jpg (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070817-05-800.jpg)
http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070817-02-300.jpg (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070817-02-800.jpg) http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070817-03-300.jpg (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070817-03-800.jpg) http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070817-04-300.jpg (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070817-04-800.jpg)

At this point the internal UV lights aren't hooked up, so the light source is the external fluorescent-tube shaped UV light I've been using while painting. It's really crazy how much the acrylic filters out this light; that's why the UV paint looks much more dull than before. When the lighting is inside the case, it should be all bright and brilliant. I do think I'm going to need some additional directional UV lights though to make sure that all the planes are covered.

http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070817-07-300.jpg (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070817-07-800.jpg) http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070817-09-300.jpg (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070817-09-800.jpg)
http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070817-08-300.jpg (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070817-08-800.jpg)

GIVE ME YOUR OPINION: Do you think I should make a square "backing board" for the motherboard so that from the far side it looks like entirely white shapes? I love that the board is purple (which is why I left it exposed in the first place) but now I'm thinking maybe it would look cool all white on that side - and give me a nice, flat surface for some additional artwork.

There's not THAT much space in this case to do anything else crazy without completely blocking airflow, so I'm gonna be done pretty soon, I think.

Next stuff:

Paint the expansion slot covers
Re-do the power supply (I'm just not diggin' it)
Possibly create a piece for behind the motherboard
Order additional lighting
Paint hardware
Paint &/or sleeve cabling
Buy beer (it is friday, after all)

amberella :bunny:

08-17-2007, 04:55 PM
Rough cut this piece and propped it up inside the case to see what I (& you) think ... yes or no? I'm leaning toward keeping it because it will be all blank on one side and like I said, more room for fun artwork. Ideas for what to paint on this piece?

http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070817-10-300.jpg (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070817-10-800.jpg)

amberella :bunny:

08-17-2007, 05:51 PM
One of the things I dont like about acrylic cases (nothing against your work) is that its hard to keep them from looking plain or messy. With the added artwork I think it would look great!

Yeah - I agree 100%. I'm kind of trying to accentuate that plainness with this project... fixing up all the cabling will really help give it the clean look. It's definitely an uphill battle in that tiny, delicate case. Tomorrow I need to go get some more stencil plastic & paint for plastic before I can keep going, so perhaps more sometime this weekend.

I've got a big night out planned in Ft. Lauderdale tonight , so if anyone wants to get their ass kicked on the pool table, I'll be at Capone's till late. :smoker:


amberella :bunny:

08-19-2007, 01:21 PM
I like the concept of doing a cutout, but actually the point is to (under normal lighting) have only these faceless white elements with no indication of the rest of the artwork. I want it to fit in with some neat modern decor to look more like a sculpture of some sort rather than an in-your-face mod. I'm going to leave the motherboard uncovered on the other side of the case, so its fun purple-ness will be the only thing visible. I think perhaps some chakra symbols or i-ching? I realize at this point I'm basically inadvertently reconstructing my tattoo (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/mermaid_700.jpg), so I'd like to get away from that has a lotus, mermaid, and i-ching symbol LOL. **strains brain to think of something new**

I just got the stencil plastic I need so I'm getting to work now.

amberella :bunny:

08-19-2007, 01:59 PM
Nice case mod, Great Ink. Im getting my Lotus + Koi tattoo done soon.

Thanks. I'm adding on a big Kali (http://www.indhistory.com/img/hindu-gods-kali.jpg)and working on creating a whole backpiece. It's addictive. :redface: Good luck with yours!

I'm thinking this for the square: Hokusai Wood Block (http://www.asu.edu/clas/dll/jpn/graphic/wave_w.jpg) ... I want to be sure to pick something classically Japanese, as my tastes now tend towards the Indian style and I have to keep telling myself "no!" hehe - there's nothing more tacky historically-illiterate american than some art thing with chinese letters, a japanese dragon, and sanskrit detailing. It's gonna be the wave or a buddha, but I'm leaning towards wave because I think it will stencil better.

08-20-2007, 11:23 PM
So it took me about 24 hours and 3 different stencil attempts to finally make this work. When stenciling, it's not so much the intricacy alone that creates problems, but the curves vs. straight lines & chunks of space vs. little lines. Straight is easy to cut and blocks of space are easy to cut. Tiny little curves and thin lines are near impossible. The plastic is brittle and likes to break off if lines are extended too far beyond the base - not to mention that the design just looks like a big jumble and loses clarity. But I finally simplified the design enough to have it work (I think).

This is the photo I started with:
http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070819-01-300.jpg (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070819-01-800.jpg)

After freehand drawing the first unsuccessful stencil, I tried running the pic through a Photoshop stamp filter, which did help some:
http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070819-02-300.jpg (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070819-02-800.jpg)
I'm working with two colors (purple and green) which together create white. So usually I'd do two stencils, with each having their respective areas cut out and then having the cross-over areas (white) cut out on both. For this design, though, a lot is white, and the white is near little curvy lines which are very hard to replicate across two stencils. And if they don't line up perfectly, you get weird line edges that look like a bungled 3-d image. This stamp helped simplify the design, but obfuscated which areas needed to be which colors. Blech.

After the second stencil broke (and broke and broke - and had positive/negative problems) I had to simplify further.
http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070820-01-300.jpg (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070820-01-800.jpg)
So in the end I used one main stencil and painted green, then taped the areas that stayed green and painted purple to create my white, then had a separate purple stencil. What a bitch.

There's also some shading that's not visible in the pics.

I think I'm also going to add some Japanese symbols to the right in the blank space. Not sure what to say yet.

amberella :bunny:


Here are some additional pics of the failures. How exciting.

Too complicated:
http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070820-04-300.jpg (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070820-04-800.jpg) http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070820-02-300.jpg (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070820-02-800.jpg)

Simplified, but pos/neg probs:
http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070820-05-300.jpg (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070820-05-800.jpg)

Drawing for final stencil #1:
http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070820-03-300.jpg (http://www.amberbaldet.com/uploads/mod/20070820-03-800.jpg)