View Full Version : Project Cirque du Soleil

11-07-2006, 12:46 PM
I would first like to mention that this worklog as well as all my other projects and reviews will be first updated on my website, so that will be the most up to date site on my project. Here is a link:
Power Packed PC (http://www.powerpackedpc.com)

I have been debating with myself for a while, trying to decide what type of case I would like to do, a sort of theme to work off of, a central idea, etc.

Many of you may have seen my "IceCube V6" project. That was originally going to be my new case, and construction began on it. However, things were crude and my tools and skills weren't great.

I made a decent case, and it could house a computer, but it wouldn't be much greater than my case that I previously had, a Logisys UV Blue acrylic case. A nice case, certainly, but just not quite so unique as us modders always strive for.

So, I went back to the drawing boards. Car themed computer cases have been done before, and cars aren't honestly one of my passions. I have a passion for great performers and amazing circus feats, such as contortion, trapeze, juggling, tissue, etc. My favorite circus is Cirque du Soleil, which is translated to Circus of the Sun.

Many of you may have seen Cirque du Soleil before, whether it be in person or on television, I am sure you have been impressed. They are by far the most amazing group I have ever seen perform and I do indeed truly have a respect and passion for what they do. So, I decided on a Cirque du Soleil case.

I wanted this to be a dark and sort of mystical design, but I also wanted to make it completely transparent at the same time. I chose yellow acrylic with red cold cathode lights, provided kindly by Logisys Computer (http://www.logisyscomputer.com)

I opened up SketchUp and began gathering a general idea of the case I wanted to build. Here is one of my original design drawings:


Now, with my design in place, I will need to begin mocking up components for the case to see how everything will fit and be laid out.

11-07-2006, 12:46 PM
I would like to thank everyone for the great support and feedback for this project, it is time for our next update.

In this episode, I will be mocking up the components using cardboard pieces and glue. It is quite simple to do, and if you are scratch building, this step is almost required. This just gives me a general idea of how big the case will be, what it will look like in the end, and where I should place the components come the real deal.

Here are our supplies that we will need:

1.) Hot glue


2.) Hot glue gun (Optional: Can be old and disgusting as shown in picture)


3.) Cardboard, not too thick to cut easily, not too flimsy that it won't be able to support itself easily.


4.) Decent, atleast vaguely comfortable, sharp scissors

5.) Components that you can use to size up your case - old cd rom drive, hard drive, motherboard, case parts, etc.

6.) Newspaper to protect your parts and work area (optional)

7.) Snacks

8.) Lots and lots of patience and free time

Okay, here are all of our parts and my current computer rig set up laid out on top of my ping pong table covered pool table in the basement.


Here are all of our supplies laid out:


Now, I dis-assembled my current case for parts to be used.



I removed the back panel from my computer case to be used to make a tracing so we will know where to cut for our PCI and AGP slots and place our motherboard I/O shield plate.


Next, I taped two pieces of paper together to make one continuous sheet to fit the back panel piece. Then I traced it and all the features of it.


Then, I cut out the insides of the sheet of paper and glued it to a piece of cardboard. The cardboard will later be cut out with an exacto knife, giving us an easily template to follow when tracing onto our acrylic to cut.


Next, I took my CD Rom drive and traced around the outsides to get the dimensions for my cardboard mock up. I cut out the pieces and glued my cardboard drive together.


Next, I followed the same procedure for my 3.5" drives, hard drives, motherboard, and power supply. Here are a few drives that have been finished, laid out.


By this point, things are starting to get a little messy. My table is covered in components, glue, and cardboard scraps, and my hand is covered in the little spiderweb-like glue.


Now, with my components all constructed, it is time for building the case itself. I should mention that this case layout is my original design for the case, it was eventually changed a bit. Nonetheless, the concept is still the same. Here I am gluing along a seem of the cardboard.


If you want to make circles or rings, it is actually quite simple. Here is our cardboard laid out for making the desired rings.


In order to bend the carboard for the rings, I simply rolled them along a pool stick. Yes, it is a little odd, but isn't that just the beauty of modding? You can use virtually anything. Remember to roll the cardboard nice and tight for a round effect, otherwise it will be square and blocky.


Then, simply glue the rings to fit the diameters desired. Here are our six rings, laid out.


Next update: building the components out of acrylic.

11-07-2006, 12:47 PM
Alright, time for an update, finally. If you don't have time for this, read ahead until you see a big ***ACTUAL MODDING STARTS HERE:*** sign. With that said: I figure I had ought to tell the story that kind of goes along with the case, and pay my tributes. I have always had an interest in acrylics, and I have made small things with them in the past, but nothing too big. I always wanted to build an acrylic case, so I designed one, and questioned myself "why not"?

So, I purchased the necessary parts and components, the sheet acrylic, as well as some decent tools and accessories for working with acrylics. It wasn't anything amazing, but it was a decent concept executed in a decent way. My case was almost complete when I miscut some important pieces and everything pretty much fell apart.

After much debate and evaluation, I decided I was ready to start again. This time, I wouldn't ruin it. My dad has decent workshop experience and always seems to think things out a bit more thoroughly than I. So, I consulted him. What did I know, he does tons of business with a large, professional acrylics manufacturer and fabricator all the time.

So, he gave them a call asking if they had some scrap acrylic we could purchase. They offered to do a little more than that. Okay, a LOT more than that. MUCH, MUCH more than that. They made us an amazing offer, allowing me to come into their workshop for a day and fabricate a professional grade, high quality computer case using pretty much any tool, technique, or material on the market. I was thrilled, to say the least.


With that said, I would like to thoroughly thank everyone at Trinity LLC (http://www.trinityinstore.com/) for the immense amount of time, effort, skill, and patience they put into this case for me. You couldn't meet a friendlier group of guys.

I would also like to thoroughly thank Steven Lin and Logisys Computer (http://www.logisyscomputer.com/) for providing parts for this mod as well as sponsoring some cold cathodes for lighting up our final product.

So, now, let's get down to business. We have our design down (for the most part, atleats we have a general idea), and the components have been mocked up with cardboard. All of our main problems have been worked out, and most the details are set. It is now time for building the actual case.

I arrived at Trinity early in the morning with my box of components and supplies. I spread everything out on my own *special desk* for the project.

I quickly laid everything that I needed out on the table.

My design drawings:


The case modder's bible (for good luck), Paul Capello's "Extreme PC Mods" book:

Now for the components. My motherboard:


My Drives (One DVD R, two hard disks, and one Logisys Digital Fan Controller)


Of course, the power supply unit, also a Logisys product:


Originally, I was going to fabricate the case using some pre-made parts. Once I got there, however, I realized that they could really make anything, so the pre-fab parts weren't necessary after all. None the less, I thank Logisys for providing them, they will definately be utilized.

Our drive bay collumns:


The acrylic corner pieces and the screws to go along with them:


And some basic items that you should never be without in a workshop: a tape measure, and a nice pair of Harley-Davidson work glasses, both provided kindly by Trinity:


A closeup of our eye protection:


11-07-2006, 12:47 PM
With all of our parts and tools set out, it's time for the fun part: building it!

First, I took some time to get aquainted with my work area, though. Tim, the experienced professional I had the opportunity to work with the whole time first gave me a tour of the facility there. Three companies work together there in a joint operation consisting of Trinity, C & K Plastics, and Valley Extrusions.

As you can see by the next pics, they had plastics coming out of their ears:


In the far left of those pics, you can see my soon to be acrylic, covered in brown masking. First, we rough cut it on our massive table saw:


I was just too curious to resist. I took a piece of our scrap and peeled back the film to reveal our vivid color:


Once the dimensions were rough cut, we marked out our dimensions for placement of the motherboard, PSU, and drive cage:


Then, we cut out the stand-offs for the motherboard out of some scrap PVC:


Then, we got a measurement of the height of the motherboard with the standoffs installed, after being drilled and tapped:


Next, Tim records the dimensions of the front half of the case for bending:


Then, Tim brought over one of the heat benders he built and allowed me to snap some pics:


The left contact on the bender:


The right side of the bender:


The concept behind these benders is very simple, this is how they work:

A strand of nickel chromium (sometimes called nichromium wire) wire is tensions on a spring between two points. You run electricity through the unit and the wire heats up very quickly to a very high temperature. A wooden box is built around this wire with an aluminum channel immediately around it. This channel forces the heat to go through it, heating your plastic above. Here is a picture of the channel:


So, we marked our acrylic on the edges where we wanted the bend. Then, we just set the acrylic over the wire and lined up the wire with the two marks on our acrylic for the bend. Then, we put a weight down on it to ensure it didn't move. We turned on our hot wire, and allowed it to sit for a couple of minutes. The 1/4" acrylic heated in about 5-7 minutes.


We then proceeded to take the acrylic and clamp it into the angle we wanted, which in this case, was just a right angle. Tim already had a right angle bend built out of wood, so we just clamped it to that.


Then, we waited a little bit and allowed it to cool. Once it was cooled, we could then proceed with the next bend, or gluing it, drilling it, whatever.

11-07-2006, 12:47 PM
Okay, we now have both of our pieces of acrylic (the front and the back), and we can begin routing out the back and front panels, and get started on our drive cage and PSU shelf.

Here is our motherboard mocked up with the back piece.


Now, our pieces will be routed, so we use some masking to cover the surface of the acrylic so it isn't scratched. We had to remove the previous masking for bending, otherwise the paper would have caught fire.


When we put our back piece and the front piece that we had bent together, they didn't line up perfectly. This is just because the front piece didn't bend quite all the way into a right angle, but this is okay. We put some vinyl tape around it, and that held it in the position we needed it. Then we finished masking the acrylic.


Now, we will begin creating a guide for the routing bit using acrylic scrap. First, Tim used a disc sander to round a corner to fit the aluminum back panel piece we will be using for our PCI slots and motherboard I/O shield.


We used double sided tape to stick the guideline piece of acrylic to our case. We used a few other pieces of scrap to continue our guide.




Our case is now ready for routing. First, however, we look to the shrunken head for some inspiration.



Now, a hole is drilled into our area to be routed and the routing bit is inserted into the hole. Routing commences!


Scraps cleaned up:


A perfect fit!


11-07-2006, 12:48 PM
We were in the middle of working on the case when John came back with the frosted vinyl graphics we had printed. The sun logo will go on the top, and the balance picture on the side of the case.




With our holes routed, we glued down the sides to the bottom piece. The top will be made removable to allow access to components inside for maintenance. The drive cage will also be removable.




Next, we fabricated our drive cage:


I forgot to take pics of it, but we glued side pieces onto the drive cage to allow it to be screwed down to the bottom of the case. We simply glued them on, drilled the hole, and then countersunk it so the screw isn't raising the case over the desk.

The case will all the holes and the bottom piece routed out:


With everything glued in place and routed out, it is time for flame polishing. You can use a standard torch to do this, but you must be very careful as to not burn or form bubbles in the acrylic. Here is a picture of Tim flame polishing it:


The edges after polishing:


Here is a video of Tim doing some flame polishing work:


Almost done! Next update: finishing the case!

11-07-2006, 12:48 PM
Yes, I know. It's been a long long time since I promised an update on this case. I have been ridiculously busy, but have no fear, the case has been worked on this whole time and it is almost done. I finished the actual case itself a while ago, and I have since been attempting to successfully paint my monitor (I failed like 467 times). Monitor painting update coming soon... just wait.

I also replaced the blue fans in my PSU with some pretty new red ones, sponsored by Logisys. Through the yellow acrylic, the old blue ones looked like an ugly turqoise color, so they had to be replaced. I apolgoize in advance for the sickeningly horrible picture quality, I had to use my OLD p.os. Kodak.

Logisys Computer (http://www.logisyscomputer.com) was very kind to send me two of their 80mm red led fans to use in this mod. I thank them very much for their continued support and generosity throughout this project.

Here are the new fans in their packaging:


The PSU before the replacement fans:


The PSU AFTER the replacement, with it's sexy new red fans....


11-07-2006, 12:48 PM
Alright, update time.

This mod is 99% done as of right now. It should be finished by tonight.

First, I wanted to post pictures of the painting process of my monitor. I do not have final shots of it yet, I want to wait and finish everything else and then photograph them all professionally.

Before I wanted to do any real painting, I decided that I would definately need a better place to do it. I was originally going to build a whole new airbrushing cabinet, but I decided against it and simply modified my existing workbench, turning it into a nice airbrush cabinet. Before, the table was messy, unorganized, and used for multiple purposes. Now, it is clean, organized, and used only for painting and photography (see below).

This is the workbench before I "modded" it:


This is the workbench AFTER I "modded" it:



You can see the holding spots for my airbrush as well as paper towels. Also, I added did some duct work, and now it has a vent to suck overspray out of my house and filter it.

Here, you can see my monitor being painted:

The first coats.


Sorry I don't have pictures of this. There was originally a viewsonic logo on top of the monitor. I gently pried it off with an exacto knife and then filled it in with Bondo spotting putty. You can still see the outline of it a little bit, I did a bad job of covering it up.

Next, I added in some light coats of red on the edge, and then sprayed it with a metallic finish from about 4 feet away. This ensured that I only get a TINY bit of metallic paint on the surface. I think that it looks good that way, the metallic finish really brings out the paint. The whole thing really glows. I then clear coated it with Krylon Crystalclear acrylic clear coat. The yellow and red were done using krylon "Fusion" paints, made specially for plastic. The metallic was just some old stuff I had laying around, made by Brand X, I don't know.








Finally, I reinstalled the face plate into my monitor. I also do not have pics of this, but I do have some quick shots I took after installing it:



My last task for this mod is to paint the mouse. That is almost completely finished. I think I will wait until later on tonight or tomorrow to update that, since it is almost done.

11-07-2006, 12:49 PM
Okay, I found the pictures of the monitor painting. Due to an extremely stupid mistake, I ruined my paintjob shortly after completing it. However, this post will cover the original painting of my monitor:

Here are the supplies I bought. All were found at Pepboy's:


You can see that I have my primer, main color, and clear coat. I also bought some fine sandpaper and some imperial hand glaze for giving it that deep, wet look when I am finished. I bought 1000, 1500, and 2000 grit grades of sandpaper.

I also bought some "Bondo" brand spotting putty to fill in holes. In this picture, you can see the ViewSonic logo in the upper left hand corner.


I used an Exacto hobby knife to pry out the logo:


Then, I covered the area in the spotting putty, and allowed it to thoroughly dry:


I then sanded it down, and primed the monitor by applying a few light coats of the primer. After that dried, I gently sanded it down again.


Now, you can't see the ViewSonic logo anymore!


I then shot the monitor with yellow, red, and metallic paints. It came out beautifully, however, sadly it was completely ruined (always let your paint dry!!). So, I do not have any more pictures of the first paintjob. However, I figured everyone might like to learn a bit about the preparation process.

11-07-2006, 12:49 PM
Finally, this project is nearing completion. I am still adding up the hours, but it is currently at 50+ hours of work alone, not including research and purchasing of parts and materials etc.

I finally finished painting the mouse today, after polishing it up this morning.

First, I pried off the Microsoft logo with a hobby knife.


Then, I covered in with Bondo brand auto body filler.


After sanding it down, I masked off the areas that I didn't want painted.

Then, I began spraying down my base color - yellow. I used Kyrlon Fusion paint - it is made specifically for plastic, and no priming is needed.



Next, after allowing the yellow to fully cure, I added red and metallic paints.



Next, I clearcoated everything with a couple coats of Krylon Acrylic Crystal Clear clear coat.




Then, I began making my waterslide decal for the mouse. This time I have pictures of the whole process.

First, I designed/modified the image on my computer, and then printed it out onto my Inkjet waterslide decal paper.

Then, I gave it ample time to dry, because due to the glossy nature of the film, it smears quite easily.


Then, I clearcoated the logo multiple times. This is very important to the film's rigidness. If you only clearcoat your film lightly, when you go to apply the decal, it will be very loose and floppy, and will easily fold over onto itself, creating big problems. So, I heavily clearcoated my decal numerous times. That way, when I went to apply it, it retained it's structure and applied very easily onto the surface.


Once all the clearcoats have dried, mix up some water with a couple of drops of Elmer's school glue or similar mixed into it.


I didn't feel like digging the decal out of the bottom of the glass of water, so I poured some water into a spray paint cap :p .


After aout a minute, the decal will easily slide off the backing. So, I slid the decal off of the backing and applied it to my mouse. I used a wet paint brush to smooth out any bubbles or lumps in the surface before it dried. If you still have any bubbles, use a small pin to pop them BEFORE it dries. This is important to get all the bubbles out, or it will look like crap.



My camera hates close up surfaces, but in real life, this decal is very vivid and clean cut.

After applying the decal, I clearcoated the mouse heavily perhaps 7 or 8 times to ensure a deep, wet look.

After the clear coat went on, I used 3M Imperial Hand Glaze to polish up the mouse, and it turned out great, in my opinion:





How do you think it turned out? I love feedback.

Now I just need to get the whole computer set up with a decent backdrop and then get some good photos of the finished thing.

11-07-2006, 12:50 PM
Okay okay, I know I said that I was done. But I lied.

I was sitting here, feeling bored, and I got to thinking. My case mod isn't really complete, I don't have a matching keyboard! I didn't want to ruin my G15, so instead, I painted my recently replaced logisys keyboard. The color painting is done, I just need to clearcoat it and add some waterslide decals.

First, I removed the front of the keyboard and popped out all the keys. I then cleaned all the old crap out of the keys, and masked off what I didn't want painted. Then, I started spraying it with yellow.


After the first coat, it looked green! A few more coats took care of that:


Finally, I added some red around the outsides and sprayed over the whole thing VERY lightly with some metallic paint to bring out the color.



11-07-2006, 12:50 PM
This project is finally DONE. I started off with over a hundred pics of the case and complete mod and have cut the pictures down to about 25. Still a lot... but I wanted to show it thoroughly! I am looking forward to getting this photographed decently with a professional backdrop and not just my desk - that is to come later, not now. For now, here is the finished mod:

In my room







Can you guess what this is? =] it's the top of the drive cage. With the cold cathodes on the bottom, that entire piece of acrylic glows. The light on the bottom is it's reflection on the case wall:

















Link to original thread (http://www.thebestcasescenario.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4896)