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Thread: Project Nighthawk: Skunkworks F117-A Worklog

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    Case Modding MoFo Crimson Sky's Avatar
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    Default Project Nighthawk: Skunkworks F117-A Worklog

    Ok here begins Project Nighthawk!--I'm very excited to be creating this one-of-a-kind custom PC together with Cable Organizer.com, and would like to thank all those involved in helping to bring this awesome project to life.


    Here is the basic ideas behind the concept we have developed for this project:

    Project Nighthawk will be a custom computer designed as a flight simulator and gaming console. The inspiration for the design was taken from the exotic looks of the Lockheed F-117A Stealth Fighter, one of my personal favorites among millitary aircraft. The shell of the PC will have lots of angles and sleek sharp edges reminding one of the radar deflecting shapes found on the F-117A.

    In the concept art below, you can see that the front of the case has the look of a cockpit, complete with the gauges you'd find on modern aircraft. I'll have to do some research to see if these can actually be integrated into the case and sync up with software such as Microsoft's Flight Simulator. There are lots of alternatives, so come back often to see how this project develops, grows and takes on a life of its own.

    There will also be three 17" LCD monitors, not tewo as in the drawing below. As soon as I have my artist change the concept image I'll re-post it here.

    Here are the working PC specs for the project:


    *MSI K8N Neo Platinum SLi Mobo
    *AMD Athlon 64 FX-55
    *WD Raptor Series 74GB 10,000 RPM SATA Hard Drive
    *CORSAIR XMS Xtreme Memory Speed Series, Xtra-Low Latency 184-Pin 1GB(512MBx2) DDR PC-3200
    *Dual nVidia Graphics Card NX6800-TD256E SLi
    *Microsoft Windows XP Professional With Service Pack 2

    Here are the specs for the F-117A Stealth Fighter:

    Primary Function: Fighter/attack
    Contractor: Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company.
    Power Plant: Two General Electric F404 engines
    Length: 65 feet, 11 inches (20.3 meters)
    Height: 12 feet, 5 inches (3.8 meters)
    Weight: 52,500 pounds (23,625 kilograms)
    Wingspan: 43 feet, 4 inches (13.3 meters)
    Speed: High subsonic
    Range: Unlimited with air refueling
    Armament: Internal weapons carriage
    Unit Cost: $45 million
    Crew: One
    Date Deployed: 1982
    Inventory: Active force, 55; ANG, 0; Reserve, 0





    To make a custom PC as intricate and engineered as this one, I'll start out with a paper model to help me get an idea of the dimensions and shape of the shell. The paper model will not be super detailed, however it will allow me to make all the proper measurements before I begin cutting the material. Architects create many cardboard 'White models" when pitching a design idea, and this is borrowed from that practice.

    I took some foam board and cut a square to the proper dimensions of the ATX motherboard. I then used an old Radeon 9800 as a guide for making the two mockups of the dual video cards. I used spray mount adhesive to to glue on some colored paper to the foam board as well, to help make the model easier to see.






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    The second largest piece of hardware is of course, the full ATX power supply. I made a scale model of one from foamboard, even adding a fan grill as a guide for orientation. Studying the angles on a Stealth fighter, I made a platform for the motherboard. You can also see that I've slipped the PSU model beneath it. This project will require some pretty interesting ventilation engineering to get it running cool and comfy....all part of the fun!








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    Here I'm starting to build up the shape of the shell. A lot of cut foamboard pieces are rejected before I choose just the right shapes that give me the composition I'm looking for.






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    The design begs for some sort of canopy---so I thought that a hinged (and possibly motorized) canopy with cut windows would look pretty cool. With some yellow or amber light inside it would look fantastic against the flat black stealth body. Maybe even yellow glass with white light inside--I'll have to see which would look best once we get to that part. I still havent commited to the exact position and size of the canopy--it's simply propped up on there for now.

    I also adjusted the angle on the front section. Even small changes can make a dramatic difference. The case isn't going to sit flat on a table--I have plans for some sort of "landing gear" to raise the whole case up--with some really cool lighing beneath







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    You just can't get the fine lines and final composition in a foamboard model, however i think I've found my overall shape for this design. The final case will be nowhere near as bulky looking as the paper model, so I have lots of room to shrink and finesse the size/shape of this piece as I start the styrene work My last bit of paper modeling will be to design the side intake vents for cooling the case.



    I'm ready to start constructing the aluminum skeleton today!




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    The framing for the skeleton is well underway--The shape mimics the model I built from foamcore, and will help support the outter panels. The material is all aluminum--flat stock and angle. The screws are stainless steel. I essentially created a motherboard tray and back panel, using a an ATX case as a guide for measurements. Plenty of room for the PSU and HDD's inside this framing.












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    Here's a few pics to that shows the direction I'm taking with cooling the PSU and HDDs. I made a dual drive rack from angle and flat stock aluminum and will be mounting a modified ThermalTake CPU cooler on the back. There is also a duct that will snug up against the TT fan to allow the warm air to exhaust out the bottom of the case. To the right of that you see the white model of the PSU I made earlier. The PSU will also have a duct behind it to vent the air out, although this box-like unit will be made from sheet styrene.






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    The ductwork for the PSU and HDD exhaust system is basically finished, I just need to add some rubber gasket to seal both the HDD and PSU frames to their respective scratch-built, styrene plastic ducting.














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    The most difficult part of making this complex shell is getting the first few pieces of .060 high impact styrene plastic cut, fitted and assembled. Since there are no 90 degree angles anywhere on the shell of this case, these two side panels were the most challenging--the rest is a cakewalk, and very fun to build--here are the two side panels:






  10. #10
    The SlackMeister
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    Paul, all your mods are just incredible! i really want to see how this one comes out.

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