Holy Crap. It’s been a while.
I could apologize, but hey, it’s my blog. I can do what I want.
So…. here is the post.
Let me preface what I did and why.
I have never done a mod before. Today was my very first.
There were a lot of lessons learned.
There were a few mistakes.
There were a few moments where I was really glad that I have the job I have.
So, with that in mind, let me show you what I’ve been up to.
I’m in the process of building a new uITX machine and I wanted to go with a tiny case. But after a little debating, I decided to go with a Micro-ATX.
I’m cheap, so because of that, the case had to be cheap.
Enter the Cooler Master Elite 343.
This case seemed really awesome in my view. Two weeks ago when I settled on this piece of steel and plastic, I said to myself “Garen… That’s a really nice case”.
I figured since it was a nice case that I would wind up putting it on the floor by the desk and just occasionally admire its stunning rugged black beauty.
Then came Bill Owen.
I stumbled on him on the internet and suddenly I had this urge to cut holes in stuff. Paint stuff. And all round be a little more manly.
Thanks Bill… I think.
Anyways… I am in the Coast Guard and I serve on a ship.
The Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw to be specific.
See? This is my ship.
Now, being in the military give me access to all sorts of cool stuff.
Wanna install a blowhole? Great. Here is a steel knockout punch.
Wanna cut plexi? Great, here is the bandsaw.
Wanna engrave someone on that plexi? Awesome, here is the engraver.
Wanna cut a freehand hole? Perfect, here is the jigsaw.
You can see that having access to these kinds of toys can be a bit dangerous.
Anyways, you saw the picture above, I started with a fairly attractive case.
However, after watching the MonsterMawd videos, listening to the podcasts, and spending WAY too much time reading this forum, I decided on the following.
-I need a blowhole.
-I want a window. But not something gaudy.
-I need something custom that says… “Me”.
-I have to have contrasting paint colors.
I’m still figuring out what I’m going to be doing for the electronics, switches, and so forth, so those will come later… but with this list of awesome features (Simple ones to start with), I have created the following.
Notice the contrasting icebreaker red and the black? This inspiration came from the colors of my ships hull. You can see a better version of that contrast here…
But enough of the ship… back to what I built.
The blowhole is clearly visible here.
Chrome on Red looks nice if you ask me. I used a hydraulic steel knockout punch to make the 3″ hole. No sharp edges. A touch of sanding. And a perfect circle. No sparks, noise, or metal shavings to deal with.
More view of the backside and the blowhole.
My cuts weren’t the straightest on the window hole. However, this was my first time. Next time I’m going to use a jig to ensure straight lines. The window is 1mm plexi. I’m going to use 1/8″ or 1/4″ next time I think.
I wasn’t able to get my hands on the 3M 4010 (Tape of the Gawds), but I was able to find the Loctite equivilent. It works well enough.
Now, if you look close, you can see that there is a little etching on the plexi. This was engraved. The symbol you are looking at is my rating designator. I am an E6 / IT1 in the Coast Guard. This is the badge that I wear on my sleeve (In dress uniform) that tells you what my job is. I figured this was the part that screamed “Me”.
Here is is a little closer.
Okay, so we have the paint, the window, the blowhole, the etching, and the tape of the demi-gawds.
Honestly, I’m happy with my work.
I don’t think I’m done with the project yet though. While the parts for the computer showed up today, and I’m writing this post on the new system, I think the case is going to receive a few more tweaks.
Handles are next.
Here is the info I’m using for that step….
I hope the read was enjoyable.