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Hello everyone - Welcome to my build log for my current project, a scratch-built PC / Games Console designed for the living room. About the Build: After my previous project was primarily built from used components and recovered materials, I wanted to design and build something new and bespoke, with materials sourced for the purpose of the build. The move to smaller cases and living room PC's was also an area that I've found really interesting recently; lots of great designs from both big manufacturers and modders alike. So this is my attempt at the same challenge. I'll be including as much of the design process as I can, as well as the actual building (the design phases pre-build were very important!) The Build Spec - Primary Requirements: - Powerful enough to play games and compete with other living room systems - Small enough to fit in a unit under the TV and not look out of place (i.e. flat) - Quiet enough that it doesn't ruin the gaming/TV experience - The design must represent a visual showcase, one that provides Diesel Engine with a unique and clear identity. Secondary requirements: - The software must boot directly into a gamepad-navigable state. No Keyboard + Mouse - The case must not light up like the sun (this is very distracting when sitting under the TV) - The case should not use or require any specialist or custom hardware - Be able to support both 1080p and 4K system setups - Not require an external power brick Oh... (and this should go without saying) but the build shall not call itself an "ITX case" and still support full size ATX hardware and all the trimmings. Concept Artwork I drew and modelled a range of concept pieces first, free from any technical limitations, just so I could see where the art style was heading. Once the style was chosen, only then would I start to figure out if the design was technically feasible. A similar half and half design to the Xbox One and PS4, which have matt and gloss surfaces. A chunky hexagonal design in copper plate also sounded great A very slim, long and simple design. Minimising or hiding all controls and inputs from the front I explored some of the same shapes and colours in 3D, using Sketchup to create some quick and dirty mockups By this point I was aware of the size of ITX and SFF components and had a rough case size in mind. This helped me work with some units when modelling Technical Design I decided to pursue and modify Concept 2#, it was a simpler design and there were areas of Concept 1# would be technically more difficult to implement. I needed to determine what parts of the design were feasible and the layout of the components within the case. There were three main parts of the design up for negotiation: orientation of the graphics card, form factor of the power supply, choice of supported components and airflow solutions. It's worth mentioning here that I had also started investigating materials and fixtures. Like many cases, sheet steel construction would provide the strength and simplicity that I required for the inner shell. I planned on using premium materials to cover the steel shell and where possible, be fixed from the inside of the case so that no screws would be on show. My technical designs started to consider how the pieces would be made from bent sheel material and fit together. I had experience using graphics card riser cables, so I knew that I would be able to re-orientate the card how I liked. Many other HTPC cases that I had seen use rigid risers and have the card fan facing downwards. I really didn't want this, it was important that performance cards get fresh air from outside the case so I wanted the fan to be as close to the console lid as possible. I planned to incorporate a design into the lid that provided direct airflow to the components. I built a bunch of scale models to check the real-size of components. SFX and Flex ATX power supplies here. I'd recommend this technique since 3D models can sometimes detach you from the relative size of objects. An ITX motherboard and a SFX/short graphics card. Side note: the questionable meatballs are NOT mine I chose the Flex ATX form factor for its tiny height, just 40mm! The SFX power supplies were around 80mm and up. I started modelling and worked on translating my concept designs into a technical design I decided the simplest layout of positioning the components next to each other would allow me to keep the case in a flat console style. I explored a bunch of different front port options Investigating ways that the Graphics car mounting would work in the simplest way I started mapping the mounting holes for Flex ATX PSUs The front panel assembly for the USB's + power button was something that I would have to create. This was an early solution I came up with. The tolerances were going to be tight. I learned that folding very near holes in the sheet would likely compromise the shape of the hole, so I had to redesign some sections several times. I was having the same problem with the graphics car supports and was unsure if they would still hold thier shape after being bent Final Design I combined the learnings from my technical design investigation and produced a final concept design of what the case was going to look like and how it was going to work. The final design includes ventilation in the lid, mounting for all components, a front panel assembly and cable management solutions. I was also able to find solutions that would allow me to construct the case from the inside, hiding nearly all of the screw heads. Having a solid technical design also allowed me to go back and design the asthetic parts of the console, knowing that it would be feasible to create. I had started searching online to see what kinds of parts were freely available: thin panels of real wood, thin and affordable premium metal panels, fixtures. ....And there you have it! During the design of the final concept I also nailed down a lot of the technical details that you see in the images above. I'll go into more detail about the shell design next post and explain the role the of the spacers and also why I chose to separate the case into several different pieces. Other small decisions like the position of the power button were finalised, I really liked the idea and look of cutting the corner off the case. I also began using CAD software to translate my sheet designs into something that can be fed into a machine and made. I have many tips and learnings from that exercise that I can share here. Before I leave the first post, I should probably show some work in progress right? Oh okay, can you tell what it is yet?