Calen Saddler

"Dark Matter" featuring one off 3D printed parts

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Experimenting With Acrylic Cutouts:

I made a few designs for acrylic panels that carry the design cues well. I have a couple different locations that they could be mounted but, I'll probably wait until the left side doors are mounted. These acrylic cutouts were also done on my scroll saw and filed to perfection.


Prepping & Painting The Doors: (Left Side)

Now that I have the acrylic strips mocked-up I can prep and paint the side doors. The lexan panels were removed and I used 220+ grit sanding sponge to rough it up for paint. I will wash the panel with water and light detergent before using a tack cloth. Tack cloths are great for getting any little fragments or dust of right before primer.


Drilling Holes & Mounting Windows:

I already market out where all the holes need to be drilled for the hexed headed bolts. I started by drilling pilot holes in the metal panels and then fit the lexan windows behind them using the metal panel as a template. I only bolted every other hole due to the amount of hexed headed bolts I have. Once I can get more I will drill out the rest.


Part way through drilling the acrylic I had one of my famous arm ticks and cracked one of the lexan panels. You can understand why no one likes to mod with me due to my arm randomly jerking while using power tools. However it does make life more interesting. Of course it had to be one that I used the last of so I will use it as a template for when its replaced.


Mounting Lexan: SSD window

Now that the lexan is cut and files for the SSD window I can start drilling out my pilot holes. Small stainless steel tubing is being used as standoffs for the lexan window. I made 4 standoffs by cutting one piece into 4 even pieces. These little stainless steel tubes came off of a outdoor solar light that I salvaged about a yr or so ago. The stainless steel will go perfectly with the other stainless on the case.


New Sponsors:

Soon I will be announcing a couple new sponsors for the build. Stay tuned for more information on that.

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Update: Finishing Acrylic Strips on The Side Panels

Now that I have the strips at the same width, its time to make sure they fit exactly where they are supposed to. When I hand cut acrylic or lexan I always make sure to cut it a tiny bit larger than needed. That allows me to make adjustments during mock-ups. This method has served me well and I almost never have a need to re-cut. They are now sanded and ready to be painted flat black.


Update: Re-assembling Top Left Door

Now that all the paint is cured I can mount the lexan windows and mock-up the black acrylic strips. Im still waiting for the rest of my bolts so I have every other one being used. I couldn't be happier with the way it looks and the door isn't even finished yet. Theres more work to be done on it but, I will continue work on the door below it for now.


Testing LED Mounting Locations For The Left Side:

Now that I have the main work done on the left side of the case I'm going to start trying out different locations to mount the LEDs. I think the best spot will be inside the frame rails pointing across the side. Another part I need to consider is the LEDs for the 3X OCZ Vector 180 SSDs that are mounted on this side. I want them to be easily viewed when the side doors are open or closed. To pull this lighting off I special ordered some new LEDs that I've never seen before. I will update with more information when they arrive at the shop.



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Update: Bottom Door (Left Side) Re-assembled

Now that I have the bottom door mocked up and re-assembled I can start working with the custom hinges I'm going to make. I mocked up both the bottom and top doors to get an idea of what they will look like and I'm extremely happy with the way they look.



Part Arrivals: Special Ordered Mini-Gas Struts & Vandal Switch

I was happy to see that the mini gas struts I special ordered had arrived at the shop. These two gas struts are for the bottom two panels. Two new vandal switches were ordered as well. The first one to arrive has the power symbol that lights up blue. The second vandal switch is the blue ring that matches this one.



Modding Mascots:

I thought it was only right to show my Modding Mascots. The one closest to the screen is mine and the other one is on loan for the next two weeks. My pup is constantly with me while modding or fabricating. Believe it or not, sometimes she makes the final call on wether something stays in a build or not.


Edited by Envious Mods
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Update: Custom Hinges For The Doors

Ive 3D printed the new, larger hinges and I'm very happy with the size. They take a bit longer to print but, they're much stronger. The length also makes the door come out from the case when its open which looks sweet. I still need to purchase some more hardware to mount it but, I'm using temporary hardware so I can place everything how I want it.



In the picture you can see the size difference between the original size and the new larger hinge. There is 6 more hinges that need to be printed. I will finish sanding and prepping this set over the next few days. Once they are painted; they will look like they are a mass manufactured hinge.

Inner Door Panel:

The inner panel still needs to be built but, I wanted to wait until the doors are on before making the inner panel. The reason I make an inner panel is to give the back side of the door a much cleaner look. Most builders don't care much about the back side of a door due to the fact that it is never seen.

Test Mounting Door & Hinges:

Today I was able to test mount the top door, one set of hinges and the long gas strut. Everything went together very well and I am happy that I wont need to make any adjustments to the mount. The side surround will need a few mm shaved off of it but, I knew that I would need to do this. This is needed to make room for the bolts that mount the lexan side windows.




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3D Printing More Hinges:

I decided to go ahead and print a couple more sets of the custom hinges I designed. I need 6 more complete hinges which are each made up of 3 parts. One complete hinge takes about 17 minutes to print using my Printrbot Plus with the new UBIS 13s and a 1mm nozzle. I also added a picture of the program Repetier which monitors and translates the, “Geode†to movements. It shows you the layers its doing in realtime which is very convienent.


New PSU Cable Route:

The cables from the PSU will now go down into the frame behind the PSU and come out below the motherboard tray. The plan is to route them up the back of the motherboard tray and behind the cable management cover.


I made a new piece that covers the back of the PSU. I also added a custom cut piece of lexan as a spacer to give some of the cables room to be routed under the mount. It'll look really slick once its all together.


New LEDs:

I special ordered a set of new true RGB LEDs. After testing these out I can definitely tell that they are well made. The entire LED system is fully modular. I will run all the wiring inside the frame rails to give it a very clean look. I will lay everything out first and test it to make sure the positioning is right before drilling/cutting the frame.


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PSU Additions:

The majority of builds use PSU shrouds which I like. However I like to try and push myself. Another factor is showing off the PSU. It is very well designed and looks like it should be in this build, right out of the box.

The fan side has a one of a kind grill that just looks sweet. I decided to use some chrome strips off of a 1950s car that I had laying around. I made two bends in the strips in order to carry on the design elements from the PSUs grill. It fits it very well and does a great job of echoing the design cues.


Overlap Plate: Top Door

I built the first of two overlap plates for the left side doors. This is primarily aesthetic but, it also helps to keep the doors closed in the correct order. When opening the side panels; the top panel opens first and closes second. The overlap plate assures that this is done every time. For now I've painted it black but, I will be doing some vinyl work to it as well.


New Sponsors:


EMI Design:

EMI Design is a great company in Europe made up of some talented designers and fabricators. They will be laser cutting a couple parts for the build. Using a laser cutter on these parts will allow me to create an effect that would be impossible using the tools I have available. One of the panels is already designed and the other piece will be an addition to the design; so you'll have to wait and see (it'll be awesome.) I want to thank EMI Design for supporting the Dark Matter project.



Another new sponsor is ENsourced. As you may know they have some sweet sleeved cables, DIY gear and cable combs. I came up with a really neat idea for the sleeved cables and its definitely different from what you usually see in builds. Originally I had planned on doing the usual cable combination by mixing the main colors used on the build for the sleeving. I would also like to thank ENsourced for believing in the build.

Sleeved Cables: (ENsourced)

I originally planned to do the typical green, white, black and grey. After spending some time on the cable design I decided to go a different route. I wouldn't be able to pull of this new design if it wasn't for the large selection of sleeving that ENsourced has. I will update with cable info and pics once they arrive.

Edited by Envious Mods
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Mounting The Left Bottom Door:

I went ahead and printed another full set of hinges and drilled out the mounting holes. Two out of the four holes use the lexan panel holes which will give it a polished look once its all finished. Planning ahead for little details like this helps to give your build a clean, manufactured look.

I looked into all kinds of latches for the side doors but, I never really found anything I really liked. Last night I had a dream about using the case when it is finished. In the dream I used rare earth magnets that were imbedded in the side doors. Im going to give it a whirl and see how it works. The rough mockup went great and already looks good considering everything is just being held together temporarily while I finish the rest of the pieces.


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Vinyl Work:

I wanted to get an idea of what the vinyl work I designed; would look like. In my head it looks sweet but, that doesn't always translate in real life. I started with cutting The hatch lift label and the triangles that will go throughout the case. I also design multi angled thin lines that will carry on the futuristic/industrial look that I'm going for.



The side doors overlap panel came out better than I could've hoped for. It only needs a few small sections filed to make it perfect. There will be quite a bit of vinyl work done but it will be a lot of small, small details. You can see the detail that I'm talking about on the vertical PCIe mount. I am very excited with how this portion came out.


I also added an overall shot so you can see some of the progress made so far:


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