Recommended Posts

Project SkyVue is a water-cooled mini-ITX mid-range gaming tower finished in African Sapele wood with polished aluminum trim. Major features include a GTX 960 video card, a blower-based low-profile water-cooling system and an M.2 PCIe SSD.

The project consists of two main components; the interior chassis and the external enclosure. The decorative enclosure slides down to cover the chassis and is not connected in any other way. The internal chassis can operate autonomously.

SkyVue took 240 hours to design and build over an eight week period in 2016. All of the work was done by myself using various hand tools, a Dremel rotary tool and a cordless drill.

302.JPG

Specs:

Intel Core i5-6600K

Gigabyte GA-Z170N-WIFI Mini-ITX Motherboard

Gigabyte 4GB GTX 960 Video Card

Corsair H5 SF Low-Profile Liquid Cooler

Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB DDR4 System Memory

Kingston HyperX Predator 240GB M.2 SSD

Corsair Neutron XT 2.5" 480GB SSD

Silverstone SFX ST30SF 300W Power Supply

284.jpg

277a.jpg

278a.jpg

279a.jpg

280a.jpg

281a.jpg

282a.jpg

285.jpg

286.jpg

287.jpg

288.jpg

289.jpg

283.jpg

290.jpg

291.jpg

292.jpg

293.jpg

295.jpg

296.jpg

297.jpg

298.jpg

Project Log:

011.jpg

An aluminum case is modified to provide for the water-cooler exhaust vent.

012.jpg

014.jpg

015.jpg

The mounting system for the Corsair H5 SF water-cooler shares three of the four motherboard mounting screws.

016.jpg

017.jpg

019.jpg

020.jpg

Thanks for looking!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

 
022.jpg
Taping up the case for Dremel work.
 
 
023.jpg
 
024.jpg
 
025.jpg
 
026.jpg
 

028.jpg
Removed paint down to bare aluminum.
 
029.jpg
 
031.jpg
Cut a piece of 1/8" aircraft grade 7-ply birch plywood
 
 
033.jpg
Glued it up using polyethylene adhesive.
 
034.jpg
 
035.jpg
Made two back panels out of 1/16" aircraft grade 5-ply birch plywood. Note difference in cooler vent hole size.
 
 
036.jpg
The two back panels glued together with wood glue creates pocket for vent mesh.
 
 
037.jpg
Cut vent mesh to size.
 
038.jpg
 
039.jpg
 
040.jpg
Some dry fitting to check the progress. I'm calling this a bikini chassis because it's only just enough to get the job done.
 
041.jpg
 
 
 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
042.jpg
Trimmed up a bit more of the case around the video card. Glued up the wood to the aluminum again using the polyethylene adhesive.
 
 
 
044.jpg
 
 
 
 
 
048.jpg
I made this collar/spacer that shifts the mounting point downward 3/8" to a place with more surrounding metal. The collar also defines the interior space that will be enclosed later.
 
049.jpg
 
050.jpg
 
051.jpg
 

052.jpg
Assembled to check for progress.
 
053.jpg
 
054.jpg
Cut a notch and modified my spacer/collar to help reduce the overall size.
 
055.jpg
 
056.jpg
Drilled out holes and attached a piece of 1/2" x 1/16" aluminum angle with #6-32 screws and nuts.
 
057.jpg
This is not only to add strength but also provide a place to hide a portion of the PCIe cable that will stretch to the top of the case.
 
058.jpg
 
 
 
 
 
062.jpg
 
 
 
064.jpg
A custom PSU surround will be bonded to the original work to provide a solid metal attachment point for the power supply.
 
065.jpg
 
066.jpg
 
067.jpg
 
Thanks for looking!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
068.jpg
To attach a base to the aluminum structure I built these collars.
 
069.jpg
 
070.jpg
 
071.jpg
 
072.jpg
 
073.jpg
 
074.jpg
 
075.jpg
 
076.jpg
 

078.jpg
Built up the power supply box.
 
079.jpg
 
080.jpg
 
077.jpg
 
081.jpg
 
082.jpg
 
083.jpg
 
084.jpg
 
085.jpg
Added more 1/2" aluminum angle to help support the graphics card.
 
087.jpg
 
 
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
088.jpg
1/2" wood angle.
 
089.jpg
The clearance between the cover and chassis is paper thin. Literally. I use pieces of paper to separate the two during construction.
 
090.jpg
What I'm constructing here is the PSU box section of the cover. The cover will slide up and down.
 
091.jpg
 
092.jpg
 
093.jpg
 
094.jpg
 
095.jpg
 
098.jpg
 
097.jpg
 
096.jpg
 
102.jpg
 
101.jpg
 
100.jpg
 
099.jpg
 
 

 
108.jpg
Building a top for the sliding box.
 
109.jpg
 
110.jpg
 
 
 
112.jpg
 
113.jpg
 
114.jpg
 
 
117.jpg
Checking the fit.
 
120.jpg
Paper spacers and wood angle for the next cover section...the motherboard/cooler box.
 
121.jpg
 
122.jpg
 

147.jpg
Painted the internal chassis flat black and continued the motherboard/cooler cover construction.
 
148.jpg
 
149.jpg
 
150.jpg
 
151.jpg
 
152.jpg
 
153.jpg
 
154.jpg
 
155.jpg
T6511 aluminum bar stock for the decorative trim.
 
156.jpg
 
 
 
 Thanks for looking!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 
138.jpg
Cut a PSU access hole in the bottom of the base. The power supply will  be installed/dropped out from the bottom.
 
139.jpg
 
140.jpg
 
141.jpg
 
 
144.jpg
Construction of the center-line decorative element.
 
145.jpg
 
 
161.jpg
 
162.jpg
 
163.jpg
 
164.jpg
 
165.jpg
 
 
 
167.jpg
This creates a cradle for the aluminum barstock.
 
168.jpg
 
169.jpg
Beveling the barstock ends using a Dremell.
 
170.jpg

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
178.jpg
More center-line decorative element work.
 
 
179.jpg
 
180.jpg
 
181.jpg
 
182.jpg
 
183.jpg
 

184.jpg
I designed and built a friction-fit fan mount in the top section just in case it was needed for additional cooling.
 
185.jpg
 
186.jpg
 
187.jpg
 
188.jpg
 
501.jpg
 
 
190.jpg
This is the vent structure for the video card.
 
191.jpg
Started veneering the vent "interiors".
 
192.jpg
 
193.jpg
Mesh scavenged from an Office Depot desktop in/out tray.
 
194.jpg
 
195.jpg
A transition piece.
 
196.jpg
 
197.jpg
 
198.jpg
 
199.jpg
 
201.jpg
 
202.jpg
Finished the 90 degree bevels. Polished the barstock using 100, 220, 600, 1000 grit sandpaper finished with Mother's Aluminum Polish.
 
203.jpg
Test fitting the trim.
 
204.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
205.jpg
Completing the enclosure.
 
206.jpg
 
207.jpg
 
208.jpg
 
209.jpg
 
210.jpg
 
211.jpg
Started veneering the main section of the cover.
 
212.jpg
The entire project is covered in 96 pieces of Sapele veneer. The video card vent section alone is made up of 41 pieces 
 
213.jpg
 
214.jpg
The interior is brush painted in flat black.
 
217.jpg
 
215.jpg
Gluing the top section together.
 
216.jpg
 
 
222.jpg
 
223.jpg
 
224.jpg
 
225.jpg
Test fitting the trim.
 
226.jpg
 
227.jpg
 
228.jpg
 
230.jpg
 
 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
236.jpg
Finished building out the base.
 
237.jpg
 
238.jpg
 
239.jpg
 
240.jpg
 
241.jpg
 
242.jpg
Used some industrial-grade epoxy to glue the trim angles together. Not strong but not structural either.
 
 
246.jpg
Veneered the back including the inside edges.
 
247.jpg
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
251.jpg
Drilled out holes for the storage SSD.
 
252.jpg
 
253.jpg
Veneering technique. 
 
254.jpg
 
255.jpg
 
256.jpg
 
257.jpg
 
258.jpg
 
259.jpg
 
260.jpg
Evened up the trim ends with a metal file.
 
261.jpg
 
262.jpg
 
263.jpg
 
264.jpg
 
265.jpg
Equipment test fit.
 
266.jpg
 
267.jpg
 
268.jpg
The two raw unfinished project components.
 
269.jpg
 
270.jpg
 
 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
277a.jpg

Finished chassis including video card backplate.

 

278a.jpg

Size comparison 

 

279a.jpg

Mini-ITX sized nVidia GTX 960 w/ 4GB memory.

 

280a.jpg

PCIe riser and extension usage.

 

281a.jpg

Corsair AIO low-profile water-cooler featuring a 120mm blower.

 

282a.jpg

Gigabyte Z170 mini-ITX motherboard 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.