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So, while I was hiding in my basement during a tornado warning, I figured I'd tackle the mounting brackets for the CTR res.  I tried a few designs in aluminum but nothing looked quite right so rather than new brackets, I tried to see what I could do to make the ones provided fit the theme better.

 

First step...leather.

 

TheGunslinger-2017-03-06_22.16.02-me.jpg

 

Then I cut some thin strips, maybe 1/4' to 3/8" wide.  I wasn't too worried about perfection since I'm really trying to recreate a rougher look, like something you'd make up while following the path of the beam.

 

TheGunslinger-2017-03-06_22.19.29-me.jpg

 

Then I took those strips and wrapped the brackets, starting on either side and meeting up in the middle with a knot.

 

TheGunslinger-2017-03-06_22.46.36-me.jpg

 

The res doesn't really fit in Mid-World, but the brackets do now!

 

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"When the shooting starts, we kill what moves." - Roland, Wolves of the Calla

 

Update time, and I guess, dirty copy and pasting time too.  I've hit a spot in the Gunslinger and the Crimson King where they are almost perfect mirrors of each other so it only makes sense to do the work on both at the same time.  

 

And as usually happens along the way, I've changed things up a bit.  I wanted a junction box on the back of the tray to fit the theme I'm going for and also for a place to hide some cable splices, so i bent one up.  It was functional but just didn't seem right to me.  And then wandering about the local hardware store, I thought I'd peruse the electrical aisle to see what I could put together for a junction box.  Came up with this.

 

CrimsonKing-2017-03-10_18.47.51-me.jpg

 

I think it fits better than what I made up, plus knockouts are way easier than what I had planned.  A few romex connectors and it'll work perfect, so I fit them over the holes I had already cut for my previous attempt.

 

CrimsonKing-2017-03-10_19.43.57-me.jpg

 

And opened up the pass through for a little more room.

 

CrimsonKing-2017-03-10_20.34.02-me.jpg

 

With 2 different cover styles installed.  I'm liking the option for a knockout in the cover.  Later, I can figure out what knockouts to knock out and it'll be good to go.

 

CrimsonKing-2017-03-10_20.37.17-me.jpg

 

With that sorted and somewhat finalized, I can start on the paint work.  This ones gonna be a stretch for me paint wise, there's gonna be a lot of weathering and airbrush work, which I suck at.  But first, something I'm totally familiar with, primer.

 

CrimsonKing-2017-03-10_21.19.10-me.jpg 

 

And since I'm going to match the SSD's to the theme and that requires a total repaint, I pulled them apart...

 

CrimsonKing-2017-03-11_14.21.49-me.jpg

 

So I could prime them too.  

 

CrimsonKing-2017-03-11_14.42.05-me.jpg

 

Next up was a coat of flat gray for the trays and laying parts out.

 

CrimsonKing-2017-03-13_22.54.26-me.jpg

 

Now that I can see what I'm working with I've got a better feel for the theme and can start to lay out my ideas.

 

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'Renounce the Tower. This is your last warning.' - Note left to Roland's Ka-tet, Wolves of the Calla

 

Paint, paint, paint.  This is always when a build starts coming together for me, but this one is a new challenge.  It's not picking out a cool color and laying down a glassy coat, it's all in the details.  And that means an airbrush, which I have, but have never been useful with.  Let's see if I can change that.

 

Since the back of the tray is supposed to look like 1000 year old tech that is more advanced than ours but seems a bit more clunky (I always pictured computers and robots from the futurists of the 50's and 60's), I wanted to give it a industrial feel with a ton of aging, plus add details from the series.  I'm starting with riveted panels that everything will attach to.  I started with some lines for the edges of the panels.

 

CrimsonKing-2017-03-16_22.57.06-me.jpg

 

Next came learning how to do rivets.

 

CrimsonKing-2017-03-16_23.11.23-me.jpg

 

CrimsonKing-2017-03-16_23.46.54-me.jpg

 

And shading.

 

CrimsonKing-2017-03-17_22.18.59-me.jpg

 

CrimsonKing-2017-03-17_22.48.30-me.jpg

 

Then all the components have to be painted to fit in.  First the SSD's are getting a chrome finish.

 

CrimsonKing-2017-03-17_16.31.53-me.jpg

 

And then tackling the PSU.

 

CrimsonKing-2017-03-17_16.50.36-me.jpg

 

CrimsonKing-2017-03-17_18.02.17-me.jpg

 

Naturally, I tape off the sticker and this happens.

 

CrimsonKing-2017-03-19_12.57.40-me.jpg

 

And then adding some details.

 

CrimsonKing-2017-03-19_12.34.35-me.jpg

 

CrimsonKing-2017-03-19_13.47.47-me.jpg

 

CrimsonKing-2017-03-19_13.48.03-me.jpg

 

The hazard marking comes from a spot in the story where Roland's ka-tet finds some of the hardware that keeps the beam of the bear and the turtle functioning.

 

And the almost finished back panel with the SSD's, junction box, and PSU.  Next up for the panel is some rusting and aging to make it look like it's been wasting away for a thousand years.

 

CrimsonKing-2017-03-20_21.27.37-me.jpg

 

And a bit of a teaser of what's to come...

 

CrimsonKing-2017-03-20_21.28.24-me.jpg

 

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Had to add a quick update for the weathering.  It's 90% done, still have to add some holes on the Crimson King for some flash on the other side of the tray and need to clear both of the trays, but I'm super happy with how it turned out.

 

First pass.

 

CrimsonKing-2017-03-21_22.36.48-me.jpg

 

It came out too regular but not bad for a first attempt at weathering and the first time really using an airbrush.

 

Second pass.

 

CrimsonKing-2017-03-22_20.38.23-me.jpg

 

CrimsonKing-2017-03-22_20.38.31-me.jpg

 

CrimsonKing-2017-03-22_20.38.45-me.jpg

 

CrimsonKing-2017-03-22_20.38.52-me.jpg

 

CrimsonKing-2017-03-22_20.39.03-me.jpg

 

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“There's nothing like stories on a windy night when folks have found a warm place in a cold world.” - The Wind Through the Keyhole

 

So with most of the airbrushing done, it was time to clear my panels to see how they turned out.  I have to say, the clearcoat really brought the detail out.

 

Before:

 

CrimsonKing-2017-03-23_21.44.19-me.jpg

 

After:

 

CrimsonKing-2017-03-23_21.47.21-me.jpg

 

CrimsonKing-2017-03-23_21.47.37-me.jpg

 

CrimsonKing-2017-03-23_21.48.12-me.jpg

 

I also had to do something for the corrosion on the SSD's to make them look like they've been sitting around for a thousand years too.  Since they were a chrome/alloy color, I

decided to give it that whitish corrosion that you tend to see on alloy wheels.  First up, some white and black, dabbed with a cloth to give it some texture.

 

CrimsonKing-2017-03-24_22.04.44-me.jpg

 

Then a bit of green over the top, dabbed with a cloth as well.

 

CrimsonKing-2017-03-24_22.12.35-me.jpg

 

I hit them with some clear as well.  Actually two coats, one after the white, but before the black so they wouldn't mix or rub the white off, then another after the green.  I would say, unfortunately I wound up with some lifting and wrinking cause I hit the second coat of clear a little heavy and the bottom layers weren't at full cure, but I actually like the look, so I'm gonna roll with it. Gives it some texture and an interesting look.

 

CrimsonKing-2017-03-25_15.54.46-me.jpg

 

Now we get to the part where the two cases start to take on their own identity.  Each of the motherboard sides will have it's own theme.  For The Gunslinger I went with leather for the tray since leather was a pretty useful material in the story and fits the wild west gunfighter feel.

 

First was to lay out the leather in a way that let the most character of the piece show.

 

Gunslinger-2017-03-25_15.59.13-me.jpg

 

Then some spray adhesive.

 

Gunslinger-2017-03-25_16.01.02-me.jpg

 

And some trimming to finish it up.

 

Gunslinger-2017-03-25_16.11.09-me.jpg

 

And with it's evil antagonist.

 

CrimsonKing-2017-03-25_16.13.13-me.jpg

 

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We spread the time as we can, but in the end the world takes it all back. - Roland, Song of Susannah

 

Now with the tray all decked out in it's leather, I can start adding the theme details to it.  First up, the Horn of Eld.  The horn originally belonged to Arthur Eld, Mid-World's equivalent of King Arthur, and has been passed down generations of descendants, finally reaching Roland Deschain.  So it's old.  And beat up.  Exactly not what it looks like now.

 

Gunslinger-DSC00128-me.JPG

 

In the promotional photo of the horn, it looks like it's got some decorative metal banding, but that might be a little beyond me.  I'm no prop maker, but I want it to look like it could fit in the world.  So first off, lets add some leather straps to it.

 

TheGunslinger-2017-03-26_23.00.56-me.jpg

 

Good start, now we need some metal work.  At first I tried to make some aluminum bands, but I couldn't really get them to fit well and holding it all together was giving me fits.  I needed something that was soft enough to match the shape.  Tried polystyrene, but that didn't look much better than the aluminum.  I started looking around the shop for ideas and stumbled on some 50/50 solder I had laying around, basically old school lead solder.  Easy to work with and made some nice bands.  Being a plumber paid off. :) 

 

TheGunslinger-2017-03-26_23.17.06-me.jpg

 

Then I had to make it look old.  This consisted of hitting it with a file and hammer to scratch and dent it.  After it was nice and beat up, I gave it an aged look by using acrylic paints, black and raw siena brushed on and then wiped off.  A little trial and error gave me this.

 

TheGunslinger-2017-03-27_22.26.51-me.jpg

 

Looks like it's been around the block a few times. :D  Not only was the lead solder perfect for fitting the horn and soft enough to make aging it easy, it was pretty simple to clean up where I joined it on the back side.  Just a bit of work with a soldering iron.

 

TheGunslinger-2017-03-27_22.26.58-me.jpg

 

With the horn done, I could start putting things together.  I mounted the horn with some wall anchors and just screwed the holster to the tray.

 

TheGunslinger-2017-03-28_21.57.07-me.jpg

 

And with most of the case painted and ready to assemble, I could finally put the tray in and see how it all worked together.

 

CrimsonKing-2017-03-29_20.56.07-me.jpg

 

CrimsonKing-2017-03-29_20.56.47-me.jpg

 

To keep the back side of the tray looking right, I mounted my spacers for the motherboard backwards.  It'll require using nuts to mount the mb, but let me use screws with rusted heads on the back side, matching all my rust effects.

 

CrimsonKing-2017-03-26_14.26.14-me.jpg

 

I still need to get the back panel CNC'd and painted, but seeing this much of it together eased my worry of having three different looks going on at once.  The rusted out back of the tray and the themed front of the tray don't really overlap and both go along with the textured coat on the case itself.  But more about the case next time. :)  And a new sponsor too! :S 

 

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While I'm getting all my CNC work done, I figured I would start on the wiring.  It's that or sit around twiddling my thumbs listening to the Dewalt scream at me.  So let's be productive, eh?

 

Since I like making things complicated, I decided to stay with that trend on the wiring.  Both the Gunslinger and the Man in Black will have to sets of custom cables, one that matches the aged and decaying back side, and a pretty set of extensions for the other side with the connection between the two in the junction box.

 

To start off from the PSU, I wanted the cables to look like they had a purpose a thousand years ago, so I decided to step back into ancient times and go for color coded wires from an old PSU.  Luckily I had a couple of old Rosewills laying around that I had partially sleeved.  Since my run from the PSU is short, they should work just fine.

 

TheGunslinger-2017-04-02_22.53.39-me.jpg

 

So I did some harvesting.

 

TheGunslinger-2017-04-02_23.06.15-me.jpg

 

What sucks is that i used to have a box full of scrap wires that, somewhere along the way, I threw out.  But anyways, I got the wires pinned and connector-ized, taking the runs through the romex connectors so they look like they had a purpose.  I put them all together randomly since I'm not concerned about correct color coding, though I did manage to get the blue and green wires in the right spots.  I figured the PS on would make it easier to jumper the PSU later.

 

TheGunslinger-2017-04-03_23.58.14-me.jpg

 

Still have my SATA's and pump to hook up and some aging to do.  A friend suggested fabric wire wrap which I think could look awesome rotted out.  That, some paint effects and maybe a few burn spots should give them the look I want.

 

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Edited by InsolentGnome

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OMG!  Does wiring ever end????  Apparently not, but I have made some progress.  Extensions, sleeved.

 

Gunslinger-2017-04-08_22.51.48-me.jpg

 

But before we get into running the fans, I need to do something about the power and reset buttons.  Although I like having I/Os on the front of the case, I hate the mess you have to deal with on the inside, especially in a mod, so they've got to go to be replaced by a simple power and reset button pair.  First off I need to make a plate to cover the original I/O plate.  Using a pencil lead, I rubbed the outline onto some paper.

 

Gunslinger-2017-04-09_14.02.55-me.jpg

 

I could then cut that out and transfer the shape over to some 1mm Al to cut out.

 

Gunslinger-2017-04-09_14.08.28-me.jpg

 

Gunslinger-2017-04-09_14.23.16-me.jpg

 

Then some mounting holes to hold the Al to the original plate and while I was at it I notched the plate out with a dremel to allow my switches to run through.

 

Gunslinger-2017-04-09_14.43.16-me.jpg

 

Gunslinger-2017-04-09_15.22.04-me.jpg

 

Voila!  Switches!  Even the case is excited about it! :P

 

Gunslinger-2017-04-09_15.46.21-me.jpg

 

I'm painting the plate to match the rest of the case and the switches are white LEDs to match the color scheme.

 

While I was playing around with the wire, I managed to have my X-Carve die on me.  At first I thought it was a stepper, but it turned out to be a shorted wire so after working that out, I could start milling out a few symbols in the back plate that relate to the stories.  Everything started out fine.

 

Gunslinger-2017-04-10_21.25.53-me.jpg

 

But two broken bits later I decided that this piece of Al wasn't having any of it.  It wasn't chipping very well and I'm not really sure why.  I've never had this problem with these settings on 6061 or 5052 Al before, so I decided to ditch that back panel and make a new one out of some 5052 I had laying around.  Three benefits to this, I just milled the same design in a piece of 5052 with no trouble, the 5052 will bend nicely for the GPU bracket on this new panel vs. the cracking that happened on the first panel, and I know what the :) I'm dealing with.  I'm pretty sure the original panel was 6061, I can't imagine what else it would be, but I also had to do some brazing on it when the GPU mount cracked, so maybe the heat was enough to screw with some of the properties of the panel?  No clue, but I busted out the new panel using the original as a template and the milling went smooth as butter.

 

Gunslinger-2017-04-10_23.18.34-me.jpg

 

One more design to cut above the I/O shield and this baby is ready for a test fit and paint.

 

And speaking of milled parts, I just got some awesome milled parts in for the cooling loop.

 

Gunslinger-2017-04-08_22.53.20-me.jpg

 

MNPCTech 1/2" hardline fittings.  A bunch of them!  Can't wait to get these babies in and start planning the loop.

 

And a big thanks to my sponsors:

 

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and now,

 

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Back panel, milled, sanded, and ready for paint.

 

Gunslinger-2017-04-12_19.06.50-me.jpg

 

So there's one thing that any self respecting Dark Tower build needs, and that's a rose.  The Dark Tower is surrounded by a field of roses and in one of the multiple worlds, there exists a rose that is the tower's counterpart.  So rose=important.  I had thought about putting a rose in the back panels, but liked the idea of Ka and the siguls of the King and the Deschains better.  So another place that was begging for a little love was the grill cover on the top panel.  It's kind of bland and boring up there and I'm hoping that the LED fans shining up through a silhouette will look pretty cool.

 

ABS on an X-Carve is like going through butter with a hot knife.  A nice change from dealing with aluminum, and probably a whole lot better than what is coming up, a steel side panel.  Not really sure how that one is going to work out.  But I got a nice vector drawing of a rose, set it all up, and let it eat.

 

CrimsonKing-2017-04-12_21.20.19-me.jpg

 

CrimsonKing-2017-04-12_21.58.55-me.jpg

 

I taped the :) out of the first one to keep stuff from flying around and was a bit scared of breaking something taking it up, so the next one I went easy on the tape.  That was a

mistake as one of the thinner sections let go and garbled the design.  Not bad and I could live with it, but I'm still going to look into a replacement.

 

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Edited by InsolentGnome

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With the back panel ready for paint, let's look at how I painted them, since it doesn't really show in the pics.

 

First up is a a coat of rattle can black over primer.

 

Gunslinger-2017-04-14_16.03.33-me.jpg

 

It's got a bit of orange peel but that won't really matter.  Next is a medium scratch pad to rough up the surface so that the next layer has something to grab on to.

 

Gunslinger-2017-04-14_16.06.08-me.jpg

 

The top coat is a textured paint from Rustoleum that's supposed to look like rock??? Kind of?  It really isn't bad and basically turns the finish into coarse sandpaper.

 

Gunslinger-2017-04-14_16.07.53-me.jpg

 

Gunslinger-2017-04-14_16.09.17-me.jpg

 

It's not the slate brick that's in the story, but it looks kind of rocky.  One nice thing is that as long as the base was black, it all pretty well matched, so I just top coated the parts of the case that didn't need paint and it matched the parts I painted black just fine.  Another is it'll cover blemishes in the base and doesn't scratch unless you really go at it.

With the back panel done, it was time to start putting it all together.

 

Wired up the switches and the fans.

 

Gunslinger-2017-04-13_14.52.06-me.jpg

 

And did some weathering to make the back side wiring look older.

 

Gunslinger-2017-04-13_22.12.36-me.jpg

 

Then the mb went in.  I like having the wire running under the board, but it can be a pain to get it laying right.  Still need to add some combs to clean it up.

 

Gunslinger-2017-04-14_21.37.55-me.jpg

 

And the back panel was riveted on.

 

Gunslinger-2017-04-15_19.40.21-me.jpg

 

I went with white LED's to light the interior and help show off the details.

 

Gunslinger-2017-04-15_21.13.30-me.jpg

 

Gunslinger-2017-04-15_21.13.20-me.jpg

 

And the GPU finishes off the hardware.

 

Gunslinger-2017-04-16_19.20.06-me.jpg

 

Gunslinger-2017-04-18_00.09.11-me.jpg

 

And a few shots with it's antagonist.

 

Gunslinger-2017-04-18_00.10.33-me.jpg

 

Gunslinger-2017-04-18_00.11.32-me.jpg

 

Gunslinger-2017-04-18_00.12.25-me.jpg

 

Gunslinger-2017-04-18_00.12.16-me.jpg

 

Gunslinger-2017-04-18_00.10.55-me.jpg

 

Now the loop is the only thing left to finish!

 

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