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  #1  
Old 08-13-12, 21:23
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Default First case mod - CM Storm Trooper

So I have decided, if it's ok with MG's to chronicle my first attempt at case modification.

The idea was born here ...

http://forums.majorgeeks.com/showthread.php?t=262907

So I ended up purchasing the Cooler Master : Storm Trooper.
Fantastic case as stock.

I wanted the case but have always liked windows and lights and being able to see my internal parts. So after some research I decided to give modding a go.

I came across a thread at www.overclock.net which is dedicated to this specific case, there I got some inspiration, suppliers and ideas.

I would like to give credit to the following people specifically.

Mimsy on MG's for suggesting the case.
unimatrixzero on overclock.net- lower window design, penny for rounded edges.

There are more but those ideas I have yet to put into action, I don't want to get ahead of myself.
I have lots of ideas and lots of work to do yet, but I started today so I'll post as I complete each section.

So anyway, I took a stock CM Storm Trooper.

http://www.cmstorm.com/en/products/chassis/Trooper/
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Old 08-13-12, 21:56
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Default Re: First case mod - CM Storm Trooper

Ok, hit "Submit" instead of preview and I can't edit this in 10 minutes.
So lets call this section 1:

Side Panel Window Mod... Cutting the Holes

I decided to cut 2 windows on the side panel.
1 above the mesh and 1 below it.

Tools at my disposal =

Dremel 400 series
Flex Shaft
Cutting, sanding and polishing attachments.
Half round file.
1 aluminum/aluminium 1mtr ruler.
Roll of 3M Pro masking tape.
Sharpie.

------------------
I used 2 cardboard boxes to protect the table under my work area, especially since I don't have a garage so I'm doing this in my dining room/kitchen
Here is the Dremel with flex shaft and Heavy Duty cutting disc.
*Note I taped the dremel cord down near the end so as not to pull on it*

The Tools

I taped up the areas I want to cut to prevent any paint chipping or scratches while cutting. I then marked out the areas I wished to cut.
As I said in the first post, I used a penny for the corners, simple but effective.

Masking Tape Applied
Penny for Corners
Marked Area to Cut

Having now marked it out I tape my 1mtr ruler to the line I wish to cut, this ensures a straight cutting edge, think of it like a guide. It's a good idea if possible to place it on the side of the line that is not to be removed, this way should you slip you will only damage the piece you are cutting out.
*And remember your safety glasses!*

Ruler taped for guide
Blade runs along ruler for guide
Use Ruler for all edges it fits to
Finish cut and remove piece
Inside Panel

*To cut round the edges with the cut off discs you need to sort of angle about 45 degrees and move the end of the hand grip while just twisting the blade in a sweep, so the curve of the blade is the same as the corner angle.
I recommend starting your cut on the inside of the line where the straights are outside. When cutting at 45 degrees your cut will move outwards and final cut will not be where you first positioned I did not realise this at first and cause myself a little bit of reshaping. I recommend testing on an old case first so you get used to it and understand what I mean.

--------------

After the bottom window was cut I moved straight on to the top window.
Same procedure as above.

Again using the ruler as my guide

Here I could not use the ruler due to the length of it and the raised panel, so I actually used the piece I cut out from the bottom as my straight edge/guide.

Piece from bottom used as straight edge
Finished Cut

See Finished cut pic top left corner is what I mean about the angle of cut, I had to smooth this line out as the corner cut had shifted lower than my straight line cut.

Next I obviously have to clean the edges up, for this I used a half round file, an aluminum oxide dremel bit and sanding drum of 80 grit and a sanding fan of 80 grit.

Clean up Tools

I them removed the tape and cleaned it up.

Top Window
Bottom Window
Side Panel with New Windows
On the Case

Now obviously I have yet to cut the perspex/plexi glass and I have some U-Channel molding on the way for the edges. That part is pretty easy although I have yet to decide if I want to put the Black Mesh back on the centre or if I want that clear as well. Also if I do it clear I have to figure out a way of cutting a 2 fan grills that are not just holes.

But the next part is going to be tricky, I haven't fully decided to do this yet but I'm still in favour, just finding it a bit daunting.
In front of the top window, the square that is still solid, I am going to cut this...

Front Design

I'm not letting out too much in the way of ideas until I have other products on hand, most of it is yet to come, for now I wanted to get the side panel done.

More to come soon...
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  #3  
Old 08-20-12, 23:17
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Default Re: First case mod - CM Storm Trooper

Ned I like and respect you so I it pains me to say that your workmanship is just-

Fine and it looks like it's coming along nice hehe

Would recommend some good quality aluminium oxide sand paper to finish off those edge's after filing,ignore if done so.

Looking forward to the finished article.
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  #4  
Old 08-21-12, 06:46
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Default Re: First case mod - CM Storm Trooper

The edges do need a little more cleaning but they are going to be finished with a rubber C-Channel beading.

Which I found here for $5 for 5 foot instead of $1.99 per foot everywhere else I found it.

C-Channel

I think I've changed my mind on cutting out the Biohazard symbol, I just don't think I could get a clean enough cut with the tools I have and I can't use the edging on it due to how narrow it gets.
So I'm hatching a new plan for that.

One thing I will say to anyone thinking about doing this, before you start price out everything you will need including tools because this stuff can get pretty expensive.
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Old 08-28-12, 23:04
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Default Re: First case mod - CM Storm Trooper

Update 28 August:

Got some more done on the project today.
I have a couple of ideas for the rest of the side panel but I did decide to window the centre as well, I feel it will be sealed up more and will be putting a side fan in.
So in order to do this I had to cut the raised edges of the centre grill.
Same process as before.

Set up for cutting centre window

Centre window cut out

Now I did have some issues cutting this part, some of it is a little thicker and I was down to inferior cutting disc that kept snapping. Made it difficult to hold a line. So there is one edge that isn't quite true, I'm hoping the U-channel will fix this, if not I'll have to grind it straight. (btw U-channel is not here yet)
It also looks uneven all round but those lines are actually clean and smooth, just the flash reflection.

After filing with bad edge

After that I cut the perspex for the top and bottom window, unfortunately I didn't take any pics but I cut it using a straight edge, a flat wood drill bit (as a scribe, not a drill ) because I can't buy a scribe around here for some reason. Clean up the edges with light sand paper and a small blow torch to shine the edges and then a buff with paste. It's not perfect but it's inside the case. The centre window is mounted on the outside so it will require more care.

Next:

Lighting:

The main source of lighting comes from a member on the above mentioned forums and as it turns out runs a small business will LED strips.

http://www.modelersbrand.com/

Excellent product and the chap who runs it is very pleasant and extremely efficient. If you are thinking of LED's then seriously give this guy a look.

Anyway, so the idea was to run LED strips on the inside of the case to present a glowing effect rather than straight up light. So I went at it.

The strips are adhesive and cut able every 3 lights/1 inch.
Then you simply solder wires to them and proceed.

I found the laminate gel easiest to remove by way of cutting angles over the connect points and peeling it away leaving everything else in tact.
Then heat shrunk the connections and ran out the length required.

Inside case roof with LED strips along the sides and centre

I had to modify the briding on the sides to allow me to thread the strip through, it's plastic I simply cut holes with dremel AP bit which you can see where I thread the strip through the top left of the below pic.

Roof wiring

LED Strips applied to the inside front

Wires to run back through at the bottom

Then front panel frame goes on, see LED strip behind it

I next switched out the standard front fans for 120mm CM Sickleflow green led fans. Very quiet and 2000rpm.

Then lit her up.

Top

Front

Dark Front with full grill

It seems a lot dimmer than it actually is but it is significantly dimmed by the filters.
I removed half the filter grills for this next pic which shows the difference.

Half and Half

Again, these pics really don't do it justice but you get the idea

Dark pic 1

Dark Pic 2

Dark Pic 3

I have also tested and intending to wire in a dimmer and On/Off switch in one plate on the back panel. Thinking of the wife getting annoyed by lights

That's it so far...

Still a lot to do but I have all my sleeving and heat shrink and fans etc ready to go, just waiting on the U-channel molding for the windows.

Edit: I will give a bit more details on the strip and how it works when I do the next part.
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Last edited by Nedlamar; 08-28-12 at 23:13..
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Old 08-30-12, 23:27
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Default Re: First case mod - CM Storm Trooper

Update 30 August:

So I got home early from work today and worked on the project a little more.

Yesterday the C-Channel (U-Channel) came, nice product, very clean and I do believe it's natural rubber given how flexible it is.

C-Channel

Very slim fitting and narrow channel

This stuff is pretty easy to work with, was a little tricky getting it round the point of the bottom window but I got it.
I'm quite pleased with how this turned out.

A shot showing one edge finished and one unfinished

Shows how well it curves

All windows finished

On the case

So after I finished the channel I turned to the Perspex/Plexiglass.
Bare in mind that although I used to cut this stuff a lot, it was 15 years ago and I never had to clean edges, so this was somewhat a first for me as well.
I marked out the shape I needed and taped my ruler to the line to use as a guide for the scribe.
This picture... shows the ruler attached but I changed it before actually cutting, I recommend putting the ruler on the inside of the line as I mentioned earlier when cutting the side panel, this especially with a scribe will prevent you from skewing off your line and onto the piece you want to keep. With the guide on the inside at worst if you skew off you will damage the piece you are not using.

As I mentioned in the above post, I used a 1/2 wood bit.
Wood bit
Use with index finger on the flat to ensure pressure and the pointed edge on the bit carves
Cutting/Scribing

You can cut it various ways but I like scribing because the cut is cleaner and easier to finish.
To scribe you drag a scribe or similar (preferably the proper tool, a scribe) putting a reasonable amount of pressure but not so much as you lose control of your line. Scribe a good few times, the more you do it the easier it snaps. It also depends on your materials and tools. I scribed this around 12 times, then on the edge of a table or similar, line the scribe line up and apply pressure down on the overhanging edge. It should snap clean and with a decent amount of pressure.
Practice first.

Cut using Scribe is clean

Once cut I wanted to clean it up and since this piece is mounted on the outside I wanted the edges to be polished.

Tools for cleaning and polishing

I use the 100 girt sandpaper dremel bit to clean up the edges and take the sharp edge off. I then used a mini blow torch and flashed the edges. The heat gives the edge a glass like effect as it melts off the tiny splinters etc.

Flamed Edge

Then I just took the Dremel polish wheel and paste and gave it the once over.

Finished Edge, not bad.

Next I needed to cut a hole for the side fan, using the grill for a pattern.

Filter grill for marking

I then taped up around it to help protect the window.
Taped Window and Dremel saw blade

From here it didn't go as well as I'd hoped, the reason I use the scribe is because any power tool will heat up and you get melting, but I cut it none the less, the result was less than satisfactory.

Bad fan cut

But there's a silver lining...
The grill frame covers it well and the fan will be on the inside

Then I drilled the hole for the filter/Fan

So the centre window is ready but I wont be attaching that just yet.
I did, however attach the top and bottom.

Using a Scotch 3M double sided Heavy duty pads, I wanted to use 4010 tape but I cannot find it near to buy. I think this is very similar since at any point I can peel it off, it's kind of like one of those glue balls you got as a kid to throw at walls and stuff and watch it slime down.

Scotch 3M Heavy Duty double sided pads

Anyway, I cut strips off and attached them to the window and then attached the window to the moulding. I figured this way the c-channel and perspex will hold each other in place.

Window with pads

And the result...

Top
Bottom

I am pleased with this result, so far, so good.
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  #7  
Old 09-02-12, 05:25
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Default Re: First case mod - CM Storm Trooper

Nice looking mod Nedlamar.

Also, appreciate the build log.
Keep up the good work and keep the updates coming.
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  #8  
Old 09-27-12, 23:50
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Default Re: First case mod - CM Storm Trooper

Update 28 September...

So finally got a bit more work done.

It turns out the Scotch double sided pads did not work, they let go after a couple of days. So the top and bottom windows I super glued.
The centre window however is a little more tricky, glueing will leave visible glue marks under the perspex. So I decided to bolt it.
Drilled the holes out of perspex and side panel.

I used adhesive rubber feet, drilled holes in them for use as screw mounts.
1/2" x 1/8" screws, nuts and fibre washers.

Centre Window ready to fit

Finished mount

Back mount

Then I fitted the fan, this side fan will be an intake.

Fan mounted

Then the fan filter.

Finished Fan Mount

Finished Side Panel

More Lighting!

I mentioned earlier about ideas for the front window. I actually have a freind going to airbrush a melting UV green Radioactive symbol onto a black plate.
For now I used the black plate I cut from the top window and mounted a blue anodized aluminium bio hazard symbol I cut from the frame of the fan grill.
Actually didn't turn out too bad.

Top Down view of bio symbol, black plate and screw using 5 x 1/2" tap washers as spacers

To light this I wanted to mount 2 LED strips on the inside of the window so it glows at the symbol.

So this is a little more in depth look at the LED strips.

Once again, these strips come from ...

http://www.modelersbrand.com/

These strips contain 3 LED's per inch, every 3 LED's there is a cut point with contacts, perfect and easy for custom lengths.

Cutting the Strip

Once cut, the contacts need to be exposed. The strip is coated with a half round silicone (I assume) laminated which needs removing at the contacts, there are several methods to do this, I personally found it easiest to simply cut the laminate away using a scalpel.

Cut the corners off the laminate.

Strip ready to solder with both + and - terminals exposed.

Simply solder wires to the terminals.
I used tape to hold down the wires, I really should buy one of those little clampy robot arm things

Heat Shrink each connection.

Heat Shrink the connection and exposed LED strip.

LED strips attached to inside window (only tacked on in this photo)

Once attached I tested it out.

Symbol lit up

And with the camera flash off, I got the desired effect, the blue anodised aluminium with green LED lights glows a nice shade of toxic... stuff

Toxic

--------------

Next I wanted to finish up the lights. I intended to put a dimmer on, but I decided against that and have gone with a toggle on/off switch instead.

Wiring this up was fun, I had forgotten how

I wired it so the switch has a molex pass-thru connector (also bought from Modelers Brand) for easy removal and a molex pass thru for the LED strips to plug into.
I have also set Pass-thru's on the LED strips.
As you can see in the below picture I gave myself plenty of cable because I will likely hide these connectors in the back space behind the motherboard.
You can also see my maniacal scribblings of wiring diagrams

Toggle Switch and Pass-Thru's

I used heat shrink to seal the connections.

More heat shrink.

So with it all now wired up I fired some juice through it.

Lit up

Side View

So the connections all work and it lights up... lets see if it switches off and on.
With the switch off only the fan LED's will light up.
Lights Out!

Lights On again!

It Works!

Success!

-----------

So now with pretty much all the major mods complete,, next task is switching my PC out of the Antec case and into the Storm Trooper.
Lots of cable management to do and a few more little tweaks.

More updates as it happens.
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  #9  
Old 10-27-12, 10:04
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Default Re: First case mod - CM Storm Trooper

WOW awesome mod Ned, I just don't have the time or patience to do that, I wish I did as I have ideas but I take the easy option of ready made lighting and cases.
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Old 10-28-12, 20:06
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Default Re: First case mod - CM Storm Trooper

Actually David you'd be surprised how little time I actually put into it, I mean yes I have put a good chunk of hours in but it's been 4-8 hours every few weeks on my day off, or little bit's in the evening.
I'd say a good 60% of the time spent has been on experimenting or making silly mistakes, mostly with the wiring.
It's still sitting at the same stage as above post unfortunately, a pretty serious family issue has arisen which is requiring 95% of my free time and quite a bit of my work time, so the project is on hold.
But I had it in my head right from the start that I am NOT under any circumstances going to cut corners or rush it, if it takes 6 months start to finish, then it takes 6 months.

To be honest, I've enjoyed pretty much all of it so far, it's a pleasant change of pace from just gaming in my spare time.
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Old 02-28-13, 21:38
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Default Re: First case mod - CM Storm Trooper

So I finally got round to finishing my project.
Had several months out there due to family crysis.

But last tuesday I had the urge to "git 'er dun" , all I had left to do was switch out the PC parts and sleeve the cables.

Sleeving the cables was not much fun
But I fought with it and got it fairly clean, I'm quite pleased with it all in all.
I would like to custom make some cables so I can route exactly how I want to, but that can wait a while.

So without further adieu...

My Bits

RAM

Zalman 125mm Heat Sink 'n' Fan (this thing is huge )

NVidia GTX480 (Bring tears to your eyes Rikky? )

Motherboard Seated, some cables sleeved, heatshrunk and routed.

The Back got a little scary lol

No bulging of the back panel though and everything tucked away, lots of excess from Fan controller.

Yes I went black... light , UV strips fixed above and below side fan.

Everything Routed as best I could with lengths.

Side Panel On, ready to power her up.

So to sum up, I took a Stock CoolerMaster Storm Trooper case and modified it aesthetically, ran some UV reactive cable sleeving, LED strips and a bunch of wiring, switched out stock fans and cut holes in it.

I went from This...

...to This!

View from rear.

Cose up of sexy cables.

Ooo... Ahhhh...

Front Top.

Front... Actually turned out, when I removed filters and placed DVD drive and Fan Ctrl. it left a gap where light bled through, but I like the way it does that

Top Front

Man! these cables are cool.

My new Baby!

So , the journey has come to an end, a lot of work, quite a chunk of money (around $450 including case and materials) but an immense amount of fun and accomplishment.

For my full detailed story/Guide check out the blog I created for this.

http://www.cmstmod.blogspot.ca/

Any questions, fire away.

All in all I'm stoked with the end result, still intend to change the cooling system at some point and customize the cables, but thats down the road a little.

Anyone wanting to try this, read through my blog, I think I was pretty honest about how things went and I can say it's well worth it, I've always wanted to do something like this and never have to this extent.

And with this, my story comes to an end , thanks for Reading guys and any ideas of future modifications you think would look good or opinions (good or bad) about this project are all welcome
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Old 03-01-13, 00:20
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Default Re: First case mod - CM Storm Trooper

The 480 it's ran away to Canada

You need to get another 480 in there, SLI DX11 is a sweet spot for gaming ATM.

If I run Far Cry 3 for example on just one side of my GTX590 I get about 30fps with nearly everything maxed but with both sides which are equal to SLI'd 480's it's constant 60fps.I have post processing off though because I hate it.

This is true for every DX11 game out there as well.

Nice Mod Ned, good things are never rushed
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Old 03-01-13, 09:54
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Default Re: First case mod - CM Storm Trooper

Oh whhhy did you go and have to say that, I've been thinking about it for a while and you saying it just made me have a quick check, I can probably get one for under $200 now

Never done xfire or SLI before, does it make any difference which 480 model I get?
I certainly have enough room now
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Old 03-01-13, 18:49
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Default Re: First case mod - CM Storm Trooper

So a couple of minor issues, the self adhesive UV strips did not hold, (no real surprise there) so I used Zip ties and zip tie anchors.
Also I rigged the Rear and Top fan to the Digital controller and the Front 2 to the built in fan controller on the case (I also forgot to rig the side fan to any controller lol)

The built in controller is ok but it uses a step system which doesn't give you much control and beeps really loudly when you adjust the fans.
Also with the side fan going full tilt and the front fans both set at about 60% even on lowest, it was a bit noisy for everyday idle and use.

So now rigged all 5 fans to the Digital controller panel on the front.
This gives me options to control all fans individually and switch off the Top, Side, and Bottom Front while not gaming.
This has reduce the noise by at least 3 times.

So after I sorted my fan controller issue out, I took some "Daylight" pictures.

Ooo and Ahhh lol

Pic 2

Top Angle

Front

And this is it in position with my Hans-G 24" Monitor, Steelseries Gamers Keyboard and Logitech G9X mouse.

Full Setup

Full Setup 2

Full Setup 3
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