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Cygnar Storm Strider Casemod/Scratch Build

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July 8, 2011 9:43:11 PM

Greetings!

I am currently embroiled in an epic casemod project, the Cygnar Storm Strider! The Storm Strider is a model available in the Privateer Press game Warmachine. I've decided to make a case in the same vein as the miniature sculptors by casting the individual parts through the lost-foam process.



My planning is ad hoc at best. I’ve got my sizes and plans all jotted out on paper and you’ll probably see my drunken scrawl on the large master documents I have hanging in my basement. But for now here are a few of the details:

- Going to try to keep the case in scale with the dimensions provided in Privateer’s concept art.

- I have to utilize some of the computer parts I already have in my current computer (screw you economy). With no sponsor, this all comes out of pocket and the bulk of my money is going to pay for the scrap aluminum. This means at a minimum I am using:
o my current videocard (a Radeon)
o a spare 500gb HDD
o my current power supply (1000w)
I will probably end up buying:
o mobo - ASAS Maximus Gene-Z - Purchased
o a I-7 2600k (LGA1155) - Purchased
o memory - 16GB DDR3 1600

- This case will stand about 33inches or 84cm tall
- The legs, dome, and lightning coils will be made using the lost-foam casting process.
- I will work this project as though I have a 80 (now 49) day deadline but will continue if I miss it.
For the sake of your bandwidth, I will break up a couple of these posts so I'm not flooding this forum with large pictures.
Now, onto the Creation and Progress!!!
I decided to start with the biggest time sinks for this project... the foam prep for lost-foam casting. There are going to be 4 main part-areas that will be cast in aluminum using lost-foam casting: Legs, Shin plates, Lightning Coils, and the Dome. There might be other pieces and detail parts that I might cast but I'll be creating those as the need arises.

First thing I did was take an image of the actual miniature for perspective shots and the concept art and crop and blow up the images for basic patterns to use. I'm using these as pattern for the shape and general idea of the parts. I did take some artistic liberties and changed some of the depths and design to work with casting and function. Next I started tracing the pattern shapes onto 2" (sorry I'm a backwards American and recorded everything in inches) blue closed cell foam. Then I sketched out and created the base plate onto .25" foam core.



In the above image you can see my first attempt at creating the coils. I messed around with how I was going to create the coils. I knew I was going to have to create the coils in two parts so that I could properly core the coils for lighting. So I was going to have to have two equal and matching parts that have two unique sides. I originally cut the coil shapes directly out of the blue foam. Then I realized that it was going to be nearly impossible to make the two halves from a single pie. Then I realized it was going be equally difficult making each half match while carving each separately. Finally (and successfully) I was able to create a process for making both halves match by rounding two parts into cylinders at the maximum diameter of each coil. See the stages for both the coils and the legs below:







I’ve been designing the enclosure under the idea that I’d be using a micro-ATX board with my current video card tilted horizontally with a flexible PCI express extender cable. I’ve arranged it so the motherboard location can be moved on the base plate if I go with a different model/brand. I’ve also designed the enclosure to work with any single graphics card that is no bigger than 11”x5”x3.5” and left the possibility to add a second videocard. If I can’t find a suitable/economic replacement, I’ll be using my own graphics card which easily fits within those dimensions. The globe will be cast and either welded or bonded to an aluminum plate cover. The base plate will be made from a single aluminum plate. There will be 4” walls separating the base plate from the cover. These walls are still being designed for their stylization. Here are the progress shots for the mobo plate and top plate:




As mentioned before the lightning globe will be a cast piece. Basically, I simplified my workload by going to a local craft shop and picking up a 10” white foam flower arrangement globe (the elderly ladies always love it when visit the craft shop, they flirt mercilessly). I bisected the globe and then quartered one half. I cored out the quarters with a dremel trying to maintain a consistent .5” thickness through the wall. As you can see, I also measured and eye-balled the placement of the rings. After I felt comfortable with the look and feel of the ring placement I made basic port-holes in the globe. Next I took some smaller white foam balls and sliced them in half, cored them, then reduced the halves until they made nice little rings. I used regular wood glue (that burned off well in the materials test) to attach the rings to the globe.







That’s it for now, I’ll post more tomorrow!
July 9, 2011 8:09:18 AM

This update is with the lightning coils. The lightning coils are the 3 coiled rods that sit on top of the Storm Strider. I spent time slowly carving and filing away at foam to get a decent shape. There are a couple of things that I’m taking into consideration when I’m sculpting these coils out:

- They don’t need to be too detailed. Most of the details can be added once the coil is cast in aluminum. The aluminum is easier to work while doing minuscule details while the foam is more workable while removing large portions.

- The coil will be hollowed out to be lit up by LED. Because it’s a casemod and what’s the fun of having a case without the lightshow?

- A small bridge might have to be added after the sculpting to allow the molten aluminum to reach all of the points in the mold.

The tools I used to create these foam coils:
- Compass
- Sharpees
- Exacto Blade
- Drywall sanding blocks (2 different grains, fine and very fine)
- Various files
- Dremel
- Foam Magic Wand (a variation of the hot wire, pictured in a previous update)
- Plenty of Painter’s Tape


As stated in the previous update, each Lightning Coil will casted in 2 halves to allow access to the center for lighting. To simplify this process, I took 2 pieces with a center line drawn on both halves and pressed them together over some toothpicks. The toothpicks will give the model a little support when I’m working with them. I draw the maximum radius on both the top and both. Then I trace the outline of the lightning coil on both sides and set latitudes for each peak on the pattern. Next I begin carving down from the highest point trying to keep the circles symmetrical. After the general shapes begin to look right, I start planning out the coils. As you can see below, I’ve had to try several times to make sure the coils lined up and stay in proportion. Eventually I have to brave the point of no return and begin carving out the coil portion.





















The next step is to prepare some of the foam pieces for casting. To do this I need to attach sprues and vents to the pieces to facilitate the casting process.




That’s it for now. Next Update I’ll show the casting process!
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a c 104 ) Power supply
July 9, 2011 8:24:57 AM

Looking forward to seeing this one develop :) 
Moto
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July 10, 2011 9:42:50 PM

Casting!



I’d like to start this by thanking Rusty Oliver for both teaching me how to cast aluminum and allowing me access to his shop and tools to cast the aluminum. Rusty teaches metal working classes for South Seattle Community College and one of those classes is a casting class. You can also check out Rusty’s work at HazardFactory’s or see him on the TV show Weaponizer.

I’ve broken this process down to three sections; preparing the sand, setting the mould and pouring the metal (aluminum). The pictures and descriptions are from two different casting sessions. We did an initial casting session as a materials test and to test the process. The second session was to make some of the useable parts.

First we had to prepare the sand. When I get into the shop, chances are the sand has been used by a previous class and so I have to break it down the old fashion way with sifter and an old spaghetti strainer.



Next I toss all of the sand into an old cement mixer and slowly add water. This makes it so that the sand binds together after it has been placed into a mould and allows it to keep its shape. Unfortunately (or fortunately for your attention span) I don’t have many pictures of me preparing the sand because it’s fairly simplistic manual labor.


The second part of this process is preparing the moulds. Rusty and I spend some time putting together several boxes to hold the sand and the mould for the casting process.



After the boxes are ready I place the foam parts in the boxes and begin setting sand in and around the pieces to fully enclose the parts. You have to make sure that the sand is packed in fairly tight but not tight enough to distort or damage the foam.











After it’s all packed in, you need to uncover the sprues, the vents and make a little trough for the molten aluminum to be poured into.





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July 10, 2011 9:44:08 PM




Here’s that same process with the large half dome piece:









While we’re preparing the moulds, we are also preheating the furnace and melting aluminum.










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July 10, 2011 9:44:25 PM








Eventually we get ready to pour…







But I’ve run out of time, I’ll post the pouring and results tomorrow! Sorry!
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July 11, 2011 3:00:03 PM

Pouring!!!!!!!!

The first pour:





Any extra aluminum is poured into ingots to be used later.



Before we put the crucible back in the furnace to melt more aluminum we toss in a piece of cardboard to put a little layer of carbon between the furnace and the crucible. This is to prevent the crucible from sticking to the furnace.





The second pour:





This shows the foam burning off. You can also see a little bit of over-run from one of the molds.



This is me scrambling to keep the molten aluminum moving off of the concrete floor and cooling it with some sand. Rusty continues pouring more aluminum into the other molds.








And for your viewing pleasure, here’s 3 videos covering our pouring experience: us waiting for the aluminum to be ready, pouring, and post pour jitters and conversation.

Waiting:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0St6RAslNY

Pouring:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PjzTrDupBU

Convo & jitters:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUfD9t-Xjmo

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a c 104 ) Power supply
July 11, 2011 5:51:29 PM

You have some very handy mates man,
I have an engineer mate who I can persuade to bend sheet or drill large holes if needed but, wow, Gratz on having access to a great-sized shop man,
waiting on next installment, I'm watching this one till its done :) 
Moto
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July 12, 2011 1:46:48 PM

After each pour was done (we did three pours that day), we’d have to let the aluminum cool for at least 10-15 minutes before breaking them out of the moulds.

Cooling pictures:





I’ll start with the dome. I was worried about this casting. Making the dome took the most effort and will probably need the most work after a casting. It was important to me that these parts came out as good as possible. Here are the results:









These parts were still extremely hot but very solid. Fortunately, I had the foresight to invest these parts. When the aluminum went outside of the mould, it settled ON TOP of the investment layer. This means that I can remove the extra aluminum and still retain the shape of the intended part (see the last picture).



The dome halves still retained that white foam texture but I think I can smooth things out with Bondo.

Next we cracked into the small coils:





Sorry, all of the medium coil pictures ended up being blurry. I was just so excited at the results.



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July 12, 2011 1:47:01 PM

Here are the small and medium coils together:



The large coil picture was nice and clear.



And now for the disappointment… Every project has its failures. The first attempt at the leg was one of these ‘learning lessons’. When we went to pour for the third time, apparently we ran the furnace too hot for too long. Melt, just like your food, can be over cooked. Over cooking your metal causes funny reactions with other substances, faster oxidation and can cause weird pressure issues inside of the mould. Without being able to see into the mould while we’re pouring I can only assume all of those things happened. You could see the disappointment in my sullen poking of the aluminum corpse. This was the failed results for the leg:





Overall, I learned a little more that Sunday and was very happy with the successful results:





I hope you didn’t get spoiled with all the pictures, movies and speedy posts. It will be a little bit before I have another significant update as I am waiting for some parts to arrive. But I hope to show the dome on the top cover and the frame work for both the lightning coils and the main enclosure.
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July 13, 2011 1:12:21 PM

Finally... the motherboard has arrived:



I do think it is funny that the big advertising leaflet that came with my LGA1155 motherboard was for AMD processors. Yeah... Including an AMD processor advertising with an Intel motherboard is like trying to sell reading glasses to a blind man.



Here are both of my new toys: the Gene-Z with the i7-2600k.




Later today, I am doing some more casting and later this week I'll be fabricating the walls for the main enclosure.
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July 18, 2011 3:17:18 PM

Update & Progress!
Count Down: Only 39 more days until PAX 2011.

The days are counting down faster than I’d like. I’ve had on snag with my casting. I won’t be able to finish casting the legs for another week or two due to scheduling at the shop. This period of stagnation is eatting through my modding zen. It’s time to crank up the caffeine and kick this case into gear.

Let’s start things off with some mod stylin’. Remember, if you’re walking down a dark alley behind a computer shop and a bunch of geeks jump you for that sweet videocard you just purchased, just flash your geek sign. Nothing says you’re a hard core geek like TCP/IP.



I like that my bandana is blocking the ‘a’ in ‘mad scientist’. You can almost mistake it for ‘mod scientist’.

This morning I’ve put in my order for some necessary items:

4x - Logisys 4" Cold Cathode Kit (Dual Ready) – Blue
1x - Lamptron 4 Channel High Output Aluminum Cathode Inverter
2x - Blue Illuminated Bulgin Style "Latching" Vandal Switch - 16mm - Silver Housing - Dot Illumination with Latching Switch Cable Harnesses
1x - Blue Illuminated Bulgin Style "Latching" Vandal Switch - 16mm - Silver Housing - Ring Illumination

Hopefully they should be arriving by the end of the week. Once I receive the Cold Cathode tubes I should be able to finish the spine to the point of painting.

But let’s look at some of my other progression.

As you can see here, I’ve drawn a bunch of meaningless stuff on my base plate. Just kidding, I’ve taken my pattern and drawn the respective parts like the motherboard placement, the case walls and posts on the painter’s tape.



Then I cut a bunch of .5” thick aluminum into the same height but varying widths according to what they need to support.



I also started working on the walls. I am going to try annealing the aluminum walls to bend and create the desired curve in the front of the case. I spent most of yesterday carving out a block of wood to the correct curve for both sides.



Finally, here’s a picture of the design for the lightning coil spine. It will house all of the wiring and the cathode inverter.




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July 20, 2011 2:05:25 PM

Update #15: Work on the Spine
Count Down: Only 37 more days until PAX 2011.

These last few days I have been a slave to the file. I have been filing on the dome to even out some of its pocks and patches. I have been filing on the lightning coils to provide some additional detailing. But this update is about the filing on the spine. I’ve been working on giving my case some tangible shape. Last update I posted the pattern I was working on, now I’ll show it in action. First I cut out 2 pieces of aluminum (1/8” or 4mm thick) using the pattern



I keyed the two pieces with 2 separate holes and screwed the two pieces together.



Then, I began filing.



And filing.



And filing until the two pieces matched up exactly. Because that’s how we do it when you don’t have a CNC machine to perfectly replicate pieces. 



Next, I took a ½” thick 3” wide bar of aluminum and sliced off pieces for the frame of the spine. The front piece will be filed to fit exactly in the front.




Since the 4” Cold Cathode Ray tubes are being shipped to my location, I did some more clean-up work on the lightning coils themselves. The tubes will be inserted inside of the coils. For the clean-up work, I utilized my trusty Dremel.



But sometimes, the little Dremel just won’t cut it and I have to break out with the Roto-Zip.



Assuming the 4” Cold Cathode Ray tubes and not 4.5” or 4.8” I verify that I’ll be able to fit the tubes and their wiring inside of the spine.



Once I make sure, the tubes fit in both the coils and the spine, I’ll seal the coils and make sure they have enough space to shine and there’s no pressure on the tubes from the aluminum. The last thing I want is a cathode tube bursting in transport or setup.

We’ll that’s it for today. I should be able to completely finish the construction of the spine and coils after the tubes arrive. I have to wait until Friday before I can continue on the main enclosures as I have to pick up a plumber’s torch, more dremel wheels, and some cold chemical weld. Until then I guess I’ll start working on the lower enclosure.

Thanks for reading!

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a c 104 ) Power supply
July 20, 2011 5:04:40 PM

I just knew the angle grinder wasn't far away,
little tools are ok for a lot of stuff, but sometimes you just need to feel the power hehe
Moto
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July 26, 2011 3:25:54 PM

Update #16: Still alive and working!
Count Down: Only 31 more days until PAX 2011.

In the back of my mind, there is a certain amount of panic setting in… I only have 31 more days and I’m still making parts. I think many of my fears will be alleviated when I’m actually assembling the case rather than devilling the details.

But I got toys!!!!



I am now able to proceed with the lightning coil creation!



And the PCI Express x16 Flexible riser has arrived!!! I can now proceed with the video card placement.



I borrowed an idea from something I saw on Nhenhophach’s ROG Rampage scratch build. I’ll be utilizing the motherboard’s mounting screw holes to create a platform to hold my video card. I’ll post more on this process and implementation later for now all you get is the plate I cut for it.



Next, I began working on the main two walls of the main enclosure. I started by making a minor cut in the aluminum to help fold wall. This helps you bend the aluminum to the desired angel.








Next, I decided I didn’t want to wait to get access to the machine shop to anneal the aluminum. So, I went down to the local hardware store and picked up a plumber’s torch. The packaging says the temperature can reach up to 2100 degrees Fahrenheit which is more than adequate for annealing the aluminum. (Annealing the aluminum makes the aluminum soft so it can be bent over a curved shape and retain that shape.)



Unfortunately, the torch is too small. Every time I’d start to heat up one part of the aluminum the torch would run out of butane. I was defeated.
I will have to wait until I can get into the shop. So I traded the plumber’s torch for a different toy!



I have also worked on the framing for the case. I started off with an shape… and then relented to simpler C shape.





I’ve made some progress with the coils. Since I received the cathode tubes I was able to test-fit the tubes to the coils. With that completed, I started cleaning up and assembling the coils. First I broke them down to their parts by removing any excess aluminum sprues. As you can see each coil broke down into 4 parts… except for the smallest coil because I didn’t notice one coil not completely attached to either coil cap or the base.



Fortunately, I’m just working with a giant miniature and I can use the same techniques used for modeling those figures. I can ‘pin’ the pieces together to give it stability. Matter of fact, I even use Privateer Press’s P3 model glue to do the trick. For pins, I’ve simply snipped up an old wire hanger.





That’s all for now. Soon I’ll be working completing the coils, removing the part separation lines, annealing the case walls, and casting the legs. So much to do… so little time.
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July 29, 2011 3:26:00 PM

Update #17: Kerfing works!
Count Down: Only 28 more days until PAX 2011.

In exactly 4 weeks at the time I’m writing this (7am local time), I will be standing in a line waiting for my coffee so I’ll have something to drink while I’m standing in line waiting to set up my computer so I can stand in line later in an exhibition hall at PAX.

Standing in line, it’s a hobby.

My impatience decided that waiting for shop access wasn’t conducive to forum update and my sanity. I decided to give kerfing a try. I started off with marking off all of the cut lines.



Then I simply used my dremel to my small groves in the metal. With the assistance of a rubber mallet, I bent the metal into a curve.




My curve is a little off. But I will re-work it to a better curve. I set up the wall with the posts.



The second wall turned out MUCH better. Fortunately, this is metal and you get second chances as long as you’re not cutting things out.



Next I set up a couple of the pieces to get an idea of how it is all coming together. :)  I’m feeling pretty good about the case so far.





The lightning coils are ready for their putting and clean up. I’ve tested the tubes inside of the coils and they look awesome… of course, you’ll have to wait to see that.



That’s it for now! I should have some more pictures and updates after the weekend.
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August 1, 2011 10:53:12 PM

I have some REALLY exciting news! Privateer Press is going to provide me with the paints I need to paint this case! I have my first sponsor! I am working out how they want me to list their sponsorship and have provided them the paint colors and quantities I need. As an added bonus, they will be featuring this case in their monthly magazine which has an international readership!

*swoon*

If you'd like to know more about Privateer Press, just check out some of the games they have! If you play these types of games, I suggest playing Grind and Warmachine! They're two games I love to play and of course influenced my decision to do this case.

http://privateerpress.com/


Thank you very very much Privateer Press! I love it when the excitement and awe is contagious!
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August 3, 2011 3:01:19 PM

Update #18: Paint and Tapping Frustrations
Count Down: Only 23 more days until PAX 2011.

Look what arrived! First off I’d like to thank my new sponsor. Privateer Press! For those of you unfamiliar with Privateer Press they make a several fun games and a line of paints. The idea for the model was derived from one of their Battle Engines from the game Warmachine.


http://privateerpress.com/

Not only did they agree to sponsor me but they sent their help in record time. A package arrived on my door step by the time I finished reading the email saying they’d sponsor me. It was filled with four cool looking boxes.



Each of those boxes were filled with model paints! And they sent two cool patches to use for a process display!






The colors I requested and they provided were:
Exile Blue, Cygnar Blue Base, Cygnar Blue Highlight, Arcane Blue, Menoth White Highlight, Morrow White, Thamar Black, Battlefield Brown



I should be able to use these colors to replicate the colors they used for the gallery entry for the Storm Strider:



All in all, this help from Privateer Press brings me to a new level of happiness and excitement! I can’t wait to try out all of the new stuff. Even better news, I’m in discussions with D. Anthony over at Green Fairy Studios. They would like to help out the project by painting and/or detailing the case! As time runs short, this is a much needed boost to my confidence and my ability to make the PAX deadline! Feel free to check out his work: http://greenfairystudios.wordpress.com/



Now, back to the case! I am all tapped out. Literally, I am out of taps. I ran into a bit of a snag and snapped not one but two of my taps. Fortunately, I was able to extract the snapped pieces without damaging any of the pieces. Do any of you experience metal workers out there have any advice for me? Am I just strong arming my taps? They are kind of thin/small, 4-40 taps. Is there a brand anyone prefers?

Here’s the base plate with half of the posts attached.



I’ll probably have another post on Friday/Saturday. Stay Tuned!!
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August 8, 2011 3:02:58 PM

Update #19: Main Enclosure
Count Down: Only 18 more days until PAX 2011.

TICK TOCK TICK TOCK TICK TOCK

Yes, I hear the clock’s deafening roar. But no, I am not worried. My goal is to have it done by PAX (August 26th), although if that doesn't happen I will still be diligently working on it until completion.

In all honesty I am hopeful that I will have it completed on time but... it all comes down to what happens on August 9th. I am casting the master pieces of the legs on the 9th. IF they turn out good then I'll be able to do a second casting later that week and the pieces from the 9th as masters and replicate one leg into four. Those four legs will need to be cleaned up and put everything together. But all of the cleaning parts and the assembly can happen at "midnight on 8/25" and I'd still have a showable piece.

IF they don't turn out as usable pieces, then I have to carve more pieces out from foam and recast them which will take quite a bit more time. Absolute worst case scenario, this project will be completed in October at the latest.

Best case scenario, it's completed on time. Now, onto the update!


Allow me to introduce you to Nemo. Nemo has a very short time to live. He has until August 9th and then he will become one with the casemod. To all of those that participated in the voting to pick which model was going to be melted down and infused with the casting, thank you. To those of you that requested that I use the old Nemo rather than the 2010 model, I apologize. I was only able to obtain a 2010 model in this short notice. Wish Nemo well because his life will not be long.



I finally got all of the enclosure posts completed.



Then I began attaching the walls.



After each wall was attached, I made sure they fit properly and filed down any parts that over lapped the edging.



Here is a front view before I filed down the front edge.



Here is a close up of that front edge and the curve.



This was one of the broken taps I had mentioned… I was able to extract the tap by simply unscrewing the tap from the post.



I was able to put all of the mother board mounting posts into the base plate.



I finally attached the back plate to the posts.



The enclosure has finally taken shape. I can’t tell you what a relief it is to see your mechanizations take shape when they’ve only been figments of your mind and snippets of conversation. It is a validation. Oh, just to the right is Nemo. He’s over-seeing the construction and screw inventory/count.



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August 8, 2011 3:16:19 PM

I tossed the template into the enclosure to get an idea of placement and to make sure the motherboard mounts will work. It wasn’t until that day did I even notice the template piece I have been using was for a Maximus III rather than the Maximus IV. After a little bit of panic and double checking with the actual board, the template works for aligning the motherboard mounting holes.



Next I file off the extra bits for the back plate. I’ll do the same for the top after I place the top plates.



Then I place the top plates. I cut these plates using the base plate as a template… which was a mistake.



Since I’m making this whole case ad-hoc, there are little difference between posts and how things align. The parts aren’t exactly symmetrical but they are functional and aesthetically decent. That being said, I cut the top pieces too early and now they don’t fit with the top part of the posts. The right side would be off on one of the inside walls. The left side is a little too short.





So, I decided to just cut two new pieces. I’ll start on the top plate details after I cast the center piece and attach the two inside walls.




Since I can’t work on the top plate until after the casting, I started working on the windows. There will be a fan on each side to help with air flow in the case.





Here is a quick look at the mesh I’ll be using in the windows.



Well… I hate to leave you with that gnarly, un-filed window cut but that is it for now. Another update will be posted later this week. We’ll see if I can get the windows completed and the next set of casting pictures up in the next update. Thanks for reading!

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August 11, 2011 3:18:17 PM

Update #20: More Casting! Good news and bad news.
Count Down: Only 15 more days until PAX 2011.


HazardFactory’s

First off, I’d like to thank Rusty @ HazardFactory for all of the help and the use of his shop. Without his help, this project simply would not be. Rusty:



Like the previous work log entries before, I had to prepare the sand and each of the moulds.



The furnace had to be heated up and aluminum melted.



The Furnace
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJSmt7C23CA



Melting Video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtX4kj9I3cs

Then of course, we poured the aluminum:

Pouring part 1:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0-Kq-OEmRw

Pouring part 2:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDdI6RvzweM

After pouring we waited about 20-30 minutes then checked our work:

Reveal part 1:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HoH5pwmER4U

Reveal part 2:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JJBmWqGyDc












Oh! The LEDs arrived. If you were curious, this is what 1000 LEDs look like:




The Good News: These castings are great! 5 out of the 6 parts will require minimal additional work and that 6th part is usable after a little repair work. These parts can be used for master parts to do impressions to cast the other legs.

The Bad News: I won’t be able to use the shop again until September/October. This means I won’t be able to cast aluminum. The shop I have been using by the grace of Hazard Factory has a series of paying projects that will be taking up the space and time. I appreciate all of the help Hazard Factory has provided so far and look forward to working with Rusty again in the future. With what I currently have cast, I still need to do 11 more parts. So… this means I won’t be finished in time for PAX. :( 


However, all hope is not lost. I have a plan. I will teach myself resin casting and see if I can make aluminum framed and re-enforced resin legs. I can do that this next weekend, right? I will need to make a three-part plaster mould for the shin guard and two two-part moulds for the legs. I’ll pick up the resin this Friday and begin the work ASAP.


Like I said at the very beginning of this project, even if I don’t get it completed by PAX, I will still be completing this project. I will even bring the partially completed project to PAX as the main enclosure will be assembled and usable as a computer case. It’ll either be missing the legs or have armature legs holding it up.

Still not losing momentum! Mod on my friends!
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August 22, 2011 2:13:11 PM

Update #26: The Days Grow Short.
Count Down: Less than 4 days until PAX 2011.

Faster, faster, faster, FASTER, FASTER! Things are coming along quite well! If Tuesday or Wednesday are just as sunny as this weekend was I should have all of the shin guards cast in time for PAX. Once again I apologize for the sparseness of these pictures but I’m in a production-mode and that means my documentation will suffer.

Here’s a picture of two of the legs after the casting! All four turned out well and are useable. I should be attaching them to the enclosure tonight.



Here’s a picture of Anthony from Green Fairy Studios. HE does great work but… I must admit I was a little disappointed. He is neither Green nor very spritely or fairy-like.



Here a brief sample of what he’s done so far. I have to admit. I’m holding back a couple of the pictures. But trust me, the dome is looking awesome.



Next is the shin guard mould-making process. This mould will be a three part mould and I am cheating. There are great books and method for how to do this and ensure that your mould and therefore making the casting is an easy and flawless practice. But I don’t have time for any of these formalities.

I made a box whose dimensions are appropriate (at least 1.5” away from any part of the model) for the piece we will be making. I used foam pieces to prop the model up and away from the edge/bottom of the box. These props will fully sit inside one of the three mould parts. I coated both the box and the model with Vaseline.



Don’t forget to coat the top of the box. After everything is coated, fill the box with expanding foam or gap-filler. Then wait for the foam to harden. The foam won’t stick to anything that is coated with Vaseline.



More pictures of this process will probably go up tomorrow morning.



LIST TO DATE:

In Progress:
Cut Spine attachment pieces
Cut out wiring holes in main enclosure base plate
Bend and insert mesh pieces to side walls and top cover plate
Cut out switch holes on PSU/HDD enclosure
Assemble PSU/HDD enclosure
Cold weld dome to cover plate
Attach legs to PSU/HDD enclosure
Base paint all the parts
Paint the case
Create 3 part mould for shin guards


To-Do list:
Cast resin shin guard
Attach shin guard
Cut acrylic windows for all lightning ports
Wire shin guards for LED lighting
Put in all of the hardware and switches
Test run for shorts and issues
Disassemble case for transport


Done:
Cold weld Wire tubes to resin leg frame
Insert the video card mounting plate
Create cover pieces for the spine
Cut the holes for the input/output ports in the back panel
Cut spine space and panels out of top cover plate
Cast resin legs
Cut the pieces for the PSU/HDD enclosure
Create frame and enclosure mounts for the PSU/HDD enclosure
Attach lightning coils to spine
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a c 104 ) Power supply
August 22, 2011 4:25:52 PM

Rooting for you man, go go go!!!
Moto
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September 1, 2011 10:56:53 PM

Wow, that's a pretty epic casemod. I had no idea how much effort had gone into it when I photographed it! I created a photosynth here, where you can rotate around the casemod and zoom in if you desire. :) 

Enjoy, thanks for sharing the process with us!

-Tom Mathews
Darkphibre
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September 2, 2011 3:58:59 PM

Darkphibre said:
Wow, that's a pretty epic casemod. I had no idea how much effort had gone into it when I photographed it! I created a photosynth here, where you can rotate around the casemod and zoom in if you desire. :) 

Enjoy, thanks for sharing the process with us!

-Tom Mathews
Darkphibre



Tom! I sent you an email after I saw your card. This isn't the first casemod I've done that you've photographed. I think I actually met you in 2009 or 2008. If you want, email me back, there's a couple of things I wanted to run by you but I'm going to forward the photosynth over to the other sites this case has been posted on.

Thanks for the attention and beautiful photos!
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!