The project was initially created in 3D MAX 7. Why was the choice made in favor of this program of three-dimensional modeling? There are some reasons. First, it is my basic work (sector of virtual development of office which is engaged in creation of naval simulators). Second, this is one of those programs that allows taking into account more or less precisely not only overall dimensions and sizes but also work with any material, color and light, in contrast to, for example, programs of AutoCAD. Third, capacities of exactly 3D MAX can simulate even such things as distribution of weight and direction of airflows.
The initial stage of designing was creation of all necessary models of accessories with the account not only overall dimensions but also some internal sizes, namely arrangement of sockets, slots, mounting holes. Special attention is needed to motherboard and video card, as they are most dimensional and determining basic internal space. By the way, in modeling of accessories the quite good help can render not only a ruler but also any digital camera, as it will allow to save time and not to create exact model, let’s say DVD-ROM, and to use conventional parallelepiped on which there will be put photos as textures. However, for good experience and appearance of general model it is possible also to create exact model of every accessory :)
The following design stage became arrangement of accessories. As the form of cylinder have already been defined, it was necessary to get exact sizes. At this stage most of the basic requirements to the case are:
- efficient use of free space
- maximum compact overall dimensions
- estimate of all wires and cables arrangement with the account of its purpose, i.e. the order in cables.
• Conventional ATX form factor implies vertical layout of motherboard, horizontal position of video card and others above them there is a power unit. The front part of the case is occupied with slots for drives of 5 " and 3,5 " format. There is practically unused space for drives at such arrangement of accessories. Besides one of the sides is practically useless for modding as it is occupied with motherboard. This form is good only for cases that stand under or on the table, at that they are close by its right side to the wall. In custom-projects they certainly approach to this more freely, using a maximum of the surface and volume. One of arrangement kinds can be named a horizontal position of motherboard, with sockets to the backside of the case and arrangement of all accessories above or under it. By the way, such arrangement allows ignoring easily restriction on weight of fans on the processor, as it is possible to place more weight on a horizontal surface of motherboard than to hang up on a vertical board. Rather big disadvantage of such case is the dimension of motherboard - normal form factor is about 30 cm, hence the case will make not less... unless you have an opportunity to buy a new motherboard for the new case. However obvious and while hardly surmountable disadvantages of custom cases is the fact that some components are often in extremely inconvenient places, hindering work with them (even connection or replacement). In principle, zero designing of cases and use of three-dimensional designing is the subject of special article.
On the basis of requirements, the following arrangement was made:
- motherboard is located horizontally in the pipe of the case not in width but in length, which defined at once the provisional diameter of the case with account of video card and other boards.
- power unit is close to motherboard from side of IDE-sockets, lower its setting, as it had smaller dimensions, hence it could be set more compactly.
- DVD-ROM is set in free area above the power unit, hence in immediate proximity to power supply and IDE socket.
- hard disk is right under motherboard, under PCI-slots. Disadvantage of such position is in the fact that the attempt to replace hard disk can be regarded as almost full disassembly of the case.
Then it was the time to make necessary setup of fastening of all to everything, arrangement of wires and cables, and making of decor elements. In view of the fact that transparent plastic as the material have been chosen for the case and it is problematic to find an acryl pipe of 30 cm diameter there was made a decision to make, as they say, LowPoly cylinder. However, plain transparent barrel, even with reinforcing ribs (i.e. fastening elements), it was boring somehow, the form was changed a little bit. The form of portable container was chosen from various futuristic games and films as the base. The round case has got handles made of chromeplated pipe and lateral disks on which the entire system is held. In order to provide circulating of airflow in the case and thus not to supersaturate the external surface with mounting elements, the big windows have been made in lateral disks covered with metal grid and they will be three-layered. The first, internal disk is the basic fixing one and it has four acting “ears” for possible fastening of additional 120 mm fan, the second is a groove for the grid (which is trivially bought in IKEA), and the third - decorative, covering all assembly units. The entire basic construction shall lay on reinforcing ribs which support on two acryl strips. The upper part of the case with DVD-ROM is fixed to the top strips, at that reinforcing ribs support on the panel with apertures of motherboard and expansion boards. Removable covers shall hide the space between supporting strips, at that the front one is REALLY the frontal side of the case. It was decided to make the entire illumination and decorative elements hurriedly in the process of assembly of the case.