I want to design an enclosure, and I have no idea where to start.

Discussion in 'Modding and Hacking - Consoles and Electronics' started by brirec, Aug 8, 2017.

  1. brirec

    brirec Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2016
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    9
    So I’ve decided that I want to make a mini-Xbox, since the drives and power supply take up more space than the motherboard in an Xbox and I could easily live with a 2.5” drive, and probably most or all of the heat concerns from a smaller enclosure with everything all close together will be mitigated if I use a PicoPSU — I’ve already ordered an ATX to Xbox power supply adapter from sickmods.net (got in contact with the owner and he had one left — chances are I’ll probably draw up its schematic to put online since it can’t be complex and I know it’ll be useful).

    So really, all that’s left is to receive the “for parts” Xboxes I ordered on eBay, solder a modchip into one of them, build a hard drive and put it together.

    The hard part is I’ve never designed anything in 3D before, and while I feel anyone with basic CAD knowledge can draw a box there’s a little more to making it look good, and I have zero experience with 3D printing.

    So all this rambling aside, is there anything I should expect, or any suggestions to be made for me? Right now my plan is to either drop the motherboard into a scanner, or manually measure it and the positioning of its screw holes with a digital caliper, draw it in SketchUp, draw a box around it, see if I can style the box in such a way to look nicer (and add cutouts for the ports and such) and… I don’t know what to do from there. I figure google could help me learn how to get it 3D printed, but I’ve never actually made something like this.

    To be clear, I really want to make a case from scratch, but I have limited CAD experience and zero 3D printing experience... It can’t be that hard, can it?
     
  2. sanni

    sanni Intrepid Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2008
    Messages:
    663
    Likes Received:
    91
    While I exclusively use Sketchup for my 3d printing needs it feels very dated and unprofessional. I always have to check if Sketchup messed up again before printing something and there have been quite a few failed prints because of it.

    So in your case I would just start with a different program. While I do not have any experience with the following suggestions I do find others use them quite alot:
    - Thinkercad: https://www.tinkercad.com/
    - Onshape: https://www.onshape.com/cad-pricing
    - Fusion 360: https://www.autodesk.com/products/fusion-360/students-teachers-educators
     
  3. -=FamilyGuy=-

    -=FamilyGuy=- Site Supporter 2049

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2007
    Messages:
    2,524
    Likes Received:
    451
    A lot of people in my field use SolidWorks, it seems like a nice program.

    As with any kind of crafty hobby, I'd suggest trying something simpler first in order to build the skills to do your main project. Maybe you should try to design and build a raspberry pi case/enclosure or something similar.
     
  4. Bad_Ad84

    Bad_Ad84 Keyboard Error: Press F1 to Continue

    Joined:
    May 26, 2011
    Messages:
    7,868
    Likes Received:
    808
    Solidworks also costs 1 kidney and 2 of your offspring.
     
    Turbanator likes this.
  5. -=FamilyGuy=-

    -=FamilyGuy=- Site Supporter 2049

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2007
    Messages:
    2,524
    Likes Received:
    451
    It is known.

    My main point was to start with a simpler project to build up the skill set necessary to do what he wants.

    Also, maybe there's a student version or he can access it somehow...
     
  6. LeHaM

    LeHaM Site Soldier

    Joined:
    May 5, 2013
    Messages:
    2,580
    Likes Received:
    266
    EEVBLOG has some posts about this
     
  7. rossattack

    rossattack Newly Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2017
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    2
    If you are a student by chance, you could get Autodesk Inventor for free. Great for 3d design.
     
  8. N64 freak

    N64 freak Robust Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2007
    Messages:
    234
    Likes Received:
    145
    Already made a design for the atx adapter. It really isn't complex to do yourself as all the info is out in the wild anyway :)
    If anybody else needs a cheap atx to xbox adapter drop me a PM and i'll gladly sell you a completely assembled one or the bare pcb.

    I would also start with learning the basics off cad design. And depending how you want the concept to be laser cut acrylic or possibly completely 3d printable?
    That should be considered in your design.

    The easiest and a very cool looking version would be a laser (or whatever) cut acrylic case that you glue together.
    You would reduce the design to a 2d design and can design the parts seperate from each other!

    But that's just a thought off myself :)
     
  9. brirec

    brirec Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2016
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    9
    Laser cut acrylic sounds like it might be a good idea! I was intending on 3D printing, but seeing as I’ve never designed anything in 3D let alone printed anything there’s probably some considerations I didn’t think of.

    The one issue is when I think of acrylic I think of Plexiglas-style transparent acrylic. Is black acrylic a thing?

    As far as vent holes/cooling goes, I’m actually glad you replied N64 Freak as I am aware you have made a 1.4 GHz Xbox, which I’m guessing needed something done to improve cooling. Am I going to want to add some sort of ducts to influence the air to flow on the heatsinks? I already ordered a 120W PicoPSU and I’ve got an ATX adapter on my desk at work, so I’m sure that’ll help a lot. Also I probably will go with a 2.5” hard drive as they get pretty big now and that’ll save more space and heat.
     
  10. NeC5552

    NeC5552 I eat lemons. Like seriously,I really eat lemons.

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2013
    Messages:
    326
    Likes Received:
    6
    For cooling, replacing the CPU and GPU heatsinks with Vantec Iceberq 4 Pro VGA cooling kits will work.
     
  11. brirec

    brirec Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2016
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    9
    I don’t want to have to go searching for a discontinued GPU cooler, especially since I’d be ripping out the blue LEDs as soon as I got my hands on it. (I go searching for enough discontinued stuff as it is). But I was thinking of just using a good 60mm or so fan with relatively high CFM for its size and loudness — like a Noctua or something — and just using something like cut-and-folded fish paper to duct the air over the heatsinks. I did that to replace a missing fan duct in a high wattage power amplifier and never had any cooling issues with it.
     
  12. N64 freak

    N64 freak Robust Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2007
    Messages:
    234
    Likes Received:
    145
    I prefered to keep the original airflow intact as microsoft did great work there in my oppinion!
    Only thing i did for the cooling is looking for a matching cooler and as i couldn't find one i had to cut up an existing one.
    The iceberq 4 pro or other vga coolers do work but as far i heared they are pretty small for the xbox and if the bearings wear out they will get noisy.

    Black acrylic sheets are easy to find and look great!
    That might be the easiest way off building a case.
    I like the idea with the fan duct as it allows for bigger fans and heatsinks as the iceberq4 pro.
     
  13. brirec

    brirec Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2016
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    9
    Does this look right for an air duct design? Just imagine the shaded part is what the duct looks like from the top down, and the cross section would be sort of like an upside-down letter U. http://imgur.com/a/ZpKRO Pardon the Xbox version, I just drew on the first picture I found on Google for "Xbox Motherboard". And of course I wouldn’t remove the heat sinks unless to apply new thermal paste (which I may want to do as well, anyway).

    Then I’d just put a fan in the same spot Microsoft did.
     

Share This Page