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Project Lament: HellRaiser Cenobite PC

Work Log Page:  [1] - [2] - [3] - [4] - [5] - [6] - [7] - [8] - [9]

Designing the Cenobite Case

    Hellraiser is hands down cool and quite scary, there are a fair amount of existing modded cases that pay tribute to the puzzle box but face it, the box isn't scary.  Cenobites are scary, so I am shooting for a "what if the box opened and a case modder were transformed into a cenobite" kind of theme, the story above and the sketches below show what I am going for.

    There is a lot happening in the picture below but the drawing tells the basic story and will be what I try to go by and will hopefully be close to what I end up with.  Nothing is set in stone yet, I have hardware ordered and when it gets here I will lay it all out to determine actual placement.  The left sketch is a best case scenario hardware layout but will probably change.  The middle sketch shows what I want the finished mod to look like, I mixed the look of a few different Cenobites with the mods I intend adding to come up with the final design.  The right design sketch shows the mods I plan to implement and their placement within the case.

Picking the Parts

    CHAINTECH "7NIF2" nForce2 IGP Motherboard - I chose this motherboard because it offers everything onboard, including onboard GeForce4 graphics with S-video out.  Besides you really can't go wrong with an nForce based motherboard, or rather I never have, but the boards size and the built in S-video out sealed it for me.

    Kingston HyperX Series Dual Kits 184 Pin 512MB(256MBx2) DDR PC-2700 - I really wanted to go with a gig of RAM, but every project should have a budget and 512 was all I could afford, it is matched pair RAM and therefore should suffice.

    AMD Athlon XP 2600+ "Barton", 333MHz FSB, 512K Cache Processor - I just went with the quickest Barton core processor I could afford.

    Aspire 520W 12V Triple Fan Aluminum Power Supply, Model "ATX-AS520W SILVER" - A beefy power supply, modded and sleeved, for just over fifty bucks... affordable.

    LCD 6" TFT-LCD VIDEO MODULE with brackets - I cannot think of a better use for one of these things and I expect it will really set off the mod.

    I still need to find a main hard drive and decide on all the water cooling parts, but the list above details what I have to work with so far.  I also need to order the lighting mods, I hope to order more parts in a week or two, I will update the list as it happens.

    In the picture above you can see the skull and eyes I plan to use and two puzzle boxes, one assembled and the other in pieces.  I also bought a couple of Halloween prop arms for the mod because hands are a bitch to sculpt and I don't have that kind of time, if you look closely you will notice that they are both right hands... I will show how to fix this problem later.

10/26/04 Update: Lament Continued...

    Work progresses slowly for my HellRaiser mod, I am still trying to find and purchase all the parts for this mod and the Fass-o-Matic reservoir that I planned to use is out of stock everywhere I have looked (in this country anyway).  I even emailed Innovatek about a week ago, but have as yet heard nothing back... so that sucks, but it doesn't halt progress and I will get one somehow (hopefully).  More bad news, my sons power supply died and he now owns the slick Aspire PSU that was going to be used in this mod, but it is just bad news for him.  That is enough bad news, good news... I ordered more parts for the mod, including a new PSU more suited to the mod, which should arrive this week.  First up, hardware (other than W/C) has been completely ordered, additions to the current parts list...

    JAHT USB 2.0 4-Port Hub, Model JUH-2104NP - I will put this powered USB hub into the wrist so that the keyboard and any front side peripherals can attach easily.

    POWMAX MUACR01 Black w/ Red LED Optical Scroll Mouse PS/2 - This mouse just looks HellRaiser to me, maybe I will have an applique made for it.

    COOLMAX 400W CX-400B, BLACK, Taurus CX Series Silent Power Supply; 1 x 120mm fan, 3 Speed Fan Control Switch ( Auto, Low, Medium) - Since a two fan solution PSU makes more sense for this mod (that and my son has the PSU originally planned for this mod) I ordered it.

    Western Digital Special Edition 120GB 7200RPM IDE Hard Drive, Model WD1200JB - An 8GB hard drive will not cut it for this system, not that I expect it to survive the window mod anyway, so the 120GB WD drive was ordered.

10/28/04 Update: Thinking It Out

    I walked around an ACE hardware store with around $50 in Alum-Angle, hinges, latches and parts I would need to make the torso of the case from scratch... and that was not even including what I was going to need to cover it in screen, fiberglass cloth and resin.  I looked at all the stuff I had in my cart and started doing the math, it was then I decided to put it all back and look for an easier way.  Fifteen minutes later I was back home and on e-Bay, where I found, bid on and won this mannequin torso for $34.95 USD shipped, WOOT!


    I can't wait for it to get here so I can crack it in half, measure things out and start filling it with parts.

11/01/04 Minor Update:

    Well, I am still waiting for the mannequin torso and decided to move forward with the mods that are not dependant upon the torso... which leaves the head to work on.  The mod officially begins with a few cuts... Boglin eyes have eyelids, both a moveable top eyelid and a static lower that need to be removed.

    Pretty good results, considering I cut off the plastic eyelids with a Ginsu steak knife.

    Next, using a Sharpie marker I marked out where the eyes and hard drive would be located within the skull, and I also polished up the outside of the 8GB drive.

    The mannequin arrived, and with it the need to rethink a few aspects of the mod.  The CD burner will absolutely not fit into the mod, I am looking into alternatives but everything I've found so far looks to put me over budget.  Oh well, I will do what I can now and figure that all out later.  On that note, I taped off the section to cut out of the torso and outlined it with a Sharpie...

    I cracked it open with a Dremel and a jigsaw, no easy task as the contour of the torso was a factor and also it wanted to melt as I cut it.  Slow and steady wins the race and now I am faced with the difficult task of trying to make everything fit, there is a lot less space than there appears and the motherboard I chose is going to be a tight squeeze, but I will make it fit... that's my thing, it's what I do.  Time to mull over a few changes and then kick this mod into gear.

    I cut down a Lian Li motherboard tray, it is not finished yet and more material will be taken off the top.  I was concerned with the amount of room (or lack of) around the sides of the board so I mounted it to the tray and set it and the PSU in for a test fit.  You may notice that the board is tilted to the back and is also upside down, there are a couple of reasons for doing it this way.  First, it puts all the ports in a more reasonable position relative to the case.  Second, I may be able to add a low profile AGP card and the PCI slots will be functional.  Third, the positioning adds visual interest and should look perfect when the abdomen area is windowed.

    I had to cut out the bottom before I could get things situated, there was a big lump of plastic on the bottom inside the mannequin (see two pics up) that made this more difficult than expected.

11/14/04 Update: Doing The Mannequin Hack.

    Cutting straight lines into the curves of the mannequin is less than a science, there is a lot of eyeballing and test fitting involved.  Below you can see the cutout with the PSU inserted for a test fit, above the PSU are the guide lines for...

    a handle that I am putting between the shoulders, that way I won't have to hug it to lug it... MuWaHaaHa, It's going to be a LAN rig.

    The finished back cut outs, I will still have to cut a spot for the radiator but will wait until I get it before I do more cutting (to be sure everything lines up correctly).

    I used a hole saw to cut circles out of the arm nubs so that wiring to the components in the arms can be run internally, I also cleaned up and filed the cutout for the mother board connections.

    The neck was a pain to cut open, there were big blobs of fiberglass that required a lot of Dremeling to shave down.

    Here we go with another test fit.  The motherboard tray will be cut down and attached tomorrow, I will also start building the internal framework out of Alum-Angle and then move onto the chest section.

11/15/04 Update: Creating Support.

    Well, it's tomorrow already and the motherboard tray has been cut down and installed, I decided to use thumbscrews to attach the motherboard tray, that way if it needs to be removed for any reason it won't be a hassle.

    I am using Alum-Angle to mount everything and so far it is working great, it cuts and bends easily and provides a good deal of structural support.  Below is a chunk of Alum-Angle I cut with a nibbler, bent with pliers and then drilled out to fit the PSU.

    Next is the custom made Alum-Angle PSU tray installed, it will later be painted black to match the mod.

    The PSU fits into the makeshift tray really well and is held firmly in place by two thumbscrews, the mounting should prove to be sufficient since it can't move with everything screwed down tight.

    Here is a view of the inside showing the mounting of everything that has been installed so far, the mod is moving right along but there's still a lot to do...

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