The Sleeper


Tech Monkey
(Feb. 3rd)


So, I start out with a 5mm LED. Due to the space constraint of the thickness of the clear acrylic material, I am sanding the curve off of the LED.


Using a pair of needle nose vise grips, I clamp down on the leads to the LED, and then very carefully sand off the material of the LED using the side disc of my belt sander.


After a few seconds, I am left with results like this...


LED's need to be tested to make sure I have not damaged the diode during hte process... 15mA and the baby shines bright!


30 frosted LED's later, and I didn't break a single one! ;)


I did 5 more of the water clear, non frosted LED's as a comparison to see whose light reigns supreme!


Test.... test.... test....


I then took two of the acrylic pieces and used acrylic glue (WeldOn). This is the black layer....


Here is the clear, with the LED holes. I sanded the clear prior to cutting it so that the light would have something to bounce off of and hopefully amplify the light...


The matching pair, about to be bonded together...


Clamped and drying....

the clear will be facing down, so you will not see the glue blotches. All you will see is the smooth, black acrylic top... and *hopefully* light spilling out from underneath! :cool:


Tech Monkey
(Feb 21st...)

Wow.... I am tired! I have spent this past weekend making custom 2 and 3 LED "series" circuits for all of my pre-cut acrylics... and I must say, it has been a learning experience!

I still have to glue the LED's into the acrylic, and then cover the soldered LED legs that go from one LED to the next (brush on electrical tape is what I am planning... any other suggestions?), but from the test pieces that I lit, I think it is going to look good!

Very excited about this... as I do not like to solder (*gasp*... a modder that does not like to solder??!?! ), and this is the most intensive part of the soldering on the build!! Get this out of the way, and I can start concerning myself with other parts! Pics will be coming in a few days after I get the test lighting done with the completed pieces.

There are a few pieces that I have not lit yet, as I am still trying to figure out how... but I have some ideas. We'll see how that progresses!


Tech Monkey
(Feb 22nd)

Ok, so this is not all of the pieces (obviously), but it will give you a good look into what I am having to do with each piece!

Continuing with the famous piece from the previous post, I set to lighting it up. I did this by placing the LED's into the 5mm holes that were pre-cut, and then using a pair of needle nose pliers to bend the legs so that they would intersect. Remember, each LED has a positive (longer) and negative (shorter) leg. When runing the LED's in series, you have to keep those polarities in mind. Think like magnets.... positive to negative. So, I would lay out the LEDs in their holes, and bend and cut the legs so that I had positive to negative layout, and a clean path to solder on:



Test lighting



What would it look like on the panel? I mocked it up. I did not do a "long time exposure" on the camera, and the patio door was letting light into the breakfast room, so the photo effect is off, but you get the idea... it's gonna work!!!


This one was a close fit, but I got it to work! I thought it was going to be my most difficult set.. nope!

A couple pictures showing how I start on the LED's and make the initial bends and clip the leg lengths to make it fit the path:


From the above two pics, this is what that LED set looks like out of the acrylic:

One of the bigger pieces:


Ok, this was my "Pièce de résistance" of this escapade!
Problem: I Had a piece of acrylic that was cut. It was a small piece of the logo, looked somewhat similar to the triangle that is in the "Star Trek" logo. Issue was, when we designed it for a hole, we put a 5mm LED facing one way... well, how in the hell am I going to make light shoot out both ends of that piece? I need to have two opposite facing light sources *inside* the space of a 5mm LED hole! Hehehehe... uh, yeah.... right!

Solution: God had my back when I ordered my LED's way back when. The place I bought from ( had some LEDs that I had never seen before! 1.8mm LEDs!!!! So, I bought some at the time to get a look at them and see how they worked! Fast forward to this solder party .... I took two, and designed a series circuit. Issue was that the cathode and anode legs had to be trimmed VERY short in order to allow for the LED's to fit back to back. This makes for dangerous soldering as you dont want too much heat in that proximity to the diode of the LED, as it could damage it...
Also of note, the positive and negative legs that were for the power and ground wires, those had to be bent nearly right at the base iof the LED (dangerous). Lots of things were stacked against making this work... but I'll be damned if I didn't pull it off!!!



Lights up *bright*!!!!

I ended up making the initial leg bends, and then sticking those through styrofoam to get the LED's in the right proximity to each other. I then trimmed the legs to be soldered so that there was not a lot of leg material hanging off all over the place. Took a couple of snips, removing a tiny bit of material each time with the micro-snips... but eventually I had them set right where i wanted them.

Then my precision tip on my soldering iron snapped off!!! ARGH!!! All I had as a replacement was a spade tip... suck it up Craig, and make this work. I did, and it did!! I then took a small diameter piece of heat shrink and I covered one of the legs, ran it all the way up to the base of the LED, to make sure the legs did not ground out against each other.

Test fit in the back of the acrylic:


Tech Monkey
(March 3rd... my last update....)
I got tired of wonderin.... and just got to doin! ;)

Had a pleasant temperature outside, nothing f-f--ff-ridgid.... ;) Mucking around with acrylic, I certainly did not cold acrylic being hit with hot glue.... and potentially messing something up... so I had to wait for the temps to come up a bit. Call me paranoid...

I hot glued in all of my LED's tonight, and test lit the largest piece...

This is showing you how all of the pieces will fit to the panel. The lines feed through the panel to the LED's


Obviously not a final placement, there is no adhesive on the back side, but you get the idea.

What good would it be without a light shot? ;)

I fed all of the other pieces through their respective holes and found out 2 things....
1) I forgot to drill holes for 2 pieces (shown on the panel with their cables)
2) I missed 2 of the shaped pieces for LED insertion. So I Have 2 more pieces that I have to get lit. Should not be a problem though....

It is coming along though!

Rob Williams

Staff member
First and foremost, kudos on getting around to getting another build going ;-)

I absolutely love the idea for this build, because I'm sure a lot of LAN party goers would love to have water-cooling, but don't, for the exact reasons you mention. The fact that the build is designed around easy removal of water and equally easy re-filling intrigues me a lot.

Tech-Daddy said:
The last time I went out purposefully overclocking, we were using Slot1 motherboards and I had a "Cloverleaf" Celeron 300a CPU, so it has been awhile!

Whoa, you ARE behind on things just a bit, aren't you? ;-)

The mod is coming along GREAT man, I love some of the things you're doing here. What really catches my eye is your implementation of the LEDs on the side panel... that's a very creative idea and looks great. Can't wait to see it all in action :D

VERY interesting choice of chassis as well. Internal water-cooling and mid-tower aren't two names that usually go well together, so I look forward to seeing the progress on that front.

Keep us updated!


Tech Monkey
Thanks Rob!! Yeah, the mid tower makes it a challenge, but as they say in marketing... "Location... location... location!" ;)

So, I pulled out my drilling template from the previous holes, and finished drilling the missing shape holes, and then also got to thinking about the ASUS logo, and "how in the hell" am I going to saturate that logo with light? ;)


Multiple directional LED's is the only way I can come up with right now. I'm going to keep working on this piece of the logo...

Of the 2 pieces I forgot to light previously, this one was cut for a 3mm LED, and I needed a bit more space to make the dual 1.8mm LED's fit properly.... so I bored it out with a grinder bit using my Craftsman rotary tool.

This was the other shape that I forgot to light up....

My 1.8mm LED's soldered back to back in series! (getting good at this now...)

Insert... light... and say "Ahhhhhhh!" ;)



I also bought some liquid electrical tape to insulate the legs of the LED's against the metal panel.

Here is the example piece before application.

And after application.


Some of the pieces I clamped to the bottom of the shelf to make the liquid tape sit on top of the metal LED legs, instead or settling and flattening out.


Here, I took all of the shape pieces (since I finished drilling out the holes), and I placed them. To hold them near their positions, I used clear masking tape. This was more for me to see how everything eas laying out, and if I needed to make some corrective cuts. There are a few pieces that are needing a shift and a tweak to get placed right, but for the most part, they came out very well!


And... the "Go big or go home" moment of the night, I tied all of my 12v legs and grounds together in the most ghetto hack of a wiring job... but it was only to see if I had broken anything and if the concept that I had of power supply was going to work.... and gloriously, it worked just as I had hoped!


Remember my picture of what I wanted?

Awfully damn close!!!


Basket Chassis
Staff member

Nice work and it's nice to see the old Tempest still getting some love.


Techgage Staff
Staff member
That, Tech Daddy, is some seriously cool modding!! It's all about those little details... ;)

Neat LED tester too, btw!


Tech Monkey
Thanks guys! Kougar.... I am having a BYOTCH of a time coming up with a good graceful solution to tying those LED's together, but I am damn close to a good, elegant and open solution! Almost there!

So.... how do you know when I'm liking the weather and I have time to work on the mod???

When I start hangin stuff from the gutters on my house, that's when! ;)

I spent most of the day wandering around Dallas looking at components for a circuit board. And it hit me on asle 7 of Altex Electronics in Carrollton... "You can work on the frame in parallel with the electrical stuff! *DUH!*

So, tonight, I broke out the Self etching primer, and my flat black enamel and went to town!

The victims, they are defenseless!


First round of self etching primer:

After two rounds of self etching primer:

I followed them up with a 3rd coat of Primer Sealer, as there was a spot on the motherboard tray that I had used a permanent marker, and I knew from experience that those would bleed through if I did not put some sealer on them.... worked like a champ!


Don't see those red marks do you? ;) Say it with me folks... "Primer Sealer" ... that is the answer! :D

Then it becomes time to pour on the flat black with vengeance Anything that was light gray on the inside of the case, is now Flat black!!





And I owe all of these parts to one can of the good stuff.... I have 2 more parts to paint, and some touch-ups to do on these parts, but this paint is tha' bomb diggty! ;)

I have a clear, satin topcoat that I will be using to make this paint more durable, but that is not on yet.


Basket Chassis
Staff member
One question - did you use the self etching primer over the existing pain? How did you prep the surface? Everything that I have read says that self etching primer should be used only on bare metal.

If it can go right over an already painted surface that will save me a ton of time if I plan on modding my next case.


Tech Monkey
The gray was lightly scuffed, but not removed. I think, the gray is more of a metal sealer than it is a paint. Self Etching primer is definitely a bare metal type of primer, and without getting into a huge discussion, I believe this is going to work as the frame was as close to bare metal as it could be without outting it into a chemical vat and removing the sealer. I have had good success with this though, so we will see.


Basket Chassis
Staff member
Good to know. I'm wondering if the same process would work on the inside of an Antec Three Hundred? The inside coatings seem similar.


Tech Monkey
Highly likely, I have not seen a huge variance in the application process. Except on some Lian Li's, Corsair and Thermaltake's where they powdercoat the internal frame, 95% that I Have seen would work with this process.


Basket Chassis
Staff member
Thanks. Didn't mean to thread jack your awesome mod log. I'm looking forward to seeing this, especially since I am a huge fan of the Tempest.


Tech Monkey
No worries! If you ever have questions... feel free to ask!
I've been doing this long enough to know a thread jack when it happens! ;)


Tech Monkey
Tonight, I went after the flat black pieces I painted yesterday... and wanted to make them a bit more durable. So, I broke out the flat "clearcoat".


2-3 coats on all of the important parts, and everything is looking good! I may dump a few more cans onto the parts.... we'll see how some test scratches go later this week. One thing that I learned using this spray, is that it sometimes leaves a fine dust as it cures. Much like the residue left from Duplicolor Metalcast. Dont freak when you see it, just let the clear cure, then take a damp, soft cotton towel, and wipe the surface clean... easy cheesy!

Also, some new "paint" product came in today, and I just had to try it out... This was a test panel that I was using during prototype phases on the side panel for Deuce. This was sprayed on without primer, without scuffing the paint surface. Easy, easy to use! Very impressed with how easy it is.



The bottom corner was my intentional roughing up the surface to see how durable the stuff is....
This is a quick, single pass. not 2-3 coats yet, so I don't even know yet how well this will work.... but it is cool right now!
This "stuff"..... is spray on Plasti-Dip! If the tests work out, I hope to have the entire outside of the case ruggedized with this ruberized paint! The sensation moving my hand from a painted surface to the flat black rubber paint is not like I have ever felt. It "almost" feels like the paint is still tacky.... like it is not dry. It is, it's just kinda tacky! ;)

Too cool for school!


Tech Monkey
Hey there all!
Ok, first off, I want to share a neat trick that I did this weekend. Some of you may have done this, but I did not know about this. I was talking to my neighbor across the alley, and was explaining my plight of needing to go into all of those small holes that I drilled for the LEDs, and file them all down. He just looked at me and very matter of factly said, "You need a 1/2" drill bit or something significantly larger than the hole, then just use that and deburr those edges off."

*blink.... blink*


Two or three turns was all it took! I had ALL of the holes on the panel deburred in less than 5 minutes!!!! If you are drilling a lot of holes, save yourself filing time, and cut those edges down using a larger drill bit! Wow! Saved me a TON of time and frustration!

Now... on with the updates!

Back panel. It had this massive, extruded metal grate that was pushed out about a 1/4 inch from the back of the frame... that had to go! ;)

My trusty Craftsman rotary with the flexi-shaft attachment.... just waiting to bring tha' pain!

Cutting this off was blissfully easy. Simple little straight cuts....

After filing it down and removing the slight humps left over from the cut steel

I primed it (scuffed this piece prior to priming for a little extra durability):

2-3 coats of flat enamel later...

Went to work on the top and bottom pieces the next morning. A couple of different looks of the masking that I put in place. The inside of the case will be a matte black enamel. The outside will be a matte black, but it will be rubberized.... so it will have a different appearance. And we ALL know, *nothing* stands out worse than 2 shades of black side by side! ;) So, this was my attempt at keeping the inside black separate from the outside black:


Painting on the tops with the aerosol Plasti-Dip... ooooooo!

The case has 2 major plastic pieces, the front bezel frame and the top sculpted "hood" that covers the fans. Ths fan covers are plastic reinforced across the fan holes... with a speaker type metal mesh grille that is overlayed. Well.... anyone that knows me knows for a fact that those crosses of plastic are outta here!



The speaker grille type metal was tabbed in place, with through tabs that were bent to secure the grilles. Bend up the tabs, and slide out the mesh.... tadaa!


Here you can see the mesh removed, and the vacated holes that the mesh tabs would have fit through.

After the preliminary cutting work on the center cross supports, you can see the 4 corner parts that need to be filed down on each circle.

Break out the wide, rounded hand file. Right one was done for comparison purposes.

Closeups of the non finished hole:

and the finished hole:


Tech Monkey
The front bezel needed disassembly and I brought it inside while I made a glass of tea. In the pic, you can see all of the front bay covers removed. each bay cover has a foam filter insert.

I then started masking out the bezel. Here I am using line tape. This thin masking tape can be found at autobody paint shops or online. It just so happened to fit almost perfectly, the narrow width of the light rod space. There was no way to remove the light rods without possibly breaking them, so I needed to mask them:

This picture likely better shows why I am doing what I am doing. I lit the LED's to show you what I am trying to cover up and keep from getting any kind of paint on.

After getting this piece all masked off, I went to work on the window frame panel. The window needed to come out in order to allow for the Plasti-Dip to be sprayed. This window was tab locked in place:


Bending the tabs up, allows for the removal of the installed window:


A lot of painting later:


And I let everything start drying.

On Sunday I came out and started putting the frame together and here is where I stopped:




I am not putting the top on yet so that I can have unfettered access into the case while I work on the component placement later!

I had painted the front bezel with the masking, and I knew it was going to be tricky. Remember, effectively, I am painting with rubber paint. I cannot let this stuff sit too long, else the rubber will start forming and the masking pull will be wrecked. Well... I waited too long on the first attempt! I have not had a chance to reshoot the front bezel, but I will this weekend hopefully!! I also need to cut the slots out of the top to allow for the light pipes to protrude.

I also came up with a really cool idea for a hard drive cage... but will need to sketch it out to show you the plans!

More as I have it!



Basket Chassis
Staff member
Having a Tempest and knowing exactly how all the parts fit together this is as interesting as it gets. I'm watching you make changes going, "Ooooh. Good idea!"

Clap, clap, clap @ your neighbour. I didn't even think of using a larger drill bit. Years ago I did some metal work completely unrelated to case modding that required a lot of holes to be drilled and ran into the same problem. We ended up grinding them down, which was a huge pain and really time consuming.

Be careful of the Plasti-Dip though. It has a tendancy to scratch deeply and can peel off. Also it may make things fit a bit tightly with the drive cages and any screw holes that weren't plugged such as the holes for the motherboard stand offs or PCI slots.


Tech Monkey
I hear ya Optix... this is new ground for the plastidip stuff.... if it does not work out... I strip it all down and send it off ot be powdercoated! That;ll be durable!