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BigAl01
Miniboss

Unique designs

I was relaxing this morning, reading the latest issue of Maximum PC, and an idea came to me for a new computer build that I haven't attempted before.  It would necessitate the decommissioning of an existing computer build (My Sun X-Terminal, currently running Linux) that hangs on a wall in the basement storage room, near my workbench where all my Big Al Computers have been constructed.  It's hard to take a system down to make room for something new, especially when you have built it from the ground up.  Power constraints are a concern you see.  At my workbench I have three gaming machines and the Sun X-Terminal running if I want them all on at one time.  Anyway, my idea is for an AMD-based non-gaming machine that floats on a few steel bars like a mobile hanging from the ceiling.  The basement storage room gives me easy access to overhead beams, so I can install some strong hooks that will have no problem supporting the hardware hanging below.  

Here are my design considerations for you guys to comment on:

(1)  The motherboard (micro-ATX or ITX) would mount to a metal bottom that's just bigger than the motherboard itself.  This will be the grounding plane that all other devices would have a grounding strap connection to.  The motherboard would hang horizontally at the bottom of the mobile.  I've learned from past designs that used a lot of plastic case parts (printers specifically) that the lack of grounding can result in ESD damage to LEDs and things of this nature.

(2)  Next up would be the CPU AIO cooler with RGB fans.  It would need to stay in alignment with the motherboard underneath the steel bars that support all the components.  This is starting to look like a vertical stack of components, and the CPU cooler would be close to the motherboard so that the coolant tubes aren't stretched.

(3)  Above the CPU cooler would be the PSU, and it's cables to the motherboard and other devices are a concern.  Distance from other components is one issue, as is the power cables themselves.  You can't really hide these like in a normal build where they get tucked behind the side panel and the backside of the motherboard.

(4)  No optical drives or hanging external drives initially.  I would use a few M.2 drives mounted in the motherboard for the operating system and for data storage.  No video card either - that means the latest version of AMD's integrated graphics CPUs, like the one I recently used (AMD 5700G) in my AVP Requiem-2 build in the fall of 2021.

(5)  The keyboard and mouse would need to be wireless, as they would be located on my workbench.  The monitor would be a new 27" IPS 1080p unit to replace an existing non-landscape 1024x768 LCD panel that's currently connected to the Sun X-Terminal.  This would need to be a monitor with a long HDMI cable that can go up the wall, come over to the mobile that holds the new build, and snake down to the motherboard back panel to make the video connection.

Ok, there you have my initial ideas.  Strong chain would be used, along with some steel cable perhaps, to suspend the hardware from the flat steel bars.  I do want a decent light show too, so RGB fans on the CPU cooler are just a start.  More ideas in that area are encouraged.

Do you see any major problems that I might encounter?  I will run a heavy-duty extension cable up to the overhead rafters for the PSU to plug into, and at the floor I will possibly have an UPS too.  

Here is the current Sun X-terminal (built in 2005), which gives you an idea of the space this new build would occupy:

This old photo shows a CRT that I was using back then.  I currently have two LCD's mounted vertically where that CRT is snown.This old photo shows a CRT that I was using back then. I currently have two LCD's mounted vertically where that CRT is snown.This old build used an AMD Athlon 64 3000+ CPU.This old build used an AMD Athlon 64 3000+ CPU.

As Albert Einstein said, "I could have done so much more with a Big Al's Computer!".
1 Solution

I was busy a bit on Sunday and Monday.  I decided to go back to the single swivel hook mounting so I could get the rotation that I wanted.  It doesn't spin around of course, due to the wires and such, but it does rotate so I can work on it while it's hanging from the ceiling.  This project is nearing completion.

It takes three swivel hooks to make this work without having chain issues, such as pulling in one direction or the other.  There is a slight bend in the bar, but the deflection is minimal.It takes three swivel hooks to make this work without having chain issues, such as pulling in one direction or the other. There is a slight bend in the bar, but the deflection is minimal.I also decided that I needed some LED lighting within the hand cavity.  I had to make a small hole in there to feed through the LED strip, which plugs into the USB port of the motherboard.I also decided that I needed some LED lighting within the hand cavity. I had to make a small hole in there to feed through the LED strip, which plugs into the USB port of the motherboard.I am testing the height of the artwork here.I am testing the height of the artwork here.The LED strip works well in this application.The LED strip works well in this application.Turning off the workbench light, you can see how cool this looks.Turning off the workbench light, you can see how cool this looks.

As Albert Einstein said, "I could have done so much more with a Big Al's Computer!".

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62 Replies
Sam_AMD
Community Manager
I'm starting to see the light! Looking good my friend! Looking good...
Sam
Your biggest fan!
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D GPU: AMD Radeon RX 6800XT
0 Likes

More light should be apparent after you see the following pictures.  I spent about 3 hours this afternoon building the aluminum framing that will support the motherboard tray and PSU.  I think I came up with a good PSU mounting that doesn't interfere with the cable sockets or with the motherboard / memory.  It also needs to help counterbalance the motherboard because this will be rotated 90 degrees when it's suspended from the ceiling (behind the artwork).  There is still much work to be done, including a fan mounting, getting the switches / LEDs sorted out and suspension from the chain and swivel hook.  I again connected everything up to ensure it still works fine.  

In case you are wondering, fabrication on the fly means that you add one piece at a time, taking things apart to cut metal or drill holes as you go, and then screwing them back together.  I mark pieces under the mounting holes so I don't mix up brackets or their orientation to each other.  These aluminum parts are not really interchangeable.  

Today I started with drilling holes in the four corners of the motherboard tray.Today I started with drilling holes in the four corners of the motherboard tray.Time to measure and then bend the 1" aluminum bars.  It's nice having a big vice.  By the way, it was my dad that built this workbench, probably back in the 1970's.Time to measure and then bend the 1" aluminum bars. It's nice having a big vice. By the way, it was my dad that built this workbench, probably back in the 1970's.The first of two framing bars is done.The first of two framing bars is done.I made a second framing bar and then did a test fit with the motherboard.I made a second framing bar and then did a test fit with the motherboard.Now it's time for the PSU support brackets.  My idea of supporting it in several directions makes sense because this assembly will be rotated 90 degrees when it's behind the artwork.Now it's time for the PSU support brackets. My idea of supporting it in several directions makes sense because this assembly will be rotated 90 degrees when it's behind the artwork.Another PSU support bracket is added.Another PSU support bracket is added.Test fitting of the PSU to ensure I have enough clearance for the modular ports.Test fitting of the PSU to ensure I have enough clearance for the modular ports.Final PSU bracket is designed and bent into shape.Final PSU bracket is designed and bent into shape.Now the PSU won't fall out when laying flat or when rotated 90 degrees.Now the PSU won't fall out when laying flat or when rotated 90 degrees.Plugging everything back in and testing the system to ensure I didn't break anything.  That fan and those switches need to be mounted next.Plugging everything back in and testing the system to ensure I didn't break anything. That fan and those switches need to be mounted next.

As Albert Einstein said, "I could have done so much more with a Big Al's Computer!".
Sam_AMD
Community Manager

I have an idea @BigAl01 !

Would you consider painting the aluminum frame you're building? Or wrap it with carbon fiber - it could be a nice touch...

Sam
Your biggest fan!
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D GPU: AMD Radeon RX 6800XT

I'm not sure about painting the aluminum bars.  They are mostly hidden as the artwork will be up front.  I'll think about it.  

I just ordered a set of Klipsch 2.1 computer speakers (factory refurbished at $99), since I might use this computer to provide music most of the time above the workbench.  I've ordered the refurbished speakers before and they are fine.  Besides Klipsch, I generally never get any computer item in a refurbished condition.

What I really need is to figure out the switches / LEDs; I'd like to find a pre-made assembly that I can mount to the aluminum bars.  If anyone can find the power / reset / power LED / HDD LED assembly, let me know.

As Albert Einstein said, "I could have done so much more with a Big Al's Computer!".
0 Likes

I found a decent power / reset switch assembly on Amazon, so I ordered it.

I just need to figure out where I should mount this switch assembly.I just need to figure out where I should mount this switch assembly.

As Albert Einstein said, "I could have done so much more with a Big Al's Computer!".
0 Likes

My parts arrived on Thursday, and Friday I did some modding! I first hooked up the remote power / reset switch and that works fine. Then I attached three of the LED strips (using their magnetic mounting that holds onto the motherboard tray (not the aluminum bars), and then I mounted the one fan I think I need to keep air moving over the motherboard.

But my biggest effort on Friday was cutting another 3/4" wide (1/4" thick) steel bar to use as the main support to the frame assembly. I then estimated the center of balance and hung it up with the hanging support bar / chain / swivel hook assembly. I want to ensure strength and so I think I will forgo much of the rotational ability of one swivel hook and just limit it with the two-swivel hook supporting structure. Even though I haven't yet drilled the holes for the steel bar that I cut, I did put it in place to ensure my framing assembly would hang properly (no artwork hanging yet) and not tip one way or the other. It looks good to me, so I will drill the holes and screw the steel bar to the aluminum framing in a few days and then hang it up to make sure all my cables will reach it. After that, it's on to the artwork and getting it to hang on the backside of the motherboard tray in a way that hides the computer. I might finish this next week, if I don't end up painting the aluminum bars. If I do paint those, I will need to take the frame assembly off the motherboard tray and paint it outside. I know the motherboard tray won't be accepting paint given it's oily coating, unless I really scrub it down (which I don't want to do).

The Corsair Mag-Lev fan is mounted to the frame using tiewraps.The Corsair Mag-Lev fan is mounted to the frame using tiewraps.I bought two LED kits (only planning to use one at this time); the remote switch should work out fine.I bought two LED kits (only planning to use one at this time); the remote switch should work out fine.The remote switch, the LED strips and the fan are installed and working well.The remote switch, the LED strips and the fan are installed and working well.Still running, I rotated the frame assembly 90 degrees; this is how it will hang behind the artwork.Still running, I rotated the frame assembly 90 degrees; this is how it will hang behind the artwork.I've settled on this mounting idea, as it's strong with two steel bars and strong chain / swivel hooks.I've settled on this mounting idea, as it's strong with two steel bars and strong chain / swivel hooks.Carefully testing the hanging assembly; the motherboard tray will be hidden by the artwork when this is complete.Carefully testing the hanging assembly; the motherboard tray will be hidden by the artwork when this is complete.

As Albert Einstein said, "I could have done so much more with a Big Al's Computer!".
0 Likes

I was busy a bit on Sunday and Monday.  I decided to go back to the single swivel hook mounting so I could get the rotation that I wanted.  It doesn't spin around of course, due to the wires and such, but it does rotate so I can work on it while it's hanging from the ceiling.  This project is nearing completion.

It takes three swivel hooks to make this work without having chain issues, such as pulling in one direction or the other.  There is a slight bend in the bar, but the deflection is minimal.It takes three swivel hooks to make this work without having chain issues, such as pulling in one direction or the other. There is a slight bend in the bar, but the deflection is minimal.I also decided that I needed some LED lighting within the hand cavity.  I had to make a small hole in there to feed through the LED strip, which plugs into the USB port of the motherboard.I also decided that I needed some LED lighting within the hand cavity. I had to make a small hole in there to feed through the LED strip, which plugs into the USB port of the motherboard.I am testing the height of the artwork here.I am testing the height of the artwork here.The LED strip works well in this application.The LED strip works well in this application.Turning off the workbench light, you can see how cool this looks.Turning off the workbench light, you can see how cool this looks.

As Albert Einstein said, "I could have done so much more with a Big Al's Computer!".
Sam_AMD
Community Manager

I'm starting to see the light @BigAl01 

Are you going to call it "Talk to the Hand"? Whose hand is it anyways?

Sam
Your biggest fan!
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D GPU: AMD Radeon RX 6800XT

I'm calling it 'Talk-2-The-Hand' due to the character limitation in Windows when you name your PC.  My son Tom created the artwork in the early 2000's.  I don't think the hand was modeled after any person, but I really don't know the answer to that question about whose hand it is.  I will ask him though.

I pulled that black duct tape off the wall after taking this picture.  I really like the hand illumination and the background RGB lighting too.I pulled that black duct tape off the wall after taking this picture. I really like the hand illumination and the background RGB lighting too.

 

As Albert Einstein said, "I could have done so much more with a Big Al's Computer!".
Sam_AMD
Community Manager

Alright, I have another idea for you...

Why don't you add a ring to the hand, an LED ring that lights up and matches the color of the background lights... 

Sam
Your biggest fan!
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D GPU: AMD Radeon RX 6800XT

Well, it is the left hand I suppose.  Have you seen any LED rings?  It would also need a wire for power and synchronization.  Maybe one could be made out of a very short LED strip.

As Albert Einstein said, "I could have done so much more with a Big Al's Computer!".
0 Likes
Sam_AMD
Community Manager

Here is what I'm thinking about...on Amazon. 

They are battery powered so no need for wires, etc. 

Sam
Your biggest fan!
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D GPU: AMD Radeon RX 6800XT

That's 16 feet long.  This is a hand, and just a ring I might add.  I think an actual ring with LEDs in the ring loop might be better.

This might work:  

81sSlYWJrQL._SX522_.jpg

As Albert Einstein said, "I could have done so much more with a Big Al's Computer!".
0 Likes

How does this look?  Notice the ring finger.

 

5EEF60BC-DCE9-4E3C-9FF5-B6E204C94971.jpeg

As Albert Einstein said, "I could have done so much more with a Big Al's Computer!".
0 Likes

My son just told me that the hand was modeled off his own left hand in either 2005 or 2006.

I think this build is ready for submission to the Rig of the Month contest (July 2022).

 

As Albert Einstein said, "I could have done so much more with a Big Al's Computer!".
0 Likes

I ordered a 90 degree power cord to minimize the power cord loop at the PSU.  It looks good.

 

7A13C7F7-69C0-414F-9EE8-AE382543921D.jpeg

 No more cable loop from the power cord.

As Albert Einstein said, "I could have done so much more with a Big Al's Computer!".
0 Likes

I loaded up a free-to-play FPS game (Sniper 3D Assassin - Shoot to Kill) and it ran just fine on this machine.  I had trouble using the trackpad for aiming and such, so I added an old wireless Logitech mouse to enhance the gaming experience.  After about 30 minutes of fun, my right wrist was starting to hurt - the reason I don't game much these days.  Still, Talk 2 The Hand is powerful enough to run some of the lower games if necessary.

 

RGB can enhance your gaming experience, so I'm told.RGB can enhance your gaming experience, so I'm told.

As Albert Einstein said, "I could have done so much more with a Big Al's Computer!".
0 Likes

It's nice to see that I received enough 'likes' to get into the top three builds for the July 2022 Rig of the Month contest.  Fingers crossed!

Now that's cute.Now that's cute.

As Albert Einstein said, "I could have done so much more with a Big Al's Computer!".

Well, I didn't win.  Congratulations to @rtbh99 !

As Albert Einstein said, "I could have done so much more with a Big Al's Computer!".

thank you bud, i thought for sure your unique hand design would win!

lets talk about rtbh99

I'm giving it another try for the August Rig of the Month contest.  I spent a few hours doing cable management to tidy things up a bit and hopefully the cable management gods of wisdom will recognize my skills.  But, I'll need to get into the top three again!

The aluminum framing over a steel plate worked out well.  No loose cables here.The aluminum framing over a steel plate worked out well. No loose cables here.I'm just looking for a major award, that's all.I'm just looking for a major award, that's all.

As Albert Einstein said, "I could have done so much more with a Big Al's Computer!".
0 Likes

good luck! i wonder what the prize will be for august 😮

lets talk about rtbh99
Sam_AMD
Community Manager

The August prize is AMD Ryzen 5 1600 and an MSI MPG X570 Gaming Plus MB. Check it out.

Sam
Your biggest fan!
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D GPU: AMD Radeon RX 6800XT