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3D printer for Cube mod

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I have already done a cube mod but in horsing around I fried the USB 2.0 ports so I thought that was a good a reason as any to start from scratch. Not really from scratch as I will just get a new mob. So here is my big question. I never got around to fitting the I/O shield onto the bottom of my first build - I did not cut the case correctly and would have had gaps plus you never see the bottom anyway and so on and so forth. I recently found out that a shop teacher friend if mine has access to a cnc machine, a laser cutting machine, and a 3D printer at his school. While I figure it would be easy to not screw up the cut on the base of the cube those time, I was thinking about using the 3D printer to make a custom bottom plate. The advantages I see are that it would have the holes for the individual ports and maintain the indentation to allow me to use the handle. The drawbacks are that I don't know about what that will do from a cooling perspective, would it be strong enough? Andre color. The color is the least if my worries, followed by the cooling issues. My current cube is silent with two fans and hangs out at about 36 degrees. I plan to use it as a media server so not a lot of heavy lifting. Biggest concern is the strength as it is obviously replacing a piece made of steel.

Thoughts? Comments? Thanks in advance.
 
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You know Spence, it is a very interesting idea to use a 3D printer for the Cube.

The hardest thing is the file generation I believe, so it depends on your time you have to devote to this project, your access to the facilities etc.

As for strength etc. you must talk to the experts on this. That I guess is whoever is in charge of the 3D printer......

I'd love to see this.
 
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Fortunately, I think my buddy is interested in a new project for his toy(s) so will help a bunch with the file generation. So here is my conundrum - he has two, a makerbot one and comercial one. The makerbot's max dimension output is 285 x 152 x 155 (I figure about 15 mm or so shy of being able to do the bottom plate) The commercial one can do 220 x 220 x 220. The makerbot can do multiple colors his other one just white. He suggested that as an alternative I could make two pieces on the makerbot and then glue them together. Obviously, silver/grey is better than white but since it is on the bottom anyway and can most likely be painted if the white really bothers me, would one piece be the way to go?

I'm going to bring the cube over to him so he can look at piece I want to replace and how it fits together and then let me know if the 3D printed part would be strong enough. If it works it could look pretty good.
 
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Personally, I would go the one piece direction. If it does 220 x 220 x220 why not just make a whole Cube.....?

Also I think you must not worry about the colour as you will almost certainly want to paint it anyway.
 
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Alibre Design is a good 3D-CAD. We use this software in the pro version at my workplace. The personal edition is not expensive.

MacTester
 
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Personally, I would go the one piece direction. If it does 220 x 220 x220 why not just make a whole Cube.....?
I am not sure how practical this would be, once you have printed it, how would you get the motherboard in?

I would have thought an interchangeable design to the existing layout, so you could just make the parts you need, like a properly design DVD HDD holder, any layout would be possible within size and shape restrictions.

Spence how is your work going? Strength wise my question would be how strong would any screw holes you tap into your printed components be.
 
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Hi spence4,

I was also thinking of using 3D printing and CNC-machines to make custom parts for a Cube mod. At first I also just wanted to make a custom backplate for the Cube, which would be interchangeable with the old one. I would basically just recreate the old design, so including the ventilation holes, and then put the correct holes in, matching with a yet-to-be-purchased motherboard, like the Gigabyte GA-Z77N-WIFI.

I've just updated my own topic about putting an i7 cpu and dedicated GPU in a cube, and one thing I have been pondering about is designing new internal parts which make it easier to put the mobo, gpu, fans, etc. on. So basically, if I were to design this, someone else could then also use that design to build their own version. That'd be pretty cool.

Another thing I was thinking about is using 3d printing to make a custom wind-tunnel, to make the airflow and cooling more efficient.
 
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Hey Titan,

I took my Cube over to my buddy's place and pulled it apart and he had some similar ideas. The first step though is to recreate the back plate which doesn't have to be as complex as the original because the shapes of all the pieces are not perfect fits. Some of the posts can be filled in a bit more than the original steel plate. I think the strength should be ok for bottom plate because really all of the weight is supported by the top of the cube and the rails that hold the handle once you lock it in. If you were to replace all of the pieces of the case with 3D printouts you might run into some strength issues. I am going to make the bottom a match for the DH61AG that I currently own - was thinking of upgrading to DQ77KB, but realized that board doesn't give me anything to justify the expenditure. My buddy said that we will probably have to make a couple before we get it right. He said busy time at school ends in a couple weeks so he should have some more free time then. Sorry for getting everyone's hopes up with the premature posting.
 
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