My Somewhat Well Thought Out(TM) Mini-ITX Build - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 34 Old 08-07-2012, 09:24 PM - Thread Starter
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so, after first coming across this thread here which was amusing, but not very informative, and then moving on to this thread here which was informative, but not very amusing, I have decided it is about time to try out this whole HTPC thing again...
so I ordered up a bunch of bits and pieces...
MB = intel DQ77KB
uP = Core i3-2120T
Mem = G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB)
SDD = mSATA 60GB
PS = Antec NP65 Universal 65W Notebook Power Adapter
ir/remote = iMON VFD
no case yet... not 100% sure what I want to do there... probably something somewhat custom...
I know the iMON doesn't get much love here... not sure why, but hey, it looked cool... and supposedly does power on/off, and has what is quite probably a useless VFD display, but I like VFD's... but I can't be sure about that as the mail man wont delver it without me being here to sign for it... but I have to work to actually pay for it, so I am not here when they are delivering, and they apparently changed the hours at the post office to make them as inconvenient as possible.... kind of sux knowing my (almost) last piece is so close, but I can't actually play with it:(

anyway, I have all the bits that I actually have, setup here on my desktop, using the stock i3 HS for now, until I come up with something better, hooked up to my second monitor's HDMI input... seems to work ok.. or at least it did....
I got win7 64bit installed just fine, but I do have one issue... it does not seem to like my HP 2311 monitor... with the intel HDGraphics driver disabled, everything is fine (well except for the fact that HD graphics are disabled, kind of limits what you can do...) but if the driver is enabled, I get video all through the boot up, but the moment windows starts, the monitor says it lost the signal and goes blank, and then turns off... mad.gif
anyone have any ideas on how to make the graphics driver actually like my monitor? I believe it would probably like my TV just fine, but I would like to setup/play with it here first before taking it out and hooking it up to a TV...

NOTE: As one wise professional something once stated, I am ignorant & childish, with a mindset comparable to 9/11 troofers and wackjob conspiracy theorists. so don't take anything I say as advice...
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post #2 of 34 Old 08-08-2012, 06:57 PM - Thread Starter
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so, I finally got my imon-vfd from the post office... that was a much more fun experience then it needed to be...
looks cool... its a little on the large side though... it is almost the same size as my mini-ITX board...
miniitx.jpg

I guess no one has any idea's on how to make my monitor play nice with the Intel HDgraphics driver?

NOTE: As one wise professional something once stated, I am ignorant & childish, with a mindset comparable to 9/11 troofers and wackjob conspiracy theorists. so don't take anything I say as advice...
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post #3 of 34 Old 08-09-2012, 08:29 AM
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Everything should work out of the box. Just verify your settings in the BIOS to use the iGPU (it should be set to this by default).

Have you verified the 2nd hdmi input on your monitor works? Try hooking it up to the hdmi1 on the monitor.
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post #4 of 34 Old 08-12-2012, 07:57 AM - Thread Starter
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ok, so I used the included HDMI -> DVI adapter and went DVI into my crappy HP monitor, now all is well with the universe...

also started playing with temps a bit...with fan limited to 80%, and 100% CPU load on all '4' cores (2cores+hyper threading), and 100% GPU load, the CPU starts throttling in about 1.3 seconds....
that doesn't bode well for my planned fanless case... maybe I should of ordered a bigger chunk of aluminum?

of course 100% load on everything isn't very realistic... maybe I should try more of a 50%CPU/80%GPU type load?

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post #5 of 34 Old 08-17-2012, 06:21 PM - Thread Starter
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ok, so I started work on my front bezel/front of my HTPC case...
I know it doesn't look like much yet, but maybe some day it will...
htpcfrontbezel.jpg
or not, hard to say really... for right now it mostly looks just like a lot of aluminum chips...

I have do have one issue so far... its taking freaking forever to machine...
I only have a 'toy' CNC (a fireball v90), so I had to slow the speed down to a crawl (3ipm) and make shallow passes just so it wouldn't pull itself apart and self destruct... it has been going for hours, and so far I only have the hole for the IMON-VFD knob (you cant see it, it is under all the chips), and the pocket for the VFD is only down to 0.300" (you really cant see that either...)
so, what do all you pro's who have built multiple HTPCs use? there has got to be a relatively cheap CNC like the fireball that can do better than 3ipm? is 30ipm really too much to ask? the 100+ipm of a real Pro CNC would be nice, but they tend to charge for that... kind of need cheap... just faster...

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post #6 of 34 Old 08-17-2012, 08:34 PM
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How does that fireball v90 work? How long do bits last?

I want a CNC machine smile.gif
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post #7 of 34 Old 08-18-2012, 06:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Diverge View Post

How does that fireball v90 work? How long do bits last?
I want a CNC machine smile.gif
well, 1st and foremost, the Fireball is made out of PVC and HDF (like MDF, just higher density) to keep costs low... as such it is most definitely not rated for machining aluminum...
that said, I got through about 98% of my bezel machining before something very bad happened... somehow, something got caught wrong, something flexed wrong, my spindle let its smoke out (just a colt hand router, not a big deal, but still a bummer), and my bezel is trashed...frown.gif a bigger bummer...

now for softer/easier to machine than aluminum the fireball is flawless... very good bang for the buck...
unless what you really want to machine is aluminum frown.gif , and while it can do aluminum on a small scale, it does need constant supervision so it wont destroy itself, and it does aluminum very slowly...
all was going so well, I went upstairs and was watching TV when all of a sudden I heard this awful noise.. wasn't sure what it was so I ignored it... then it happened again... at that point I was like "Oh Crap" and ran downstairs... smoke & destruction everywhere frown.gif and [bleep] it was almost done.... 6 fricken hours just went poof!
oops.jpg
hmm... my picture taking skillz are kind of lacking, doesn't look too bad from the pic really.... I wonder if I can save the piece?
also note, that diagonal cut/line is not the issue, that was just me setting the z height a bit wrong, and then sending the bit rapidly across the surface redface.gif at least the spindle was running so I didn't break the bit...

solid carbide bits are ~$8 each, I have some that I got as low as $2, some were $20... they tend to last until I do something silly like send the bit rapid moving into something (while the spindle is off... ie there is no chance of them cutting their way through...)... which I have done more then I would care to admit...
or put another way, I have never actually had a bit wear out.... (but I wont admit to that)
I wonder how long they do last if you don't destroy them first?


anyway, anyone have any suggestions for a machine (preferably in the same price rage as the fireball... aka cheap) that is good with aluminum?

NOTE: As one wise professional something once stated, I am ignorant & childish, with a mindset comparable to 9/11 troofers and wackjob conspiracy theorists. so don't take anything I say as advice...
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post #8 of 34 Old 08-18-2012, 01:44 PM - Thread Starter
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well, went over to my parents house to use my dads old fashioned mill... spent about 30 minutes looking for the USB slot so I could load up my g-code and finsih milling out my HTPC front face/bezel thingy...
realized that old fashioned mills don't actually run g-code, they don't actually have a uP to run anything at all... what they do have is a bunch of levers, cranks & knobs that you have to manually turn yourself? whats up with that? who thinks up this stuff? seriously, where are the steppers/servo's, and why don't they do the work for you??confused.gif

anyway, finally figured that stuff out, and I think I managed to save my HTPC front face/bezel thingy...
htpcfront.jpg

the imon-vfd is just placed there, I need to get some 1/2" standoffs to actually mount it... but it looks decent enough...
I will need` to bondo or jb weld up the to surface a bit to fix my crashing & burning CNC 'oopsie', but that shouldn't be too bad...

NOTE: As one wise professional something once stated, I am ignorant & childish, with a mindset comparable to 9/11 troofers and wackjob conspiracy theorists. so don't take anything I say as advice...
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post #9 of 34 Old 08-18-2012, 02:25 PM - Thread Starter
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so, none of the HTPC building enthusiasts here are willing to recommend a CNC?
must be some sort of trade secret thing or something?
or is this the wrong forum to ask this in?

anyone have any info on Tormach Personal CNC's? about 6x the cost of the fireball, and that is a fully loaded fireball, vs. a base PCNC1100, but the PCNC does look cool...

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post #10 of 34 Old 08-18-2012, 04:06 PM
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This is my virtual CNC: http://www.frontpanelexpress.com/ wink.gif

 

 

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post #11 of 34 Old 08-18-2012, 04:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by StardogChampion View Post

This is my virtual CNC: http://www.frontpanelexpress.com/ wink.gif
where is the fun in that?smile.gif

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post #12 of 34 Old 08-19-2012, 12:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Somewhatlost View Post

so, none of the HTPC building enthusiasts here are willing to recommend a CNC?
must be some sort of trade secret thing or something?
or is this the wrong forum to ask this in?
anyone have any info on Tormach Personal CNC's? about 6x the cost of the fireball, and that is a fully loaded fireball, vs. a base PCNC1100, but the PCNC does look cool...

That does look cool. I wish I could blow $8500 on something I might only play with from time to time, and not have a huge case of buyers remorse tongue.gif
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post #13 of 34 Old 08-19-2012, 04:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Somewhatlost View Post

so, none of the HTPC building enthusiasts here are willing to recommend a CNC?
must be some sort of trade secret thing or something?
or is this the wrong forum to ask this in?
anyone have any info on Tormach Personal CNC's? about 6x the cost of the fireball, and that is a fully loaded fireball, vs. a base PCNC1100, but the PCNC does look cool...

I personally would like to have a large enough 3d printer to make my HTPC.
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post #14 of 34 Old 08-19-2012, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Diverge View Post

That does look cool. I wish I could blow $8500 on something I might only play with from time to time, and not have a huge case of buyers remorse tongue.gif
You can probably get an old Bridgeport for less than that and have a real milling machine.
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post #15 of 34 Old 08-20-2012, 09:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Somewhatlost View Post

so, none of the HTPC building enthusiasts here are willing to recommend a CNC?
must be some sort of trade secret thing or something?
or is this the wrong forum to ask this in?
anyone have any info on Tormach Personal CNC's? about 6x the cost of the fireball, and that is a fully loaded fireball, vs. a base PCNC1100, but the PCNC does look cool...
If you haven't, spend some time at http://www.cnczone.com/ You'll find lots of info on various CNC systems. If I ever won the lottery I'd have my own personal machine shop for sure.
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post #16 of 34 Old 08-20-2012, 09:59 AM
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I thought you meant CNC as in Command and Conquer the video game... lol.

Zero hour was an epic real time strategy game.

-

"Too much is almost enough. Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards."
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post #17 of 34 Old 08-20-2012, 07:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by dksc318 View Post

You can probably get an old Bridgeport for less than that and have a real milling machine.
define real?
nothing against bridgeport's, but they are rather large, heavy, generally need three phase power, etc... they kind of have a lot going against them for use in a home environment... like how do you get an 8000lbs machine into the basement? (ie without just having it fall through the floor....)
also the older ones don't have a tolerance better than 0.001" so they aren't really that much better than the Tormach...
most of the older bridgeports also have a max load of 300lbs, the Tormach claims 500lbs



note, I am just playing devils advocate here, Bridgeports are great, and they are made in USA (or at least they were... have they been outsourced yet?), but bringing an old machine back from the dead (so to speak), updating with with a newer controller/etc, is a lot of work.
the Tormach while Made in China, is seems to be the most expensive of the made in China 'cheap' (or some would say crap) mills, but Tormach also seems to be the only 'China CNC vender' that stands behind their product...(technically, I am not 100% sure if Tormach is a Chinese vendor, or if they are an American vender that just outsourced their production to China... and I am not entirely sure if that difference even matters anymore...), and it all comes in a shiny new box... ready to work...

been watching some youtube vids of the tormach in action... ie real people doing stuff, not some marketing fluff... seems to cut mild steel and SS pretty good... nice enough finish, not too slow... seems decent enough...

NOTE: As one wise professional something once stated, I am ignorant & childish, with a mindset comparable to 9/11 troofers and wackjob conspiracy theorists. so don't take anything I say as advice...
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post #18 of 34 Old 08-20-2012, 08:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WylieKylie View Post

If you haven't, spend some time at http://www.cnczone.com/ You'll find lots of info on various CNC systems. If I ever won the lottery I'd have my own personal machine shop for sure.
yea, already spend too much time there... don't post much, just lots of reading...

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post #19 of 34 Old 08-12-2013, 05:25 PM - Thread Starter
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just a fwiw type update...
I did get the tormach, and it is great for what it is, and that was part of the issue as I got distracted milling stuff...
anyway I finally got around to finishing my HTPC even though its somewhat pointless now that Intel has their NUC's out...
redid the face with the new mill...

and here is the whole thing assembled

while the body looks surprisingly similar to a plain block of aluminum, it seems to work well enough for the tasks I have planned for it...
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post #20 of 34 Old 08-12-2013, 05:53 PM
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Pointless? I can't say I've seen any NUC's with a built-in VFD...

Really nice work.

I wonder if you could mill out the same on the faceplate of one of the silver E-i7 cases for that VFD. I think it's only 3mm. And move the power button.


 

 

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post #21 of 34 Old 08-12-2013, 07:31 PM
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Looks great, would very much like to see more pictures of the case
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post #22 of 34 Old 08-12-2013, 09:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Looks great, would very much like to see more pictures of the case
it's not really a very pretty case...
but here are a couple more pics...

better view of top

view of back:

and the bottom:

and just for ref, the case size is pretty much the size of a mini itx + a IMON VFD... like 8.5"L 8"W 1.75"tall

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post #23 of 34 Old 08-12-2013, 09:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StardogChampion View Post

Pointless? I can't say I've seen any NUC's with a built-in VFD...

Really nice work.

I wonder if you could mill out the same on the faceplate of one of the silver E-i7 cases for that VFD. I think it's only 3mm. And move the power button.

sure , you can do whatever you want really...
but with the material being only 3mm thick, that does not leave much room for milling for a 'chamber' of sorts for the display, so you would have to build something I would guess... attach it the the vfd somehow, maybe...
also, the mill wont fit inside the case, so you would only be able to get the display and knob holes cut from the outside, no drilling and tapping mounting holes from the inside... well, not with the cnc at least...
for the power button, that is easy, just need another hole... just need to figure out diameter and how the button actually mounts...

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post #24 of 34 Old 08-13-2013, 07:39 AM
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The case comes completely apart with screws to the front faceplate can be detached. I'd love to have a CNC to make mods to these cases.

 

 

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post #25 of 34 Old 08-13-2013, 07:43 AM - Thread Starter
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The case comes completely apart with screws to the front faceplate can be detached. I'd love to have a CNC to make mods to these cases.
oh, well in that case. anything is possible...
assuming there is enough room on the inside for whatever you would want to do...
...

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post #26 of 34 Old 08-13-2013, 08:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StardogChampion View Post

The case comes completely apart with screws to the front faceplate can be detached. I'd love to have a CNC to make mods to these cases.

just a thought, but you wouldn't happen to have a drawing with dimensions, or better yet, a 3d model of that front faceplate would you?
I have some scrap 6061, might be fun to see if I could make a new faceplate with different features...

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post #27 of 34 Old 08-13-2013, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Somewhatlost View Post

just a thought, but you wouldn't happen to have a drawing with dimensions, or better yet, a 3d model of that front faceplate would you?
I have some scrap 6061, might be fun to see if I could make a new faceplate with different features...

I'll see if I can find one of get one from the manufacturer. It would be fun to think about different features. The one I probably get the most requests for is an opening for a tray-style slim ODD instead of slot-load and the other more occassional request is a combo VFD/remote receiver. Behind the faceplate is some room because that's where the powerboard sits but there are plenty of mini-ITX boards now either with on-board power or it could use a picoPSU.

 

 

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post #28 of 34 Old 08-13-2013, 03:00 PM - Thread Starter
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I'll see if I can find one of get one from the manufacturer.
I doubt any sane manufacture would give that out...
there would be a bunch of cheap knock offs out there in days...
Quote:
Originally Posted by StardogChampion View Post

It would be fun to think about different features.
yes it would...
and a logo of some sort maybe... if you are into that sort of thing...

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post #29 of 34 Old 08-13-2013, 04:51 PM
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I think it would be trivial to measure that front faceplate with a $30 pair of digital calipers
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post #30 of 34 Old 08-14-2013, 06:36 AM
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If there's anyone the manufacturer would give it to, it would be me, since I've ordered hundreds of them smile.gif

 

 

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