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What do you guys think of this custom faceplate? Antec retrofit thread #2

16674 Views 206 Replies 35 Participants Last post by  blipszyc

Things are moving along quite nicely. Here are some pics of the new fascia for the Antec 780B case or clone case which are still available: Pricing on the fascia is $89US + actual shipping costs. Included is the smoked glass, silk screened lettering(now extra due to cost), dvd drawer cover, mounting screws, washers and hopefully epoxy (if available in small tubes) for mounting the dvd drawer and buttons/led as well as some shim to center the dvd drawer when installing it to the dvd rom drive.


and this one. I'll just keep a couple, i don't want to overload the AVS forum server:) I just need to get a couple of good ones.


i have sent EVERYONE that has shown interest a PM or email. If i missed anybody which i doubt please reconfirm and i aplogise. The current total of interests comes to 41. Since sending these batch emails earlier this afternoon, i have 4 confimed orders (actually 5 since Thomas wants 2).

Trying to get organised here. I still have to inquire further regarding the lettering but i have a feeling this cannot be done here locally. When confirming, let me know if you prefer the anodized or powdercoated black finish and specify the size of the lettering (5/8" which depicts what is pictured or smaller, 1/2" size). I have contacted Keith and Simon for the expertise on this matter so things can move forward smoothly. I don't want my inexperience coming back to haunt me here. I'm going to try and do things right and if anyone has a suggestion please let me know.

Again, before reconfirming, as i posted before, there is some work involved in installing the retrofit which includes mainly of cutting clearance for the power/led/reset buttons and the RECYCLING of the power/reset buttons AND THEIR housings as well as drilling 2 clearance holes for mounting the LCD/VFD. The removing of the button housings isen't difficult to do once you score around the button housing where it meets the rear of the current faceplate. You may have to score a couple of times to score the plastic enough that the housings pop off with channel locks or vise grips. Still, some care must be taken and those of you who don't think they are up to this then this retrofit may not be the best solution for you. I am repeating this now to avoid hassle later. Everything is VERY EASY to do but one needs to be mechanically inclined and have the basic tools available to perform these tasks. This is all for the record.

For those newly interested, i'm only going to make 50 of these so the are 10 places left + places for those that were interested but changed their minds.

Refer to this long thread for the lengthly development of this project:

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here is a pic of the case assembled. I'm new to digital camera's so please excuse my amateur work! Note: This is the brushed aluminum version without the smoked glass cover for the IR slot and the silk screened lettering/logos for all the buttons. I'll post the final pic later.


Can I ask a question about fitting the new face-plate to the case.

Looking at a couple of desktop cases here (though not an Antec), I notice that the plastic faceplate has a edge all around that comes back to cover the steel front of the case chassis properly.

Similarly, the case cover has "clips" that hook into the edge of the case front.

Between the two this makes a neat join.

With the faceplate being flat, won't there be a visible gap between the faceplate and the case cover?


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Nice faceplate! I'd be interested if I didn't get in on the first Antec retrofit last fall.

However, I just scanned over some of this and the last thread, and I'm curious about the silk screened lettering/logos. Do you have any pics of the silkscreened lettering you plan on adding? Can I buy just the lettering to put on my faceplate, or is there nothing simple to sell? I haven't looked into adding logos and such before, but I really like the idea. As cool as an aluminum faceplate is, it still looks kinda unfinished without the lettering my other components have.

Sorry if this has been gone over before. Thanks for any info or pointers.

good question but of course this has been addressed:) I'm using a 3/8" thick solid aluminum face plate which is cleared 1/8" in the back; that way once the fascia is installed the fascia butts up directly to the Antec case cover with no gap. If you measure from the edge of the case cover to the front edge of the case (the shhet metal) you will see that the space there is indeed 1/8"

Those responding, please send an email rather than a PM. [email protected]



i am in the process of FINDING OUT exactly how the lettering is done. I could have vinyl cut lettering done but this won't quite be OEM quality and the lettering may wear off over time, especially around the buttons. I know the process is some type of silk screening but no one locally does this. If someone knows the exact term for this process, let me know then i can research. It helps when you know what to look for...
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Looks like you forgot about me...check your mail...

About the "HTPC" lettering, you mentioned it could be done in 5/8" or 1/2". If done in the 1/2" size, is that just the same lettering in a 1/2" height, giving the lettering a smashed look, or does the aspect change too so the letters don't look funny?

Also, are you planning on putting on the vinyl lettering before shipment, or just including them so we can put them on ourselves? I'd prefer the latter. (maybe this is why I wasn't included in the emails.)

On a brighter note...the two buttons and two slots has really grown on me, so no need for any funky custom fascias with 3 buttons and 1 slot. :)

Looks great. Thanks for all your hard work! :cool:
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Personal opinion only.

Either remove the HTPC lettering or change it into a sticker so it can be removed.
The process used on consumer electronics, remote controls, Compact Discs, etc. is called silkscreening. Not only would vinyl lettering not match other electronics, but it would be prone to pealing off over time. Silkscreening does wear off over time (look at an old remote control) so take care to place any lettering far enough away to reduce touching as often.

I am surprised as most large cities have places that do custom silk screening. It requires art work for each color used with registration marks to keep the colors lined up as desired. A different pass of silkscreen is used to apply each color used, so the more colors the more costly it is to silkscreen. You might find someplace on the Internet that could silkscreen the whole batch for you.

Nice faceplate BTW. I prefer it to the DIGN case. Unfortunately, I have other aspirations for my case than the Antec. Too bad it doesn't fit a 4U rackmount case.:(
Originally posted by gooki
Personal opinion only.

Either remove the HTPC lettering or change it into a sticker so it can be removed.
Note that I wouldn't be a potential customer for this product in any case, but if I may say so, I'd have to agree with this suggestion. The "HTPC" lettering does degrade the otherwise excellent look.

Keep up the good work!

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Well, either people love the engraved lettering or they don't care for it. As soon as i saw the engraved Lexicon logo on the MC 12 processor i said to myself i'm going to do this!

I'll do this, when ordering, specify whether you would like no engraving, 1/2" or 5/8" lettering. Several of you have confirmed your interest and just specified you wanted one fascia in black. Please let me know if you would like the powdercoated or brushed aluminum then i know what you want. Saying you want black tells me nothing.

Anyways blipszyc,

when the lettering is changed from 5/8" to whatever size, the aspect ratio is preserved (letters don't look funny) . If someone wants the fascia without the engraving i repeat, i can do that as well. What i can't and won't do is make up some stickers. Some people like the engraving to stand out like myself and others while others prefer the smaller size, while others want the fascia plain. I CAN and will accomodate this, no problem there since i know everyones tastes are different. So there is some choice here:)


the lettering will be in small standard letters, finished in white. I'm working on this but i don't know if the lettering is stamped onto the aluminum or what but from judging from my equipment at home, the lettering on high end equipment is not some sort of sticker but a form of silkscreening. I highly doubt i can do something for you seperately but if the process is straightforward enough and i have a couple of extra, maybe i can accomodate you.

I don't understand what happened, i have 3 people now that say that they did not receive their PM that i sent them earlier. My apologies for this but this isen't my fault. I sent 5 PMs at a time to everyone that had inquired through the forum (about 25 of you). Did anyone receive a PM? I'll have to check to see who has responded to see who is missing then contact these people seperately. Again, i apologise and want to stress that i did not intend to miss anyone. This is why i prefer to have all inquries sent to my email, which again is [email protected] .

I'll get in contact with Henry at Matrix Orbital on Monday, i think there is enough interest to make it worthwhile now.
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i'm trying hard to figure this out. Did anyone receive a PM? Seems as though some did while others did not. Very strange since i know i sent the same message to everyone.


my very, very bad. The CNC program cuts the lettering to 5/8" but i failed to take into account that i am using a .06 cutter which means the actual size of the lettering is 11/16" (.687). I will scale it down to the proper 5/8" size taking into account cutter size. I'll check the 1/2" program too. So either way, the lettering, even the 5/8" will be smaller than the one pictured above by 1/16th of an inch. :confused:

25 total reconfirmations today with 11 inquiries about the MO group powerbuy. Obviously, a 4x20 display is essential to this retrofit so please let me know if your interested. The more people, the greater the discount. Regardless, i cannot guarantee a discount but we have enough people that i will attempt to sweet talk Henry into the deal. Up front, you guys will save on the shipping (about $10 or so depending where you live) so if we can get a 10% discount you'll save another $7-12 or so for the VFD/LCD of your choice.

Those looking for the Antec clone, check the latter pages of thread #1, for a lousy $39, the case cover can easily be painted from beige to black, fitted with the retrofit and display and voila! If an LCD display is sufficient, there is no reason why this entire project can't run for well under $200. The majority of the cost depends on the type/feature set of your LCD/VFD of choice.
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30 confirmations so far with several new interests and also a few that have not had the opportunity to respend to my email yet. There may be room for a couple more people and that's all she wrote for 50 total confirmations for this project.

Next week, i'm going to make up a half dozen retrofits and have them all anodized then in turn have a couple of these powdercoated. If anyone on the list is interested in preordering/prepaying for their fascia please let me know. This in turn will help me get some funds together in order to make some initial materials purchases and to get everything moving. We are very busy at work but i will do my best. I'll get the lettering matter resolved this coming week. I have been in contact with Keith and again he has been very helpful. Looks as though paypal is the way to go so feedback on this is important. They do charge a fee though which i don't really care for but the fact of the matter it what it is. We'll see, but i would rather not deal with all personal checks and Keith also pointed out that the paypal transaction serves as the actual order confimation and also acts as proof of payment or receipt if you will to simplify matters on my end. Everybody that has reconfirmed is on my email mailing list so everbody is together in one place. On Monday, well see what MO can do for us on the powerbuy matter.

I would also like to thank everyone in regards to their positive responses towards this project, i very much appeciate this. Besides the size of the HTPC engraving, we have found a way to find common ground where EVERYONE is happy. That's it for now.
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Is it possible that you may post a pic of the faceplate with the new 1/2" lettering witht he proper die? Also did I miss it? What is the price of this front facia?


I have 3 fascias made up so far with 5/8" lettering, it takes some capital to get this project started and am going to start this week. I have to do everything in batches to keep the costs down, especially materials and the anodizing. Price is listed in the top post. Send me an email if you are interested.

still waiting for a reply from henry at MO for a group discount. I have also reported this thread to one of the moderators to get official approval for this group project. If i were a business then i could see a problem but since this is a friendly project with 33 total people interested then i don't forsee any problems. I feel alot of work coming in the next couple of weeks to get this project started/finished but all will depend on how busy we are at work and so forth. I know Keith ran into this problem with his retrofit but seems like when summertime comes the floodgates open up in this trade. For those that need the retrofits ASAP i am doing my best to accomodate you.

I am looking for one more beta tester so to speak, Nathanial is kind enough to prepay for his retrofit, so he will get one of the first fascia's that i have available. I'm looking for one more interested party that wants a powdercoated version with 5/8" lettering for testing and providing feedback as to the ease of installation. I prefer someone that has an Antec clone. Call me a perfectionist but i want to ensure that everything runs smoothly and that indeed the clone cases are basically true Antec 780B's.
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guys and gals,

Henry wants to know which type and model LCD/VFD you have in mind so he can do something for us. Please send me an email as to which 4x20 display you would like. Thanks

As a note, i have been asked why i have the slot above the dvd tray. For most of you you already know. This slot is covered in smoked glass and is used to sent IR commands to wireless peripherals, etc. Also notice the absence of an eject button for the dvd tray, the purpose of this is to have the HTPC be fully automated via remote control following the same concept as the PSI case.

Where can we get the spec. on the LCD/VFD model and their prices before any powerbuy discount?

The cutout for the DVD tray on the second bay, is it the size of the tray or the size of the entire drive. As I have a slot loader as I have mentioned in my PM, drilling out the bracket in the bay is no problem, but can I get the entire drive to mount flush?

ladies and gentlemen,

only 6 people have returned emails regarding the MO group powerbuy. Still waiting for the replies ( there is twice as many interested) before i can notify Henry as to what everybody would like. I cannot do this until everyone responds. This is the holdup right now. I'm sure it will take Henry a day or two to decide what he will do for us so for those anxiously awaiting, i apologise. Hopefully by tomorrow, we'll know who is indeed interested then maybe by Friday we'll have an answer. This would be the best scenario.... I'm doing my best to deliver.
Originally posted by jl_moped
Where can we get the spec. on the LCD/VFD model and their prices before any powerbuy discount?
Check out Matrix Orbital and look for the links to the VFDs. There should be a couple to pick from.

Personally, I don't need anything fancy, so I could get away with the standard 4-line model.

If you want a cheap [edit]Matrix Orbital[/edit] LCD (4x20) go here:

And scroll down to the very bottom. There's a banner for a Serial Character LCD - 20 characters x 4 lines, price: $47.50 - Special offer.
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