[Build Log] Metroid -A 3D printed computer case

Hi guys, I'm 8-Bit Builder. I've been doing this for about 10 years now and just starting up my newest build. I build cases in the an old pixelated style as you will see shortly :D.

I've been wanting to build a Metroid computer case for about 7 years now but plastic was always too expensive ($1 a cube) compared to .08 cents a cube of wood which is what all my previous PC mods are made out of. Once I found out how accessible 3D printers were, I jumped head first and picked up a Maker Select. After a few months of non-stop printing it dawned on me that I could make the Metroid computer case I've been thinking about for such a long time. Normally I spend about 200-250$ in wood/paint but 3D printing plastic is really cheap in comparison, about $80 in plastic. I'm also planning on having a really cool light sequence on the inside of the case to get the red effect of the in game Metroid. Being my first foray into a 3D printed computer I'm sure I'll run into issues but look forward to overcoming them. This will also be my first time with programmable LED's so it will be a learning experience on that front also! I'm going with an ASUS STRIX for the Aura Sync capabilities since this case is going to have a big focus on lighting. The more advanced lighting will be done with the Tinkerboard.

Expectations:
A strong gaming pc
100s' of LEDs programmed inside for a light show
95% 3D printed


Components:
ASUS has sponsered/supplied me with components for this mod (Really appreciate it) and also in the past on my Airship PC Case seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cz5muWnFMmg


ASUS ROG STRIX X370-I GAMING AM4 AMD X370 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 Mini ITX AMD Motherboard

https://i.imgur.com/ksHMYD2.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/3PQN9qd.jpg
ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 TURBO-GTX1080-8G 8GB 256-Bit GDDR5X PCI Express 3.0



16 GB of ram
1TB SSD
Asus Tinkerboard with a few hundred LEDs programmed in a cool light show

And heres some photos of my past work:

Airship from Final Fantasy


Link from Zelda


And a 3D model I've printed, Calcifer from Howl's Moving Castle



Ok on to the build! This is what I'm building (modeled in 123Design/Tinkercad):
Metroid from ...Metroid!


The modeled case


My first idea of how the components will fit


I started printing and doing test pieces to make sure I had it down pretty good and to test strength of the frame. Needless to say, it holds a LOT of weight (I weigh 185lbs)


I've got the printer going in earnest on the final design now. The printer will be going non-stop for about 2-3 weeks to get all the pieces done. I'll be back soon though with photos of attaching sections together with glue and 3D pen welding!

If you have any questions or ideas, feel free to ask :D
44 answers Last reply
More about build log metroid printed computer case
  1. Neat, what do you print with ABS or PLA?
  2. Pla. I have a CR-10 printer, and the enclosure would have to be pretty big to fit it. And it doesn't need to be crazy strong so PLA will do fine I think.
  3. Back with a few updates. I'm printing in earnest, and got a few progress shots and issues even, but nothing unsurpassable.

    This is a gif of a lighting test for the build. I wanted to verify Red Leds would go through green plastic without to much color distortion. Alls well on that front


    Heres the printer starting on a 48 hour print job.


    This is the base of the metroid which will support the weight of all the components. Just prepping gluing it and clamping.




    And this is my work area. Off to the right is my second printer with the Airship pc case nearby.
  4. ON to some special super glue made for 3D PLA and a 3D pen to weld the pieces together. The glue is probably fine but I'm gonna play it safe and double up on strong connection points.

    The glue


    3D pen action


    After 3D pen


    Give em the clamps!




    Finished base




    Baby for scale :D
  5. This post is about printer problems :(

    This is how it looks starting. This is about 3 hours into a print of 1 of the 14 sections left


    A little futther in the print, about 9 hours


    Aaaaand heres the issue at about 12 hours in. The tube that guides the plastic let loose while I was away from home and just shot the plastic everywhere. Usually on 3D printing you can resume from where an error happened but due to the nature of this design, the pieces have to be complete in 1 shot. So this is about 12ish hours of progress loss and plastic loss :(


    Round 2 at trying the same print after I fixed the issue. Using my Fire light to keep it lit up at night for the timelapse I'm making.


    ANNNND heres issue #2. This is hard to see, but at 46 hours in on this print WITH ONLY 2 HOURS LEFT!, I got a layer shift. A layer shift is usually because a belt slips or a cable got caught on something. In this case, the cable got caught on the section of the plastic as it was printing. It prevented the head of the printer to move to its correct position so it started printing to the left by about 4mm. i caught it after it happened in about 10 min. but it was too late. 46 hours loss and about 11$ of plastic loss ;_;. Since this happened, I don't print the sections more than 4 columns of cubes high (88.8mm), that way I don't take such a large hit of loss of time. Its not noticeable in this photo of the layer shift but i had to discard this piece.


    These issues combined with my 2nd printer also running into problems (was down for 5 days while replacement parts came in), was a hit in my sails of progress, but I've been back on track in the last day or so and got them both running. About 7 days of non-stop printing should get the the top of the case complete. I'll be back in a day or two to update progress with the components being layed out inside the base, and will probably ask for opinions on what looks best. See you guys then!
  6. Heres a component placement update:

    The ASUS Turbo 1080 just by its lonesome


    The ASUS STRIX-370I alone also


    But not for long! These are testing "legs" to hold up the motherboard. I'll make some beefier/sturdier ones soon, but I really do like the 45 degree angle of the STRIX 370-I toward where the window will be. Not often I get to do a motherboard at an angle like this





    The bottom is for a 200mm fan, just using one of my placeholder fans atm to test with

    Bottom with no fan frame base


    With base


    With fan
  7. Back with some more things:

    Working on the "teeth" which are what hold up the case from the floor

    Printed in tranparent red and white, with a hollowed out point for leds to light up



    The teeth going through quality control (not sure how to embed gifs/youtube links on here so just a regular link for now:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCnpV0R2cNI

    Teeth in place


    This is neat, this is heat changing plastic. Its brown at room temperature but turns green as it warms up. In this photo, I drilled the holes a little bigger and the friction from the drill heated the end up to green as you can see


    Lastly, a new issue. This is a partial clog in the nozzle where not enough plastic comes out. I cleaned the plug and had to toss this piece.
  8. I like this.
    A lot.

    Trying to get my Bibo back into production, due to 2 clogged hot ends...:(
  9. Yeah, this is one of the more interesting build logs, maybe ever. Looking forward to the end result, and the journey.
  10. Nice!
  11. Thanks guys, appreciate it. Hope to get it mainly finished in a week or so. Got to see how the programming the lights will go...
  12. This is cool... makes me think about owning a mini CNC or 3D printer of my own now....
  13. I want a 3D printer for special projects like yours, but I'm consciously waiting for a few gens to pass so many of the bugs, much as I've seen you encounter during this process, get worked out of the system. It would just piss me off and end up in the trash, so, I'll have to wait. I'm sure much better versions will be forthcoming in the next year or three.

    And yeah, I'm talking at the normal person can afford one end of the scale. I'm sure there are higher end models that are less problematic, but for what I'd use it for, I can't justify that kind of cost.
  14. Yea, theres fiddling involved and tinkering but I enjoy learning and trouble shooting. Usually after you fix one issue, you don't see it to often again. But if you get frustrated easy, I can definitely see it being upsetting ha.

    Working on the top frame now.

    Heres the base in pieces




    Clamping it together


    All said and done with the lower section


    I'm still waiting on the printer to finish the rest of the sections so will have whole frame done in a few days

    Experimenting with different wire covers I printed


  15. This is awesome! You need to post this on PCPer once completed as I'm sure it'll be featured.
  16. LOL. Frustrated easy? Not really. 12 hours into a project and have to scrap it and start over due to mechanical failure? That's more like "hold on, let me go get my shotgun. I'll be right back". LOL.

    Yeah, for me, frustrated easy would be something like too impatient to figure out how to run the thing after spending only five minutes trying. Getting 12 hours into a part and having it take a dump, that's just asking for me to destroy you. Heh.
  17. darkbreeze said:
    LOL. Frustrated easy? Not really. 12 hours into a project and have to scrap it and start over due to mechanical failure? That's more like "hold on, let me go get my shotgun. I'll be right back". LOL.

    Yeah, for me, frustrated easy would be something like too impatient to figure out how to run the thing after spending only five minutes trying. Getting 12 hours into a part and having it take a dump, that's just asking for me to destroy you. Heh.


    Nah, it happens.
    Everything designed and sliced perfectly, temps right...off we go.
    80% done, and the thing burps and every layer after that is 3mm to the left...:fou:

    This stuff is still in infancy, at the "reasonably priced consumer level".
  18. I like this design concept.

    Embracing the old 8bit pixel art look.
  19. Yes, it is very, very cool. Very much original and not just off the beaten path, but plowing straight through the underbrush.
  20. Thanks guys, I do appreciate it. I've been sticking with this style for 10 years now, :D.

    Getting near the home stretch!

    Heres a test lighting of one of the feet. No cable management yet...ha



    Side being built up:






    Not fully complete but just an idea how the window will be


    I'll be back when I have the whole top finished with fans and whatnot. I'm gonna start working on getting the leds wired in

    Heres a test run with them shoddily taped on the inside
  21. Finished up the frame of the top!


    Couldn't use any vertical clamps due to the say its smooth on the inside, so had to use some weights to help glue it down.


    Baby for scale



    Adult for scale


    This is my wife staying "awake" past her bedtime trying to help by routing the pc wiring on the inside


    Now I'm moving on to the LED wiring on the inside. Its going to be awhile of wiring and soldering... Heres what a pattern/schematic of the led paths
  22. Back now that I'm done with the wiring. Oh boy, was this an adventure. I've rarely done soldering/wiring and this has definitely increased my skill with it ha. There will be gifs of the lighting, I'll provide a link if the message board isn't showing it natively.

    So my first test was my lazy test, which to say was I was hoping i could just fold the led strip to make 90 degree turns but I didn't like the way the lights would repeat flash whenever it came to a bend...

    GIF of Light issue

    https://imgur.com/IeL0tHB

    I decided to cut the led strip and solder whenever there was a 90 degree turn. Heres the same layout, but with wiring instead of folding

    GIF of Light fixed
    https://imgur.com/Am1TJAy


    Next is some wiring shots
    Splitting off the led strip



    The monotonous monotony of stripping wires and tinning wires



    The finalized wiring on the inisde with everything hotglued in place. I'll need to print some covers to hide the wiring and clean it up.


    and finally one section lighting up in the dark
    Gif of section lighting up

    https://imgur.com/KNzvVWC

    Next is programming the ASUS Tinkerboard so that the led strips will run on seperate timings. I'm just delving into this so should be interesting
  23. Loving watching you progress! Such a cool project!
  24. Now I'm very sorely tempted to get a 3D printer, especially since I have a couple of pieces on my own case mod that could really use a certain finish and unique shape. Ugh... down payment on a new generation of Nvidia (2080Ti or its equivalent) or a 3D printer... I just can't decide. Guess I'll just try and be creative for now and see what the prices of the new video cards will be.
  25. Thanks for compliments jim.

    Electro, if you like to tinker, a 3D printer is awesome. I play a lot of board games so I print out a lot of things for that also.
  26. thorkon said:
    Thanks for compliments jim.

    Electro, if you like to tinker, a 3D printer is awesome. I play a lot of board games so I print out a lot of things for that also.


    Thanks for the advice. Your build is awesome and highlights more than even I am thinking to do right now, it's also an inspiration for future projects. One question on the LED strips, though: Why 2 wires per contact? It looks like each wire should be able to carry the necessary current (or maybe I'm not seeing the gauge correctly).
  27. That photo with the 2 wires is what I have to do to split the led strip into 2 sections. So theres 2 grounds,2 power, 2 data lines. 1 set of each goes a different way. The photo directly above it shows the led strip splitting off from it. I should have worded it/arranged the photos better, my fault.
  28. thorkon said:
    That photo with the 2 wires is what I have to do to split the led strip into 2 sections. So theres 2 grounds,2 power, 2 data lines. 1 set of each goes a different way. The photo directly above it shows the led strip splitting off from it. I should have worded it/arranged the photos better, my fault.


    Ah, I see; thanks for letting me know. Your wording and picture arranging was fine, I just forgot to use my brain. :P
  29. Just a small update of all the lights running
    heres a link if gif embed doesnt work: https://imgur.com/VMuIZOR



    Still working on trying to program the coding so they run seprately atm
  30. That is really cool. Looks great, I'm sure you'll be able to get those lights doing what you want in no time.
  31. Turns out programming isn't as easy as I had hoped. I have a friend or two giving me a hand. In the meanwhile, I picked up 2 more sponsors! This is greatly appreciated and welcomed.

    First off is GEIL with supplied 2x8gb SUPER LUCE 2400 DDR4 RGB Ram





    Next is ThermalTake who graciously supplied RGB fans, PSU, and a sweet CPU cooler


    Engine 27 CPU cooler (first time for me seeing an all metal fan, looks awesome!)



    Thermaltake Toughpower Series PSU SFW 600W


    Thermaltake Riing Plus 12 RGB Fans + TT Sync Controller


  32. That CPU cooler looks intense! First time seeing a all metal one as well.
  33. @wildcard I thought it looked intense too! I unfortunately let that blind me to that fact it didn't fit my cpu setup :(. I ended up going with a bigger cpu fan (seen later in this post).

    Back again! I've been doing small things that didnt warrant many photos (trying to learn to program, ended up having my 2 buddies help me), and rearranging computer components.
    I'm nearing completion though! I will probably have 1 more update after this then it will be final photos and a time lapse video of the build/3D print process. My buddy is working on the music for that video atm. Anyway, on to the smaller update here:

    This is the rear of the case. Its fitting the Thermaltake Riing RGB fan. I wanted to keep the fan removable because I need to get my hand in the computer case to plug the fans in once I put the top on. I ended up using magnets to hold the fan in place (located at each corner).




    This is the top of the case with another Thermaltake Fan. This is permenantly installed in the case no need for removal here.


    This is experimental. I'm using translucent red plastic to use as pseudo cable sleeves for psu/power button/Asus 1080 card. I think it looks good, but what do you think?


    Also you can see I went with Thermaltakes Riing Cpu cooler. I was afraid it would be too tall but it is about an inch short of hitting the top of the case so no worries.
  34. Oh, I feel so silly for not mentioning this earlier: If you're interested, there's an app called solo learn, which has a mini-lesson style of teaching and practice to help anyone learn programming (various languages available) from the ground up. It may take longer than this project warrants for you to make use of it now, but I figured I'd let you know in case you ever want the knowledge.

    It's awesome that you have 2 people to help you with the lights, good luck!
  35. No worries electro. I was doing a few lessons on learning it but this wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. My 2 buddies who are in college for programming were struggling for a little bit so I wasn't going to be able to get it right in a reasonable time. I'll check it out though for future projects, always willing to learn :D.
  36. Probably last update until the final photos and video! I'll have it at PAX East 2018 if anyone is going to be there by chance.
    Got the lighting done! I have it wired into the PSU so it doesn't need additional outlets to be plugged in.


    This is the window side. Just printed some flat sides to cover up gaps the acrylic window leaves.


    These are little "feet" that help guide the top frame onto the body. They are angled so the top section slides on them.


    Next is I decided to self-promote on the SSD since it was looking bland anyway :D




    My finalized wiring job


    Be back in a week or two with the final photos! (probably post video a little after that).
  37. It's really come together, nice work! Also, the "feet" are a nice touch, hopefully they're strong enough for PAX. The advertising is pretty cool, as well. Makes me excited to finish my own build... now if only it would warm up so I can paint it.
  38. Very nice, I'll have to check it out in person as I may be at Pax East on Thursday if I'm off from work.
  39. Thanks guys! I will have the pc up front at the BYOC at pax so you should be able to see it pretty easily.
  40. I finished! Heres a video of the build with the lighting taking effect!
    https://youtu.be/S6MWTAKUKUk
  41. thorken, congratz on the PCPer Feature Build!
    https://pcpartpicker.com/b/LpV6Mp
  42. thorkon said:
    I finished! Heres a video of the build with the lighting taking effect!
    https://youtu.be/S6MWTAKUKUk


    Straight up awesomeness.
  43. thorkon said:
    I finished! Heres a video of the build with the lighting taking effect!
    https://youtu.be/S6MWTAKUKUk


    Absolutely awesome!
  44. Large photo dump inbound!!!!!
    Specs:
    -ASUS ROG Strix X370-I

    -ASUS GTX 1080 Turbo

    -GeIL 16gb DDR4 Super Luce RAM

    -Thermaltake SFW Toughpower 600w fully modular PSU

    -Thermaltake Riing RGB Fans (120mm, 200mm, Cpu cooler)



























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