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2UBG3 - Beige G3 2U Rackmount build - Prototyping a Homebuilt Box

Trash80toHP_Mini

NIGHT STALKER
OK, here we go! I finally decided which one of the several crazy notions to prep for a lasercut layout:

2UBG3.00.JPG

PSU in the pic is a stand in for the tiny little 1U unit scheduled for a Saturday delivery.

2UBG3.01.JPG

5.25" peripherals bay becomes available once I bolt all the new and pictured components in place.

2UBG3.02.JPG

The Beige G3MetalMiniTower has been all but underfoot for a while now because I've been procrastinating about hefting it back up into its storage position in the kitchen pantry bandsaw lair. I was taking some pictures of the 1U hub recasing hack (a tangential offshoot of the LUMPsi feasibility study) and moved the dang thing (only remaining plastcs were on its backside by that point) aside for the very last time!  [}:)] ]'>

These beige beasts are just HUGE! Chopping it back to the mobo, down to a three slot 2U PCI riser and stretching it out wide enough to fit mounting ears for the TelCo rack seemed made to order for me. A 3U hack with the personality card in place would have been too easy, what's the fun in that?

IO_Card_Only-BG3MT.JPG

So the 2U quest began. I fully muted my BG3DT by testing it without its stupid big double wide personality card. Runs fine with the PERCH slot empty, just no sound I/O. The whisper card is so dumb that the Mac doesn't miss it, listing the properties as "Whisper" rather than With Unknown_K's assistance, I figured it was time to hit the DevNotes and sure enough it's what Apple calls a "superset" of PCI, much like the CSII for the Quadra 630's get, its son, the 6360 and grandchild the 6500 in the TV-Tuner series. Pretty sure implementing a "superset" of PCI is Infinite Loopiness jargon for adding a few extraneous, unsupported signals and dumbing PCI down to the level of a bag of hammers, but that's for another discussion. Anyway, no termination required for PCI, so it was good to go without a card in the PERCH slot's 182 pin Microchannel connector. (more on that later)

I'd suggested using this Rackmount Riser to good buddy markyb86 for his to lower the profile of his Homemade Mini Case for G4 Sawtooth, but it didn't work for him. After a bit of experimentation, I can now report that it's up and running, at least in the BG3 anyway.

2U-PCI-RA-Riser.JPG

Here's the tiny 300w PSU that's on the way. I'll be using the Beige's PSU for the time being. I'll be riding along on Floofies' coattails in his MicroQuadra 630 ATX PSU conversionroj for testing a few twists on the ATX-Mac hack, so it'll be a while. Found it looking for a replacement for the PSU in 3Com SuperStack II home for one of my bare IIsi boards.

Flex _ATX_1U_PSU_300w_3.2-x-1.6-x-5.9_inches.JPG

Back to that Microchannel connector Apple used for the PERCH slot. No riser card for PCI matches the spec, so I'll be hacking a pair of cables similar to this one as soon as I find a pair to match the one in there for test fittings.

PERCH-Riser_Cable_Hack.JPG

Since I'm using a flexible cable, the A/V card will be bolted up to a hinged lid for easy mobo access, shades of the drawbridge, but with a considerably more robust hardware spec.

Anyway, that's where it now stands. Side panels will be quarter inch plexi to withstand the forces involved in front mount cantilevering the 2U case using ears mounted to both front and back sides of the TelCo rack's pillars. I can always make deeper sides to add a rumble seat to the front mounted BG3.

Probably not gonna go down that way though. Using it as a more capable BenchMac for the Teak HackStation in the bedroom makes a lot more sense. It'll go nicely with the Lisa2/6400/G3 on the other side of the bench.

 
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ArmorAlley

Well-known member
This is looking good. The Beige G3s are massive and heavy and this is very space efficient.

I like the idea of giving old macs more user-friendly housings. I had been toying with the idea of taking the mobo, SCSI2SD and PSU from a P475 and puting it into a box made out of Lego bricks (I have a lot of Lego) that would sit on my bookshelf as a headless fileserver until I saw some of the other ideas from BMOW et al.

I got my first Beige G3 because I wanted to make the ultimate drive machine out of it - 5 2.5" drives stacked sideways in the lower 2 bays (SCSI: Zip-100, 230MB MO, 640MB MO; floppy drive and an IDE Zip 250), along with SCSI CD-Burner and a SCSI Icy Dock in the upper two bays. Two SCA drives attached to the base of the machine. The three PCI cards would have been an ATTO UL3D, Gigabit Ethernet and an eSATA card to give SATA access. The PSU didn't like it at all, which was a pity because I was able to (just about) fit everything in.

What are using for cooling, btw? The racks that I have seen have many powerful fans. True, they run much, much hotter, but heat dissipation isn't as easy when the box is flatter and much less high. Because I left no space inside the box for the heat to escape, I melted cables...

 

Trash80toHP_Mini

NIGHT STALKER
OUCH! Melted cables? 8-o

Dunno yet, gotta see what air the little PSU moves. Sounds from the specs in the listing that it may suffice for the heavy lifting. They're not the LED equipped 120mm clear monster of my dreams, but there's plenty of room for 40mm fans on the right end behind the PCI slots and directly above the Proc/Heat sink. I'll likely excise/relocate mic/headphone jacks and that bit of sheet metal from the A/V card to put another fan on the "back" of the case This prototype's going into the HackHutch "backwards" for full access to ports and internal peripherals.

Gotta do some 40mm fan shopping. If anyone has seen a clear one, please let me know, especially one with LEDs for disk access indication.. They'll be hooked up to my "variable decibel output control unit" so they shouldn't be too noisy or push so much air into the case so as to impair the efficiency of the PSU fan.

The cards for this one will be an interesting assortment. [:)] ]'>

 

Trash80toHP_Mini

NIGHT STALKER
This is looking good. The Beige G3s are massive and heavy and this is very space efficient.

I got my first Beige G3 because I wanted to make the ultimate drive machine out of it - 5 2.5" drives stacked sideways in the lower 2 bays (SCSI: Zip-100, 230MB MO, 640MB MO; floppy drive and an IDE Zip 250), along with SCSI CD-Burner and a SCSI Icy Dock in the upper two bays. Two SCA drives attached to the base of the machine. The three PCI cards would have been an ATTO UL3D, Gigabit Ethernet and an eSATA card to give SATA access. The PSU didn't like it at all, which was a pity because I was able to (just about) fit everything in.
Forgot to say thanks!

I just set it up on the fold-down desktop of the hutch and your post has inspired me.

Since I've proven the feasibility of a true 2U build, I think I'll switch gears yet again and build a perfect for me BenchMac. If I stretch it to 21.5" wide and add six inches of storage compartment to the back it'll slide right in to fill the space under the shelf that's supporting the LisaII/RGB/6400/G3 BenhchMac hack. Even if I have to reduce its height by a smidge to fit the 2U=BG3, the two will be perfect together. That puts a 2U stack of 3.5" drives to the right of the PCI Slots with the laptop DVD slid underneath them!

That leaves room for the 120mm LED Monster. I won't be able to see it, but it'll move however much air I want and light the insides up with rainbow hues as disk access indication.

More to mull over, looks like a lot of plexi work for the AM. Lovin' it!

 

Trash80toHP_Mini

NIGHT STALKER
Back from an early night out and decided to go ahead and set it up. I certainly won't be using power tools or sharps 'til morning. Looks like the build will stay true to its 2U roots after all, but an I/O addition will be located next to and a bit underneath the PCI cards. That's where the SSD running off the Sonnet Tempotrio's ATA bus was to be located if I'm lucky. If not I've got a faster, dedicated HDD card from them as well.

2UBG3.04.JPG

I've definitely gotta do a bit shorter (a little over a half inch, an inch max.) chassis for the FauxLisaII when the time comes. It touches the roof, but it does fit as is. The pressure holds the bezel nicely in place as a side benefit, it fell off a lot before.

2UBG3.03.JPG

Looks big in the pics, but it's in a 22" wide cubby with an oversize PSU hanging a bit more than a half of an inch outside the box on the left and a stack of removable drives sitting on the other. The main unit is less than an inch wider than the 6100 and not quite a half inch taller per 2U spec, but it's only 9" deep.

Mine's all box, lacking the stylish airs surrounding the 6100 and Beige G3 Desktop cases. But it's just 35% of the volume of the original case headed to recycling and a mere 62% of the 6100's volume. Does this hutch make me look fat? [:eek:)] ]'>

 
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Trash80toHP_Mini

NIGHT STALKER
Every morning I wake up, put the coffee up and see the Beige G3 build has morphed into yet another configuration.

Just for the big tomato: the SQUID is back! Width dimension's in flux, but something on the order of 5.375 inches will do for the cubic estimate.

/monthly_07_2017/post-902-0-68808500-1500088600.jpg">View attachment 13497

.  .  .  and brings this hack full circle to its inspiration: LUMPsi - not exactly a MiniTower .  .  .

.  .  .  which iteration measured in at .70 Quadra 700 Cubic Inch base units.

The BG3 SQUID Prototype spec. is smaller than the Quadra 700 in every dimension! [:D] ]'>

(HxWxD): 11.5″ x 5.375″ x 9″ = .59 Q700CI = (HxWxD): 11.9″ x 5.5″ x 14.4″  = 1.00 = LEMspec

edit: not my fault, y'all can blame BMOW and Floofies for this ridiculous series of laser cut might have beens. [}:)] ]'>

 
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bigmessowires

Well-known member
For the air vents, instead of cutting a bunch of equal-length slots, how about making them variable length to fit the invisible outline of an Apple logo? You'd probably need more slots, thinner and more closely spaced, but the effect could be interesting. Imagine you took the Apple logo, and then took a bunch of horizontal slices out of it. Those slices are your air vent slots.

 
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Trash80toHP_Mini

NIGHT STALKER
That's in the spec for the side air intake grille for the 120mm RGBY Disk Access Indicator. [:D] ]'>

I'm in the process of drilling and tapping 4-40 holes into the top and bottom panels for bolting up mobo mounting side panel ATM. Gotta start documenting the steps and get them up in a new thread at some point.

That's the drill here, but finger joints and captured nuts in thin plexi will be the final spec. I wonder where that came from. [;)] ]'>

 
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Trash80toHP_Mini

NIGHT STALKER
Slabs of plexi have been cut, snapped, drilled, tapped and bolted up in a crazy clear 3D patchwork  .  .  .

SqG3-BackPlane-Fitting-10.p.jpg

SqG3-BackPlane-Fitting-11.p.jpg

.  .  .  but it's a start. [:)] ]'>

Started on the pop-top lids and made a fitted front panel, the original one sticks out far enough to enclose the stock PSU, making this a 3U MacQuarium in the round, but there's a Purple Squid swimming around in there somewhere.

Plexi overhangs around the edges are to keep the case parts in one piece where they're bolted together. Quarter inch plexi is a PITA, but it sure is pretty. Can't drill and tap anything thinner, at least I can't do it by hand anyway. Without doing clamped setups on a freestanding drill press, even this is marginal. I've got a 4-40 tap drill and a taper tap snicked off in the plex as really nice, really sharp registration pins so far. Yowch!  :-/

Figuring out which way to take the backplane. So it's mounted way out on standoffs while I figure out what to remove from where and how to excise it. So I snapped a couple of pics of the WIP in case someone might find  them interesting.

 

Trash80toHP_Mini

NIGHT STALKER
THX, mj. [:)] ]'>

! I've been flipping things around  in the noggin' whilst raising caffeine levels to the waking point and came up with an interesting notion:

thinking along the lines of defining my silly notions within the confines of a 1u700 format or outside the box so I can bookend them on a shelf with the real IIcx to Q700 series deal,  stack them in a Cubist fashion or line them up on the desktop angled from deepest to most shallow to take up a more reasonable footprint. Add a 1/4"-1/2" plexi shelf across the top and you've got a display area for other goodies PowerBooks or another row of 1u700 cases.

Sort of an industrial/Cubist take on IKEA-like storage units for kids toys kinda deal as a contrast to my curvaceous AppleDisplayUnit© motif.

Dunno, starting to wake up, so it's getting hazy.

LEM = Q700  size (HxWxD): 11.9″ x 5.5″ x 14.4″ in vertical orientation = 279.4mm x 139.7mm x 365.76mm = 1u700

 

Trash80toHP_Mini

NIGHT STALKER
Found some nice mounting blocks. Used to make these out of 1/2" Clear Acrylic scrap for building displays. I'll post a pic of an interesting one from the parts drawers next time I do a photo shoot.

MountainBlocks.JPG

I'll have to search for more off the shelf clear plexi crap. Anybody got links to this kinda stuff?

I'm aiming at a set of building block plans in 1uQ700 incrementals so others can modify and Ponoco their own cases for computers and peripherals and display cubes for Classic MacBric-a-Brac.

 
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Trash80toHP_Mini

NIGHT STALKER
Got a better screen shot  .  .  .

Right Side Mounting Block.JPG

.  .  .  handy product, gotta find the right 3mm nylon machine screws to match so as to keep the clear plexi bottom plate off the desk surface.

 

Trash80toHP_Mini

NIGHT STALKER
Thanks!

Drilling and tapping the edges of 1/4" Plexi is for Alpha level prototyping only. It's not really 1/4" BTW, that was the nominal size back in the day, it's 13/64" or about 5.1mm actual. If I take my time and pay attention to production techniques when I'm not riding the dopamine highs of the creative process it's actually pretty easy to do. Winging it while standing amid piles of hardware, tools and materials heaped on every available surface is intoxicating! That's actually my addiction, totally natural, but deadly if the mania should spin out of control. Not allowed to do that stuff after 4PM, a really smart Psyhchologist figured that one out for me eight years ago. Works great, but sometimes I cheat over a weekend.

Melting the acrylic and blowing through the sides in spots, fusing a few drill bits and taps into the acrylic and breaking them off is cheap in terms of time saved and tons of fun so long as I don't run my fingers across those impromptu registration pins in the smoothed edges. 8-o

That T-nut template you used might be the way to go if I Ponoco the design and laser cut some parts. Just not crazy about protruding edges for the bolt holes in a finished case, that's why I'm looking at things like those corner connectors.

Already figured out how to embed my nylon standoffs in the edges of 3mm acrylic to act as the T-slots and nuts holding your Orange Monster together.  Alternately, I can also drill and tap the sides of the standoffs in order to bolt them up to the inside surfaces using countersunk flat head 4-40 machine screws. That will pull the connection inside a flush surfaced case for prototyping the real deal.

Tool time's over for the day, so playing a bit in AI8 under OS9 ATM. [:D] ]'>

 
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Trash80toHP_Mini

NIGHT STALKER
I think I just embraced the captured nut/T-Slot approach for when I finally Ponoco my layouts. Here's the 1u700 Module display setup I tried to describe earlier. Identical vertical panels aligning with the top surface of the Q700 provide supports for a triangular display shelf  atop the nicely angled menagerie of Macs and peripherals.

1u700-Module-Display.JPG

I prefer the business side of my BenchMacs accessible, but SQUID will have a reversible internal peripherals section so the one purple panel can face "backwards" or in normal mode. T MicroQuadra module will probably be next on the list. No tailfins necessary. The MQMT will be on the other side to mobos will be back to back.

edit: vertical members (top and bottom of cases in DT mode) would be identical only in height and lap joint pattern, with depth adjustable in lap joint units to get the deepest to most shallow angled desk display effect. Think of it as a horizontal, desktop 1u700 rackmount system.

 
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