Your first scratchbuild is often a very challenging experience and the end result isn't usually exactly what you'd hoped for. After all, you're not just building the shell of the case, but you're having to make sure everything lines up properly such as your motherboard and graphics card but also make mounts for other hardware too.
Paul Tan's previous projects such as Nike Advanced and Reventon, certainly showed he had the attention to detail to create some great projects, but Asus TUF Armorsuit Z77 was his first scratchbuild and everyone was watching to see how this two-time Mod of the Year nominee got on. Thankfully, the end result wasn't just worth waiting for - it became one of the best scratchbuilds of 2012. It's over to Paul to tell us how he made it.
Heavy-duty, that’s the word which can describe this project. Computex 2012 was near and ASUS TUF needed to exhibit their new motherboard Sabertooth Z77. And fortunately, I was one of the few modders that were selected to create something original for the team that will help boost the image of TUF Sabertooth.
At first they asked me to mod a case for them containing the Sabertooth Z77, but there’s a big condition, we have to showcase the motherboard itself, so no Discrete GPU is allowed to be installed, and that’s where the challenge started. How am I going to mod a case and make it look good, just by placing a motherboard in it without a GPU?
Fans would really react. And it will surely look as if it was low budgeted or something incomplete. In short, I saw a little failure. So instead of choosing a case that would suit the TUF (heavy-duty image) theme, I sent a proposal to Asus to create a scratchbuild case. They approved the sketch I did, and the challenge began.
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So as you can see in the sketch, the idea was clear to me even when before I drew the sketches. I would create something that is easy to carry, compact, new, and based around the idea of a 'bench-table'. Of course with this layout, we managed to make the motherboard the main focus and of course, that means we could boost the TUF Sabertooth image, which is a heavy duty one. The sketch was done in one day, but the detailing was made over almost one week without rest. I’ll show you why.
Detailing and designs
Small details really matters to me, so I really made it a goal to make this case - even though it's small and compact - a very very detailed build. I only had one week to design the case and another one week to actually produce it. I started out by making the actual case using pieces of cardboard papers glued together.
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I placed the motherboard on top of the PSU and measured the actual space for the SSD drive and cable management. It is no easy task for me because I had to also deal with the late sending of parts for me to actually accurately measure it. And making a scratchbuild for the very first time is not easy for me. I had to plan everything carefully to avoid delays.
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After the mock-ups and scanning all the cardboard, I headed onto my workstation to start the mechanical drawings and detailing. This actually took me seven days straight to think, finalise and draw. Now I only had one week left to produce this.