Tritons guide to franken-cases!

Yes it is nice to be able to put your projects INSIDE something isn't it? You know, to hold everything together so it doesn't flop around? Discuss the techniques here!

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Tritons guide to franken-cases!

Post by Triton » Sun May 14, 2006 2:01 pm

as the title suggests this is my mostly all inclusive guide to building a triton style franken-case!

TOOLS
these are the suggested tools for building a quality frankencase!

#1: dremel - dremels are a GODSEND! without dremel making a franken-case is possible but much more difficult to do, get a nice cheap one speed dremel and a lamp dimmer thingy to make it variable! cheap! also get lots of cutoff discs and some other attachments
#2: X-acto knives! - these are the next most important tool to a good frankencaser, good for shaving off stuff or shaping small parts and scoring bits that need busted off etc, you will use it a lot, be safe! stabbing yourself hurts, and bleeds all over your case :? its not fun
#3: Hot glue gun - very important, this is what holds your cases together in the mock-up stage and even the final produce will have this in it most likely, get a cheap big one, they work better than the little hobby ones, get hotter and adhere better, be careful not to burn yourself
#4: Sandpaper etc - you will need this for the finishing stages, get a few different grains, the lower the number the rougher the paper, 180 grit is good for rough sanding but for finish sanding get something 400 grit or above
#5: Spatulas, sticks etc - good for working with bondo etc, dont use em to cook with ever again !

MATERIALS
this is the stuff you will need to make the case itsself!

#1: A source case - this will be your raw material for the most part, the original case for the system or the systems controller shells or any other old case you have layin around is good material to use, its mostly ABS plastic and fairly easy to work with
#2: plastic - just sheet plastic is handy to have usually, polyproplyene is easy to get but doesnt like most kinds of adheasive, its what those big storage bins are made of, cheap but not the best, if you can get ABS or polystrene or other kinds of plastic use those instead (a good source is usplastics.com)
#3: Bondo! - no self respecting frankencaser would be caught dead without some type of bondo in their kit! bondo is used for gap filling and structural stuff, i use normal car bondo which is more difficult to work with having 2 seperate parts ( the bondo goo itsself and the hardener) dont use much hardener, mix it throughly and apply generously and try to shape it with your spatual or whatever to the shape you want, if its lumpy or the wrong shape dont worry, sand it later!
#4: Epoxys etc - epoxy is useful and comes in many forms and stuff, it can be use to hold your case together instead of hotglue and bondo and can be used to make parts and mounts for things, also in this catagory is fiberglass, i havent messed with fiberglass too much but it hardens fast and is VERY hard, would be good reinforcing but i think the resin eats away at plastic, fiberglass can be used to make cases too, i may experiment with that later

THE PROCESS
before you start cutting stuff up you should try and plan out what you want your case to look like! a well planned case will save you much trouble with how stuff fits, also remember CHECK THE SIZE OF THE STUFF YOU ARE GONNA PUT IN THE CASE BEFORE BUILDING ONE! becasue making the case too small would be stupid yes? yes it would!

so after you have a gameplan your ready to start cutting. its always good to have a straight edge (such as a ruler) to mark lines to cut along. straight edges make everything look nice and fit together better! there are 2 methods to cut parts off of your source case they are :

dremel it off this is good for internal bits and really big parts where it doesnt matter too much how it looks when your done so long as its gone, you can cut fine stuff with a dremel but take it slow and be careful, its gonna want to hang up or jerk sometimes and that can mess stuff up. the other method is
cut and score using your trusty x-acto knife you score a line into the plastic , a nice deep line then bust the piece off, it will usually break off on the line (point of least reisistance) or if its not a straight line or a small part you wanna remove you can just keep cutting it with the xacto knife or use a coping saw or something.

after you have what you want cut off of the source case or plastick next comes the mockup stage, where you make sure all your stuff will fit inside the case you are making, the easy and most temporary way to do this is with hotglue, you just glue the peices where they go and then test fit your parts

i will add more to this guide later, im tired of typing! lol :D
Last edited by Triton on Sun Jan 14, 2007 12:05 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by daguuy » Sun May 14, 2006 2:07 pm

nice guide! dremel and hot glue are amazing, they're all i used to make mine :P i would bondo but i'm too lazy :P
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Post by Cur7 » Mon May 15, 2006 2:13 pm

I concur, My trusty hot glue gun never seems to fail me!

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Post by Triton » Sun Jan 14, 2007 12:02 am

PART TWO!

In the first part of this guide I described many of the tools and methods for working with your source materials in this part of the guide i will list a few more useful things to have and know and some of the better ways to go about doing things!

handy tools to know!

beyond the things I listed in part one there are a few other tools and things that i find VERY useful during the teardown and construction of your source and case.

#1 spot putty: spot putty is similar to bondo in many ways but there are 2 major differences. number one is its not a two part mix it comes in a tube and will harden when exposed to air. and number two its MUCH finer. it is perfect for filling in low spots and imperfections that you cant get with regular bondo and will give your finisned portable a much smoother cleaner look!
#2 desk vice: these are VERY handy to have. its a little vice that you can clamp on to the edge of a table or desk and use to hold things!. i mostly use mine when i have to cut something hard like a piece of metal or something
#3 blocks etc : not like toy block but pieces of wood or plastic of various sizes to use as sanding blocks. using just sandpaper is good for most applications but in parts where you need to sand a smooth flat surface or make a sharpe edge or angle you will need to use a block of some sort. i also use rounded things like a pen or pencil for small curves and a rounded end on one for indents etc or places with smooth slopes and corners that are rounded

TIPS OF THE TRADE

these are a few basic tips that i think every self respecting frankencaser should follow!

CUT SMALL this is a very good idea! say you are cutting a hole to place a part of a controller section in, cut the hole smaller than you need and then use your dremel or xacto knives to more accuratly shape the hole to fit your piece into, the better the fit the less spot putty and bondo you will need. which leads to the next tip...
BE DYNAMIC say you have a piece of controller shell you want to put in your case you have your hole in the case as big as you can get without risking the structure but it still wont fit, what do you do!? you start shaping the controller piece as much as you can to make it fit, get rid of that excess plastic. if that doesnt work you...
IMPROVISE! any self respecting frankencaser has tons of bits and pieces of plastic and old cases layin around, if what you want to use doesnt work use something else! i seldom throw away peices of plastic i cut off of cases or whatever because you never know when it might come in handy!

another suggestion i have is use flat or semi flat paint, high gloss paint has the tendancy to show off EVERY SINGLE little tiny flaw in a case down to the grooves made by 400 grit sandpaper on plastic. krylon semi flat is very nice and so is that generic color place flat paint

another thing i enjoy is challenging myself, on my snes portable case i wanted to see how much of the original snes case i could use and keep it looking like a snes still. its efficient and fun and makes pretty nice looking cases!

thats all for now!
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Post by EnterTheHatrix » Sun Jan 14, 2007 8:36 am

Improv is the key to frankencases... fibreglass is also good for construction.
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Post by gamemasterAS » Sat Jan 20, 2007 12:59 pm

Now I am very tempted to work on a N64 frankancase...and the portable.
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Post by Rellizate » Sat Jan 20, 2007 3:09 pm

Nice tutorial. I am looking for some spotputty now.

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Post by PadMasta44 » Mon Jan 22, 2007 11:11 pm

You know where this is goin' don't you??
:idea:
That's right, Notepad.
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Post by Rellizate » Wed Feb 07, 2007 8:53 am

I think ICQ is like MSN and AIM, except insted of having screennames, you have numbers.

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Post by Gamerdude » Thu Mar 29, 2007 5:27 pm

Realizite is right, on ICQ you don't have a screenname, you get a number (I feel so much better since I am just a plain number now :lol: ). Alos, wonderful guide, I am going to go a little more civilized on my SS64 case but my next portable I am going to Fraken-Case 8) .
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Post by EnterTheHatrix » Fri Mar 30, 2007 1:09 am

Rellizate wrote:Nice tutorial. I am looking for some spotputty now.
Halfords.. Knifing putty..
gamemasterAS wrote:Solder is also bad for you, says on the spindal that its known to cause cancer in the state of California.
vskid wrote:I'm safe, I live in Utah. :P

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Post by Triton » Wed Dec 12, 2007 6:22 pm

small addon:

LIQUID ABS PLASTIC its a very easy to make concoction that in the right ammounts works WONDERS on frankencases, the downsides:

#it smells horrible, its a mixture of acetone and plastic and smells very strongly
#it takes a VERY LONG TIME to set up properly, having a higher plastic to acetone ratio would help some but expect it to take several DAYS to fully set, its mostly hard after 4-6 hours tho
#until its set its pretty soft and flexable, best to have something reinforcing it from the back until its set, i used aluminum foil to do this, gives it something to stick on and hold it in place, other plastic and glues would work

the positive!
# it hardens VERY hard, and it basically fuses the plastic into one peice so no more stress fractures or hairline cracks on seams with bondo! because there are no more seams! its fantastic and will do WONDERS with the structural integrity of your case, makes it much sturdier than hotglue and epoxy alone!
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Post by Life of Brian » Wed Dec 12, 2007 7:09 pm

Perchance thou hast some pictures? That would be nice. What were you using it for?
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Re: Tritons guide to franken-cases!

Post by Triton » Mon May 25, 2009 3:56 pm

sometime when i get a bit more free time i will be completely remaking this guide and putting it in the reference section as well as updating this sticky!
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Re: Tritons guide to franken-cases!

Post by Hifeno » Tue Jul 07, 2009 4:53 pm

One of the best frankencases I have seen was LOB's Playstation Portable. I loved that one.
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