A larger enclosure?

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AntialiasedPixel
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A larger enclosure?

Postby AntialiasedPixel » Mon Dec 30, 2019 2:48 am

I keep seeing comments about how awkward the Mister is with cords coming out of every side and I wondered if anyone has though about making a slightly larger enclosure with a little different form factor? I could see something maybe half the size of the Wii, but would be big enough to have 3-4 front-facing usb ports on a break out board probably the 3 standard user buttons accessible on the front also, internal ssd storage drive, the de10 board and, hdmi, ethernet, power, couple more usb ports on the back side and whatever else seems practical. Most would be pretty easy to cobble together with off the shelf adapters and existing parts that are cheap online. I'm mostly fine with my Mister as-is, just an idea I had and thought I would see what others thought.

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Re: A larger enclosure?

Postby Newsdee » Mon Dec 30, 2019 5:18 pm

You could get a mini ITX case, which often has a back panel for connections from the motherboard. You'd need to replace the back panel with something custom (eg 3d printed) and wire it to extenders for all ports.

It wouldn't be that cost effective, but it would be easy to wire and pretty sturdy if you can attach the expansion connectors securely.

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Re: A larger enclosure?

Postby AntialiasedPixel » Mon Dec 30, 2019 5:53 pm

Newsdee wrote:You could get a mini ITX case, which often has a back panel for connections from the motherboard. You'd need to replace the back panel with something custom (eg 3d printed) and wire it to extenders for all ports.

It wouldn't be that cost effective, but it would be easy to wire and pretty sturdy if you can attach the expansion connectors securely.


I thought about something like that, trying to repurpose an existing case of some sort. I was envisioning maybe something like one of those raspberry pi cases that looks like a snes, but would be bigger to fit the de10 + a drive, or maybe even include the Io board. Wouldn't have to be a specific console copy, but something a little more designed that a square boxy case and would have a defined front/back. I'll probably roll my own case of some sort when I have time, but wondered if anybody had a project already started or had tried various extenders, or other parts for another case setup than the standard mister stack.

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Re: A larger enclosure?

Postby drj3rk » Mon Dec 30, 2019 6:26 pm

I'm way behind on the project, but I've been trying to find ways to reduce the somewhat prohibitive cost of the enclosure I designed and built. It's a Front Panel Express project, and while I'm more than happy to post the drawing files, so anyone can have one made, it's in the $300+ range as-is. :lol:

I didn't spend any time optimizing it. I did start simplifying it a bit, and re-scaling it to be just a touch smaller, and use less cutouts to get the cost down. My goal (while still fairly expensive) is to get it closer to the $150 mark, which for a full, thick, anodized aluminum enclosure isn't THAT bad.

Anyway, it's still on my to-do list, but I've been sidetracked with other things for the last few months.

The panel-mount port extender cables are all available at Adafruit for good prices. The buttons are HAPP/SUZO. The LEDs are Lumex.

I finally ordered the top panel for mine a couple of days ago, so I'll be able to show the complete design soon. However, here's a couple of pics.
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Re: A larger enclosure?

Postby AntialiasedPixel » Mon Dec 30, 2019 6:53 pm

drj3rk wrote:...
I finally ordered the top panel for mine a couple of days ago, so I'll be able to show the complete design soon. However, here's a couple of pics.


Looks awesome! I knew someone had to have something similar already in progress. I'll probably end up 3d printing a case of some sort, but will spend way too many hours designing and iterating. Mostly about the project vs actually needing a better case design for me. I love the piece by piece "build it yourself" nature of MiSTer.

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Re: A larger enclosure?

Postby Sorgelig » Mon Dec 30, 2019 7:41 pm

drj3rk wrote: and while I'm more than happy to post the drawing files, so anyone can have one made, it's in the $300+ range as-is. :lol:

that's price of PiTop v1 where you get notebook enclosure with screen ;)

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Re: A larger enclosure?

Postby Newsdee » Tue Dec 31, 2019 12:11 pm

At that price range there are also Pandora's Boxes with screen and arcade controls. There is usually enough space to throw away the Pandora pcb and replace it with a DE-10 Nano.

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Re: A larger enclosure?

Postby drj3rk » Tue Dec 31, 2019 5:00 pm

Sorgelig wrote:
drj3rk wrote: and while I'm more than happy to post the drawing files, so anyone can have one made, it's in the $300+ range as-is. :lol:

that's price of PiTop v1 where you get notebook enclosure with screen ;)


Very true. :wink:

I design analog modular synthesizers with aluminum panels like this, so for me it made sense. I also like the feel of the enclosure, and I have a thing for anodized aluminum in general. :lol:

In no way do I think this makes sense for everyone, but I do like the results. There are definitely ways to make that money go further toward functionality rather than aesthetic.

My top panel should be ready today or Thursday, and as long as it fits ok, I'll post the drawing files here. They can be opened in Front Panel Designer (which is FPE's free software). That way anyone can change the IO cutouts, add more, pull some out, use thinner materials, and otherwise optimize this for their own use. I had some ideas to do this as well, but no reason others can't use the drawings as a starting point.

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Re: A larger enclosure?

Postby ReedSolomon » Wed Jan 01, 2020 6:39 pm

drj3rk wrote:I'm way behind on the project, but I've been trying to find ways to reduce the somewhat prohibitive cost of the enclosure I designed and built. It's a Front Panel Express project, and while I'm more than happy to post the drawing files, so anyone can have one made, it's in the $300+ range as-is.

I like the concept. I was thinking it'd potentially be helpful if the USB board had a couple of standard 9 pin USB expansion headers. A 2 pin Power switch header would also be a useful addition to add a power switch toggle to the case. Such a USB Hub board could even be decoupled from the MiSTer for a lower (but wider) profile.

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Re: A larger enclosure?

Postby drj3rk » Thu Jan 02, 2020 6:32 pm

ReedSolomon wrote:
drj3rk wrote:I'm way behind on the project, but I've been trying to find ways to reduce the somewhat prohibitive cost of the enclosure I designed and built. It's a Front Panel Express project, and while I'm more than happy to post the drawing files, so anyone can have one made, it's in the $300+ range as-is.

I like the concept. I was thinking it'd potentially be helpful if the USB board had a couple of standard 9 pin USB expansion headers. A 2 pin Power switch header would also be a useful addition to add a power switch toggle to the case. Such a USB Hub board could even be decoupled from the MiSTer for a lower (but wider) profile.


Good ideas!

I actually had thought of adding an internal power supply with a switched/fused (120/240) inlet module on the back. The problem was, I only design linear power supplies for the synthesizers I build, and haven't done switched or DC to DC converter based supplies yet. I figured I better do some prototyping and testing before implementing something like that. A tiny linear supply wouldn't be too bad in there either, but a bit inefficient and I'd need to do something about the extra heat probably.

The top panel is ready for pickup today, so I'll pop that on, make sure it all lines up, make sure that the convection slots in the back are enough for cooling, and then I can post the drawings for this version here.

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Looking for a more... productized case

Postby MrPeach » Sat Jan 04, 2020 7:24 am

First post, so pardon if idiotic...

What I'd like to see is a case with multiple USB ports in front and everything else in the rear.

You know, something you could display without apologizing for it's janky appearance and weird port placement.

Clearly it would need an internal board for the front USB ports, the relocated ports (ethernet and UART), and relocated LEDs and buttons. And RAM. And maybe a power switch, if possible?

As far as I know, the IO board is absolutely unnecessary and the USB board is awkward with wires hanging off everywhere.

Just a thought. Am I the only one that has considered something like this?

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Re: Looking for a more... productized case

Postby thistlebrew » Sun Jan 05, 2020 12:37 am

MrPeach wrote:First post, so pardon if idiotic...

What I'd like to see is a case with multiple USB ports in front and everything else in the rear.

You know, something you could display without apologizing for it's janky appearance and weird port placement.

Clearly it would need an internal board for the front USB ports, the relocated ports (ethernet and UART), and relocated LEDs and buttons. And RAM. And maybe a power switch, if possible?

As far as I know, the IO board is absolutely unnecessary and the USB board is awkward with wires hanging off everywhere.

Just a thought. Am I the only one that has considered something like this?


No, you are not the only one to consider that. I'm actively trying to find a solution like this as well. My first solution didn't pan out, it was a Metal Case from China that was about the size of an analogue console, probably more common for what you see MiST solutions mounted in, but by the time I got everything in the case, there wasn't any room for my panel mount I/O extenders. So I'm back to the drawing board and am currently trying to find the perfect Mini ITX case. I'm trying to find one that isn't huge, but still has a 3.5 extenal drive bay in the front. Ultimately I think I'd like to try to put an edge connector that can be mounted in the bay. Have some of the edge connector extend to the USB hub and the rest extend to the SNAC port. Then could insert whatever I/O I'm looking for much like the USB SNAC Boards with NES, SNES, PC Engine ports. Could also do Hybrid I/O panels, couple USB with a NES port, etc. I suppose if I was really clever it would probably be possible to sniff what is coming in for the SNAC path for a certain key combo, then switch over to USB to be able to run the OSD. But I'm not that clever or ambitious enough learn what I need to figure that out.

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Re: A larger enclosure?

Postby drj3rk » Fri Jan 10, 2020 6:56 pm

I forgot to post a pic with the top on. It worked pretty well. It would have been better to order all of the panels and parts at once, because I had to locate some screws that would work after-the-fact, when they would have been included otherwise. Overall I'm pretty happy with it.

I do want to design a much smaller one with a bit less IO (just the basics) that will cost less and have a few refinements. I won't have time for a bit, but in the meantime, I'll zip up the design files, and post them here in case anyone wants to mess with them.

MiSTerTop.jpg
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Re: A larger enclosure?

Postby BitsNStuff » Sat Jan 11, 2020 1:01 am

I so half wish sometimes that somebody with the ability to do this stuff would design some sort of enclosure kit for an inexpensive commercially available pc case so you could almost consolise the DE10-Nano. I know that people have customissed their own but the thought of being able to buy a motherboard style PCN, connect the included cables to the DE10-Nano and slip inside a case such as this one with all the ports in teh right place, a working power switch, etc.

An aluminium case like this is only £33 on Amazon at the moment. I don't know anything about wiring but I suppose it;s not that difficult to learn and do.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/L65-Tower-Comp ... 8-148&th=1

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Re: A larger enclosure?

Postby KillaMaaki » Wed Jan 15, 2020 10:31 am

Honestly I really want to start trying my hand at making a more console-ized case for a DE10-Nano with an IO board stacked on top. My perfect setup would be all of the USB ports at the front of the machine where controller ports would go, a vertical SD card slot as a sort of "cartridge" slot, top-mounted power/reset/menu buttons, and the audio/video ports at the rear.
I've been getting to grips with Fusion for design and looking at how other people approach things like Pi enclosures, looking at parts, etc. the SD card could probably be done with a mounting point for one of those SD card ribbon extension cables (which would just plug into the IO board's mini SD card slot), but I'm really not sure about the USB ports. I'm beginning to think that might require a custom USB hub PCB mounted at the front of the enclosure to line up properly. Don't think I could just use the existing board - one of the longer sides only has 3 ports and I feel like I'd want at least 4.

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Re: A larger enclosure?

Postby jca » Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:56 pm

KillaMaaki wrote:........ I'm beginning to think that might require a custom USB hub PCB mounted at the front of the enclosure to line up properly. Don't think I could just use the existing board - one of the longer sides only has 3 ports and I feel like I'd want at least 4.

You could use a USB extension with one side plugging into the hub and the other end having a panel mount connector.

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Re: A larger enclosure?

Postby drj3rk » Wed Jan 15, 2020 5:27 pm

BitsNStuff wrote:I so half wish sometimes that somebody with the ability to do this stuff would design some sort of enclosure kit for an inexpensive commercially available pc case so you could almost consolise the DE10-Nano. I know that people have customissed their own but the thought of being able to buy a motherboard style PCN, connect the included cables to the DE10-Nano and slip inside a case such as this one with all the ports in teh right place, a working power switch, etc.

An aluminium case like this is only £33 on Amazon at the moment. I don't know anything about wiring but I suppose it;s not that difficult to learn and do.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/L65-Tower-Comp ... 8-148&th=1


Hehehe, that's why I went full custom with extension cables. :lol: I'm good at doing panel layouts and PCB layouts, but I don't like trying to make something that lines up to someone else's work. That's when it gets tedious for me.

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Re: A larger enclosure?

Postby KillaMaaki » Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:44 pm

jca wrote:You could use a USB extension with one side plugging into the hub and the other end having a panel mount connector.


That could work, only thing I don't like is the idea of seeing the mounting screws on the front of the case. Maybe that's just me :T
As far as the custom PCB option, I could potentially adapt the existing USB hub's design to a new PCB layout. I'm looking at the schematic and PCB now and it actually looks... pretty straightforward. Even to me, despite not having a huge amount of experience reading block diagrams. Though I'd love to know exactly what chipset it's using for that U1 block so I can look up some datasheets. Looks like it's mostly just a bunch of USB connectors, some resistors and capacitors, and some sort of pre-existing hub IC they're all directly wired up to.

EDIT: Nvm I'm dumb it says it right on the schematic

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Re: A larger enclosure?

Postby KillaMaaki » Fri Jan 17, 2020 5:16 am

All right, ended up ordering a 3D print prototype of something I've been cooking up. A couple of weeks from tomorrow I should either have some fancy pics to show off if I did my measurements correctly, or a failure to point and laugh at if I didn't ;)

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Re: A larger enclosure?

Postby warham » Tue Jan 21, 2020 12:15 pm

BitsNStuff wrote:I so half wish sometimes that somebody with the ability to do this stuff would design some sort of enclosure kit for an inexpensive commercially available pc case so you could almost consolise the DE10-Nano. I know that people have customissed their own but the thought of being able to buy a motherboard style PCN, connect the included cables to the DE10-Nano and slip inside a case such as this one with all the ports in teh right place, a working power switch, etc.

An aluminium case like this is only £33 on Amazon at the moment. I don't know anything about wiring but I suppose it;s not that difficult to learn and do.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/L65-Tower-Comp ... 8-148&th=1


That looks like the same case I used. I didn't use the original power button because of the way it mounted and I was being lazy.
Image

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Re: A larger enclosure?

Postby Peredonov » Tue Jan 21, 2020 2:29 pm

warham wrote:That looks like the same case I used. I didn't use the original power button because of the way it mounted and I was being lazy.
Image


It even has a handle! Getting some Gamecube vibes.

I'd buy this. Where did you find this case?

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Re: A larger enclosure?

Postby BitsNStuff » Tue Jan 21, 2020 4:08 pm

warham wrote:
BitsNStuff wrote:I so half wish sometimes that somebody with the ability to do this stuff would design some sort of enclosure kit for an inexpensive commercially available pc case so you could almost consolise the DE10-Nano. I know that people have customissed their own but the thought of being able to buy a motherboard style PCN, connect the included cables to the DE10-Nano and slip inside a case such as this one with all the ports in teh right place, a working power switch, etc.

An aluminium case like this is only £33 on Amazon at the moment. I don't know anything about wiring but I suppose it;s not that difficult to learn and do.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/L65-Tower-Comp ... 8-148&th=1


That looks like the same case I used. I didn't use the original power button because of the way it mounted and I was being lazy.
Image

I have seen your before, probably on Discord. I did wonder if it was one of the cases that I'd been looking at. Mind you, if I'm being honest, I think I've looked into so many cases over the past few months there probably aren't any left that in existance I haven't looked at. :?

I noticed recently that somebody in China has rccently started selling cheap cases on eBay, nothing special and I have no idea about quality but they're under £20 delivered tp the UK.It doesn't do anything fancy but it seems to be one of the cheapest ways to get a case.

Image

Image

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Re: A larger enclosure?

Postby drj3rk » Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:40 pm

Sorry I'm late with this. I doubt there's a lot of interest due to the cost, but I still think these drawings could be handy as a starting point for DIY types.

This ZIP file contains the drawings for my blue case (posted above), and a Front Panel Express shopping cart with all needed items.

Their site is here: https://www.frontpanelexpress.com/

Their CAD software is completely free, so it doesn't hurt do download it, open up these drawings, and just see how I put them together.

The front buttons are .94" mount, arcade buttons from Suzo-Happ.

The front LEDs (including bezels) are Lumex press-fit assemblies from Mouser. (8mm mounting)

All of the IO connections are simple extender cables from Adafruit.

Everything is off-the-shelf, which makes it easy, just a bit on the expensive side. Still, it's an option. Front Panel Designer is pretty easy to use once you get used to it. Much easier than a lot of CAD out there, and designed specifically for milled/anodized aluminum. They do in-filled engraving, or UV photo printing on the surface. UV is cheaper, and looks good. It's what I used.

One thing that I would do if I was starting over, is extend or otherwise make the SD card accessible. I have to unscrew the top cover whenever I make a change. :lol: Luckily I don't have to change it often, and just run the update script on occasion.

MiSTerBoX.zip
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Re: A larger enclosure?

Postby BitsNStuff » Wed Jan 29, 2020 11:20 pm

Thanks.
I've just noticed on that site that they do have examples of price which may give you an idea. Obviously a one off and custom design isn't going to be cheap but there may be some people who are interested.

https://www.frontpanelexpress.com/inspiration

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Re: A larger enclosure?

Postby drj3rk » Thu Jan 30, 2020 12:14 am

This is unrelated, but this is what I usually do with it. (I design analog synthesizers.)

SM3P.PNG


1931_img_2253_1.jpg


1931_img_2648_1.jpg
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