SUN E450 3d printed inspired build - name TBC

Mishka

Active Member
Apr 30, 2017
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A little overview, I have a large fileserver (17 drives but needing more) and most NAS cases are expensive or do not hold many drives, I currently have two fractal design XL R2's one with motherboard and some drives in it, the other with additional drives and a HP SAS expander so it functions as a JBOD.

I have been musing 3d printing some kind of case just to hold more drives of which this is now starting to come true!.

Build bullet points
2020 Aluminium profile for framework
3d printed drive cages
3d printed drive caddies
3d printed side panels/front and rear
3d printed brackets for holding PSU and other small parts.

Spec of each unit before my hardware is installed which is currently 11 8TB drives, 6 4TB and 2 400GB SSD

JBOD
24 3.5" drives spread across 6 drive cages
HP SAS Expander (I have them already)
Drive cage will be using a HP 466509 4 drive SAS backplane as it is molex so no wiring faff.
Front to back airflow with 140mm fans in the front panel aligned with where the drive cages are
PSU ATX format (I have corsair HX850 and 1050 available, stupidly overkill for these but its what I have available as already own them)

Server
8 3.5" drives spread across 2 drive cages
?? 2.5" drives (these will be for cache and also due to size constraints)
ATX or smaller motherboard (I have a supermicro X9SRL-F)
Front to back airflow

3D Printing
A majority of this other than the frame will be 3d printed, small brackets and such for securing parts will also be printed, due to the company in the UK 3DQF I can get end of colour run PLA for £12 per 1KG spool but its random colour choice which is not a big deal for this as it will end up being painted anyway.

Approx print times are below
Drive cage for 3.5" drives 20 hours, 240g filament
Drive Caddy for 3.5" drives 2hr 20, 27g filament

Frame is 450mm deep, 380mm high and 315mm wide, with the 3d printed side panels it will end up around 460mm deep, 400 high and 325 wide, it is just a coincidence this is themed off a Sun E450 and happens to be that the frame is 450mm deep, I do not think I will be able to make ensure case with panels be 450 deep without restricting cable access between the drive cages but i will be trying as it is a happy coincidence and adds extra nerdery

Colour codes RAL 4005, RAL 7040 and RAL 7015 for the purple/lilac, dark grey and light grey (light grey interior) so will approx match the genuine E450

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Ignore the holes in some of the cross members thats just a remnant of my Fusion 360 work, top of case has the 2040 profile as I intend to stack the server version ontop of the JBOD version so wanted some extra strength just incase
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JBOD version will look roughly like this though exact placement of the drive cages is to be determined, I am intentionally having space inbetween them to allow for access to the cabling, PSU could be mounted flat too but in this orientation allows plenty of space for rear panel vents on the top section and PCI slots (SAS expander, fan controller etc)
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Server version, big box is ATX motherboard, drive cages are too deep to comfortably be next to the motherboard
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Case panel idea, due to limited print bed size doing it in small chunks like this will be best, also means i could make it so just the section in picture is removable for access to the backplane/cabling.

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Drive cage mockup V0.05
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Drive Cage V0.07, Channels in the side slightly revised to have a chamfered edge, these channels will be used for holding the 3mm fibre optic light to transfer the backplanes LED to the front of the cage as they will not be in the drive caddy itself, also slight tweak to the bolt hole placement on the left side, holes are designed to take 6/32 UNC (Hard drive/case screw) for commonality and also the fact I have a shedload of them for this.

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Drive caddy V0.08, probably way thicker material than needed but its not a lot of filament and fast to print
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Currently as of er noon on the 6th November, the drive cage is printing but can show the below pics of things during testing phase.

Backplane on a cut down version of the drive cage to see how things fitted

backplane test fit.png

Design has been slightly tweaked since to move the channels to line up with the LED's, small brackets will be made to hold the end of the fibre optic

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Fiber optic bracket in question, lil dab of hotglue to secure the fibre and allows for exact lining up as required.

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Last edited:

Mishka

Active Member
Apr 30, 2017
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London, UK
Drive cage finished printing after 19 hours.... have now split it into 3 parts (rear, middle and front) so the prints can just be ran overnight and also not risk failing at say 18 hours in.

Few tweaks to do, need to drop one of the drive support "struts" by 1mm, can also make it a little less wide as it had more gap than expected on the left and side, also deepened the channel for the fibre optic and made the drive cage longer by 4mm

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Mishka

Active Member
Apr 30, 2017
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London, UK
Printed front chunk of drive cage overnight, this is the slightly revised one and its way better, will do the rear and middle over next few days, no pic for it as its dull.

Did work on the design of the front panel, this will be one huge panel that clips onto the front of the server and also has 4 140mm fans on it which will be lined up with the drive cages, If i can get my hands on a cheap 300x300 bed sized printer I can print the light grey front panel (one with all the circles and triangles) as one huge print which will help strength wise.

Estimate with Cura is that the entire front panel will be approx 28 hours of printing

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Some artistic license will be taken to ensure airflow, the original does not have the squares in the purple section for its right hand third or so of it.

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BeTeP

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Mar 23, 2019
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I have used those backplanes in dozens of my projects. I would recommend the following changes. First, change the orientation of the cages. Make the backplanes sit on the bottom, so the gravity would help the drives stay in place. Second, add fan shrouds to the cages. Proper cooling is very important.
 

Mishka

Active Member
Apr 30, 2017
101
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London, UK
I have used those backplanes in dozens of my projects. I would recommend the following changes. First, change the orientation of the cages. Make the backplanes sit on the bottom, so the gravity would help the drives stay in place. Second, add fan shrouds to the cages. Proper cooling is very important.
Yea i was thinking of having gravity help hold the drives in but then means cant access front or back of the thing easily to swap drives it basically makes it top loading only.

Cooling will be done via the front panel and also rear panel with 140mm fans lined up with each drive cage, will also give airflow around the cages to help the PLA stay cool

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Mishka

Active Member
Apr 30, 2017
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London, UK
Busy time printing loads of bits and also waiting for things to arrive.

Have now got in the M3 and M4 T nuts and a bunch of button head hex m3 bolts and 20 molex extensions, have got a PCI-E ribbon cable incoming as will be using that to transfer power from the "GPU power board" to the HP SAS Expander, making things easier to design/print and also make things better airflow wise

Yellow = SAS Expander, Blue = power board, green = fan controller

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Front panel i have worked a lot on the rear, fans are partially embedded (its 10mm thick) and sorted out a simple little mount for each fan, will have two fan cables going to the front panel which then go to a Y splitter so top and bottom fans can be controlled as two sets.

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Will be using the SnepServ plaque as a simple way to help add strength to the drive cage segments, top one is the original all in one test print, it has a few niggles but not enough to make it unusable
triple.PNG
Test fitted things together into the extrusion

combined.PNG

Got in the molex extensions so can organise the cables nicely.
combined2.PNG
 
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PigLover

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Very nice work.

Have you considered doing custom cables for the Power? Molex are simple to crimp - and getting precise lengths instead of folding up extensions that are probably too long will make it all that much nicer. Especially since you are putting so much time into the rest of the project!

I’d also consider using heat-set inserts instead of tapping the plastic. Will be much more durable.
 

Mishka

Active Member
Apr 30, 2017
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London, UK
Printed a strip of the side panel to make sure everything fits and it does, though I found I did not have any 14-16mm M4 bolts so have ordered a bunch now.

20% infill, each panel being 42-45g of filament and about 3hr 30 to print

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Mockup of the frame (2020 profile not cut down)

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Mishka

Active Member
Apr 30, 2017
101
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London, UK
Very nice work.

Have you considered doing custom cables for the Power? Molex are simple to crimp - and getting precise lengths instead of folding up extensions that are probably too long will make it all that much nicer. Especially since you are putting so much time into the rest of the project!

I’d also consider using heat-set inserts instead of tapping the plastic. Will be much more durable.
I might cut down the ones I have and resolder together to make them shorter, they were cheaper than buying parts to make them myself else I would have.

And yea i intend to use the heat set inserts but for some bits that wont be screwed in/out often if ever will be just into the plastic, especially on any small bits that are easy to print though majority of things wont screw into the PLA
 

Mishka

Active Member
Apr 30, 2017
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London, UK
Played with the circular saw today so have cut some of the 2020 profile to what i need, ran out of the random orange/peach faded stuff so using a random roll of black for the time being.

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side panel 1.PNG
side panel 2.PNG
 
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Mishka

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Assembled majority of the frame now, also printed one of the 4 top panels overnight.


Top panel 1.PNG

Found that the length of the PSU's molex cable is more than enough for this so will have a load of spare molex extensions might flog em on ebay to recoup the purchase cost.

insides 1.PNG

Positioned stuff for the back panel, still need to make brackets and such for the GPU power board (am using it to power the HP SAS expander via a PCI-E Ribbon cable), not shown as no mount at all yet is the fan controller which is powered off molex too, might put it horizontal near the "top" of the case so I have room from the side to get at the HP SAS Expander.

PSU is not the one I will be using just a test fit for the 2020 profile to work as a support, need to make bracket for it so its held in place,

back panel.PNG
 
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Mishka

Active Member
Apr 30, 2017
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London, UK
So many panels so little time!

Need to finalise the design of the front panel, is just small things like how to secure each part of it together, panels fit nicely together though I need to go through all the 2020 profile and ensure everything is square and correct measurement, think some bits are like a mm or so too long in places

Rear panel still being designed on exact placement for the fan controller n SAS expander, the PCi-E ribbon cable I have is too short so will have to swap the spot of the power board and SAS expander from the previous post.

Still need to print 1x drive cage, 6x caddies, 1x top panel as you can see in the pic, front panel, rear panels, misc brackets and such for SAS Expander, power board, PSU and any cable tidy mounts.

Need to order fans and paint, have got more bolts incoming and SFF-8087 to 8087 cables.

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Mishka

Active Member
Apr 30, 2017
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London, UK
Panel printing wise is 4 sections, cut along the seam that is the door panels on the original E450, coincidentally will help me spray each section its own colour

Panels will be secured together with glue and a dowel to create one solid panel.

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A chonk has been printing :D
front panel printing.PNG

21 hours later for the huge circular holed red panel, total time for the front panel 40 hours

front panel installed.PNG
 
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