The Raptor Pit: Building a Benching Station--Navig Style - The Raptor Pit

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Building a Benching Station--Navig Style

#41 User is offline   Navig 

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Posted 14 February 2017 - 01:39 AM

Step 2--Sand the bottom side


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***See Edit*** I use 220 grit sandpaper on a rubber sanding block, and I like to make uniform diagonal passes. This is going to help add a little bit of a brushed look to the stain.
Sometimes if the MDF is real rough, Iíll do the other diagonal (making a sort of cross-hatch pattern), but always finish with the same diagonal.
Also carefully sand the inside edges of all the cutouts and pass thrus. I wrap little piece of sand paper around my finger and just work these edges.

*** Edit ***

For a smoother finish, particularly for the under-layers of polyurethane, I tried (and had better success) with the following sanding technique:

Short strokes, in multiple directions.

I tried short light strokes in one diagonal, then in the other diagonal, then in small circles, and finally in large circles.


Step 3--Clean
Make sure to clean off the surface after sanding. I brush it, vacuum it, and then actually use a tack cloth.



Step 4--Apply pre-stain

Once again, MDF is very absorbent, so I feel like a pre-stain makes the stain come out much more uniform.
Let the pre-stain dry according to instructions.


Step 5--Apply the stain
I use a disposable foam brush and apply the stain.

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I am using a stain called Cordova from Sherwin Williams. It is a very nice deep woody red.
After it has dried several minutes, I run a standard brush very lightly across the surface at the usual diagonal. This is going to add a very faint brushed/wood grain texture.
Let the stain dry according to instructions.
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#42 User is offline   Navig 

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Posted 17 February 2017 - 01:13 AM

Step 6--Apply the first coat of high gloss polyurethane
I typically use fast dry oil based Cabot. I also use a disposable foam brush--technically you should use a natural bristle for oil based, but I get good enough results, and with much less hassle. Let the brush soak a little bit to minimize bubbles. Do not over brush as that will also cause bubbles.

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I apply one thin layer, stroking in the same diagonal as the sanding.
Let it dry completely as per instructions.


Step 7--Apply the second layer of high gloss polyurethane
No sanding after the first coat of polyurethane--often the MDF will soak up so much polyurethane, if you were to sand it, you might burn into the stain.
Apply as per step 6.


Step 8--Sand
After 2 coats of polyurethane, you should have enough coating in order to sand it down.
Sand the polyurethane just like Step 2.
It takes a little bit of courage to take a pretty decent looking surface and sand it down, but as soon as you lay the next coat down, you can feel the difference. This is a what a sanded panel looks like:

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Don’t forget to remove the dust after sanding.


Step 9--Apply the third coat of polyurethane
You should notice that the polyurethane goes on really smooth and that you will only need a fraction of the volume compared to the 2 previous coats.


Step 10--Consider more coats then let fully dry
3 coats is usually sufficient--remember this is the underside.
Remove the masking tape and let dry thoroughly until fully cured.


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And here is why you mask (and seal the masking tape)--stain will curl around the edges.

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Now just remove your masking tape and start prepping for painting the top side.





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#43 User is offline   Navig 

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 01:28 AM

Step 11--Mask the bottom (just painted side)

Make sure your paint is fully dried and cured!


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This time, be sure to tape-mask the inside edges of the cable pass-thrus.




Step 12--Prep the top side.

As before, sand in a diagonal pattern, 220 grit, and clean thoroughly.

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Step 13--Apply pre-stain and stain

Once again, very lightly brush the wet stain.


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Step 14--First 2 coats of Polyurethane

After the stain has dried according to its instructions, apply the first and second coats of polyurethane:


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#44 User is offline   caintry_boy 

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 11:07 PM

Navig, I just don't know how you do it! it looks to be too easy for you!!
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Heatware

Isaiah 6 v5 "Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty."
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#45 User is offline   Navig 

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 12:56 AM

By no means easy, just trial and error, and a lot of test pieces. For example--see this post here...



Sorry, it has been a while since my last post. Where have I been? Building another benching station, of course. Apparently, this post has drummed up interest, so Iíve been fabricating a new station. My experience with this new station and pictures will get incorporated into this thread.

Station #31, built between the last post and this post:

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Very importantly, finishing the panels on this station did not go well following with my own steps as detailed above.

So I am going to edit myself.

Just goes to show, I am by no means any ďauthorityĒ on the matter, and Iím still learning all the time.

Sanding the unfinished panels went fine, most likely because any faults were hidden by the application of stain as well as the the ďbrushing-in grainĒ technique.

However, when I went to sand the under-layers of polyurethane, the continuous diagonal strokes introduced long gouges that remained after application of the next coat. Could it be the change in weather (affects drying time), could it be the sandpaper, could it be because the customer requested a semi-gloss finish? I donít know.

If a smooth finish is desired, I would try the following technique.


New Sanding Technique

Short strokes, in multiple directions.

I tried short light strokes in one diagonal, then in the other diagonal, then in small circles, and finally in large circles.

This produced a much better finish.
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#46 User is offline   Navig 

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 01:05 AM

Streaky finish:

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Nice finish:


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#47 User is offline   Navig 

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 01:38 AM

Step 15--Sand with 220 grit

Recap--I put down the first 2 coats of polyurethane on the top sides of both panels
Now sand with 220 grit, using my short strokes technique.



Step 16--Add the ghost logo

Long time back,I made a stencil with my logo.


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Itís kind of ghetto, I literally cut and taped together stencil letters from the craft store.






I positioned my stencil, masked off the rest of the panel:

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And then with a light touch of spray-can metal flake, add my logo:


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It looks really faded against the sanded background, but it will POP when the final top coats are applied.
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#48 User is offline   Navig 

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 01:40 AM

Step 17--Apply the final coats of polyurethane (one or two)

Here are some nice finished pictures.

Glossy coat going down on my personal station:

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Semi-gloss coat on my most recent build:

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And the ghost logo, after the finished coats have been applied.

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#49 User is offline   caintry_boy 

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 01:30 PM

Question Navig, when doing smoothing on polyurethane would steel wool give a better finish?
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Isaiah 6 v5 "Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty."
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#50 User is offline   Navig 

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 09:44 PM

I'll be honest! I don't know, haven't tried it yet. Being the simpleton that I am, I've always used 220 grit sandpaper because that's what is actually recommended in the instructions printed on the can of polyurethane.

I have in the past used coarser grit (180) then finished with 220.

I have also occasionally used a finer grit (400), but you've got to be real careful because the polyurethane will clog 400 grit quickly. If it clogs, then the sanded-off particles will accumulate in clumps on the sandpaper surface, which will cause scrapes. To prevent this I frequently clean the sandpaper with a giant sandpaper "eraser" (sold at woodworking stores) or just scrape it off with a scraper. A 400 grit finish is real nice tho!

Haven't tried steel wool. Maybe I will!








Bracketry

Brackets may seem a little boring, but really, what is a benching station besides a bunch a brackets for holding your components in place?


PCI bracket

This is my PCI bracket system. It’s a little elaborate, but I like to have it well supported.

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There are three components:

Actual PCI bracket--made from ½” aluminum angle bracket (1/16” thickness), length is 200mm
Vertical Support--made from ½” bar (1/16” thickness), cut to 65mm
Horizontal Crossbar--made from ½” bar (1/15” thickness), cut to 365mm









To fabricate the PCI bracket component, I started with a stock piece of ½” angle bar cut to 200mm.

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In order to mate properly to the post, this red portion here needs to go away, or as I do--get bent.












First I cut the down the center line with by scrollsaw to the length of ½”.
(Actually, first I put in some mounting holes which you can see--its easier to do this prior to bending)

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Then I scored my bend with my dremel.

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Clamp the piece into my vice, add a little heat, and bend.

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#51 User is offline   Navig 

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Posted Today, 01:00 AM

Next step is to mount the bracket.

Seen here from the back, the bracket mounts to the post thru the holes I made earlier.


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If youíve been following my motherboard measurements for placement of the motherboard mounting holes, then mounting it to the backside of the post should put it in the proper location to interface with PCI cards.

If you are using the standard ĹĒ mobo standoffs, then the bracket should be mounted at a height of 121mm.












Itís always best to actually mock-up mount motherboard and a PCI card to confirm placement.


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At this time, I also marked the location of the first PCI bracket mounting hole (red arrow).






To make the rest of the mounting screw holes, I use a jig.


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The space between each hole is 20.3mm.

The center of the hole is 2.5mm from the edge.

I make the holes in the method Iíve outlined before, with a #36 drill bit and a 6-32 tap.








And here is my nicely crafted final PCI bracket


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After remounting the PCI bracket, the next step is to mount the Vertical Support Bar and the Horizontal Cross Bar.

Be sure to use a square and a level!


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Vertical Support bar mounted with ⅛Ē rivet.








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Horizontal Crossbar completes the structure.








Top it off with a set of 6-32 thumb screws.


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And that is how I support my PCI cards.



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