A Starving Modder gets fed a heavy dose of Exodus.
Those of you who have followed my PC mod creations over the past decade, know that I love Dystopian theme builds. Receiving an invitation by Deep Silver to create the official Metro Exodus Gaming PC was a dream. Never heard of the Metro game series? Maybe you were playing too much Fortnite and didn’t notice. I can understand that, but a game set in Post Apocalyptic Russia in my opinion is a lot more interesting. The visuals of the Metro Exodus world are stunning. 4A Game’s development team in Ukraine and Malta was very generous in sending folders of images captured from the world they created. A Steam powered locomotive plays a large role in the game and since there’s no electrical power sources in this world, I imagined the PC as being independently powered by small single piston steam engine. One month to develop a real working engine from scratch wasn’t realistic, but we could create something that emulated one. My space is was limited to the front of the chassis for creating this faux single piston engine. This location actually made sense, so people could see the piston rod and gears. I knew in advance the RTX 2080 would be used, so I used this vertical bracket https://mnpctech.com/vertical-gpu-video-card-installation-mount/ since the Corsair 570X doesnt have vertical mount option.
Making the Exodus PC kinetic with a real working piston engine.
The piston gear assembly was the most time intensive feature of the PC. It consists of large stainless steel tube with a working piston inside. Everything had to be created from scratch. The piston engine consists of machined and laser cut parts. Materials include black Acetal and 6061 aluminium for the frame work and gears. The piston and and crankshaft were made from grey Delrin and actually pump inside the cylinder. The smoke stack is from a scale model steamboat stack made by “RC Smokers” in Australia. He sells exclusively on Ebay. Before the RC smoker arrived, we had designed the piston cylinder to be connected to the smoker box with a tube, so the piston would produce realistic steam train chugging effect, but the piston didn’t produce enough air pressure. Luckily the RC Smoker produced its own effect, so we got lucky. I’ve added a key chain remote control for the smoker, just to mess with people. The gear drive chain came from an old bicycle. The gear assembly is powered by IG32 12 VDC 197 RPM Gear Motor. The motor’s power is controlled with DC 12V 10A Relay 1 Channel wireless RF remote control switch transmitter and receiver. The speed of the piston gear assembly is controlled with a vintage rheostat dial on the front panel. Tuning the gears to turn and operate effortlessly took a great deal of development time. I believe it went through three design revisions until we nailed it.
Manufacturer Recycle Bins, A Great Alternative to Ebay for PC Mods.
Great resource for mods is recycle bins behind manufacturing plants also put myself in the role of the game’s main character, Artyom who must scavenge the landscape for items to survive this cruel environment. Have you climbed over a fence to dive into recycle bins behind a manufacturing facility? There’s loads of inspiration in those bins and some nasty **** too. Bring gloves and a filtered mask. I found a proper steel handle and vintage Incandescent worktable lights to illuminate the PC’s interior. The light fixtures are similar to something you would find near in an abandoned Russian factory.
Creating a look that brings you into the world of Exodus.
The world of the METRO games has always been a harsh place. It was important that the exterior of the Metro Exodus PC reflects this world. You can’t be lugging around a PC with tempered Glass panels in this wasteland. I’ve outfitted the Corsair 570x case with a battle hardened exterior. The TG panels were replaced with 5mm thick machined aluminium plates. All of the exterior panels have circular ventilation holes. The left side has large cast acrylic window fastened on with counter sunk machine screws. Below the window are air vents for the vertical RTX 2080 gpu. The corner of the window has a Voltmeter that mirrors the Geiger counter gauge on main character, Artyom’s “Bracer” wristband from the game. The game’s development team was very accommodating in providing images so I could re-create a new face for it. I’ve modified a Uxcell AC 0-300V Analog Dial Voltmeter with a new face and Russian text, индикдтор which means Indikator. The gauge is back lit with a 12 volt incandescent light bulb from a triumph motorcycle taillight. I distressed its bezel with barrel sander attachment on my Dremel and bent the edge with a heat gun. Its surface was given a faux rust effect with the rust antiquing set by Sophisticated Finishes.The right side panel was milled with the game’s logo. We milled a 3D version of the Metro Exodus logo from 12.7mm thick clear acrylic to protrude from the panel. This was backlit with White LED PCB by Darkside Mods. The acrylic was scuffed with 500 grit sand paper to disperse the lighting. The illuminated logo panel turned out brilliant. The front bezel panel was machined from 5mm thick aluminium with clear. We engraved Russian text under the controls to indicate
двигатель = motor
Hачните = start (but actually means beginning)
The only regret I have is not triple checking the translation of the Russian word for “Start”. I made the mistake of trusting Google Translator and engraved “Начните” which means “Beginning” not start. You could say I did a Hilary Clinton. (Thanks Google). The bezel was finished with “Hammer” paint and primer by Rustoluem. This paint emulates the look of the protective coating on industrial equipment you would find in a factory. I scuffed the paint around the switches and dials with medium grit sandpaper. The front panel provided space for the basic controls of the PC. I reached out to three individuals in Russia who collected and sold these parts on Ebay. They helped me in getting an authentic Russian Military transmitter dial switch and control panel lights. These elements would be part of the custom bezel on the Metro Exodus PC case mod. I found vintage gumdrop style red and green incandescent light bulbs salvaged from the control panel of a Diesel locomotive. The lights indicate when the Piston and Smoker are turned on by the remote control key chain fob. The top and side panels were aged and weathered as if the PC was discovered in an abandoned factory. This process involves applying flat black base coat with an airbrush. The black base coat is scuffed in perceived high usage areas around access screws, switches and buttons with a medium red scotch brite pad. This creates the illusion of the surface being aged. The lower front grill was laser cut from acrylic and bent with a heat gun.
"What’s that burning smell, Bill?"
I read several complaints from tenants in my building’s facebook group. “Is something burning?" Smells like an electrical fire. It’s coming from Bill’s studio, Is he OK?” Those made me grin. I never revealed what was really happening in my shop. What amazed me is how the majority of responses weren’t negative about the working smoke stack. Only a handful of people remarked about not wanting to fill their room with smoke. Somebody asked if the PC was Vaping? I invited some friends into my workshop to gauge their reactions. I’d turn on the smoker by remote when they had their face up close.
Only RGB lighted products and Cockroaches will survive the apocalypse.
Somebody on Instagram posted “What’s with the RGB lights on the CPU and DDR, they don’t fit the theme”. I can appreciate this guy’s response, because small details matter to me too. I'm also tired of seeing RGB rainbows everywhere. Corsair was kind in supplying their products hardware, so I left those parts stock. If the build had been my personal project, you wouldn’t have been able to identify anything.
The 1st Vaping Gaming PC is finished.
I was very pleased with the final results. Chopperfly at RC Smokers told me you use vape fluid to fill smoker. Just imagine your office filled with smell of fresh cinnamon rolls. You can watch videos of this build running on YouTube here, https://youtu.be/Mz6ozE1X62s?t=55