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(Build Log) Project: Forest Fire

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hello and welcome to my first ever build log!

I first want to begin by saying this is my first published build log, and my first water cooling system. As you will see below, I have decided to go “all-out” in this build. This build has been in the works for already several months and in my head on/off the drawing board for years, so I am pleased I am finally able to do it.

Before I really get into “geek-talk” I want to provide my inspiration to this build.

I have titled this build, Forest Fire; I chose this because, I used to fight forest fires a few years ago and really enjoyed everything about it. In the end I want this build to tribute men and women who fight all types of fires all over the world. I hope this build reflects that, and you enjoy the building process of it, and of course the final product!

Mods I will doing:


Bracket for Pumps

Temperature Read-out Bracket

Side Panel Flames Cut-out w/ PSU Fan cut-out

Window Kit (Flame Cut-out)

Radiator Mounting

Fan Grill installation (Front Panel)

Pump Cut-out (Front Panel)

Exhaust Fan Cut-out (80mm Above PSU’s)

RAM Heatsink – Super Secret right now, more on this later smile.gif

Custom Paint! – I’m no artist nor do I have anything that involves an air brush.

Fan Painting – I can spray paint though!

This pretty much covers the mods unless I think of something else.

On with the Hardware!

Case: Case Labs M8 – Thank you Jim and Team!

Power Supply(s): Corsair AX1200W & Corsair AX 650W

CPU: Intel Sandy Bridge E 3930k

Motherboard: Asus Rampage IV Extreme

RAM: Quad Channel Dominator GT 2133MHz (16GB) - 4 Sticks of 4GB

Video Card(s): currently I will only be using a single 570 (non WC) however I will be getting either 2 79xx series or 780’s I haven’t decided yet, will probably wait for reviews to come out.

HDD(s): Patriot Wildfire 120GB SSD x2 (Raid 0)

Black Western Digiatal Black Cavier 1TB (Raid 1)

Sound Card: Creative Labs Sound Blaster Recon3D Fatal1ty Professional

Fans: 6 Scythe Gentle Typhoons (AP15)

3 140mm Xigmatek XAF (1253)

2 120mm Xigmatek XLF (1253)

1 80mm Xigmatek XLF (1253)

Radiators: EK CoolStream 360 XTX x2

Pumps: MCP655 w/ Black Sparkle Top Mod

Reservoirs: FrozenQ 250mL (Custom Colors) – Thank you Alex and Team!

Fittings: Bitspower! – I’ll provide a complete list later

Water Blocks: EK Rampage IV Full Board Block, Socket 2011 XSPC Raystorm
Tools used:

Tape Measure

Erasable Marker

Soldering iron

Electrical tape

Electric Drill

Hole Saw

Laser Cutter

AutoCAD 2010

(More will be updated)

Now on with the build!
Edited by ve1ocity - 2/15/12 at 8:57pm
post #2 of 15
Thread Starter 
As you can see I have had been working on this build already for awhile, I figured I finally had enough stuff complete to get this build log up and running on all cylinders!
Update Pics in a few Minutes!

I first want to start with my PSU Fan Mod.

I want to begin this mod by saying yes I voided my warranty, I am fully aware of this and don’t recommend people doing this with a brand new PSU, unless you are fully aware of the safety precautions taken, and the fact if the PSU is failing for any reason the supplier or brand of the PSU WILL NOT REFUND YOU’RE MONEY!
Also I’ll take this time to explain the method I used for properly discharging my Capacitors…

I first used this link to figure out where to put my jumper wire http://www.corsair.com/blog/Testing-your-corsair-power-supply/

I hooked my PSU (both of them just not at the same time) to fans I had around, connected my 24 pin and jumper, put the power cord in the back of the PSU and to the wall, and turned on the PSU. After checking the functionality of everything I pulled the plug from the wall. You will notice the Fans will not immediately turn off once you do this (roughly 2-3 seconds). Once they turn off on their own, the capacitors have been discharged, I then turn off the PSU, disconnect the jumper & 24 pin and the fans.

This may not be the “approved” way to do this but for me this method works for me.

Sorry my camera really blows and its giving me problems uploading to my laptop frown.gif

the shots below are from my phone, so sorry for the terrible quality

On the Picture below you’ll notice my fan wire comes out of the side of the 650 PSU, this is because I want this fan on 100% of the time. This particular PSU has what I call a Smart Fan, thus it will turn off/ on depending on usage/temperature. Connecting it directly to its own power is what I decided to do.


The 1200 PSU did not have the same “Smart Fan” as the 650 it remains on all the time.

I did not take any Pictures of Splicing the wires for these PSU’s… I hope some of the viewers of this build log understand how to splice wires, but if not I will show a small tutorial if I get enough requests.

Final pic of the PSU’s


Next update will be my Pump Bracket I made out of case lab extra’s smile.gif
Edited by ve1ocity - 12/19/11 at 5:48pm
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
As promised I wanted to show my bracket I made for my pumps, you’ll see I used existing case labs parts, I figured I had enough parts from case labs to do something like this.

I first started my measuring and aligning where my pumps would go, I have decided to put my radiator on the bottom the case (MB Side). So in order to do this bracket I will need enough clearance for the Rad, and also the tubing/fittings.

Once I decided on the position of the pumps, I needed to also figure out the position on the bracket itself. Using a tape measure and a sharpie, it was pretty easy.
I then had 4 black dots I was able to drill. I used a 1/8” drill. In order to reduce drift with my drill, (I don’t trust myself) I installed the pump holding bracket (L shaped pump support) installed one screw, and aligned the existing dots up accordingly. I simply just drilled the rest of holes without issue.

I used the small mounting brackets from case labs and simply screwed them to the holding plate I just drilled for the pumps. Now I needed a bracket to mount the would-be pump bracket to the case. To make that work I simply just used some extra brackets used for CD ROM’s and such for support to the case.


Once I had the brackets all aligned up and good I drilled out the holes and put screws in for that well-known case labs support.

I had to use my dremel to cut some of my screws down; they were a bit too long and would hinder the actual mounting of the pumps.

Once the screws were cut I installed the pump brackets to the bracket I just made. Next I installed the pumps tightened everything down and installed the bracket with the pumps.

As you can see the final outcome of the bracket, I think it looks cool right there; I will also need a triple cover from case labs, and cut a bit out of that for a flush look. That means I will cut out 2 circles and put a piece of acrylic in there once fully complete.

Once I get the piece from case labs and the acrylic I’ll do an update to this mod and call it complete.

I'll post some more pictures of the above post tomorrow, and finish these pictures up tomorrow as well smile.gif
Next Mod I will be doing is my single bay cover piece and mounting temperatures sensors in there. smile.gif

Until next time.
Edited by ve1ocity - 12/19/11 at 5:52pm
post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
Temperature Sensors!

I used a single bay cover plate to do this mod, I consisted of me using measuring out the LCD screen of the temperature sensor, then measuring the lip of the LCD screen and cutting out inside my lines.

The goal to this was getting a flush fit, with a good tight fit, and no space on the sides, or upper/lower portion of the piece.

I haven't finished the other side yet, life catches up with you sometimes, that or the wife yells at you to "quit playing with yourself." blushsmiley.gif

One side complete!
When i dremeled out one side i smudged the other cut i need to do, no worries though it is easily fixed.
Edited by ve1ocity - 12/19/11 at 5:58pm
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Got some new stuff today from Frozencpu.com!


Looks pretty tight in there with the rad!

another shot of the clearance, I won't be putting anything in the lowest PCIe slot so no worries! thumb.gif

However on the M8 case labs case the front pane is NOT designed for a Radiator, this too me isn't an issue by any means I knew this before purchase, and i planned on modding this. This will be my next update most likely.

but regardless i will explain why the front of the case is not designed for a radiator.


its a bit hard to see, but you can see little nubs, these nubs are used for the HDD mount. I have the flex bay on the other side of the case, so I can simply use my dremel and cut those out, to the point where there are flush with the base metal. I will then have to drill the appropriate holes for the rad to fit with 3 AP15's.

So far i got a couple things on the to-do list, I'll try to get them done before the weekend, depends on how much i have to work this week. smile.gif
Edited by ve1ocity - 12/19/11 at 6:23pm
post #6 of 15
This is awaome. Subbed thumb.gif
Blue Creed
(13 items)
i5-2500k asrock p67 extreme4 gen3 ASUS 6850 Ripjaws x 2x4gb 
Custom water cooling Windows 7 home premium ASUS ML248H Leopold w/ Cherry MX red 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
CORSAIR TX850 V2  Corsair 650D Razer Orochi Razer Goliathus 
Creative sound blaster Arena 
  hide details  
Blue Creed
(13 items)
i5-2500k asrock p67 extreme4 gen3 ASUS 6850 Ripjaws x 2x4gb 
Custom water cooling Windows 7 home premium ASUS ML248H Leopold w/ Cherry MX red 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
CORSAIR TX850 V2  Corsair 650D Razer Orochi Razer Goliathus 
Creative sound blaster Arena 
  hide details  
post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
Sorry for no updates recently, life catches up with everyone once in a while. between the holidays, work/school, and family stuff I haven't had any time to dedicate an ample amount of time on. frown.gif

I decided to update a little bit, and a huge update within a week or two.

I installed the MB Waterblock, it looks really good imo, as for the tubing, I tossed and turned countless of nights on it, but I decided to go with a clear tubing, and sleeve the tubing, I haven't seen this on any recent build logs, and for this theme it fits perfectly.


I know the pic shows clear tubing, hopefully between work/school and family, I'll have some tubing completed.

I have a Raystorm here and ready to install, a deal fell through on a CPU, so I'm working that out currently, no worries though!

I ordered some Corsair Dominator GT 2133MHz RAM, I have something super secret for this (hopefully in my next update) I don't want to spoil anything yet, but i think it will be really really cool


I also got some HDD's 2 SSD120GB Patriot Wildfire (which will be in raid 0), and 2 Black Caviar 1TB (which will be in Raid 1)


the SSD looking at the specs are pretty good, and the name fits my build absolutely perfectly smile.gif


As i said fairly small update, a bit later than i expected, I hope to have the next update no later then 2 weeks...

Next update will be some case mod stuff, through wall ports, fan hole(s), right front radiator mount (vertical placement) - more on that in the next update.

mounting of the dual pumps, sleeved tubing, and the super secret RAM update tongue.gif

ya know come to think of it that is a lot of stuff i might just put it in 2 different updates LOL, - I'm so indecisive!
Edited by ve1ocity - 2/15/12 at 9:03pm
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
I decided to do a small update on some progress, on a couple of things, and more importantly something i learned about Case Labs M8 smile.gif

First off, I needed an exhaust fan on the PSU side of the case....


I zipped tied it in for the time being just for a double check my screw holes, without having to use the crappy screws provided tongue.gif


fan used is an 80mm Xigmatek, these are great fans imo, and keep a good color scheme throughout the build.

I used your typical hole-saw to cut through the case, a 3" diameter one to be exact, this is why you see a small amount of marker on one side compared to the other smile.gif


Next i decided to pop-out some rivets... I assumed, yea i know!... that the front portion of the case (which is riveted) was not welded, well i popped the rivets, and of course the piece doesn't even move a micron, so after studying it I saw it was welded at certain seams, thus the rivets were only stabilizing and taking excess pressure off of the welds. of course i didn't know this until 80% of the rivets were removed. frown.gif


this didn't hurt anything, maybe .15 extra for some rivets, but more importantly a different plan for a front mount Rad.

I originally thought of doing the below, but thought i could get a better cut/weld if i were to remove the entire front portion of the case, the piece i need cut out would have been done with a laser, making it much more accurate, and time efficient, but without a flat piece of material, the laser can't cut that, for a couple of different reasons...

1. the case itself is too big for this particular laser
2. it would cut through unwanted areas, (back of the case)


so using my trusty dremel I cut a pretty good straight line, I cut it on the inward side of my line, because i can always grind out, for the new piece, once i get it installed. I rather be safe then sorry in this case. (pun intended) tongue.gif


this is one of the fan spacers i cut out, I ran out of carbon fiber disks for my dremel, tonight, but I'll get some more tomorrow and finish up,


happy hour anyone cheers.gif

Since i don't have access to a laser cutter, i had to farm the front rad mount job out, luckily i have a limited knowledge of AutoCAD, and was able to create a drawing for the new piece for the front Rad mount.

I should have that by next week, depending on shops work load. Once i have that in had, i will weld it into place, carefully grind off excess weld, (you wouldn't see it anyways) but I am going for a clean look. and it will be painted anyways LOL.

All for now

Next update will hopefully be fixing my riveting mistake, and installation of the new front mount ready rad piece.

while I'm waiting on that I am going to start sleeving some cables, I'll show that off when those are complete smile.gif
post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
Waiting on some stuff to arrive now, in the meantime I drew a flame cut-out on my side panel, err.... my wife touched it up LOL


the grills i have decided on only come in 120mm, thus 140mm won't work. this should be ok though, as I'll explain below

Since i have 2 PSU's (AX650 and AX 1200) they are different sizes, thus my 1200 is on the bottom which has a 140mm fan, and the 650 has a 120mm fan, as you have already seen I put in my own fans in the PSU's

So all that being said, once the circles are cut out, you will see the full 120mm fan, and not all of the 140mm, but i think it will be very minimal to say the least.

I am worried of a couple different things concerning this mod though...

1. the offset of the fan holes
2. how to cut out the flames

I can picture in my head how it will look with the offset, and I'm just not 100% sure i like it.

2. although i am getting pretty good at using my dremel, I think the better option would be to put this on a laser cutter, because i want to reuse the tailings (cut out pieces) on the other side. not all of them just some smaller more intricate pieces to add effect.

the problem with the laser cutter is the CAD programming, as i said my knowledge with CAD is limited to say the least, thus I know i cannot design something like that in CAD, thus I'm left with an expensive bill for a small job

I'm torn on that right now, but i am honestly leaning more towards the laser, because i know it will be exactly how i want it, whereas if i do it by hand, if i mess up, i'm buying a new side panel
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
I got some new stuff in the mail this past week, some sleeving to look like 3/4" fire hose.

Some antivandal switches.

I now kind of wish i showed some pics of me attempting to sleeve the tubing, I have sleeved some, in the past, so i am familiar with regular cable sleeving, but tubing is a whole other concept!

I am 100% positive it is possible to have the sleeveing/heat-shrink, and tubing fit within a compression fitting, but my god i tried, tried, and tried to do that, in the end I think it would be easier to use a bigger fitting... i.e. 1/2"OD tubing, and 5/8" Compressions, combing the sleeve and heat-shrink, i am pretty sure you would have enough room under the lip of the fitting for a very solid, and sturdy fit, but i didn't want to change my entire tubing, for something i am not sure it would even work. (i still may do that), but for right now this should suffice.


This is how it will look in the case, I am holding my CPU block, i don't have the CPU yet, so there is no sense in putting the entire block on right now. (waiting on the Rev 2)



I also installed the anti vandal switches




I also took the side panel flame cut out in, i did this just too see how much it would cost me, I have a feeling I'll be doing that manually.

I was thinking about that recently and i may be able to stick it into a mill, and be able to simply mill it out. that may be the way to go, but i want to at least find out first.
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