So at request I am doing a quick little write up on some fittings and my experience so far with hard tube water cooling. I will talk about the experience I have had with the fittings I have tried, the problems I have had along the way, and things you might consider if you would like try hard tubing.
I am just going to say this right now, I am by no means a professional and I would probably not suggest this for a first time water cooler. While it does look nice it can be tricky and can get expensive.Aquatuning 10mm G1/4 Push FittingBitspower SLI Link Single O-ringBitspower SLI Link Double O-Ring
I am using the Parker X6-1/4PLPHBF4-B fitting for my build but you can change the mfr # to whatever you would like or just play around with the options to find one that suits your needs. Just keep in mind you will want tube x BSPP for the connection and 1/4" pipe size (which is G 1/4
)FittingsParker's WebsiteSome pictures of the fittings.Note:
I painted my fittings exteriors black, they can come in nickel plated or stainless steel.
Bitspower SLI fittings not pictured.
Fittings! (Click to show)
The fittings all have different amount of thread. Depending on your blocks you might need to trim the thread side down. I used a lathe but a saw and file should work, just try and clean the threads up before you screw them into any blocks.Aquatuning 10mm Push Fittings:
- Cost, they are fairly low cost.
- Look great
- Good bite on copper, you won't be accidently pulling these out. Once they are in they are in.
- Must use 10mm copper (depending where you live, this might not be a con)
- Internal o-ring isn't very robust
- Not the strongest feeling fitting.
The very first fittings I bought were the Aquatuning fittings as I liked the look of them and enjoyed B-Negatives feedback on them. I knew they needed 10mm tubing but wanted to buy them just in case 3/8" tubing would work as they are often interchangable (people selling 10mm tubing is often actually 3/8" and vise versa as there is some fluctuation in the manufacturing process and strictness of what can be classified as what by the vendors).
When the fittings initially arrived I was taken back by the quality. They really felt cheap and the part that bites and holds onto the tubing rattles. It feels much more solid once a tube is fully inserted but the initial feeling didn't leave a vote of confidence.
The reason I ended up throwing these in storage is I didn't want to deal with finding metric tubing. I tried 3/8" tubing and it felt like it would work well. The fitting bites and holes the tubing really well and can't be pulled out with any reasonable amount of force, but.... when I made a small test look for it, the fittings leaked. I will admit, it probably wouldn't leak if using proper 10mm tubing but a bummer nonetheless as proper 10mm tubing is harder to come by in the US for a reasonable cose. The leak using 3/8" wasn't massive but a leak is a leak and anything is unacceptable.Bitspower SLI Link Fittings:
- Price, these are by far the most expensive fittings of the bunch
- Must use 12mm tubing
- No secure method of holding tubing in.
These in my opinion should be avoided unless you only plan on using them in certain parts of the build. There is no safety mechanism to hold the tubing in place, the only thing holding the tubing in place is the pressure from the O-ring being pressed against the tube. The double O-ring variant is certainly a better option as there is at least a bit more assurance that it shouldn't leak. But even still, if you do a 180 degree bend, if there is enough pressure from the pump the tubing could just be pushed out. My main concern wouldn't be that the tubing would be pushed out the very first go, my concern is that it would slowly work it's way out.
If you want to use these, because let's face it, they do look nice. Go for the version with the double O-rings. But if you can, try and go with something else. Even if you "glued" the tubing inside of the fitting you're just causing more work dealing with that down the road.
Also, you have to use 12mm tubing with these, no exceptions especially considering what I just said. 12mm tubing is easier to source than 10mm but there is still not super easy.Parker Push Fittings:
- Built like a tank, Industrial grade.
- Large variety of size options
- Modest price
These were the last fittings I bought and the ones I decided to go with for two reasons. 1) I could source the fittings locally and 2) the copper is easier to get and cheaper.
I initially didn't want to go with these fittings because of the looks, they are very industrial looking and well, not quite what I was going for. I decided I would try them out and just paint them to hide some of the industrial look. Ended up liking the look of them in mat black.
These fittings are incredibly well made and have a great feel to them, no rattle and have some weight to them that lets you know they are going to last. The internals of these fittings give a nice bit while maintaining an easy to release when wanted.
The biggest things for me was the sizing. The fittings come in almost whatever size you want. I went with 3/8" because I like the look but largely you can get it anywhere. I litterally just went to lowes (any hardware shop should have it) and bought 10 feet for just under $10. Hard to argue with that.
The reason the copper was a big deal to me is because it made me feel at ease. Oh, I am a foot short? Well, hop in the car and go pick up so more and be done in 30 minutes. No waiting for shipping, no hassle of ensuring what you ordered online is actually 10mm, none of that. But also, it's nice for reusing the fittings in future builds since the copper is much easier to get a hold of.Mystery Fitting:
Alright, so it's not exactly a mystery fitting. It's another Parker fitting but it's not a push lock fittings, it's a flare fittings. That kind of fitting is what I generally use when doing any kind of hydraulic work. The reason I didn't add it to the actual review is because it's a bigger pain in the but that needed for computer loops. Large fitting, slightly more expensive, and requires thought, lol. The sleeve and nut have to be placed on the tubing before flaring the end. Also requires yet another tool which most of you would never use again, lol. Just put it in there for size/look comparison.XSPC Barb Fitting:
Simply threw that in there for size comparison since more of you guys know about barb fittings.
I am a Rigid fan and would highly recommend their tubing bender and cutter. Other options will work but I always go back to them. Incredibly well made and give great bends/cuts.Bender and Cutter! (Click to show)
No matter what route you go, I would highly suggest getting plenty of spare tubing to not only practice on but just in case you screw up.
If there is anything else you would like me to discuss, feel free to say something and I will do my best to answer, although I am sure B-Negative would be much better for answering questions since he has done hard tubing computer loops more than I.Edited by deafboy - 12/15/12 at 9:09pm