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[Build Log] "Consummation" - Dual HTPC, water cooled audiophile 'stereo' build - Page 4

post #31 of 79
Thread Starter 
Thank you, unfortunately I broke a bit of the corner off the lighting tray last night so I'm going to have to remake it >.< Ah well, I made the short sides a hair too long for my tastes, my LED grooves were questionable, and that particular acrylic was cheapo wavy milky junk. I'm just trying to decide how thick I can go; the stuff I'd used was 3mm and it wasn't able to contain my cables properly so I'd like to use 6mm, but I'm not sure I have room (even with my extended MB standoffs,) but even 4mm or 5mm would be way better for what I need it to dual purpose heh
post #32 of 79
Thread Starter 
Short update, well actually its a pretty long update because there's some tips, but I didn't accomplish all that much on my build tongue.gif

I spent last night breaking my MB lighting tray... wait... I mean I spent last night tearing down my entire rig to install the 16awg PCIe cable I made. I figured since I was pulling it all apart I might as well do a few things I've been putting off for a while; there's a couple new holes in the stand for cable management and because I had to make room for the monster plug on the EVGA 1600T2 PSU - I mean who makes plug slots nearly 2" around? If you've never seen one here you go:

That's just crazy!!

I got a hole big enough to fit that though cut into the middle and bottom shelves so I can finally slide my surge protector back under the stand where it belongs. Speaking of, I was hunting around for a new surge protector as the other end of that PSU cable is the same size so it doesn't fit in the 5" tall space I'd built into the stand, I want a surge protector that either had rotating plugs or is "thin" enough to stand up in that space... Anyway, I'd read somewhere in my hunting that surge protectors go "bad," like they stop providing surge protection so you should replace them every 5 or so years. I had no idea, I figured if they worked forever, or at least until you had a surge that blew them up. So now I'm hunting around for new surge protectors for all over the house, I can't find a one that has T1000 protection on it anywhere sadsmiley.gif

I also uninstalled the Claro Halo XT frown.gif I'm running my sound off the 290x's HDMI now, it sounds great don't get me wrong, but I miss the ease of use software from the Claro that let me have virtual 7.1 if it wasn't available on the original source. I can set my receiver up to do virtual 7.1, but it's a hassle. I went ahead and hooked up the onboard audio as well so I'll be testing the two. Also, I must have snapped a speaker wire as my left surround back is now dead so I'll have to rerun that; it was a bit short anyway. I don't have to tear everything down to replace it so it's just a matter of finding a ladder and the speaker wire staples - I figure I'll put it off until I finish modifying the LED strip drivers so I can run the speaker extensions at the same time.

Anyway, got one of the new 16awg PCIe cable extension sets for the GPU done. I've got a couple tricks for making cables that folks might find useful.

First one is a jeweler's trick for straightening wire, because really you take it off the spool and it's like working with a spring, it's a hassle when you're trying to get the lengths the same, and then you have to fight with the mixed "trained in coil" directions while trying to train the darn things lie the way /you/ want them to lie. The second picture show's a wire I'd done two passes of my trick on:

What I like to do is roll them, this is like a combination of 3 dimensional ironing and pulling and works pretty well for me (I'm going to try another method I just learned about on the next PCIe cable so I'll let you know how that goes.) You need a fairly sturdy box with a smooth bottom and fits comfortably in your hand. I like to have a little weight to mine (I use a wooden router bit box with the bits in it.) How it works is you hand straighten the wire out a bit and pin down one end with your thumb, then you take your box and, using a decent amount of pressure and at a shallow angle, you roll the wire back and forth under the box, kind of pulling the wire along as you roll your way to the other end; basically keep tension on the area between the box and your thumb. You don't want the wire to "travel" away from you so much as make tight rotations, tight rotations get the "longer" arc's out and the "ironing" factor gets the shorter ones. I usually do one pass one direction then another pass the other direction and it's pretty straight, probably good enough for most uses (My cables on the other hand will become ribbon cables so I spend a lot more time getting them straight.) If you see any problem areas you can roll them again, but I find you have to roll from the "problem" spot all the way to the end or you get a new arc in it. It's really hard to get pictures of this process but hopefully this gives you an idea of the angle. It does take some practice to understand the technique, but once you do, it makes making cables a lot easier:

The second trick is a dual trick that helps get your wires to be the same length and makes putting together a custom extension cable a snap. What I like to do is pin up one side of the connector as normal, I usually start on the side that will be most visible (with my PCIe cables shown in the pictures, I did the male end as it goes into the GPU, where as the other end goes to the PSU and won't be visible in my build.) So I arrange the visible connector side's wires however I want them to look (I did a flat pattern for my ribbon cables.) Then I line them all up in order and kind of pressing them together to make sure they're tight to each other and straight, I use electrical tape to hold them together; leaving however much I want loose to work with while I cut and pin the other end. (I left around 6" on this example because it's 16awg and a bit more difficult for me to strip.) So I end up with this:

Next we straight out the loose strands, holding them tight to each other to ensure they stay straight and using a fine tip sharpie I draw a straight line across the end. I find that the fine tip sharpie line is just the right thickness that if you snip the wire at the far side of the mark you end up with just the right length of exposed wire for pinning if you strip it at the near side of the mark. Like this:

Using this technique with a crimper tool (and you should use a crimper tool) you can easily verify that your pinning is in the same spots as well; you can't hold the pinned wires next to each other so much because the pins are too wide and they catch on each other and throw everything off, which makes it pretty difficult to tell when a pin is out of alignment. However, with this technique, we know that the individual wires are all the same length as they're taped together, and we know that our cuts and stripping are at the same spots because we used the sharpie marking as our guide, which means we can look at the back of the pins and see how much insulation we have past the bottom ring of the pin to know at a glance if we've got everything the same length. When you look at the ends you can easily see the ones that are too long or two short so you can fix them pretty easily. I found it was exceedingly difficult to photograph without my light box (I couldn't find it) due to shadows, but hopefully you can see that the black "band" the insulation makes just above the bottom pin ring is uniform, other than the pins I did "incorrectly" so you can see what I mean (the second, fourth, fifth, and the last two on the right are all wrong to varying degrees):

Finally, with this technique pinning your female connector is a cake walk. Just plug the male end of the cable into your female connector, then it's easy as pie to line up the wires to the right holes. You can set the male pins into the connector while it's plugged in so it's like paint by numbers:

Anyhow, I got that cable installed and got all the wires routed properly under the motherboard but on top of the light tray. (I didn't mess with straightening out the old wires into a clean "ribbon" because they're all 18awg so I have to remake them.) So this is how the new cable looks (also, I don't think I've posted a picture with both GPU's installed):

I'm not going to put on the heat shrink until I water block the GPUs because they're a lot thinner and I'm going to need to do a bit of an arc at the bottom of the cards to go under the MB super clean, I'm also still deciding if I want to put GPU2 right up against GPU1 or space them out like this and have a more visible "bridge" of tubing between them.

I took some nice "glamor" shots of the stand and my components for GP, I think it's been like 8 months since I cleaned them up real nice and took pictures of them heh:

Edited by Mystriss - 10/26/15 at 11:40pm
post #33 of 79
Subbed and looking forward to the rest of this! Great work and lots of info here! biggrin.gif
post #34 of 79
Thread Starter 
I try!!! I'm just really slow tongue.gif Well the truth is that my time frame for getting my build done is "eventually" so I kind of just fiddle with my build when I've got nothing else on my plate (which lately... hasn't been very often heh)

I haven't done much work on the build itself since my last post, but I did some more shopping ( I enjoy shopping if one hadn't noticed. ) My favorite new bit that I currently have pictures of is this Monsoon SAP ("Stand Alone Pump" it's a D5 pump top, mount, and cover kit)

Monsoon's brand new MMRS (Monsoon Modular Reservoir System) is just epic, if you've not heard of it yet, seriously, you need to go check it out, probably one of the coolest ideas I've seen in ages ( http://www.overclock.net/t/1567067/new-products-from-monsoon-cooling )

I put it right up there on the scale of "stuff that changes everything" with things like man-made biological leaves ( http://gizmodo.com/the-first-man-made-biological-leaf-turns-light-and-wate-1612646588 ), digital "tattoo's" ( like http://www.vivalnk.com/eskin there's a few out there now ) and these animated display shoes ( http://en.paperblog.com/shiftwear-fashionable-sneakers-futuristic-smartshoes-with-animated-displays-1370603/ )

Now the down side to the epic-ness of MMRS is that this product has got me all in a tizzy about my top case GPU res... The FrozenQ res is going to end up on the auction block, and my GPU loop is now on hold while I figure out exactly how I want to do a new MMRS res heh

The tizzy gets even worse because Monsoon is about to release a MMRS coupler that would allow me to have both my GPU and CPU loop res's in the same 400mm space my FrozenQ res was to go... Basically, I can have two separate res's with a D5 pump and a like 150mm water holding container right there in my top case... and the design options for how that might look are just about endless... I'm in a serious conundrum about what I want to do and how I want it to look heh

My initial thought was to do a res like this:

Pump - Black 50mm Acrylic Tube w/chrome rods - Coupler - Clear Frosted 150mm Acrylic Tube w/black rods - Coupler - Black 50mm Acrylic Tube w/chrome rods - Pump

But with the connected dual res thing coming out now I'm thinking about doing:

GPU Pump - Black 100mm Acrylic Tube w/chrome rods- Res Splitter Coupler - Black 100mm Acrylic Tube w/chrome rods - CPU Pump

( I'll have a much, much better way to show what I'm talking about very soon wink.gif )

In any event, the Monsoon SAP pictured above will either be for my CPU loop, or the secondary pump in my GPU loop. That pump is to be mounted on the GPU res on my desk hutch so I've kind of jerry-rigged the SAP mount on a 120mm EK fan pump mount like so:

(Inside the SAP I've got my Swiftech D5 pump - the old top is going on the auction block as well heh)

I also finally picked up one of the two Aquaero D5 USB/Aquabus pumps I need, though I'm waiting on Monsoon to come out with a slightly longer pump cover for it (the connections on the back of the AQ pump stick up too high) before I can move forward with the water cooling.

In other news, after much testing, I'm going back to my Claro Halo XT. I just can't go without all the features and what not it has on it, from being able to send a specific Hz to my subwoofer for my LED sound control, to the automatic virtual 7.1, I want them back. On the same vein the Blue Microphone Yeti is alright, it's a great mic, but the USB is picking up so much interference from my power hungry rig that it's absolutely destroying my recording quality. The Yeti picks up my occasional whisper soft vocals way better than the Claro did, but the entire time there's this stupid hum in the background and I just can't deal with that. I'm going to try a USB filter thing that supposedly cleans it up, but I have a feeling the Yeti's days are numbered.

I think that's all for the moment, I'm working on a major project atm, but soon as I get that done I'll remake my LED light tray. I've decided to give 6mm thick acrylic a try in the hopes that it can help manage the cables (like I can tape the ribbons in a notch on the back side and hold them exactly where I want them to come off the MB at.) I'll be using the left over bits from the piece of acrylic I'd bought to make my top case window, so I'll get that window knocked out as well - I've been putting off doing that window because I can't put it on the case until I water block the GPUs as the heat pipe sticks up too much heh

Oh I did forget something, so I had ordered a 2'x2' sheet of 3mm thick black brushed aluminum to make custom covers for the drive bay openings on the top case as the stock ones need the drive bays installed, but they accidently sent me a 4' x 2' sheet of the stuff o.O

Unfortunately for the poor company, they said it cost them $80 to ship that to Alaska frown.gif (I ordered it from Amazon and got free shipping) Needless to say, they didn't particularly want to pay for shipping the piece back and getting me the right one, so now I've got enough black brushed aluminum to make another case heh

I'll be making a nifty sliding tray & mount for the Claro Halo XT boards, and I might use some of it to make the side panels for the top case if it's thin enough to not interfere with the case hooks. I'm also playing around with mounting both the Aquaero's in the top case drive bay slots; I can make a custom surround for the AQ6 display (I'll never use) and custom mounting brackets so its secured without the need for a drive bay. We'll see what else I come up with for my extra aluminum heh
Edited by Mystriss - 12/9/15 at 1:44am
post #35 of 79
Thread Starter 
Yay the holidays are over so I can finally make a mess working on my build again! heh

As I'd noted a couple weeks ago I'm planning to do a Monsoon MMRS split/dual res for my CPU and GPU loop, here's a render of the design I'm thinking about, still keeping with my black and white theme for the most part, except frosted acrylic tubes instead of opaque white tubes:

I'll have the D5 pumps on either end (as it's horizontal I won't have a dry pump issue) and the pump outlets will feed into the Monsoon light port fittings w/ white hardline tubes to the GPU and CPU. The picture is of the side that'll face the MB so on the right side is the GPU res which comes out to be about 160mm x 60mm and on the left is the CPU res which comes out to be about 80mm x 60mm. I'm going to rotate the two middle couplers on their mounts so they point down more than in the render here, then I'll have the inlets from my rad's on the bottom ports mostly hidden beneath the res and just plug the top ports with Monsoon matte black plugs. (I'll also have the Swiftech pump in it's Monsoon MMRS SAP as a redundant/emergency pump for the GPU loop mounted to the GPU rad on my desk hutch.)

I'm hoping to get serious about some projects tomorrow or the next day; first up is making a mount with my extra brushed black aluminum sheet for my Claro Halo XT. While I've got the Claro uninstalled I'm going back to the RCA connectors (it's currently on Optical SPDIF but the Claro only puts out 5.1 on that and I miss my 7.1 for my anime.) I've also bought some ferrite core's to hopefully eliminate my EMI issue with the new PSU. While I'm at it I'll cut out some side panels for the top case and see how the black brushed aluminum looks on the sides.

After that I'll start on remaking the MB lighting tray. I'll be cutting out the window for my top case and using the remainder for the new MB tray. This is high quality 6mm thick clear acrylic sheet so I'm hoping for a much stronger MB tray that can properly "hold" my thicker 16g cables exactly where I want them.

Hopefully I'll get pictures of the new stuff I got over the past couple weeks; a flex shaft for my Dremel and a bunch of bits to try out (for cutting in the slot for the LED strip), as well as a cheap-o electric mani-pedi thing I wanted to try (for the same slot thing.) I also picked up a cool little X-acto mini saw blade kit for cutting the acrylic sheet (I've tested it on a small piece and it worked amazingly well for me, much better than the Dremel for long straight cuts.) I'll try to get some better pictures of the AQ D5 pumps I got a little while ago as well. In other areas I picked up a cool looking shock mount for the Yeti so I'll get a picture of that, as well as the Yeti itself, as well as the new PSU installed in the bottom case. Then if I have the inclination I'll get some video of my new K95 RGB keyboard - I'm trying to set up an app that displays a real-time equalizer on the keyboard so that should be fun! I think I'm forgetting some of the new stuff, I'll probably find it when I pull all my mod boxes out of storage and pick through them (it'll almost be like a second Christmas since I can't remember all the stuff I got right? tongue.gif)
post #36 of 79
That's some great info! Looking forward to seeing that Monsoon res and the AQ D5 pump, looking to get one of those myself. I have the blue yeti and the microphone is outstanding! I didn't get the pro since I didn't want to spend the extra $100. How are you going to mount the yeti, tabletop or desk mount?

Get some pics coming! drool.gif
post #37 of 79
Thread Starter 
^ I'm actually thinking to wall mount a Hiel Boom ( http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000SZVZ74/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=161YPS9V1RQJV&coliid=I33EI5SSY75HU and http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0018TAIQI/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=161YPS9V1RQJV&coliid=I7TQVKIBJFDG9 ) with the spider shock mount I bought. - (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HL5WWHQ?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00 ) The boom mount is on hold until I have my studio remodeled, so for now it's in it's stock desktop mount which works alright so long as I can get rid of the EMI.
post #38 of 79
Thread Starter 
I got the top case window cut out and installed on the top case lid. Can't put it on until I water block the GPU as the stock heat pipe sticks up too much, but here it is anyway:

Also pictures of new stuff I ran across while doing the case window:

Flex shaft for the Dremel as well as some cove bits I'm going to try making the recess for the LED's in the new MB tray and a glass hole drill bit for the MB stand-offs in the tray, hopefully this won't chip the surface of my acrylic like the plastic drill bit I used on the last tray did (not that one can see it, but because I'm OCD heh)

Also this chepo pedicure electric file which I'll also test out for making the LED cove and the X-acto saw blade kit which works very well on the acrylic so it should be perfect to fine tune my framers corners on the MB tray

I'd gotten these SilverStone super flat right angle sata cables and installed them a while back, they're perfect (don't have them routed under the mb atm cause I'd broken the old MB tray and knew I was going to have to remake that anyway

I also found my bag of these sata couplers for the connection between the top and bottom cases, also the AquaComputer D5 Pump

And finally the Blue Yeti microphone, I threw a ferrite bead on the USB cable hoping to clear up it's EMI, but I've not had a chance to test it out yet
post #39 of 79
Thread Starter 
Almost done with the new MB lighting tray, just need to round-over the edges and put on my coverings smile.gif

I went with 6mm thick acrylic this time and it's so much better than 3mm; it's more stable so it doesn't bend/warp at all, it seems a lot easier to work with (though the acrylic I'd made the first tray out of was total junk), and I am able to use actual bits to do the led cut-in and edge round-over (the other one was so thin I had to do everything by hand.) I also went with a bit more reveal around the MB (about 1/4") which should give me a little bit of space for the cables so they don't break my light line.

Since I had to remake the tray I got better pictures of the process/tips as well as the light testing than I had with the first tray. Lets start with the cut-in for the led strip. You want to do a cut-in/groove if you're edge lighting because it transmits the light much better, giving you a more consistent and brighter light line. I took a bunch of pictures to show the different effects of lighting; positioning, groove, edge, etc. Here's the sample piece unlit and with the LED's not shining in a groove:

As you can see you get almost no light transmission (because it just shines through heh) Sometimes you might want to "edge" light - meaning the LED's are placed directly on the edge of the acrylic; however, I find this only works well if you just want to light up an etched design.

Here's how it looks with the LED's shining into a groove. You can see how it shines to the edges a lot better and has a bit more "spread" - covers a wider area because the light doesn't just shine directly through:

If you leave the edge you're lighting straight and clear you don't get a lot of diffusion so you end up with pin-points of light like this:

If you want more diffusion or "spread" you'll want to sand the edge for a softer glow. (I haven't done this on my new MB tray, but it's what I had done with my first tray; a soft round-over and scuff/frost up the edge):

Also if you cut the edge at an angle and sand it you can get a thicker appearing light line. First picture just show's what the sample piece looks like on the edge to give an idea what I mean. I also did some light surface scratches, call it lazy etching, just so you can see how it lights up if you wanted to do a design (etched designs show up better with a cut-in/groove in my opinion.)

Anyway, to cut-in my MB lighting tray groove I set up a fence on my desk with a couple clamps and a section of 2x2 lumber and used the 1/4" router bit (#617) with the router attachment at it's shallowest setting. You want to move at a steady pace, if you sit in any spot too long it melts the acrylic and makes a bit of a mess, though it's generally fixable:

I did the round groove because I'm only lighting one edge of the acrylic, then when I put in my LED strip I angle it a bit toward the outside edge. (If I wanted to light all the edges of the piece I would do a v-groove because that refracts the light in all directions, you'd put the LED strip flat into the groove.) In any event, you'll want to get the groove as clear as you can as that'll affect how "bright" the light is, plus any inconsistencies (like if the acrylic melted a bit in one spot) will make "dim" spots and your light won't be as consistent.

There's a couple "stages" of clean-up you can go through. The first picture shows a groove that I just quickly sanded with 150 grit, 300 grit, and 600 grit. The second picture I sanded a bit longer, fire-polished, and used the three step Novus Plastic Cleaner kit on, huge difference.

To do fire-polishing you heat up the surface and melt it a bit so it goes glossy, it's really beautiful, but it's also a bit dangerous because if you heat it too much it'll bubble up on you, you also run the risk of warping the acrylic if you're not careful. I prefer to use a small torch for fire-polishing because it's more precise, but you can do it with a heat gun if you're careful. You have to do medium speed sweeping motions with the heat, if you stay in one place too long it'll bubble up on you; you want to give the acrylic a few seconds to cool between passes. It's a bit tricky so I highly suggest practicing on scraps to get the hang of it. I'd also always test with the acrylic you're planning to use because different acrylic pieces seem to heat faster or slower, some types are extremely easy to bubble up, others hold up a bit longer, etc.

Anyway, for my MB tray I used the smallest drum sander in the Dremel to widen the opening a bit (since I want to angle my LED strip toward the outside edge), and sanded even longer before I did the Novus process, I also used the Dremel buffer to shine it up. (I did not fire-polish because it came out pretty well without it so I didn't feel it was worth the risk of bubbling it up.) The first picture here is the MB tray after the Dremel drum and 150grit sanding, and second is after the full Novus treatment and buffing:

I wasn't able to reuse my old tray's lighting strips because my groves are in different locations so I got serious about the wire soldering for the new strip. After getting my strips exactly where they'd need to be in the MB tray I taped them down and used very short lengths of wire to connect the two. (Use a small pair of needle nose pliers to hold the wires, they transfer heat pretty quick.) After I got the corners soldered up I coated the connections in electrical grade silicone and reinforced the corner with some electrical tape.

That's all I've got for now, hopefully I'll have time to router the edges and do the covering stuff tomorrow or the next day smile.gif
post #40 of 79
Thread Starter 
Soooo, take three on the motherboard lighting tray; the second one wasn’t standing up to holding the cables in place and kept coming apart at the corners so I rage trashed it. I apparently have to do a full tray and cut holes through it for the cabling to allow me to hold the cables exactly where I want them. I might have to disconnect everything from the bottom case just to take out the MB, but I figure how often am I going to need to do that once I’ve got it built? On the plus side, this has given me the opportunity to play with some new tools heh.

I cut to size a piece of 6mm clear acrylic sheet and whipped out my new Dremel router table with the Dremel round over bit, wish the bit wasn’t piloted, but the profile turned out alright:

Second new toy is a Dremel glass hole-saw; works beautifully on acrylic, but it does clog up with melted acrylic while you’re drilling. I try to pull the melted plug off the acrylic sheet every 3rd of the way through (so about 2mm) but if the plug comes loose in the bit it’ll solidify inside. (When that happened I just stuck the bit in my 2x4 work surface, heated it up with a heat gun, and pulled out the acrylic plug.)

The bit makes perfect sized holes for stand-offs to fit through so it’s worth the hassle in my opinion. I just sanded the holes with a diamond coated round file (jewelry making tool) – my stand-offs are black so it doesn’t matter in my case, but if you wanted your holes to be clear you could sand them further by wrapping paper around a screwdriver shaft or w/e.

Here’s the new mb tray with the stand-off holes and edge rounding done:

Next was wiring up the LED strip. First I tape down the two led strips how I’ll want them to be oriented once they’re soldered, as you can see I’ve got the 12v pads right next to each other – even if you have more of a gap in your corner than I am doing, make sure you arrange the strips so you solder 12v to 12v, blue to blue, etc. It’s a bit of a pain to de-solder corners like these if you accidently get one of the strips backwards heh

I cut, bend, and strip the wire for the first two or three connections before I start soldering because the pieces of wire are so short. If you try to strip the wire while one side is soldered on it’s real easy to pull the copper pad off the strip (which destroys the strip,) and on these shorter connections I find the insulation likes to come off the whole piece of wire if you’re not careful. (I pre-cut the insulation with my wire stripper, then hold the wire firm with a pair of plyers and carefully work off the cut section to expose the wires.)

On the 12v connection that I’ve got over-lapped I use solid electronics solder so I don’t need a wire in there, just a connecting blob of the conductive solder. Then I get a dab of [regular] solder on each of the remaining LED strip pads, use plyers to hold the stripped wire’s on the pad [because heat transfers down the wire,] then get a dot of solder on the tip of the iron and solder the two together – I’ve tried using a touch of flux on the wire as is oft recommended for stranded wire, but it seems like all that does is suck the solder into contact with the insulation, which melts and makes a big mess, so I prefer not using flux for this. Here’s my two corners (I twitched and melted off the insulation on the green wire on one of them oops)

After I got done with all my soldering I put a good (but flat) coating of silicone over /all/ the corner wiring; holds the corner wires in a nice 90 degree angle, as well as securing the solder points, which helps prevent the pads from ripping off. It also helps keep the solder points separate even if I bend the LED strip a bit in the tray or w/e I’m using them for. (TIP – silicone doesn’t stick to Windex. I silicone one side of the corner then set it down on a misting of Windex while I do the other side of the corner, that way the silicone doesn’t stick to w/e surface and pull on the wires and such while I’m working, plus it’s easier to clean up heh) Here’s a close up of one of the corners secured with silicone, as well as the finished LED strip:

After the silicone had a couple hours to dry I laid the LED strip out on the acrylic mb tray and marked the tray for cutting in the groove:

I used the Dremel cove bit as before, but this time with a new tool, the Dremel circle and straight guide (worked great for the straight cuts, haven’t needed to cut a circle yet):

I recommend using a hobby knife to cut out the protective paper on the acrylic, I didn’t the first pass and it gummed up my cove bit pretty bad heh. I needed to do two passes with the cove bit to get the groove wide enough, but with the straight guide it was just a matter of resetting the guide smile.gif

Next was sanding the groove; I started out with the large Dremel sanding drum to even out the worst of the peak between the two passes with the cove bit, then wrapped 60 grit around a pen sized screwdriver handle which is just a bit smaller than the width of the groove. (Tip: if you’re wrapping sand paper around something like this screwdriver, you can just unroll the paper a bit and cut it off when it fills up with acrylic dust so you’ve got fresh paper without having to constantly re-roll the sand paper around the pen/handle.)

Once I had the groove decently smoothed out with the 60 grit I switched to sanding sponges. (I love these sanding sponges for acrylic work because you can just rinse off all the acrylic dust and they work great wet, also they’re spongy so they mold to the groove quite well. The black one has like 150 grit on 2 of the sides and 220 grit on the other two sides, and the yellow one is 320 grit.) Then I followed up with 600 grit sanding and did the Novus 3 step polish w/Dremel buffing that I had done with the second tray.

After the groove was all sanded smooth and polished, I set the led strip in place and tested it out. I did the edges to the 320 grit so you can see a bit more on the “spot-light” effect I was talking about with the lighting information in my previous post - the led strips are about 2 ½ inches from the edge and not angled toward the edges in these pictures. I actually want the lighting to be more of a solid line so I’ll hit all the edges and the LED strip groove with 60grit and leave them super rough to diffuse the light.

Next step was making my custom 16 gauge wire ribbon cables. For the 24pin MB cable I did the same “stepped” wire positioning as with the GPU cable I made earlier, then using a piece of heavy duty sheet metal I got a decent 90 degree bend in the wires to go under the motherboard. I’ll heat shrink the wires together on the underside of the light tray to keep them in line when I install the MB for the last time.

For this temporary 8pin CPU power cable I used the corsair-style 18 gauge ribbon because I ran out of 16 gauge wire and I didn’t want to wait to cut the cable holes in the MB. I’ll replace this cable when my spool of wire ships (the 16g will be a bit wider than this one is, but this is the look I’m going for). To set this waterfall(?) design up, I "dry-fit" the wires in the connector and arranged them (on the board so I got the bends right to go under the mb) and sniped individual wires as needed until it looked just right. Then when I pulled it out of the connector, looking at it from the side it was easy to even up the wires for pinning. Was kind of a pain to pin because I had to be /very/ careful to face the pins exactly right, also a pill to get it in the connector once it's pinned without pulling apart the ribbon cable; I did the "inside" shorter two wires then worked to the "outside" longest ones. With the 16 gauge wire this will be a lot easier to do since I'll be working with individual wires heh

I also made a 5pin USB cable for the Aquaero and a 2pin extension for the power switch using 22 gauge ribbon cable:

With the MB on the tray I marked out where all the cables hit the tray, then I drew out all the cable slots I'll need, making sure they cleared the LED groove:

I went back and forth a number of times on if I wanted to make the holes wide enough for the connectors or just the cable and ultimately I decided to make them just big enough for the ribbon wires because I think that will hold the wire in place better. I figure I can always go back and widen the holes if it irritates me enough, but for the most part I’ve got all the stock cables if I need to work on the case or something. For the power switch cable I just used the glass hole bit, also used the hole bit on each side of the slot openings, then used a plastic cutting wheel to connect the holes and a square file to square the corners off a bit. I beveled all the edges on the cable slots so it doesn’t wear on the wire insulation. Also cut in a hole beneath the CPU just in case it gets too hot. In the last picture you can see how the cables will go through the tray.

With the holes cut in it was time for a test fit with the MB installed. I've also got one of my perfect SilverStone right angle super thin wire sata cables on the board, they press right up against each other with just enough room for the two wires; really hard to see any other way because the GPU covers them up for the most part:

I'm waiting to cut in the GPU cable slots until last (because I wanted to listen to music while I worked on most of it but I needed to set everything up exactly right to line up the GPU slots.) However, it turns out I'm going to have to replace the ribbon cable for the Claro Halo PCI extension so its long enough to reach the second shelf and lays right up top. I just ordered the stuff for that and it's supposed to be here in like a week so I'll finish the tray up then, hopefully next weekend.

I got started on the sheet metal holder for the Claro Halo. One of the few things I actually learned in high school was to fold out my sheet metal projects with paper first; kind of along the lines of measure twice, cut once. With paper you can trash it if you decide you need a connector tab somewhere else for stability or w/e, plus it's a lot easier to fold heh Here's my paper plan:

I need the top and back to be open in order to install it since I'll be screwing this tray/holder to the stereo rack itself, so I've reinforced the corners with bends and connections. I'll bolt the PCI slot board in place with stand-offs that are tall enough for the PCI slot tab to clear the side/floor so the card sits flat and I won't have to disconnect the PCI slot board itself unless I'm removing the top case. I'm also going to line the aluminum sheet with EMI blocker in the hopes that it clears up the last of my interference.

I laid out my plan on the sheet metal and cut it to size, but I can't find my seam pliers anywhere, and my attempts to bend without it simply are not going to work. This project's going to have to be put on hold until I decide if I want to get a break or not, but here's where I'm at with it heh:

I also apparently forgot to post pictures of my latest purchase here; Monsoon MMRS parts for my dual res:

I may change my mind and equal out this res design down the road, but I'm still waiting for Monsoon to put out a longer pump cover for the integrated Aquaero D5 pump, as well as the splitter ring kit. However, I /might/ break down and put these together to see how they look in my case after I get the tray installed heh
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Overclock.net › Forums › Case Mods & Cases › Builds & Case Mods › Case Mods › Case Mod Work Logs › [Build Log] "Consummation" - Dual HTPC, water cooled audiophile 'stereo' build