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[Build Log] Project Lazarus - ME3 / ME2 themed build (Pic Heavy)

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Greetings OCN!

The time has come to build myself a new rig! Normally I'm the kind of person who is content with just throwing a bunch of components in a case, overclocking them, and playing my games; However this time I've decided to go the path less traveled. This will be my first build log I've put together and also my first real case mod as well. With any luck everything goes to plan and I end up with a beautiful, unique rig, if not well.....you've got the best seat in the house to watch a train wreck unfold.

First off a bit of preface for this build:

I've decided to go with a Mass Effect 3 / 2 themed build, the difference being its going to be based on cerberus rather then the normal Sheppard's armor / alliance blue / N7 theme that's out there. To date I haven't seen anyone do cerberus (although feel free to post up a link if you know of a build) so hopefully this is rather unique. The build will be primarily black with yellow and white accents and be based around the cerberus logo.

This will be my 6th PC build, being two years after my last build (A basic AMD based system). This will also be my most involved build and will signal a lot of firsts for me (working with acyclic, rigid tube, individual sleeved wires, ect) so im bound to make a few mistakes here and there. Also this build will be spread out over many weeks, as the money trickles in I can finish buying components and provide updates, my apologizes in advance if there is a lengthy delay between postings.

My skills may be a bit clumsy on this project, I'm an electrician by trade so my skills are useless for most of this build. I think cabinet makers or carpenters would have more luck with this stuff.

Well without further rambling on I present the first of many (hopefully) updates:

UPDATE ONE - Project Lazarus

Parts List:

(X)MSI Mpower Mobo
(X)Intel 4770k (to be de-lided)
(X)2x HD 7970 in crossfire
(X)Patriot Viper (Black momba) 16GB @ 2133mhz
(X)Silverstone stryder 850w PSU
(X)WD Black 2TB
(X)Samsung 840 250gb SSD

Cooling List:

()Swiftech 7970 full cover blocks
()EK supremacy CPU block
()Mpower mosfet blocks (purely for looks)
()Fittings TBA
()rigid tubing
(X)D5 pump and res combo TBA
(X)2x EK PE 360mm Rads
(X)Akasa Viper PWM fans

Oh boy a new case! This can mean only one thing....time to tear it down!

The subject for this build: Fractal Designs ARC XL

I got a little two excited when the case showed up and drilled out the rivets before I remembered I was supposed to be taking pictures of what I was doing doh.gif so please accept this generic stock image of what the case looked like before my drill got it.

It was at this point I remembered the camera. Pics of carnage to follow:

Panels Removed: Just the front, bottom and top remain.

Drive bays removed:

Tools and material prepared:

The design will feature 2 video cards in crossfire, arranged vertically on a false bottom in front of the motherboard. Unfortunately the PCI expansion slots are horizontal on the back panel, so its off to the acyclic store I go! Big shout out to the guys at industrial plastics and paints for answering my many questions about working with acyclic and taking time out of their busy day to rough cut the panels so they fit in my small car.

Step one: Recreate the rear panel out of acrylic.

Stock back panel:

After cutting the panel to size I proceed to cut out where the PSU will go. This is my first go at using a router free hand, the cut is a bit rough and clumsy. Thank god this will be at the back of the case, with any luck by the time I reach the front panel my skill will have improved. I did go back and clean up this cut later, ill try to post a pic of that in the next update.

As you can see by the floor, acrylic is best cut outside.....unfortunately I live in Alberta and its negative F*** off outside right now. My girlfriend was not impressed.

PSU mocked up with longer 6-32 screws, it fits!

OH NO! My first blunder in the build (well apart from the abysmal routing job). While drilling the holes for the PSU I applied to much pressure and CRACK! Lucky it was a clean break and I was able to bond the acrylic back together thumb.gif

If anyone is stuck with how to cut the 6-32 screws, here's your answer: Kline wire strippers have screw cutters built in. No risk of damaging the threads like with a hack saw.

I've just discovered I would make a terrible photographer. Will have to try and take better pics next time.

Now onto the I/O shield area. This cut out is a bit more straight then my attempt at the PSU one, still a bit fast with the router, have to find the perfect speed when i don't chip acyclic or melt it.

mocked up:

And the I/O shield fits! Now I just have the build the box surrounding the I/O shield.

There we go! One I/O shield support bracket. Also my first attempt at bonding acrylic with methylene chloride. If you're going to go the MC way (as opposed to weld on paste) I HIGHLY recommend getting the hypodermic syringe applicator for it, very easy to apply to the acrylic. With the MC you need very smooth, flat edges for the bond to hold. I cleaned up my cuts using 100 grit sand paper and a fine rectangular metal file.

Now to attach the I/O shield to the rear panel.

All that's left to do is cut out the 140mm exhaust fan port:

(Another great picture by yours truly....seriously where is the dam flash?)

That fan is temp for now, I still have to re-sticker and sleeve the cable properly, but that's a task for another day.

I had to modify this L bracket to accept the new thicker 3/8 acrylic back panel. Half way though drilling the new holes and.....FIRST BLOOD! I can confirm Rigid makes some sharp drill bits! Great on steel, bad on fingers. A quick bandage later and the new L bracket is ready.

That's all i manged to complete tonight, hopefully there will be another update soon. Tomorrow is a night shift for me at work (joy) so I may not get anything else done till Monday.

Stay tuned for the next update where I attempt to re-construct the motherboard tray.

(yea NOW the F****** flash works doh.gif )
Edited by hellhunterII - 2/17/14 at 1:30pm
post #2 of 26
Thread Starter 
Update Two - Project Lazarus

Hey guys,

Second update time!

Lets start off with some improved pictures from the last update. As you can see the rear panel came out nicely. Please note the film is still on the acrylic, it actually has a very nice gloss black finish underneath the blue.

Ok now that the rear panel is finished, onto the new mobo tray. Im following the same technique of using the stock tray as a template however I will be extending the length by about 6". This is to allow for the mounting of watercooling hardware down the line, and to provide a more uniform look.

I find a nice 4' box level makes a great fence for long cuts with the router. Initially I tried to use my jig saw to cut the straight edge, but I find the router makes a cleaner and faster cut.

Panel cut! Now overlaying the sock panel to mark out where to drill holes for the standoff's.

marked out:

And tapping the holes for 6-32 thread:

Stanoffs installed:

And now for a test fit of the mobo:

Everything lines up nicely thumb.gif

I wasn't happy with the existing holes in the stock tray, they didn't line up with the connectors on my mobo. So out comes the sharpie and I mock up where I need to cut out the new holes for cables.

Cut out:

Im pleased to announce that my skill with the router has improved since the last update. The cuts on the mobo tray are clean and straight for the most part, Im happy with how they turned out.

Next I fab up and install some lengths of acyclic on the back of the panel, to make it offset from the case. There are two long strips for support at the top and bottom, and 4 "feet" that will bolt onto the case frame.

These cuts are rough, as they will be behind the tray and not visible to the eye on completion.

Time for a test fit!

Man that MSI board looks sharp! And level too!

The rear I/O panel lines up nicely, after a few tweaks:

And a quick test fit off all the work that's been completed so far:

Thats all the work so far. Another night shift for me tonight so it may be a few days until I can post a new update.

Stay tuned for update 3, where I work on the false bottom / shelf and start some modifications on the top panel. Also the rad's have now been ordered, so hopefully they ship out soon!

PS: if anyone is interested in the high res pictures, the photo bucket album can be accessed here: Link
post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 
Update Three - Project Lazarus

Greetings OCN.

Ill start off this update with some bittersweet news, sadly one of my 7970's has bit the dust. It had been making excessive coil whine for a while now, and during a stress test decided it was going to throw in the towel. The good news is I have a product replacement plan on it, so ill be getting something new tomorrow (280x perhaps?). Fortunately my remaining 7970 continues to function.

Hardware failures aside, the build is progressing well.

I have created a new shelf for the case and have finalized how the graphics cards will be mounted. Lets have a look:

New shelf cut out of acyclic.

Here we see the underside with the support pieces attached:

And a very rough mock up of where the shelf will sit in the case:

After leveling, I create and attach the side panels to my shelf. Since the shelf will not be directly supporting anything (except for the graphics cards) there is no need for a metal support structure. Most of the weight is transferred to the rear panel and mobo tray.

To create the GPU mounting brackets ive decided to re-use the original bracket instead of making a new one. With a quick cut of the dremel, I shorten the bracket from 9 slots to 5 slots.

The reinforced disks are a must for cutting metal. Ive had one to many of the cheep cut off wheels fly apart on me to trust anything else.

While I was at it, I removed the 5 1/4' drive bay support bracket from the front of the case, the new 360mm rad will go here.

Here is the GPU bracket installed into the rear panel.

And a rough idea of how the GPU will sit. Please note the deceased GPU now being used as a template (even in death its still useful)

I also routed out a spot for the PSU cables to pass though the mobo tray, since the mobo tray is now finished I celebrated by removing the protective film to get you an idea of the finish. Im debating if I want to carbon fiber wrap the piece or leave the factory finish on it.

Another shot of the case with the film removed:

And finally a nice shot of some hardware mocked up on the new tray and case:

Well that's it for now, tomorrow im going to see what the GPU situation is and what ill be offered as a replacement for the 7970. I also have to look into routing a slot for the PCIe riser cables to pass though the shelf, and check to see if my EPS 8 pin's will be long enough to reach the headers on the new mobo. Hopefully by the next update the rad's will have arrived and I can do some work on the front and top panels.

Stay tuned!
post #4 of 26
Looks interesting Sub'd biggrin.gif
post #5 of 26
Thread Starter 
Mini Update 3.5 - Project Lazarus


The new video cards have arrived! After the death of my beloved gigabyte 7970, I have acquired two new R9 280X to replace the cards! So a few quick pics, because who doesn't love a little nerdy eye candy?

First a before shot of the 7970, for comparison:

And now the new HIS 280X:

Even the box looks nice:

This thing is MASSIVE!, here it is in my current rig, that's a standard sized ATX board.

I didn't realize that the card uses 2 8-pin PCIe connectors instead of the standard 6+8pin setup. might have to come up with something to make the new PSU work with that.....Anyone know if you can create a 6 to 8 pin adapter? I think its just 2 extra grounds on the 8 pin right?

Anyways that's all for now.

BTW I now have a perfectly good 7970 up for grabs, unfortunately my low post count wont let me post this in the for sale section, but if anyone is interested feel free to PM me to discuss.
Edited by hellhunterII - 2/15/14 at 6:45pm
post #6 of 26
Thread Starter 
Update 4 - Project Lazarus

Lets start off with some packing peanuts and cardboard boxes, thats right, new WC gear has arrived!

Here we have 2 of the EK PE series 360mm rads, 6 120mm Akasa viper PWM fans and various new switches for the front panel (power, reset, hdd, lighting control).

Lets have a quick look at EK's newer PE series rads. These are very high FPI rads (hence the 2000 rpm fans) and remind me of the AX series from XSPC. First off a look at the interior box. EK has wrapped the rad in paper to protect against scratching, and then a layer of bubble wrap to protect against damage. They include 12 long 6-32 screws and 12 short 6-32 screws, and a allen key to install them with.

Both my rads arrived with no bent fins thumb.gif

Here is a look at the rad:

And the viper PWM fans that will go on it.

A quick mock up shows how the front rad will sit in the case:

I did leave a bit of a gap between the PSU box cover and the front of the rad to allow better air flow though the rad.

And a quick mock up of the top rad:

The top rad will be a push configuration due to limited space above the mobo, the front will be push/pull.

Next I started working on the cutout for the GPU's.

Attempt number one went well, except I forgot to take into consideration the added width of the PCI-E riser connectors doh.gif

So I ripped it apart and started again:

This time it was a 3 sided box, as the rear of the card is flush with the support bracket.

Next up, the new front panel:

Ill be putting a laser cut 360mm rad grill on the front to cover the intake fans.

Some holes drilled out for the new controls and USB / audio.

Please note this will all be covered in vinyl film, so the ragged edges of the USB cutouts will be covered.

new controls installed.

A rough idea of the front panel, just imagine it in carbon fiber.

Well that's all I finished today, tomorrow ill be fiddling around in solid works to design the new grill and illustrator to design some graphics for the case.

Still to come:

New side window, LED lighting and vinyl film to be applied.

Stay tuned!
post #7 of 26
Thread Starter 
Update 5 - Project Lazarus

Hey guys,

Sorry for the extended delay, its been crazy at work leaving me little to no time to work on the case. I finally got some parts in on the weekend and was able to get some work done.

Since my last update I've acquired:

New D5 pump
EK D5 pump/res combo (the 140 tube one)
3 more of the 120mm viper fans
140mm viper fan for exhaust
A bunch of 18 awg wire for the PSU / LED's
Carbon Fiber vinyl wrap

First off the new res and pump:

Secondly I tried my hand at vinyl wrap, differently addicted to this stuff now. I have a feeling its going to be on a LOT of stuff by the time im finished.

Now everyone says go with 3M Di-Noc for vinyl wrap, I however decided to try a different brand. I went with SimCarbon 3D brand wrap, which is about 10-20 dollars cheaper then di-noc. Now its not rated for exterior use so don't go using it on your car, but for PC mod work, it looks great and was easy enough to use. You can search it on amazon, if you want to save a few bucks I give it my seal of approval.

2 rolls at 60'x12':

Very easy to apply, just used a credit card to get the air out. Here it is on the front panel.

Im really glad the area around the USB ports came out nicely! if you remember the cut outs were a bit rough, but they look factory now that the vinyl is on. Simply apply the film then cut out with a very sharp knife around the USB port.

And a quick shot of the inside of the case now:

I need to get one more roll (i buggered up a piece and hence did not have enough to finish the inside of the front panel) for the front inside panel and the rear panel.....any whatever else i think might look good in carbon fiber.

Also ordered up a whole list of parts for the PSU work and LED lights:

60' white LED flexible strips (got to love whole sale!)
New soldering station and helping hands
spade connectors for the vandal switches
A bunch of single pin connectors for the front panel connectors / LED distribution board
LutroO's new sleeving
molex extractors
new connectors (24/eps/8pcie pin)
Hard drive mounting tray
PrimoChill Hex 2-Layer Rad Grillz (to use until I can afford to get the custom grill machined)
Bitspower Universal Cooling After X-Station (I know its not really needed as the liquid in the loop would absorb the residual heat, but i like the idea)
post #8 of 26
Looking good, cant wait to see the finished product biggrin.gif
post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 
Update 6 - Project Lazarus

Well I think i've neglected this thread long enough, time for an update!

The sleeving material has arrived! As well as a hole bunch of little odds and ends to complete the wiring and lighting in the case. I have elected to do the sleeving myself, and all I can say is "wow, I now have mad respect for the people who can do this day after day and not loose there tempers". Its tedious work to say the least.

To start things off a quick shot of green tape, to indicate where the pump and cooling after modual will go:

I've also created a shelf to hide the front panel connectors:

So yea that got done, and then I opened a box full of what appeared to be shoe strings:

And this is my second attempt at sleeving the 24 pin PSU connector, the first attempt ended when I cut my finger and bled all over the cable. White and yellow sleeving does not take well to blood.

That also give you an idea of the colour scheme for the build. I will continue to plug away at sleeving the rest of the cables this weekend, so far I have 1 24pin, 3 8pin and a fan done. I would also like the get the new window cut out and mounted in the side panel, and maybe get around to wiring and soldering the front panel connectors.

Today I ordered up a bunch more parts as well:

LED distribution block
More heatshrink
2 PCI-e riser cables (finally in stock......dam miners)
some C-Strip rubber molding for the windows
A few molex connectors

and new water cooling blocks! thumb.gif

EK CPU Block
2 EK 7970 Blocks for the GPU's
Ek bridge
Mpower V-reg blocks for the board

All thats left now is a new SSD (i missed out on a sweet deal involving a 480gb drive mad.gif ) and fittings / tubing for the WC setup.

Ill try to post the next update in a more timely manner, hopefully Monday.
post #10 of 26
Why this has not attracted more people i do not know. I love the yellow/white/black theme instead of the usual red.
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