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"Transplant" White HAF-X w/nickel plating, tri-SLI, full water cooling and 360mm+240mm rads

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I'm biting the bullet and going full water cooling on my sig rig. I figured while I was at it I'd add a third GTX 560ti as they are cheap enough on eBay anyways.

So after some researching of new cases I was seriously drawn to the Phanteks Enthoo Primo case but at $230 that would heavily cut into my money for the water cooling parts. Thankfully my brother had just done a rebuild of his rig and he had a Cooler Master HAF-X that he no longer needed and was willing to give it to me for free!

PC parts:
  • HAF-X case
  • Asus Crossfire V Formula
  • AMD-FX-8350
  • 16GB 2400 RAM
  • 2x 2TB Deskstar HD
  • 64GB Kingston V+ SSD
  • 3x GTX 560ti
  • EVGA Supernova 850 G2
  • LED lighting for the case

Water Cooling Parts:
  • XSPC Rasa 750 RS240 kit (RS240mm radiator, CPU block, two bay reservoir and pump combo)
  • EK Coolstream XTX 360mm radiator
  • 5 x COUGAR CF-V12HP Vortex 120mm fans
  • 1 x COUGAR CF-V14HP Vortex 140mm fan
  • Swiftech 8-Way PWM Cable Splitter
  • 1/2x3/4 PrimoChill UV Red tubing (I'm not set on using this color , but i got it cheap)
  • XSPC 1/2 IDx3/4 OD Compression Fittings (Chrome)
  • 3x Heatkiller GPU-X3 full coverage VGA water blocks
  • Heatkiller GPU-X Multi-Link SLI water bridge

So, plans are:
  • Cut a space in the bottom panel of the case for the 240mm radiator
  • Break down the case, strip it and paint it
  • Cut out the fan mount on the side panel and make a full size window
  • Nickel plate the fan grills
  • Reassemble the case and cram in 600mm of radiators, 4 water blocks and around 10 feet of tubing!

The paint and color scheme for the case will be flat white inside and out. With orange lighting behind the fan grills and blue lighting inside the case. I'm taking my inspiration from the colors of the Portal games, though there won't be any specific Portal type mods to the case itself. I'm looking to nickel plate the fan grills, but I have to make a couple calls to see if its feasible.

Lets kick this off! Here I've striped down the case, removed the HD cage and started prepping to cut out the bottom for the 240mm radiator.

Case has been taken down to the frame and the hard drive cage drilled out. Sorry no before shot, but I think we all know what a HAF-X case looks like anyways.




Marking out where the radiator will go.




I downloaded a 240mm radiator template from MNPCTech, cut it out and glued it to a piece of cardboard to make a template I could trace.




Aaaaand... now there's a hole on the bottom of the case!



Sorry no action shots of cutting the case. Kind of hard to take pictures and hold a jig saw at the same time. Suffice to say, I drilled a hole big enough for the jig saw blade to fit in each corner of the template and connected the dots with the jig saw. I just have to clean up the edges a bit with my rotary tool and drill the mounting holes.

That'll be it for today. Feels like some progress was made. Next I need to start tearing down the case into panels and prep to paint.
Edited by Philistine - 5/15/14 at 6:35pm
post #2 of 16
Thread Starter 
4/24 - Pics of the water cooling parts, case dissembly and stripping the powder coat

4/26 - A little paint and more powder coat removal.

4/28 - Monday means packages!

5/1 - Cutting out a larger window for the side panel

5/5 - Preview of the case assembly

5/14 - Big update. Case assembly and nickel plated fan grills
Edited by Philistine - 5/14/14 at 4:16pm
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Here's a few pics of the water cooling parts I've collected so far. Still need to buy the SLI bridge and the PWM hub. Rest of the water cooling parts (the XSPC Rasa 750 RS240 kit) are still in my sig rig.



The EK Coolstream XTX 360mm radiator. Fairly thick at 65mm.




The Cougar PWM fans.



Heatkiller makes some really nice looking GPU water blocks. So pretty. Too bad they will be only visible from the side when installed in the case.





And these are hefty bastards too. Just over 1-1/2lbs each!



This afternoon I'm drilling apart the case and if I have time I'm going to give the paint stripper a try.
Edited by Philistine - 4/24/14 at 3:54pm
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
I got the case completely dissembled. But before I took it apart I took pictures of each side of the case and marked where all the rivets were. Should help with reassembling the case later. Here's the front view.



And the case dissembled. I used a 1/8" drill bit to take out the rivets. Though some of the rivets just spun in their holes. For those ones I ground them down with the rotary tool and punched them out. Over all it was pretty easy getting the case apart.



Counting up the pieces I've got 9 pieces to strip the powder coating from and all told 18 pieces to prime and paint (including the plastic top, front, bottom feet and bay covers) and 7 fan/bay mesh pieces also. This is going to take a bit to get done.

I had some light left outside so I decided to try stripping the power coat off of the I/O support piece (its the smallest piece of the case.

Here's what I'm using. Klean-Strip Aircraft - Paint Remover which I picked up from my local O"Reilly Auto Parts.



Despite its name, its not for airplanes!



Setup in the entry way. I'm using an empty quart paint can to dose the stripper out and some $0.99 paint brushes to apply it.



Let me tell you this stuff stinks! You would not want to use this inside. I put it on fairly thick (as per the directions). You can see its already starting to work after just a couple minutes.




Here it is after about 10 minutes.



That's working quite well. I went to it using a plastic brush and a scraper I got in the paint section at the hardware store . A lot came off but not all. Also it was quite messy.



I do have to say that this stuff is a real skin irritant. I started this wearing nitrile gloves (the blue ones you fine in the paint section) and they actually started to melt! Ditched those and just did my best to avoid getting this stuff on my skin. If any got on me I knew right away (it burned), but I just kept some damp paper towels nearby and wiped it off. No marks were left on my skin and after wiping it off the burning sensation went away. Still I'd be very careful with this stuff.

I applied a second coat and let it sit for another 15 minutes or so. The rest came off with the brush and some paper towels to clean it up a bit before rinsing the part under hot water in the sink. It came out really good.




So far I'm really happy with the stripper. It eats through the power coating like nobody's business. It is a bit messy and I can see this is going to take some effort to strip the whole case.
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
Small update. Gave a go at painting the top piece of the case. I'm liking how its coming out a lot.




And this aircraft stripper is potent. I've found that scuffing the powder coat with sand paper really speeds up the process. Also letting it stew for 30 minutes makes quite the difference. The powder coat practically peels off.





And after the second coat of paint stripper. Nice clean, bare metal.

post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Monday means packages! Got the PWM hub, Heatkiller GPU-X Multi-link water bridge and the LED strips. I believe that's all the parts I need now (we'll see).



The amber LEDs will be behind the fan grills and blue are for the interior of the case.




Still hacking away at the powder coating and painting parts as I go along. I think next time I'll look into paying someone to media blast the case. As good as that paint stripper is, its a messy hassle.
Edited by Philistine - 4/28/14 at 7:29pm
post #7 of 16
Minor typo on the OP. Should be an 8350, not an 8530. Unless it is an 8530.

Anyway, subbed! Looking forward to see how far you can push that chip! thumb.gif
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Cherry Bomber
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post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rRansom View Post

Minor typo on the OP. Should be an 8350, not an 8530. Unless it is an 8530.

Oops! Fixed.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rRansom View Post

Anyway, subbed! Looking forward to see how far you can push that chip! thumb.gif

We'll see. I've had the chip for a bit, just playing around I've had it at 4.35MHz.
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Over the last couple of days I cut out the window for the side panel.

Look at that big, ugly fan mount. It has to go.



Taped off the panel and outlined where I'll be cutting. Basically I'm following the outside edges of the fan and cutting around the window to remove the old holes that held the stock window in place.



I used my jig saw and cut in from the edge and around the window. I made a small hash of the two 90* corners. I couldn't turn the blade as sharp as I wanted to. So I just backed up and cut the corners short. Figured I could grind them out.



This is after grinding the edges with the rotary tool. It wasn't the straightest of cuts with the jig saw but I managed to smooth out the edges fairly well.



I drilled out holes in the panel to mount the window and painted it. Here it is with the rubber trim fitted to it. You can buy the trim from McMaster-Carr (item#8510K11). It really helps clean up the look of the window.



I got a piece of acrylic from my local acrylic manufacturer, Tripp Plastics. Their factory and retail outlet is just 10 minutes away, which is nice. I just had to trim off a bit from the corners to make it fit.





Time to get this window finished!

Or not...

As I peeled off the film I noticed the acrylic did not feel smooth. Peeling away the rest of the film told me why. They sold me frosted acrylic instead of clear.



So, after a trip back to Tripps (heh) and recutting and redrilling the acrylic, here is the window.



I've mounted it with stainless steel button cap screws, lock washers and nuts.




I'm really liking the look of the button cap screws. I had planed on riveting the case back together, but I'm going to go with stainless steel button cap screws for the whole case. I hadn't bought a rivet gun yet since they are around $17-20 (not including rivets). But I can get all the screws, lock washers and nuts I need from McMaster-Carr for around $10.
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Got my screws, lock washers and nuts for the case assembly today. To give you an idea of what this looks like verses riveting a case together I put together the back panel of the case.









I measured out thickness of the metal and found the thickness of the washers and nuts to get the exact length of screws so there is no excess left over. All told the screws were about $11 shipped. A rivet gun and rivets would have cost closer to $30. I'm very happy with the results, but I can see there's a few tight spots where it might be difficult to get the screws and nuts into.

Still have a few pieces to paint. I'm hoping to be done later this week with painting. I also should be getting the fan grills back then too. I'll hold off on revealing what I'm doing to them until I assemble the case. wink.gif
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