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[Build Log] Project "Skyline"

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone. I decided to do this build log as I will be doing some cool case mods for this build. I wanted to show what level of craftsmanship can be done, even for a budget level build if you are willing to get your hands dirty. I'm going to try and do all of it with tools that the average joe would have. Trying to do this entire project for under $1400. I'll post prices of materials outside of the part list, and where I bought them. I'll also show prices of the tools I use, but I will not reflect that in the computers budget.

Part list: https://pcpartpicker.com/user/bmccarthy8989/saved/#view=kGktt6

A little about this build. My uncle is in need of a some what powerful computer.

I wanted to future proof it a little bit, so I decided to go with Skylake (hint the working title). The i5 6600k was the same price as the i5 4690k. Motherboard and DDR4 was a little bit more expensive but not by much. He is not going to be using it for gaming so I didn't need to go overboard with the GPU. That said this system could certainly keep up in the 1920x1080 resolution on high settings. Can't wait to test it out. He'll also be using it to stream content to a few rokus, 2 streams max, so the i5 should handle that without issue.

I chose the Define R5 as it has excellent sound properties. I want to make this thing whisper quiet. This case has plenty of room to work with and expand as needed. Later my uncle will be expanding his HDDs to start building up his media collection.

Went with the RM650 from corsair as it is designed for quiet operation, and it's Gold + certified. Which is more than enough for this build. Picked it up for a great price, Newegg $99.


Scope of work:
  1. Custom PSU shroud
  2. Custom Drive Bay shroud, might consider mounting the SSD to this, while creating multiple mount points for installation of more SSD's in the future.
  3. Custom paint for I/O shiled, GPU plate, and expansion plates (want them all to have the same finish)
  4. Paint Motherboard I/O cover solid white, same with chipset heatsink
  5. Paint Blu-Ray drive
  6. Paint GPU Back plate
  7. Custom Sleeved Cables, to length (24pin ATX Power, 8pin PCI-E, 8pin EPS, 2 x 4pin SATA)
  8. Sleeve the rest of the system cables in black (Fans, front panel I/O, etc)
  9. Lighting
  10. LED installed above rear I/O shield for viewing in the dark.
  11. 4GHz overclock, maybe more, we'll see how the temps play out. I don't want to stress this CPU, just give it a little boost that will run stable.

Lets get started!
post #2 of 9
Thread Starter 

The Define R5, great case. The 5.25 bay, 5 HDD cage, and 3HDD cage are completely removable and movable. I need the 5.25 bay and the 3 HDD cage. Don't know if I'll leave the other cage in or not. I will most likely remove it to improve airflow in the case.


Starting the mock-up of the PSU shroud. This will cover the entire bottom area up to mid point between the two 140/120mm mounting points on the bottom of the case. I will be putting a fan as intake under the shroud. Also, I will be cutting louvers in the top of the PSU shroud above the fan to direct fresh cold air strait to the GTX 960. Note, the side of the cover will be perpendicular, these are just the paper templates.


Here you can see the Drive Bay shroud template. The shroud will go all the way to the top of the case, I accidentally cut the paper too short. I'll remake this template before I transfer to sheet metal. The drive bay and PSU shroud will be flush along the front, or so I hope! This shroud will also have louvers cut into it across from the front fan. The louvers will be directed at the motherboard area. I'm still thinking about how I want to handle the air flow from the bottom fan that blows over the HDD cage. If I left it as a full cover, the air should rise and be pushed out over the motherboard area. But I think the better way to go would be to cut out a hole in the Drive Bay shroud to allow air to pass through to the PSU shroud and be pushed up and out of the enclosures through the louvers on the PSU shroud.



Here you can see my method for how I will bend the metal to allow me to attach it to the case. I will drill some holes through the shrouds and the case and secure with bolts. I'm going to see if I can try to thread the drive bay stroud so I can attach it with thumb screws instead of bolts for easy access. I'm also playing with the idea of creating a slide lock system for the PSU cover as I'll have 1/2 of play with the drive bay shroud not installed. Still have some thinking to do on this. Would love to hear your comments. This is as far as I'm going to go to night. Still waiting on some parts. I'll probably go buy the materials for the covers tomorrow.
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Worked on some of the sleeving last night. It is time consuming so I figured I would get some of it knocked out.


If you are going to be removing connectors, it is helpful to take a picture if you are not familiar with the pinouts. A little tip with these buggers, once you remove the connector the small wires can be a pain in the ass to feed through the sleeving material. Just tape the wires together making them as then and rigid as possible, this will make your life much easier.


Here are the front panel switches. I like to heat-shrink onto the connector, gives a better aesthetic IMO. However when you do this, heat-shrink will harden up after you shrink it. It is best to plan ahead on how you will route your cables so you know how they will come off the motherboard. As you can see I formed them 90 degrees so that they wont stretch and pullout after I attach them to the mobo. Also, note that the HDD LED and Power LED have + and - terminals. As the heatshrink covers the labels for the positive and negative, I like to take a silver sharpie and color the bottom of the positive connector (pictured above) .


SATA cables and fan cables.



Still waiting on sleeving material for the main system cables, will post more on those once I start. I'm going to try and work on the case mods today.
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Played around with the metal work today. I havn't really worked with sheet metal, so I bought some really thin gauged sheet metal to play around with and get it all sorted out. As I don't have any fancy tools to work the metal or cut it perfectly, I know I want to have a rounded edge, also known as a flat hem, so that I wont have any hard/sharp edges that would scratch the **** out of the case. So below I've shown how I achieved this, and I'm excited to make the first metal mock-up of the shrouds. I'll save that for tomorrow as it is already late. But at least I know the methods in which to achieve the look I'm going for.

By the way, I'm doing all my cuts with some tin snips. Picked up a 3 pack (curve right, curve left, and strait cut) at Home Depot for $10. I'll also be using a hammer, card board, and my smoker (yes the one you cook food in! You'll see why in a sec.


I made this template in photoshop to illustrate what I'm doing with the piece of sheet metal. I want to have a 1/4" flat hem all the way around the piece of metal (180 degree fold of the metal). To achieve this you have to take into account the extra material that will be in the way when you fold back the metal. So where you see red lines above, you would cut on that line. To determine where the line should be is very simple. It is exactly twice length of the hem from both edges of the corner. So in my case 1/2 inch. This line should intersect with the intersect of the 2 fold lines.


Here you can see the folding process. To start I used my smoker as it has a metal strait edge. My work bench has to much crap on it to use its edge. But any strong, strait, good 90 degree edge will do just fine. Place the piece of metal on the edge only allowing the part to be bent to hang over. Take your hammer and slowly start working the metal down, light taps, up and down the length of the bend. You don't want to bend any one point of the metal to quick, otherwise it'll look like doo doo by the time you are done.

Once the edge is bent enough, move to another flat surface, such as your garage floor. On top of a piece of card board with your piece edge up, start taping the edge up and down the length of the bend with the hammer. Keep the head of the hammer flat against the card board so that it strikes the metal with the hammers head 90 degrees from the ground. This will start shaping the edge of the metal and give it a nice hard 90 degree edge. Once the metals edge is pretty much at 90 degrees, start working the metal back and forth, striking at an angle now, to fold the metal over. Take your time with this, the more even you make it the better it will look. Once its folded over you can strike it with a little more force to start pinching the edge in.


Here all of the edges have been hemmed. Note that the corners on two ends are off because I was experimenting with different cut sizes in the corner. This is just a test piece.


I wanted to see how well the hemmed edges would bend for the final product. This example is how I will bend the shroud around the drive bay. So using my good old trusty smoker, by sandwiching the piece of metal in the door of the smoker, it acted as the perfect metal brake substitute. I lined up my bend, and slowly bent the metal to a 90 degree. For both near the edge and in the middle!

That's it for today, hopefully I'll get around to doing the final product piece tomorrow.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Well, today was just a ball of fun... To start out, my RAM was supposed to ship today, but when I went to go check the tracking, it said it was delivered yesterday to my front door. Funny because I was home all day yesterday, no package, so either the mail man delivered it to the wrong door or someone snatched it. Either way I'm pissed. Now I have to deal with amazon and hope to God they refund me. I have some 3D printed cable wraps that were supposed to come in today as well, but those are delayed. And finally I had a UPS package supposed to come in today, which is the AIO cooler, and I checked the tracking and it was Attempted Delivery! Bull****! I swear how hard is it to read an address these days. F**k. Ok rant over.

Anyways, so I wanted to make some progress today, I really wanted to test the components before too much time has passed, so I went on down to Frys and picked up an 8GB kit of DDR4 until I can sort out my RAM delivery problem. Yay, now I can test the components. My cooler isn't in yet, so I just grabbed one of the 50 or so stock coolers I have saved up for no reason, and slapped it on there. Good to know that the stock cooler fits both 1150 and 1151 sockets.


Here I have all my components setup for testing and installation of windows. I like to install windows at this point to make sure I'm not going to have any weird driver or compatibility issues.

Ok, so this part didn't go as smoothly as I had hoped. I've been building computers for a long time now, I have never had a build not post/display ANYTHING. Not from integrated or the GPU. I guess I've been lucky. Note, I've never built with skylake so I wasn't sure what to expect. Long story short, the RAM I just purchased has a bad stick. This should of been the first thing I tested. Shame on me. At first I thought I had a DOA board. I was really about to start hating today if that was the case. Looks like its just the RAM that hates me, but I can live with that, everything else is working just fine.


Thought I'd show you how those sleeved front panel connectors are going to look. And if I do say so myself, those look damn good! I even went ahead and ordered some 4pin (2x2) cable combs, because why not. I was very excited to see 2 different posts for the Power LED. They have a pair of +/- posts right next to each other, and one where they are split. Makes grouping much cleaner.



Started playing with my cable color scheme. I sleeve 5" pieces of wire to help me visualize the look. (No pins, just melted on the ends to keep it on the wire. This also allows me to slide them in and out of the connector with ease) My goal for this build was to do black and white with a grey thrown in. When I put the grey and the white next to each other, they are almost indistinguishable from each other. And for a couple of reasons, I really should of used my gloves when making these "templates", if you will, to prevent them from getting dirty. Also, I'm out of white wire, so I used black. And lastly, I ordered the wrong grey. I ordered silver grey instead of charcoal grey, which would of made a way stronger contrast. Just not my day, I'm tellin ya. The pictures on the left are the [black,white,grey,black] and the pictures on the right are [black,white,white,black]. Not sure which to go with yet. Feel free to let me know your opinion.


Hey some progress! This is the drive bay cover in the thinner gauged metal. I'm fairly happy with it, but it is so malleable I would have to make a bracket to attach it to the back of the case if I want it to sit the way I want it to. I'm going to try it in the thicker metal first and see if that gives it enough strength to only have to attach it from the front. But in any case it was a good test run.

Work is already killing me this week. I hope I can get more done on it tomorrow. We'll just see how it goes, hopefully I can get the rest of my materials and parts in without incident.
Edited by bmccarthy8989 - 10/26/15 at 11:55pm
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Ok update time. Finally got all the rest of the parts in that I needed except for the RAM. Amazon believed me that I never received the package so they are rush shipping me another 16gb kit of DDR4. Good thing I'm an honest man! But I don't need the RAM to keep moving forward with the build.

OK so my make shift/extremely amateur metal working practices were not going to cut it. The end product was not turning out the way my perfectionist standards would allow. So I took another trip to home depot and bought materials to build a metal brake. I spent I total of $35 on this. Super simple concept. I litterally designed what I was going to build in my head while at the store, having home depot cut the 2x4s to length for me. (Yeah, cut these down to 3' lengths. Can I borrow your tape? Ok cut the rest to 2' lengths. K thanks) Seriously it was like that. I have a wood working background, anyways I digress.


Here it is the $35 metal brake. Really simple concept, you have an edge that stays in place, and a moving lever that folds the metal. So I made a basic square out of the 2x4s. (2 x 2' and 2 x 20" cuts, need to take into account the thickness of the 2x4). Then I screwed the plywood to the square, countersinking the screws. If you don't have a countersink bit, just grab a drill bit that is bigger than the head of the screw and drill in the wood an 1/8" of an inch. After that I attached the 3' legs in the inner corners of the square. I then held up my other 2x4 that will act as the moving element to the brake, and marked where I needed to notch out room for the hinges. After that I attached the 2x4 to the table using the hinges. Then its a simple matter of drilling 2 holes in the angle iron and the table so that you can pass the carriage bolt through to allow you to tighten the angle iron down on to the metal you are working on. Note that I left a lip over the 2x4 square so that I had to go through less material with the bolt.



Oh man, that was butter! Once I had this thing setup, making these pieces was super fast and well formed. This is the PSU shroud by the way. I might even consider making these to sell to people who might want a custom PSU cover. We shall see!


That fitting tho! The end result and fitting came out perfect the first time. Believe me when I say I was excited to not have to bend another piece of metal for this build. My hand is in there holding the covers in place until I can drill the holes for the mounting hardware.


This part made me nervous. If I screwed this part up, I'd have to start all over. Thankfully, I took my time an didn't rush the cut outs. The grommet holes and louvers have been cut, I expect a good amount of air flow out of the louvers with 2 high airflow fans right behind it. The CPU will be liquid cooled so I just want to make sure there will be enough air for the mobo components and the GPU. If I find that air flow is too restricted, I'll mount a fan directly behind the louvers and put a cool fan guard on there or something. I deliberatly made the louver cuts just small enough so that I could mount a 140mm fan on to it. Oh and at this point this is the final fitting with the mounting hardware installed. Just 4 bolts to hold all that in there nice and snug. (2 for the drive bay cover and 2 for the PSU cover.


Woohoo! Time to paint! I sanded down the surface using coarse grit sandpaper and then finished with really fine grit to get a nice smooth surface. I have already tested this paint on a scrap piece of metal from the same lot I purchased. The end finish is almost indistinguishable from that of the case itself. When you first paint it, it looks glossy, but it settles into a really nice satin finish.

Well that's it for today. I'll probably apply another coat in a little bit, let dry till morning. Then one more coat, and let cure for 24 hours before I assemble them into the case. Still have a few hours of sleeving ahead of me. Might try and knock that out tonight, we'll see.
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Alright time for the assembly. I got my all the rest of the parts last Thursday including the RAM.


Here are the rest of the system cables. These took me the better part of Thursday night and Friday morning to complete. Very time consuming process but the results are well worth it. Not to mention I saved over $100 doing them myself. Oddly enough, the SATA power cables were the most annoying to work with. Pushing on the inline connectors was a huge pain in the ass, not to mention painful on my fingers. I much prefer the crimp connectors for SATA, but for what I wanted to achieve it wasn't practical.

On to the assembly!


Front fans installed and the GPU backplate and painted i/o shield assembled.


Motherboard installed with memory and CPU pre-seated. Also at this point have the power supply, Blu-Ray, bottom 140mm fan and HDD installed. If you look closely on the second picture, you will see the IR sensor for the lighting system. This allows you to control the lights via a remote. (Its the 7th slot down on the air intake.



I was pretty happy with how the tubing ended up working out. At first I thought the tubes were going to be too long, but it worked out nicely. I secured the tubes to the top of the case with a few zip ties. I'm surprised at how well this cooler performed but I probably won't buy this particular AIO cooler again. It's pump is very loud and the pump top doesn't have LED functionality like in the other Kraken family AIOs.


Sorry for the bad quality of these. I was trying to show how I attached a male molex connector off of the 12V and ground wire of the SATA power cable so I could power the light system module. I didn't want to solder the the power for the light system to the main power cable so that it can be removed or changed out at a later date.


Hooked up the system power cables and ran the 24pin.


At this point I needed to install the PSU and Drive Bay shroud so I could hookup the bottom header cables. (usb 2.0 and 3.0, front panel, and HD audio)


GPU installed and power cable hooked up. The covers really clean this case up, I'm very happy with the result.


Oddly this is one of my favorite parts of the build. I love clean cable management, and I think I executed it very well here. Except maybe for the NZXT pump USB cable that runs strait down over the back of the motherboard. It was too short to go anywhere else. I might make an extension for it so I can route it along the edge of the case.

As I'm trying to future proof this build a little bit. I made the SATA power cables for both the SSDs and HDDs to allow for future drive expansion. The HDD was easy enough as I just added 2 more SATA connectors where they would be connected if there was drives. I used other hard drives while making the cables to make sure they lined up.


Here you can see the painted GPU I/O and motherboard I/O. I really like that they are all white to match the slot covers.

Well that's it for the build. Its been raining all weekend so I havn't been able to take some natural light, high res photos. Yet to come. Also I'll be posting benchmark info and overclock settings. Stay tuned.
post #8 of 9
I really like what you did here. Looks real clean. Be sure to post a picture with the side panel on.
post #9 of 9
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