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[Build Log] "Never Done" - A Triple-Loop Liquid-Cooled Wall-Mounted Dual PC Build

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
A year ago I built my first liquid-cooled PC, this guy;



I host a Plex Server for my friends and family, and the constant sound of humming fans from the liquid-cooled PC nudged me along to build a dedicated media slinging server, this little guy;



I've always been a fan of wall-mounted PCs, and when I knew it was time to maintain my loops, I decided to just tear the thing apart and combine it with my media server. So, what I'm going for is something like this; (I'm in accounting, I have no idea how to use photoshop)



I spun up to the good ol' Home Depot and picked up some wood, a square that was actually square and a few new bits for my router. I have a few sheets of 1/4" cast acrylic (white, clear, black) floating around, so I'll work into incorporating those as well. I'll probably end up using them as pedestals for each individual component, toss in some LED strips, some sort of black backing and call it a day. The benefit that I have right now is that I have 95% of the components for the build, so most of my time will be spent fabricating mounts, drilling holes, cursing myself and driving back and forth to the hospital.

I picked up two 24"x36" pieces of 3/4" Aspen boards, hoping to squeeze two full sized mother boards, power supplies, etc onto one... Definitely not going to happen. I had a beer and regrouped.



My "workshop" is the kids media room in the basement. They're totally cool with giving up their favorite room in the house for me to ramble off expletives and hurt myself.

So, I stuck both sheets together using the ol' "screw it until it lines up" method and came up with the below backing;



I plan on using a TV Wall-Mount to secure this to the wall. How that works out, who knows... I didn't get to that point yet. But I'm sure I'll figure it out. Once I had the two boards together, I looked up all the dimensions for the parts I would be laying out, and mocked them up as so;



I honestly have to give a gigantic kudos to manufacturers for making their product measurements available and so precise. You'll see a few pictures down how accurate I'm talking about.

Then came the moment of truth... Tearing down and salvaging from the PC I'd spent 50+ hours building, cursing at, crying over, pleading and tinkering with... Good night, my sweet prince. I was left with this;



Sooooo many screws, wires, zip ties. I don't know how past me did this, because present me hated that guy. Here's the part where the manufacturers measurements were pretty spot on;



99% dead on with the initial mock-up locations. I was super happy about all that. This is two days into the project, and I haven't cut myself (that bad) yet. I'm waiting for the additional parts to arrive, third reservoir, pump, CPU and RAM blocks... They should be here Friday. I'm sure I'll get to dig into this over the weekend, god willing the kids have a sleepover.

Components going into this build (all currently owned or paid-for and on their way);

Gaming PC (Left side)

Asus Z-97A Motherboard ATX
i7-4790k
Dual R9-290x GPUs
240GB SSD
2TB 3.5" HDD
EVGA Supernova 1000 Power Supply
16GB Corsair Dominator RAM

Server PC (Right side)

Gigabyte H97 Extreme Motherboard ATX
i7-4790k
250GB SSD
3TB 3.5" HDD
8GB Crucial Ballistic RAM
Antec 1000W Fully Modular Power Supply

Watercooling goodies (Both sides)

Two EK Supremacy EVO CPU blocks (clear)
Bitspower 4 DIMM water block for left PC
Bitspower 2 DIMM universal water block for right PC
Two XSPC GPU Waterblocks
Three Laing DDC Waterpumps with Alphacool Black Chrome tops
Three 250mm Bitspower Reservoirs
3x120mm XSPC Radiator (GPUs)
Two 2x120mm XSPC Radiators (One for each CPU/RAM block combo)
Primochill Revolver fittings
PET-G Hardline tubing
Probably some custom acrylic inlay channels built into the panel
post #2 of 30
Very cool. subbed. =)
Packed Z87 Primo
(34 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Xeon E3-1245v3 Asus Z87-WS EVGA 980Ti (4991) Crucial Ballistix DDR3-1866 2x 8GB 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
Sandisk X300s 512GB mSATA Seagate NL35 500GB SATA Seagate Constellation ES.2 3TB SATA Crucial M4 128GB SATA 
Hard DriveCoolingCoolingCooling
Seagate Constellation CS 4TB SATA Aquaero 6 Pro Aquacomputer Aqualis ECO100 res Aquacomputer MPS400 flow meter 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
EKWB Titan X full cover (copper/acetal) Swiftech Apogee XTv2 Swiftech Helix 140mm (qty 6) Thermaltake Riing 140mm, white (qty 4) 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
Phanteks PS-F140SP 140mm (qty 3) Noctua NF-B9 EK X-Top Vario (qty 2) Koolance HX-CU1403V 420mm radiator 
CoolingOSOSMonitor
Alphacool UT60 280mm radiator Windows 10 Pro 64-bit Ubuntu 15.10 64-bit Samsung S34E790C 34" Ultra-wide VA panel 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Sony 17" 1280x1024 Topre Type Heaven Seasonic X-850 Phanteks Enthoo Primo 
MouseMouse PadAudioAudio
Logitech G402 Glorious PC Gaming Race 11x13 cloth Asus Xonar U7 Sennheiser PC151 headset 
AudioOther
Bose Companion 2 Adaptec 6805 w/ ZMM 
  hide details  
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Packed Z87 Primo
(34 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Xeon E3-1245v3 Asus Z87-WS EVGA 980Ti (4991) Crucial Ballistix DDR3-1866 2x 8GB 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
Sandisk X300s 512GB mSATA Seagate NL35 500GB SATA Seagate Constellation ES.2 3TB SATA Crucial M4 128GB SATA 
Hard DriveCoolingCoolingCooling
Seagate Constellation CS 4TB SATA Aquaero 6 Pro Aquacomputer Aqualis ECO100 res Aquacomputer MPS400 flow meter 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
EKWB Titan X full cover (copper/acetal) Swiftech Apogee XTv2 Swiftech Helix 140mm (qty 6) Thermaltake Riing 140mm, white (qty 4) 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
Phanteks PS-F140SP 140mm (qty 3) Noctua NF-B9 EK X-Top Vario (qty 2) Koolance HX-CU1403V 420mm radiator 
CoolingOSOSMonitor
Alphacool UT60 280mm radiator Windows 10 Pro 64-bit Ubuntu 15.10 64-bit Samsung S34E790C 34" Ultra-wide VA panel 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Sony 17" 1280x1024 Topre Type Heaven Seasonic X-850 Phanteks Enthoo Primo 
MouseMouse PadAudioAudio
Logitech G402 Glorious PC Gaming Race 11x13 cloth Asus Xonar U7 Sennheiser PC151 headset 
AudioOther
Bose Companion 2 Adaptec 6805 w/ ZMM 
  hide details  
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post #3 of 30
Thread Starter 
I spent a few hours last night working on how I was going to mount everything, look pretty, and remain as efficient as possible. The current iteration is a test board, 3/4" Aspen. The end product will be transferred over to 1/4" plywood simply to save weight and allow for more room behind, without it sticking off of the wall an extra 1/2".

The overall "wife doesn't like it" assembled depth from the wall will be 2 1/4". The 2 inches behind the mounting board will allow me to hide all the wiring, and 85-90% of all tubing for a nice clean look.

With efficiency in mind, I decided that I would recess the radiators into the mounting board to allow as much air pass-through from the fans as possible. Extra bonus is that this makes it a ton easier for me to hide tubing, and saves me from using fittings and female/female fittings needlessly.

I rough cut with a jigsaw, then finished with the router free-hand.



On the left side, there's a little "oops" where I sneezed and the router went to town on the side... But that's ok, this is the test board and I'll use guides once I have everything firmed up. The framing on this board is also only 3/4" thick (versus the 2" on the finished product), so the fittings in the next pictures are going to look off...




I have tons of fittings lying around, all different kinds, shapes, rotaries, etc... But what I need for the routing underneath are 90 degree rotaries, and I'm in short supply. So, when the wife goes to sleep I'll order them and act surprised when a package shows up. From a cost stand-point, I'm going to use these rotaries under the board;



Nothing against XSPC (I'm using two of their GPU blocks), but they just don't match what I'm looking to do on the front side, but I trust their products to work. I also picked up some discontinued Primochill fittings from their web-site, 12 compression fittings for $45... Which to me, on a "I don't wanna sleep on the couch" budget, this was awesome. These guys...



The rest of the Primochill fittings that I already salvaged from my previous build will be used on the front.

I also started looking into how I'm going to mount the pumps and reservoirs. The main consideration for almost every step in this process is, "Do I already have what I need, and if not, can I make what I have work?" Well, 9 times out of 10, I sure can. Depending on how many fittings I have when it's time to start running the hard-line tubing, I may either connect the reservoir with a pass-through piece of PET-G tubing (reservoir fitting > tubing > pump-top fitting), or like this...



One thing that I'm definitely not using are the reservoir mounts in that picture. They're the squeeze/clip style, and they always feel loose. Plus, I think they're gawd awful looking. I'll use the clamp style that are kind of hidden behind, because pretty and clean gets more internet points, and we all love them internet points.

Another thing I wasn't 100% sure of was how I'm going to get this thing on the wall, and if my wife divorces me, how do I make it so it's not a permanent fixture? My answer for today are corner brackets. I lucked out that the studs in the wall I'm using are 16" apart, which will allow for a corner bracket screwed into each stud, then zipped into each side of the framing, as well as one support in the middle. Corner braces...




My estimation in weight is somewhere between 40-65 lbs (18-34 kg for the readers across the pond), give-or-take a hernia or two moving this thing from the basement. I just realized, I didn't even think about if it'll fit up my steps or not assembled, because there's a low ceiling there. Guess I'll figure that out later. Whoops.

Thanks for reading the update!
post #4 of 30
Looks awesome man! I love open air, wall mount builds. I really like the inset rads, great idea.
I know performance-pcs.com had those primochill economy fittings for 10$ a sixer but they might have sold them all by now.
main rig
(16 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 4790k EVGA z97 Classified SLI gtx 980 klevv neo 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
Intel 535 SSD seagate barracuda Custom Loop windows 10 
MonitorMonitorKeyboardPower
Dell S2716DG Asus PB277Q Logitech G710 Corsair RM1000x 
CaseMouseMouse PadAudio
Tt V41 EVGA Torq x10  Steel series QCK Logitech G930 
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main rig
(16 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 4790k EVGA z97 Classified SLI gtx 980 klevv neo 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
Intel 535 SSD seagate barracuda Custom Loop windows 10 
MonitorMonitorKeyboardPower
Dell S2716DG Asus PB277Q Logitech G710 Corsair RM1000x 
CaseMouseMouse PadAudio
Tt V41 EVGA Torq x10  Steel series QCK Logitech G930 
  hide details  
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post #5 of 30
Entertaining read, interesting build. Subbed smile.gif
post #6 of 30
Thread Starter 
Update: 02/28/2016

Revision

I didn't like the way that everything was spaced on the board, so I took some measurements and decided that everything would fit (with some wiggle room) on a 3' x 3' board. I don't use CAD, AutoCAD, Photoshop, or karaoke when I'm sober, I do this s*!t live. Trusty number two pencil and a ruler. Used Microsoft Excel as graphing paper, came up with this;



It's on scale to 1/8", with everything rounded up to the 1/4"... Which leaves me little 1/8" pockets of wiggle room all over the place, because I'm sure I'll need it at some point. This was Friday, I spent about 8 hours over the weekend on this and accomplished virtually nothing tangible.

So, what happened?

Like most builds (in my experience) you start with this idea in your head, and you try to spill it all out through your fingers onto a canvas of whatever medium you're using. The medium I've been fighting with all weekend has been acrylic. I had this idea, jumbled in my head and driven by the thought of "damn, this power supply is heavy," that I would make acrylic mounts for the PSU. Not just back plates, but full-on, "strap'em in and hold on for the ride" kind of mounts.

So I made a fancy 90 degree template/jig out of some scrap wood I had floating around



That was the start of the first PSU enclosure. And I finished it 90% of the way. It wasn't my execution, it was purely the vision... Namely, that there wasn't any. I thought it would look nice and flashy, but it was really... Dull.





There was going to be a top brace so that the PSU would just slide into the bracket, but at this stage, I had 4 hours into this and hated what I was seeing. The acrylic welds were great, it was square, the Power Supply fit great... But I just wasn't a fan. It needed a little bit more work, some finishing on the rear with the scroll saw, but I wasn't having any more of it.

But, like most failures, there was a little spark of inspiration from this rectangular monstrosity. It's a fact that 99% of the watercooled builds out there feature one thing, this guy,



The cylindrical acrylic reservoir. My original plan called for three of these very popular, main-stays of water cooling history. I thought to myself, well... Why? Nah, f*^k it, we're doing this live, remember? No fancy CNC machines, no Water Jet, no software... Just a man, his square, a marker, jig saw, router and a bunch of Girl Scout cookies.



Awwwwwwe yes, son.

So, no cylinder reservoirs?

Nope, not anymore.

I've never made a reservoir from acrylic before, but you know who was? Those guys/gals who make 500 gallon aquariums. There is so much information readily available on the internet for water-tight acrylic welding/bonding, forming, etc. This was an awesome resource for learning about making my own reservoir. I cut so much acrylic with a jig saw and router that my basement looked like the aftermath of Mt. Vesuvius.



I made a simple guide system with the pieces using a square and the corner of my mounting board



I just cut the acrylic down to a rough size, ran one side flat and then put it into the guide to cut the right length and thickness. The most tedious part was shifting the clamps around to be able to cut, but after an hour of trimming, I was all set to glue. So, I busted out my trusty 90 degree jig again,



I let each side cure for about 30 minutes before I moved on to the next side



And then added the clear front



The bottom was simple, just cut a 2.5" x 1" rectangle and acrylic welded it to the bottom. I didn't take a picture of the black reservoir finished, but there was a fatal flaw...

The damn acrylic had ZERO transparency, so it was damn near 100% useless to me. You couldn't see the color of the fluid without an LED, and with an LED, it was too bright. No happy median here, so I scrapped it. Then I gave it a go again, this time with 1/8" 60% transparent white as a backer and came up with this,



It needs some touching up, but the sides won't be visible anyway. I plan on recessing this in the board and doing some kind of design cut into acrylic for an overlay. Haven't decided on what that design is at the moment, but it'll be something simple.

By recessing the reservoirs, I'll be able to hide more of the tubing behind the board for that nice, clean and classy look in the front. It's also going to save me on buying fittings, because $100 worth of extra fittings isn't in the budget.


I'll be back sometime this week with another update. Hopefully I'll have three of the reservoirs done, tapped and tested by this weekend so I can start laying the other components out.

Thanks for reading!
post #7 of 30
Thread Starter 
03/02/2016 Mini-Update

I've been kicking around a lot of different ways to mount everything, one piece at a time. The most time consuming part of this process so far is making all the little pieces and brackets. I decided the best way to do this is with acrylic, and if that doesn't work, I'll resort to aluminum.

Alright, so what's new?

I finished all three of the full acrylic reservoirs, just waiting on my new tap to arrive in the mail so I can pressure test them with the pump running.

I did start mocking up the fan covers, though. Waiting on a new hole saw, the one I have has seen better days.



I used this handy little guy to score the acrylic for the 120mm opening. It didn't cut through, it was a general pain in the ass to use, but it helped me mock up the covers, so there's something...



What are you waiting for?

A bunch of stuff. I'm not sure if I like the reservoirs I made. They were constructed with 1/8" cast acrylic, now I'm thinking I want to do 1/4". If that's the case, I'll probably have them sourced, put together and tapped by the local plastics shop.

Once I get the reservoirs 100% out of the way, I'll start installing parts on the rough-draft board to see how it all fits. After that, I have a really cool design in my head for some custom made acrylic coolant channels/mini-reservoirs. But that's super secret, Shhh...

Thanks for reading again!
post #8 of 30
Freaking awesome. Sub'd
post #9 of 30
Thread Starter 
Update: 03/04/2016


So, what's up?

I'm still waiting on a few little pieces to arrive in the mail, and they're kind of putting a wrench in my plans. I'm off all next week, and everything will (god willing) arrive by Tuesday. I've made a few mounts for various components, such as the graphics cards...

The backplates happened to have two holes that weren't tapped, on either one. I dug through my bag o' screws and found two likely mates.




I had a tap ROUGHLY the size I needed, a teeny tiny bit too small (SAE to metric), so I ran that through, then just PFT'd the screw through the hole with some blue loctite.




The other side was more of a pain, but was easily remedied. I just cut and trimmed a small piece of acrylic I had lying around to fit the holes and screwed it on with the stand-offs.




I'll file the inside and hit the outside edges with some sand paper and MAPP gas to make it look pretty, but it works. What I didn't notice was that the scrap I grabbed had been part of some other job that I had temporarily bonded to something. You'll notice the junky looking edge furthest from the picture. I had painters tape on it, and didn't even notice until I took the tape off. :wallbash:

I'll just chop that off at some point down the road.

As I noted before, the board I was working with is my "test board." It's too big, too thick, and too heavy. So, I started framing the actual mounting board I'll be using.




There's about 2 1/4" worth of space behind the mounting board, which will allow me to hide a lot of components that would clutter the front up, like the pumps, radiators, etc.

Because I don't want to mess up my final piece when I'm just winging things, I took two pieces of MDF that I'll be doing my cuts on to use as a template.




Other than that, I scrapped the reservoirs I had made before, as 1/8" thickness was less than ideal. I ordered a few sheets of 1/4" acyrlic, and they should be here by next Tuesday. I should have the new reservoirs cut and assembled.

Speaking of acrylic, I finished the rough-up for the fan covers.




I need to hit the insides with the file, but I'm happy with them at the moment.

Thanks for checking in!
post #10 of 30
Keep up the good work!
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