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[Build Log] The Dominator - Power Mac G5 mod

post #1 of 81
Thread Starter 
I've had this old Power Mac G5 in my spare room for some time now so I decided to try my hand at modding it. The project didn't start until I finally had an idea of how I wanted to mod it. It had to have a custom water cooling loop in it as I wanted to use it as my first try a water loop so if I messed up horribly it was only going to hose my spare rig and not my primary PC biggrin.gif .



The design inspiration I settled with was the Dominator - the overkill weapon featured in the anime series Psycho Pass. For this I'd need to incorporate the teal glow, a dark matt finish and as a final addition wooden grips on the handle. So I titled the project "The Dominator" (original image).



A big challenge for the mod was figuring out how to mount a standard mATX motherboard and PSU in the G5. An evening of pulling all the custom components and mounting points from the chassis allowed me to start determining how much space I really had to work with in there.



Putting a PSU in there with a motherboard made it obvious I'd need to limit myself to an mATX board to keep things in a BTX configuration as I felt more comfortable with the PSU above the water loop for safety given that this is my first custom loop.

Seeing as the original Mac I/O back plate was not going to work with my proposed set up I removed this and started figuring out just how the heck I was going to find or make a new I/O back plate. While I had an old case that I could tear down to give me the motherboard and expansion slot mounts it felt that adding the PSU mount to this would take more work again.

Fortunately this is problem that other smart people have figured out so I opened every ITX case on a local parts site until I found the case that could inspire me to find the solution. The I/O back plate of a CoolerMaster ITX case gave me this result.



The top panel of an old case gave me material to start making my custom panel that would be fixed in place with epoxy adhesive and probably riveted in place later.






I'd gathered a number of water cooling parts over the last few months including a 360mm radiator and two 240mm radiators so it only seemed fitting to try and get as much cooling in here as I could manage.

After cutting the 240mm floor radiator mounting point I gathered the parts I had at the time and tested how they'd fit in the case.



Turns out it was a lot tighter than I'd originally thought.



A random brainwave struck and gave me the answer to how I'd fit the 360mm radiator in the front. I'd need to fabricate a metal mounting piece that I could attach the radiator and its fans to and then screw the assembled group to the front floor of the case.



My EK DCP 4.0 arrived shortly after figuring this out and despite the measurements I'd used earlier to accommodate this pump I realised I'd underestimated just how big the pump was. The awkward inlet/outlet orientation wasn't going to help me either.

I'd originally thought I could use plastic cutting boards and epoxy adhesive these to the case and the typical stand-offs to the board but it seemed epoxy and polyethylene were not going to work well so I needed to scrap this idea. The project was held up until I could get a 6-32 UNC tap bit and start creating the motherboard mounting stand-offs.



I now have the tap and have continued. The back panel has been epoxied to the aluminium chassis and held in place overnight with weights to hopefully keep it locked together while it sets.



The stand-offs were then cut with the Dremel and the edges filed down. They just needed to be tapped and then I could start gluing them to the back panel. I'd need to have the motherboard and PSU mounting sorted before I could start seriously considering the component placement for the water loop.

Today I managed finish bending the motherboard stand-offs, drilling the pilot holes and tapping the 6-32 UNC threads.



I'll wait a bit longer before trying to mount the motherboard stand offs to give the epoxy adhesive more time to set.

That's it for now, more to come soon!
Edited by rathborne - 5/28/16 at 9:52pm
   
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post #2 of 81
Thread Starter 
The epoxy adhesive for the I/O back plate looks like it was fully cured so after I removed the weights holding everything down I started getting some measurements for the interior of the case. Hopefully it'll be of some help for others trying Power Mac mods.
Photos of interior measurements (Click to show)









The biggest gotcha with the interior measurements is the usable width at the point where the side panel retaining rail sits and normally divides the case into the two sections. Because the rail is a little deeper inside the case you need to be careful when trying to determine radiator placement for example as you lose a few centimetres of available space.

Next on the to-do list was to get the motherboard stand offs mounted in the case. I needed to mess around a little to make sure that the stand offs were at the right height for the I/O back plate and once this was figured out I could continue. The weights again should ensure there is enough constant pressure to keep things together while the adhesive sets for the next few days.



Hopefully on Saturday I'll be able to start working on how the front radiator, reservoir and pump will be fit into the case. I'm thinking that I'll also need to drill some holes in the I/O back plate so that I can add some rivets to provide a little extra structural support.
   
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post #3 of 81
good work, i like g5 mods... subbed

how thick are those standoff pieces? are you sure you will get enough of a thread in there or am I missing something?
post #4 of 81
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dirty elf View Post

good work, i like g5 mods... subbed

how thick are those standoff pieces? are you sure you will get enough of a thread in there or am I missing something?

Thanks smile.gif .

The stand offs are made using some of the mild steel I took from the inside of the G5 itself, probably from the top shelf. It might be a millimetre thick as it gave the Dremel some stress when cutting it and there still seems to be enough thread to be useful. I tried using a really small pilot hole in the hopes of pushing the rest of the metal through the hole and forming a longer thread but the tap didn't seem to be able to cut a thread until I started increasing the size of the pilot hole.

I think I've messed up the thread on one of the stand offs after bending it this afternoon but that shouldn't be too much of an issue.
   
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post #5 of 81
Subbed

Thanks for the measurements! thumb.gif

I should get my case this week but those will get me a head start on planning the layout. I think I'll "cheat" and use a premade motherboard tray, the Lian Li PC-6X and the mountain mod ones look pretty suitable for what I have in mind.

Are you going to paint the case yourself or will you get it powdercoated for the dark finish?
post #6 of 81
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by iBerggman View Post

Subbed

Thanks for the measurements! thumb.gif

I should get my case this week but those will get me a head start on planning the layout. I think I'll "cheat" and use a premade motherboard tray, the Lian Li PC-6X and the mountain mod ones look pretty suitable for what I have in mind.

Are you going to paint the case yourself or will you get it powdercoated for the dark finish?

The motherboard tray does sound like the easier approach if you have access to it smile.gif . Bit harder to find them at a cheap price here last time I checked.

I'm planning to paint it myself with a matt black spray. Don't think I'll have access to a good air compressor to spray it another way but it should be OK. The tricky part I think will be to get a consistent matt finish for the clear coat when I get to that stage.
   
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post #7 of 81
a #6-32 through a millimeter thick only gives you 1 1/4 threads... it might be ok as it is not a particularly high stress application but a good rule of thumb is to always have >3 threads
post #8 of 81
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dirty elf View Post

a #6-32 through a millimeter thick only gives you 1 1/4 threads... it might be ok as it is not a particularly high stress application but a good rule of thumb is to always have >3 threads

Yeah, the original idea was to have the tap push the extra metal through the pilot hole and add more thread but I think the 0.9 steel was too thick. Cases are probably normally made using 0.6 steel.

Now that I think about it i could have cut a fine score line through the pilot hole make it easier for the tap to bend the steel as I created the thread.

As long as the motherboard doesn't fall out it should be OK for this project biggrin.gif .
   
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post #9 of 81
you could get a thin nut to fasten from the underside perhaps

definitely dont add a lead in chamfer.. you would lose your thread! thumb.gif
post #10 of 81
Thread Starter 
That is another idea I've considered though I hadn't applied to the stand offs. I'd thought of using a thin nut to hold the radiator mount that I need to make in the case.
   
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