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(In Win 901) Asteria II: Rearmoured - Page 5

post #41 of 74
Thread Starter 

 

Greetings to you all, it's been a while!

 

I have a bit of time off work so I can crack on with the guts of this project. Now that I have tangible progress and photographic evidence of my sheer perfect execution and all the mistakes I never made, I am happy to say it's time for me to walk you through the actual case work :D

 

Quick shots of the 3 core structural pieces:

 

Laser cut 1.5mm aluminium and (eventually) folding into shape.

 

I've said before that a core design choice for this project was to retain as much of the stock look of the In Win 901 as possible, despite the extensive modifications made to the interior. Part of the way to achieve that is using the same thickness of aluminium and to form the structure through folding larger cut pieces just as in Win do. That's meant replicating fiddly tabs for using existing rivet holes, creating seemingly superfluous bits to accommodate mount points and support for the glass panels. Rough sketches to finished laser cut pieces was about 8 months in the end, with a lot of chopping, changing and procrastinating!

 

 

A Little Bit Of History...
As I said at the very start of this log, Laine's "Clarity" project was an impressive piece of work fitting a full loop into the 901, but I wasn't enamoured with some aspects of how he achieved it, specifically the use of a pair of 120mm radiators in the bottom. Since he chopped up good chunks of the existing case, I couldn't understand why he just didn't punch through the bottom body and slide a 240mm rad in, and avoid the complications of lining them up to be level, tubing runs between the two and whatnot. After delusions of grandeur and a couple months staring at pictures and Photoshop measurements, I had a special offer land in my email for the 901 in silver at a good discount. It was my birthday too so I pulled the trigger to see what I could do with it.

 

Sure enough, there was plenty of space to fit a 240mm rad in the bottom and switch over to a SFX PSU down there too - having run a GTX Titan in a Sugo SG05 for a few years I really didn't see the point of full ATX PSUs in Mini ITX cases. All that was needed was to make a large cutout area above the optical drive and lose the 120mm fan intake area.

 

 

(Credit to bit-tech for the original photo)

 

I had a bit of a revelation though which changed the scope of this project; rather than refining what Laine had done I was going to try to take it up another level. Conceptually of course :p there's no way I can touch that man's craftsmanship.

 


Main Body
When I realised the existing 901 floor couldn't be re-purposed for decent radiator holes I had the idea of designing an entirely bespoke body. Still wanting to keep the same layout I measured up all the folds for the hard drive area and it struck me that the space In Win had created was pretty close to the size of a SFX PSU. I hadn't used 3.5" drives for a while, and moving the PSU up to the top-right would free up 100mm of space in the lower chamber.

 

Bam, there it was: let's raise the stakes and go 360mm radiator at the bottom. Took a while to find a rad that would work, but ultimately went for the Alphacool UT60 360 as it's the perfect width to not foul on the PSU cutout in the outer skin and has a plug on the back I could use as a drain port. Messing around with sealing the front ports with Fernox LSX is a story for another time ;) but with position confirmed I designed a new body to fit the UT60 and SFX PSU up top.

 

Old vs New

 

Replicated the tab on the upper section for extra support, and that damn fiddly tab on the bottom-right because the glass side panel has a mount there.

 

As you can see, there was no way I could re-purpose the existing fan and PSU holes for a radiator, especially as some of the actual screw positions wouldn't have any material above them.

 

In Win do have a nice square grid design in parts of the case, so I kept that style going for the rad and PSU holes. Also copied the cutouts to get to mounting screws in other parts of the case. Trying to keep things looking stock, remember?

 

Old HDD vs New PSU

 

Dropped down and pulled in but not a million miles away from the original.

 


Lower "L" portion
So named because it's L-shaped, I might as well design a bespoke piece for the lower compartment too, rather than chopping up the stock case!

 

Again, square hole pattern for some intakes. To be honest you couldn't chop enough out of the original piece and still look tidy, certainly not with a 60mm thick rad (could that be the reason Laine didn't bother himself? :p )

 

Although there was a time it wasn't going to be square holes...

 

The stock case has some wonderful construction going on down here with hiding a slimline optical drive underneath the PSU, all folded from a single piece. I don't need all of that, but it's a shame to dump something so impressive.

 

I do need something for the glass side panels to attach to, and lo and behold there's 2 tabs needed.

 

 

Fan assembly
Well, I call it a fan assembly purely because that's where the front 120mm intake would go. For me it's just a couple of strips! Pointless comparison time...

 

It's a purely functional piece to be fair. Power switch and activity LEDs will be strapped to it, but unfortunately there's not enough space between the edge of the case and the radiator to fit any sockets and cables to keep the I/O, so a pair of blanking plates will get bolted on to cover the space.

 

The stock power button is actually a nice tongue of springy aluminium that just rests on a tactile switch. I have a blanking plate variation cut which will hopefully replicate that look.

 


So there you go, a first proper post talking about the actual case work and design motivations for the project, and hopefully a slightly clearer picture of how the loop is going in.

 

Next step is to get everything trued up a bit as a lot of the 90 degree angles have slipped a touch and to map out and drill all the holes I need to rivet and screw this thing together. There's still some chopping required on the case parts I'm keeping to ensure all this goes together correctly (which has already started), so hopefully I can sort that soon and give you another update.

 

Hope you enjoyed the read, back soon!


Edited by LePhuronn - 4/25/17 at 1:40am
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post #42 of 74
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For my 100th post, I thought I'd quickly skip a couple of steps and share this, since some of the existing case chopping has begun

 

Very rough first test fit of the SFX PSU. Once that's trued up and bolted in that's going to be mint!

 

I do have leeway horizontally for it to slide in as-is, but I'm going to try and file down the bend radius of that bottom-left bend inside and get more of a right-angle so the PSU can fit a bit more snug.

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post #43 of 74
Wow man! That looks mighty mighty good! GREAT! You must be pleased all that hard work is starting to pay off! thumb.gif

Cant wait for more progress.

I still havent gotten round to making up that I/O shroud as yet, let alone open the file redface.gif Ill get there one day.
post #44 of 74
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by fakeblood View Post

Wow man! That looks mighty mighty good! GREAT! You must be pleased all that hard work is starting to pay off! thumb.gif

Cant wait for more progress.

 

Very pleased yes, but also relieved that all of my errors have been correctable. It's been really touch-and-go with the unexpected bend radius throwing everything off.

 

The big one was the Lower L. That was designed to have a nice 2mm clearance around the radiator with corner radii matching perfectly. The hole pattern was then visually vertical center from the floor to the cutout. The length though also needed to be exact to match the screw holes and the glass panel mounts. Having trashed my only spare when the fold occurred through the middle of the air holes (least resistance) and tore, the bend radius ended up pushing all cutouts upwards by 3mm, which meant the radiator and fans no longer fit in the space and I couldn't risk flattening it back out to try again.

 

So I've taken a hacksaw to my lovely accurate laser cuts, chopped 3mm out of the opening to make it correct size again and lost the rounded corners. it also means the air holes are way off vertical centre, and it is going to bug the hell out of me knowing it's incorrect, even if it's not obvious :sad-smile

 

The mounting tabs are slightly wonky too, but they're purely internal so I'm not too bothered, and lumps can get hacked out as needed to true everything up.

 

Thanks for coming :thumbsups

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post #45 of 74
So happy you're making the pieces look OEM/stock, looks fantastic.
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post #46 of 74
Thread Starter 

Thanks DramaLlama, much appreciated.

 

I love what Laine did with Clarity and B Negative's Celestial is a great piece of work so far too, but for me the 901 was a real design landmark (for all of its flaws, and there are many :p) in PC cases, and I don't want to change the actual appearance in any way.

 

The ultimate goal is when the glass panels are put on, the only obvious thing is the open portion where the intake fan usually sits will have a part of a radiator poking through. Yes, the internals will be lit (more on that later down the line), but it's only when you take the glass panels off will you see how much the layout has changed.

 

Very lofty goal I know, but the integral part of that plan is getting the new bodywork correct, and for all intents and purposes I've (so far) achieved that. Big, big target met.

 

:thumb:

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post #47 of 74
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Hello hello!
 
Given the positive response this project has received so far across the interwebs, I thought it was about time to share the first actual failure, and it's kinda big, kinda not.
 
The main body part of the case I'm keeping needs a few cuts to remove unneeded tabs, awkward flanges and space making for my pump. Funny really, part of the reason for designing entirely new sections of the case was to avoid chopping up irreplaceable parts, but hey ho, the needs must! (I wonder if B Negative has thrown his 901 innards out for Celestial...)
 
 
The original hard drive area has guide runnings stamped into the roof of the case. Originally I was going to re-purpose these for the PSU but they're a bit too big and will be off-centre.

 

DDC is getting squeezed in here behind the Titan, so we need a cutout.

 

Masked off...
 
...let surgery commence! (the next day)

 

 
The 1.5mm thick aluminium cut like butter with the hacksaw, skipped like hell with my rubbish rotary tool and took forever and a day to file cleanly. Didn't turn out too badly actually though.

 

 

 
So far so good...and now the fun begins. And by fun I mean annoyance, lamenting and re-thinking. Let me tell you another story...
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post #48 of 74
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Sometimes you should just following your gut and then take the hints presented to you.

 

The plan from the outset was to use a DDC pump. I got very early measurements quite wrong and had largely committed to it for placement and loop order. After realising my folly things were still workable but going to be really tight, given the only space really I could mount the thing neatly was behind the Titan in that far corner. Overhang was the concern: I had about 50-55mm to play with, and any overhang should be no more than 2mm at worst. I could add spacers to the side panel mount to give some extra room and then edge the glass panel with some neoprene to seal the gap. Sounded like a plan.

 

At the time I was using a full-cover EK block for the Titan, which meant that all top-facing ports on the DDC top would be blocked off. XSPC to the rescue it seemed as their multi-port DDC top had an an inlet on the side opposite the outlet. Perfect, I could run the loop essentially around the perimeter of the case. Trouble was, by the time I was set to go that version of the top was discontinued, and the new V2 is something crazy like 28mm tall which pushed the entire DDC assembly about 5mm too far, and that's an overhang I couldn't compensate for.

 

...Follow your gut, this isn't feeling viable now...

 

Almost packed the entire project in at that point (nothing really had been purchased) until I saw a DDC top on AliExpress that was 24mm in height and had in and out ports on the side. Winner winner, bought it to see how things would go. It was delivered in 3 days, except somebody somewhere messed up and nobody would admit to it: I live in Stoke, the item was delivered to somewhere in Surrey! The AliExpress seller said nothing and couldn't confirm the address he put on the parcel, I tracked the UK courier down and it was Hermes (shock horror) and, after a little social engineering, I got the customer service rep to break their operating rules and tell me what the address was. But I had no reply from the Surrey address when I wrote them a letter asking if they'd had a weird delivery in my name.

 

AliExpress refund never showed up either.

 

...Take the hint the universe is presenting to you...

 

Anyway, all ready to rage quit I see the Aquacomputer DDC top with ports on the side too, only this time they're both on the same side as well as a pair of ports on the top. The loop order would be a bit fiddly but I could make it work so pulled the trigger. About this time too is when I found out an EK block for the Titan would be too tall to fit, so switching over to the Watercool block actually freed up some space along the PCB for top-facing ports on the DDC. Winner.

 

And here she is: Alphacool DDC310 in Nickel with the Aquacomputer top.

 

And the back with my custom mount attached (temporary screws)

 

Mating the pump and top wasn't easy. The mounting set supplied with the pump unit were 5mm too long to attach the top and 3mm too long at the mounting side causing more dreaded overhang. Plus, the screws supplied with the top left no means to then mount the assembled pump. Quandary.

 

...Again, TAKE THE HINT...

 

Ultimately I decided to just include the pump mount as part of the assembly. Yeah, to remove the mount I'd have to dismantle the entire thing, but when it's in, it's in so no big deal.

Test fit time!

 

 

Titan is sagging a bit, I'll address that later, but all is looking good. Nicely placed, the outlet fitting doesn't interfere with any capacitors and I can even go back to a non-rotary fitting I had used originally as I have clearance.

 

Even my custom cover did the job!

 

Putting a stop plug on the center inlet fouled so I made a copy without it.


And then I looked at the back :mad:

 

 

The fins and about 1mm of the heatsink body hangs outside the case. That's about 6mm, and there's no way I can extend the side panel mounts safely to support the weight of tempered glass. The kicker is I kinda knew this would happen but still went for it. So yeah, not at all happy right now.


So now it's a case of working out where to go. My immediate thought is to finally take the hint and sack off the DDC and run with the Alphacool DC-LT instead. At 35mm thick I won't have any placement issues, plus the acrylic top has side-facing ports so my original loop is back in play. I don't have a mental loop and I've had discussions with a few using them in very restrictive loops with no issue.

 

The trouble now though is I have this massive space cut into the case for a pump I'm not using. The DDC is 65x65mm, the DC-LT is 50x50mm and I cut the space a bit big as well, so I have this scruffy-looking gap that looks unplanned (because it kinda is). I may be able to cover it over, we'll see.

 

Alternatively, do I cut off the fins on the DDC heatsink? That almost removes the overhang, and I can safely shim the side panel mounts 2mm max. I did have an active cooling idea in mind for the pump anyway so losing the fins shouldn't be an issue. Of course then really I'd need to strip the nickel off the pump housing and clean the brass up to make things presentable. In the long run it might be worth it, and some mod cred too :thumbsups


So yeah, a bit of a long post just to say "my pump doesn't fit and I kinda knew it wouldn't", but I do like to spin a yarn, and part of doing a public build log is to document the journey and how you arrived at your choices.

 

Comments and input welcome regarding this pump issue!

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post #49 of 74
Good lord, hands down the sickest 901 build I've seen yet (and there have been several really nice examples of modded 901s on the forum here.) The laser cut interior panels look fantastic, and stuffing a 360mm radiator inside the 901 is awesome (and hilarious.) I'm sitting here staring at one of my old backup rigs in a 901 that I haven't touched in years, and this really makes me want to make a full scale project out of it.

As far as the pump goes either option would be fine, but I'd rather see you mod the current pump housing heatsink just because I'm interested in what the final product would look like. Your fabrication skills are great, and you don't seem to shy away from putting a ton of work into smaller details, so that sounds like a winner imo
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PC-V4play
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Thread Starter 

@failwheeldrive: Very happy to hear that my work has inspired you. If you fancy doing a LePhuronn Edition 901 let me know and I'll send the you files for the laser cutting laughingsmiley.gif nice for you to say you think this is the sickest mod so far, because I've seen some crackers already. And there's some really awesome stuff coming I've not even mentioned yet! Two words for you: storage assembly :thumb:

 

The pump issue was bugging me because after my original measurement mess-ups there's no way I would've committed to the DDC if it wasn't viable. I have 45mm from the back of the GPU to the outside of the case, and the Aquacomputer top + DDC310 body WITH the fins is 45mm. Give or take a couple mm I could make it work. So I had another look after posting last night and I think the wobbly bit of case is throwing things off, plus the pump mount I made was bent at a different place than intended to lower the height, which made it stick out a bit more and contribute to the overhang.

 

So, I'm going to trim down the pump mount to get a tighter fit and once the case is trued up and test-bolted together I'm trying again. I'm not adverse to filing the heatsink fins down a bit (that was part of my thought process way back anyway), but removing them completely will be an utter ballache.

 

I never thought this project would involve basic woodworking, but I'll be building an MDF jig to get everything accurate for re-assembly (may do some pictures for a laugh), and then we can properly assess the DDC. Jig won't be built for a while yet; new jigsaw en route and then I'm back to work next week, but hopefully it won't be too long before I have an update.

Asteria II
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Asteria II
(22 items)
 
Asteria
(14 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Inte i7 6700K Asus Maximus VIII Impact Asus GTX Titan Corsair Dominator Platinum 16GB 3000MHz 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingCooling
Samsung 840 EVO 500GB Western Digital WD10SPCX 1TB EK Supremacy EVO Watercool Heatkiller GPU X3 Titan LT 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
Alphacool Nexxxos UT60 360 Alphacool Nexxxos ST30 120 Alphacool DDC310 Aquacomputer DDC pump top 
CoolingCoolingCoolingOS
Aqua Computer ECO100 EK-HDC 12mm hardline fittings Acrylic 12mm hardline Windows 10 Pro 
MonitorMonitorPowerCase
Dell Ultrasharp U2312HM Dell Ultrasharp U2312HM Silverstone Strider ST45SF-G V2.0 In Win 901 
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