(In Win 901) Asteria II: Rearmoured
And on the other side (literally) we have our GPU backplate. I'm sticking with EK for this one, which opened up a fun little exercise in working out how to mate Watercool's block with EK's backplate, but it should all be good. Well, I've worked out the different screw sizes, but not actually screwed anything together so far
Anyway, the backplate. Everybody knows what an EK backplate looks like, so I shan't bore you. Plus my phone camera is having a few problems taking decent shots of shiny black things on black things.
I did manage to score an "FC Titan" backplate from eBay, rather than the generic "Geforce GTX", so I'm quite happy about that.
Unfortunately, this left me with a bit of a quandary. The plan was always to have some visual symmetry between the external skin of the case and the internals, so I planned to strip to black anodised layer off the backplate, buff up and then replicate the brushed aluminium effect found on the 901's outer skin. The backplate though was utterly pristine - as in it looked like it'd never been used - and I didn't have the heart to touch it; I couldn't find another FC Titan model if I messed this one up or changed my mind. But then there's a lot of black on the motherboard now and I was also concerned having a massive slab of black GPU would be too much, even with the eventual lighting.
So, fortune favours the bold and decided to bite the bullet. Maybe I shouldn't have been quite so bold however...
Caustic soda mix is NOT supposed to bubble and fizz quite that vigourously. Excuse the thumb in the shot because I hurriedly took a snap whilst ****ing myself. And yes, that black liquid on the bowl's rim is liquid anodised death.
Note for future reference, kids: don't have the water too hot! Given that it's a bit nippy outside I didn't want the caustic soda to run out of puff and get cold too quickly, so I compensated with slightly warmer water. Not a problem, however the bowl was too small for the backplate to fit in at the bottom, so I had to fill the bowl up some more.
I got distracted and pretty much near-boiling water went in with a little too much extra caustic soda. B Negative said when stripping his H Frame down for Lumo that it takes about 10-15 minutes to do its thing. Mine could be rubbed off by hand in 30 seconds. Fortunately I didn't damage the aluminium, but I got a surprise lungful of fumes and a bit of poo came out.
Sanded up a bit
That grain is beautiful on the raw aluminium, and does a good chunk of my final effect for me. Backplate was wet sanded with 400, 600 then 800 grit over about 2 hours. Usually you're supposed to switch 90 degrees with every grit to buff out your previous marks, but I didn't bother this time given the effect I planning.
Once the sanding is finished and the backplate washed up, you go ahead and grab some red scotchbrite pads and totally undo all of your hard work!
Just pull long, even strokes down the length of the backplate to get those scratches back in, replicating the brushed effect. Dead useful to have some kind of guide jig to help you stay straight when brushing. Also, switch up the part of the scotchbrite you use so you don't just repeat the same scratches.
Annoyingly it looks like I got something caught in the middle as there's a more pronounced line half way through, but I'm not too bothered and realistically would have to sand then entire thing back to smooth before going again. There is a similar streak from one of the screw holes which I may have to sort out.
Now for the comparison shot:
I think that's pretty damn epic. There's 2 different grades of aluminium used so I was never going to get the backplate to match, but it's close enough side-by-side and you'll never tell the difference once the hardware is installed and lit up.
Looks like I've gotten some dust on the 2nd layer of clear coat so I may have to 1000 grit that off tomorrow, then the EK badge can go back on. The question is do I keep the EK badge silver or vinyl wrap it brushed black?
Thanks to all for looking, and have a great New Year if I don't catch you before.
Last edited by LePhuronn; 01-23-2019 at 09:21 AM. Reason: Updated image linking
A quick update: I messed up the clear coat so had to strip it all off. Twice.
To be honest the blemishes were starting to annoy me so I've worked all the way back to smooth aluminium and started again. It's come out a bit more shiny too this time, so maybe I didn't get all the caustic soda tarnish off the first time. Then when things were going well after the 2nd attempt somehow the thing fell off the box whilst drying, but with the clear coat removed again the brushed effect isn't quite as pronounced.
Will be giving it another rub down in the morning.
Annoyed because it looked so good the first time
Almost like glass, which is perfect for the aluminium and glass on the 901.
Added to the Supremacy EVO block too for consistency.
Looks mint, thanks very much to that man!
Last edited by LePhuronn; 01-23-2019 at 09:18 AM. Reason: Updated image linking
Many thanks, it does look pretty mint I must say. Good to have you on board (updates coming soon now that I'm kinda OK with the metal folding).
You want an I/O shroud too? I'm redoing it to be more precise and TCO expressed an interest in having one. I'll see if I can cut a few more, or you're more than welcome to a copy of the drawing if you want to cut and bend your own.
I'll sort the drawing for you then. Which format would you prefer? It's Adobe Illustrator at the minute.
And if it ends up in a build log then name check me, because I'm an attention whore
An AI file is fine. Just PM when you get time. I'll definitely give you a mention if I get round to doing a log!
Cool, I'll sort you as soon as I can
My bend radii are larger than I expected, so it's thrown some measurements off between 1-2mm (some not an issue, some critical) but it's getting there. These are the 2 essential (and scary) pieces.
I'll present properly soon
Last edited by LePhuronn; 01-23-2019 at 09:16 AM. Reason: Updated image linking
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