Fractal Design Define R4 Titanium mod for silence and airflow.
Now it's getting to be a bit of an old machine, need to fit an extra HDD, newer GPU dumping air too much into case at weird angle, ... time to cut it up now that I have collected all the tools and time.
First thing I did when I got the case: cut out all the stupid grills, like a "butcher" with wire cutters (R.I.P.) and tin can opened with metal scissors a bigger intake hole for PSU, touched up cuts with dark blue car repair brush:
Case had only 1 LED so I added another, best thing is I turn all LEDs always off when possible so they only blink on start up that's it. Looks good though, uses a blue LED in 1 half of the switch assembly light guide to show system activity:
Of course soon it turned out the Fractal filters are a joke so replaced them with custom DIY filters I did: stainless steel #200 mesh, good luck dust.
You can see below comparison of the #200 mesh and default Fractal filters. Bottom filter front removal is a must but back then it did not occur to Fractal to implement that, so I did and raised feet with guiding slot were made, worked fine, looked OK but not great as it was hand cut rubber taped over and the tape doesn't exactly stick very well.
Original filters cut out, also cut out any excess plastic as deemed acceptable structurally. Never used the front fall down door, ever, removed that to make space for airflow. Cut a little bigger hole on bottom of front panel but conservatively.
DIY filters installed:
And here we are October 2018:
- 3x140mm front fan: cutting up front intake and front panel
- cutting out all grills even from positions I do not use: top and side as it's a pain to clean, modifying hole covers to fit flush
- cutting out bigger grommet holes so right angle connectors can be used with motherboard and cables pass more easily without destroying the grommets over time as it already started to with grommet parts that were bent 90deg
- removing useless 5.25" bay, seriously why do they keep adding this to cases past 2010
- drilling more HDD mounting holes
- drilling more cable tie points
- cutting out expansion slot bars
- cutting out hole next to expansion slots
- cleaning up all previous butchery
- making additional filters for front bottom, expansion slots and hole next to expansion slots
- new better looking and slightly higher feet with easy guidance system
- even more sound damping
Front panel cut sides and bottom, no idea why Fractal uses so many bars on all their Define cases, looks fine, much better airflow as the amount of plastic bars removed was "unreal", 80%
of bars removed, all holes are of equal size. Bottom cut out as large as I could while being able to make a filter for that place. Sides will get mesh directly into them, no more removing front filter to clean it, was a pain anyway even with their system and making 3x140mm filter, nah I don't have such huge plastic to make a frame + filter on sides provides better airflow since it's more far from fans.
Rear of case cut out and filter frames made:
Fan hole covers moded to sit flush, by hand with a dremel grinder:
Spray painted everything over 3 days, hate spray cans already, terrible output from them, black on black good luck seeing coverage, paint doesn't harden even after 18h if freakin' ever and it's mixture is not fine at all compared to spray gun. 10-15C probably humid it won't dry anytime soon. Just about covered what I needed probably 3 times with weird coverage at times and the can is done. Painting is "fun" but even while literally outside or almost outside it's impossible to avoid inhaling something, I would rather smell nitro thinner than what ever they put into these spray cans. Sadly I don't know of any less harmful good matte black spray, all other are glossy or some generic crap can from local store whose paint doesn't stick well. For painting with one can, OK, for more... yeah really do get a proper breathing filter even when you're outside, sadly those are not easy to get, are expensive, filters last a limited amount of use/time and you need 2 different filters at once.
Most of the junk cut out:
Parts I had to make to mount 3x140mm front fans and new bottom feet, long bar is to fill in a gap between case and fans so they don't cycle air from inside (2.5mm thick stainless steel that one).
The case and panel, still drying but could move them finally to a warmer drier place:
Side panel is not painted whole since I would need to paint both and need 2 cans for that. They are always even as new kind of "grayer" and love to collect dust and other light particles.
Either I didn't shake can enough the first time or it's the damn default narrow nozzle as subsequent painting with wider nozzle looks better, as if narrow nozzle doesn't put out enough paint and all it's made for is stupid writing of ineligible words on walls. As such the first passes are kind of rougher and had to be dry cloth brushed to get loose paint dust off.
Looks good overall, only 1 of 4 parts needs a touch up where it was hanging.
You can notice enlarged grommets and extra holes on motherboard plate as tie points.
Space between bottom fan and PSU needs to get filled in later, probably a piece of removable plastic.
Case is still sturdy, no issues there, no need to add reinforcement after removing 5.25" bay.
As you can see front bottom needed to be cut as low as possible to make it easier to fit 3x140mm fans and not obstruct them with thing pieces of metal which could later cause noise as fans hate having anything near them. 1 fan frame has a notch cut into it for a case rivet to fit/clear. I could have chopped those 2 rivets and bar of metal off but due the "Made in China" stamping the bottom metal is warped inward and this thin piece of metal makes it level with the hump from stamping.
Top panel is not warped anymore as the stamped grill that warped it is all cut out.
Also rounded what ever original edges there were as some of those were quite sharp.