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[mod] Dremel ReDesign Define RS4

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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-01-2018, 03:55 PM - Thread Starter
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[mod] Dremel ReDesign Define RS4

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.

Last edited by JackCY; 11-04-2018 at 12:03 PM.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-06-2020, 06:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Thought I have pics of the 3 fan front, guess not yet or deleted it in meantime.

The "moduvents" wrapped after milling them so they sit flush. Mounting holes extended with super glued corner cut offs from an old fan, no way to strip or break that when screwing a fan screw into it, I tried on a scrap piece. Even the brand new moduvents would barely hold with their shallow depth mounting holes for screws, not anymore.

Also made a wooden 1 piece insert for the top but it needs some surface painting/oiling and not sure I will use it, I like the black covers. Fractal made the top on Era wooden but mine is only as a vent cover.

3x140 mm front fan, 1x140 mm bottom and 1x140 mm rear fan. Front door opens and filters are attached on sides and bottom of front panel = front door open = air literally blows out the back of the case with Arctic P14 PWM, when closed... that's a different story with the #200 mesh filters, there is only so much air that can pass but it does pass.

Had to add the HDD cage back, had it with dual HDD mounted on rubber strings, even paracord but need more slots to mount now.

Cage is the original 5 bay, slides from side until the mobo tray rubber grommet stops it, it can be screwed in on both sides into the hard wood. Wood is not painted yet so at least you can see it, otherwise it's the same wood as used for case feet. Wood is screwed into the case with 2 long screws on each side right where the 5.25" bay cage was riveted. One side is two pieces and the screws hold it together, I couldn't be bothered to glue it, maybe if I paint it one day, the screws hold it very well, metal nuts are sunk and locked in the wood.

With little to no HDDs in the cage, it's all open space, basically a duct unlike how FD mounted the HDD cages originally where they block all airflow. If the front fan was mounted with quick removal then 3-4 HDDs could slide out the front with the cage turned around.

I simply slide the whole cage out with all HDDs, furthers position is tough to use without a 90 deg SATA power cable, possible but there is not much space to go around for sure.

The whole case and cage even two HDD brackets are filled with car sound dampening material, heavy and flexible, removes metal ringing noise and adds weight. Similar to what FD does to the side panels except that material is some sprayed on hard one.

And I had to bend the case's rear panel inward, I couldn't stand how it would pull any PCIe card (GPU) toward the back in order to screw it in. With the rear flat it's too far from the PCIe slots and tries to rip the cards out and sag them down. Of course I only found out at the end when I was putting the GPU in. Tried to bend it, could a little, not enough. Had to unscrew the mobo so it can move out of the way a little so I can bend the rear panel inward as much as I can with hands and that did the trick.

Now PCIe cards (GPU) screw in with barely any if any pull from the rear panel, the rear also sits flush to the mobo I/O. It's not much of a bend just a few millimeters but it does help a lot. I think this was always a problem with the case when trying to screw GPUs in.

All fans are now screwed in, I'm done with the rubber mounting, it's such a pain to do and rarely works well.

Gotta take a photo of the front fans and bottom. Had to make a small acrylic piece that fills a gap between fan and PSU, the PSU can't be raised as again doing so pushes the rear panel more outward. It's a game of millimeters sometimes to get things to fit right when part of the case can't be straight and has to be bent.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-06-2020, 07:21 PM
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Nice job modding. Very clean, far better than the hackjob on my R3.

How do you like the stainless filters? Do they break apart and leave any particulate in the case?

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-06-2020, 08:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote: Originally Posted by Almost Heathen View Post
Nice job modding. Very clean, far better than the hackjob on my R3.

How do you like the stainless filters? Do they break apart and leave any particulate in the case?
Not really, I've had them on the regular R4 filters and still do. I use the original 2x140 mm front fan plastic holder with filter as a portable suction of fumes away from me when soldering or doing something else that smells, say soldering those stainless steel filters into the plastic frames
Sure a bit of care has to be taken around the edges so you don't leave loose strands or something but since I melt all the way to edge and then check and clean up the edge where necessary, no there is nothing coming off the edges. Otherwise the filter is sturdy enough, it doesn't disintegrate.

They don't let that much air through but then no dust filter does, at least these really do filter since the openings are small. No one really makes custom filters anyway, only for stock cases there used to be I think it was #100 mesh expensive filters Demciflex South Africa, where you pay the price of a case for new filters for it.

The rear filter where a vertical PCIe slot was is magnetic, I think I wanted it on outside but I cut the rear panel edge as wide as the side panel's bent edge is and the filter doesn't like it when the side panel is being screwed on. So it's on the inside, it has 2 sections and one is covered although I doubt it makes any difference in temps. it should prevent rear fan from pulling air through there instead of out of case. The PCIe filter is simply jammed in there. Same white plastic is for front bottom, only had to cut it a bit so it fits around fan mounting screws, otherwise it's jammed in a slot in the front panel and removable when needed.

I think I still have some mesh left over for maybe 1 case. At the beginning it was I think enough mesh for 2 cases, though it does depend how big filters one will make.

The mesh is stainless steel, and is conductive. You don't have to make it all the way to the edge of a frame and then there is no problem with edges possibly having some loose strand, it's a bit tricky to do though when the frames are 5 mm wide so I don't.
Simply have to take care and check the edges when it's done.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-07-2020, 09:09 PM - Thread Starter
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3x140 mm front fans, it's really close but it does fit with enough space for front panel cables. Fans are mounted with some rubber spacers that came with the case and I don't even know what they were once meant for otherwise as they are not the HDD bracket rubbers and they were precisely 12 as I needed

That little piece of dark colored acrylic to fill a gap between long PSU and repositioned bottom fan. PSU is mounted with added washers, again so that it keeps the rear bent inward and doesn't straighten it out when PSU is tightened in. On idle the air is actually going out of the top vent, not so much if at all from the bottom, the air kind of slides around the side panel all the way to the rear from front fans as they don't blow air around their middle at low speed nor with dust filters restricting their intake. Otherwise at full speed and no filters the air is blowing out the back everywhere even without sidepanels.

The extra removable filters, had to mod the front one a bit to clear screws.

Last edited by JackCY; 07-09-2020 at 09:08 AM.
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