[Build Log] Scratch build SFF watercooled case - Overclock.net - An Overclocking Community

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[Build Log] Scratch build SFF watercooled case

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post #1 of 184 (permalink) Old 03-31-2014, 06:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Custom SFF Watercooled Case

First, if you have followed my previous build log, I have realized that there was disappointment with my cancellation of the Bitfenix Prodigy Hackintosh, and it's not a good way to go especially for my first log. But I hope to move on and get to finishing a build that is worthwhile.

After owning the Prodigy and my first ITX system, I eventually decided I want to go with something smaller. I admit I bought it because the handles look cool, but it is a lot of case for ITX and had a few design issues with some rad configurations and the power supply cage. On top of it, I was starting to get out of my depth with some of my mod ideas. I'm not an experienced modder, and some of the things I wanted to do were either hard to do or time consuming with just my tools and resources at hand.

So on to this build. I want to make a smaller SFF case that would be tailored to my part configuration, but at the same time be easy to build. She Loved E's Compact Splash is a big influence for my idea, as well as the Ncase M1 to a lesser extent. It started out with inspiration from the Compact Splash but taken on a different design, as well as interior layout. Exterior looks wise, it will be minimal, and like a mix of some of the aluminum Jonsbo and Lian Li cases.

A lot of SFF cases have a "cube" look which I don't really like and at sub 15 liters, there's not too many offerings now that the Splash and M1 are not available. I know there is a M1 revision, but I'd rather not wait.

This log will be mostly about building the case and setting up the water loop, since almost all of the components will be carried over from the Prodigy build. There are only a few parts I need to buy in order to be compatible with the smaller size case I'm going for.

Final pics!

Components List (Click to show)
  • Asus P8Z77-I Deluxe motherbaord
  • Intel Xeon E3-1320 v2 processor
  • Samsung MV-3V4G4/US 8GB DDR3 ram
  • MSI 2PMD3GD5/OC Radeon HD 7950
  • Toshiba 2GB 7200 RPM hard drive
  • OCZ Vertex 60GB SSD
  • Silverstone ST45SF-G 450W power supply (not obtained yet)
Water Cooling Parts List (Click to show)
  • EKWB FC-7950 nickel waterblock
  • Bitspower AIZ77ITXD nickel plated waterblock
  • Swiftech MCP35X pump (white)
  • XSPC AX-120 and AX-240 radiator - silver
  • Bitspower Water Tank Z-Multi 50 in either POM white or clear
  • EK-DDC Heatsink Housing in nickel (not obtained yet)
  • XSPC chrome fittings and some Bitspower white extenders
  • Primochill Primoflex LRT 10ft clear tubing - 3/4" OD 1/2" ID


I thought about posting this in the Case Mod work logs forum but I think it would get appreciated more here. Especially since the case will be smaller than my last one biggrin.gif

As for cooling, this one was a tad tricky. I tried to make the case even smaller than Compact Splash but it proved hard to do without sacrificing components. Then I looked at one of the cooling config illustrations for the M1 and this is how I came up with the alternate layout with the 120 rad against the side. This allowed me to make the case shorter in height, and a bit slimmer. But compared to the Splash, it is at about an inch longer.

I know it will get cramped in there setting up the loop, but hope I can manage it. It would require a special way to add in the parts, I'm sure of it. I will start ordering the case parts soon.
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post #2 of 184 (permalink) Old 03-31-2014, 06:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Log Index

Original case design (Click to show)
Pics of the proposed build and case design. I started laying out the design with the parts I already own and moved onto Sketchup to position them and see how they'd fit. Here is the rough idea of the case and how the parts will fit inside of it.

Front view



Rear view



Its inner dimensions are 13" L 6" W 11" H. The case will be built with 3/16" thick acrylic panels for the sides and L-angle aluminum bars for support and holding the case and parts together. I might get the acrylic pre-cut with rounded corners for a more professional look.

The front and rear are completely exposed in these renders, but they will be covered up. For the rear, I'll buy an aftermarket I/O panel, possibly from Mountain Mods.


Acrylic parts ordered. I decided to go with the rounded corners on the mobo tray, as it was only $5 extra. Here are some renders that more or less show what the color scheme look like (some parts removed for visibility)




Originally I had the fans to be painted white, but on a whim I threw in a blue color from the motherboard and it grew on me.
Also, radiator fins will be clearly visible in the real build. Might use a grill to cover them up.
First case parts arrived (Click to show)

500x1000px-LL-c253a948_case-mock1.jpeg
Building the tray and test fitting (Click to show)
500x1000px-LL-a9fb7e48_mobo-fit3.jpeg
First case revision (Click to show)
500x1000px-LL-5273df25_design-v2front.png
EX 280 radiator, Silverstone SFX PSU, and Lutro0 sleeving (Click to show) Shaping the case front (Click to show)
500x1000px-LL-f711ec97_bending-brake1b.jpeg
Radiator painted, shaping the front pt. 2 (Click to show)
500x1000px-LL-16d541b6_painted-rad3.jpeg
Test fitting radiator and PSU (Click to show)
500x1000px-LL-7fc36832_parts-fit1b.jpeg
Motherboard panel - first attempt (Click to show)
500x1000px-LL-e766e507_rear-io2b.jpeg
New cables and a bit of sleeving (Click to show)
500x1000px-LL-a10386aa_vga-cables2.jpeg
Cutting fan holes, new motherboard panel (Click to show)
500x1000px-LL-33243f61_top-cutout1.jpeg
Sketchup of new case layout (Click to show)
500x1000px-LL-6980033f_design-v3-side1.png
Starting the rear case panel (Click to show)
500x1000px-LL-f393a860_case-top-back1c.jpeg
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post #3 of 184 (permalink) Old 03-31-2014, 06:48 PM
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Subbed dude! I may be moving from the prodigy to something else too! Hopefully you can give me some inspiration cheers.gif
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post #4 of 184 (permalink) Old 03-31-2014, 07:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Subbed dude! I may be moving from the prodigy to something else too! Hopefully you can give me some inspiration cheers.gif

Thanks, really appreciate it!

I'm set on buying the acrylic from Tap Plastics. They'd do a good job with cutting it to size, though having the corners pre-rounded would set the price of the pieces to over $43. This is just for the sides and motherboard tray. Front, top and bottom will be smaller pieces and therefore cheaper.

As for the aluminum bars, I wonder if I can settle with 1/16" thickness for the top brackets, for attaching the 240 mm rad and fans? They will be 1 1/2" on each side.
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post #5 of 184 (permalink) Old 03-31-2014, 07:37 PM
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subbed curious as to how that rad up against the psu is going to work out there's gonna have to be a bit of magic in that area.
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post #6 of 184 (permalink) Old 03-31-2014, 07:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Elyminator View Post

subbed curious as to how that rad up against the psu is going to work out there's gonna have to be a bit of magic in that area.

You mean the front rad or top rad?
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post #7 of 184 (permalink) Old 03-31-2014, 08:06 PM
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You mean the front rad or top rad?
the front on on the side pannel
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post #8 of 184 (permalink) Old 03-31-2014, 08:14 PM
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subbed!



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post #9 of 184 (permalink) Old 03-31-2014, 08:30 PM - Thread Starter
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subbed!

Thanks!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elyminator View Post

the front on on the side pannel

Ah, right. The rear angle view makes the rad appear very close to the PSU, but it's actually 2 1/2" apart. Also, I should probably use better models for the rads since I just made the basic shape without showing where the ports are.



The ports would point to the inside of the case, so there's enough room behind it to route a tube to the reservoir and one of the blocks. The fan will be attached to the opposite side.
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post #10 of 184 (permalink) Old 03-31-2014, 08:35 PM
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hey no worries i do the exact same thing in mock ups and in the fisr picture it looks like enough room so maybe it's just me... are you going to leave this case open except for the side panels more or less or am i missing something?
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