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What do you think of this build?

  • That's the coolest thing I've ever seen, it should be Mod of the Month

    Votes: 1 25.0%
  • Meh

    Votes: 1 25.0%
  • It's not one of the 25+ ongoing CaseLabs builds so I don't care

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • You're an idiot for building that monstrosity

    Votes: 2 50.0%
  • Not my "cup of tea" but nice job nonetheless

    Votes: 0 0.0%
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
AQUASTEIN DONE!





Parts list:
CASE: Fractal Node 605
CPU: i5-4570 Haswell
MB: Asrock Z87m Pro4
PSU: Seasonic 460 watt fanless
RAM: G.Skill 8GB (2 X 4) DDR3 1600
SSD: Samsung 840 Pro 128GB
HDD: WD Black 500GB 2.5"
GPU: Asus R9 270
FANS: Corsair AF120 Quiet Edition (X 2), Corsair SP120 Quiet Edition PWM, Enermax T.S. Silence 80mm

Watercooling:
RAD: XSPC AX120
PUMP: Laing DDC-1T
RES: Bitspower 150mm X 60mm Ice Blue
CPU BLOCK: XSPC Raystorm
GPU BLOCK: XSPC Rasa
HARD TUBING: Monsoon 3/8" X 1/2"
SOFT TUBING: XSPC 3/8" X 5/8"
MISC FITTINGS & ACCESSORIES:: Monsoon, EK, Bitspower, Primochill

The obligatory parts table pic


 

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subsandwich.

I am curious to see this play out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Looks like it's time to start case mods. I figured I better start with the one that could lead to the biggest disaster first so I could figure out a "plan B" in case I screw it up too badly. The radiator is not going to fit inside the box so I decided to mount it externally. I saw some other builds that were done in this fashion and I actually think it looks pretty cool. I chose a single 120mm rad because it fit in the stock holes. If I feel later on that I need more capacity, I could retrofit a 240mm with some slight modifications to the case.

I started by measuring and drilling some holes in the case. My Unibit maxed out before they were large enough so I finished them up with a round file.


I spent a few extra dollars on this XSPC rad because it comes in this aluminum enclosure and it will look better than a wide open radiator when mounted outside the case. They make this same model in a 240mm just in case I need to upgrade.


I salvaged this grille from one of the stock fans that came with the case. I may change it to a chrome piece later.


Here is the complete radiator assembly, including the PWM fan with shortened & sleeved cable. The large gasket is 7mm thick to space out the rad so the water fitting can clear the motherboard. The little blue pieces are spacers I cut from some left over water tubing that go in the four corners of the fan to be able to tighten it down without bending the frame of the fan.


The fitting cleared the motherboard by about 4mm, so the gasket did its job.



Here is the final assembly installed during mock-up. The interior configuration has been changed a bit since I took this pic, but you get the idea.


More to come later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I originally planned to make a custom HDD bracket out of some angled aluminum.


I didn't like the way it was turning out so I went back to the original bracket with some modifications. First I trimmed as much fat off of it as I could to free up some much needed room for wire mgmt.


Then I came up with an idea to mount the fill port underneath the bracket (more on that later).


I couldn't live with the bright white paint in this black/blue/chrome themed build so I sanded it down and prepped for paint.


Spray painting tip: Don't ever paint outside on a cold day. The finish came out terribly orange-peeled and I had to sand it back down to start over. The finished product still has some pitting but it's better than it was by a long shot.




The chrome bolts with the blue rubber gaskets are purely decorative to hide the prestamped mounting holes.


Finished product.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I picked out this Bitspower 150mm X 60mm reservoir for its color (obviously) and also because I had a large enough space for it.


I needed some way to mount it, so I went back to the aluminum stock that I bought for the HDD bracket and came up with this.






I think it came out pretty good and the elevation will help with filling & draining.




This is an exploded view of the overly complicated fill/drain system that I originally came up with (I have since changed the configuration.


I decided that instead of having a 4-way T, I would just dump the main fill port straight into the pump and then put a drain between the res and pump. I'll eventually put a second fill port directly on the reservoir.

As you can see, this support bar has to go in order to access the water fittings for the R9 270


I cut it off and made a custom down tube to support the hard drive bracket and fill port.




 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I couldn't find a backplate for the R9 270 so I made one today for $12 in materials and about 2 hours labor. At first I was looking at some aluminum but I knew I would be cutting, filing, and sanding so I would probably end up bending the crap out of it. I settled on some 18 ga.mild steel @ about 1 mm thick.


I made a pattern out of paper then checked, and double-checked to see if it would fit.


Time to break out my 30 year old Black & Decker jigsaw and pray.


It came out pretty good, some filing will clean up the edges.




One final test fit before paint.


The paint is still a bit tacky so I'll let it dry for another day before I install it. I need to come up with some sort of spacer solution in the meantime. I was hoping to stack some nylon washers but Home Depot didn't have any.


Since the sun was out for the first time in weeks when I've been home it was a good time to glue the end caps onto the Monsoon hardline with the UV reactive glue. This stuff works great, you can work with it to get the bubbles out and wipe off the excess (you know you're going to make a mess) for as long as you want. When you have it just the way you want it, you just put it in the sun for about 5 minutes and it's hardened.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gardnerphotos View Post

looking good, want to see how this turns out, Im tempted to build an HTPC but cant justify the cost at the moment
Thanks for the encouragement. I've been following your Sour Apple build and that thing is turning out awesome.

I got the backplate mocked up today. I still haven't found anything suitable for spacers so I temporarily used some washers to see if it would fit.


Like a glooooove!
smile.gif



The only slight issue is the bottom bolt @ the front hits the motherboard so I'll have to change it to a pan head screw (another $10 bucks in gas to buy a 30 cent part).

I was worried that I may have to cut a relief at the bottom to clear the RAM clips but they cleared by a mm.


I'm getting close now. I may actually miss this thing scattered all over my desk when it's finished.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I finally came up with a spacer solution for my homemade backplate. I bought these little gems at Home depot. I was hoping to find Nylon in this size but aluminum will have to do.


Trying to hold on to these tiny things while cutting was an absolute nightmare. I would have sold my girlfriend into slavery for a vise today.


Sanding the tips of my fingers off was even more fun, but like Joe Carrol says" There is no redemption without blood".


Here they are finished. I was going to paint them but it was getting late and I didn't really want to deal with it today. I may do it later.


I switched out that troublesome screw with a pan head and it fits behind the MB perfectly now. You can't see it so I wont bother painting it.


The only things left to do on the video card are mounting heatsinks on the VRM's and wiring up the waterblock LED's to a switch. This thing is going to be in my living room so I don't want it glowing blue all the time. It looks like I'll have to modify some of the heatsinks with a file to fit under the riser fittings that come out of the block. MAN! I wish someone made a full cover block for this card, things would be a whole lot easier.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
When I started planning this thing out in my head I must have come up with 10 different configurations before finally deciding how I was going to run things. Along the way some things changed out of necessity and others because it was just a smarter way to do it. From the beginning I never really intended to use hardline tubing, but it became apparent that I was not going to be able to get flexible tubing to make some of the bends I would need in certain places.

I liked the look of the Monsoon Chain Gun fittings so I bought some of those and some of their 3/8" X 1/2" tubing. After watching a quick video on how to bend acrylic I was already an expert in my own mind. I must say, working with this stuff is a humbling experience.

96" of beautiful blue acrylic tubing is reduced to this, the only pieces I need.


Here's my gag reel of bloopers


This one was going along great, I made an almost perfect arc. After that cooled I heated it up again for the second bend in the wrong spot and destroyed it.


I'm pretty happy with the final result




The rest of the loop will be flex tubing. I'm having a difficult time deciding which tubing to use. I have some XSPC tubing which has a great color that matches my build very well but I'm a little worried about this stuff breaking down over time. Remember, I know very little about what I am doing here and I've read a lot of horror stories about bad tubing with "plasticisers"?

Behind door #2 is PrimoChill PrimoFlex Advanced LRT which everyone seems to agree is the best. I have to admit, I'm having a real problem with the color of this hose. It's supposed to be blue but I'll be damned if it doesn't look purple.


If anyone is reading this maybe you can chime in and sway my vote.

EDIT: Also the inside diameter of the primochill is different than the other even though they are both advertised as the same size. I can get the XSPC tubing on my fittings without too much hassle but the primochill will not go on without a heat gun NO how, NO way. I'm afraid that if I ever have to take it apart I might break something.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dimestore55 View Post

EDIT: Also the inside diameter of the primochill is different than the other even though they are both advertised as the same size. I can get the XSPC tubing on my fittings without too much hassle but the primochill will not go on without a heat gun NO how, NO way. I'm afraid that if I ever have to take it apart I might break something.
I initially bought Primochill too for my build and couldnt get any compressions over it so gave up and bought EK ZMT tubing which has no plasticizers in it and is a nice stealth black so doesnt stand out too much, one way of fixing the primochill is to scrape some of the material off the outside of the tube so that a compression will fit over it, the compression will hide the mess but it will mean that it is able to fit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gardnerphotos View Post

one way of fixing the primochill is to scrape some of the material off the outside of the tube so that a compression will fit over it, the compression will hide the mess but it will mean that it is able to fit.
That's a good idea, the outside is pretty tight as well but the inside diameter is even worse. I could not get it on at all without heating the end of the tube first with a heat gun. The thought of forcing these things together once all the components are installed in the case gives me the "willies". I really want blue tubing in this thing so I'll do some more research before deciding what to do. I still have a lot of electrical work to do before I wrap up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
After many mishaps and burned fingertips I had all but given up on the heatshrinkless look for my cables. I got some great tips from Gardnerphotos & ccRicers which got me back on track and with a little more trial and error I finally figured it out.


I'm waiting for another order of sleeving which should be here by Friday so I can finish up the wiring in this beast. I mentioned before that I did not want the lights on in this thing all the time because it will be in my living room so I wired up a switch on the side of the case for easy access.


I put in a connecting block just to keep things tidy in there and easily serviceable in case some led's burn out.




I have a mix of 12v and 5v led's but I'm going to run them all @ 5v just so I don't have the clutter of another switch. I already tested the 12v led's at the lower voltage and they're bright enough.

The major electrical project is going to be the motherboard connector. The Seasonic PSU I bought has an unusual connection. There is an 18 pin conn. and a 10 pin conn. which combine together with the 24 pin MB conn. with some doubled-up wires and I haven't quite decided how I'm going to tackle this without making it look like crap. This is a schematic I made when I took apart the stock cable that came with the PSU.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I was hoping to receive a shipment of cable sleeving by Friday so I could finish up the electrical but it didn't come in. Today I installed the heatsinks on the video card. I found these blue anodized units from Akasa on New Egg so I ordered those and some copper ones by Enzotech. After reading some horror stories about them falling off when affixed with the supplied thermal tape I decided to use Arctic Silver thermal adhesive instead. This stuff mixes up and sets like any other 2-part epoxy so be ready to work quickly and never mix more than you will use in a few minutes.


I had to file a few of them down that reside under the tube fittings coming out of the block


These tiny things are really hard to hold onto without some kind of clamping system (A.K.A. vise) so I just did the best I could with my fingertips and a hand file.


All finished


The sleeving should be here Monday so I can get that wrapped up and maybe start a leak-test by next weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
It's been a few weeks since an update (I get side-tracked easily). I've had a hell of a time trying to come up with a plan for wire management and there's just no easy way to do it, so I'll have to cram it in there any way I can.
I'm sure there are hundreds of cable sleeving tutorials available but all the ones I read seemed to skip over a lot of the minute details that would have saved me a lot of time so I'll try to focus on those and maybe save one or two of you out there a few hours of frustration.

Here's what I started with. I picked up the 18 ga. wire from a local auto parts store. It seemed to have a pretty stiff jacket which would be easy to keep straight in the sleeving.


For this project I bought a wire crimper from Lutro0 Customs which turned out to be a very worthwile investment. In the past I was hand crimping and soldering all connectors which took a long time.


If you plan to do a lot of soldering, one of these "Helping Hands" stands could be your best friend. I have seen them on computer parts websites for up to $20 but I got mine from Northern Tool for $6.99


When you buy the crimper from Lutro0 it comes with 100 ATX female connectors but I found one problem with them. The tabs that crimp the jacket of the wire are too long and the crimper was bending them awkwardly and in some cases breaking them off.


I found that if I trimmed them down a little bit with a pair of diagonal cutters before crimping they would work perfectly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I will never, ever, EVER!! buy another Seasonic PSU. The motherboard connector(s) on this thing have the most ridiculous design I have ever seen. I'll have a tough enough time routing my custom sleeved cable in this tight case without having to deal with this completely nonsensical wiring pattern. In addition to having 2 different connectors on the PSU side ( a 10-pin, and an 18-pin) there are pins that are doubled up on the PSU side which go into one pin on the MB side.

For this job I'm going to need my wiring diagram and some proper motivation...Bad Religion should do the trick.


I made each wire individually because they would all have to be different lengths to fit together in the least amount of space possible.




You're probably looking at the lone black wire and thinking "he must have run out of the white". Actually I ran out of ATX connectors and I was down to my last one. I pulled an old wire from the stock MB cable that came with the PSU and it already had a pin on one end so I used my last one on the other end.




For the doubled up wires I relied an old trick I used to use over 20 years ago when I installed car alarms. First, use a sharp razor knife to remove about a 1/2" section of the wire jacket somewhere in the middle of your run.


Take the tip of your knife and split the wire strands in half leaving a large gap between the two sections.


Strip enough of the joining wire to wrap around your exposed section a few times. The length will vary depending on what gauge wire you use.


Slide the wire through the gap


And twist it around nice and tight


When soldering never melt the solder with the iron. Always heat up the joint to be melded and then touch the solder to the wire letting it flow naturally.




If you heat the solder and let it drip onto your joint you will not get a proper bond and end up with what is called a "Cold Solder Joint" which could cause all kinds of problems later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I had many trials and errors working with the heatshrinkless design but by the time I got to the MB connector I had all the bugs worked out and everything went smoothly. The first thing I learned was that if you just hold the sleeve next to the wire to size it up you will inevitavbly end up short after you slide the sleeve onto the cable because the sleeve will stretch out and become shorter when you install it. I found the best way was to slide the sleeve all the way onto the cable then while holding my place with a thumbnail, carefully slide it back far enough to clear the ATX connector and cut.

I found that this is the perfect length (while loose) to cut it off. You can stretch it slightly after you melt the first side and it will become nice and tight when you finish the second end.


I liked the 3/16" heatshrink from Lutro0. I originally bought the 1/4" double-wall and found it more difficult to melt the sleeving that way.




I only have 2 hands so I can't show the melting process but the best method I found was to use an adjustable lighter with a really low flame and melt it for about 5 - 10 seconds while turning it around to get an even burn.


Immediately after melting the sleeve you want to roll the end between your fingers just like you're twisting a joi...umm nevermind.


If you want to be able to feel your fingertips the next day I would suggest licking your fingers (heavily) before touching that wire. If you run out of spit you could always enlist a friend.


It's easiest to cut the heatshrink off while still warm. If you wait until it cools and hardens you will have a tough time.


The finished product should look like this with a good, even melt that will not break loose while shoving the wires into your ATX connectors (been there, done that).


My completed cable along with the convoluted wiring design. I used the multimeter to make sure I had everything in the right terminals.


Inside the case


Now I just have to wire-tie the other end and hope this bundle of wires fits under my slim optical drive to hide the mess.
 
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