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This will be my first build log and my second watercooled PC. The first used soft tubing and only the CPU. That build held up gloriously for the past 4-5 years with almost no maintenance. Now it is time for a full upgrade and so I decided to make this a project and go all out doing a bunch of stuff I've never done before.

PC Parts
Case: Thermaltake Core P5 ATX Mid Tower Case (I'm not sure how this qualifies for mid tower. It is quite large)
Motherboard: Asus MAXIMUS VIII HERO ATX LGA1151 Motherboard
CPU: Intel Core i7-6700K 4.0GHz Quad-Core Processor
GPU: EVGA GTX 1080
Memory: G.Skill TridentZ Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-3200 Memory
HDD: Samsung 840 Pro Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Drive (x2 RAID 0)
PSU: Corsair Professional HX750 Power Supply
PSU Sleeving: MDPC-X Sleeve (Black/Red)

Watercooling Parts
CPU Block: Swiftech Apogee XT Rev 2
GPU Block: EK-FC Titan X - Acetal
GPU Backplate: EK-FC Titan X/GTX980 Ti Backplate - Red
Radiator: Black Ice Nemesis L-Series 480 Xtreme
Pump/Reservoir: D5 Photon 170 Reservoir/Pump Combo
Fittings: Koolance Compression Fitting for OD 13mm (1/2in)
Fittings: Koolance QD3 Quick Disconnect (Used for drain/pressure testing)
Tubing: PrimoChilll 1/2in. Rigid PETG Tube
Tube Sleeving: MDPC-X Sata Sleeve (Red)

Misc Parts
VVIVID® XPO Black 3D Carbon Fiber 5ft x 5ft
0-15-Pound Gas Test Gauge (Used for pressure testing)
XSPC PETG Easy Cut & Bend Toolkit
Titanium Step Drill Bit Set, 28 Sizes (Used to step the fittings so sleeve will fit.)
Universal Table Vise (Very useful with fittings and cutting acrylic)
1,200-watt Heat Gun
Cast Acrylic Sheet, Clear, 12" x 12" x 0.118" Size (Used for mounting XSPC reservoir without modding my case.)
Greenlee DTAPM4C Combination Drill and Tap Bit, M4 (This taps and countersinks the hole in the acrylic so that the screw is flat against the case).

So that is a list of most of the stuff I bought (some PC parts I had already such as the HDDs).

I actually bought a Bitspower and an Alphacool fitting to test as well. I thought the Alphacool was pretty bad and the Bitspower had the highest holding strength from what I can tell by hand. I decided to go with Koolance though because they held nicely and they had 3 O-Rings. The Koolance fitting also had more room for sleeving than the Bitspower as well. All 3 did require modification to fit the sleeve though. I'll get into that more later.

Vinyl Work

The first thing I did was vinyl wrap the case (not the door though). I chose the Vivvid vinyl (vs 3M) because I read good things about them and they were less than half the cost of 3M. I had 3M send me a sample and I loved it but it was still too expensive. I think it would have costed me around 70 bucks for 3M and I needed extra since this was my first time wrapping anything. I bought the Vivvid for 30 and had a ton extra for other projects. The main difference other than feel with these 2 vinyls is that 3M tends to stick much better cold. The Vivvid vinyl sticks OK initially but will need to be heated up to set the glue. This did make some corners a tad harder to work with but the Vivvid vinyl really is like memory foam. If you **** it up just heat it up a little and boom it's back to its original shape. I hated and loved it. Love it be because it's forgiving. Hate it because it would pull itself off the corners trying to go back to normal sometimes.

Without further ado here are some pictures of the completed wrap.





XSPC Photon Mount

The next thing I did was work on creating the mounts for the XSPC Photon. I did not want to mod my case by drilling holes because I am a fan of maintaining warranties. I realize this goes against case modding a lot but I find it more challenging to work with what you got. The way I did this was buy some 1/8" acrylic and cut it into a rectangle and drill holes. The two holes for the Photon should be countersunk so that the acrylic is flush with the case. This proved harder than I thought. I bought a countersink drill bit but you need to drill fast or you will crack the acrylic. You also need to make sure you don't go too far. You need to get as close as possible or the lip of the screw will be out too far. If you go 1mm to far though the drill bit will catch and fly right through the acrylic especially on such a thin piece. I actually tried 1/4" acrylic. It is stronger for sure but harder to cut and work with. It still is easy to drill through it though. I didn't need something major strong so I stuck with the thin stuff.

When mounting the Photon I stuck the 2 pads it came with between the Photon and the case but not the acrylic. This seems to work pretty well with no effort but I may decide to put it directly under the acrylic. It will pull the photon further from the case but it may work a bit better for vibration. Also I was unable to get my countersinks absolutely perfect. It was a lot harder to work with than I thought so the pad will actually just make that issue moot. I doubt vibration will be an issue though.

Here are the final results. I think it looks really good and there are no holes drilled into my case.




Next Step - Radiator/Motherboard/GPU Mounting.
 

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I apologize for such a late update. With the announcement of the 1080 GTX I sent back my ordered GPU and will wait on that. I have also been trying to plan out my loop and figure out what to do for sleeving. Since I am doing all this for the first time it takes a lot of thought and research for me to figure it out.

Radiator/Motherboard/CPU Mount/Test Tubing Runs

I have mounted the motherboard, CPU and radiator. I have also been practicing bends so I completed 2 test runs. The real runs will actually use black tubing. I wanted to do it once before I fully commit and since tubing isn't that expensive in the grand scheme so far it has been a good idea. Learned a lot by just doing it. It also allowed me to change my mind about the direction of a run which had to happen a few times due to how hard tight 45 degree angles are to accomplish.




I had to clean my old CPU water block. I did not think it was necessary to buy a new one and I really like the look of my Apogee XT so I took it apart to clean it. Holy **** I almost decided to say "**** it" and buy a new block. I am not a fan of most of the looks out there though so I stuck with it. I did a lot of googling and tried ketchup, rice vinegar (this was all had) and a waterpik. I could not scrub it because there are little tiny pins so the waterpik was a awesome idea. I decided to head out and get white vinegar and mixed it with some salt. Let that sit for hours a couple times and just waterpiked it all off. Eventually I got what you see below which is probably good enough.

Before


After


For the tube bending I actually created a few tools to help.

Mandrels
I designed and 3d Printed some mandrels for 45 degree and 90 degree angles. You can find the design here. It is a pretty slow website though. So I attached the STL here.

5647421_Mandrels.zip 23k .zip file


They are designed to fit 1/2" tubing perfectly so that you can trace the tubing outline on a sheet of paper or something. It can help design a loop a bit easier. This is similar to the center line design that Monsoon uses but I preferred the outer edge vs the center. It is more accurate IMO.



Modified Silicon Insert

I had a hard time finding the right insert. Seriously this is more important than most anything IMO when bending. I tried the default Primochill insert. Idk if got ripped off but the thing has no core so it is just a tube. This caused it to collapse if you made bends too fast or to far. It was rough. So I had another by XSPC but this thing was too large. I tried sanding it... That tool a long time and got me maybe 2 inches in. I bought the Monsoon one. That was super short but when in too easy. This actually caused the tubing to collapse on the outside if you pressed on it too much or weren't careful.

Anyhow all in all I liked the fit of the primochill although it was a bit tough to get in super deep so I modified it. I'll get to that in a second. So first step fix the no core issue. I decided to cut a large wire from a USB cable and stick it down inside.

Filled the Core


The next issue was getting to my super deep bend. I couldn't not get the primochill that far even with soap so *** do I do now? The monsoon is too short and the XSPC won't fit at all. I decided to drill a hole at the end of the tube and take some yoyo string I had and tie it to the end. Best idea ever! I now don't need soap at all. I thread the string through the tube and pull and the silicon insert just slides right through!

String tied to end of primochill silicon insert


Started to Sleeve the PSU

This is a pretty easy task and another that requires you to just try it to figure it out. But man it is tedious. The one thing I was super happy with was how I dealt with the double wires on this PCI-E cable. I ended up just cutting a small piece out of the divider between the two wire inserts to give room for the double wire with sleeves. The way I sleeved it was by cutting the sleeving at an angle and melting the 2 sleeves together at the split.

I will have to resleeve the black colors because this is not what I expected with Shade-19 MDPC. I thought it would be more black than grey. Oh well.





Next Step - More Sleeving/More tubing/GPU.
 

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Yea I am pretty happy with it so far. Not sure about this last run and it will end up changing when I get the new 1080 card. But I want to take some completed photos before then so I will run it to the CPU for a few days (probably with no water haha). I was trying to stick to 45 degree (or close) angles for all bends but it turned out the be way too hard and took too much space to use it for bends coming out of inserts. So now I will try and stick to 45 on flat bends that are more visible straight on.
 

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Love the trick with the bending cord! I personally loved the Primochill cord and didn't have any issues with collapsing, but I had the same issues you did. I ended up doing much the same thing only with a fishhook and some strong line and a weight on the other end to help feed it through the tube.

Pulling that sucker through is infinitely better than trying to push it.

Great work so far! I've been holding off buying one of these but seeing what other people are doing in the way of mods is really making it look better and better.
 

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For me this is like a short term hobby. I always have built my own pcs and always envied what I saw people doing. Now that I have the time (for the moment) and money and way overdue for an upgrade this is a fun project to do. I love learning new things and that is basically what I have been doing since this started. Buying tools, researching tools and ways to do things even outside this industry. It's pretty fun.

I so after the tubing is completed and the sleeving is done I have one minor trick up my sleeve for this build. In my head this is looking awesome and so far its matching my expectations for once haha.

Note: The next update will be in a few days. I am currently just sleeving and re-bending some tube and I tend to work a little each day. No giant hurry.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by valleyman86 View Post

No giant hurry.
I can't tell you how important that is.
smile.gif
 

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This has been stalled for a bit so sorry for the lack of updates. I actually found a leak when testing my old CPU block. I decided instead of getting new o-rings and hoping that fixes things I just got a new monoblock. I just received that in the mail so I have to redo some tubing... Probably should have tested that block before I bent all the tubes. Oh well I now have plenty of practice.
 

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And I am back... Ok so I went on a long vacation and have been waiting for new water blocks for my GPU (1080 FTW) to be released.

So to start things off in this post I will talk about some sleeving stuff and mishaps that I encountered then show some tubing updates.

More Sleeving

So I finished sleeving the PSU. It looks pretty great. I broke one of the pins so I had to buy a crimping tool and some molex connectors then learn how to do that. Not too bad but it halted me for a bit.

Finished work




Testing work
Well ****... Idk what happened but my PSU tester claimed the PG wire is not responding at all I guess. I tested this with a multimeter and it showed 4.6v though so idk if its truely broken or what. I tried putting a little load on it and no go so whatever. I will test this in an actual machine. If it works I will use it until it dies. That sleeving was super painful to do. If all else fails then I will buy a Corsair RMi or a EVGA G2 and then buy custom sleeved cables (I'm not doing that **** again!).



Progress on tubing and new CPU monoblock

So I installed my new EK monoblock for the CPU and then also did some tubing to it. I decided to wrap my tubing. It gives a sweet industrial look and I love it!



Here you will notice the little dongle on the monoblock. I did this for 2 reasons. 1. To prevent dust from getting in while I work on this project since its taking me so long. 2. I use it to PSI test the loop.




To get the sleeving to work with the tube and the sleeving at the same time the hole had to be enlarged just a tad. When I put the sleeving on I melt the ends a little and it just barely goes into the fitting to get a grip without going under the O-Ring. When tightened this O-ring at the top should still be able to flatten out a bit and get contact with the metal fitting and the plastic tube. PSI testing has shown that the loop will hold 10-12 PSI for at least 24 hours so all seems well so far.



Next Step - More tubing/GPU Installation
 

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There was no guide but I did read a lot about tubing and fittings before I started. I did also bought clear and black tubing and two different colors of red out figure out what I liked. I tried fittings from several companies and ended up liking the Koolance the best (although I am worried about their funky ass paint... another story). I liked how the Koolance had 3 O-rings as well since I am modding them.

Anyways I am not the first person to do this so the idea isn't new but I haven't seen very many people do it. One person terminated the tubing at the fitting with heat-shrink but I thought this looked tacky. The other person I found on these forums was lowfat. His builds were pretty sick and he answered some questioned I had before I got started. I believe I saw his build somewhere on accident and it inspired me.
 
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