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Full-board W/C in an Antec 900 AKA proof that m4gicfour is masochistic

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by m4gicfour, May 13, 2012.

  1. m4gicfour

    m4gicfour

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    So, this is my first watercooling loop, and the first time I've done any serious modding on a case. I did all my research last year, and began purchasing parts (used where available, new when neccessary) around June of 2K11.

    I got all the parts I'm likely to need finally around Dec 2K11, and put this off till about Feb. Now I've begun.

    There are two parts that I've custom fabbed; a case top to accomodate a 2x120mm rad and an acrylic pump bracket. I've cut the case to fit the rad and modded a few wires.

    Right now I'm almost finished. I'll be posting pictures and updates whenever I lose motivation to keep working on the project. Until then, a few teasers. Yes, I know; Antec 900? UGH! That's why I'm using this case, if I phuxx it up it's no loss.
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    Beginning


    The first thing you'll notice when looking to watercool an Antec 900 is that it's got no good spots for a rad. Antec does make a 200mm radiator for the top fan on the Twelve Hundred, but I didn't know if it would fit the Nine Hundred; not to mention the fact that it's aluminum so there's galvanic corrosion issues to deal with if you go that route. I decided against it; I didn't even bother checking whether the dimensions of that rad would work in the 900.

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    Due to the way the HDD bay is designed, you can't really put a rad up front, the top of the case is no good for a standard rad, and the case door will hit a rad if you try to mount one outside. Mounting a single-fan rad inside is doable, but you need to use a fan as a spacer or else the rad hits the motherboard I/O indent due to the way it's sunk inside the case.

    I decided on cutting the case door to mount a single rad outside the back, and fabbing a custom case top to allow a dual 120mm rad. This brings me to the second thing you notice about the 900. All the functions are mounted in the case top. Remove that and you've got no power/reset switch, no front USB, no firewire. The solution I chose was to install a Scythe Kama Panel3. This gives me back my power/reset buttons along with front panel audio, USB/Power eSATA combo ports, a 2.5" HDD toaster, a media reader, and a dual channel fan controller.

    Taking off the case top was a major pain. Just under the front panel connectors were locking tabs, and just below that is a metal sheet inside the case that prevents you from getting at those tabs. It took some time and patience, but I got the sucker off and managed to keep it in one piece. Once the case top is off, the actual metal top of the case has to be trimmed so the rad will not be blocked. I don't have any pictures of this specific part :/

    Another update with pics coming after work today.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2012
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  2. Nailezs

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    subbed. interested in how this might apply to my antec 1200
     
  3. m4gicfour

    m4gicfour

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    advance warning: pictures suck. I bought a better camera halfway through the project, so they do get somewhat better Also, I was kind of taking pictures of things as an afterthought on the first few stages, so you might notice things I haven't discussed yet (like the partially constructed case top in one of the photos, for one.



    Modding the case for radiator mounting
    Now that I've got that pesky case top off, I set the rad on top of the case, and traced it's outline on the metal. I also measured where the screw holes were on the rad so I could leave a flap of metal there to screw through when mounting the rad. You can see the odd shape of the cutout on the top of the case, due to the big fan and I/O functions on the stock case top. This cutout pretty much dictates the placement of the rad. If I had went any further forward, the fans would have hit the shield on the inside of the front of the case, if I had went any further back, I wouldn't have any metal to mount to.

    So I'm pretty much stuck right in the middle. Unfortunately, there's still only four screws that actually hit metal, the rest end up in the factory cutout, so there's nothing holding the rad in those spots. It turns out that wasn't such a huge deal, as I bolted the rad on above and fans on beneath the metal top; which sandwiched the metal and gave it some more strength.

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    After cutting the metal out where the rad fans go, I found the best spots I could to make some more holes to use when mounting the case top I'll be making. Drilled six holes to bolt through, three down each edge of the case. These, also, are pretty much dictated by the design of the case. You can see the holes where the factory case top had positioning studs, and I originally wanted to use those, but the case has a lip underneath them so it would be impossible to get a screw or bolt in there. Sigh, Oh well. Drill time. The case is aluminum, and thin aluminum at that; you can see how the metal didn't drill cleanly but left a lip all the way around the holes I drilled. I took a dremel with a grinding cone and cleaned those up. Then, I mounted my single-fan rad to the outside of the case, and took a sharpie to mark where I'd have to cut out to run the tubes straight into the case. I decided on just cutting a rectangle rather than try to cut two holes. I used a combination of tin snips and a dremel to cut that out, and used the dremel to clean off any rough edges afterward. I figured that since there would be a rad on the outside of the case, I didn't need the case's fan guard anymore; I chopped that out too.

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    I was fairly pleased with the results, at least until I tried to put the case door on. Oops.
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    Way to go, Antec (and me for not checking first) - they've left holes for water tubes to run out of the case, but designed the case such that you can't mount a rad outside; even if you use a fan as a spacer. IIRC, the Twelve Hundred has the same design preventing a rad from being mounted without using a spacer on the inside or cutting the outside. Thought you might want to know that Nailezs Le Sigh. Tried cutting the case door with tin snips... Bad result. Finished the cut with a cutting disc on the dremel. That sucked bigtime, but gave a much better result. The edge was sharp so I cleaned it up with the grinding attachment again. Here's the result:

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    The paint on the face chipped a very little bit, but I might touch that up later. Either way, you don't notice it unless you're looking at the case from the rear. Turned out pretty well. Unfortunately, by cutting the door I lose one of the two screw holes that keep the door on. The door ended up being okay, though. For once the design of the case helped me - how the door attaches at top and bottom keep it quite secure as long as it can't slide straight back, and the one remaining screw hole takes care of that.
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    Last edited: May 19, 2012
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  4. m1dg3t

    m1dg3t

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    Lunatic! :p Keep up the good work :)

    :toast:
     
  5. m4gicfour

    m4gicfour

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    Building the case top

    It's worth noting that I jumped into this project with no plan whatsoever. Sure, I researched my loop (blocks, pumps, etc etc), but I didn't have any kind of plan as to how I was actually going to get the water cooling hardware in there. The only semblance of a plan I had was that I was going to build a custom case top, and I'd use some mod mesh, maybe make a wind tunnel for the GPUs with some acrylic. So I bought one panel of clear acrylic and one sheet of mod mesh from FrozenCPU with my watercooling gear.

    Okay, I've got my rads mounted, now what? :roll:

    I was trying to think of how I could build a case top simply and easily, and mount it likewise while still having the end result look like something. My first thought was to form a frame or shell out of something, and mold fiberglass over it. A friend suggested I build it out of foamboard, and either mold the fiberglass on that or just use some resin and paint it. Sounded like a good idea, so off to wally world.

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    I also bought a dual-temp hot glue gun (since a regular hotglue gun is too hot and will melt the foam) and one can of Krylon Fusion for Plastics, black. The total cost: about $20.
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    The foamboard is about 3/16 thick and comes as a large rectangle which has been cut partway through and folded in half. I didn't want to be left with that fold in the middle of my piece at any point, so I took a sharp utility knife and cut it in half along that fold.

    Next I measured a rectangle the exact size of the top of the actual metal case top, and added a couple inches of length so the final case top would cover the rad at the rear. Again, using the knife I carefully cut my rectangle. This will be the base of my case top. Next, I need to cut a rectangle out of my rectangle so that the base will slip over the rad on top. To do that, I carefully measured both sides of the position of the radiator from the front and left of the case and marked it out as a rectangle on the base I had just cut. I made that rectangle about an eighth of an inch larger than the radiator itself both ways. Now I'm left with one solid rectangle about the size of my radiator, and one rectangle about the size of the top of my case with a radiator-sized hole cut in it.
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    Next, I set the base rectangle on the case and the rad cutout on top of the radiator. I measured the distance from the front of the base piece on an angle to the front of the piece sitting on the rad. I also measured from the back of both. I used these measurements to cut two more rectangles which were the exact width of the case, and the right length to connect the base and top at the front and back of the case. Then, one at a time, I held those rectangles in their own spot, and marked the width of the top piece on them. Drew a line from each corner to my width marks and cut both rectangles to fit; each ending up as a trapezoid shape. I used the triangles which were cut off those pieces to make some smaller triangles to be used as supports. Then I got the glue gun and started gluing the base to the front and back pieces, and glued in the supports. Here's the result:
    [​IMG]

    Now, before I close this thing in, I need some way to mount it on the case. Remember those holes I drilled in the metal? Here's why - I set the skeleton of the case top in place, and used a sharpie to mark through the holes from underneath. Then I took a tool (actually I don't remember what I used :p LOL!) and popped holes in the thing at those spots. Each time I popped a hole, I set a bolt through it to keep things lined up.
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    Now, obviously I can't very well put a bold DOWN through the case top after it's finished, so I need some taps (basically a nut that's fixed in place.). Since the foamboard is rigid but fairly flexible, I laid some washers around the holes to spread the force around a larger area. Hot glue holds them down.
    [​IMG]

    Then, one by one I stuck a bolt up from underneath the case interior through the holes and washers, and partly threaded a nut onto each one. This way, I don't have to worry about lining the nuts up with the holes; with all the bolts run through and all the nuts threaded on them, they line themselves up. Ran some hot glue on the top of the washer (carefully to avoid having any squish onto the threads) and twisted the nut down into it, just snug. After that glue cooled, I encased the whole thing (with the exception of the threads, obviously) in hot glue to keep it solid.

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    Now that I've got my taps, I can seal the top up. Having the skeleton in place, I set the top rectangle in place and measured what the height would have to be on an angle to connect the two. I cut two long rectangles of foamboard which were the length of the base, and just wide enough to connect the base to the top. Again, I held each rectangle in place and marked where it met the top; I drew lines from their corners to my marks and cut them into trapezoids. Those got glued on. I also cut a rectangle of mod mesh to the same size as the rectangle I'm using as the top of the case top; that I will hang onto until later.
    [​IMG]

    Now I've got the entire shell, but the top isn't attached yet and it's still solid. That was all careful work but this part required some real precision to end up looking any good. I had to measure on the rad (taking into account that I had made the top piece slightly larger than the rad itself) to each point on the fan mount, so I could draw straight lines and make a cut out so that air could flow through. Took some time, but I got it done. I set the mod mesh on top of the rad, and the freshly cut rectangle on top of that. Looks good!
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    I glued the top to the rest of the case top and added some supports inside. I'll leave the mod mesh out for now; it's pretty flimsy and the paint flakes off it if it gets bent at all :rolleyes:
    [​IMG]
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    Okay, so I've got something that looks like it came out of Tron. Neato. :p Now if I know one thing about paint, especially gloss paint, it will show each and every detail and minor flaw underneath it. I need to make this thing fit for paint.

    That same friend suggested fiberglass resin. He had half a can and offered to coat it for me. Sure!! So I sat on my hands for about a week waiting for it. If you've never used fiberglass resin before (like I hadn't) the stuff is about like pancake syrup. It's sticky and thick but not thick enough to create much of a build up. It just runs off. He put about four or five coats on it before he'd had enough and gave me the top back ;) I noticed the resin had actually melted the foam anywhere it touched the actual foam on the inside of the foamboard. :ohwell: Now, there's still not enough built up to sand the thing down and paint it without seeing everywhere the pieces come together (and now where the foam was eaten away at the raw edges). What the resin did do however, was stiffen the whole thing up quite a bit, and give me a decently strong base to work off of.

    I still needed to fill in the imperfections and smooth out the shape. I figured body filler would work (and it did) so I ran to the local Canadian Tire. (Canadian automotive parts and hardware store chain. Now, as they haven't gone out of business yet, you can probably guess that they've diversified beyond just automotive and household hardware. Saskachewan Roughriders merch anyone?) and picked up some Bondo.

    [​IMG]

    If you've never used the stuff, it's a two-part resin formula. There's a grey paste, and some red catalyst you mix in to start the curing process. (don't dump it in the can! mix it on something else!) After that, you've got about 15 minutes tops to spread it on before it's unusable. You just spread it on thick, let it cure, and sand it down to shape it and feather it into the existing body (if you were doing an actual body repair with it).

    I put on my first coat, and sanded it down with a flat sander.
    [​IMG]

    Bondo's meant to be sanded with a power sander, but I needed to get the shape of the flat surfaces right first. Few hours later and I had my first coat finished. There were a few pock marks in it, as well as some low spots and bubbles, but I had already sanded down to the fiberglass resin at the high spots. Over the next couple days I put on a few more coats and got it all built up and shaped but those pock marks kept showing up, so I ended up buying and used some spot filler (the red patches). The fiberglass resin is the yellow and the body filler is the reddish grey. Once it was ready for paint I took some pictures, and held the mod mesh in there to give an idea of the finished look.

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    Despite how it looks, that surface is absolutely smooth. I've purposely rounded off some edges so it's not absolutely flat, but it is perfectly smooth. Almost ready for paint, just one more thing to do first. I've got a fillport I want to use. It just so happens that the angle on the back of the top I've made is perfect to put the fillport line right into the case, missing both rads and their fittings. The fillport has a lip on the front of it, and a ring that screws on from behind, and that's how it mounts. It just sandwiches itself onto whatever you're mounting to. So now I need to drill a hole in my painstakingly crafted case top. I had just bought an 18V Li-Ion Bosch Compact Tough drill in a kit with a impact driver, and it was the perfect tool for the job. Nice and light, small and maneuverable, plenty of power, and a handy worklight. For a bit, I borrowed my dad's kit of Irwin Speedbor bits. They have a self-starting tip and three sharp points to pre-cut a nice clean hole before the auger gets there and does the heavy lifting.
    [​IMG]
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    I have to be honest, I was kind of betting that the drill bit would snag and tear a chunk of bondo off my almost-finished top that I've probably invested around 15 hours into. To my delighted surprise, it worked like a dream. A nice clean cut hole, didn't even have to sand around it. I did, however, cut through one of the supports I had placed on the inside, so I had to cut that support back more so the fillport's ring could screw all the way on. You can see how the spot filler filled in those pock marks I was talking about... third picture.

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    You can see my test-mount here. I just used a 45-degree compression fitting off of the fillport. In the end I ended up using a barb for the final install because getting my fingers in there to tighten a compression fitting would have been a nightmare once installed to the case.
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    Next comes the paint. Finally! I threw a coat on there, let it dry and sanded it with 400 grit. Did that a few times, put probably 6-8 coats on in total, and didn't sand the last two. I didn't glue the mod mesh in till about half way, to make sure that I had painted around everywhere you could see. After gluing the mod mesh in, I made sure it got coated well. The Krylon left a really nice coat on the mesh and I haven't had any more paint flake off since.

    First coat:
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    Sanded:
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    Second coat:
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    Third coat:
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    A couple pictures after the last coat.
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    Whew! That was a lot of work. I think that the results speak for themselves. It is possible to make something look professional from scratch, just take your time, read the directions TWICE before you start anything that can't be undone, and ASK somebody who knows if you have questions. Luckily I had most of the knowledge to do this kind of work already, but it was my first time using bondo. In retrospect, I'm glad I did this rather than just shoehorning an H100 in there.

    Next time, HARDWARE! Giggity!
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2012
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  6. MT Alex

    MT Alex

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    Very nice execution. Bondo can make things look great, but it sure is a lot of work. Great job.:toast:
     
    m4gicfour says thanks.
  7. m4gicfour

    m4gicfour

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    Thanks! Some people knock Bondo (and other resin body fillers) as a poor product for automotive repair. I don't know about that, but it sure did a nice job on this PC project.
     
  8. de.das.dude

    de.das.dude Pro Indian Modder

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    taggggggg
     
  9. m4gicfour

    m4gicfour

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    I promised hardware in the next update. Here it is. Now, this isn't a new build; it's one final upgrade to get the last life out of a dated platform. The watercooling was for two reasons:
    1. The ability to overclock further and squeeze as much performance out of what I've got as I can
    2. To get my feet wet (metaphorically only, please! ;) ) with watercooling.

    I'm doing full-board watercooling... Yeah I tend to go all out when I do something for the first time. That way I run into the maximum amount of obstacles, and therefore, learn the most about what I'm doing. Anyway, let's get to that hardware!

    [​IMG]

    For watercooling gear we've got;

    1x Swiftech ApogeeXT (Used. Thanks [AK]Zip!)
    2x EK VGA Supreme HF Universal VGA block (New, FrozenCPU.com)
    1x EK Asus NB/SB 1 chipset block (New, FrozenCPU.com)
    1x EK Asus NB/SB 2 chipset block (Used. Thanks d3fect!)
    1x EK ASUS M4A mosfet block
    1x XSPC Dual-DDC pumptop (New, FrozenCPU.com)
    1x XSPC Single pumptop (Used. Thanks deadlyrhythm)
    3x OEM Laing DDC-1T pump (Unused. Thanks bmaverick!)
    1x Bitspower Multi 80 Z-Power resevoir



    also we've got some Primochill tubing and anti-kink coils, a killcoil, a metric shit-ton of Bitspower G1/4 3/8" ID compression fittings, adapters, and barbs, a Pentek 158110 Filter Housing and the associated filter which I got from filtersfast.com (which I'll explain and you'll see later), the Swiftech dual-fan rad from the egg, and the used single-fan rad from blu3flannel. (thanks!)

    For miscellaneous hardware:
    1x Lamptron FC-Touch fan controller (which ended up unused :/ from FrozenCPU.com)
    1x Scythe Kama Panel 3 (New, FrozenCPU.com)
    4x Enermax Magma fans (New, monoprice.com)

    For new PC hardware:
    AMD Phenom II X6 1100T
    Corsair Force Series GT 120GB SSD (Memoryexpress.com)

    For existing PC hardware
    1x Corsair HX850 (Used, Marcusfox@TPU)
    1x ASUS M4A79 Deluxe (originally purchased new from Newegg.ca)
    2x 4GB kits DDR2-1066 (GSkill Pi Black F2-8500CL5D-4GBPI-B) (Used, vrdublu@TPU)
    1x 1TB WDC Black
    1x Mediasonic ProRAID HFR2-S3B (originally purchased new from Newegg.ca for $89.99 during a sale) w/4x 1TB Hitachi Deskstar
    1x Sapphire HD58701GB (Used, kenkickr@TPU)
    1x Gigabyte GV5850OC-1GD (Used, Audituner@TPU)
    1x Samsung Lightscribe CD/DVD burner
    1x Razer Mamba Mouse
    1x Saitek Ecypse KB

    Here's the existing PC all disassembled. That sofa has been in my dad's house longer than I've been alive. The last couple years (decades), it's been in the basement all alone so I figured I'd perk up its spirits by having it model for TPU! :p
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    Now, I'm sure you've all seen PC hardware unboxed, and seen waterblocks mounted; if not, look elsewhere for instructions. I'll be keeping it simple. :D also, some of these are pictures that were done with the crappy camera, sorry.


    Here's the board.
    [​IMG]

    Shiny new 1100T
    [​IMG]

    I'm unsure how Swiftech intended their AMD mounting hardware to be used, and I didn't get the instructions with the used block; so I had to improvise. I used the springs from the Intel kit and some hardware from home along with the AMD bracket and some other washers from around the house. Here's what I came up with. It allows me to tighten the springs down by hand and I can check the distance between the washers with my digital caliper to ensure I've got even mounting pressure. I also used some plastic retainers that came with the kit to keep the bolts from falling out if I turn the block upside down. I sure like the look of the ApogeeXT!
    [​IMG]


    When I was overclocking before on air, at a certain point the motherboard would drop the NIC. Windows would behave as if the network controller was an add-in card I had removed before I booted up. This was the main reason for wanting to watercool the MOBO. Due to the way the heatsink on these boards is designed, it's all one piece and if you wanted to only cool one of the three areas covered by the heatsink you'd have to either find an aftermarket heatsink for the other two or destroy the heatpipe. So, I figured that if I had to buy aftermarket parts anyway, they might as well be water cooled. Here's the stock heatsink removed.
    [​IMG]

    That's pretty poor, ASUS. That heatsink is 3 seperate pieces of metal (bad) with no TIM (bad) and a huge air-gap in the middle (worse). I can see why MKMods always said these things were a joke.
    [​IMG]


    EK says "Minor modification may be needed to use the NB/SB 2 block with the ASUS M4A79 Deluxe". I see what they mean. That capacitor wouldn't make for very good contact with the chip :roll:
    [​IMG]

    Took a sharpie and marked the capacitor's location on the backside of the block. Trimmed it out carefully with the dremel. Works fine now. If you look carefully you can see through where the acrylic is cut back. This block didn't fit two compression fittings side by side, so it gets a barb.
    [​IMG]

    The other chipset block just barely fits under the graphics card.
    [​IMG]

    Uh oh. While this block DOES fit two compression fittings side by side, it comes way to close to interfering with the RAMsink on the GPU. Barb it up!
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    Here's all the core hardware mocked up, and one GPU mounted.
    [​IMG]

    At this point I discover two problems. Can you spot them?
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    The EPS power header on the motherboard is directly behind the Swiftech rad's fitting. That plug is going to hit the fitting :banghead: The other problem? No threads on one of the thumbnuts that came with one of the GPU blocks, and there aren't any extra nuts in the package. (Here I'm pulling a tactical facepalm. One of the reviews I read about these blocks, same thing happened to the reviewer. His comment was even along the lines of "I'm sure this is just a pre-production issue, and even so EK could deal with it by just including an extra nut or two")
    [​IMG]

    On the upside, frozenCPU.com were extremely helpful. Despite it having been 6+ months since I purchased the blocks, they treated me as if I had just bought. Their responses were extremely quick (at one point, I sent an email outside of business hours and noticed in the reply that an employee had forwarded the message from his iPhone to another employee at around 9PM so I got a reply within 20 minutes of them opening up shop the next day). I simply cannot recommend frozenCPU.com enough. Great guys. In the end, it turned out that (despite them sending me a full set of replacement mounting hardware) that they didn't have the right nut for that specific block, so I got to deal with EK as well. EK's support was simple, straightforward, and efficient. They requested a picture of the fault, and asked if they could send me the new "eazy mount kit" instead of just replacing the nut. I agreed.

    You can see the two GPUs mounted here, with the temporary nut I had found lying in a parts cabinet at home. It just barely held on, as the nut wasn't quite right; it still let me finish the mockup stage.
    [​IMG]

    I ended up solving the EPS connector issue by using a 45deg adapter and regular compression fitting rather than a 45 degree compression fitting as it gave me an extra 3/32 or so of height and if I plugged the connector in first, I could just just just JUST make it fit. This also causes a new issue. I need to have the EPS connected before the MOBO goes in. My EPS cable on the PSU isn't long enough to connect without running tight directly from the bottom of the case to the socket anyway, so I'll use an extension. Normally, I'd just pull the pins on the connector and re-pin it with longer wires, but I'll be taking this PSU to any new build I do in the future and I want to keep it intact. I'll have to mod the extension anyway since it's not long enough. (Yeah, I've got to extend the extension)

    Now, I'm noticing how little space I'm going to have once the HDD bays, Kama panel, and Optical drive get in there. I've got no room for pumps or a reservoir. The reservoir problem is an easy fix; I just won't use one. T-Lines work fine, they just take forever and a day to bleed. I settled on mounting the pumps above the CPU and RAM, which means building a bracket of some sort to mount them to....
    [​IMG]


    Next time: Building a pump bracket and soldering the pump wires.
     
    MT Alex says thanks.
  10. m4gicfour

    m4gicfour

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    OOPS! Forgot to explain that filter! It's a tip I picked up while browsing half the forums on the 'net looking for reviews and empirical evidence on what outperformed what, and where the diminishing returns kick in, etc etc.

    This is a Pentek 158110 5" filter housing from filtersfast.com. It has 3/8 FNPT threads (3/8 is the thread pitch; Female, National Pipe Thread). So I picked up some 3/8 MNPT to 3/8 hose barb fittings off ebay to go with it.
    [​IMG]


    I'm using a Polypropylene filter cartridge rated for 0.5 micron and the set is rated for 2GPM. I just set up a small loop with whatever part I'm flushing, a res, and the filter. Here I'm cleaning some white residue out of the used pumptop. Let that run for at least a few days, up to a week, then flush it with clean distilled and it's like new. Did that for all my cooling hardware before using it, and it really did clean a lot of gunk out of those rads. The blocks, not so much... at least not visible gunk. I don't know about these pumps specifically, but some types of electric pumps will burn themselves out if they've got no resistance in the loop - the filter provides enough resistance that any pump should be fine.
    [​IMG]

    This way, there's no need for the fill n' shake method of cleaning the gunk out of the new parts; and I should hopefully never get that white residue coating the inside of my tubes. While the filter is rated for 2GPM, so I could technically leave it in the final loop without it affecting flow much more than a restrictive block, there's no reason to do so with a closed loop.

    For this, and for leak testing my final loop, I'm using my self-built bench power supply. It has both a regulated and unregulated circuit, I can supply 5A on the regulated side, and there's enough watts of iron in the transformer on the inside to jump start a truck or charge a car battery with the unregulated side; probably more.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2012
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  11. m4gicfour

    m4gicfour

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    Pump Bracket
    So, I've got my hardware mocked up and I'm waiting on replacement mounting hardware for one of my GPU blocks. WAT DO?

    As I said, there's really no good spot to put a pump or reservoir in the case. I tried mocking up a few different positions but eventually came to the conclusion that the pump had to be suspended and the res eliminated to have any room for 5.25"/3.5" hardware and have a workable hosing situation.

    Since I'm using a relatively weak (at least compared to more modern pumps) MCP350/DDC-1T, I had originally intended to use two pumps with a dual pumptop and keep the third as a spare just in case the relatively restrictive blocks I'm using end up under-performing; the need to fabricate a bracket and the lack of ways to mount said bracket to case and pumps to bracket means that I've basically got to decide whether to use all three pumps beforehand or I have to make two seperate brackets and be willing to disassemble virutally everything to get that third pump in there if I need it.

    I decided I'd bite the bullet and just put all three in. At least I'll have a failsafe via redundancy :eek: Here's what I settled on:
    [​IMG]

    Now, how do I go about going from concept to reality? Fairly simply, actually.
    I cut a piece of card from a product box (Jane's Breaded chicken breasts, lol) and bent it to the shape I'd need, while holding the pumps in the general area to get the shape I need and measure to get the lengths of each face. I had to be fairly precise here since I intend to run the output of the third pump directly into the CPU block and there's only going to be about 3/4" between the actual fittings so no room for the hose to absorb any error; any longer and the pump top would hit the case door.

    What I did was get a piece of hose the right length and attach it between the CPU block input fitting and the pump output fitting, and get a friend to hold the pumps in place. Then I took my rectangle and roughly bent the first fold, then the second, and so on; folding and trimming it until it was the shape that the bracket would need to be. I took a pen and marked each fold line, set the card aside and got my digital vernier caliper. While my friend was still holding the pumps, I measured how long and wide each face of the bracket had to be one by one, marking the measurements on the card as I went and noting whether each fold was UP or DOWN. I didn't factor any bend radius yet, just the absolute distances.

    Now since acrylic isn't a magical 2D material and it does have a thickness, I need to know the bend radius of the acrylic so that my final bracket ends up having faces that match the measurements I've got. There's a mathematical way to figure this but I've forgotten so much of what I learned about fabrication since school shop classes; my memory told me it was 1 thickness for inside and two thicknesses for outside but I wasn't sure not to mention that this is acrylic not steel. What I did was cut a small 1/2" x 2" piece of acrylic and rule it every 2mm, then bend it. Afterwards I could just count how many lines were on each curve as the acrylic bent around 90deg. What I came up with was 6mm for the outside and 3mm for the inside bend. okay. So with my known bend measurements, the accurate face lengths and my piece of card to show me where and how each face is, I can create a draft.

    I first wanted to draft and trace a 1:1 drawing onto my acrylic so I tried using Google Sketchup to create the draft for my bracket, and while being quick and easy to actually draft, it absolutely refused to align in any sensible way for me to print it 1:1. Since the drawing was just wider than an 8.5x11 page, it wanted to span the drawing across pages; which is fine. What's not fine is that it wanted to create a grid of eight pages and print a tiny little piece on each page rather than just align the drawing to the first page and print the overlap onto a second. *sigh* I guess I'll get out the ruler.

    So I draw out my bracket plan one face at a time, adding a 6mm face with a centerline for each bend down and a 3mm face with a centerline for each bend up. When I was figuring the shape of my bracket, I allowed for faces to hold each side of the pump to give me options on how to construct it; I can now eliminate those excess faces. On the left of the picture is the card I bent to get my shape, progressing to the right with my final draft.


    [​IMG]

    Now that I've got my final draft, I need to transfer this onto the acrylic. Acrylic sheets come backed on both sides with paper to protect it, but if you try and bend the acrylic with the paper on two things happen: 1) The paper slides and 2) The more bends you put in the harder it is to get the paper off. So what I've done to draw on the acrylic itself is taken some overhead projector markers (What I remember being called Wet-erase markers but what Staedtler calls "Lumocolor Non-permanent"). I've got all my measurements down to 0.1mm but the markers are 0.4mm thick and even if they weren't my accuracy isn't that good so I just rounded to the nearest millimeter. After I've bent the bracket, the marker should just wash right off and I'll be left with a perfectly clear, flawless bracket.

    Here it is drawn out:
    [​IMG]

    I've used my dremel with the 90degree attachment and a plastic cutting disc to cut out the shape.
    [​IMG]


    Now, if you've ever used a circular saw and had to cut a rectangle out of something you know that since the blade is circular it will cut past the line on the top before the bottom of the blade reaches the line, creating an over-cut or under-cut on one side of the material depending on how you do it. Same concept applies with a cutting disc, although the thickness of the acrylic is much less than a 2x4 so the under-cut is much shorter. I used a needle shaped bit to cut right into the corners where the disc couldn't get to. Dentist drill from hell:
    [​IMG]

    Here we are with the shape cut out and ready to be bent.
    [​IMG]

    In order to bend acrylic you need to heat it up just enough that it softens up and will bend but not so much that it loses its shape. There are plans for any number of different kinds of "acrylic benders" online but regardless, they won't have the flexibility of doing it manually and I've got a pretty complex shape so I'm going to do this with just a pair of clamps, a couple blocks of wood and a heat gun. You want to heat the acrylic up only where the bend is going to be, evenly, and then bend it and hold it in place until it cools. You want to move the heat gun back and forth over the area you want to bend and not let the heat build up on any one spot or you're gonna have a bad time [southparkmeme.png] if your heat gun comes with an attachment to direct the airflow, that can help too.

    So I take my piece of acrylic, and clamp it between two blocks of wood on the edge of my bend. Next I take the heat gun and warm it up until it starts to sag under its own weight. At this point, I take a third block of wood and try to bend it. If it bends easily, it's good and I can finish the bend and hold it there till it cools. If there's resistance I back off and heat it up some more. If you've got a lot of bends on one piece like I do, you'll have to plan ahead so that you can still clamp it after you do each bend.

    First bend:
    [​IMG]

    A couple more bends. You can see I got a little too close with the heat gun here and scorched the wood. Hopefully your heat gun has a better temperature control than ON-OFF like mine :eek: Here I am holding it in place till it cools enough to hold its shape:
    [​IMG]

    And after:
    [​IMG]

    Almost done, starting to have to get creative in order to allow me to clamp the complex bent shape:
    [​IMG]

    DONE! I took it inside and put it in the sink. Turns out I didn't even need to wash it with soap or scrub the marker whatsoever. As soon as the water touched it, it just melted away like magic.
    [​IMG]

    Here (despite the crappy picture making it hard to actually see the bracket) you can see how I plan to mount the thing. I'll be running bolts through the top of the bracket, through the holes in the case, and into the taps in the case top.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    To actually mount the pumps on the bracket, I used some self-tapping fan screws and just screwed them into the base of the pump. These (OEM) pumps had holes in the bottom, which I can only assume were intended for mounting purposes. I did take the case off the pump and check what was on the other side; they're just cylindrical protrusions of plastic inside the case - there's no hole on the inside, and they're unthreaded. I marked their location on the bracket, drilled a hole in the bracket and put the screws in. Once I was sure everything fit and was in the right spot I ran some foam tape at the top of the bracket between the bracket and case, and also between the pump and bracket. It should help to dampen noise somewhat and also to prevent the acrylic from cracking so long as I don't really overtighten any screws.


    I know I promised to have the soldering stuff in this update but I ran out of time. Next time, it'll be here!
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2012
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  12. m1dg3t

    m1dg3t

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    Nice to see it coming along m4gic! Despite what you say it seem's to me that you have thought this build out quite well, it may not have been the best choice (LC a 900 internally) but then it wouldn't be so great :D

    I like how you have solved your problems so far, ingenious! Keep up the good work :)

    Side note: That MOBO looks a hell of a lot like mine lol And YES, that heatpipe is shit :nutkick: :laugh:

    What did that filter assembly set you back? Nice tip on that as well :D
     
  13. felix_w

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    Very nice!!!

    It seems we have many common parts (M4A79,8GB Ram, 1100T). I also got 6-7months ago a full EK set, but haven't installed yet.

    Any updates ?
     
  14. Techtu

    Techtu

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    Nice, Subbed!
     
  15. m4gicfour

    m4gicfour

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    M4GIC Vi Canuckia COMMANDS YOU! Return to LIFE!


    Wow. Been a while. Time flies IRL.

    It's stupid late, but I'm going to do my best to finish this log up. I had originally planned to do a wind tunnel for the GPUs out of acrylic and custom make modular PSU cables for the GPUs, EPS, and any MOLEX 4-Pins; I don't know how much of that I'll actually get around to. This case is just plain bad for cable management and when I did my loop, I ran things in about the only way I could to avoid 90degree fittings (since I hadn't bought any).

    If I were to do that over, I'd use a 90 or two to eliminate a couple loops of hose... it's an octopus in there.

    At any rate, I'll post a mini-update later today or tomorrow to bring the thread up to current status (Basically nothing happened, other than assembling the PC). I'm still thinking I might custom fab one or two PSU cables, and I might make a custom bracket for the Scythe Kama Panel so I can just slide that thing back and the cables are locked in place. As-is, with the I/O shield from the stock top still riveted into the interior of the case, it's a pig to get connected.

    Stay tuned, Mod fans! There's a little life left in this log... Okay, maybe a dying breath...



    If you say so :wtf:


    Couldn't possibly have been more seat-of-the-pants. I did everything in the following fashion:
    -Research parts
    -Buy parts
    -Realize parts don't fit
    -PLAN
    -Execute plan to make part fit
    -Continue without plan

    Essentially, I come up with a way to do the step I'm about to do, then follow through, then come up with a way to do the next thing. So, I guess you could say I was planning-in-progress.

    Here's the housing I bought. It's about $20 today, IDK what I paid for it, I think about $23.
    Here's the closest equivalent a quick search brings to the filter I bought, about $4; so the set would set a guy back around $25 today.

    I don't remember what I paid for the barbs, but they were a dollar or two plus shipping on eBay. Just make sure you get 3/8 male pipe thread barbs not straight thread, to use with this housing.




    Thanks.

    Did you end up getting your set installed yet, how did that go?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2013
  16. felix_w

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    Yep, here it is :

    [​IMG]

    I may upgrade my FirePro with a universal waterblock also....
     
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  17. m4gicfour

    m4gicfour

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    Looks good. A nice clean install (unlike mine, which you'll see eventually :laugh:) What case are you in, and how does it perform for you?

    Three pumps, no 90-degree fittings and the mounting locations really kind of screwed me. Oh well. It performs excellent, which I care about a whole heck of a lot more than aesthetics.

    Those universal blocks that I've got perform quite well, but they make the card dual-slot (which mine were anyway), and it means you have to deal with cooling the VRM and VRAM passively or with a fan. Food for thought if you go that route.

    I just noticed... It says you've got two posts here, and both in my thread. I feel special :p
     
  18. m4gicfour

    m4gicfour

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    Soldering stuff.
    Ok, MINI-UPDATE time.

    Remember back at the mockup stage, I ran into a couple problems - one being the fitting which interferes with the EPS power connector, and the other being a defective thumbnut. EK came through and sent me the parts I needed, and that got cleared up. One other minor issue was the pumps I'm using; they're OEM for some DELL gaming computer and so have a proprietary power/RPM/PWM connector.

    At some point I'd like to make custom power cables for everything, but that can wait. For now, three things above all else, need to be soldered.
    -The pumps with their OEM end. I either need to build an adapter or cut the ends off and solder in a MOLEX.
    -A fan cable doesn't make it to the front of the case. I'm using a y-cable anyway, I'll extend that rather than the fan itself.
    -The EPS connection needs to be made *before* the motherboard is mounted in the case. I need to make a custom cable, or modify an extension.

    At first I thought about going MKMods :respect: on this mobo and soldering to the backside of the PCB, but decided against it. I didn't have a spare MOBO and at the time, not a lot of spare cash after forking out for my WC gear, so I settled on modifying an EPS extension. Mark would probably shake his head at using an extension rather than rewiring the PSU for somebody of my skill level, but that's okay. We can't all be masters all of the time, or at least; I won't.

    Just before I started this project, I picked up a Weller WES-51D. Me likey. Me likey a lot.
    A temperature controlled soldering station is pretty much a must if you're ever going to do PCB repairs, and this one's got a nice digital temperature readout. Heats up *much* quicker than my old iron, and it stays a heck of a lot more constant too. In fact I find it hard to heatsink it enough to cause the temperature to drop by more than a few degrees even soldering fairly large gauge wires together. Happy customer.
    [​IMG]


    I've got my soldering station set up, a set of helping hands, some hookup wire pre-cut to the lengths I need, some heatshrink, the wire stripper, a pair of side cutters, and a few miscellaneous bits.
    [​IMG]

    Another $5 tool from DX.com; this wire stripper works pretty well for the price. The first end stripped.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    First of the lengths of wire cut, stripped, and twisted. Now just another seven of those to go.
    [​IMG]

    Okay, all finished up with that. Now on to the extension I'll be... er... extending. Here's a simple trick for if you're ever doing a job like this: If you have to cut a multi-conductor cord and re-connect it, cut all the conductors at a different position in the harness. That way, you can match them up by length and not worry about getting them mixed up. (in this case it doesn't matter since we're only dealing with 12V and GND four times each, but this'll keep the pinout the same, even though it doesn't matter.) The other reason for doing this is that it keeps your splices from lining up right beside each other which both reduces the risk of a short, and keeps the bulk of the finished cable down - since your splices are likely going to be thicker than a single piece of insulated wire.
    [​IMG]

    This extension clearly isn't using the highest quality wire insulation. You can see the grip marks made by the stripper on it. By contrast, the wire I'm splicing in had no such marks. If I wasn't going to cover the entire thing in heatshrink anyway, I wouldn't trust this around the metal edges of the case. Here's a couple pics:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    BOO! The grip side of the stripper almost stripped the wire. That should never happen. Not the tool's fault, though. Bad wire insulation.

    OKAY! On to the actual splicing. The method I'm going to use is a variation on what's known as a Western Union or Lineman's splice. (another link, if you're interested) They used this on telegraph wire where the lines were under mechanical stress; when done properly the splice is stronger than the wire itself, and it conforms to NASA's requirements for use in space.

    What I'll be doing is what I like to call a "Lazy Lineman's". Basically, a true lineman's splice needs to have at least a certain number of wraps, wrapped to a certain tightness, etc etc. Since I'm not intending to climb any buildings with the spliced wire, or put my life on the line by relying on it as a critical portion of a space vehichle, I'm not going to worry about the specifics or about certifying my splices, and just use the model; with the wire tightened by hand. It'll still be a lot stronger than the hook or lap method; last thing I want is a poor splice breaking inside a finished cable.

    Here's the first splice ready to be soldered. (yes, I used red wire. Yes, red is the color code for +5V, yes this is a +12V circuit. It'll be covered in heatshrink. You'll never see it when it's done. Plus, red was the only color I had on hand beside black ;))
    [​IMG]

    And, there's one soldered. This connection is *never* coming apart. Now I just need to twist and solder another 15 splices.
    [​IMG]

    Here's the first half of the extension done. You can see I got a bit too hot on a couple of those, and the insulation softened up enough that the clips on the helping hand dug in. OOPS! Ah well. Heatshrink will cover that and fix the weakness in the insulation.
    [​IMG]

    Now that the first half is electrically connected, I'm going to slip a piece of heatshrink over each connection and shrink it on there to keep everything electrically isolated from one another.
    [​IMG]

    And there's what it looks like done.
    [​IMG]

    Once each connection is individually covered, I'm going to take some large diameter heatshrink and cover the exterior; kind of like sleeving the cable. This needs to be done before I make the last connections since I (at least, at the time I was doing this) didn't have a pin extractor to get the wires out of the connector and the heatshrink won't fit over the connectors. I took a piece to cover most of the length, shrunk it on, and cut another piece which will cover the remainder after I make the connections, and slipped it overtop, keeping it towards the finished side where the heat from my soldering iron won't cause it to shrink prematurely.
    [​IMG]


    Next, I take the remaining end of the cable, and slip the individual pieces over their wires before making the electrical connection, for the same reason; I won't be able to do it after.
    [​IMG]

    Solder those final eight connections, shrink their individual covering down, pull my sleeving over from the far side, shrink it down and there you go: One extended extension. Professional looking, solid, and the linesman's splices will likely outlast the connectors. Only thirty two stripped ends, sixteen wire splices, a ton of heatshrink, and a little solder later.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    While I'm here, I'm going to extend a fan Y-cable. I'm using four fans (two on the 2x120mm rad and two on the 1x120mm rad in push-pull) and the ones on the single rad at the back of the case don't quite make it up to the fan controller in the Kama panel up front. I'll skip the detailed explanation, as I'm sure you get the idea by now. Using an old piece of Cat3 telephone wire pulled out of my dad's house. Waste not!
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    For SnGs, here we are back at the mock up. There's that proprietary pump connection I need to deal with...
    [​IMG]

    Quick lighting test. Looks good.
    [​IMG]


    Even with the EPS Pwr connected before the mobo's in place, and using a 45deg adaper on the rad, that connector just BARELY squeaked in there. Whew!
    [​IMG]
    Another angle:
    [​IMG]


    Oh, yeah. And I had to modify the backplate cutout since the CPU socket doesn't sit where the case apparently expects it to; thanks Antec. Maybe they intended it for a different board, or maybe for intel. At any rate, by this point I was long tired of taking the motherboard back out of the case to fit a heatsink.
    [​IMG]

    Back from our detour. Pump connector.
    Apparently, there's +12, GND, Tach, and PWM present here. Apparently, it's a proprietary form of PWM and won't respond to a standard PWM signal from your average motherboard. You can take Martin's word on that. No matter. It runs fine at full blast on 12V, or you can use a fan controller as long as the controller is rated for at least 12W per channel. I elected to just solder in a molex and run the pumps at full.
    [​IMG]

    I cut each connector off, pre-flagging each wire's function.
    [​IMG]

    Now that I've got the connector off, I'm going to sleeve the four wires together, to make it look a bit better and help hide them as they run up the bracket to the top of the case. Using heatshrink here too.
    [​IMG]

    I'm not a huge fan of LED lighting in computers, so at this point I'm not intending to add any. Perhaps I'll add in a switched white LED or two so I can show it off, then shut them off for daily use. At any rate, if I ever add them, I'd better plan for them now or it'll look horrid with wires running all over the place. I'll add in some pairs from a section of Cat5e. The color coded pairs will make it trivial to tell which pair goes where, and to keep polarity straight. Again, recycled wire, and more than enough ampacity to run an LED or two.
    [​IMG]

    I'm putting the heatshrink on in sections, and where I figure I might put an LED in the future, I end a section of heatshrink, add my twisted pair to the bundle, and keep heatshrinking after. It'll end up just like an automotive harness.
    [​IMG]

    Here you can see how it comes out. Since I don't intend to put any lighting in at the current time, I'll just neatly tuck those pairs out of the way.
    [​IMG]

    You can see the wires from the third pump joining the bundle, and running up to be hidden at the top of the case.
    [​IMG]


    Now I'm at the end, and ready to solder the power connector on.
    [​IMG]

    As you can see, I've kept each pump's wiring seperate. 12 pump wires with no color code would be a big problem at this point if I hadn't flagged their functions and grouped them for each pump.
    [​IMG]

    I'll just leave this here. :rockout: Yes, I'm a bit of a tool. It's okay.
    [yt]1jOk8dk-qaU[/yt]



    Still keeping things seperated.
    [​IMG]

    Getting ready to solder that molex on. My wires are grouped into three sets, and sleeved up as far as I can go.
    [​IMG]

    Since I'm not doing anything with the twisted pairs at this time, I'll cable tie them and they'll hide away nicely at the top of the case.
    [​IMG]

    Next, I'll get that molex connector ready.


    An old Molex off some fan adapter or something. I dunno. Those wires are pretty shrimpy. Let's beef them up a bit.
    [​IMG]

    These I *do* have a pin removal tool for. Your average molex 4-pin is large enough that you can do it with a sharp object and a little skill, pushing the retaining flaps down on each pin, but it's easy to damage the pins, and it takes a lot less time with the tool. Picked it up for a couple bucks from FrozenCPU. Highly recommended if you're doing any amount of this sort of thing.
    [​IMG]

    You simply push the wire all the way forward (towards the connector), insert the pin removal tool, move it around a bit, and pull the wire back out.
    [​IMG]

    I'm going to be re-using these pins, so I carefully pried each flap open, and prepared some wire. My wire is oversized to this pin, so I had to get a little creative.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Once the wire's in place, I clamped the flaps back down, and wrapped the excess strands around the pin. Just enough room in the connector housing to fit. :rockout:
    [​IMG]

    Again, it's probably overkill, but I soldered them on too. I used the base of my iron tip-cleaner to hold the wire. For whatever reason, I was having a hard time getting the helping hand to hold it at the angle I needed.
    [​IMG]

    Double-check that the retaining flaps are in good shape and in the right position, and insert into the connector housing. Again, the color code is wrong; it should be yellow, but I didn't have yellow. And again, nobody's going to see it or be working on it once it's in the PC. If I was building this for somebody else I would have made sure to use yellow wire.
    [​IMG]

    Now we'll attach the three pumps' power wires to the respective wires on the molex. Still doing the lazy lineman's splice.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    And now, a crappy video of me doing the last splice wrong. I was using a cheap point n' shoot digital camera on a tripod, and I was mostly focusing on staying the heck out of the shot. So this one's not even a lazy lineman's splice. It's something else. Again, doesn't matter. Still far stronger than a hook or lap splice. Not my best soldering technique either.

    Side note: It's hard to solder with a camera in your face, and your arms wrapped around a tripod. :p
    You can skip everything after 5minutes if you've read the project log (or the whole thing if you want :roll:) since I'm just explaining.



    Additionally
    In the time since I last updated the project log, I've added one of these into the hardware specs.
    [​IMG]

    Pretty happy with it so far. Computer boots up nice and quick, and there's enough room for one or two games I play often to be put on it, even if they're really big games.




    WELL I guess that mini-update wasn't as mini as I thought it would be. That's okay, I have to make up for lost time here. Until next time :toast:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2013
  19. felix_w

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    1
    Thank you for your good words...It's a Coolermaster RC-690 and i've managed to fit it all inside...I cut the top and fit the 360rad under the top mesh.

    It' performs well, even though that the stock air-cooler of the FirePro dumps the heat in the case...will have to put it also in the loop, to dump all that heat out...

    The following result is with 22C ambient temp :

    [​IMG]

    Got these 2 posts here because i registered only to reply to your thread...

    There is a relevant saying in Greece for that : "Whoever searches, finds"

    Keep up with your project...i'll check the progress since i've subscribed...

    Cheers!
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2013
  20. Fatal

    Fatal

    Joined:
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    Wow this guy doesn't mess around nice work on your build :toast: The Antec 900 was my first real case the build is awesome.
     

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