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Project Sulaco


New Member
Aug 11, 2011
25 (0.01/day)

Hello All

So, im new here this will be my first of hopefully many project logs,
in the first few posts ile outline the project and whati hope to end up with

Including my inspiration, how im going to get the job done (were talking a low enough budget to make a victorian family cringe)

And hopefully gather some interest for tips, help and some much needed support

I have a background in design and a lot of plastic scratch building from an addiction to 40k in my youth. As i lack a lot of the serious tools i will be coming up with some interesting ways round common problems

By the end of this i shall be hence forth known as "Dremel Boy" or if the cutting wheel slips "The 9 finger Noob"

So watch this space for what could be either an epic tryumph or epic fail... but hell either way should be interesting

First up some of the sources or inspiration, I suspect most can have a good guess from the project name

The good Old USS Sulaco, Marine carrier ship from Aliens

The Atmosphere processors may best reflect the feel, its heavy industry with big lines and chunky details

The case i am going to build on to is the NZXT Tempest EVO

Chunky Styling is allready a feature so it should be a superb platform to build on to

So were going with chunky industrial lines and a plated metal look to it, fan grills currently in design phase (OMG there huge) pics soon

SO why choose an NZXT Tempest evo?

Well lets look at its attributes

For a midtower this is huge.. and that's with a capital HU!
Steel Chassis, sire its not light but it sure as hell can take punishment and support some seriously heavy gear

And of course every ones concern.... cooling... although it has none of the trappings of 20mm fans it sports plenty in the 120mm to 140mm range. for me (A die hard air cooler)
it is perfect, but also sports 5 water-cooling grommets
Did i mention the case was big???
And on a final note... the case is big lol

Side on

Large tinted window and 120m fan with filter. A slight departure from most windows as it is mounted outside the case sitting proud of the side panel, it really helps to keel the case symetrical whilst also gaining a slight amount of extra clearance for the larger aircoolers out there


Well we are back to "ITS HUGE" no more bleeding fingers from case edges for me, i can in stall my rig in this and use it as a spare room for guests, its clutter free and the HDD racks are tool less and can be removed completly for GFX card space or for controlers to be hidden away behind the front support


Recessed ports prevent them getting kicked or knocked... we all know the pain of hearing a crunch leaning over our pc and viewing the horror of a USB plus pointing 45deg out of the port, well break your ports no longer... and the area infrobt makes a handy dandy place to keep memory cards (well for me anyway)

It has great strong lines and a sharp clean shape, its huge panels leave plenty of space to mod in to/ on to/ over or through, its such a huge case with so many possabilities offered my its strong frame and sheer size that it was a huge headache picking a theme to use

I have been an NZXT fan for years, right back to the LEXA, and we are talking pre blackline edition

So without further boring you all to death (condolences to those who died of bordom reading)

Project Sulaco............​


New Member
Aug 11, 2011
25 (0.01/day)
Bit if a post backlog dump today folks, get your reading glasses

To compliment my fans for this build (ENRMAX Apolish Vegas blue) I wil be making my own custom grill/intakes

First mock up of the front grills, all hand made form plasticard, sorry no work pics for these at this stage in the build i had not picked up a decent camera

Ahh plasticard my new BFF

All constructed in .5mm plasticard, slightly smaller then you would expect for a 120mm intake

Finishes intake fresh out of the mould, at this stage they are very brittle, and need to cure for several days, maybe even a month to be on the safe side

Twin mk1 intakes and cutouts for Silverstone media panel, and blue ray drive, layed out to test fitting and space on the panel

And yes i know the intake flanges are not perfectly symetrical.... i have a cunning plan for that later

NOTE, allways use a canister filter mask when working with polyester resin... i did not, took 3 days before i stopped seeing double

Had some spare time today between work and fending the kids of with a dremel os have doen the prelimiary design of the side panel for Project Sulaco. Very Industrial with big intakes, think of it as a cross between an indulstrial cooling system and an escape/airlock

Prelim sketch (no laughing it was quick lol)

First stage, wire frames and checking the size works for styling

Materials :

Renders of the window (not true colour)

Still a lot more design to do before i can start some serious fabrication​


New Member
Aug 11, 2011
25 (0.01/day)
Here is a few more shots of some elements that are driving the design

Sulaco inner airlock[/B]

Exterior airolock of the Nostromo

Why have a note on the OUTSIDE of the airlock warning against explosive bolts... if you are outside to be reading that then the bolts are the least of your worries

I am hoping to incorporate some of these details in to the finished design, perhaps not to clean and clinical as in the Sulaco's inner airlock but cretainly with the same sturdy build

Awaiting supplies for casting and some materials so on with the bezel....

First things first, test fitting

However soon a problem arises, IE the flanges on the surrounds are not symetrical, a minor disaster but not the end of the world. i have a cunning plan.....

First up, covering up that nasty gap between the 2 intakes with a fresh sheet of plasticard, set i place with 2 part epoxy

Then i needed to begin forming it to the original lines of the intakes, without some better tools then i have its time to make use of the sturdy kraft knife and some precision files, making lots and lots of incise cuts to edge my war closer to the main form, the feathering this creates also makees the final cut off much easier

3 Hours later

Next up, giving it that deep set duct that i so wanted to look lik an air con or ventilation unit

For this I had to use several strips and glue then end to end to get the length strip i needed, left to dry for 48hours, a huge amount of time to dry poly ut as the glued join measured 20mm X 0.5mm it needed to be solid

Once the epoxy on the reverse has set i can go ahead and poly the join between the edge of the duct and the top sheet, i have allowed some extra material to remove later, I am sure all of us would rather need to remove more rather then find we had not removed enough



New Member
Aug 11, 2011
25 (0.01/day)
Small update today... well for this morning, may be more later

Attached the flange sides, the beauty of this is you dont need to havean exact shape, you use the join to guide your cut

Finished with all flange sides added ready for first coat, as i am using plasticard for the main construction i am using a VERY thick application of satin PlastiKote clear over a matt black, not for the final finish but to provide me with a hard shell to work on top of

Time to start working on the mould for the window surround, i willl be using a master blank to provide the shape for the finished surround, and will be casting the mould from silicone RTV
or a lubricated alu box (setting resin can get up to 80C and will melt plastic)

Final produce till be cast in Polyester resin

Render of the Bezel i wil be making, caution will be the key here as the polyester resin can be brittle in the cross section i will be working in

Whilst i wait for my joints to dry ive taken some spare time to make the replacement NZXT logo and AMD logo

AMD logo done, a lot less tricky then i expected

NZXT logo almost sorted, most of the letters turned out fine although i am on the 16th letter X

All letters finished with a little plinth to place on

DONE yay!!!!

And yes those letters are 13mm high​


New Member
Aug 11, 2011
25 (0.01/day)
BIG update today

With a huge influx of materials and some glorious free time ive managed to start on the blank to be made in to a mould for my resin window bezel, main blank fabrication is from 3mm plasticard, and wil be all hand cut and filed to prep for moulding, all joints will be made with polycement, it is quick cheap and effective for this material

Once marked out i can start to score the lines to create a guide path for the scalpel

All lines nice and deeply scored, the depth of each cut is now approx 2.5mm deep, the component can be snapped free after this point

And behold the first piece of the mould blank, the most critical piece as this wil govern the placement of the rest of the structure and any reinforcing needed

Cutting out the "rails" that i will split to make the sides and reinforcing butresses

First few sides and supports added, due to the pressure of 24hours immersed in a very dense liquid such as Silicone this needs to be very strong to prevent warping f the flat surfaces

Construction continues

And now finialy, my new camera, say god bye to dodgy phone camera pics

MY new Fuji all singing all dancing camera.. if this was any smarter it wold be a professor as Cambridge

New Arrivals

Hmmm i wonder what they could be, i shall use my jedi powers to detect the cargo... I predict the one on the right are fuel rods and the one on the left is a very angry Chinhilla

Damn i was wrong....


Yes the sweets did come with it, weird​

Lets take a closer look...

Silicone RTV (Liquid silicone component)

Catalyst component

For this brand the mix is 1/10 catalyst to silicone, most have a ratio of 1/5 for the "salmon" catalysts. This is a clear catalyst mix better suited to exposure to Polyester resin

Class is shore A (20), i very resiliant silicone mix with high thermal resistance and strength, not as elastic as some classes its tearing ratio is 400% elongation

And now the cathodes....

Whats in the box


2 twin inverters

On/off rocker switches and cable bundle (ugly and will be replaced and sleeved)

Assorted sticky bits

UUUUU purdy (chair not included)


New Member
Aug 11, 2011
25 (0.01/day)
Finishing the mould, had a good bit of time to work today so ive finished the blank and set up the mould walls to retain the Silicone RTV

My two best friends polycement and a scalpel

Blank finished with all the reinforcing in place, and poly is set

Lets break out the sander.... MORE POWER!!!!

After some brief but interesting sanding where my pet Staffordshire Bull terier tried to eat the mouse sander i finialy got the edges nice and crisp and the bottom level all ready to glue to the sheet that will form the base of my mould

Crisp, clean.... and erm.... dusty

Brushed off the dust and debris and glued the blank to the mould floor

Lots of spare plasticard cut in to strips to form the mould wall

Mould all done all ready for the RTV to go in

Time to mould

Everything you need to make the mould

Pictured above, all the things you need to finish one single part mould

  • Spatula
  • Silicone RTV
  • Catalyst
  • Blank
  • Mould box
  • Mixing vessel.... (my wife's fave cake tin)
  • Rice

As this is not a regular shape mould it is hard to work out the volume do you dont over or under mix a quantity of silicone

Fill your mould with rice until you have the blank covered to a depth that you feel you want for mould

Pour off the spare rice and empty the mould in to your mixing vessel, then mark the level the rice comes to as your "max fill" level

Although you may think that another approach would be to weight the rice for maximum accuracy but DONT, Silicone RTV is far more dense that rice and you will not get the same volume

Place your mixing vessel on some weighing scales and make sure you zero the reading... pour in the Silicone to the fill line.... make a note of the weight

As this is a 1-10 mix catalyst you need 1/10 (BY WEIGHT) so from the note you made on the scales work out a tenth and pour in the catalyst until you reach that weight

NOTE - The catalyst that comes with this brand of RTV is clear, i have tinted it with silicone dye for photographic use and to better illustrate a good mixture

And now we are ready to pour, do it slowly and try to avoid moving the pour stream around to much in the early stage as you will trap air bubbles

Pouring done, let it settle and check after an hour to see if the surface if free of bubbles, if it is not pop them, remember this will become the bottom of the finished mould and must be perfectly flat

Time to demould

One of the good ways to see if your silicone is ready to remove from the mould is to look at the surface it will lok tight and will have lost most of the shine it had as a liquid

Another popular but less scientific method would be "prod it a bit"

As with most materials set with a catalyst the thicker areas set first so to be 100% sure that it has set pull away one side of the mould to release the seal if its to soft push the side back and wait another 3 hours

Start taking the sides off our mold, NEVER try to take it out like a jelly mould, the suction from the material will more then likely destroy your blank and mould block before it becomes free

Starting at one edge peel the mould off the blank, this way you break the suction as you go


Little bit of flashing around the mould edges, very easy to trim off


New Member
Aug 11, 2011
25 (0.01/day)
Time to do the casting

What do we have
  • Resin
  • Catalyst
  • Mould
  • Mixing bowl
  • Mixing device

Raw polyester resin

Catalyst added

Mixed, note the darker tone now, its an effect of the mix forming chemical bonds changing the structure, some of you will know this as "curing"

this is a 100/1 mix ratio, resin to catalyst, but i am rounding up to the nearest gram, in this case 170g resin needs 2g catalyst, i weighed the amounts out before i started to save myself some time

Sorry no pics of the pouring, the fumes liberated by the pour can mess up fine lenzes

Pouring done

As this is a one part mould you are going to get sunken and risen areas due to surface tension, so you may want to spread the top surface outside the confined ot the moulds sides to break that for a true smooth finish, this only applies to one part moulds where you are filling fight up to the top surface


When cured you will notice its changed to a rather green tone and has some lateral shrinkage

You will also be able to make out some hairlike marks in the surface, this is part of the curing process, where 2 curing areas meet they form this boundry line just like a continent

A few of the finished items, on a block of alu to help dissipate the heat, as the resin whilst curing can get up to 80c

All 4 parts cast, time to get the mouse sander out

Here we see the mouse sander in its natural habitat, about to pounce on this basking bezel piece

10 mins and a lot of swearing later (sanded my finger)

30mins more and even more swearing (to annoy the neighbours)

Ready to do the fine sanding ready to box up doe painting later



New Member
Aug 11, 2011
25 (0.01/day)
Its door fabrication time, that means HERE COMES THE DREMEL yay!!!!

First up, lets get this side taken apart

Tabs off, lets pop the window out

I will be using 1.5inch cutting discs from MNPCtech

Measuring up the new window bezel and making sure my cut lines are marked well inside the cut.... CUTTING YAY


Well that took ages lol, but the results are exactly what i need

Next up, filling the acrylic for the window and starting the cut for the top mounting panel

Unfortunately i couldnt get any shots of cutting the acrylic out as the dust was getting in my camera, co lets ump to filing and sanding the cut edge

I will be using a rough sanding pad for this as i have a lot of material to remove


Ahh there fixed, ther was never a huge chunk taken out of the edge... was there *swings hypnotists watch*

In the next post... i start work on the top panel


New Member
Aug 11, 2011
25 (0.01/day)

A few weeks ago i was delighted to hear that NZXT had been kind enough to sponsor my project, for me this is fantastic, although sponsorship is a day to day affair for the more established in the modding community but for the new guy sponsorship is a big risk as they cannot be 100% sure there not being conned or that the project will not fizzle out to nothing. So once again its a HUGE thank you to NZXT


After mugging my deliveryman and fighting my way in to the packing box (cudos on the secure packing)

Lets see now we have.......

The HALE90 (850watt)

Sentry LXE

Blue LED lighting kits

Unboxing the PSU, what's in the box... well ok a PSU... i ment what else

Nice to see a total lack of the typical polystyrene in favour for the non crumbely packing.
Everything in perfect condition

The PSU its self, NZXT have gone for white on the HALE90 series, with the recessed grill and 140mm fan the looks are pretty striking, and of course it IS modular

Plenty of modular cables provided, all have good quality connectors, and with the all black sheathing have a nice uniform look. and all kept safe in a little carry case

The main loom has plenty of connectors all sleeved in black braid

On to the Sentry LXE fan control

Again we have the same foam packing to keep it all safe, no part of the LXEs main unit was touching the box it was suspended in the foam for max protection, so many times have i seen components resting on cardboard after removing the cover package

Main unit is very rugged 5mm alu face plate

sadly i could not get a shot of the screen (camera flare central)

Main PCI, Connectors a plenty here with power, 5 3pin PWM fan connectors and 5 temp probe connectors

They have even included EXTRA temp probes just incase

Also included, screws for pci mount, 8 pin pci plate to control lead, pads to affix the probes and a back up battery

Last up the Blue LED strings, nice little blister pack, in the case of components like these i often see way to much in the way of packaging

In the box we have pci plate, power lead and the string its self, the one pictured is the BLUE 100CM edition, 200CM is available

On the rear plate we have a slider for 3 brightness selections and ofcourse the On/Off switch

Once again a massive THANKYOU to NZXT for the sponsorship



New Member
Aug 11, 2011
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BUSY BUSY BUSY, finialy has a chance to get a good run up putting the side pane together and making sure it all fits before final sending and painting

Electrical tape, the modders friend

This was a nightmare to get all the components in place to drill through what was technicialy a sandwich of cast polyester, steel and acrylic

More drilling.. jeez......

Making sure the holes line up for bolting

This could have been a lot easier and faster but with limited resources one hast to think out of the box

Test fitting the bezel

The gaps are intentional, i will be covering them with brushes alu to add a little accent

Tapping the holes for the fan/grill assembly

MNPCtech 120mm overkill grills, Bill Owen over at MNPCtech is making 2 140mm versions of these for me for the top



UUUU thats rough

Most of the forming done, dremel+lap sanding wheel+awesome

Main door fab finished, plenty of adjusting to come but thats the BIG fab done
The fans are perfectly central trust me..... CURSE YOU CAMERA ANGLE
NOTE the 2 triangles outside the bezel are intentional, not sure if there going to remain tiny windows or to cut them through in to blow off vents

And no way in hell am i removing the protective film untill im done

So much still to do, but its gunna be great fun


New Member
Aug 11, 2011
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Finaly got time for an update, here goes....

Time I started work modifying the NZXT Sentry LXE to modify it for the front of my case top

Cutting is going to take a while, love or hate NZXT most will say there products are sturdy and the LXE is no different, the front bezel is 5mm anodized brushed alu

let the cutting begin, for this i will be using the trusty Dremel with MNPCtech.com reinforced cutting discs but even with good discs this will take a while... i will spare you a million shots of cutting

2 hours.... YES 2 HOURS later......

ok now I have got the bottom off time to make it fit the shape of the case top...... time for this to go on a diet

ok now its the correct size

On to the next problem, this is black anodized and brushed so i have 2 problems... i need bare metal..... AND the brushing is in the wrong orientation


Flat sanding using 400grit wet and dry paper, very similar principal to lapping a CPU, but with the larger surface area this will take longer

After 30mins

After an hour

After 3 hours and 30 seconds under a mouse sander to rough the surface

Next up... rebrushing to match the direction of the metal i am using on the case, 800grit wet and dry until silky in apperance (you must sand only in one direction or your just sanding not brushing) after a uniform finish is attained its on to 180gritsand paper untill you end p with...

There fixed.... coming up in next post New supply drop
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wow its like making cookie
im waiting for the next :toast:


New Member
Aug 11, 2011
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What's on the menu today???...... Filling... mmmmmm my favourite... *Runs ff to cry in the corner*

I hate filling but these things must me done, the first plan for the side had 2 vents on the side of the window using the old window shape as a guide, but on reflection it just looks like I missed a bit so time to bring out the filler

Spot the missing bits??

Ok here we go, first up, making plates to fill the gad befor I fill. I have cut off a lot of metal to make the window shape and i need metal of exactly the same thickness to bridge the gap in the panels.......

TADAAAAAAAA use offcuts for spare material

OH look a perfect fit.... LLLLIKE A GLOVAAAA!!!!

Time for the filler, i wont be giving a tutorial on this as most brands differ by huge amounts on the part to part ratios, this one is a 1-50 mix with a working time of 5mins, sandable in 20mins and complete cure in 2 hours

FYI... love the smell of the stuff...... from the yelling i am going to assume my wife does not

Worked with it a little to long but made sure i applied thick enough to get away with it....

Now on to the sanding....... there did you like that.. me too

After a full cure it is ready to prime but first.....


It is time to operate on the NZXT HALE 90 PSU

I need to get it apart to mask off for priming

A naked PSU.... shield the children's eyes

Primed. And i found out a matter of note.... spraying in a room with zero ventilation that is only 40cubic feet is not good for you......... but it sure is fun
Aug 17, 2009
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Dude! Don't how I missed this one.

Lot's of excellent shots there. Very educational stuff.

And I love the Aliens theme. Eager to see how it turns out.

Thanks very much.
May 21, 2009
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New Member
Aug 11, 2011
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Many, many, many more posts to come. Info and humor a plenty.. im pretty new on the scene so i still have a lot to learn


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Aug 11, 2011
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One of my fave activities today..... Chassis cutting

The NZXT Tempest Evo can accomodate a 240 this rad in the roof although you wouldnt know until you take the 140mm fans out.

So i was about to make some templates for some rad holders when as i took the 2 140mm fans out of the roof i found a set of mounting holes, now if these are for a rad im not sure but they match up to the middle set of mounting holes perfectly with 120x15mm spacing and apart from mounting i can see no reason for them to be there. The airflow is very restricted though due to the centre plate so without further ado.... LET THE CUTTING BEGIN

First up, marking out the areas to remove with extreme prejudice and a dremel....... HINT... dynamite is not accurate enough do not use.. although i doubt it would scratch this case, rugged is not the word

All marked up, now for the fun.... erm i mean "now to cut out the areas with supreme precision"

ok thats the top cut out, now for the side.. when making the side wondow i completly forgot to make sure that the fan would fit next to the drive bays..... whoops it didnt.... and so..... MORE DREMEL

By a massive stroke of luck the removed bays make a great area to install my PSU hood and new drive holders..... and now if you will excuise me i have work to do and i plan to pretend i intended to remove the bays all along......

coming up..... Cereal boxes and there many uses
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Excellent work. Aliens is one of my all time favorite movies, and the Sulaco is just badass. Can't wait to see the finished project.


New Member
Aug 11, 2011
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Fear not Guys and Gals i have not abandoned you all, i am waiting on a ton of deliveried for supplies and several sponsors including


Lots of updates on the way as soon as i get my shipments


New Member
Aug 11, 2011
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Supply Drop

It is that time again and another supply drop has arrived, this time it is my much anticipated EK Watercooling

So lets see what we have on the box........

Fittings, Res, CPU waterblock, MB waterblock, Pump, and Some EK UV blue coolant

First up for a closer look, the MB waterblock for the ASUS Crosshair V formula

The Crosshair V only has space fo a small MB waterblock but it looks great non the less

I am happy to report this comes with all the fixtures you will need and the thermal pads too

Next up... CPU waterblock (Supreme LTX AMD)

Ahhhh a thing of beauty, chunky and very heavy for its size, always reasuring

This also comes with all fixing you will need, and the AMD LTX blocks do not require a dedicated backplate

Next... EK multioption res 250basic

I am mystified as to why this res is called the basic, the options are just great, whilst it lacks the 2 front facing ports of the advanced model it gains a top port ideal for filling

Inclided... 2 port caps, bolts for mounting, mounts and threaded internal tube

Fixings, not a lot needs to be said here exept they are all of great quality. In a break from the norm i will be using barbs as i like the look. Same goes for the UC blue fluid, i simply cannot resist UV blue and EK has some of the best UV dye around

Last up, from EK, the pump, as i am using a cross flow rad that will be roof mounted i wont need a hugely powerful pump to move the head of fluid so i went with the nice compact DCP 2.2

Again there is plenty supplied including 3 to 4 pin converter and mounting brackets

And my radiator the Hardwarelabs GT Gen2, this is a cross flow with ports on either end rather then the traditional PC watercooling of a twin layer return flow, and perfect for my requirements, great flowrate and perfect for clearing board architecture that may get in the way of a more conventional rad

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Awesome. Sorry, can't think of any other words..

Chicken Patty

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Subscribed, awesome so far. :respect: