This will be a fairly picture heavy one! I initially purchased 5 x Enermax Magma Batwing 120mm fans, at the time I hadnt decided to go beyond a 360mm radiator so figured 3 for the radiator and 2 for the case might suffice. Now that I've committed to the 480mm radiator I'll need to figure out other options for case fans. I'll either try to source more batwing fans or maybe go for a couple of 140's - we'll see :)
The 5 x 120mm Enermax Batwing Fans as they ship:
This is what the unboxed fan looks like, not too bad looking but that sticker will have to go!
The fan blades disconnected from their housing. One of the reasons I decided to go with these fans was the easily removable blades - simplifies things for a newbie modder! :p
I got to work on some basic drafts for my own fan stickers. In Illustrator I'd play with a design and every time it looked interesting I'd create a copy of the design and paste it next to the original on the sheet to continue experimenting. After a while I had a lot of different designs and evolutions I could look at to decide what looked best. Here are what the earlier designs looked like:
As I kept evolving my preferred variations things started to look useable:
Finally, to figure out what designs I liked the most I printed out all the potentials on plain paper and cut them out. That way I could take turns placing them on the fans to get a rough idea of what I liked best:
This one was an obvious no-go!
The black designs all looked way better! This one was the design I ended up going with:
I wasnt sure what the best way to print the stickers would be. I looked for A4 sticker-paper sheets in a few local places but didnt find anything too cost effective. I ended up grabbing 20 x A4 sheets off eBay for about $8 and used those.
I also looked at having a local signwriter print them for me. I was quoted $120 for a 1220mm x 1000mm (minimum) sized sheet of stickers on vinyl material. That's not a bad price considering I'd get more stickers than I'd need in a lifetime, but considering the scope of this build it was a bit too much. Might be an option for future if multiple people want to get stickers printed? Anyone aware of similar runs being done?
Here's the before and after shots showing the stock sticker and my replacements:
Now getting around to sleeving the fans! Given the fans cost around $20 each and were out of stock everywhere (discontinued?) I was pretty paranoid about breaking the wires off the PCB. When I'd practiced sleeving on some old Xigmatek fans the heatshrinking process pulled the wires off the PCB - I guess just too much strain on those little solder connections.
Another lesson I'd learned from that experience was that while the unsleeved wires fit through the gap/guide (pic below) on the side easily enough, once sleeved they wouldnt fit through and trying to force them damages the sleeve. These are the guides I'm talking about
I decided it was time to pull out the dremel - for the first time ever! (Stepping into the 'bigtime' modding now eh? :ppppp
Prior to sleeving the fan wires I also took the opportunity to depin them and replace the white 3-pin connectors with nicer black ones:
...and the finished, sleeved fans! I'm pretty happy with how they turned out :)