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Old 28th January 2013, 3:29 AM   #1
Toybox Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 19
Default Behemoth MDF case work log.

Hi guys,

New here on the Overclockers forums, thought I would share my latest build you you guys.

I have dubbed this build "The Behemoth" Due to size. at 700x700x600 it's a bit of a beast but I've always like larger cases. The reason for the build was simply the desire to test out a water cooled build while in a large open case without the loop looking cramped and such.

I've gone through a few off the shelf cases and never felt happy with presentation so I decided to try my hand at making one from scratch. I settled on using 12mm MDF for the case, in hind sight I should have gone with 16mm for strength but weight was also an issue. After a 3 month build time I finally have it finished, here's a bit of a log for you all.

Specs for those playing at home:

- Mother Board - ASUS Maximus V Formula
- CPU - Intel i5 3570k with EK plexi Water Block
- RAM - 8Gig Corsair GT Dominator 1866
- GPU - EVGA GTX680 Signature Edition with EK Water Block
- PSU - Thermaltake 800watt True power gold
- RAD - Black Ice GTX360
- RES - Liquid Fusion by FrozenQ
- Fittings - Bitspower 90 and 45 compression.
- SSD - Corsair 120GB and 450gb/2tb Segate HDD

I started off with a design in Sketchup but as things do, they change.

This was the first real model I did. This is from the front side, in this design the PSU was at the front which actually ended up going to the back and being hidden for a cleaner look.

After a trip to Bunnos and some big 2400x1200 sheets I set to work with making panels.

Due to the fact I am in no way a pro cabinet maker, I made the mistake of assembling the case from outside in, should have done it from inside out for better strength.

After fixing a small issue with the saw not cutting true 90deg cuts I got to this point. It's a pity I picked up on the problem so late in the build, had I have caught it earlier it would have avoided a few problems down the track.

After some more gluing and screwing I added the wheels and I had a full rolling shell. You can see one of the leading edges there is not quite flat against the edge, this was one of the issues from the saw being off.

I measured up the doors for the unit. I really wanted to go for a 100% hidden hinge. After trying several ways to do this there was no option left but to go with 5 butt hinges on each door, this kept them opening straight without sag or play.

This picture shows how the doors open with the butt hinges on the back edge, not really what I wanted but they do the job nicely. You will also see the center divider in place there inside the case.

A back shot of the case to show where all the hard drives, DVD drives and cable management will be.

This picture might have a few of you turning your heads but yes, the motherboard tray faces the top of the case. The reason I have built the case this way was mainly to take load off of the PCI-E slot with the weight of the water block pulling down on the card. The other reason was to allow for easier I/O access on such a large case.

Here is a picture of the top access area. Here you are looking at the I/O slot, 5.25 inch bay slot for DVD and fan controller. The 3 holes cut are for the 120mm fans which will be filtered and air is drawn in from rear to front on this case. See how ordinary the hinges are, I could have spent more time and recessed the hinges but, well, I didn't.

I knew the lid that I needed to make was going to be big, weight a far amount and be prone to slamming shut. As luck had it, in my shed was a small set of gas struts which after some 90deg aluminium angle sorted that out nicely.

Now with everything partitioned off and sealed, it was starting to look like a PC case.

Next on the list was to knock up some rad support brackets to suit.

And mount the pump on a custom mount (yeah, more 90 alum angle here).

Just before this above picture, I had most of the goodies arrive for the cooling system.

With more goodies arriving after that.

Mounting of water blocks to help with test fitting the boards and measuring for pipe and clearances.

I was surprised how heavy this turned out to be.

Getting the board in and seated gave me a better Idea how it was all going to come about. Unfortunately, another part that was being custom build in the states had not arrived so I was having a hard time seeing the completed look in my head.

Now the super fun part, Sealing and sanding the MDF so that the edges wouldn't soak up all the pain and retain a "fluffy" look. I used some filler for painting walls here. Easier to sand than bondo and still provided a strong finish to work with. This process took about 3 weeks to complete the cabinet, doors and lid. Once all sanded I covered all the panels in spray putty/filler and sanded down again. I don't have many pictures of this part of the work sadly.

Case from the other side. I used a 600 grit paper to work the filler, wrapped around a sanding block to keep the work flat.

Once all the sanding had been done, it was time for paint. At this stage the case became very awkward to move about and as a result on one occasion I dropped the case causing it to become out of square....joy

Final prep work on the main door. Here you can see the hole for the 12mm acrylic panel and 3 vents for the bottom of the case.

With the black on, wet and dry sand with 600,800,1200. Clear coat with a 600,800,1200,2000 grit wet sand then first and second cut all finished off with swirl remover you get here. This is the top panel for the case.

With the same treatment on the case its self, all the hard work is paying off. What you see here is the reflection of my unkept sink in the panel...See the fan filter panels.

With the case finally painted and polished, it was time to start putting hard ware into place. Motherboard, DVD, HDD, SDD all went in and pluming gets mated up to fittings. The res you are looking at here is the Liquid fusion item from FrozenQ, this makes the inside I think.

More plumbing goes in and it's time for fluids and leak tests.

As this is my first ever water cooled build, I have read every "How To" and "Tip" I can find, I disconnect the M/B and jumper the PSU. You can see I've taken every step to find a leak if there is one.

48 hours later, no leaks.

98% complete now, just some issues to overcome with the main door and we are set to go.

Here it is at 100% complete, Acrylic is in with acrylic based silent and the hole cover plate is on. This picture is not that great as lighting caused some issues in my office, I hope to put up a better pic once I get the chance.

Thanks very much for reading through this guys. This was such a huge job, I hope it wasn't TL;DR and you enjoyed it. Feel free to ask any questions, hope to hear from you as I continue here at Overclockers!



Last edited by Toybox; 28th January 2013 at 3:50 AM. Reason: Spelling correction
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Old 28th January 2013, 3:36 AM   #2
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That's insane!! I love it, good work!
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Old 28th January 2013, 7:39 AM   #3
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That looks like one nice paint job.

Could you give more info and details on that please. Type of paint, layers etc.
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Old 28th January 2013, 10:14 AM   #4
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Awesome work mate

You need to sharpen the saw blade to
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Old 28th January 2013, 10:31 AM   #5
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Wow - that looks great - I clicked on "MDF case" expecting to see ghetto, but I was pleasantly surprised!

My only suggestion would be to get some coloured tubing and only use DI water and some Liquid utopia - but that is just the purist in me coming out

Good job, mate
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cant wait till the hard tubes crack or come out of fitting and leak red dye all over their mums carpet
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Old 28th January 2013, 10:34 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Kommandant33 View Post
Wow - that looks great - I clicked on "MDF case" expecting to see ghetto, but I was pleasantly surprised!
MDF is an easily worked material that can be finished in a variety of ways that all look great. It gets a bad reputation because of unfinished projects, but it's not all bad.

Great work, OP. I love the "double box" design. Very practical.
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Old 28th January 2013, 11:17 AM   #7
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Definitely not a case of tl;dr, love a nice long work log. Very impressive, I love it.
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Old 28th January 2013, 12:19 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the nice words guys, it's good to see people enjoying the read. I was looking forward to showing off and seeing what I could really do with MDF as I am yet to see any really great MDF work case wise but here is proof you can do it. I will hopefully build something else soon for a friend that now, after seeing this wants something.

"Could you give more info and details on that please. Type of paint, layers etc.

I can tell you all about it!
What your looking at here is Gloss black Enamel with an Enamel clear.

Getting a good finish is all about prep, I'm sure those more skilled in paint than I will agree. Because MDF absorbs a lot of paint it really needs to be sealed well so seal edges then sand the entire panel till smooth and seal with a high build primer putty then sand it out nice and smooth after that.

I'd also recommend a tac cloth as well, helps get rid of unwanted sanding dust on the job.

Once that's done three light coats of black go on till you get an even coverage, don't worry if the finish is looking rough just let it sit for a day, sand back very lightly using a 1200 grit paper wet and dry then apply 3 more thicker coats of black and leave for another 24 hours.

After this you want to wet and dry the panel with 600 or 800 grit to get it nice and smooth, taking care around edges! You will notice its flat when all the pitting in the paint work is gone ALL OF IT! I went over mine very quickly with 1200 at the end to get rid of any fine scratching. I also added a small amount of dish washing liquid to my water when sanding, helps the water stay on longer and you don't burn through as much paper either.

Clear goes on basically the same except you don't need to wet sand anytime between coats so 6 coats of clear getting heavier as you go, last coat should be nice and glossy, try not to get runs but a few are OK as they sand out any way.

Once it's all sanded down right out to 2000, use a cutting compound (Hand polished I might add) to take out the dull look, I did 2 cuts here. Finally some stage 2 swirl remover again another 2 cuts and your done, I will wax it over soon to seal of the paint.

Here's the cool part, all of what you see here is done with spray cans! NO gun just cans. I used White Knight Squirts from Bunnings to do this all up I think I spent $150 on paint? It's a lot yes but I did not have the know how, money or time to set up a spray gun and compressor. The other great thing is I had several people tell me that I was never going to get the finish I was after with cans....COOL STORY BRO!

"Awesome work mate

You need to sharpen the saw blade to"

Ah yes Bigdave, the story of the blunt saw blade and saw burn. After I fixed the issue with the saw not cutting square a lot of that burn went away, the blade was old tho and just as I finished the job, my father hands me a brand spanking new Tungsten carbide blade to use!

"Wow - that looks great - I clicked on "MDF case" expecting to see ghetto, but I was pleasantly surprised!

My only suggestion would be to get some coloured tubing and only use DI water and some Liquid utopia - but that is just the purist in me coming out.

Good job, mate" -Kommandant33

I was going to go with a colored tube but some how I ended up at clear. Being the first ever W/C setup I've ever done I wanted to see the inside of the loop I guess, put I will look into this if or when I replace the tube.
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Old 28th January 2013, 4:41 PM   #9
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What did you use for the motherboard tray? Pretty impressive build!
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Old 28th January 2013, 4:45 PM   #10
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Impressive work mate, A big fan of scratch builds

Oh, and what Komm said...
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Old 28th January 2013, 8:10 PM   #11
Toybox Thread Starter
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The Mobo tray I got from a donor machine I had laying about. I backed it onto another piece of MDF which originally was going to be another piece of acrylic and back lit but after messing about I gave that a miss.
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Old 30th January 2013, 11:33 PM   #12
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Wow that looks nice!

I've sworn myself off MDF more than once due to the weight and dust, but it's just so ... flat and smooth. mmmmmm NO! GET THOU BEHIND ME, MDF!
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Old 31st January 2013, 1:21 AM   #13
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Very nice build

Any chance you can tell us the total weight and cost of materials. ie, MDF, hinges etc

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Old 31st January 2013, 12:46 PM   #14
Toybox Thread Starter
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DrFrag, Just make sure you use a respirator when cutting and your good. I used that plus outside and that was fine. Weight, well yes it can get heavy, not much you can do with that but I built the case under the Idea of not moving it about so it's becomes an invalid point.

I really have no Idea how much this weights if I was to guess......maybe 40-50kg. I know my dog weighs about 40kg and its heavier than she is!

Costs for this case....well

MDF Sheets 3 of @12x2400x1200 $60
Hinges 10 of - $12 approx.
Paint gloss black pluss clear - $150
Filla putty x2 $38
Sealants - $20
Sandpaper both wet and dry and dry - $40
12mm acrylic - $58

Total $378

I did have to by some tools like a hole saw kit and other bits and bobs which was about another $200 but I don't count tools.

Total cost of this build including EVERYTHING would be about 2.5K

Last edited by Toybox; 31st January 2013 at 12:49 PM. Reason: added content.
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Old 31st January 2013, 1:33 PM   #15
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mate looks awesome. really love the paint job.

is there any chance you can get a friends DSLR so we can see some higher quality pics.

I like the way the top opens up like a car bonnet with the gas strutts
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