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Project: Duster v2

Discussion in 'Modding Worklogs' started by ruro, May 31, 2010.

  1. ruro

    ruro Member

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    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    [All photos are hosted on my own hosting, they're max width 800px, let me know if I should thumbnail them instead]

    About a year ago I first ventured into watercooling. I had been browsing forums for the hundredth time drooling over the great builds people post when I made a split second decision to join in the fun. I ordered all the various parts and eventually I made the very first 'Duster':

    [​IMG]

    It's a SilverStone TJ-07 with an EVGA x58 Classified, Core i7 920 @ 4GHz, 6GB of Corsair Dominator DDR3 2000, 2 GTX285s and an Asus D2X. All powered by a Corsair hx1000 (Sleeved, badly!). You might wonder why I called it Duster! It's because it seems to fills up with and gets covered by dust every couple of weeks so I have to dust it off and clean it out!

    I was pretty happy with it at the time and remained so up until about a month ago when I got the itch again. I'd also managed to hole my radiator by not being careful when screwing on some new fans and I'm also unfortunate enough to have gotten a bad set of memory using the degrading Elpida ICs which have now degraded to the point where they barely run at 1333... I decided my hardware was telling me something - it was time to mod again. Now that I had made up my mind this time I wanted to do some real modding - make a mid plate and a custom face plate, and perhaps some other internal parts as well! The first problem was that the only tools I had were a set of screw drivers and allen keys for working on my bicycle! I was going to have to do something about that before I could even think about starting.

    I made a list and went to Bunnings. I came back with a Dremel 400i and 100+ fittings for it (including some tungsten carbide routing bits for cutting!), a laser guided jigsaw (laser!), a drill, and a bunch of drillbits/jigsaw blades. I also bought some things to measure with - a set square and digital venier calipers to name a few of them. Oh, and a fold away work bench because I live in an apartment with not much room and only a single garage! I'm quite envious of those of you with large, permanent work areas!

    Here's a shot of some of the new gear I picked up:

    [​IMG]

    Next I had to decide what extra watercooling parts I would need, so I sat down and came up with the following list:

    - 1 * XSPC RX360 Radiator
    - 1 * EK Supreme LT Alcatel
    - 1 * EK-FB EVGA x58 Classified Alcatel + Nickel
    - 1 * Laing DDC 3.2
    - 1 * XSPC Laing DDC Top
    - 1 * IandH Stealth Reservoir 175
    - 1 * Sunbeam Multi-Fan Power Port (black)
    - 5 * 1850rpm Scythe Gentle Typhoon
    - 3 * Bitspower Stop Fittings
    - 5 * Bitspower 90 Degree Rotary
    - 4 * Bitspower 45 Degree Rotary
    - 3 * Bitspower Multi-Transfer Coupler
    - 1 * Bitspower Rotary Fitting "Q"
    - 3 * Bitspower Water Fill Set (Case Top)
    - 2 * Bitspower Dual G1/4" High Flow Fitting - Male to Male
    - 18 * Bitspower Compression Fitting, G1/4" to 3/8" (5/8" OD)
    - 1 * EK Universal CPU Water Block Back Plate
    - MDPC Sleeve-Kit, Pin-Remover, MDPC Crimping-Tool, Cable-Management-Clips, Heatshrink
    - 1 * Seasonic X750 (thanks for the advice in the power supply thread, folks!).

    Everything has been ordered and is either on its way to me at the moment or very close to being shipped! I don't know about anyone else, but I find it really hard to wait for things to arrive once I have ordered them. Oh, and all the fittings are matte black!

    Rest of the system:

    - CPU: Core i7 920 D0
    - Memory: 6GB Corsair Dominator GT 2000
    - Motherboard: EVGA x58 Classified
    - SSD: 120GB OCZ Vertex
    - Sound: Asus D2X
    - Case: Silverstone TJ07
    - GPU: 2 XFX GTX 285

    Next up was what to make all the new parts out of. I knew I wanted to use aluminium or steel because I am more comfortable working with metal than something like acrylic. Then I remembered I had an old Lian Li aluminium case I'd bought off a friend when he'd damaged it - at the worst I would get some valuable practice using the tools and at best I'd get the pieces made to my satisfaction. The side panels were still in good nick so I decided to cut those up to make the mid plate and front panel, and use parts of the rest of the case to make whatever else came to mind while I was working through the project.

    First up I decided to make a midplate to go over the top of the existing one. I had thought about making an entire replacement tray but I wasn't confident about bending the metal as I don't have a brake. Unfortunately I don't have any photos of the crafting process, I got carried away with all my new tools :) Here it is by itself:

    [​IMG]

    And here it is fitted on place. It was quite snug at first but a little extra filing fixed that up.

    [​IMG]

    Next up I decided to make a replacement face plate that would allow me to add two 120mm fans to get some extra air flowing through to my gtx285s. First hole cut:

    [​IMG]

    I cut the hole using the Dremel, tungsten carbide routing bit, and a Dremel circle guide. It was fairly time consuming and extremely noisy - next time I think I'll try and find a 120mm hole saw. The edge was a little rough in some places but it cleaned up nicely after some sanding:

    [​IMG]

    Next up I decided to do a quick mod to the top grill of the case, just removing the fan mounts:

    [​IMG]

    A simple change but I think it opens up the top area of the case a lot.

    Next up I had decided I wanted to make cover for the front cdrom drive bays as I find them quite ugly to look at through the case window. First I had to decide which piece of the old case to mark and chop up! After looking through the pile I decided the top of the case would be best, as not only was it almost the right width but there was a nice over hang that I hoped would fit around the back edge of the drive bay mounts.

    Marking it up:

    [​IMG]

    And cut:

    [​IMG]

    Time to check the fit on what I've done so far!:

    [​IMG]

    It's turning out quite nicely!

    A few days later Gam received a shipment from Bitspower and my order was shipped out :D. It's traditional to post a photo of fittings, so here it is ;):

    [​IMG]

    I also received some GT1850's, and a Seasonic X750! The fans attached to the radiator/radiator mount:

    [​IMG]

    Looks pretty nice imo! Here's the power supply:

    [​IMG]

    It's a lot more compact than my Corsair HX1000, and I love the fact that it's 100% modular. I also reseated the cpu block and applied some new thermal goop:

    [​IMG]

    While I was out and about a few days ago I stopped by a metal workshop and put on my best poor student impression; I got a couple of nice sized offcuts to make back plates out of, and my money was refused! I know I'll be going back there again for sure. Maybe next time I can persuade them to take some money so I do not feel so bad.

    First up time to make a new PSU backplate:

    Measured:
    [​IMG]

    Cut:
    [​IMG]

    Fitted!:
    [​IMG]

    The next morning I realised I had forgotten to cut where the sides of the case slide in on the PSU plate so I had to fix that up. I also measured up a new motherboard tray backplate too:

    [​IMG]

    Both pieces cut and now testing the fit:

    [​IMG]

    After checking that they fit I pulled the motherboard tray backplate out and sanded it, drilled the rivet holes out and then did a test fit using some temporary rivets:

    [​IMG]

    Phew, epic wall of text. At the moment I'm painting a few of the pieces to see how it looks to help me decide if I want to get them powdercoated or just paint them. I'm also figuring out how I'm going to mount the fans on the front face plate etc. More pictures when I'm a bit further along with those two bits :).

    Thanks for reading!
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2010
  2. Rory K

    Rory K Member

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    :eek: Very nice! sub'd

    Did you consider going inverted ATX? Especially if you're not cooling the GPUs as it will cut down on tubing length a bit. Plus inverted ATX = win.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    ruro

    ruro Member

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    I thought about it, but unfortunately I bought a TJ07 with a window on the wrong side. Next project I reckon I probably would because as you say less tubing and it's sexy :).
     
  4. h2oxide

    h2oxide Member

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    looking good man, good job on the free metal :thumbup:

    where'd you get the screws? bunnings?

    also can you link me to what dremel bit was used
     
  5. OP
    OP
    ruro

    ruro Member

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    Screws were from http://www.thekoolroom.com/ and the Dremel bit was http://www.mytoolstore.com.au/products/Dremel-Tungsten-Carbide-Cutter-3.2mm-#9901.html :). If you use the bit to cut aluminium make sure you get a wire brush or something to clean it off now and then as I found it gunked up with aluminium now and then.

    Bunnings is pretty shit for black fasteners unfortunately. The best I could find were M6 sized nuts and bolts!
     
  6. h2oxide

    h2oxide Member

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    i may end up spray painting all my screws with the tj07, cant be arsed spending that much on screws/finding the right sizes and how much i need :/

    im guessing your spraying/coating the interior black?
     
  7. OP
    OP
    ruro

    ruro Member

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    Tossing up between painting and powdercoating. I'm painting a few of the pieces at the moment to see how it looks -- but i'm worried they'll end up scratched to hell. Painting screws would be easy as, the hard part would be getting them in without scraping the heads.

    Edit: I'm also still tossing up on finding out if I can get a bulk order of nuts/bolts from a supplier and maybe selling the remainder that I don't use on at cost+shipping on OCAU or something.
     
  8. h2oxide

    h2oxide Member

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    You can try painting, and then if it doesn't work out, strip the paint yourself or ask the powdercoaters to strip it for you (decent ones will)
    But not sure why you arent going p/coating as first option? Hell of a lot more durable, and fairly cheap too

    And +1 with painting screws, not sure if I should or shouldn't
     
  9. OP
    OP
    ruro

    ruro Member

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    I recycled some of the metal from an old case which unfortunately was sound proofed, so i'd have to strip that off if I were to powdercoat. It took me 2+ hours to strip off and clean up a 10cm * 20cm piece but that was using a razor and some nail polish remover. Maybe I could find something more suitable at bunnings.

    I could paint a few screws with some self etching primer and black and let you know how it goes if you like?
     
  10. mojododo

    mojododo Member

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    if your going to paint, satin black in spray cans look closer to the std tj black than powdercoated satin black does. (my sprayed bits look closer than the powdercoated bits)

    painting screws is asking for trouble. everytime you screw them in the paint will come off on the head bit and look crap. better to find the right screws in black.
     
  11. h2oxide

    h2oxide Member

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    Okay I guess I wont paint the screws then, Itll add contrast anyway :lol:

    But yeah ruro could you still please tell me how it goes?

    And im talking about you p/coating the parts of the case we've seen, all that bare silver metal
     
  12. OP
    OP
    ruro

    ruro Member

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    Yeah some of those pieces have insulation foam stuff on the other side :lol:.
     
  13. h2oxide

    h2oxide Member

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    Ooooh i see, bugger :(

    Try ripping it off and using Isopropyl alcohol fluid to get the gunk off
     
  14. OP
    OP
    ruro

    ruro Member

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    Last week I looked around a bit for some perforated aluminium mesh but couldn't find any (I'm terrible at finding these things it seems!) so I went for a walk at lunch time with my friend Ros and we hit up Jaycar for some speaker grills! I cut them up, and they fit nicely and look okay:

    [​IMG]

    Now I have to try and figure out how I am going to attach the fans to the front plate, and the front plate to the drive bays. hmmm. As far as attaching to the drive bays goes, I think I might do something like... this!:

    [​IMG]

    Advantages are I'm recycling and they are made to fit!

    So now that that is sorted, how am I going to attach the fans? I might recycle some more of the old case and use the offcuts from the top mesh to do something like this:

    [​IMG]

    Ideally it will all fit together something like this!:

    [​IMG]

    I have a lot more room free at the top of the front plate than I thought so I might cut up another drive bay cover and take less off. Another thought that has hit me is that If am more precise with my measurements and cutting I could drill some holes in the drive bay cover sides and in the side of the fan mounts and rivet them together to make it more sturdy!

    Another idea that has just come to me is that I could glue 4 30mm bolts to the back of the base plate and screw the fans on using those :confused:. So many ideas!

    MDPC Goodies arrived:

    [​IMG]

    Finally, the other night I prepped and primed a few of the pieces for test painting tonight to see how it all works out when painted. I have a bad feeling that I might get some runs though. I didn't see any when I finished painting them but I have historically had bad luck with paint :(. Fingers crossed :D.

    I also painted a few screws for you H20, I will let you know how it goes after they have dried.

    Thanks for reading! I'm keen to hear any ideas anyone has about how I should do the front plate mounting and how to attach the fans :).
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2010
  15. Linkin

    Linkin Member

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    Subbed! :leet:
     
  16. Seith

    Seith R.I.P.

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    Nice work, I love the work logs where work is actually getting done and is not 40 pages of stupid comments.
     
  17. OP
    OP
    ruro

    ruro Member

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    Thanks! I don't mind lots of comments though :lol:.

    Speaking of comments, H20 I painted the screws last night and they're pretty much dry. My camera battery is still charging at the moment, so when it finishes I'll take some photos of it and see what happens when I screw them into something.
     
  18. dmandn

    dmandn Member

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    Nice, I like definitely like. You are giving me ideas on cleaning up some botches that have been made.
     
  19. h2oxide

    h2oxide Member

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    Ok cheers, yeah tell me how it goes/if its worth it.

    I don't mind not painting them though as itll create some contrast with the black
     
  20. OP
    OP
    ruro

    ruro Member

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    Surprisingly the paint held during three rough screw ins, after the fourth it shows a few tiny flecks of silver. Gotta hold off on the photos until I can get some better light, they're really hard to photograph even with several lights directly on them - should be easy to photograph on a day with more sun though so I'll hang out for one :).

    I'm at home with an earache and general congestion (stupid cold), so what better remedy than do pull the four pin polex connector off of the pump wires and attach a 3 pin fan connector and sleeve it all in blue?

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2010

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