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Old 13th Oct 2012, 19:56   #1
ali_robb2000
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Dragon Revival - [need some WC advice please!]

*** *** ***

Most recent update (13-4-14)



To find out more, Hope you enjoy

*** *** ***

Hi all. This is my first case mod so thanks for reading!

The case is from a PC that first came to life in 2003 when I built it to use at Uni. I was really happy with it then, but since getting a laptop I put the big PC in storage – I was moving house too much to be lugging around such a big heavy case and CRT monitor + accessories! So the case sat at my parents’ house, gathering dust in a shed.

A couple of months ago I decided to revive the computer – I have moved into a new flat with my girlfriend and will be there for a while yet. Plus I’m keen to make use of a decent monitor to make studying / editing photos easier. I bought a nice 22” IPS monitor (the CRT had long gone) and booted up…. failure! The PC wouldn’t boot into windows, due to some sort of error – after searching the net it seemed the solution wasn’t clear to anyone, so I’d have to reformat.

However, while searching for drivers it became clear that my hardware was a little out of date:

Apparently they don’t make drivers for the cutting-edge nVidia GeForce 4200Ti 128Mb anymore, not even if it has a slick passive cooler attached…


The integrated nForce graphics weren’t supported either, and have therefore since been used for air rifle target practice:


Even the humble DVD drive wouldn’t work in a new system anymore, as apparently no-one uses parallel ATA…

So it looked like I’d *have* to buy a complete new set of parts and make a new PC. After much deliberation on the net I settled for the following as a nice compromise between price and performance, while allowing me to upgrade the processor / add a GFX card in the future if need be:




The heatsink / fan is arguably overkill for an i3, but I want the PC to run as quietly as possible and this will let me run it with a really slow (quiet) fan speed. The heatsink is probably my favourite of the new hardware, along with the nice low voltage RAM that should hopefully let the system as a whole run at lower temps.

So the only parts I had left over from the original computer were a nice beQuiet PSU and the case, a bright red Chieftec Dragon (hound optional):




Before I put the new gear in though, I thought I’d try and spruce the case up a bit to make it worthy of the new components.

My aim with this project is to improve the looks of the case while making it more functional in terms of airflow while retaining the potential for some more big changes in the near future when funds permit….

First step was to cut away the thick restrictive mesh grills in front of the fans...

Me making a start with the saw:


One of them off, and my Dad spraying some WD-40 type stuff for lubrication.


Sharp edges…


Deburred with decreasing grades of hand files.


The shelves for the HDD caddies are gonna get in the way of 3x120mm holes (more on that soon), so we drilled out the rivets and they dropped off.


Next up was the drive bay cage. This was pretty slick back in the day, allowing drives to be slid in and out without having to unscrew them. You’ll notice I bought an internal DVD drive to go in there but this is 2012 and I don’t really use optical media anymore – I therefore decided to do away with the cage and have an external drive instead that I can plug in when needed.


So, that’s the progress so far. Nice to get rid of some surplus metal and make a start. I’m always thinking of possible designs for the end result, and think I’ve got the final plan worked out in my head now – hope you liked reading so far, I’ll update again soon!

A.
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Old 13th Oct 2012, 20:09   #2
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Dragon is on the top 5 favorite cases for me! Will follow this.
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Old 20th Oct 2012, 21:01   #3
ali_robb2000
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More progress, first on the door / window:

Side panel fan clipped in place, had to drill out the plastic "rivets"


I'm determined to avoid things like this in the new build....


Marking out the window borders:


All clamped in place and getting started. Using the edge-guide for the saw first:


Then free-hand for the corners:


No more pics of the window cut-out just yet, but here's a couple of the next step - once the case was cleaned with soapy water and then wiped down with white spirit we started applying the primer (excuse the iPhone pics, that's all I had to hand...):




The last pics were taken a few days ago, only just got round to posting them now. I've since done another spraying session but I'm discovering it takes a long time to get a nice even covering of primer - I hope the top coat will be a bit easier!

If I ever get round to doing a scratch build then I would definitely send it to the powdercoaters - a lot easier and probably not much more expensive as I've already got through about 3 cans of primer and have quite a bit more to go! Powdercoating not an option in this build due to needing the plastic fascia to be the same colour.

I bought the components thinking they would be used soon but this is taking longer than I thought, is frustrating seeing them sitting unused and depreciating in value!

One good thing is that I'll be able to use the motherboard as a template - I've decided to add a hole in the mobo tray to make heatsink mounting easier. Will have more on that and a couple of other airflow-mods in the next update...
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Old 21st Oct 2012, 10:44   #4
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God I loved my Dragon.. what a case.

Keep it coming
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Old 21st Oct 2012, 13:08   #5
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KrunchR is almost as Godly as yodasarmpitKrunchR is almost as Godly as yodasarmpitKrunchR is almost as Godly as yodasarmpitKrunchR is almost as Godly as yodasarmpitKrunchR is almost as Godly as yodasarmpitKrunchR is almost as Godly as yodasarmpitKrunchR is almost as Godly as yodasarmpitKrunchR is almost as Godly as yodasarmpitKrunchR is almost as Godly as yodasarmpitKrunchR is almost as Godly as yodasarmpitKrunchR is almost as Godly as yodasarmpit
Wow, a dragon! I remember people would cut out the fronts and mould hex mesh into it. That was before I joined here the first time..(I wasn't a fan of early bit-tech!)

Will keep an eye on this one, for sure!
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Old 21st Oct 2012, 22:05   #6
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Quick update - have been slogging away at the painting over the weekend - think I'm getting a nice even layer on most of it now. Will need another session to get things acceptable, then perhaps another to get it perfect before making it all RED :-D

I broke the respirator accidentally so have been getting pretty good at holding my breath while spraying!

Still need to cut more metal in the main case which will then need touching-up - hopefully this will all happen next weekend so stay tuned for an update hopefully next Sunday!

Have a good week whatever you're doing.

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Old 21st Oct 2012, 22:22   #7
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nice work so far ...
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Old 21st Oct 2012, 22:47   #8
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ShinyAli - it's over 9000!!!!!!!!1!1!1!!!ShinyAli - it's over 9000!!!!!!!!1!1!1!!!ShinyAli - it's over 9000!!!!!!!!1!1!1!!!ShinyAli - it's over 9000!!!!!!!!1!1!1!!!ShinyAli - it's over 9000!!!!!!!!1!1!1!!!ShinyAli - it's over 9000!!!!!!!!1!1!1!!!ShinyAli - it's over 9000!!!!!!!!1!1!1!!!ShinyAli - it's over 9000!!!!!!!!1!1!1!!!ShinyAli - it's over 9000!!!!!!!!1!1!1!!!ShinyAli - it's over 9000!!!!!!!!1!1!1!!!ShinyAli - it's over 9000!!!!!!!!1!1!1!!!
OK, This is weird, I have a case like yours and it's a Thermaltake case called a Xaser ll and it already has the door window as standard, it was the first case I ever bought quite a few years ago for my first PC build



Have you still got the ridiculously over engineered heavy door for the case? The weak little plastic door hinge pins kept breaking on my case, I only use the case now as a test bed for parts and at the moment it has a micro-ATX mobo in it which looks very lost



I'll keep and eye on your build as I plan to do something with my "THERMALTAKE" case when I've finished some other builds.

Nice work so far

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Old 22nd Oct 2012, 22:50   #9
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Hey, yeah they're almost exactly the same! I think the only difference is the door covering the drive bays...

Yeah the door is pretty meaty, I like that it's all so heavy and feels solid tho! My plastic clip has stayed intact luckily, although it's only seen light use and feels like it needs to be taken care of...

I'll be putting a mATX case in it, hopefully won't look too small and will leave space for some extra components.

PM me when you've got your build log started, I love these retro cases!!
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Old 11th Nov 2012, 20:18   #10
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It's alive....

Small update this time - haven't been able to do very much on the case recently as have been busy with work etc. Had some time this weekend though, and have pretty much finished the primer coat for all the parts.

Tip: after priming we wiped off the excess paint powder with a damp cloth then sanded down the case with 1200-grit wet and dry paper, followed by a final wipe. This takes off any tiny little blips in the paint and makes it really nice and smooth, ready for the top coat. It's also important to remove the excess powder that builds up otherwise you won't have a stable surface for the top coats.

Was going to go for an all-red case but decided a bit of contrast would be better - black on the inside then, which should help any colours on the components stand out!

Was going to get matt black but found a couple of cans of this stuff:


"Oil Rubbed Bronze" - I tested a bit in the shop and it looks good - really really dark brown with bits of metallic flake - should go well with these when I complete the second part of my build in the new year ;-) (I've not bought them yet)


In the meantime I've set up the components as I couldn't resist leaving them sitting there any longer! Windows 8 looks pretty good even though I don't use the new start screen...

Note the signed DJ Shadow concert poster and ticket :-D


The one problem is the Dark Rock cooler won't fit in the tiny Fractal Core 1000 case..... Nevermind!


Next update should be a colourful one, and hopefully with a bit of fabrication inspired by Attila's brilliant Na'ir al Saif :-D
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Old 3rd May 2013, 12:37   #11
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Back on track!!

Had to put the work on hold over the winter, mainly due to exams and weather too cold for spray-painting - exams are over and weather is warmer now :-) This build will def get finished and I'm hoping to make it a good one - stay tuned!

I got some packages this week More pics soon once I've had my fun opening them

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Old 3rd May 2013, 23:30   #12
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Looking forward to it"
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Old 5th May 2013, 01:27   #13
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So here's what I got, lots of nice toys!!

Noiseblocker B12-1 (800RPM) fans (x2). Really nice-looking fans and well-made too. Haven't plugged them in at all but I expect they'll be completely silent






Aquacomputer 240mm rad, looks really sturdy and feels well made






Phobya UC-1 Extreme - not the flashiest of blocks theme but seemed to perform the best in most of the reviews I read






Alphacool D5 plexi top




Various sizes of tubing to let me choose the best one for the build before I buy fittings (10-13mm, 10-16 and 13-19). Plus some Mayhems biocide and the backplate for the CPU block. The 10-13 tubing looks kind of thin and weedy but is really easy to bend into tight curves without kinking. The fatter ones look cool though so I'll try and use them if poss ;-)


I also ordered an Aquaero 5 Pro but it seemed to be replaced with a vandal switch in the box :-/ So now I have to wait for Specialtech to check that someone there made a mistake packing the box....

I've got an Aquatube res in delrin white but it's so hard to photograph! It's so white it's even pretty strange just to look at.... I'll post a pic when I finally manage to take a good one.

Currently waiting for the last package to arrive from the States - I'll give you a clue - it's another res, and something that can push fluid into that res ;-)

Have been working on the case today, more progress soon.
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Old 5th May 2013, 10:49   #14
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Still got my Dragon, I did have two but my favourite a longest serving of the two was fitted with 80mm fans only and whilst leaving uni I had to make space. It got skipped and still makes me sick to this day.

Shame to see watercooling heading its way, you've really got to beat on them for it work well and I love to keep them a stock as possible, but that's me.

Love the project
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Old 6th May 2013, 07:10   #15
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Maybe we should start a Dragon appreciation thread! I think everyone loves Dragons, a bit like Quake and Half life!

I was only planning slight mods to mine but then got more and more carried away, hope to still do the thing justice tho.

I'm glad you're enjoying it!
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Old 8th May 2013, 22:25   #16
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Making the "SSD card"

First off, all credit goes to Attila for the inspiration for this mod. He made a stunning shelf for his SSD drives in Na'ir al Saif (see post #45). I wanted to do something similar, partly as I decided to remove all the standard drive-bays so didn't have anywhere particular to mount my SSD! Here's the progress so far.


Start off with standard PCI-e card of some sort:




Heatsink removed, area to be cut has been masked off and marked




The main linear cut has been made - we then needed to drill holes to form a curve




Curve hand-filed until smooth




Smoother...




This is the shape of the finished board




SMD Destruction Device (also used for chiselling off the PCI connectors)




Next stage - making the brackets.

Measure five times...




Hopefully cut once!




Measured, clamped and ready for drilling. If you look closely you might see the small dimple made by the braddle to guide the first drill and stop it from slipping off-centre. In the end I used three drill bit sizes going from small to large to make sure each one sat exactly central






Screws fit perfectly




The sides of the drive are not precisely vertical, so the base of the brackets don't sit horizontally. We'll work around this.




Current progress :-) My bro will kindly get the board sand-blasted, then we just need to drill the mounting holes and give it a lick of paint




The Aquaero arrived today - great customer service from Specialtech!

Until next time...
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Old 12th May 2013, 18:09   #17
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Fail :-/

Looks like the sandblasting / belt sanding doesn't really work - should have known, too many very thin layers that are just peeling off and mean I won't be able to get a nice smooth finish.



So here's the plan: paint just the edge white, then glue plexi above and below with metal plate on top and bottom, both matching the contours of the card. I'll frost the edges of the plexi and light it from the mobo side, hopefully will look good!

Got a few pics of the Aquaero unboxing for you:






Pretty sure the cables are made in China.... The four thin ones are temperature probes - prob won't be using them though as I plan to have Aquacomputer screw-in sensors at the entry and exit to the radiator, then use the delta-T to control the pump flow and fan speed.




Lots of connections here!



My package from the States is almost here! Will arrive on Tuesday after paying £32 in customs charges....

You're gonna like it though, is the last major component of the build!
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Old 12th May 2013, 18:11   #18
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(last major *two* components - you probably guessed I would need a pump, but the other thing is a treat )
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Old 12th May 2013, 23:20   #19
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I do love opening parcels of electronic goodness. Enjoying the build so far.
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Old 14th May 2013, 10:24   #20
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More electronic goodness....

It's arrived!! All the way from the US of A.


So many stickers, not sure what the applesauce label is for tho




Two things I couldn't get in the UK (unless I was looking in the wrong places...). Both very well packaged - Specialtech in particular could learn a lesson from FrozenCPU




Swiftech MCP655 PWM version




Again, nice packaging




Pièce de résistance






So that's it for now. My Sketchup skills are still pretty limited so I don't have a working plan to show you, but basically the tube res will go at the bottom, with the pump at the top in front of the PSU and the Aquatube res built into the top, just behind a plexi fascia that I'll make.

Would be keen on any feedback on the photos - too big, too many?

Actual modding progress is slow at the moment, will have something substantial for you next week
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