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Old 30th Apr 2012, 01:07   #1
Wing Zero
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Nerf VORTEX PC. - 20TH NOVEMBER: Finished-ish


(I don't have a fancy custom logo yet, so this will have to do for now)

This project has been worked on for a while now, started way before Project: Wet Rarity kicked off. but the actual start of the project was an unexpected one...

Intel's Sandybridge had just hit the scene. and having issues with heat with my i7 920 skt1366 system. i was eager to jump to SB quickly. so selling off my i7 920, asus p6tD and ram to a friend. i went and got me an 2500K, a sabertooth p67 and 8gb vengance ram.

then i got an email.

Quote:
Congratulations! Recently you entered our ‘Build a Killer PC’ contest at https://secure.scan.co.uk/aspnet/forms/killergamingpc/ and I am pleased to inform you of winning a GIGABYTE G1-Guerilla Motherboard.
that was a surprise, i just won a £150 motherboard. that would make my new SB build a bit more awesome... it's a skt 1366 board... [EXPLETIVE].

what to do? my friend who purchased my old stuff couldn't afford it, and didn't want it. nobody else i knew would want to buy it, and then spend more cash getting a CPU and ram for it. At the time, i had no access to Bit-tech's marketplace so couldn't sell it there.... i was stuck with it. so i decided to actually build something with it.. but what would be a good theme build to use the board with.

proper military/FPS game style PC's have been done to death before... but something that is obviously gun themed would look out of place anywhere else... what other things could i use a gun themed motherboard... i thought hard about it, but the answer was clearly on the wall.


I am a huge Nerf gun fanatic, buying and modifying them. so could i turn the G1 killer board into a G1 Nerfer... let's see if i can. only thing was, i really didn't fancy having a Nerf yellow case... wait, the new Vortex guns are green, green's a good colour and the G1 had green on it too, and it works well with orange.

But that was still just the board, i had nothing to put it in and use it. Nor did i have the money to buy all new parts. fortunately, i had just gained access to the Bit-tech marketplace. a wretched hive of scum an...... wait, that's not true at all. it's a wonderful place of great deals and an excellent userbase. could i manage to get all the parts i need at low prices?

strike 1 was a lucky find, a Silverstone TJ-07 PLUS a quad 10mm Radiator at a ridiculous price. I immediately purchased that, as the TJ-07 is one of the finest cases around, plus the quad rad would keep a i7 system under control with ease.
later purchases included a i7 930. SSd drives, a laing DDC pump, a EK supreme waterblock and a tube reservoir. ebay filled out 6gb of ram while the only new purchases were for a 650W antec PSU and with a new 560ti going in my main PC, vortex inherited my old GTX 470 and waterblock.


adding it all together, and started modding things. first off, the G1 got a makeover, all the black heatsinks got a coat of orange paint, along with the stock green for a more Nerf-y look. Ram sticks also got painted orange to match.

meanwhile, the TJ-07 took a while before i had the time to start work on it (lots of time at work, couple of anime conventions, bad weather, etc)


The first choice was to flip the motherboard tray. considering that this will probably live on the left side of my desk. i wouldn't get to see much through the case window.. this does of course require a fair bit of modification to the case, along with cutting a new window opening on the other side panel. braided cable extensions will neaten up the cable routing, as all the stock PSU cables can be kept hidden in the lower chamber.


Flipping the board also helps with the watercooling layout, and also exposes the graphics card waterblock. the tj-07 was missing it's roof mesh grill, but i'm going to replace that with some clear perspex for a window. you should be able to see the fluid flowing through the graphics card through the top of the case


I'm disapointed in how the TJ-07 looks like it was designed to invert without modifications, even having screw holes in the correct places. however, it's not as simple as swapping the tray rails. looks like they'll need cutting in order to fit in. however, the only good tool we have here for cutting metal, is a rather fierce angle grinder..

it frankly scares me a bit, so i ask my father nicely to cut down a rail for me. in hindsight, perhaps i shouldn't have jumped to that conclusion quickly. (it's looking like i didn't need to even waste time in doing this)


The case came with 2 pre-drilled holes, fitted with fillports. to keep things simple and clean, i stuck everything on a single loop, so having 2 fill ports seemed a bit daft, but what could i do with a hole i can't fill... hang on, i do have some cold cathodes for this case...

fill the hole with the cathode's power switch. easy access, and hole filling.


Let's talk about this Radiator. no idea who made it, but it's massive! most TJ-07 casemods gut the lower part of the case to fit radiators, and this one juuuuusssttt fits in there.
It came with 4 fan spacers, but after putting in my PSU, could only really use 2 of them. (mostly cause with all 4 in place, it was right up against the PSU body)

I also had a lack of suitable length screws to hold all the fans + shrouds on the radiator. so i used 2 of them, but in order to attach them, i had to remove the corners of the first 2 fans. speaking of which, they're Akasa Black Apache 120mm PWM fans. pretty good airflow to noise, and with the PWM function (all 4 fans are linked to 1 PWM plug via a splitter cable), they adjust their speed automatically via the motherboard.



drilled a new hole in the bottom of the case. but for what?

positioned near the radiator.

attached to the bottom of the radiator is a crystal T-block.

the hole in the floor is in the right position to unscrew a blanking plug in the T block. this will allow me to drain the watercooling system, much like changing the oil on a car.

"why not use a T line and a shutoff valve?" you may ask. Plan to use Mayhems Aurora fluid. in testing however, it was discovered that T lines actually separate the pearl effect, making Aurora useless. hopefully, by sing the T block, it should eliminate the pocket that the pearl effect can get stuck in, yet still allow drainage.


Here's current progress.

You may have noticed the colour, it's not hard to miss, fluorescent green tends to stand out (for some reason, the camera flash makes it look like a metallic coat, i assure you it's not)
there was a pic of it in white primer, but it's stuck on a camera somewhere...
the side panels need painting, when the weather turns good again. should look bold in orange, leaving the grills black. the front panel has 2 Antec 1200 HDD cages/front fans installed (a castoff from Wet Rarity) and will eventually end up orange some day. the internals may stay in black, not decided on that yet..


This Project log may have sporadic updates, compared to Wet Rarity. mostly because since WR is my main PC, it's taking priority. Vortex is a fun project. there's no real deadline for me to finish it, unless Nerf themselves or some other sponsor want me to hurry and finish it. (mind you. i've not actively asked any sponsor or Nerf themselves to help with this in any way. if they come across this themselves and want to contact me, that's fine. i just don't feel right asking them/begging them for stuff/help)

Last edited by Wing Zero; 20th Nov 2012 at 22:36.
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Old 1st May 2012, 11:46   #2
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Had an email sent to me, but can't reply back, so here in the thread will do.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mcbeer
Hi there.

Just saw your Vortex PC Build on Bit-Tech, and i am really amazed by the custom motherboard heatsink painting you have done. I am looking to do the same with a TJ11 build i will be doing in the near future.

So, my question is: How did you paint the heatsinks, and what kind of paint did you use? Was there any sanding involved, any sort of primer.

I am fairly new to doing custom painting, but i am a fast learner after all - I have tried google, but i have found nothing.

Thanks.

Mcbeer.
I'm going to make a few people, painting perfectionists, here cry. there was no sanding, priming, no real prep work here. just me, a paintbrush and a pot of Tamiya brand Acrylic orange paint.

the heatsinks were removed from the board, and just cleaned with a tissue to remove any dirt and oily deposits (the skin on your hands can be quite greasy, make sure you wash them before handling parts you're going to paint.)

painted one layer of paint, which will always look bad, streaky and not a solid colour. waited for that to dry (at least an hour. any sooner and your new paint layer will instead start lifting the old layer off), then painted another layer again. repeating the process till a solid colour appeared.


I have since not ran the board since painting the sinks, so i have no real idea on how effective they will be for cooling. however, when i tested the board before painting, they didn't feel hot, so we'll have to wait and see. at least with 2x 120mm fans in the front and 2x 92mm fans in the back, airflow should be good inside the case to keep them cool.
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Old 1st May 2012, 17:15   #3
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I love the color scheme! Amazing progress! Nerf guns are all fun, until someone mods the foams, and someone loses an eye!
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Old 6th Jun 2012, 11:39   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbradford32 View Post
I love the color scheme! Amazing progress! Nerf guns are all fun, until someone mods the foams, and someone loses an eye!
I know many people make their own darts to improve their guns, but that's a step to far in my opinion, especially if you don't know what's lurking down the barrel of a gun.

As for eyes, whenever we play, it's always glasses on.
but for this mod, it's gonna need sunglasses.
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Old 26th Jun 2012, 00:56   #5
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I will admit, Not much progress has been done with Nerf PC, since issues with 'Wet Rarity' have taken most of my focus, a distinct lack of money has not helped either, i really could do with a Battery drill and some metal drill bits and potentially a new dremel type tool. but i did get a little bit more done here:


I used some orange Vinyl to wrap the side panels in orange. I also got my smoked window installed on this side. Hopefully, it will go clear when the computer's running (when the interior lighting is on) and remain black when not running


This side has the original clear window painted to block out the view. (Unfortunatly, what i thought was black, turned out to be gunmetal grey. no matter, It doesn't look too bad, and helps add a bit more nerf gun colour to the build.

Need to get the floor partition of the case modified still in order to fit the tube reservoir through it, along with the passthrough connections for the WC loop.
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Old 20th Nov 2012, 22:33   #6
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Are you ready for a time warp, cause this PC is finished. Well, it's was in a good enough condition to be considered finished for display at a local Sci-Fi convention this past weekend.

So, let's backtrack to where i left off last time. Last time, I reversed the motherboard tray, cut out the window panel and swapped out parts from my other mod project case. the project was put on hold for a long while due to other commitments, however a reminder that i promised one of my custom PC's on show at a local convention rekindled the fire ont he nerf PC. one small problem, the convention was in 7 days time... Let's resume work, shall we?

The hardest lessons are learnt the hardest way, in my case, this is painting. working on PC's like this do require you assembling and dissasembling the PC numerous times. it was during this that i was noticing the green paint on the outer shell suffered flaking and chipping with relative ease. turns out that i didn't realise that you needed Etching primer when painting Aluminium. so with much regret, i had to strip off as much paint as possible and redo the paintjob.



I'll admit, this was not the best paint job i've done. Despite having 3 days to cure and set, it was still soft in places (think this was due to the filler primer i was using), which made assembly more difficult, still suffering a small amount of damage before, during and after the convention.

the overall colour looks patchy because Fluorescent Green paint seems to be slightly translucent compared to normal colour paint, as such, you do have to be careful while painting to not go over areas you've already painted, as that causes the paint there to darken more, thus end up with patches of different shades. When i get around to repainting this case, i'm going to use a different green paint for more even coverage.



I did learn my lesson when i painted the aluminium midplate. after marking out, drilling and filing out the openings for the reservoir, bulkhead fittings and cable extensions. i etch primed and painted it green to match the case.


the front panels, DVD drive and Reservoir top were painted Orange. in order to match the orange on the motherboard. I'm still disappointed that the orange vinyl used on the PC does not match the colour of this orange paint, nor can i find orange paint that matched the vinyl colour, but you gotta use what you can get if you can't get it all.


the 5.25" drive bay sideplates were repainted in satin black as this will match up with the black perspex blanking panels


Assembling that unit together allows me to rewire the modular cable, moving the connectors to the right positions and braiding the wires separately (yes, i know the braid is not as dense as you'd expect from this sort of thing, but i'm not complaining when i got it for free. Also, it's only flash photography that makes you see the original cable colours)


Installing the front panel on the case, i was tempted to replace the power button with a antivandal button, but couldn't find drill bits big enough to drill it out)


Yes, i know it's all too common, but if it works. using a small project box to hide away the PCB.


Speaking of project boxes. i used another one to make a breakout box. a single molex connector in, goes via a on/off switch. this then splits off into 2 cathode inverters and a 4pin molex cable out for a Phobya Flexlight. the reason behind this would be to have a single on/off switch for all the case lighting (something the Flexlight lacks is an on/off switch).

Eagle eyes would notice that the switch on the project box was going to be used on the top of the case. the plan was to use the switch to help cover up one of the 2 holes on the roof of the case, a unneeded feature from the case's previous owner.

Using a Nerf Vortex disc, cutting out the centre provided the right size to plug the hole.



Installing the original midplate. Cathode tubes are in place not only to illuminate the lower section, but the new aluminium midplate sits on top of the cathodes


The reason the plate sits on the cathodes is to help raise it upwards for clearance. One of the original design ideas was to make the tube run from the graphics card to the floor as straight as possible. Back at the start of the project, for a PSU i had an Antec unit. I sold it to a friend when he needed a new PSU, as i wasn't really using it at the time. but with the need to get this working, I went for a new PSU from Be Quiet. (it was within my budget, plus the fan had a nice orange accent). unfortunately for me, it was a bit longer than the Antec unit, thus the hole in the floor was now in the wrong place. but, with things like mounting the bulkhead fitting upside down, raising up the midplate and using an angled WC fitting, i was able to keep the original straight tube design


Front shot of the case, with the drive caddies, optical drive and 3.5" bay cover painted. you can see a little bit of the paint damage i mentioned before on the right side of the 3.5" bay, one of the perils of handling PC cases with soft paint.


However, using some of the orange vinyl, i added some stripe detail (similar to the stripes on the Vortex nerf guns) along with a copy of the Nerf logo on the bay cover

Along with another set of stripes on the top corner for detail (they're not all there to hide paint damage, honest)


General lay of the land picture, and the start of the tubing. using a 45 fitting on the CPU block outlet helped out the bend back to the floor, keeping the visible tubing neat and minimal. Tubing is Tygon 1/2" clear that was 'borrowed' from a friend (he lent it to me to test my previous case for tubing bends, kinda forgot to give it back to him), as it was the only 1/2" tubing i had aside from Primochill, which has chronic plasticizer leakage.


All tubed up, filled with water for leak testing. SSD drive mounted on the side panel. pretty simple mounting really, 4 thumbscrews in the drive, with some 3M mounting tape on their heads. stuck on the side panel after being plugged in. then the black perspex panel was fixed around it with some more 3M tape.



A shot of the top of the reservoir, showing the connection to the external fillport. Oh, looks like i've drained out the water after a successful leakfree test.. wonder what's in there now...
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Old 20th Nov 2012, 22:49   #7
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Mayhems Aurora 'Extinction Green' cooling fluid.


With the case lights on, despite the fluid being green, you can still see it with the green lighting.


Side panel on. looking through the smoked glass. with the case lights on, you can see the internals clearly


Side panel off, no lights on


http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v1...2337025115.jpg
being a fixed speed pump, the fluid shows lots of turbulence in this area, but due to the height of the tube reservoir, the fluid in the reservoir above the midplate rolls slowly.


It doesn't photograph well, and i can't explain it really (may just be my eyes playing tricks on me), but with the case lights on, the green fluid looks almost orange in colour around the GPU block. not that i'm complaining because the main colours of this build are green and orange.
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Old 20th Nov 2012, 23:03   #8
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I had this finished for the local Sci-fi convention, and put it on display with monitor, a CM Storm sentinel mouse set with green LED colours, along with a Wolf King gaming circular keyboard (in green)

Aside from some abrasive marks thanks to a car seatbelt getting it to the con, it was in good condition, ran all day running X3 Terran conflict benchmarks, and sci-fi anime videos.

Now that it's finished, I have no clue what to do with it now. (aside from maybe repaint the green) I did put a price tag on it at the con, but no takers (no surprises there really). I think I may be upgrading a friend's PC with it, just hope he likes neon green...
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Old 28th Nov 2012, 20:12   #9
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Wow, inspirational work!
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Old 3rd Dec 2012, 01:39   #10
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Wow, inspirational work!
Thank you for your comment. perhaps this will inspire you to mod as well
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