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Old 12th Mar 2007, 02:51   #1
dacust
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Erector Set WaterPlant - Aug 17: All operational!

I have been working on an Erector set external cooling system for the last few weeks. Someone gave me a link to the Dark Blade, and that got me here. I decided to share my projects with you to get your feed
I wanted to make an external water cooling system for my computer. It's also been in the back of my mind to make a custom PC case. Looking around the web, most of the unique ideas that are easy to achieve have been done. The Lego case, the shoe box, attaches, aquarium, Amiga, etc. The really unique ones look way beyond my abilities. But as I thought about doing a prototype for the cooling system, the Erector set came to mind. The jump to doing a PC case the same way was a relative short stumble, so, I looked around the web. The only thing I have seen is Frank Clark's working Erector PC , but it's just a rectangular PC case made from Erector set parts. Cool, mind you, but I had different ideas. I figured I'd go for it.

I was given a link to DarkBlade (I'm not EVEN gonna start) and this got me looking at all you do in here. I though I'd share what I've done and then get your comments as I progress further.

Here's a prototype of a stand for the Inovatek radiator:

2272x1704
And here it is with a prototype reservoir tower:

2272x1704

More in a few minutes...
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Old 12th Mar 2007, 03:11   #2
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WaterPlant - Update Mar 11, 2007

Here's what I came up with as of about a week ago.


2272x1704


All the structure is needed except the Operations Shack. I have since gotten it to be straight.

The pump is an Asetek. You can see the LCD display for it above the power supply.

The grey box below the LCD is the power supply and will be changed out for a better one, probably a quiet modular one.

The reservoir is on a tower to keep it the highest part of the loop. It is so tall because the parts just worked out that way, and I think it looks cool.

Despite what it might look like, it is surprisingly sturdy.


2272x1704

Here's a close up showing the mounting system, mostly learned from the prototype. In the center, you can see the quick disconnects for the PC water hoses.


2272x1704

The layout is easier to see from here. The water is all along the back side (this photo is from the right-rear) except for the quick disconnects heading forward. The electrical is all on the front, except for the wires for the pump heading back. Dang that PS looks ugly.

One more update to show the minor changes I made since these photos.
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WaterPlant worklog - in progress - Bit-Tech article - WaterPlant site - Home Page - PowerPlant PC - Designing
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Old 12th Mar 2007, 03:16   #3
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this should be interesting.
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Old 12th Mar 2007, 03:35   #4
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definitely did u buy that aluminum consturction stuff
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Old 12th Mar 2007, 03:37   #5
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cool stuff, looks like some kind of crazy rube goldberg machine or something
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Old 12th Mar 2007, 03:40   #6
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WaterPlant update Mar 11, 2007

Well, I got ready to try the electrical connections. I turned the power on, heard a "Tonk", saw a green electrical flash, and then silence. Hmmm. Being a bright user-type, I turned the PS off and then tried it again. Same thing. Hmmm, the green flash was actually coming from a green LED on the pump. But then it dawned on me, the PS was shutting off. So, I tried it with an old pump. It worked fine.

Long story, short, I think the pump has a dead short in it.

Since I bought it almost 2 months ago, they won't take it back on return. I went to the Asetek site and put in a trouble ticket. After no response by the next day, I went into their forums. Bummer, several people talking about problems with their pumps, and EVERYONE talking about the poor response time on trouble tickets. I've taken to calling it a "Tonker:mad:" in their forum (they have a red mad imoticon called :mad: )

ANOTHER long story, short (OK I'm lying, it's not short), I have decided to take my lumps on the pump and LCD. If they ever get back to me, and if they replace it, I'll just eBay it. Guess I learned the hard way to do a little more research before buying something. And to not wait so long to test it.

But, I did manage to get a little done on it:


2272x1704

I added a channel to run the power to the pumps. This may not stay, time will tell. I sleeved the fan power. You can also clearly see the quick disconnects from here as well.


2272x1704

Since I will be going with a manual pump, I needed a controller. So I grabbed the Hardcano I bought to use for controlling the fans in the PC and hooked it up (I'll buy a second one for the PC). Even though the PS will be replaced, it'll be run with it in the begining, so I snipped the fan wires in it and wired one fan controller to it, taping a temp sensor to one of the heatsinks. The two Akasa fans were also hooked up, along with two more temp sensors. One will go in the radiator fins. I'll experiment where to put the other.


OK modders, give me some feedback. I know the wire management drill, so I don't need to hear that one.

Here's the plans:
  • UV LEDs. Maybe in shades to look like security lighting for the plant.
  • Blue water
  • Red power sleeves, like on the fans (OK, it's orange, but they SAID it was red. So that's what I'm going to call it. Allow me my delusions.
  • Green sleeves for data (for the WaterPlant, that'll just be the temp sensors).
  • I was originally planning on taking it all back apart and refurbishing all the parts. But now I'm thinking I'm going to leave the parts looking rusty and banged up so it'll look like it's old.

To do (VERY simplified list):
  • Get a new pump.
  • Finish wiring.
  • Plumb.
  • Make hangers and guides for the wiring and tubing to run through.
  • Install the parts for the PC and run!
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My programs don't have bugs, they just develop random features.

WaterPlant worklog - in progress - Bit-Tech article - WaterPlant site - Home Page - PowerPlant PC - Designing
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Old 12th Mar 2007, 03:44   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RonaldoR9
definitely did u buy that aluminum consturction stuff
I bought antique Erector sets off eBay. If anyone wants to see all that stuff, I can post pics.


2272x1704

The sets I bought.


2272x1704

The parts after I organized them. This is what's left over AFTER doing the construction you've already seen. I'll have to buy more before I can do the PC.
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My programs don't have bugs, they just develop random features.

WaterPlant worklog - in progress - Bit-Tech article - WaterPlant site - Home Page - PowerPlant PC - Designing
Don't worry about your english. This is an international forum. That's what makes it great. If I don't understand, I'll ask. Just MOD ON!

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Old 12th Mar 2007, 03:52   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by THEkorean
cool stuff, looks like some kind of crazy rube goldberg machine or something
Absolute Rube Goldberg. Funny thing is, I figured I'd need to go add stuff and come up with wild ways to mount things to get that effect, but given the limitations of the Erector set, it just happens naturally.

The holes only match up certain ways, which is why the reservoir tower has those stand-offs, to move the mount points around so they would line up with the base. And since I refuse to cut anything (it will all be able to be taken apart and put back in the boxes un-harmed) the lengths don't always match up. Like the LCD mount over the PS. It's because there weren't any angle pieces the right height to be level with the top, so I just used that space for the LCD.

So far, the ONLY thing added just for looks is the operations shack. It's almost designing itself. Well, not really. I moved the pump location and the quick-disconnects around 4-5 times each to get things where they would work right.
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My programs don't have bugs, they just develop random features.

WaterPlant worklog - in progress - Bit-Tech article - WaterPlant site - Home Page - PowerPlant PC - Designing
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Old 12th Mar 2007, 04:01   #9
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very nice indeed do u plan on polishing that erector stuff or painting defintely look kool if u do so
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Old 12th Mar 2007, 04:28   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RonaldoR9
very nice indeed do u plan on polishing that erector stuff or painting defintely look kool if u do so
Not sure if I'll paint or not. I kinda like the old decrepit look. But if I do paint, it'll be the original colors. There are several websites just on Erector sets, and one place a guy tells the paint he's found that matches the factory colors, like the blue is the old 1940's Ford engine blue.

If I need to paint it, I'll just photo the CRAP out of it, every bolt hole, and disassemble it. That should be fun, huh.

I'll see what everyone in here thinks after it's finished.
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Old 12th Mar 2007, 13:01   #11
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Nice mod so far love the work with these "erectors" LOL
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Old 12th Mar 2007, 13:30   #12
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Thanks for the input, Dave.

I think you have a good eye. I like the idea of dulling down the bright parts. That's how I'll go. I can actually replace the bright red with some dull un-painted aluminum parts, but the other parts will have to get painted/scrubbed. Originally I was using the red parts around the PS to carry the color scheme for red-power, but now I think I can let the sleeving carry that part. Until your comments I was un-resolved whether to paint everything. But now, dulled down is the plan. I am determined not to damage any parts, but the paint could be removed later, so I am OK with that.

The flying cable runs were already part of the plan, as is a new PS.

Not altering parts Erector makes getting rid of the PCI bracket difficult, but if the design stays as is, I can cut it down, drill some holes and it won't look like a PCI bracket anymore.

The lighting is really going to be the fun part. Probably a dimmed white or yellow in the op shack, a couple of dimmed lights in strategic places, and then mainly UVs to show off all the bright colors of the sleeving. Maybe a flashing red on top of the water tower. Just have to figure how to do that without making it difficult to add water. I wish I could run the water down inside the tower column, then the blue UV coolant would glow from the inside, but I haven't figured that one out, yet. Your idea of lights under the base sounds good as well and will be very easy. I'll probably wait until the end and decide what color would look good. Probably blue. In the beginning I was thinking of raising up the whole thing off the ground, but it's looking pretty good as is, so I'm moving away from that idea.

The mobo don't go here. This is a stand-alone water system. Hoses to the PC case. So, the case is a totally clean slate. Not really any concrete ideas on that at all.

Good comments, all. You mirrored some I had already thought of, and gave me focus as to the final look.

Thanks, Dave.
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My programs don't have bugs, they just develop random features.

WaterPlant worklog - in progress - Bit-Tech article - WaterPlant site - Home Page - PowerPlant PC - Designing
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Old 12th Mar 2007, 14:47   #13
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Looking good so far. Had any problems with vibration/noise whilst the pumps been running? Looks a bit noisy to me

Great work though, cant wait to see you attempt a full case build. Keep it up
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Old 12th Mar 2007, 17:21   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkeH
Looking good so far. Had any problems with vibration/noise whilst the pumps been running? Looks a bit noisy to me

Great work though, cant wait to see you attempt a full case build. Keep it up
Hey MarkeH, nice going, thanks for to rubbing it in!!

J/K, MarkeH. Buried in the posts above I tell the story of the pump croaking when I first turned it on. So the sound level is yet to be experienced. If it is too noisy, I may have to come up with a isolation mount for the pump. With Erector parts, it may get elaborate, but then, that seems to be the theme. The PS and rad fans weren't transferring too much noise through the frame, but that's not a pump. But then, the Tonker I have isn't a pump, either.

Any recommendations on a pump? Noise being a factor...

I'll post this evening with my current PC hardware setup and ask for recommendations on needed hardware, mainly CPU and chipset water blocks.
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My programs don't have bugs, they just develop random features.

WaterPlant worklog - in progress - Bit-Tech article - WaterPlant site - Home Page - PowerPlant PC - Designing
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Old 12th Mar 2007, 17:36   #15
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You could use an Eheim with an FMJ
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Old 13th Mar 2007, 02:04   #16
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Recommendations wanted

Component list.

This is what I got currently in my system, and is what I'll hook up to the WaterPlant. When I get around to doing the PowerPlant Erector PC, I'll probably buy all new stuff.

1. Abit KV8 Pro
2. AMD 3400+
3. ATI Radeon X800XL
4. 2x WD 200GB & 2x WD 500GB
2x Geil 1GB

So, for water cooling there, what would you recommend?

1. chipset recommendations?
2. cpu recommendations (I have a Kingwin, but think I need something else)
2. Have Koolance custom cooler, cools RAM and both sides.
4. I want to get the Koolance coolers, 2 coolers for 4 drives
5. Have the Koolance RAM cooler.


The current PC:

2272x1704

The Koolance card for the ATI Radeon X800XL

2272x1704

The Koolance RAM cooler:

2272x1704

The Koolance Disk Drive cooler I want to buy. Each cooler will cool 2 drives, so I'll need 2 of them. (Image blatantly stolen from the Koolance site.)


And, finally, the old fried Kingwin internal cooler with the CPU aand GPU blocks. This will be repaired and go back in the PC if/when I do the PowerStation Erector PC.

2272x1704

Update to follow. New idea from a buddy of mine for the water tower...
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My programs don't have bugs, they just develop random features.

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Old 13th Mar 2007, 04:38   #17
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Update Mar 13, 2007

Well, taking Dave's suggestion, I have started getting rid of the shiny parts. The tower was the first to go. Partly because, while talking to a friend of mine, together we came up with a new idea.

First, the old tower comes apart. The two stand-offs on the right are all that will be saved for the new tower. Uh oh, first give-away that I'm an old fart. The earpiece of my glasses show, which I have to take off to do close work or use the camera. Just play like you don't see that, K?

2272x1704

Just to show what goes into this, here is a photo of the parts that made up the original tower.

2272x1704

And here's the new tower. See explanation below.

2272x1704

The main change is that I won't be using the nice pretty reservoir. Instead, there will be a plexi tube running down the column of the tower, UV LED lit. That will be the reservoir and a sight-glass. The water column will glow from out of the structure through all those diamond, triangle and small round holes. I'm going round for the tube because of the bolts and nuts sticking out in the corners (bummer, I could make a square one). I'll also have to run something down the edges on the inside to keep the glow from seeping out the slight gaps in the corners.

The red top can be removed, and that's where the fill tube will be. The incomming tube from the radiator will go in the hole in the side of the tank (towards the bottom of the tank), and the output will go out the bottom to the pump.

Should I have something floating in the water that's red UV reactive to make the top of the water more visible? Little round plastic balls? Gotta float good so they can't possibly get to the bottom and get sucked in. Or I could add a screen in the bottom, just out of sight to keep it off the bottom. They would move around from the flow of the water pouring in from the top. Just one of those random thoughts.

Got some more ideas for the plumbing. Use copper elbows for all turns, and then I'll have nothing but straight runs, making it look more like an industrial plant. Same for the wiring. The elbows can be in Erector structure so they won't show.

I'll be doing a little most evenings, but as I'm spending the weekend on the boat, I probably won't get anything done this weekend.

Next to do, rebuild the PS structure to get rid of the bright red. Since I don't have any more silver panels that size, I'll have to use the ones on the bottom of that frame. So, that means a complete dismantle and rebuild. I can't easily get rid of the red brackets that hold the LCD, but maybe I'll think of something while I'm doing it. That oughta give me something to do until I can order the new pump Friday. Maybe next week I can start plumbing!


Comments and suggestions please?


I'm sure there's SOMEONE in here that doesn't like it. I want YOUR opinion, too.
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My programs don't have bugs, they just develop random features.

WaterPlant worklog - in progress - Bit-Tech article - WaterPlant site - Home Page - PowerPlant PC - Designing
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Old 13th Mar 2007, 04:46   #18
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Forum Benefits

I figured it would be fun to put this project in the forum to get your input and, well, just to share (OK, maybe also a pathetic attempt to show off).

I didn't really count on the main benefit. Just the fact that I know other people are looking makes me work harder on it and try for more innovation. I wouldn't have gone to the trouble for the plexi tube just on my own.

So thanks for making my project better.
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-dan

My programs don't have bugs, they just develop random features.

WaterPlant worklog - in progress - Bit-Tech article - WaterPlant site - Home Page - PowerPlant PC - Designing
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Old 13th Mar 2007, 12:31   #19
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hehe, sorry dacust, i skim-read it the first time and skipped straight to the pictures Hope you get a new pump sorted soon

Cant offer any help with the wc parts though, im too poor to put water anywhere near my pc. Hell, im still using a s754, AGP and ddr.
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Old 13th Mar 2007, 13:01   #20
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hey man, you shouldn't be irritated that you don't get much feedback, just go along with the project and more people will reply.

I for one like the idea, I like the concept of it looking like an industrial building site. As for the watercooling, I wouldn't put floating balls or anything in the water since imo the risk is too big that something will get sucked in the loop. You could just put in some leds instead?

The elbows for the waterloop and wiring are not necessary but a good idea for this project.
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