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Old 8th May 2017, 10:51   #1
Zeuligan
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[Build log] Zeuligan build - white leather Be Quiet! Dark Base Pro 900

It is finally time for me to start my first modding project, feels very exciting. I have spent many months reading forums and reviews trying to decide on what case to base my build on. That case decision outlines all other hardware, specially my custom water loop components as the case defines the dimensions available. To make the project even more exciting and challenging I decided to not only do my first mod, but also to build my very first water cooled computer and go all in with full loop and hard lines. I hope I can inspire someone with this build, but happy as I finally found my passion – building and modding computers.

Basic concept
I wanted to create a computer that could pass only for a piece of furniture. First idea was to convert a 300mm wide kitchen cabinet that is part of my location built gaming desk, but abandoned that idea early. Instead the concept of a Scandinavian inspired design theme that would work as a design piece inspired by a furniture was born. Black, white and grey quickly formed the colour theme and strict and clean lines with light surfaces formed around the Scandinavian theme. Light wood was out of the loop from start :P

This foundation has formed all my choices when picking components as well. Keep true to the theme, colours and concept. This theme also made it easy not to jump on the RGB train. This is an unsponsored project, except from my amazing girlfriend, that is my biggest sponsor.

Hardware
Case: Be quiet! Dark Base Pro 900 black
Motherboard: ASUS Z270 ROG MAXIMUS IX HERO
Processor: Intel Core i7 7700K 4,2GHz Socket 1151
Ram: G.Skill Trident Z Black/White DDR4 PC25600/3200MHz CL16 4x8GB
PSU: Corsair RM1000i
GPU: ASUS GTX 1080 Ti Founders edition
3M di-noc carbon fiber, black and white

Water cooling components
Radiator: Hardwarelabs Black Ice Nemesis Radiator GTS 420 X-Flow
CPU waterblock: EKWB EK-FB ASUS M9H Monoblock – Nickel
GPU waterblock: EKWB EK-FC1080 GTX Ti – Nickel
Pump: EKWB EK-XTOP Revo D5 PWM plexi
Reservoir: Aquacomputer aqualis PRO 880 ml with nano coating and LED holder
Fans for radiator: 3 x Corsair Premium ML140 Pro PWM 140mm
Fans for chassi: 4 x Be Quiet! Silent Wings 3 PWM 140mm 140mm
Fan for PSU cover: 1 x Corsair Premium ML140 Pro PWM
Fittings: Alphacool Eiszapfen 13mm HardTube compression fitting G1/4 deep black
Pass through fittings: EKWB 13/10mm G1/4 black
Tube: Alphacool HardTube 13/10mm PETG clear 80cm

Oliver the modder dog
He will be joining me through the project. He is very meticulous about sniffing, drawling and adding fur on all components and surfaces. Very friendly and helpful!

Last edited by Zeuligan; 15th May 2017 at 09:31. Reason: Tried to add thread links
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Old 9th May 2017, 19:26   #2
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Please can you resize your images as they are far too big. Also can you please make sure that your next post has some pics of work in progress. Thanks.
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Old 9th May 2017, 19:32   #3
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Old 9th May 2017, 21:46   #4
Zeuligan
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Before building something, start to disassemble

For me it’s almost scary how satisfying it is to receive new packages and components. With that in mind the feeling was maxed out when DHL called and said my new Be Quiet! Dark Base Pro 900 had arrived.

I ran home like a moose on fire in a fashion that would probably have made even Goofy jealous, ears flapping and legs rolling. This time was right, let’s modding begin.




Aluminium panels separated from their plastic siblings. Fairly easy to separate. Some aluminum brackets and double sided tape. Be carefull no to break the brackets, they will only fold in and out once. The tape is also fairly strong. I used a heatgun and a screwdriver.




Door and front panel without front dust filter mounted. Easiest of the aluminum panels to separate.




Already when I started to disassemble the case I could feel the quality and the renowned modularity. Most of the panels, brackets are mounted with screws and clips making it feel like a modders dream. No need for a Dremel modding this case. It is easy to unmount, change, add and deduct as you feel. Could even mirror the entire case making either right or left desk placement possible. Very impressive!

The inner frame almost fully striped. Only the top IO panel and top 5,25” bay are still in place in this picture. But fastened by screws, so they were removed fast after taking this picture. Even the HDD drive ladder visible in the back right of the case is fasted with screws. But it adds a lot of case rigidity so if you plan to remove it, I would recommend adding other structural construction.














PS. sorry for the first post with that huge picture and no modding content. I accidentally hit Submit instead of Preview making me unable to edit locked for moderation review DS.
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Old 10th May 2017, 13:20   #5
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I have an idea about how to place the pump in a little different way in a combined PSU cover. I love the look of custom sleeved cables, but dislike the nest that I usually end up with around the PSU. A basic PSU cover will not cut it when including the pump in the equation, so need to create something more of a secondary floor.

Maybe it's a bit unworthy of such a prominent forum like Bit-Tech, but it's my first mod and I'm a happy amateur. I start light in cardboard. just part 1, part 2 will be in a real material

Time to bring out the cardboard and start to cut and tape my way into a design will work. Just love the easy of modding from cardboard. Makes it really fast to reach the point of a reproducible design. Also makes it easy to find out where I will need brackets, threads, fittings etc. As this is my first modding projekt, it also feels a lot safer and cheaper to experiment in cardboard than real expensive materials.



I needed to ensure that I can attach the new raised floor without interfering with one of the few unmovable brackets in the case . Also need to ensure that I the piece becomes to thick for the tempered glass to fit.




Next step was to ensure that a second floor would fit below the removable back part / motherboard tray and the top of the PSU bracket. My cardboard design made it clear that 5mm acrylic will be a tight fit, but it will be doable. Glad I tried with cardboard otherwise I would have gone with 3mm acrylic and a less rigid floor as a result.




It became clear the more tape and cardboard I added that I need to hide as much as possible of the inside. My Scandinavian theme more or less demands it. I experimented with many different shapes and sizes of my floor. Had an initial desire to go without the HDD ladder, but I came to the conclusion that I will loose to much of the case rigidness without gaining anything. I will need to hide the ladder later on in the project.




Start to look good, even if it's only cardboard and happy that my initial idea holds. Will make it simple when the cardboard mockup is done. Just to unfold it and take real measurements before attacking the acrylic sheets.




Had an idea in the back of my head early in the planning process about exposing two SDDs in the front of the case. With custom lighting. The raised floor / PSU cover needs different layers and depths to avoid the look of a big box. At this point I don't have any real components to take measurements from. That made me take the decision to make a 220mm wide starting wall before folding the section for the SSDs. That way I can fit different sizes and mounting placements for my PSU and still fit 2 SSDs.




Definatly not the fastest or best looking SSD but it's the right dimensions ensuring room for 2 SSDs. Created a temporary reflector in grill foil to test my idea of custom lighting ramp, powered by the LED strips included with the case. It feels like this idea will fly as well, but I will change to a lighting solution coming from the bottom instead. It will create more depth and will also effectively hide the bottom part of the inner case, between the new floor and the outer wall.
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Old 11th May 2017, 12:59   #6
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I need to create a custom mounting bracket for my EKWB D5 PWM pump together with the Aqualis XT 880 ml. It will be placed inside the custom PSU cover / secondary floor and is crucial to get the right height on the plexi top. I started with a standard vertical mounting EKWB pump bracket and combined that with the Aqualis reservoir bracket.



I need to lower the EKWB D5 PWM pump with 14mm to fit the pump under my secondary floor and getting the plexi top is in the right height. Cut two pieces of aluminum in the right length and drilled holes in both the aluminium pieces and the EKWB pump bracket to include the reservoir bracket.




I added two horizontal pieces of aluminum for structural integrity and glued them together with superglue while mounting.




Needed to add 5mm distance between the EKWB pump and the Aqualis XT 880 ml Reservoir to have enough room for fittings. Cut a plate of 5mm acrylic in the right size and added to the bracket.




Testing mounting holes and the size of the bracket. The acrylic distance plate made all the difference. Now it will fit both the EKWB D5 Plexi pump and the Aqualis XT 880 reservoir with Alphacool hard tube fittings.




i can't leave the bracket unpainted even if the bracket isnít visible in the build due to its placement under the custom PSU cover. Just doesnít feel right. Created a small spray booth and painted with black satin.




Mounting bracket parts with a new coat of satin black. Looks really good if i can say so my self. Happy with the result.




Pump mounted on the finished bracket, really happy. Next part will be to finish the top piece of my custom PSU cover / secondary floor and drilling holes for the pump and reservoir.
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Old 11th May 2017, 15:43   #7
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Where's the leather? I WANT TO SEE LEATHER looking forward to seeing more as this build progresses
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Old 11th May 2017, 15:56   #8
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Thank you very much Cown and leather is coming
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Old 12th May 2017, 16:12   #9
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An exciting day indeed. The day of leather. I found some awesome looking faux white leather with the feel of the real deal. After some initial tests, I had decided it was going to be a 12-round match with me, super glue and 2xm2 of white leather.

As you have seen in previous posts all panels from my Be Quiet! Dark Base Pro 900 were already broken down into their smallest pieces. The aluminium cover panels removed from their plastic siblings. If you are modding with this case I can tell you that the aluminium is held together with the visible clips and some double sticky tape. I used a screw driver and a heat gun to pull them apart.



Started with painting all the mesh inserts white


Then it was time to glue A LOT and finding out the best way to make it tight, wrinkle free and still as little extra bulk as possible as the aluminium panels are folded into the plastic cover. I decided to go with a method of doing one edge first, then move full length and about 100mm at a time. For me this was the perfect method to keep the leather stretched, wrinkle free and properly fastened.







The bottom panel as a whole and a close up of the quality of the white leather. The clips that needs to fit inside the plastic frame is also visible. The extra width would turn out to be a problem, took a lot of effort to squeeze the panels without damaging the leather.






The bottom panel with feet back on. I wanted to start with the bottom panel so I could learn from my misstakes until finishing the other panels that all are more visible. Not excessive to add leather at the bottom of the case






Large side panel without the Be Quiet! fan cover plate. I will paint it in white and accentuate the logo with black filling or maybe even carbon fiber. Was a though piece to do. Took so much glue I should probably have used a face mask, added that to my never ending shopping list of items needed for modding .






Front panel with leather on the door and with the new fan mesh painted in white. It took a few passes with the heat gun and pressure to make the door close on its hinges without getting stuck on the plastic frame.






Top panel with all cutouts done for for ventilation, power and reset buttons, front panel LEDs and the QI-charger that comes with the Be Quiet! Dark Base Pro 900 case. There were some small imperfections at the edge of the leather / aluminium panel and the plastic frame. Will find a way to fix that. The panel became to wide with the extra leather.

All in all Iím really proud and happy with the result. Would love to hear what you think about this mod so far.
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Old 14th May 2017, 14:05   #10
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From carbon to acrylic - time to create that custom PSU cover for Be Quiet! Dark Base Pro 900. I admit I was nervous, first time working in acrylic, worried it will not bend as sharp as I need or cracking when bending. After a quick experiment on how much I could bend and how much I should heat my 5mm acrylic sheet I got to work on my PSU cover / secondary floor.




I’m blessed with having a small workshop in the apartment building where I live, but I don’t own any good power tools. Old fashion handwork it is…






Actually surprised how well it went. I put the acrylic into the workbench after slightly overheating it. Reapplied some heat with my newly acquired heat gun. Added some pressure with a piece of MDF at the end, until bend angle was according to my measurement of the indents of the bottom of the case.




As I explained in my previous update - planning the custom PSU cover - I wanted custom lighting. This is how it turned out. Size and bend angle was the easy part, but it interfered with part of the case bracket. Had to file it down in the inside corner. Can become a weak spot, but will go with it for now.






Some close ups on how the lighting ramp turned out. 5mm acrylic and 3 layers of frosted film. Want it to look white when LEDs are running. That's why I went with a light frost film rather then dark. Will look good when power is on, I hope




I deliberately over bent the front part of the PSU cover with a few angles. Didn't want at straight 90 angle, so thought that the over bend combined with the lighting ramp would look smoother.




Finally I made some mounting holes for the SSD disks and made a "mill" for the SSD cables. My way of milling was 3 drill holes, a hacksaw blade and then a hand file.

Last edited by Zeuligan; 17th May 2017 at 09:09.
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Old 14th May 2017, 15:46   #11
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very clean work, I agree this white leather looks great on the front side, spotless thread I'm following
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Old 15th May 2017, 09:44   #12
Zeuligan
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The whole concept when I started planning my custom PSU cover or secondary floor was the placement of the pump top. To mount the top of the pump above the floor and hide the pump under. Adding to that effect I wanted the reservoir next to it.

When I did my initial drawing I didn't have the pump measurements, but was very exciting to realise it was wider than I thought and had the same dimensions as the reservoir. It was time to cut the top floor and put my custom EKWB D5 pump and Aqualis XT 880 ml bracket to good use.




My original sketch that I used for planning and discussing the pros and cons of my mounting. It's not an optimal pump / reservoir placement, but it will work and it will stay true to my mod and my design theme.




Started to take measurements of the height of the bracket. Had an idea of securing the bracket with the rubber grommets included with the case, but those extra 2mm was enough to push the bracket into the floor. Might need to cut of part of the EKWB pump bracket in final fitting.




Measuring center and left most placement I can go without pushing the Aqualis XT 880 ml reservoir into the case front fans. This looks just right. Placement of the custom EKWB D5 and Aqualis bracket pretty much sorted it self, due to the case holes below, but I had some room to push the top floor 8mm.




A previous trip to the hardware store had secured a new drill measuring 80mm, same as both the pump and the Aqualis XT 880 reservoir. Well, 78mm for the pump to be precise, but a little room is needed. I sacrificed a piece of 5mm acrylic to do a test drill to ensure it would work and with a few stops to clean the drill and let the acrylic cool was all it took. Fastened the custom floor, now ready, and went to work to cut my two holes.




So happy with the result. Looks just as I had envisioned it almost 2 months ago when I started planning this build in my head. The fit was perfect and my previously crafted bracket even more perfect. Just one more thing to ensure, would the Aqualis XT 880 reservoir fit?.




Like a glove My top floor piece or PSU cover as I originally called it, was finally done. Still some work to do to glue the floor to the previously crafted custom PSU Cover front side that will eventually cover my Corsair RM1000i PSU and EKWB D5 pump.




The height of the top floor combined with the bracket is just perfect. Happy when measurements are correct and you get to see the result of an idea. I'm extremely happy at this point. Only one thing left to do and that is to combine this top part with the side part and then final finish.




At this point I haven't been able to secure real acrylic cement in Sweden. Superglue had to due and not worried as the piece isn't going to be transparent, but it's on my shopping list. Took what I had to weight it down.
Spent the next 5min trying to find my coffee




Glued and done! Now the shape of my floor is more visible. Made sure from start it would be as tight fit as possible. Also added two channels for cables and ventilation matching the case bottom motherboard bracket.




Made a cardboard / paper motherboard just to secure size, height and placement of the motherboard. Final finish and last mounting adjustments is next on the todo list...

Last edited by Zeuligan; 17th May 2017 at 09:10.
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Old 17th May 2017, 09:25   #13
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It was finally time to finish my first real piece. Last step of first piece in the rest of my life... I'm talking about the custom PSU cover that transformed into a secondary floor including an EKWB D5 PWM Plexi pump, Aqualis XT 880 ml reservoir covering the amazing Corsair RM1000i PSU.


The last step is all about the carbon fibre and finishing touches. I had some problems finding a shop in Sweden selling good quality carbon fibre vinyl, but found a great place in the UK with better prices and lightning fast delivery (took 24 from order to my door).




This picture isn't doing the carbon fibre vinyl justice. It's the closest thing to the real deal that I have ever felt. I bought 3Mís di-noc carbon fibre regular and white and it's thick, rigid and structured. My first mistake would turn out to be not ordering their primer, but will explain that more further down in this post.




The shape of my PSU cover / secondary floor was a real challenge as I wanted to wrap the entire PSU piece in one fluent vinyl, without any joints. Many negative angles and this is something to worry about. Itís also my first-time wrapping carbon fibre vinyl, so took some scrap acrylics, bent them into a similar shape to test wrap similar angles.




After practicing on my small test pieces, I decided to paint the entire floor black. To ensure that if the vinyl cracked at some place it would still look black. This was my second and last mistake on this mod. Afterwards I feel a little stupid. Ensuring it was black was not a bad idea, but should of course painted the inside of the floor or used black acrylic from start. When heating the vinyl with my heat gun the paint melted and I had real trouble fixating the vinyl in the negative angles. Learning by doing! Will never make that mistake again, i hope




It was such a stressful job to heating and stretching the carbon vinyl I forgot to take pictures of the process, but it went very well. No joints, no bubbles and very tight. Super proud. I put the negative most visible angle under pressure to make it stick.




To ensure a tight fit and bubble free application, I put the entire upside under pressure. Finally, I got proper use for my exercise equipment: D




I ended up squeezing in super glue with a syringe and applying pressure for a third time, while loudly cursing myself for not buying that primer. Remember my first mistake? If you plan on wrapping with real vinyl and you have negative angles or very sharp edges, buy the primer. BUY the primer, trust me! End result still turned out really good, just made it more difficult than it should be.




Detail photo of the front edge. Felt just as sharp as it looks. This is how a carbon vinyl should look. Super super happy!




Voila! When planning my floor and modding the case I couldnít have imagine the outcome better. I super excited for the next step and adding components to this. The shadows from the backside of the case really blends well with the carbon vinyl. This is also a great angle to show why I decided to add a lighting ramp to hide that inside compartment.

I would love to what you think about the process and my modding so far. My first mod/build so feedback is most welcome
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Old 18th May 2017, 14:48   #14
Zeuligan
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As I explained in an early update I decided early in the process when creating the custom PSU cover, that I wanted to design an inside wall. To hide the HDD ladder that I wont use in this build.


I also wanted to create a dark foundation for my Aqualis XT 880 ml Reservoir to make the planned white pastel pop. To ensure it doesn't end up being a dark big board, I need to create some layering effect and contrasting colours. I also planned a custom LED lighting ramp to indirectly light on the MB.




I started by creating a small 5mm acrylic spacer. This serves two purposes, well three even. Firstly it will create a spacer so the floor cant move upwards. It will be in a different colour ensuring a contrasting effect to prevent a big black wall. Lastly it will box in the custom LED lighting ramp, so the light only will go left and not out into the case.




Logical next step was to move on to cut the acrylic piece for the vertical spacer doubling as the lighting ramp. It's inside of this I will mount the LED strips. It took some sanding to ensure a tight fit towards the spacer and the top of the case. Making it air (lighting) tight.




A few minutes later with the hand saw and I had a plate with perfect 90 degree angles in the right size. I deliberately cut it shorter than the space to create a layering effect and revealing the horizontal spacer.




Here the layering effect is more visible as is the space for the LED strip. I also effectively covered the small gap between my custom floor and the HDD ladder.




Looks a lot better with white carbon fiber and with the LED lighting ramp frosted. This is going to be a nice solution. The LED is RGB, but plan to run it white to stay true to my theme. Next step will be to finish the actual wall piece and fix mounting brackets for the wall and spacers.
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Old 20th May 2017, 14:23   #15
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Now when I had the frame and brackets done from the previous mod it was time to finish the base plate and the actual. It should of course be carbon fibre and help the white pastel fluid in my floor mounted Aqualis XT 880 ml reservoir pop.




After some experimenting I decided to go for a custom design for fastening the wall directly to the HDD bracket with a spacer. That way I can mount the wall from the backside ensuring that the carbon fiber of the wall will be unbroken. I thought about doing big white thumb screws from the inside, but gave that up as if I want white details I can always add that later. This way I leave my self with future options.




I cut and filed a piece of aluminum for my spacer. Put in the drillpress and then hand tapped two holes in the right place.




I went forward and cut two longer aluminum bars and filed them down to the right thickness to fit inside the tracks in the HDD-ladder. Then I superglued it to the acrylic. Finished off with a black satin paint. If you are thinking, hey didn't he say that when I did his floor he was never going to prime prior to fastening carbon fibre? Well, yes I did, but here the backside will be visible and I have no negative angles, so it will be fine.




This piece was very easy to wrap in 3M's amazing di-noc carbon fibre vinyl. Just took my time with the heat gun and made sure I stretched the corners and edges correctly. Looking sharp...




Here the backside brackets is more visible. I didn't care about trimming the carbon fibre actually. It will be hidden by the backside HDD-ladder and I wanted as much overlap as possible to make it as strong as possible. Might cut it straight, just for the sake of it l8r, when I do the final assembly.




Can't see the edges of the carbon fibre and makes the backside look really nice and tight. Feels extra satisfying to know that the backside looks really good as well. Makes for tight cable management later on. Here I also mounted the white spacer I created in the previous step.




Very happy with this mod. The white spacer behind the inside wall really creates a small but effectfull contrast both with the small dash of white, but with the layered effect. Very happy. No fastening screws visible either - was the right decision.




Closeup on the white carbon fibre spacer with the custom lighting LED ramp in the back.




Picture of the hidden light ramp that will make the LEDs cast an indirect light source on the MB and custom sleeved cables later in the build.




Final result. Think that small white carbon fibre made the whole difference and created just that effect I mentioned when starting this mod. I need contrast and layers to make this look good. Very curious on how you think this went?
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Old Yesterday, 15:02   #16
Zeuligan
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I had a vision from start that I wanted to mount my GPU vertically. I think that all water blocks are to beautiful to hide. I didn't want to use a factory solution as most of the shelf products are big and bulky. Time to go to work on my previously bought aluminium sheets and create my own.


As with all my mods for this project so far, I want to stay true to the amazing modularity of the Be Quiet Dark Base Pro 900.




I started by unscrewing the PCI-brackets. Saved the last 3 as I want to maximise the number of available PCI-slots. I also had an idea to use one of the horizontal PCI-brackets to mount the the new vertical brackets.






The top will be saved, but all the rest needs to go without damaging the screw holes. Time to bring out my high tech saw...






This is how I do most of my mods atm. By hand with very low tech tools. It works, but takes longer and hurts more




This was a scary moment. One of my first real none reversible mods on this project, but can't turn back now.




Need to file down the sharp edges on the part of the brackets I left with the screw holes. I want to hide them and keep them for future proofing.




Cut a piece of aluminum in the right size and took measurements. As I want to keep as much of the case intact, I have to make cutouts for the two rivets.




Put a small drill in the drill press and used that to cut two tracks in the aluminium bracket for the case rivets. Then I drilled and threaded two holes and countersunk the holes for the mounting screws.




Very happy with the placement at this point. The cut outs for the case rivets isn't visible, but makes it possible to mount the bracket side really snug.






Mounting the PCI bracket back on top of the new side. Perfect fit with just the right amount of overlap to make it look the way I wanted.




Drilled and tapped new holes on top of the the vertical screw holes I left when removing the horizontal brackets. Worked perfect to mount the horizontal PCI brackets.




Filed down part of the top horizontal bar to ensure enough room when mounting the PCI brackets vertical and making room for the ASUS ROG GTX 1080 Ti that will fit there l8r. I made room for 3 brackets, so I can use both full sized cards or dual water cooled single slot cards.







I masked the case before adding some satin color back to fix the small scratches I created when modding the motherboard and backside plate in my Be Quiet Dark Base Pro 900.






Really happy. This worked out just as good as I had hoped. Next step is to create a custom plate to fill the hole left of the vertically mounted PCI brackets. Can't leave that open...
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