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Old 4th Nov 2012, 03:21   #1
Originalrick
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El Calculadora grande (Big ass calculator) (18-12-2012)

An introduction.

Hi, my name is Rick and Iím from Holland.
Iíll try to make this as readable as possible in English so more people can (enjoy) read(ing) this, other than Dutchies.

I currently own my second laptop, but after nearly six years, (three years after it died the first time, two and a half years after it died a second time and two years after it died a third time) I was a good two years overdue for a new laptop.

There were several reasons for me to postpone a new purchase which arenít really interesting enough to share, but the main reason for me to finally get a new computer was that I couldnít stand itís incredible ability to annoy me in the same way an incompetent driver would, by driving 60km/h on a single lane 80km/h road, anymore.
I just had to get my hands on a new piece of hardware!

Donít get me wrong though, Iíve taken care of this old laptop very well and I hand built a new battery for it.
But seriously, I canít see a piece of plastic on it thatís not cracked or worn down to bare plastic other than the screen.

Anyway for some reason I decided to get myself a desktop again after more than eleven years.
Then I decided to compile my own system, I was like: ďWhy the *fill in yourself* not?ď
As I was looking for a computer case though, I noticed something strange.
Now, although this purely comes down to taste and the size of your wallet, I thought that all the cases out there were either butt ugly, f%#*ing expensive or both.
After retching a couple of times at those hideous things, feeling all let down by the world's case designers (no offence) I decided it was time for a few beers.
While drinking this awesomely wicked beverage, out of the grey goo inside my head, the search term ďcostum pc caseĒ for a visit.
After seeing some really sweet hand built cases with great features and ideas I started to get my hopes up again. There were people out there who thought the same way about todayís computer cases, people who got me my inspiration back. So I decided that maybe I should build my own case as well.
And thus, a new idea was born.


The Design.

I had a general idea of what I wanted it to become (I liked the steampunk themed cases) so I started by purchasing the parts and materials I wanted.
(I probably should tell you that, even though itís an obvious choice for me, Iím going to watercool it).

After all the parts and raw materials came in I popped my fingers in such a way pianist would before a concert and started working on the design on my computer.

Since I like to show you my stuff without showing it off, I'll just tell you what I bought (You've all seen it many times probably anyway).
Here it is:

A Nice Z77A motherboard
3770k processor
GTX670 graphics card
128GB SSD
2x 1TB 7200rpm harddrive
2x 3TB harddrive
850W semi-passive power supply (80plus gold, which is good for the environment without eating my already havocked wallet)
A bluray burner and some fans

I started by making a few lay-outs to see if it would all fit.
Once I was satisfied with the general lay-out I started drawing the supports inside the casing.
After everything was crammed in there, I designed a simple mold that would help me keep everything straight while soldering the copper frame together.

Here you can see a rendering of what I've got in mind, give or take.
The idea is to add a whole bunch of old copper elements and gauges to make it look more steampunk, but since I don't know what I'm going to find it's probably better to not put it in the design.

The basic layout of the computer (of which I'm not yet totally sure) looks like this:


You can see a green motherboard with a green videocard, a brass coloured car radiator, the bluray drive, the HDD's, the fans, the power supply and the reservoir.

Finally have a look at the mold which I'll be using for keeping everything straight and perpendicular (just ignore the fact that it's going through other parts and panels).


I have also added some dividing panels, support ribs and a radiator shroud to make sure everything fits.

Finally, after more than four weeks I could go and visit Protospace for lasercutting all the wooden panels and pieces.
The results were absolutely awesome, but it also made me realize just how big this thing will get...

Last edited by Originalrick; 18th Dec 2012 at 19:39.
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Old 8th Nov 2012, 21:35   #2
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This looks freakishly awesome! The long copper stripe down the front will make this case stand out for sure. Do you have any drawings of where the motherboard will be placed?

Oh and, welcome to the forums!

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Old 8th Nov 2012, 21:40   #3
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Agreed, the copper stripe to the right looks awsome!! Nice design... I like the simplicity of it and I think you should keep it sparse. Do not go overkill with gauges and gears, please!! This one stands out!
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Old 9th Nov 2012, 06:51   #4
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Subbed nice looking design & load of panels ready for action.

Welcome to bit-tech

Last edited by Waynio; 9th Nov 2012 at 06:52. Reason: Welcome to bit-tech :D
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Old 9th Nov 2012, 13:38   #5
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awesome project - i'll watch!
is this wood or plywood?
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Old 11th Nov 2012, 20:23   #6
Originalrick
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First of all thanks for all the replies, second thanks for the warm welcome.
The build is coming along nicely and the parts are up and running (writing this from all the new hardware). It's looking like a half finished piece of junk ready for the scrapjard at the moment so I put a garbagebag over it so I wouldn't have to look at it.

An update with pics is coming soon though!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Warrior_Rocker View Post
This looks freakishly awesome! The long copper stripe down the front will make this case stand out for sure. Do you have any drawings of where the motherboard will be placed?

Oh and, welcome to the forums!

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Thanks, I'm glad you like it. If you look at the rendered pictures, you'll see this "green thing" next to the brass thing. This green thing is supposed to represent the motherboard with the videocard attached.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vetalar View Post
awesome project - i'll watch!
is this wood or plywood?
The picture shows parts cut out 4mm plywood, I'm looking for some veneer to cover it with though.

Cheers!
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Old 12th Nov 2012, 12:40   #7
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The Build

Damn, making a good blog is hard work and this isn’t even such a good one. Respect to all you guys putting down so much effort in making a good report, let’s hope I make up for it on the project itself.
Let’s start off with a picture of one of the support ribs being lasercut


I started the build by putting together the precut mold for the tubular frame. When I was still designing the copper section of the computer, I thought it might be a good idea to have it take part in the waterloop. After all it’s a sizeable surface so it would be a shame to put it to waste.

Here you can see the mold all glued together:


Some of the cutouts:


Notice the many cuts made in the plywood, this helps to bend the wood in the small radius that is required.

Wood bending 101: Steam it!




Started soldering the tubular frame together and started assembling the radiator shroud.




The picture below shows a copper radiator which I got from a local scrapyard at about 1/4, 1/5th the price of a new one and this one has a really nice high flow throughput.






The fans just got in so I had to install them right away.


First I burnished all the pipes, bends and joints so they’d look nice and shiny before the heat from the soldering torch would make it tarnish again. Still I just love the way copper looks when it’s tarnished just a teeny bit.

Last edited by Originalrick; 19th Nov 2012 at 09:55.
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Old 14th Nov 2012, 19:24   #8
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What is it? Home laser machine?!
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Old 15th Nov 2012, 02:21   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timerhan View Post
What is it? Home laser machine?!
First post dude. --->> VVVVV

Quote:
Originally Posted by Originalrick View Post

Finally, after more than four weeks I could go and visit Protospace for lasercutting all the wooden panels and pieces.
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Old 15th Nov 2012, 08:46   #10
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well it's first time for me when i saw such complex internal structure in PC mod/custom - and i like it!
mod turns out great!

oh and polish that copper pweez
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Old 16th Nov 2012, 16:41   #11
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When I read "Big Ass Calculator" I loved this already!

But the build itself... Just made me love it even more! Great idea, and excelent work!
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Old 16th Nov 2012, 17:49   #12
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Old 17th Nov 2012, 02:06   #13
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Love the reservoir/frame.
-Sucker is going to be a b*tch to clean. My copper pipe loop had black balls of flux residue rolling around in the reservoir. I never got the pipes cleaned out.
The tab and slot construction is really clever.
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Old 19th Nov 2012, 10:20   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheapskate View Post
Love the reservoir/frame.
-Sucker is going to be a b*tch to clean. My copper pipe loop had black balls of flux residue rolling around in the reservoir. I never got the pipes cleaned out.
The tab and slot construction is really clever.
Haven't seen any black balls yet, and I hope to keep it that way.
I believe the key is to not use too much flux and thoroughly heat the areas where you applied it.
This should vaporise all flux.
To make sure my pipes were clean, I forced water through it for a while, let it drain out and finally connected a heat gun to it via a piece of aluminium foil.
While letting the heat gun run I also moved a blowtorch along the frame.
This made steam blast through the pipes and in turn cleaning it thoroughly.
It also showed me the incredible dissipative capacities of the copper frame, it was really difficult to get the frame up to a high enough temperature.
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Old 20th Nov 2012, 11:49   #15
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The Build (Part II)

Warning: This post contains strong language and is rated pg-13.

Most of the soldering is done now.


All soldering done, time to test my soldering skills by running water through it for the first time.
The arrows indicate the direction of flow which I controlled by using standard endcaps from a smaller diameter tube which fit snuggly inside the larger diameter joints. I can honestly say I was very surprised to see that it was waterproof after the first time soldering.
You can also see the small aquarium pump and the reservoir which Iíll be using for the build.


The reservoir is the plastic container which previously contained my POV camera. It was perfect for the job because it was free, had a nice capacity (over 1,5l or 0,4gallons) and already has a divider in it.
The pump that you see is a nice small pump with a relative big pumping capacity. Itís an Eheim submersible pump which will deliver about 600liters per hour or about 160 thousand gallons per hour without load.


Lid with holes drilled/tapped.


After the big smile, from the absence of leaks, on my face had faded I glued the first of four outer panels in place.


Panel No.2




Motherboard screwed onto the mounting plate.




Panel No3. & No.4 in place along with the motherboard.


It was at this time that I realised I had done something stupid. Because the idea of implementing the tubular frame into the waterloop came halfway during the design of the pc I hadnít taken the time to draw the cross members in place.
You always hear people say measure twice cut once, and thatís exactly what I didnít do.
Alright, this meant shifting the motherboard a bit back, a minor inconvenience, I hope.


Next it was time to make the HDD mount. These aluminium plates actually served as a hot swappable bay in an antique server. There was a lot of plastic involved though and because Iím going to bolt the aluminium plate directly to the HDDís it should now have some nice dissipative qualities as well.




In case youíre wondering what the big empty space at the bottom of the pc case is (see my first post with the rendered pics),
itís for the air intake.
The air intake has three 140mm fans as opposed to two 120mm fans going out.
This should create a small overpressure in my case to keep the dust out.
If you look at the chamfer in the top left corner on the wooden panels, it is something I had to modify due to the shifted motherboard. This in turn closed the gap at the bottom of the motherboard backplate for letting wires run through so I also had to enlarge that gap.




Everything comes to an end and thisís all for today.
Cheers and I hope you have enjoyed reading this.
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Old 20th Nov 2012, 12:34   #16
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well things go great! but i have a little doubt that coolant will circulate all over the frame and not by shortest pass from in to out...
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Old 20th Nov 2012, 13:16   #17
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Great design! I've never seen like thtis before.
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Old 20th Nov 2012, 17:54   #18
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Mooi work man !
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Old 20th Nov 2012, 19:24   #19
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Wow! This is looking super nice! I've actually thought about making a frame in somewhat the same theme as yours, making the case part of the loop is something i feel would be awesome!
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Old 20th Nov 2012, 21:39   #20
Originalrick
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well things go great! but i have a little doubt that coolant will circulate all over the frame and not by shortest pass from in to out...
I've thought about that too but I figured I'll just see how it goes.
The funny thing is that the only place I've felt a slight temperature rise is in the longest part of the loop.
Either way, I'm not concerned.
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