INTRO This started out as an attempt to make an efficient and easily expandable watercooled rack for my growing server farm after running in to lots of practical issues with my current 3-system case. During the design process, however, I decided that it should be able to hold an EATX system. And that it should fit into a standard rack frame. The first 2 modules quickly became quite large. So this has become more of a master node, and I will go back to the drawing board for additional modules. In the meantime, behold, the birth of Behemoth. Now sponsored by Performance PCs. CONCEPT Concept rendering (modeled in SketchUp and Blender, rendered in LuxRender). The components aren't very pretty, but I mostly just wanted to make sure everything would fit. I settled on thinner aluminum sheet (2mm) than I originally wanted for cost reasons, so I needed to also fit in a frame. Decided to give extruded aluminum a try. The render shows 3 modules stacked (currently only building 2). The base module is a dedicated radiator / pump housing. Each module has a drawer that pulls out to access the components. I didn't want to design slack in to my cables and tubing, so I will use 2 quick disconnects for the plumbing mains to detach the drawer. The PSU and all internal cables will move with the drawer for each module. I had the basic plates cut by eMachineShop primarily because I didn't trust myself to line up the MB standoffs and backplate. Unfortunately, this limited my design flexibility a bit because complex cuts add a fair bit of cost. I'm thinking about going back and modifying these a bit if I can pick up a scroll saw somewhere. FRAME ASSEMBLY Picked up an aluminum blade for my miter saw to cut the 72 linear feet of extruded aluminum I bought from McMaster-Carr. That was a lot of extruded aluminum. Was quite nervous when I made the first cut since the teeth on this thing look way to large for metal, but the blade worked great - I highly recommend one of these things. Extruded aluminum isn't that expensive, but they really get you on the fasteners. 300 of those stupid custom bolts. Ah well, it does look kind of cool. Here's the first frame, including the drawer. I used standard drawer slides instead of the extrusion ones to keep costs down, which required tapping a few holes in the extrusion. This stuff eats drill bits like that's it's job though, think I burnt up 3 of them. PANEL ASSEMBLY I decided to go with a brushed texture for the exterior panels. The top panel is raw from the machine shop, while the lower is brushed. I used a pretty aggressive 200-grit sanding block to get a deep grain, and clamped everything to a 2x4 at a 45 degree angle to keep the lines straight. Really easy to do, looks much better than the raw panel, and won't show fingerprints, etc. I went over everything with a bit of metal polish by hand after brushing. Brushing these panels was so easy in fact, that I decided I needed to do something more difficult to them. Here is one the interior panels in an anodizing bath. That's a 20% by weight solution of NaHSO4 (aka PH Down for swimming pools, aka sulfuric acid) hooked up to a car battery charger pushing 50Amps. The cathodes are scrap pieces of aluminum, and the plate is connected to the anode and suspended in the solution for an hour or two. After that it gets dunked in 140 deg F fabric dye for 30min, and then steamed over a boiling pan of water for 30min. Did I mention that I'm a chemist? Here's a photo of the anodized interior plates and the first 2 case modules mostly assembled. I'll get a better shot of the anodized surfaces here before too long. I had to go back and add rubber grommets to each of the bolts for the plates to keep them from vibrating against the extrusion. And I think I'm going to have to figure out a way to reinforce the bottom interior panels to support the weight of the PSU, etc. The 2 modules are held together with 1/4" alignment rods that screw in to the feet of the upper module and extend down an inch or two in to the extrusion of the bottom module. They're not going anywhere COMING SOON Up next (with a little luck) I will be etching the exterior panels and doing a brass inlay. More info on that if it works out Things I'm still trying to figure out (feedback welcome!): Adding some complexity to the side panel cutouts. Adding mesh panels without having exposed cut edges of the mesh (especially in the front acrylic face). Adding support brackets for fans, etc that don't look stupid. A better way to finish the butt-joined corners of the exterior panels, particularly since the rubber grommets created tiny gaps there. What to use for handles for the drawers. Ideally something that can screw in to a 1/4" nut. Stay tuned!