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Scratch Build – In Progress Dual Rad in tiny <13l case

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by Flamingi, 12 Jan 2021.

  1. Flamingi

    Flamingi What's a Dremel?

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    Hey all,

    I'm currently rocking a TR1950X + GTX 1080 and the system is starting to show it's age in gaming, so I'm going to build a new pc. I wanted to go ITX with this one, but i wasn't able to find the perfect case, so I decided to build one myself. The case is heavily inspired by the NZXT H1 and the Corsair One, but since you can't buy the latter one as a case, I had to improvise here. The case is minimalist with thick outer aluminium panels (4mm), dual mesh sides for the rads and a glass front. Everything is relatively square with only few round corners.

    As you all know the current situation regarding the availability of pc components is very dire, so I expect the full build to take multiple weeks or even months, as I need some very specific hardware for the components to (physically) fit my case design.

    Core components:
    • Ryzen 9 3900X/3950X
    • AsRock X570 Phantom Gaming-ITX/TB3
    • Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 FE
    • 2x 16GB RAM (probably 3600 CL 18 G.Skill Trident Z Neo RGB)
    • SFX-L PSU (not sure yet which model I opt for)
    • Keeping my old SSDs
    • Dual 280x30mm rads from Alphacool
    • BitsPower Monoblock for MoBo
    • Bykski block for GPU
    • A couple Koolance low profile 90° fittings, rest from Alphacool
    • Alphacool 1U DDC reservoir + Laing DDC
    • Silverstone 180mm AirPenetrator
    • Noctua NF-A12 to mod the PSU fan
    Cooling concept:
    The idea is quite simple, I only have two fans in my system: The PSU fan intaking from the side through part of one rad and exhausting to the back and the 180mm Silverstone AP on the top sucking air out of the case. I have designed the case to be completely sealed at the back (only cutouts for PSU and MoBo IO) and at the front (full tempered glass front). This means the air is forced to be sucked in through the mesh side panels and the dual 280mm rads which will not have fans installed. Additionally I will reinforce the mesh with a panel that will block the area around the rads so the air must always go through them. If you know the Corsair one this concept will be nothing new, and as I mentioned earlier this was the main inspiration for this case build. The GPU is rotated by 90° and mounted with a riser cable. I will use low profile extensions cables to reroute the DP connectors to the back of the case.

    Case components:
    I unfortunately have limited metal working tools available, especially no CNC or anything to bend sheet metal. Thus, I have designed the case to be built mainly by cutting the parts out of flat metal sheets, only the top has to be cnc milled by an external company. The exterior will be made out of thick 4mm Aluminium, which I will probably glassbead and anodize. The interior components will be cut out of 2mm steel sheets that I will paint and everything is mounted together with 3d printed mounts with metal inserts as well as M3 mounting cubes. The mesh side panel is made out of 1,5mm magnetic steel and will wrap around a 1mm steel insert resulting in 4mm thickness just as the aluminium parts. The side panels will be mounted with neodym magnets. The front is made out of tempered glass which I obviously also have to buy from an external company. I will put some black vinyl wrap on the back of the glass and then will glue some magnets on the wrap to secure the glass to the case. The thick bottom and and backplate in combination with the 2mm spine holding the MoBo should be strong enough to be a good starting point when assembling the build.

    Pictures:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Progress #1:
    I have already ordered the lasercut Aluminium parts as well as the steel sheets. They should arrive soon for me to cut them into the correct shapes and add holes. I should also be able to spray paint the steel parts sometimes next week. I will probably have to wait until it's warmer to glassbead the aluminium parts. My air compressor is in the garage (it's massive with a 150l tank etc. so I can't move it inside) and unfortunately very reluctant to start at the current temperatures of -6°C.
    I will also have to order some of the watercooling blocks soon, as they might be shipped from China/Taiwan and take a couple weeks to arrive.
     
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  2. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    The amount of space you left yourself for the plumbing is troubling. :worried: It looks promising, though.
    I just ordered something from China. It took it a week to travel 30 miles, then sat there for two months.
     
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  3. David

    David μoʍ ɼouმ qᴉq λon ƨbԍuq ϝʁλᴉuმ ϝo ʁԍɑq ϝμᴉƨ

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    I like the design - very reminiscent of the Corsair One cooling layout, which is great, IMO.

    I'm wondering about that AP181 as an exhaust fan. Traditionally, fans directly pushing or pulling on a radiator need good static pressure, but surely that requirement remains with your design? It'll still need the pressure to overcome the airflow restriction created by the rads - iirc, the air penetrators were great as airflow fans but lacked static pressure.

    I could be wrong of course.

    Regardless, I'm looking forward to seeing this develop.
     
  4. Flamingi

    Flamingi What's a Dremel?

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    Yeah the space for the tubes is quite limited, but it should work out fine (I hope). There is actually quite a bit of wiggle room, I could move the GPU 11.5mm closer to the rad, but then the airflow would be blocked off completely, so I will try top get it as close to the MoBo as possible. Moving the GPU left/right is quite easy, since I basically just have to change the height of the stand-offs where the riser is mounted, the PCIe bracket is held in place via an L-shaped piece with a slotted hole, so that's no problem either. Ideally, I can get a single slot PCIe bracket and mount the fittings on the other side of the card, but I have to see if there is such a bracket to buy somewhere.

    I'm currently planning to get the AP183, it is specified for 0,24mmH2O at 400rpm up to 3,17mm H2O at 1500rpm. It's more than a 140mm Noctua (2,08 mm H20), so I think it should be fine? I will probably not be able to OC, but as long as I can get my normal boost clocks without frying my components I'm happy. Unfortunately there are no real alternatives in the 180mm fan space, only Silverstones own AP182 could be an alternative, which is basically the same fan but going up to 2000rpm instead of 1500rpm, resulting in 6.2mm H2O. It's only available in white and without PWM tho... Not quite sure if that works visually.

    Regarding the case progress, I have a small update: The steel sheets used for the mainboard tray, rad holder and fan mount arrived, they are super thicc (2mm) and even sturdier than I thought. If I'll do a case mod/build again I would go with 1.5mm or 1.25mm. The sheets are in square shape and already in the correct dimensions, so I only have to cut the cutouts, drill holes and then they are ready to be painted.
    The aluminium parts (top, back, bottom) are ordered and currently being lasercut, should arrive in a couple weeks as well. Since I have to wait for the rest of the components anyway, I went with a longer lead time to save a couple of bucks.
    Up to this point I'm positively suprised how cheap the parts are, I paid 17€ for the steel sheets and 38€ for the aluminium parts (incl the cutouts and holes on the top cover). I have ordered a riser cable (20€) as well as 3x DP extensions (25€), which ship from China, so it will take some weeks to arrive. I also found a steal for the Bykski GPU block, there is currently a sale for B-Stock (140€), they are completely functional waterblocks, but the etching says RTX 3090 instead of RTX 3080, I think that's a fault I can live with.

    Other than that, I'm currently mainly trying to find a 3080 FE. If anyone knows where I can get one of those in Europe for anything near MSRP, please let me know :)
    I'm also thinking about chaning the MoBo, the main reason for me choosing that one in particular was the Bitspower monoblock. Unfortunately it only has a single M.2 slot, and in a case that small I really need two of those so I will get a different one (thinking about the Gigabyte B550I Aorus Pro AX right now). That of course also means a new CPU cooler, I have decided to go with the Heatkiller IV Pro which imo is one of the best coolers on the market. Unfortunately no RGB, but superb performance and quality instead.
     
    Last edited: 16 Jan 2021
  5. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    You'd be better off making a custom flat gpu mounting plate.
    I just noticed you covered the I/O too...
    Get the GPU expansion cable first. They need extra space because they are really stiff at the mount ends.
    You would have more room for tubes if you put the pass-through side on the side opposite of the memory. -Maybe not.. the gpu riser cable might be in the way. You would have more space to work if the mobo tray was the same size as the motherboard. That tab sticking out over the PSU is taking precious access space.

    Maximum space-saving would involve a distro plate incorporating both waterblocks so you could have the gpu and motherboard sandwiched together as a single unit.
    I'm wandering into the realm of madness. :lol: I'll shut up now.
     
  6. IBMer

    IBMer Minimodder

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    I like the idea :)

    Looks very promising, can't wait to see this project come out of CAD :)
     
  7. Modultra

    Modultra What's a Dremel?

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    You probably will want to add all the water cooling fittings to the model. This will help in determining routing issues with the piping and such. There are a lot of these fitting available for download on grab cad.
     
  8. Flamingi

    Flamingi What's a Dremel?

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    I have ordered a riser cable with a double 90° bend (so effectively a 180° bend) at the end, so I hope I will not have any major problems mounting that. The riser cable will be routed between the MoBo and the PSU. The internal case structure is very similar to the Velkase 7. The Motherboard IO is facing (and accessible from) the rear, the GPU is rotated by 90° and I'm using similar low profile DP extensions. If you want to know more of details, you can have a look at the user manual on their website. Do you think it would be better to build a mounting plate similar to the one they have instead of using a simple L shaped bracket?
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    (Pictures from Velkase 7 User Manual)

    I wanted to keep it there for structural integrity initially, but now after I got the 2mm steel plates, they are much, much, much more sturdy than I thought, so I will do exactly that and cut off that tab. Edit: Just had a look at the model, I think you're talking about a different (unfortunately not existing) tab. The internal case has 180mm from the backplate to the front glass. I can't reall cut anything off there, it is already only 6mm wider than the motherboard. Even if I cut that off, there's only 8.3mm from the edge of the mobo to the glass, unfortunately not enough for a tube to be routed there
    [​IMG]

    Sounds very interesting, but without the proper tools it is either not possible for me to build that - or reaaallly expensive. If I ever decide to get a proper CNC to make such distroplates or similar stuff I might try to do such madness :D
     
    Last edited: 16 Jan 2021
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  9. Flamingi

    Flamingi What's a Dremel?

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    They are there. On the MoBo they are covered by the ram sticks, the ones on the Rads are covered by the fan and if you look closely you can see them on the GPU.
     
  10. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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    It's a great design, but I must concur:
    As someone who has been doing an unconventional compact design himself, I'd really advise you to model the tubing exactly.

    Also, 3mm aluminium should be sufficient for a really solid build. That extra 1mm adds a surprising amount of work. Also, for sheet metal bending just get youself a cheap bending brake:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: 19 Jan 2021
  11. Flamingi

    Flamingi What's a Dremel?

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    I have another short update. The lasercut parts finally arrived, looking good and are really nice and thicc. My father has a blasting gun which I can use, but he usually uses sand to clean old metal parts. The aluminium sheets are new (foil on the other side) and I would like to get a finish like the MacBooks. I know I probably won't get anything near apple quality, but something in that direction would be enough for me. Can you recommend me which blasting media and size I should use for this? From my research I'm leaning towards glas beads 150-250µm, but there are a lot of other sizes and media available (soda, glas granules and more).
     
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  12. Modultra

    Modultra What's a Dremel?

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    Glass bead works well, I would go with a larger bead size if possible. The bead breaks down after use and it will begin to leave a ragged surface as it becomes shattered and has sharper edges . Keep that in mind and try to bead blast all the part on the same day, that way the surface finish will be the same. You can also experiment with air pressure to achieve slightly different finishes however the higher pressures can wear the glass out faster. Also if there are surface imperfections that are deep, you will want to sand them out before blasting.
     
  13. Flamingi

    Flamingi What's a Dremel?

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    Thanks for the suggestions, if I go with a larger size would 200-300µm or 300-400µm be better? (There are even larger sizes available, but the gun I have can only go up to 500µm). I will get 25kg (basically same price as 15kg or 10kg), should be more than enough to blast my three aluminium pieces without reusing the media so I won't have the problem of sharp edges.

    I went down a rabbit hole of Apple MacBook manufacturing, so I will probably do it similar to them by sanding to a pretty high grit and then polishing (Apple apparently polishes before blasting). I don't know if polishing makes a difference, but at least its not hurting the finish and I can do that for this one time build, even if it doesn't actually change the outcome.

    Do you have suggestions with which pressure I should start testing? My compressor can go up to 8bar.
     
  14. Jean R built

    Jean R built Modder

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    I can't help you with the blasting part as I'm not expert with it, but about the polishing you get different results by doing if before or after and it does give different results.

    If you polish it before the brushing/sanding, you get e piece that is a bit glossy with a good defined texture of the brushing/sanding, plus when you polish it before you can see if it's really without imperfections.

    If you polish it after, you get a more glossy look but you smooth the texture given by the brushing/sanding the more you polish it, I pondered about using this technique on the thicker sections of Leetfoot's fingers.
     
    Last edited: 1 Feb 2021
  15. enbydee

    enbydee Minimodder

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    Do you have any offcuts you could practice on. It looks thick but I wonder if those spindly bits might warp.
     
  16. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    I'd Just sand it even before blasting. The polish is so they can mask off the logo.
    ...Although you could mask parts of and get shiny/matte patterns too. :naughty:
     
  17. Jean R built

    Jean R built Modder

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    I see, but I fear that the finish Flamingi is aiming for is mostly dependent on the anodizing process.
     
  18. Modultra

    Modultra What's a Dremel?

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    Bigger beads are better IMO. you can start with low pressure and turn it up if you want more aggressive texture. I would just sand it with 400 grit to remove imperfections. the beads should hide sanding scratches above that easily. Rule of thumb is that if you can feel an imperfection with your finger it will show up after bead blast.
     
  19. Flamingi

    Flamingi What's a Dremel?

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    Thanks for the input everyone. I have ordered the beads and will try to do the blasting on the weekend.
    In the meantime some of the components arrived: A Gigabyte B550I Pro AX, 2x32GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 3600 CL16 and a Ryzen 5 3500X until I'm able to find a 5950X for a reasonable price.
    I have also started cutting the interior pieces out of the steel sheets and will spray them the next couple days and will share some photos.
     
    Last edited: 3 Feb 2021
  20. Canardwc

    Canardwc @French_fab_factorie

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    Hi, I love the Itx form factor and your small powerfull project.
    I'm very affraid by your cooling loop (space between elements) and the power of thermal dissipation of your cooling system. Only one fan on the top and one fan from the PSU will be light from my point of view especially with the aimed hardware (even if you drasticly undervolt them I fear).
    The top fan will probably just aspirate the fresh air from outside in the top of your case without drafting a cm3 from the bottom of the case. You know, fluids are lazy...
    I really hope that will works for you.
    I follow your build with interest and I cross my fingers.
    Break a leg
    (and don't listen to me... :p:)
    (in the worst case, you'll be able to screw some fans outside of the case to push in the case :wallbash:) Kiding.
    Best regards from Paris France!!
     

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