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Case Mod - In Progress "F3"-CM Scout 2 build [Completed, Again]

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by InsolentGnome, 17 Apr 2015.

  1. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Member

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    So I'm InsolentGnome. New here, so I thought I'd put up my current(and first major) mod project. To be upfront, I started this case in January this year and it is 99.999% done at the moment, just waiting on getting some nice final shots taken.

    Let me start off though, with the birth of the idea... <cue Wayne's World mega happy ending dissolve>

    It started with Cooler Master's mod contest. I like doing things like that, though they never look quite like that in the end, whatever. So I was jumping around, looking at mods and such, trying to get an idea of what to do, and I came across Ronnie Hara's Skyline Cosmos II again. Gorgeous. And I thought, I could do something along those lines. Ok...yeah....but what?

    Around the same time, I was pouring over bike reviews. I'm in the market for a new motorcycle and I was checking out who's on top this year, blah, blah, blah...Whoa! That bike is beautiful! An MV Agusta F3 800 was in my browser window. I've always drooled over it's big brother the F4, but this thing was even prettier! I'd give my left testicle to have one, and it'd make it more comfy to ride anyways. Ding! Ding! Ding! And we have a winner!
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    So, I started planning. Red and silver color scheme, beautiful. Some graphics would definitely be in order. What case to use??? Cosmos II...nah, too expensive for out of pocket. Cosmos SE? It's pretty slick looking, and more affordable...can't find one!

    And while going through CM's cases, I thought, "You know, if you look at that just right, that kind of has the lines of a windscreen/nose fairing on top...that gives me an idea." So the Scout 2 Advanced it was.
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    So with those two things figured out, and a harebrained scheme in my head, I jumped in the contest and wondered what the hell I had done.
     
    Last edited: 11 Aug 2015
  2. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Member

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    So, first things first, we need to order some parts. Some would argue planning should be first, but... Well, they're right, but I had a picture in my head, and time was a wastin'.

    Parts include:

    Case: Cooler Master Scout 2 Advanced
    MB: Asus Z97 PRO
    CPU: Intel 4690K
    RAM: 8GB Corsair Vengence Pro 2133MHz
    GPU: Asus Strix GTX 980
    PSU: Cooler Master V850
    SSD: Samsung 850 EVO in 500GB and 250GB flavors
    Cooling: EK Supremacy EVO CPU block
    EK GTX Strix GPU block and backplate
    XSPC Photon 170 reservoir/pump combo
    XSPC EX 140 radiators
    Primochill fittings and acrylic tubing

    My pile of goodies
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    Second things first, let's rip the case apart before we get any pictures! Yeah!
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    Dang, guess I was a little excited.
     
    Last edited: 27 Apr 2015
  3. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Member

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    As I was staring at my new case in pieces, thinking about how I was going to lay things out, a new idea popped into my head. And this is where planning is important. Planning keeps you from doing crazy things like totally changing your ideas once you've already started. And since I didn't really set out with a plan...well, you can guess.

    Yep. My brain went, "OMGOMGOMG!!!! That'll be SOOOOO COOOOL!!!! We can do this! And we can make this like that! And OMGOMGOMG!!!!" I believe it was actually jumping up and down inside my skull in excitement. So....things changed...

    That front part where the connectors are? Yeah, not gonna need it.
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    Heck, lets just ditch the front panel of the case too! I don't have a picture of that, but I'm sure it wouldn't have been impressive anyways.

    And what about the back? It's just in the way.
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    So far, not much of my case has survived this new 'idea'.
     
  4. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Member

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    At this point, I've almost gotten past the destruction phase. Almost.

    Fun side of my brain: "This baby's got to breath! Let's open it up a little!"
    Logical side: "Wait. It's only 3 sides of a box. It's already pretty open."
    Fun side: "Shut up and grab that cutting thingy! And that metal thingy. With all the marks."
    Logical side: "The ruler?"
    Fun side: "Yeah, whatever. We might need to pry something apart."
    Logical side: <shakes head>

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    By now, you'd think that this thing was getting a little flimsy. And you'd be right. And it only gets worse...
     
  5. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Member

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    And now for my next trick... DUN, DUN, DUUUUN!
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    Bending the case to my will!!! Muahahahaha!

    I think I love that line so much because it's usually such a figurative statement, but it couldn't be more literal here unless I had a guy named William standing there, and I was bending the case at him. Threateningly, of course.

    As you can see, i did make some acrylic panels to line the interior. And yeah, the only thing that's holding the front's angle is the acrylic, but that will be solved when I get the front panel done.
     
  6. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Member

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    And now that we've made a totally unstable platform, let's attach stuff to it!
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    The EX 140 radiators. I was originally going to use the AX series because I like that unfinished core, but changed over to the EX because it's going to fit the look better. Oh, did I mention this is my first custom water loop? Flying by the seat of my pants! I'd say it's a 'crash course', but it is based on a motorcycle, and, well, that's just bad.

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    Now that I've my basic design in a form that I can work with, and not just floating around my head, I can do some more detailed layout.

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    I narrowed it down to two layouts and decided to go with the second cause I just didn't like the look of the reservoir on it's side. And then it was on to figuring out how to mount everything, because it just doesn't look very cool laying on it's side on the table.

    This was one of my OMG! ideas. I knew I was gonna make it work as soon as the idea popped in my head. So, the F3 uses a combination of frame types, the most visible is the red frame. I had to have it.

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    So let's build a frame!

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    Laying it out, using angle iron to stand in for the top and bottom of the case interior

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    And then to bend some acrylic tube to my will!! Huh? Once was enough? Yeah, you're right.

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    Yes, that is my real, actual hand. There goes my internet anonymity. I can never hold something anonymously again, all hope is lost!

    And the mostly finished product...

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    I went on to use some epoxy on the joints to improve their strength, and also to give them a welded look. Well, to approximate a welded look anyways. And they approximately wound up looking like this finished. Actually, it looks exactly like this.

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    And then mounted in case.

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    In case of what? In case something decides to break! Aanndddd...shoot me! That was a horrible joke, but great forshadowing.
     
  7. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Member

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    And now to mount the goodies. I mean, with all that work on the frame, it'd be a shame not to put something on it.

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    I was going to mount the motherboard straight to the framework, but unfortunately I was a hair off on some of my frame pieces so that some of the mounting holes weren't perfectly centered. I solved this, and a few other unforeseen difficulties, by making a acrylic plate to be an intermediary. I also made the piece to mount the reservoir on. As you can see, that decision was made somewhere in the middle of the process.

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    Yeah, I'm gonna void that warranty. And drill some new mounting holes...

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    The videos

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    I managed to salvage the original bracket from the card. I just cut it down and flipped it. Somehow, everything lined up. I don't get it, it's not supposed to work like that is it?

    Made a little bracket for the ssd's to have them just float above the floor of the case.

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    And, most of the fabrication is done...

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  8. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Member

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    Once I got the interior figured out, I thought, "Oh crap, I gotta do the outside still!"

    Figuring out the doors...I mean fairings. I did this with the interior pulled out. Partly to make sure I didn't break anything, partly to get started on painting. In retrospect, I should have left the frame in because the sides were a bit off. Like an 1/8 of an inch out of whack, which doesn't seem like much, but once it's all painted and about done, it seems like a lot.

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    I rigged up a little projector to get the cut-out on the side to match the fairing on the bike. Whatever the "how to" sites say about rigging up a phone to be a projector, I don't believe it. It wasn't 'that' bright and talk about touchy!

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    Seeing as I threw the original front panel away, now it's time to make a replacement. My original plan was foam covered with plastic, just because the foam would be easy to shape and it could be light and strong. My original plans didn't include it being messy, difficult to get perfect and time consuming. Factoring these other, well, factors in, I decided a change in strategy and went to MDF for the front panel. Two layers of 1/2" MDF, pieced together in some crazy way that I dreamed up. I'd try to explain it, but it doesn't even make sense to me now. But, it worked.

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    I routed the edges to get the curve close to what I wanted. Not exactly, but it was repeatable on both sides, and I was more worried about each side matching up than getting some crazy curve that I had in mind.

    And piecing it together on the case to get the angle correct.

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    And then a little filler and sanding. And filler. And sanding. And again. And again.

    Along the way of doing all the stuff above, I also did some other things, but I can't really when I did them in relation, so they're going here. And no, I don't remember what I had for breakfast.

    Found a spot for the temp guage.

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    And I made a seat. A very small seat. Random? Yes. Useless? Maybe, unless you're a gnome.

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    And now for intermission. We will be serving coffee and cake in the lobby, and huffing paint fumes in the basement. But seriously, the next thing I did was paint. A lot.
     
  9. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Member

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    And we're back.

    Up til now, we've done the fabrication and paint, so now it's time to put it all together to see how it's all going to turn out.

    First up, the chassis:

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    I was originally going to paint it satin black, but decided that the effort to tape off and paint the little bit of the case that shows on the exterior to match the rest of the exterior was just too much, so silver it was. The paint is suppose to be an exact match for MV Agusta, but since I don't have something to hold it against, I'm gonna trust them. It's a nice flake, but kind of a pain to paint with. If you weren't careful, the clear would float the base(the only way I know how to describe it). But once it was done and polished, it turned out very nice.

    On to the interior:

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    You might be asking yourself, "hey, what's up with those top and bottom pieces, didn't we just see those painted silver in the chassis?" Nope. To make putting it together and pulling it apart easier, I made the interior "assembly" a separate component that slides into the chassis. The idea was to be able to dump the water, pull this out and work on it without having to possibly damage the case/scratch the paint, etc. In retrospect, it didn't really turn out like I had hoped. The acrylic can't really stand the abuse, as I found out later. But, I like the way it turned out visually and it did make fabrication and assembly easier, so it was sort of a win.

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    I did clean up the GPU bracket and give it a coat of black to reduce it's visual weight.

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    And slid into the chassis. The way all of this slides together did leave a nice little scar on the top interior of the chassis, but I'll fix that later.

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    For the SSD bracket, I made a 'L' shaped piece of acrylic and glued a couple of tabs on it to hold the SSD's. I really like the clean, floating look.
     
  10. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Member

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    Next up was wiring. Well, actually, there was a lot of stuff going on, but I'm gonna show you pictures of wiring! Not that we don't all know a thing or two about it.

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    Soldering up the 8-pin VGA. I've done quite a bit of custom wiring and sleeving, and I've hand measured, used rulers, etc, but this time I decided to lay down a piece of tape and mark out my lengths for wires and sleeve. It's definitely the trick. No remembering measurements, easy to redo something after you get it all done and realize you screwed up(totally didn't happen), and since it was right there, it became the place to write down pin-outs, sleeving colors, etc. And since it was tape and stuck to the table, I couldn't lose it or throw it away by accident. I'd have been lost without it.

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    The sleeving was Teleios from Mainframe Customs. Very nice I must say, big enough that I didn't have to stretch it out, which meant that I didn't have to coordinate the wire color with the sleeve and also very easy to figure out lengths. A nice change from other brands I've used.

    It was a total mess trying to make the wiring look like something without having a place to hide any of it. On a side note: Cooler Master, why can't your 24 pin just be a 24 pin extension? So to clean things up, I decided to learn cable stitching.

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    Some nice little hard grommets that I found at the hardware store.

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    It was while cleaning up the mess from putting these grommets in, that I learned about the fragility of the case. Whoops! You live and you learn, and then you super glue!
     
  11. storm-83

    storm-83 Member

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    this is insane - i love it! :clap:
     
  12. Herodj95

    Herodj95 New Member

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    Fantastic and original idea!! Very good work so far!! ;) :thumb:
     
  13. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Member

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    Thanks, I do think insanity might have had something to do with it:D
     
  14. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Member

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    Thanks!
     
  15. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Member

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    In posting this log, I'm realizing how much of this stuff all seemed to happen at the same time or in a less logical order. So, if you want to check out how this went as it happened or see some of the ups and downs and extra pics of the progress, you can check the original log over at Cooler Master's Mod competition. I'm in the tower mods, same project name. I'd give you a link to mine, but I'm not trying to click-bait you, and you should really check out all of them! There are some really nice mods in there. Some from this forum too!

    For the cooling loop, I went with acrylic:

    The first iteration was with Monsoon Hardline clear tubing and black chrome fittings.

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    I liked this, and loved the look of the fittings and the fact that it wasn't just a little bit of friction holding everything together. By trade, I'm a plumber, and using a compression fitting that doesn't compress(because the acrylic would crack) sort of bothers me. I know the pressures a loop runs are a lot lower, but when an employee floods a house to the tune of $20k because they forgot the friction clamp on a compression fitting, you think a little more about these things. So the Hardline idea really appeals to me.

    Unfortunately, some of my collars cracked for unknown reasons. I talked with Monsoon and found out that I was part of the small percentage that was having problems. No one was sure why, because they couldn't reproduce the cracks, but none the less, they changed the collar material anyways to avoid future problems, and Gene offered to send me some of the new ones from their shop. Very effing cool! And in my next build, I will be trying them again.

    But, I was pressed for time, so I used Primochill fittings I had originally bought for the project, having found the Monsoons about half-way into things.

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    Black tubing with black fittings. I think it fits the build a lot better than the clear/chrome. Although I like the shiny, the black doesn't pull your eye as much and lets you take the build in as a whole instead of overwhelming it. And most sportbikes don't chrome and bling the motor and hoses anyways, so this stays truer to the idea of the mod.
     
  16. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Member

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    And now the finishing the exterior. I'm going to make this the short version. The long version involves posing odd questions to Cooler Master tech support, painting, stripping(not the fun kind), repainting, cursing, Australia, and lots of brake fluid(it's not just for stopping anymore!).

    The new front panel:

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    I was trying to get a look similar to what goes in front of the motor of the bike. On the bike, there is a radiator and a grill, both with different looks. Frankly, mine is inverted. The bike has the aluminum(???)radiator over a darker grill section. So a lot of aluminum fins above a piece of black grill. I flipped it because I think this suits the case better and it still has the look of multiple materials. The grill is composed of 3 layers of black window screening and one layer of aluminum window screening running the entire height and a piece of aluminum grill material at the bottom. Talk about a pain to put together! I really should have built a frame to slip into the groove I had and used it as a friction lock to hold the screens in place.

    *Um, just a little decoration FAQ: Yes, that is a golf border about the room and it came with the house. The pheasant picture also came with the house, although I hung it up there to cover a hole in the sheetrock. I haven't gotten around to remodeling this room, so it still has the old carpet and walls, which is nice because, even if I mess up the carpet or poke a hole in the wall, I'm just gonna fix it later anyways. The bad thing is, I bought the house from my parents, which means, I am related to the person who decorated this room.

    The top of the case painted and thrown into the mix:

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    And a nice shot of the temp gauge and seat that I threw together. The temp gauge is black on orange, matching the real bike's instrument cluster. Man, the flash/lighting really jacked with the color in that last shot. I swear it's MV Agusta red!

    And let's give this thing some fairings. For aerodynamics of course!

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  17. Dr. Coin

    Dr. Coin Member

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    I really like the bent front of the case. Your case manages to bring out the look and feel of a sports bike while still being a computer case. :clap:
    All other motor bike mods I have seen have been just really nice paint jobs and badging of a minimally modded case or the computer built into a motor bike frame. You managed to bring the bike into the case.
     
  18. HandMadeAndroid

    HandMadeAndroid That's handy.

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    very nice build!
     
  19. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Member

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    Thanks! I admit, I started with the idea of a nice paint job, badging, and a minimally modded case. :lol: Luckily, I couldn't find a Cosmos SE and I didn't want to invest in a Cosmos II for the first time I hacked on a case.:dremel:
     
  20. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Member

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    Thank ya!
     

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