Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by G-gnome, 1 Sep 2003.
I havnt slept in 3 days. 71hrs actually.
It’s Update-4 Time!
Well, it’s that time again and this time it’s the Fourth update in the ORAC³ project.
It’s been a while since Update-3. This has mainly been to do with being busy at work, home, and life in general. However, it’s also been due to my intention to not post a particular mod until it is finished. This last phase of construction in this project has practically every part being dependent on another part as they will all fit together like a big 3D Jigsaw Puzzle. It means I can’t just start and finish one part at a time but have to develop everything concurrently. Hence a lot of work has been done these past weeks that can’t yet be posted. Trust me, when you see the final case you’ll realize why this has been a while coming.
Today I’ll only be posting the parts of this 3D Jigsaw I have completely finished. I have done a hell of a lot more than what I’m posting today, but most of it is off at the electroplaters ...
What you are seeing here is just the tip of the iceberg…
Anyway, I’ve kept everyone waiting long enough so I had better show you some pics:
Hard-drive rack, installed with 4 SATA Drives for some RAID 0+1 goodness. It's mounted behind the radiator fan for nice cooling airflow over the drives. Note the shower hose fittings when plugged in. Say goodbye to boring plugs...
The rack slides sideways off the base when the green acrylic locking piece is removed. The close-up of the base shows the stainless steel bolts holding the rack to the 1" Lexan blocks. The bolts run through anti-vibration rubber grommets and are secured with recessed nyloc nuts.
The locking piece bolts on with stainless steel dome nuts and washers and rests against a rubber moulding strip. The whole hard drive assembly is completely insulated from the rest of the case with the only points of contact being the rubber grommets.
This is an Eheim 1250 pump modded to fit into a housing for an Eheim 1048. A bit like shoving a V8 into the wife's little Toyota. The pump has been vinyl dyed, stripped, cut, filed and padded with rubber. The housing has been ground, drilled, chromed and tapped, the brass ½" barbs have been chromed along with stainless steel round-head socket screws added along with re-wiring the power cable into another shower hose and fitting.
A HUGE thank you has to go out at this point to Pug from Wizard Designs for donating the 1048 housing for this project and taking the time and trouble to send me photos and information on it. These, and his truly excellent feedback and advice, were a great help. More on that later...
The pump mounted in the case. To allow clearance for the PCI Cards, I have mounted the pump so it overhangs the floor of the case by 6mm. I will be cutting a hole in the side-panel of the case to accommodate it and the end result will have the chrome side of the pump sitting flush with the side-panel. Should look fairly cool.
To add a little more interest to the right-hand side of the case I installed a neon green acrylic panel fixed to the inside with stainless steel screws.
I was happiest with the HDD rack though - donated originally by my Lian Li PC65. I'm now eyeing off other parts of it...
As usual there was a lot of work in even the simple-seeming parts. Like I said at the beginning, these parts are the minority of the work I have been doing the last few weeks but are the completed parts so are included in the update.
So, just what was actually involved in modding these? Let's find out ...
The Hard Drive Rack
I suppose I could have made a custom rack for the case, but I had been eyeing off the unused rack in my PC65 as I quite liked the look of it. To get it to fit with my themes for this project would require some work, but I still wanted to retain the overall look of the rack. Other considerations were it's perfect size and the ability to fit ...
...the stack of drives I plan on using. All the stickers were removed and they were given a light polish.
In Part-1 of the project I showed a picture of some of the chromed parts that I would be using - visible are the parts for the HDD rack. The raw aluminium of the rack, even if polished, wouldn't have matched the deep, reflective finish I got with the chrome plating. After months of the rack quietly gathering dust, I began to mod it ...
While experimenting earlier, I had bent up the flap that was the original method of securing the rack to it's base. Now I decided to cut it off altogether. I marked it up, clamped it into a small vice and ...
... sliced it off with a dremel.
After cleaning up the cut and rounding the corners by filing/sanding, I drilled a pair of holes and settled on 6mm stainless steel bolts, marked and cut to length for holding the locking piece on. A small rubber o-ring acts to prevent the bolt from being pushed back through when fitting the locking piece. This will sit into the chamfered edges of the holes I drilled in the locking piece.
For mounting the base to the mounting blocks I drilled 9mm holes, inserted rubber grommets and then ran some 6mm stainless steel bolts through.
You can see how the rubber grommets act as vibration absorbing insulators between the base and the mounting blocks. The blocks were made from 'scrap' 25mm (1") Lexan, cut with a jigsaw and the corners rounded with a disk sander. The edges were tidied up and polished using a sanding block and some plastic polish. They came up with a nice satin finish which I liked as it gives them a more solid feel than if I had polished to transparency.
Holes were drilled with a drill-press and a larger hole was drilled part-way through from the bottom to accommodate the nyloc nuts that will be holding it all together. From the side you can see the bolt passing through the block and make out the hint of black where I used a rubber washer to cushion the nut. More anti-vibration overkill
The base assembled with the protective paper removed and the bolts trimmed to length. It worked out better than I thought it would. Now for a way to secure the rack to the base ...
I cut out a small piece of 3mm plexi with a hacksaw, filed and sanded to shape and drilled a couple of holes,
After test-fitting, some more holes were drilled and all the edges chamfered with a counter-sink.
Some very short 6mm socket head cap screws were inserted through the top two holes with stainless steel dome-nuts and washers. From the rear - the rubber washers and socket heads are designed to hook over the edge of the drive rack and prevent it from lifting up or sliding sideways.
The drives were fixed in place with standard screws and some washers. C-strip edge moulding was used behind the locking piece to tidy up the edge of the actual rack itself where I had cut off the other half of the original mounting.
Shots of both sides of the rack. The right-hand side still uses the original slot and tab to secure it.
The drives are spaced far enough apart to get some air down the middle for cooling.
Lots of curved shapes make for a happy gnome
Using a file I had made a pair of indents in the front left-hand edge of the rack. When mounted in the case ...
... these provide some clearance for the hose that will be fitted to the radiator barbs. This was a problem I had identified during test-fitting. And for mounting to the case...
... 6mm holes drilled with a plexi-drill and the base just drops into these. Washers and dome nuts will eventually secure the base. As I was going to pull it out again straight after the update pics were shot I didn't bother to fit these. The clear lexan gives a nice view of the cables that will be passing underneath the rack - in this case the power/reset switches and LEDs.
The shower hose plan is working out well as is my decision to round all my corners and go for the whole retro sci-fi look.
I'm really happy with the rack viewed from the other side. My intent to have the case look good when viewed from any side is well on track.
Since the beginning, the pump was, to me, going to potentially let down the entire project. I really had my doubts as to how I could make it fit in, look good and still be functional. The whole shape and Grey colour of Eheim pumps clashed with all of my ideas - but I had read that these were (arguably) the best pumps to get and being a water-cooling first-timer I got one. While surfing the Aqua Computer site I noticed the 'Full Metal Jacket' enclosures there (designed to stop EMI from the pump), however, not being able to read German I wrote to Pug at Wizard Designs who are the UK's Aqua Computer gurus.
Pug had the FMJs but informed me that they weren't made for the Eheim 1250, which was larger than both the 1046 and 1048 models that had enclosures available. Fortunately he got into the spirit of what I was trying to do and sent some pictures and his thoughts. Thanks to these I decided it would be possible to mod the pump to fit and Pug sent one to me. Most folks would have just said you couldn't do it and I would have given the idea away, but thanks to Pug's pics and enthusiastic support the challenge was on!
Hmmm ... Eheim 1250 into 1048 housing ...
... yeah baby!
I started by stripping every piece of extraneous plastic from the pump itself - feet, inserts, the rear cover and silver front cover. The rear cover had to be levered off with a screwdriver after removing all the feet and inserts. I then got out a big, chunky file and filed ...
... and filed ...
... and filed some more. All necessary to accommodate the bottom part of the enclosure which sits inside the top part. It was narrower than the pumps dimensions. I was cutting it fine with scant millimetres to play with. I still needed more ...
I removed the plastic ring that locks the front part of the pump in to get at the little tabs - they were blocking the top cover from sliding down.
A pair of pliers neatly removed them with a twist, as it did for the plastic ribs around the intake - also interfering with fitting the cover.
Back in place - nothing untoward sticking out anymore.
Another thing I planned was to use shower hose and a fitting to screw into the back of the housing and hide the power cable...
I masked and marked up the rear of the top cover and used a dremel with grinding stone attachments to grind away the 2mm or so steel.
My grinding stones looked rather the worse for wear after half an hour attacking the thick steel of the housing. It was only a little circle too!
Taking one of the threaded severed ends of my leftover plastic hand showers I filed the base away until it was as thin as possible whilst still maintaining some strength, and inserted it through the hole I had made.
Checking the fit with a chrome nut and with the pump inside.
Things were starting to come together. I cut out a section of 3mm neoprene rubber and checked the fit with the base. More test fitting...
... and a rubber slab for the top of the pump. The hole was later widened further so as to be invisible once the cover is on. With cover mostly modded it was time to send it off for chroming and wait...
Wow! That was quick!
The cover came with ugly self-tapping screws that I wanted to replace. I also wanted an excuse to go and buy some taps to make all those threaded holes that I wished I had made earlier in the project. Worked like a charm and I tapped all the holes for M4 screws plus drilled and inserted rubber grommets in the base similar to what I had done for the HDD rack. Anti vibration being important with a pump.
A last wee job was to dremel off a couple of pokey bits at the rear of the base to make some room for my threaded hose fitting...
... which was trimmed some more and doused in black vinyl dye.
I also cut the mounting bolts to the correct length and pushed them into the base. The cut off threaded ends will be kept and used as threaded rods for other projects. Waste-not want-not!
Parts of the pump will still be visible so I masked it and sprayed the applicable areas with black vinyl dye.
The original self-tappers that came with the pump are a bit of a contrast to the round head socket screws I used instead - especially when polished on my buffing wheel.
Time to start putting the pump together...
Like a good gnome I wrapped the threads of the pump fittings with Teflon tape, to make a tight seal, and screwed the fittings in place.
The rubber pieces were also tidied up, test fitted and trimmed some more.
Because the power cord emerges from one side of the rear, and I wanted to bring it across to the centre, I had to strip the insulation off a section of the wiring to enable it to both bend easier and actually fit in the couple of mm between the pump and the rear cover! I also filed a notch in the fitting to accommodate the wires.
Perfect. Time to add the base - here using the pressure of a clamp to compress the rubber inside and allow the holes to line up. It took a lot of pressure to line them up correctly. The wing nuts are there to hold the bolts in place while I put the cover together. They were removed afterwards as the pressure of the pump sitting on the rubber inside the cover prevents them from pushing back to the inside.
All done. I still plan to do some modding on the power cable as it will be going to a PCI relay card with a separate earth wire going, via a jack plug, to the PSU.
The, formerly brass, barbs look good chromed and the black vinyl dye looks much better IMHO than the Grey plastic.
The new screws are a big improvement as well.
Holes drilled in the case floor and the pump in it's final resting place.
So there you have it - a 1250 in a 1048 cover. It felt like squashing a big souped-up engine into a compact car! The FMJ gives a much better look than the bare pump and will prevent EMI as well. Form and function.
To add a bit of interest to the right-hand side, and to compliment other parts of the case yet to be seen, I fabricated a neon plexi panel.
Cut with a hacksaw, filed drilled and sanded. Fitted to the inside. I did this without removing the PSU or any of the case internals so it was a bit awkward to get the dome nuts over the ends of the screws. It took double-sided tape, Blu-tack, a metal ruler, a bit driver, masking tape and a half hour of sweaty hand contortions. Still beat trying to take the PSU out though!
To answer a few critics, the socket head cap screws match all the others I have used (and are still to use) on the case exterior. Polished and with stainless steel washers of course
Water Blocks and Motherboard
This is kind of like a hidden track on a CD I guess. I just wanted to cover a couple of other things I have been up to. Basic stuff and more 'tip of the iceberg' but just to let you know I haven't been a lazy-gnome.
An Abit IC-7G. My weapon of choice for the P4C.
Going for a total watercooling solution I popped off the Northbridge heat-sink and fan. Apparently these ones a bit noisy? Not any more. All the gunge on the NB was cleaned off with IPA.
The 875P Canterwood boards come with a tricky set of loops for mounting a HSF. As I already had my old-style DangerDen block and wasn't about to shell out for a newfangled one how was I going to mount it? Why, mod it of course!
I removed the steel ring and tossed the heat-sink and fan in my parts box. A comparison between the heights of my waterblock and the discarded heatsink revealed they were practically the same height. Excellent....Bwuhahahahaaaa!
Out with the dremel and it's cuttin' time! I only wanted the clip-part.
I filed the rough edges and drilled a hole in each one. I then got some stainless steel screws and slipped them inside some heat shrink to make them wider and protect the lexan top of the water block.
I then just attached the clips to the usual water block mounting holes with a washer and nut.
Voila! Home-style mounting for an 875P board. Of course, all this was done with careful measuring and a lot of thought (plus some filing and test-fitting) to get it to fit right. Being such a heavy block and with the torque applied by hoses and so on I didn't trust a thermal epoxy solution by itself - hence the modding.
And before any water cooling gurus say anything - I later lapped the blocks to a nice 1200 grit shine
It was time to tackle the motherboard itself...
With a serial VFD and the mobo serial port being external I set about internalizing it. I had seen someone do this before but I can’t remember exactly where or what they did other than I remembered that it was possible. I might have been on Mashie’s or Zapwizard’s websites but I had a look back and couldn’t find it – I really wanted a guide or something. EDIT 18/11 - It was mashie's site! (Project Anem0ne) here. As it was I took the plunge and had a go. The first thing was to snip and lever off the parallel port to get at the serial port underneath.
Half of it removed and then the whole lot, plus serial socket.
After side-cutters and pliers had done their thing. Messy!
I soldered wires to each of the serial pins coming from the motherboard, added heat shrink and sleeved the lot with some Techflex braid. The free end is awaiting the addition of a 9 pin plug once I manage to get down to the electronics shop.
Also tackled was the mounting of all the water blocks on the motherboard and the video card. I removed the fan off the card (a Sapphire 9800pro) and cleaned the thermal grease off, added my own Arctic Silver, then mounted the block with the supplied fittings from DangerDen.
The mounting hardware comes through the back of the card – there being no room on the block side. It looks like some of the Isopropyl Alcohol I used to clean the card spilt on the lexan top of the water block – notice the telltale cracking. Bummer.
These cracks and the awkward size (3/8”) and angles of the barbs have decided me to look around for one of the new Danger Den GFX blocks. I’ll be ordering one this week when I’ve checked out a few places.
I mounted the main waterblock on the CPU and dremeled the excess off the threaded mounting rods. I covered the board with a plastic bag and taped around the areas I wanted to cut to prevent any metal particles from going where they shouldn’t. With the blocks attached you can see the knurled brass nuts that I had chromed. Pity they won’t be able to be seen…
The Northbridge block fitted great with my custom mounting clips. Very secure and with identical tension to the original HSF thanks to being the same distance between the clips and the board’s surface.
Well, that brings update 4 to a close. It’s unfortunate that I could only show these particular parts as I’ve been working on loads of things – just haven’t 100% finished them yet. When you see the next update you’ll understand what I am talking about when I mention this being the ‘tip of the iceberg’.
There will probably only be one, maybe two, more updates on the modding side of things though they’ll likely be fairly involved. The rest will be just putting it all together.
Until the next update I’d just like to thank everyone who has been following things and for all the support and great feedback I have been getting. Thank you! Also, to all the new members who sign up to comment – welcome to Bit-Tech!
...*cue the usual gratuitous larger eye-candy pics* …
nice work duuuuude, that pump rox.
on another note, NOOOOO, I WILL DIE IF I DONT FIND OUT HOW YOU STEALTHED THE MOBO, woah, this is addicting, and ill be waiting for the update that contains that part of this project like my life depends on it......hehehe
it really does depend on it
haha I logged on to check progress on the Orac³ and nothing was happening so I updated my case log and lo and behold the updates Up.
Nice work G-gnome you've given me a few ideas and forced me to try and get close to your standard of work. (starting to think pretty seriously about those shower hoses beats black curly wrap any day.
Keep up the good work.
BTW they're called acorn nut's not domed nut's but doens't really matter.
I believe this comment is used before, but I'll use it anyway:
Once again, most excellent work from our friend down under! I especially like the pump!
Question: did you polish the surface of the waterblocks before fitting? Y'know, to improve cooling..
Keep it coming, G-Gnome!
The pump looks absalutely awesome
This just keeps getting better and better
That's just absolutely awesome G-gnome, 'sif you didn't already know.
Your mod makes me proud to be an Aussie, that and whipping All Blacks at rugby
Read before posting
Well, great job G-gnome I like the finish. I'm looking forward to see how you're goning to plug in the SATA cables beside the power cables on your HDs... Seems to be a very tight fit... Well, I'm sure you have thoght of it
And that is the best thing I've ever seen anyone do to a pump. Looks great!!!
Keep it up
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