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Scratch Build – Complete HYDROPOWER

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by Dante Mutti, 29 Mar 2021.

  1. Dante Mutti

    Dante Mutti What's a Dremel?

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    [​IMG]

    INTRODUCTION

    The idea for this mod was to create a scratch built chassis that would showcase the water cooling components in a retro/industrial hydro-electric theme.

    DESIGN CONCEPT & INSPARATION
    I love building mods that have a retro, industrial, semi-steampunk feel to them. Within this design style I wanted the theme for this mod to center around water and electricity, while showcasing the water cooling components because this would be my first custom loop. I set out to make something that would not look like a computer, but rather some type of lab equipment that would be right at home in a post-apocalyptic underground laboratory.

    HARDWARE SPONSORS [Thank You!]
    EK Water Blocks: Water Cooling Custom Loop
    HyperX: Memory
    Fractal Design: Power Supply
    Patriot Viper Gaming: M.2 SSD
    Cooler Master: ControlPad

    HARDWARE
    CPU: Intel i7 9700
    Motherboard: ASUS TUF B360M-PLUS Gaming S
    Memory: 32GB Kingston HyperX Fury [8GB x 4]
    Storage: 500GB Viper M.2 NVMe + 1TB Viper M.2 NVMe
    GPU: NVIDIA Titan X Pascal 12GB
    Power Supply: Fractal Design Ion+ Platinum 860W
    Water Cooling: EKWB - Pump/Reservoir, Radiator, Water Blocks, Flow Indicator, Fittings, ZMT Soft Tubing
    Fans: Cooler Master SickleFlow 120 V2 RGB PWM [x 4]

    Original 3D Concept

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    The original plan was to make a chassis that was not a conventional shape. I would have the Motherboard, GPU, and water cooling components on the top, and the PSU inside a compartment in the base. The base would have vacuum tubes illuminated from below to give it a retro/vintage feel.
     
    Last edited: 30 Mar 2021
  2. Dante Mutti

    Dante Mutti What's a Dremel?

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    Constructing the Chassis
    The base and top were made out of brand new pieces of wood.
    Pieces were measured, cut, and loosely put together to make sure they looked the way I wanted before the the stain was applied.

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    The wood was then stained using an Ebony color wood stain.

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  3. Dante Mutti

    Dante Mutti What's a Dremel?

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    Electronics: Switches and Lightning
    Part of the theme of this mod is water, so I wanted some industrial items that related to this.
    I decided to use water valves to control the Power of the PC, and also various lighting zones throughout the PC.

    Brand new valves as I began to take them apart.

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    After they were dismantled, they were then painted and distressed.

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    They were then wired with electrical switches that would be activated by rotating the vales.

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    The top of the base was then wired with amber LEDs, half of them the type the flicker so there would be movement amongst the lights.

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    After the base was assembled, underlighting was then added to the bottom of the base.

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    Success!
    Once assembled, turning the Left Valve will turn on the computer, the Middle Valve will control the underlighting and vacuum tune lighting, and the Right Valve will control the lighting on the top panel.

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  4. Dante Mutti

    Dante Mutti What's a Dremel?

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    Computer Components
    On the top panel, the Pump/Reservoir Combo and the Radiator will be in the front, while the Motherboard and Video Card will reside in the back.
    Although the original plan was to have the motherboard in the front, I decided that I wanted to showcase the water cooling components a bit more, and to really try to have the mod not look like a computer at first glance.

    All of the components were mounted on aluminum sheets that were mounted as platforms on the top wood panel.

    Pump/Reservoir Combo and Radiator (Front)

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    Motherboard Platform and GPU (Rear)
    *GPU will also be installed on it's own platform, this picture was taken as I was sizing the available space

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    Front

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    Rear

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    A hole was cut into the base, so that the Power Supply would sit inside (not on top of) the bottom panel of the wood case.

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  5. Dante Mutti

    Dante Mutti What's a Dremel?

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    Rear Custom I/O
    Due to the location and position of the motherboard, I did not want to plug anything directly into it when it was time to use the computer. So I used panel mount extension ports for the power from the PSU, Video from the GPU, as well as USB, Network, and Audio from the Motherboard. I fabricated the rear I/O out of the same aluminum that I used for the back cover, and the platforms that all of the components are mounted on the upper panel.

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  6. Dante Mutti

    Dante Mutti What's a Dremel?

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    GPU Mount
    In order to mount the GPU vertically on the rear of the top panel, I had to build a platform mount using a sheet of aluminum, radiator mounts, and the MNPCTECH Vertical GPU Mount.

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  7. Dante Mutti

    Dante Mutti What's a Dremel?

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    Custom PSU Wires
    I hand-made all of the wiring in this mod, and about 200 Feet (61 Meters) of wire was used in total. I wanted the wiring to keep with the retro industrial theme, and because of this I chose to use yellow and black striped wire, and expose it in a controlled manner throughout the mod. This being an open-air chassis, wire management was one of the most challenging aspects of this project.

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  8. Dante Mutti

    Dante Mutti What's a Dremel?

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    PCIe Riser Cable + The Mesh
    One of my favorite things about this mod is the PCIe Riser Cable. I really didn't like how it looked when I first plugged it in, so decided to turn an eye-sore into a focal point.

    I know it's a simple thing, but as a modder, this is one of the items I am most proud of in this mod, as I have never seen anyone else mod the PCIe Riser Cable and I feel it makes a huge difference in the look of the components.

    I used metal mesh throughout the mod that I purchased from an old farm sale. I wanted to have the materials I used be prevalent throughout the design and the metal mesh was no exception. I wrapped the PCIe Riser Cable in the metal mesh and then shaped it the way that I needed it to fit between the motherboard and the GPU.

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    I continued to use the mesh in many other places of the mod, which helps to bring the design together.

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  9. Dante Mutti

    Dante Mutti What's a Dremel?

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    The peripherals part of this project will be broken out into 3 separate items:
    1. The Graphical Display Unit
      Monitor
    2. The Sound Module
      Headset
    3. The Control Board
      Input devices consisting of a Cooler Master ControlPad, Mouse, Mouse Pad
     
  10. Dante Mutti

    Dante Mutti What's a Dremel?

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    The Graphical Display Unit
    I had always wanted to try a monitor mod, but I didn't want to simply add decorations around the screen or on the stock monitor stand. I wanted to build something that would not only compliment the custom mod it would be next to, I wanted it to be something of equal complexity and caliber. So I decided to build another chassis, just like the one that was built for the HYDROPOWER Mod that holds up the PC Components, but this one would hold up the monitor, a matching set!

    This is the completed PC part of the mod, and the inspiration for the Monitor Mod, A.K.A. The Graphical Display Unit:


    Front / Back


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    Whenever I build a mod I tend to buy several different parts for the theme that inspire me, but I seldom end up using them all. With the monitor mod, I was able to take the parts that did not make it into the primary PC mod, and use them on the matching monitor mod.

    I started by making a base out of pine, in the same shape as the PC.
    Stained it black (Ebony), and marked where the holes would be for the LEDs and the vacuum tubes.

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    I wired single amber color LEDs in each hole that will hold the vacuum tubes, and made a rotary switch that will control the lighting from a water valve.
    The water valve was brand new, and I used yellow and black paint to distress it and have it match the valves on the primary PC Mod.

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    I purchased a set of vintage Voltage and Amperes gauges from 1947 on eBay.
    The gauges were 73 years old, a matching pair, and still functioned perfectly.

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    The Volts Gauge and the Valve Rotary Switch were mounted on the front panel of the base.

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    Underlighting was then added to the bottom of the base.

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    I routed the wires from the underlighting through the main support pipe, and filed a space on the top to allow for the wires to come out and not get pinched.

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    I added an electrical junction box on the side of the monitor stand, where I will run wires for Front USB Ports, and 3.5mm Ports for the Headset.

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    The junction box was painted with clear-matte acrylic paint to remove the shiny new finish.

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    Yellow LEDs were added to the inside of the box for a little extra touch.

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    The top panel in the front will hold the monitor, but on the rear of the panel I added more retro/industrial goodness.

    I started with a sheet of aluminum, and drilled holes for the Amperes Gauge, and some retro electrical fuses.

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    In order to return a reading/current on the Amperes Gauge, I added a small circuit board that is intended to be used with battery chargers, as well as LEDs for lighting.

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    I created a custom rear I/O plate that matches exactly the one used by the HYDROPOWER Mod, with panel mounted extensions for the HDMI Video, 3.5mm Headphones and Microphone, USB 3.0, and Power.

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    The Power is split internally between the Monitor and a 12V Power Brick that powers the LED Lighting.

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    When the PC is running, you simply connect the HDMI, USB Ports, and 3.5mm Ports from the rear of the PC to the rear of the Monitor Stand.
    This is the rear of both the PC and the Monitor Stand (monitor not mounted yet).

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    Headset Holder was also added to the top panel.

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    Completed

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  11. Dante Mutti

    Dante Mutti What's a Dremel?

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    The Sound Module
    This headset already matched the look and feel of the mod perfectly, so I decided to add some of the mesh that I used throughout the mod, so that it would come together with the customizations found in all of the other pieces that are a part of the HYDROPOWER Mod.

    The one thing that all the pieces have in common is the use of the metal mesh.

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    And now on The Headset as well.
    Mesh was used on both sides of the headset, cut to the exact shape of the outside of the ear cups, with the Cooler Master Logo cutout for more visibility.
    The Mesh was attached utilizing the built-in magnets that hold the outer earcup covers.

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  12. Dante Mutti

    Dante Mutti What's a Dremel?

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    The Control Board
    This will be the primary input device, which will hold a Cooler Master ControlPad, and Gaming Mouse.

    This project began with a 12 inch X 22 inch X .25 inch (30 cm X 55 cm X 6 mm) sheet of solid aluminum.

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    The sheet was then off to the CNC Shop where an area was carved out the exact shape of the mousepad, .125 inch (3 mm) deep, or about half the thickness of the aluminum sheet.

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    Both the ControlPad and MM830 Mouse that will reside on the Control Board are wired peripherals, so in order to keep the wire management clean, I added an electrical junction box with a USB 3.0 Hub inside. Both the ControlPad and Mouse will connect to the hub inside the junction box, and a single USB Cable will exit the box through the rear and connect to the PC.

    The USB Hub turned out to be a little too large for the box, so I removed the housing of the hub and it fit perfectly.

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    I drilled holes in the top of the aluminum sheet to attach wire clips that will hold the mouse wire.

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    A mouse bungee was also added to keep the cord from getting snagged while gaming.

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    Completed

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  13. Dante Mutti

    Dante Mutti What's a Dremel?

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    Final Pictures

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  14. censored_Prometheus_

    censored_Prometheus_ Minimodder

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  15. radziecki

    radziecki What's a Dremel?

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    Duuuuuuuude! EPIC!

    Would you mind sharing some details how you turned the valves into switches?
     
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  16. Dante Mutti

    Dante Mutti What's a Dremel?

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    Thanks!

    There are several ways to do it, some are quite complex and require glue and drilling, I found that this method is by far the easiest and it is what I used. The only thing I did different is I used a pipe where the sides were 1 inch and the top was 3/4 inch. In the video, he uses a pipe that are all 1 inch and uses a 3/4 inch reducer. Both will work fine, if you can find a pipe that is already the size you need then it looks a little cleaner.

     
  17. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    So YOU were the reason I couldn't find a water main shutoff recently. :lol: Great end result.
     
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