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Scratch Build – In Progress ITX Mk I

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by Vognen, 21 Aug 2015.

  1. Vognen

    Vognen Member

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    ITX Mk I - Creating an ITX case with full watercooling support

    ITX Mk I


    Hello everyone here at bit-tech, and welcome to my buildlog! Since this winter I have been planning to build an ITX case, with support of full lenght graphic cards, an SFX PSU and watercooling possibilities, that would satisfy even the most hardcore overclocker. I spent a good amount of time in Sketchup, and eventually came up with something I liked. It was almost like the final design, but instead of an SFX PSU I had planned to use an 1U like the one featured in eVGA's Hadron cases. After a bit of feedback on a danish hardware site, I redesigned a few bits of the case and ended up with the final design.

    Hardware used in the build:

    Motherboard
    NEW Asus Maximus Impact VII

    CPU
    Intel Pentium G3258

    Graphicscard
    Zotac nVidia GTX 670 2 Gb

    PSU
    Silverstone ST45SF - 450 watt, bronze

    Storage
    NEW Corsair Performace Series 120 gb SSD

    RAM
    NEW - 2x4 GB Corsair Dominator Platinum 2666 Mhz, CL11

    Watercooling
    EKWB CoolStream PE 240 and PE 120 radiator
    Gentle Typhoon AP15s
    Laing DDC 10 watt with Phobya top
    Fittings will mostly be Alphacool
    EKWB Supremacy CSQ Nickel/Plexi CPU cooler
    EKWB GTX 680 CSQ Acetal/Nickel GFX cover

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The final size ended up with 30 x 30 x 23 cm, which puts it roughly between the size of the Parvum ITX case and the Corsair 250D. Still a lot smaller than the very popular Bitfenix Prodigy. Materials was originally planned to be 2 mm aluminium, but due to lack of funds, and not being able to find a vendor that could help me with the cutting, I ended up with 3 mm acryllic, with the exception of the top plate and the mid plate, which will be made out of 5 mm acryllic for increased strenght and stability.
     
    Last edited: 1 Dec 2015
  2. Vognen

    Vognen Member

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    Cutting out the first parts

    Onto the making of the case! As I said in the first post, I am working with 3 mm acryllics. It's a material that's easy to work with, lightweight, but at the same time offers good strenght, and most importantly it's a forgiving material. It's easy to fix mistakes with a soldering iron and some spare acryllics. Something that's good, when you sometimes have potatofingers like me :naughty:

    I marked out everything using an angleruler, a small pencil and masking tape. It took its time, but when you're doing everything by hand you want things to be as precise as possible. In the complex where I live we have a nice little workshop in the basement, and it's the perfect place for me to work. First piece up for the making was the front

    [​IMG]

    After having cut out the piece, I used a drill to drill out the first small ventilation hole and went to work with my filing set. Pretty simple, and the result was quite good
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    When I peeled off the masking tape, I discovered a mistake. I had been a bit too fast with drilling out the last hole, and I had chipped the acryllic :wallbash: But not to fear. As I said you can fix a lot with a soldering iron.
    [​IMG]
    Once I get it sanded down, applied the primer and the paint, you won't be able to see it anymore.

    A quick test fitting to see if the radiator and the fan would attach without any problems :thumb:
    [​IMG]
     
  3. Vognen

    Vognen Member

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    Next part up for grabs was the topplate. Being made in 5 mm acryllic it must've taken me at least double the time, it took me to make the front. That, paired with a summer school chemistry examn, meant it took me a lot longer than expected to finish it, but it was worth the wait.

    After having made the first couple of vent holes, I decided it would be a smart idea to test the screwholes in case they didn't line up. I only had to expand 3 of them a slight bit, but after that I was able to attach them all to the radiator
    [​IMG]

    After spending around 12 hours filing and cutting it was done, and I could testfit the radiator and the fans. I really, really like how the case is shaping up so far
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Since I'm using transparent acryllic, I left on some of the plastic cover and masking tape, so it'll be easier to make the window once I start painting.
     
  4. Vognen

    Vognen Member

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    Altering the motherboard


    Now the motherboard from Gigabyte is originally red, but I intend to make use of UV-green and blue (yes I know this colour theme is overused like a "dank" meme, but blue and green happens to be my two favorite colours). So I decided to repaint the heatsink (kindly inspired by one of my favorite modders here on bit-tech ciobanulx, he's making an awesome mod of a Corsair 250D, so head over and check it out), to better match what I wanted. It took me at least 30 minutes to apply all the masking tape, but it was worth it :D

    [​IMG]

    First applied was a layer of white spraypaint to act as a primer, but also to cover up the red. Once it was dry enough to touch, without sticking to your fingers, I added the UV reactive paint.
    [​IMG]

    And the result mounted onto the motherboard:
    [​IMG]


    While the paint dried, I cut out the backpanel
    [​IMG]

    ... and "testfitted" the motherboard and the GFX to see if it all lined up, and luckily it did. Only thing there's left to do on the backplate, is to attach a piece, in which I can fasten the GFX.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Over the weekend I should be able to cut out the last parts of the case, and maybe do a quick fitting of it all, put together with ducttape, so that I'll be able to show you all an early impression of the case :thumb: Feel free to post comments, feedback or ask any questions you may have. I'll be happy to chat and answer as much as I can. 'till next time :clap:
     
  5. exexs

    exexs Member

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    Well good progress so far! Your color theme is going to be green for the watercooling too?
     
  6. Vognen

    Vognen Member

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    Thank you very much. It's really fun to do everything by hand, even if it takes a little longer. Yes the plan is to use UV green fluids as well, Feser One to be more specific :)
     
  7. arg-ist

    arg-ist Member

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    dont use bits for metal use bits for wood..

    [​IMG]

    Better this one

    [​IMG]

    and at low speed
     
  8. exexs

    exexs Member

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    What's wrong with the first ones? Because they exist for metal? I'll have to cut a 1.5mm aluminium soon, haven't buy it yet
     
  9. Vognen

    Vognen Member

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    There's pros and cons of using both kind of drills. The wood drills are really sharp, which means an even higher risk of chipping the acryllics, unless you're extremely careful. The metal drills on the other hand risk overheating, and instead of cutting, it almost end up melting through. I still prefer the metal drills, optimally I could buy an acryllic drill, but I'm almost done with drilling now :)

    You' want to head down to your local toolshop and ask for a HSS drill. Be sure to not buy the cheapest one, depending on how much you have to drill, and also I'd recommend buying a small size like 3 mm, and then using a file to add the precision :thumb:
     
  10. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    I've used metal bits for years. The trick is to have some sacrificial wood behind it and don't apply pressure.
    On really thick stuff you want to use water and clean the swarf off the bit frequently.

    It sounds like you knew exactly what went wrong anyway.
     
  11. arg-ist

    arg-ist Member

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    It is possible to drill acrylic with regular metal drill bits; however, the likelihood of melting, chipping, cracking or breaking the acrylic is much higher.

    İf you use metal drill bits 3-5mm radius, not too many problems. But if you use 5-10-20 mm …

    For best results, use drill bits designed specifically for acrylic. These bits have a different geometric structure that is designed to puncture acrylic more easily and they are less likely to melt plexiglass. .Metal drills melt plexiglass.

    Regular twist drills can be used, but need modification to keep the blade from grabbing and fracturing the plastic. Modify the bit by grinding small flats onto both cutting edges, so the bit cuts with a scraping action. If the drill is correctly sharpened and operated at the correct speed, two continuous spiral ribbons will emerge from the hole.

    You can also use a drill press working at about 500 to 1000 RPM.

    If your sheet is thick, do peck drilling, going a little at the time so that you can remove the shavings from your hole and allow the drill time to cool.This will also help to prevent melting.

    Place your plexiglass sheet on top of a piece of scrap plexiglass, (one that is already ruined), or a piece of Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF.)
     
  12. exexs

    exexs Member

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    I like when topics become technical and you learn stuff! (rather then just "good mod keep going" haha)

    Anyway for straight lines cut I used the jigsaw so far, it's so much easier, the cut is neat and you don't have to do anything except quick sanding. Because my first try I used a Dremel with metal drill and yeah, it melts and "stick back" together.. I didn't even know about the acrylic drill, I'll look for one at my store for next time!

    Thanks all for advises btw ;)
     
  13. Vognen

    Vognen Member

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    True, but isn't that also one of the fun parts of modding? Sharing experience and learning new techniques to improve what you're doing. At least that's something I enjoy ;)

    I used a jigsaw with a metal blade for straight cuts as well. I had some water I could pour on to cool it down, once it got too hot. For things like the ventilationholes, I first cut through with a dremel, just a tiny small hole, and then I cut the remaining stuff with the jigsaw. It saved me a lot of time, and was a lot more precise than using only a dremel :dremel:
     
  14. Vognen

    Vognen Member

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    Testfitting it all


    So I promised you guys I'd get all the parts done before the weekend ended, and that I'd do a quick testfitting, putting it all together with ducttape. So here it is! I'm surprised with how "big" it actually is, without it being large. I'm really happy with how it all came together, and now the big work of gluing, sanding, painting and all the actual modding is waiting.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Red Bull 0.25 L can for sizecomparison
    [​IMG]


    As always post comments, questions, whatever might pop up your head!.. 'till next time :clap:
     
  15. Vognen

    Vognen Member

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    Just a quick update :) Begun gluing the case together, and have ordered the last bits for water cooling on Aquatuning. Hopefully I'll have them by the weekend, and I'll be able to start putting the loop together.

    .. 'till next time
     
  16. ciobanulx

    ciobanulx Modder / Watercooler

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    Awesome progress mate! Can't wait to see it finished! Will be keeping an eye on this one :D
     
  17. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    Since we're throwing wild tips around in here: You can remove duct tape residue with naptha. Do it outside, and don't smoke.:lol:

    ...and you will have tape residue.
     
  18. phinix

    phinix RIP Waynio...

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    I'll throw one as well, if I may:)
    Do not use alcohol to clean acrylic (flame polished specifically). If you want to know what is going to happen, then use alcohol on some scrap acrylic piece on freshly cut and flame polished edge ...
     
    Last edited: 28 Aug 2015
  19. Vognen

    Vognen Member

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    I used some acetone. It vaporizes really quick, so you wont corrode the acrylic using that :thumb: So I was working a bit on the built in reservoir yesterday, but turned out I had done some wrong measurements, so I'll have to redo it. Kinda sucks, when it's the last thing that keeps me from being able to start painting the case. Oh well, I'll manage :dremel:
     
  20. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    @Vognen - Acetone attacks plastics. I've used it to fuse plexiglas before.

    Mineral spirits! You wanted to say mineral spirits.
     

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