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Guide Make your Own Waterblocks (part of Project Monolith)

Discussion in 'Modding' started by rainwulf, 26 Oct 2008.

  1. rainwulf

    rainwulf What's a Dremel?

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    Pretty well my first post here, but love the site, and spent a long time just reading.
    I have decided to start on my own project, which will be a complete custom case built from scratch, with watercooling throughout.

    When i mean throughout, I mean THROUGHOUT.

    The machine specs are as follows:
    Phenom 9950BE
    4 Gig generic ddr2-800 which will be upgraded to DDR2-1066
    Asus M3A79-T Deluxe
    3870X2
    4 320gig drives in 2 raid0 arrays
    Physx PPU
    X-fi extreme music.

    yes, i have a physx card haha.
    it has a fan/heatsink on it though, which means, waterblock is needed!


    I am going to watercool everything that gets hot.
    CPU
    GPUs, the bridge chip and the mosfets, and the GDDR3 on the 3870X2
    The motherboard northbridge, southbridge, CPU mosfets, DDR2
    The x-fi
    The PPU.

    The PSU, however that might not be watercooled, because it will make it extremely difficult to upgrade/replace on failure.

    I know its overkill. I know some of those components do not need to be watercooled.
    But since i will be making every single waterblock by hand, might as well do it all right?

    I have already made the CPU waterblock.
    [​IMG]

    I made that years ago to cool a barton cored athlon 2800+, and now with a new clip, will be used to cool the phenom.

    The cpu will be putting the MOST heat out of all these items, its a 140 watt device, and is overclocked from 2.6 to 3gig, and higher once its watercooled.
    The 3870 cores will be the next hottest devices, but nowhere near the heat output of the cpu. The rest of the hot devices are of all small wattages, so I wont
    need much to cool them.

    So it comes down to the manufacture of waterblocks. My radiator is a copper cored heater unit out of a japanese car.

    [​IMG]

    It has a very fine fin pitch, and massive surface area, which means normal axial fans can barely pull air through this thing, which is a whole different story to be worked on later.

    The core of Project Monolith is the cooling of all hot components, and the actual subject of this log.

    I will be using 1/2 inch pipe for the cpu, 1/4 inch for the gpus, and the rest 1/8 thin wall copper/silicone. Yes 1/8 is tiny, but for the wattages concerned, it makes no difference.

    The time consuming part is now to make waterblocks. I have to make a whole assortment of them, all different sizes, capacity, and roles. Some of them will perform the role
    of a manifold as such, taking 1 large coolant flow and breaking into smaller ones, and vice versa. Some will have to be low profile to fit into tight spaces (southbridge cooler)
    others will have to be manufactured very carefully to make full contact and fit into tight spaces (DDR2, and the DDR2 mosfets just under the ram slots)

    Monolith will consist of a multitude of copper and silicone tubing, running and collecting coolant from all places, and will be part art, part functional.
    A bit of steam punk involved heh.


    You cant get waterblocks for half of these components, and of the ones you can get, often expensive, or hard to install.
    I have a lot of machining experience, so thus, i will actually MAKE every single waterblock in project monolith.


    Thus starts, Monolith:Waterblocks.

    Copper is my material of choice due to a lot of reasons, primarily is that i can solder it, and its heat conductivity, and when polished, looks pretty damn good.
    Its not cheap, but the bulk source of copper is basically thick sheeting which is relatively cheap, and easy to work with.
    Copper is ductile, soft, and you have to be careful not to dent it, or bend it. It also work hardens, which can be an issue if you are inexperienced with it.

    I also use copper plumbing components which helps, because some of the components i dont have the tools to make.

    So here come the pics.
    The bulk material.
    2mm Thick Pure Copper Sheet.
    [​IMG]


    1/4 and 1/2 inch copper endcaps (1/2 inch pictured)
    and 1/8inch Thin wall Copper tubing.
    [​IMG]


    When working with copper, its softness can cause problems, so you have to protect your pieces, hence a vice with "softjaws" made out of aluminium held in place with double sided tape.
    Its not perfect, i would have preferred polypropolene jaws, but my girlfriend will probably be upset if i sliced up the breadboard :) Wood is also an alternative.
    Just dont use the steel jaws, otherwise you will end up with large chunks cut into your copper, or holes and divots. Hard to polish out.
    [​IMG]


    So you have your raw materials, for tools a drill, hacksaw, and files, and for assembly, a small gas torch pictured up above. Solder is good too.
    For my first block i will use a template. Its an asus motherboard, and they use a fairly common heatsink design. I had a old heatsink, so i could use
    that as a template.

    On the copper, i have marked out the shape to cut.
    [​IMG]

    All hacksawed out to shape.
    [​IMG]

    Filed down.
    [​IMG]

    Attachment Holes drilled. (Push Pins in this case)
    [​IMG]


    In this case, using the 1/2 inch endcap, and 1/8th tubing. This heatsink is going on my northbridge. You can use the piping and copper caps
    according to your needs.
    [​IMG]


    1/8 hole drilled into the end cap.
    [​IMG]
    This is the exhaust port.

    1/8 Drilled into the top. The copper caps have a little logo thats centered which makes it easy to drill the center hole.
    [​IMG]


    1/8 Tube in the side. Sliced with the good ol dremel.
    [​IMG]


    Both tubes in, and the end cap is sitting on the heatsink i used as a template.
    The top tube is pushed in to the end cap until its approximately 3 mm from the bottom of the cap.
    This forces the coolant to come out of the pipe and flatten against the baseplate before being
    forced out of the exhaust port.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    All soldered up.
    You have to be careful at this stage. I used the template heatsink to sit the hot copper on as i soldered it.
    I used a small gas torch to heat up the copper until it turned slightly reddish, which usually indicates its hot enough.
    Then i applied solder to the joins between the pipe and end cap. When its hot enough, the solder instantly wicks into
    the joint.
    [​IMG]

    Notice the slight pink colour.
    [​IMG]

    Clean the base plate, i use a chemical called CLR and a pot scrubber to clean the copper to a nice shine.
    CLR is a cleaner marketed in aus, "Calcium, Lime, Rust"
    Just a bunch of mild acids and detergents that cleans metal really well.
    You could use brasso or some other metal cleaner for it as well. The cleaner the copper, the easier it is to solder.

    I also find the center using a ruler, and drill a 1mm deep hole. Just a little divot to create some turbulence.
    [​IMG]


    The final block. Just sit the endcap on the baseplate, and heat them both up with the torch.
    Clean it up with the CLR and scrubber, and its basically done.
    The last thing to do will be to lap the bottom if you desire.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Bigger pic of the final block. Clicky.
    http://www.rainwulf.com/art_images/nbblock/DSC02805.JPG


    And done.
    This is the northbridge cooler, the next one i make will be the southbridge which will be constructed using the same method.
    After that will be the ram and mosfet blocks for the motherboard, these will use a different method which i will document.
     
    Last edited: 26 Oct 2008
  2. Acolyte

    Acolyte What's a Dremel?

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    When you solder the endcap to the baseplate, don't you have trouble with the existing joints melting?
     
  3. rainwulf

    rainwulf What's a Dremel?

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    They do melt, but because the tubes are actually pushed into the end cap (friction fit) they dont move even if the solder goes liquid. If they do shift a bit, its fairly easy to push them into place with a screwdriver until the solder solidifies.
     
  4. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    Welcome (back?)to BitTech...(join date 2004?!?!?)

    I have to ask- Are you going to do a polished steampunk, or a grunge steampunk?:D
     
  5. Teyber

    Teyber ******

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    nice cap waterblock. next time why don't ya try a cap in cap? just buy incrementally larger cap's and braze them over each other, drilling a hole in each one to allow it to go to the next step.

    Nice work, good solder job. (i hate solder though :p )

    cheers
     
  6. modsquad

    modsquad Grease Monkey Undergraduate..

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    that is a bit Frightening.. solder endcap to baseplate.. It does look cool (IMHO). It's almost Halloween..
    SO- a "water monster" is befitting.. BEWARE.. "water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink" (Rime of the Ancient Mariner)..
    MS
    Happy-Halloween rain.. and best of luck..
     
  7. rainwulf

    rainwulf What's a Dremel?

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    Grunge Steampunk, its hard to polish them up really well with solder, but you can do a lot with sandpaper and the dremel.


    Teyber, i would do that for devices that get super hot, but these blocks are only for the lower heat devices. If i was to make a CPU block in this fashion i would use nested endcaps.

    Cheapskate, yea joined a long long time ago to post a question and i think thats all really heh.

    Today i made more blocks!!!

    baby brothers for the X-Fi, and Physx PPU.
    [​IMG]

    You can see in this pic my older style waterblocks made by soldering together copper sheet.
    [​IMG]


    More pics of the block style blocks.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    The twins.
    [​IMG]




    modsquad, some of your mods are incredible :)
    I think what im doing is unique in that i am cooling every single thing that can produce heat.
    It takes me on average 10 minutes to make one of the baby waterblocks, and they can fit on anything thats hot.
     
  8. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    OOPS! -You shouldn't have said that.:D Now you MUST sand and polish them.:hehe:
     
  9. rainwulf

    rainwulf What's a Dremel?

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    heh, i figured that.

    I started last night using a file, and the wire brush on the dremel to clean up the blocks. they come up quite nicely actually!
    Today im buying all the sandpaper to lap them flat, plus copper polish, and the special clear lacquer that will keep them nice and shiny forever.
     
  10. rainwulf

    rainwulf What's a Dremel?

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    More news.
    Today, went and picked up the black piping for the internal coolant lines. Copper and Black is the theme so far.
    Also picked up some cable ties to be used in the future, plus two terminal boxes that will be used as the intake and exhaust resovoirs for the entire system.

    [​IMG]


    And today i decided to test the efficiency of the copper blocks.
    I used my gas torch on max to heat up the face of the waterblock...
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    And then did THIS.
    [​IMG]

    Yes, im holding the other side of the waterblock while a gas torch is applied to it.
    I dont know about any of you, but i dont think that block will have any problems keeping anything cool.

    i didnt bother getting any polish/sanding stuff yet, because i have a LOT to go, at least another 10 blocks to make of various designs.
    Before polishing them, i have to soak them all in alcohol to dissolve the flux from the solder, then brush them with the dremel to get surface scratches out,
    lap them to a flat finish on the bottom for mating with the chips and whatnot, and then polish them to a shine with brasso, and finally hang them out to dry
    and then lacquer them with the special copper coating.

    Will be a bit labour intensive, but is going to be worth it.
    The white containers will also be painted black. Every single item in Monolith that helps cool will either be polished copper, or matte black.

    SWEET.
     
  11. rainwulf

    rainwulf What's a Dremel?

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    More updates!
    I went out today and bought some more dremel cutting bits, some more aluminum stock for my case, wetndry sandpaper from 1200 to 240, methylated spirits and acetone for cleaning duties, and the all important Brasso metal polish!


    I did more work today, primarily on the radiator.
    The radiator did have hose connections, but i broke them off on purpose to see how strong my 2 year old superglue effort held.
    lets just say, not a good thing.

    These are the connections to the rad. A mating surface, and two bolts either side.
    [​IMG]

    I needed to attach my hose connectors securely and without any chance of leakage.
    So what i decided to do was use two hose adaptors with the ends cut off, and an aluminum plate to clamp the connector against the mating surface, and then use
    plastiweld to hold it all together.
    [​IMG]

    These are the still to be polished aluminum plates.
    [​IMG]

    Which sit like this.
    [​IMG]

    I made them out of bar stock, and filed/drilled down. I held the two plates together so i could drill and file them at the same time
    to make them identical.
    [​IMG]

    Next up comes the plastiweld. This is a form of epoxy designed for plastic.
    [​IMG]

    Mixed up and attached.
    [​IMG]

    All that needs to be done is once the epoxy is cured (24 hours) i will take the plates off, and polish them to a nice shine to match the rest of the fittings in the case.




    I also made the last form of waterblock today. The simplest design, and what will be used to cool the psu (if i decide to), the ram on the motherboard and video card, the mosfets on both mb and video, the x-fi,
    and the hard drives.
    [​IMG]
    As you can see. Easy. Simple.



    I also have pics of the CPU cooler manifold which will also double as the system fill point, and point of interest in the case when lit by LED's.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    The cpu block itself.
    [​IMG]
    And together.
    [​IMG]

    Some more pics.
    The pump reservoirs.
    [​IMG]

    A lower profile miniblock with a rightangle joiner. Will allow me to fit it into tight spaces. I will also make another much lower profile version that will be one slot width.
    [​IMG]


    What i have done so far.
    [​IMG]


    This thread has kinda gone beyond making your own blocks.

    Could i get a mod to move this to project logs?
     
  12. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    OK, Where did you get the materials for that 'Uniblab' -looking manifold? That's cool.
     
  13. rainwulf

    rainwulf What's a Dremel?

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    Uniblab? the ufo thing?

    I used the front lenses out of the projection CRTs on a rear projection TV that i dismantled.

    They are perspex lenses that sealed the front of the crts under oil for cooling purposes. I have 3 of them in total ( RGB)
    2 go for the fill point, the third one will be going on the front of another junction box. Its my OTHER option for a fill point/point of interest
    in the case. Still working on that.

    I put my hand in a ceiling fan last night, and thus modding is a bit out of the question at the moment, left hand is sore as hell, and one finger is
    all cut up.

    Oh well!
    Time for design!
     
  14. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    Ow! Sorry to hear that.
    Those are something I'll keep an eye out for. It would be much easier than vac-forming one at home. I've never chopped a mega-TV up before. Now I wish I could.

    Uniblab is a Jetsons reference... I have no clue how I remember that stuff.
     
  15. Jipa

    Jipa Avoiding the "I guess.." since 2004

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    Good to see some good old DIY-waterblocks!

    And hopefully the hand will heal soon, I want to see more of the project!
     
  16. rainwulf

    rainwulf What's a Dremel?

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    Well the finger hasnt been a huge impediment to my progress, just slowed me down a little.
    So some more pictures are forthcoming!!!

    The intake and exhaust res.
    [​IMG]

    Holes drilled into the bottom for the attachment screws.
    [​IMG]

    M3 screws 25mm long screwed in, and with their matching nut.
    [​IMG]

    I used the plasti weld again to cover the bolts.
    I love this stuff. It has a solvent in it that slightly etches the plastic that you are sticking it on. It sticks VERY well.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    Half inch pipe fitting press fitted into a 12 mm hole on the top plate.
    The pipe fitting is 12.5 mm across, so i have to use the vise to force it in. It will never come out.
    I sealed it using model aircraft glue around the pipe, and forcing it in some more.
    Totally watertight.
    [​IMG]

    Both tops done. The 12.5 mm fittings are for the main CPU block.
    [​IMG]

    These are 4mm fittings for the smaller blocks.
    [​IMG]

    I put them in the vice and drill them out to 3mm instead of the normal 2. This increases flow.
    [​IMG]

    Both res's and some of the 4mm fittings in the top blocks.
    The top plates of the res's are glued in with proper PVC cement, and the screws are then covered in plasti weld. This provides me with a nice
    flat surface to mount the pipefittings, and will also file smooth so when its painted it will look nice and flat.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Assembled. The clear tubing isnt permanent for this testing phase, and in the final design on both inlet and outlets of the rad, there will be
    an inch of copper piping inserted that i will use to mount temperature probes.
    [​IMG]


    Main block mounted.
    At this point still waiting for the CA glue to cure for the 4mm fittings. While its curing its very vulnerable to water, so no test filling yet.
    You can see moisture in the lines from the last time i tested it with a different pump.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    Today, assembled the entire system. I made another block last night for the southbridge.
    So attached is the NB, SB, X-Fi, Physx and a block that i will hopefully use on the video card cross fire chip.
    [​IMG]

    Details on the 4mm pipe system.
    Obviously this is just a test, in the PC these will all be routed properly.
    [​IMG]


    Filled, NO LEAKS!!
    [​IMG]


    here it is working on my messy bench. Will leave it working for a while to make sure there are no leaks.
    [​IMG]

    Today i went and bought the final aluminium for the actual case build. As it stands so far, barring all the extra blocks for everything else in the machine, the watercooling system is done.

    Due to the design of the res, its very easy to add extra blocks as required. I just empty the system, drill the holes on the res for the 4mm fittings, glue them in, and all done.
    I am going to need that as i have only done 1/3 of the blocks required for the build. The next block to build will be for the motherboard mosfets.

    Next up will be Monolith:Case.
     
    Last edited: 2 Nov 2008
  17. Von Lazuli

    Von Lazuli I get by fine with a jig-saw.

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    I don't quite see it but what is your sequence there? Pump -> Res -> One of a gazillion Blocks -> Res #2 -> Rad -> Pump?

    Getting all the air out of the loop will be fun...

    Great little blocks though, I am interested to see how this goes. I like the copper look.
     
  18. rainwulf

    rainwulf What's a Dremel?

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    pump - radiator- res1 - all blocks in parallel(cpu block terminates in the clear res as well) - res2 - back to pump.

    res2 (intake res) is directly glued to the intake of the pump, reducing losses and cavitation. I also used my dremel to smooth the intake, and made it into a bit of a cone shape
    to help with coolant flow.

    Getting air out is a bit of fun, because of the multiple paths, it just takes a bit longer. I have to turn the pump off, and tilt the pump intake res back to allow air to bubble back up the pipe to the clear res.
    The majority of the flow does go through that clear res though, so its not to bad.

    What i will be doing is putting in two bleed lines that will allow the bubbles to rise.
    Its been running for about 5 hours now, still no leaks, and the water is crystal clear.
    Im going to allow it to run for 24 hours, then empty it so i can paint the white res's. I also have to take the cpu block down to the local workshop and use their metal lathe to take off a few mms. The block was originally designed for cpus with no IHS, but the phenoms do have an IHS already, so i have to take some of the copper out of the block to shorten the heat path.

    I also have to order more copper as well, i dont have enough to make the blocks for the ram and hard drives. I have enough left for the motherboard mosfet block, and the
    3870X2.
     
    Last edited: 2 Nov 2008
  19. rainwulf

    rainwulf What's a Dremel?

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    Bah, DISASTER.

    [​IMG]

    The template i used, that came FROM an asus motherboard doesnt have the right dimensions as the blocks on the M3A79-T!!!
    As you can see here, i traced the actual blocks from the board onto this lump of wood, becuase i knew the mosfet block is fairly special. Luckily i did both blocks, otherwise i would have gotten to the point of assembling the whole machine and be left with no blocks for NB and SB.

    literally 2 mm difference!!! BAH!!!

    The north and south bridge blocks just dont fit, and modifying them will make them look really dodgy, so i have cut the mounting tabs of them, and will use them instead for the 3870X2.
    Sigh.

    So yea, now i have to make the nb and sb blocks AGAIN. I have also run out of the 1/2 inch endcaps, well i have one left, so im going to use the 1/2 inch one for the NB, and the 1/4 for the sb. The sb doesnt make that much heat, so its not a real problem anyway.
    Oh well. More work!
    Oh, no leaks too. Ran overnight fine.

    So today, im going to make the nb and sb block again, as well as the mosfet block, and with whatever copper is left over, make the blocks for the video card ram and psu chips.
     
  20. rainwulf

    rainwulf What's a Dremel?

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    Well after that annoyance, progress has been made.
    starting the mosfet cooler!
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    For a device this close to the motherboard, it will be fairly difficult to route the coolant tubes. So what i have done is used right angle connectors.
    I know that they reduce flow, but in this case, who cares. The mosfets only need basic cooling, and this will be fine.

    [​IMG]

    I cut the ends of the copper at an angle so when the connector slides over it, it doesnt block of the flow.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Presenting, motherboard MOSFET cooler!!!
    basically the same design will do for the ram on the motherboard and video card, and also the hard drive racks.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: 3 Nov 2008
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