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Case Mod - In Progress Mineral Oil Submerged Computer - The Final Pics - 12/12/08 - Finished

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by OilPC, 15 Nov 2008.

  1. OilPC

    OilPC New Member

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    [​IMG]

    Hi, this is OilPC in Vancouver, CANADA.

    I have seen so many great and hard working people out there build cases or case mod projects and it is hard for me to express how much I'm fascinated with all the projects, big or small.

    That's the main reason why I have been hesitant to post my humble work here, but I finally decide to show what I have done.

    Maybe, one of the main reason I am posting this project is so that I may learn what you think about it and gather your comments, ideas or even criticisms to get more and better information before I start to build another one.

    I would like to tell you first that this is not a new idea. As far as I know, there are probably more than 100 (or even 1000) people who have tried this kind of cooling already around the world, and I am just one of them. In 2006, I happened to come across Tom’s Hardware site (http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/strip-fans,1203.html). There I saw a submerged oil system with cooking oil. Ever since then, I became very passionate and began to delve in deeper into non-conductive oil cooling.

    One last thing to mention, when you build a mineral oil cooling system, you are putting your system at risk, so make sure you think it over before making the final decision. As a side note, your hardware will no longer be covered by the warranty once you have dipped it in the mineral oil. Furthermore, there haven’t been any official tests which show that mineral oil is safe for the system. Please note, that building such a system like the mineral oil cooling system, is at your own discretion. Take everything into consideration before making your final decision, if you do end up building one.


    The name of this system(project) has not been decided either, so if anyone would like to suggest a name, that will be also greatly appreciated. : )

    Before I go all buck wild with the details and the procedures, here is a breakdown of how the instruction is going to be like. (Just think of it as a table of contents):



    Part 1 – Top and bottom units


    Part 2 – Acrylic tank and motherboard tray(Hardware Tray)

    Part 3 - Making the HDD able to breath in the mineral oil

    Part 4 – Power cables, Hardware Assembly and additional information

    Part 5 - The Final Pics



    I hope you will enjoy ,and may the great modding force be with you.
     
    Last edited: 15 Dec 2008
  2. OilPC

    OilPC New Member

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    Part 1 – Top and bottom units

    I am going to start with Part 1 now. Enjoy.

    The reason why I have decided to use wood instead of other materials is that it just looked good with my desk and other furniture.

    Given now is a simple overview of the structure of my system. It consists of a metallic tray that shields the hard-drive and secures the motherboard for the installation other hardware. (Just to make things simple, let’s call this metallic tray a “motherboard tray”) Once the tray is ready, it goes in a transparent acrylic container for the mineral oil to go in.

    Both ends of the container are held by wooden boxes which keep the container balanced and make space for the radiator, wires and switches to go in. When everything is assembled, the system is as tall as the height of my desk.

    Anyways that is it for the general overview. For the remaining time, I will be showing you how I built the top and the bottom units.


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    Here is a picture of me cutting the board with a table saw.

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    Here, I have cut out the lid as well as the sides to make a box shaped container for the top and the bottom unit.

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    Here I made a box shaped container for both the top and the bottom units. The only difference between them is that the height of the top part is slightly shorter than the bottom part.

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    After cutting out many pieces that will support the Acrylic Tank and other areas, I had decided to smooth out the surfaces with sandpaper.

    Here, I have drawn lines and dots to indicate where to cut and drill holes.

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    On the top part, I’ve decided to put a Kamameter(fan controller) from the Scythe, so I left a 5.25 inch of space to be cut. As for the switches, it will be going on the back.

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    I also had to find a place for the two 120 mm radiators to go because these components are needed to maintain the temperature of the oil.

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    After I drew lines that will indicate where things will go, I picked the right drill bit and drilled 4 holes so that it will be easier to cut the center with a jigsaw blade.

    Here, I am cutting 5.25 inch of space on the board.

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    Before sanding the board, I drilled holes for the handles to go in. Since the screws for the handle are relatively short compared to the board, I have used the spade bit to help keep things together.

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    For easy cleaning and moving, I have placed 2 handles on the lid and 2 handles on the front cover of the bottom part.

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    Now, I am going to assemble the boards together.

    First, I have brought out all the equipment that I need to assemble them together. For boards that are relatively thin, all I needed was a nail gun and a wood bond adhesive to attach them together.

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    At first I put some wood bond adhesive on them. Just enough so that none of it came out when I attached it.

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    After attaching them, I nailed them together.

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    This is a picture of me working on the bottom part now. I started to work on the sides first.

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    This is a picture after the assembly is done.

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    I also needed pieces that support the acrylic container. So, I decided to build a wooden supporter with metallic supporter and wooden nails that will hold the container.

    Also, if you take a look at the picture below, I had decided to put wood-fillings in the holes and damaged areas that have been caused by the assembling and nailing.

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    In this picture, I finished filling the damaged surfaces and nail holes with the wood-filling. As you can see, the yellowish area is the part that has been filled.

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    In the bottom picture, I finished sanding the surfaces just to smooth out the filled area.

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    After I finished assembling the top and the bottom part, I have decided to coat the pieces with darker wood stain.

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    To make sure the coat stays on the surface, you have to slowly rub it with a sponge and then spread it with a dry cloth.

    For a darker look, I put on another layer 30 minutes later.

    Here is a picture of the parts after it has been left for 24 hours to dry.

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    Here, I am making a meshed grill and handles for the front of the unit.

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    After placing the front of the unit with the rest of the bottom box, I placed a magnetic holder to open and close the door easily.

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    I finished building the bottom box. I have added the meshed grill for better air-circulation and the handles for the door.

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    Before installing the fans and the radiators, I had decided to work on the magnetic holder so that I can easily remove this part for cleaning and other uses.

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    After checking to see if two 120x120 radiators would fit into the hole, I prepared to install 4 aluminum fans and metal grills.

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    Here is a picture of the radiator with two fans on the front and the back.

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    Now, I am going to be working on the top unit. Here, I have to install the handle and the switches; but there is going to be a problem because the wood is too thick. So, instead of putting the switches on the wood, I had decided to place a small aluminum board where all the switches will be installed.

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    I am installing the Kamameter in this image. First I have to screw it with the screws that come with the controller. Then install the metallic supporter (for adjustment) and at last, use two wooden screws to hold everything together.

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    After putting all the things together, I made the lid so that it can close and open easily.

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    The top unit is done.

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    For the bottom unit, I can separate the metal grill lid, and the radiator lid.

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    Both the top and the bottom units are done. In the picture, I just put them on top of each other.

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    Thanks for reading everyone.
     
    Last edited: 15 Nov 2008
  3. OilPC

    OilPC New Member

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    Woops...I made a mistake...first timer...:blush:
     
    Last edited: 15 Nov 2008
  4. tominated

    tominated New Member

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    looking good. i'd like to see where this ends up
     
  5. OilPC

    OilPC New Member

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    Thanks, It won't take too long. : )
     
    Last edited: 15 Nov 2008
  6. OilPC

    OilPC New Member

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    Woops...I made a mistake again...posted same article two times...sorry...first timer :duh:
     
    Last edited: 15 Nov 2008
  7. sethnmalice

    sethnmalice New Member

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    If the whole thing is submerged in oil , wouldnt it leak out of the PSU and the IOPlate and the back of the Video card?,

    Ive seen something like this before and am fascinated on how it works, SUB'D, looking forward to seeing the rest of this.
     
  8. 985323

    985323 I am Jack's smirking revenge

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    Go canada Eh, im in edmonton. love the craftsmanship sofar, subd
     
  9. B4TM4N

    B4TM4N Ninja

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    This looks very good
    I wish i had your craftsmanship
    Cant wait for more!
     
  10. Jipa

    Jipa Avoiding the "I guess.." since 2004

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    I've seen a number of oilPCs, but most of them have been ghetto. This seems professional indeed :)
     
  11. talladega

    talladega I'm Squidward

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    Awesome! Cant wait to see the other parts of the system.
     
  12. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    I'm curious about how you sealed the hardrives.
     
  13. Spidermeld

    Spidermeld New Member

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    Sub'd. This is phenomenal.
     
  14. k.gen04

    k.gen04 New Member

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    Are you creating a 'wet' section, with the stuff to be cooled, and a 'dry' section, with the rads, hard drives, etc? Sick rad btw.

    Atomic MPC, an Australian computing magazine, did a fridge cooled mineral oil system a while ago, you might be able to leech stuff off it.
    http://www.atomicmpc.com.au/News/26054,the-atomic-super-cooled-liquid-pc.aspx

    EDIT: Sub'd.
     
  15. The_Beast

    The_Beast I like wood ಠ_ಠ

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    very cool and very professional
     
  16. OilPC

    OilPC New Member

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    @985323 : Nice to meet you too. Thanks for your comment. craftsmanship? .... I just did my best with tools I have. A professional might laugh at me. : )

    @B4TM4N : Thanks, its great to hear people are interested in. By the way, I like your ID. Very creative. : )

    @Jipa : Thank you for your warm comment. There are many great oil pcs out there. much better than mine... : )

    @talladega : You might be disappointed. so better to lower your expectation. : )

    @Spidermeld : Thanks, I felt the same I saw others. : )

    @k.gen04 : two hard disk drives are submerged in oil too.

    @The_Beast : Thanks, all warm comments give me a great feeling of pride. : )
     
    Last edited: 15 Nov 2008
  17. OilPC

    OilPC New Member

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    Getting interest from a guy like you makes me nervous... : )

    Before me, I haven't really seen anyone successfully submerging hdd in oil. Yes...there are some people who dip hdds in oil and end up having dead ones.

    I will show you how in part 3....I won't take long.
     
  18. 500mph

    500mph The Right man in the Wrong place

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    It looks pretty amazing so far, And it seems like you have the patience and skill to make this great!

    Possibly take a tube from the hole in the HDD to the top where it can breath? Seal it with silicon of course. I'm interested to see what you do.
     
  19. OilPC

    OilPC New Member

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    Part 2 – Acrylic tank and motherboard tray (Hardware Tray)

    The acrylic container is 3/8 inches thick.

    I gotta say, the acrylic is definitely thick and it isn’t cheap at all. But it’s all good because I needed something that can hold 28 liters of oil. Since the container is thick enough to prevent it from bulging or buckling when the oil is inside, it is definitely a smart choice to go for the thicker one.

    Also, I thought that instead of having a thin acrylic which will create less bonding area, the thick one will definitely make the container more dense and sturdy to hold things.

    Anyways, I have decided to cut out the acrylic into different pieces. As you can see in the picture, cutting acrylic make a lot of dust.

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    When cutting the acrylic panel, make sure you wear a mask and a safety goggle, because it is going to leave a huge mess.

    Below is a picture of a methylene chloride which I am going to use to glue them together.

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    It is probably wrong for me to call the methylene chloride as a glue or a bond because it has the property to melt the acrylic surface and make them fuse together.

    Also, when using this, be cautious not to drop any of it on the surfaces you don’t want because it will definitely leave a white stain.

    Anyways, as long as you use a right amount of glue (without any of them getting on the surfaces you don’t want), and hold them together, the thing is going to stick together.

    Just be careful not to have too much on because it is going to drip.

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    It will probably take 15 minutes for the panels to fuse together but just to make sure, you can let it sit for longer.

    Below is a picture of me making holes for the radiator and tubes.

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    When making the holes, make sure you make pilot holes first then use a spade bit to make the actual one. *It is important that you follow this step because if you try to drill holes right away, it may crack the acrylic panels.

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    The bonded panels didn’t look sturdy, so I’ve decided to install aluminum borders.

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    Here is just a picture of me cutting the aluminum borders so that it will fit the acrylic sides.

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    After I finished cutting the borders, I used an aquarium silicon to glue the aluminum border with the acrylic sides. This makes the container look a lot nicer, and most importantly, it will definitely prevent the oils from leaking.

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    Here I am just installing the pump outlets at the bottom of the container. Once again, I have used the silicon to glue them together so that there will be no oil leakage.

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    It seems like the acrylic container is complete. Now, I will be working on the hardware tray(motherboard tray) which will hold all the hardware.

    Below is a picture of the aluminum case that is going to be used for the motherboard tray.

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    First thing to do is to dissemble the parts from the aluminum case.

    I made sure that all the screws and rivets are separated. I disposed of the rivets using a drill.

    It was a tedious work to separate everything. Especially the rivets, there were so many of them.

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    At first I was planning to use the materials from the top picture to build the tray but ended up using the left overs to build support shelves.

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    The first thing I built was a supporting shelf for the hard-drive. When cutting the aluminum case, be careful because it is quite thick.

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    In the picture below, I have made handles for the tray so that it can be easily pulled out of the acrylic container.

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    Next, I built a tray for the power-supply which is going to be below the motherboard tray. I used the back part of the case and the metal plate to secure everything tightly.

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    Next, I cut the part of the power supply tray off to attach the hard-drive bay to the mother board tray later. I also cut the bottom part of the power supply tray to make the hardware tray to fit in the acrylic tank.

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    Below is a picture of me trying to make a perfectly sized tray for the hard-drive to go in. As you can see, I have used my broken hard-drive to measure a perfect fit for the hard-drive that I am going to install later.

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    Here with the left over aluminum case, I am going to make a tray where the female power connector, the hard-drive breathing hole tubes(fittings) and the LED are going to go.

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    Since the cut out edges are quite sharp, it is important to make them dull by sanding the edges and “rounding” the tips.

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    To make sure the screws didn’t get in the way, I had decided to cut off the protruding ends. Pictured below, it shows the amount by which one of the screws was cut out to reduce the size of the offending protrusion in the hard drive bay area.

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    As you can below, I cut out holes for the breathing holes on the hard drives, an opening for the oil, holes for the female power connector, and holes for the LED. Anyways with the rest of the pictures, they are quite self-explanatory.

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    Here is the picture of the hardware tray after everything has been assembled together.

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    Although it looked quite simple, building the acrylic container and the hardware tray took me 2 months to complete. Probably, laziness accounted for some time. Anyways, stayed tuned for part 3 of the mineral oil system.
     
    Last edited: 16 Nov 2008
  20. OilPC

    OilPC New Member

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    PSU is located at bottom of the oil tank (Acrylic tank) ,and IO plate and video card's ports are facing up at the top side of the oil tank. Basically the motherboard tray(hardware tray) is sitting on top of the oil tank. Oil is filled up to 3cm below from the IO plate. To put it simply, the keyboard, mouse ,and other IO ports are not submerged since they don't produce any heat. Then a gap is left in case of shaking of the unit like during an earthquake:D. Vancouver is not really safe from earthquakes. :lol:

    Thanks for your comment.
     

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