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Scratch Build – In Progress Modular.

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by Vault-Tec, 24 Nov 2022.

  1. Vault-Tec

    Vault-Tec Green Plastic Watering Can

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    Hey everyone. Over the past few years I have let my modding slip. The reason for this is that it always took my rig out of commission. This was OK when I wasn't gaming much, but I am now. It is just too much of a ballache, so I could not do anything even approaching extreme. Just vanilla builds and upgrades.


    So, I am going to enter the arena once more.


    I have had this mad idea now for years about doing a scratch build. Every time I have started designing it though it has made me realise that I don't have the tools and machines in order to achieve what I would want to do. Maybe I was biting off more than I could chew? IDK.


    The last build I did that was even slightly extreme was the Stryker build last winter. I like to do PC stuff in that time, as most of it can be done in the warm. Sadly again I needed the rig working whilst I was doing this, and as such a custom paint job was about the best I could do.


    [​IMG]


    TBH? it was pretty cool. The paint came out really well. The only problem was that it wasn't cool. The temps on it were bad. Like, really bad. I never quite worked out why, but I think it was the radiator loaded in the side.


    [​IMG]


    It just couldn't breathe, and was not cooling. It also blew all of that hot air into the board, which made the CPU really hot even at idle. As such the GPU suffered. The thing is, I have had these rads and pump in another build and it was proper cucumber.


    [​IMG]


    The GPU never went over 46c. In the ITX build? it was struggling to stay under 70. So something was very wrong in there. Like I say, I think it was simply the rad in the side turning into a heater rather than a heat exchanger.


    So, once again you can always count on your friends to give you bad ideas. Cheers, Cenedd ! you git :D


    A couple of weeks ago Gareth asked me if I wanted his old crap. Usually I would say no, but he had a 2600k and I have a NAS with a 3470 in. That needs more threads. So I said "sure !". What I didn't realise was this old crap had a really nice CPU block on it. In absolutely pristine condition.


    [​IMG]


    Like seriously, you would never even know it was used. I took apart the above ITX build and put it into a way better case (see the Mini Me thread). The 2080Ti was removed and drained and dried, and then stashed away along with all of the equipment. But I was getting nagged by my conscience. "Come on man, now is the time !".


    And so I came up with the idea of Modular. A name that basically says it all.


    I know that stuffing water cooling into a hot box is a really bad idea. You live and learn. So what if I kept the cooling separate? So I started designing rad boxes, etc. I then found a Phobya dual 240 rad box on the bay, but he wants too much for it (about £70). Thing is? it is not enclosed either. I then struck upon the idea of looking for an ITX case. And I found one.


    [​IMG]


    "Does it hold a 240 top and bottom?" check.

    "Is is very well vented?" check.


    And so that will become my cooling box. In there will be two Bitspower 240 Leviathin thin rads, a DDC pump and top, a small res and obviously fans. I then hit upon the realisation that of course this box would have no power in it. And I don't want to fix a hulking great PSU just to run a pump and some fans. So I thought "what would be the easiest and most affordable way to power this contraption?" and then it hit me.


    [​IMG]


    No controller needed, full voltage control from 12 down to 0. No fans on it either, so no extra noise. And it was cheap, £12.


    So, the idea here is to build that first. That will be the first part of Modular. Once that is done? I can start looking into what I want the second unit to look like. Obviously it will have my 2080Ti "McDodgy Edition" in it, that has dodgy VRAM. However, I am sure if I can wind the temps down on it it still has much more life left in it. It was just in that specific application it wasn't happy.


    Of course box two will be ITX. I want to make that as small as humanly possible. The main box (above) will have the DDC in it. With a top and res. However, just to make sure the flow stays steady I have this that will be in the hardware box.


    [​IMG]


    Along with this diddy little top.


    [​IMG]


    I then utilised Black Friday to buy some hardware for the second box. I chose this board specifically because it has Thunderbolt. Meaning if in the future I want to add on more? I can grab an external GPU box.


    [​IMG]


    Of course I needed a CPU too. Grabbed a 11400F also.


    [​IMG]


    I have plenty of DDR4. I even have some in white.


    At home I have a 850w Dell PSU. It works perfectly. Only thing is the cables are crap, so I have been using it as a test unit. However, I recently bought a SF kit for my EVGA PSU and here is what was left. Seriously, there are about 12 8 pin PCIE power cables in there.


    [​IMG]


    Cenedd showed me the best depinning tool ever, so I am going to take those home with me and pin the Dell PSU with all of the spare cables. I will paint the body of it at some point, as it is stainless silver.

    I also have this. So the scratch build modular box will be a sandwich design.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Vault-Tec

    Vault-Tec Green Plastic Watering Can

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    Update one.

    The board and case arrived overnight.

    [​IMG]

    Couple board shots.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    NVME RAID here we come !

    Edit. NVME RAID here we are !

    [​IMG]

    Had a look on Amazon on BF. £34.99 each for 500gb. They do 3400 reads, too, meaning in RAID they should be barbaric. So I bought two.

    Update one point five. The case.

    So obviously it arrived. I should have left it until I return, but you know how that goes. It doesn't.

    So I got it out. I then began removing the detritus. Which continued. I was also enormously happy to find that the badge on the front was not mounted. IE, it wasn't pins with holes drilled into the case. It was just literally a sticky badge. Good, off it came.

    [​IMG]

    And said detritus.

    [​IMG]

    I must mention that it is very tinny and flimsy. However, given I will have no interaction with it once it is done, being a "dumb" box it doesn't matter, because it looks friggin awesome.

    It still needs to be modded a little more extensively. I need to drill out 6 rivets so I can remove the PSU holding plate. It gets in the way of the rad and fans in the top. Once that is out though? yeah, very simple mod.
     
  3. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    I'm curious what you have planned for the scratch part.
     
  4. Vault-Tec

    Vault-Tec Green Plastic Watering Can

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    Me too ! lol. I need to get the cooling box finished first, then I shall release the secrets.

    Update two, the power supply. And other assorted bits.

    So today the SSDs arrived.

    [​IMG]

    I came home, and had a dig in the stash. Soon found some goodies.

    [​IMG]

    Most importantly the PCIE 16 ribbon and DDC pump bracket from my Lian Li 012.

    I also have this left over from Mini Me (Q58) and I think I can use it.

    [​IMG]

    OK, so over to our victim. One 850w Dell 80+ Bronze PSU.

    [​IMG]

    It's not pretty. I also hacked in two wires so I could jump start it etc. So let's fix it. First we sit and depin all of the Super Flower cables.

    [​IMG]

    And then we start gleefully swapping them..... Until we hit a road block. They are not all straight cables. Some are doubled FFS. Now I had already decided to do one half of a connector green, and the other black. Little did I realise this would work out in my favour as I will explain shortly. So there was lots of this.

    [​IMG]

    And eventually we were chicken on a bear.

    [​IMG]

    I will cable tie it together in increments to make it stay in the new shape. Now, let us go back to what I was saying about how I got lucky. I decided to do the green first. No cable in the green row is doubled. They are all on the black half. Meaning I could do this.

    [​IMG]

    Without completely ruining how it looks. Obviously I do not have bright green heat shrink....

    And with that I am quite happy. My hands are not. Very sore.

    I shall pick up tomorrow on the other cables, as I noticed a lot of those are doubled too. Oh joy !

    Right that is everything done but the PCIE. Will tackle that tomorrow, my hands need a rest.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: 26 Nov 2022
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  5. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    Soldering over new carpet and cardboard... You are a brave sob!
    That's not one of Dell's stupid proprietary pin out PSU's, right?
     
  6. Vault-Tec

    Vault-Tec Green Plastic Watering Can

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    No mate. Well, sorta kinda. Everything on the PC end is totally normal. There were a couple of oddities, though. Like this.

    [​IMG]

    There was a 8 pin EPS at the bottom to feed the PCIE slots in case you were tri sli. It was still a thing then. The cables were also very odd lengths, but are not now ! they are all very long now lol.

    As for the muff? it's fine dude. I bought a couple of new albums the other week and they come in these cardboard sleeves, so I had those down when soldering.

    A bit of Pearl Jam whilst hurting one's fingers.

    [​IMG]

    Update two point five. We have finished wiring.

    [​IMG]

    It is messy. However, I have now designed the case layout in my head and you will not see any of it. Well OK, you will see the GPU cables but they are perfect as I realised the doubled cables in those were grounds, so I made two 8 pins going into 4 connectors (the PSU had 4 8 pins). So no doubling was required on those.

    I have also bought this for my 2080Ti.

    [​IMG]

    You will see why in a future update.
     
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  7. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    I never had the nerve to buy vinyl through the mail. All the footprints and tire tracks and crushing I have seen keep me from it.
     
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  8. Vault-Tec

    Vault-Tec Green Plastic Watering Can

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    These carrier boxes are proper strong. Thankfully I have had no casualties, because I always opt for the bloody expensive coloured limited ones !

    Update two point seven five. More PSU antics.

    There were two ways you knew this unit was on. One, it clicks loudly when it starts (relay) and secondly you could hear the whoosh. It never bothered me, because within two days of buying that new PC in 2015 Tom Logan sent me a AX1200. So when I said it has had about two hour's of use at best? I meant it. I have only used it for firing up pumps when building loops independently of the hardware.

    OK, so I took it apart. DISCLAIMER. DO NOT TAKE PSUs APART IT IS VERY DANGEROUS. They store voltage for a long time after being powered down, which in my case was just yesterday. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

    [​IMG]

    First thing I noticed was that the fan had a plastic air guide on, but also teflon tape all around the outside. So, I replicated that.

    [​IMG]

    Adding my own tape around the chassis of the fan.

    [​IMG]

    I then put it back together and tested again. Ahhhh, bliss. You literally have to pick it up and put it to your ear now.

    [​IMG]

    BTW that Deluxe Halo (alu) hanging around in the pics is going here, sans the RGB.

    [​IMG]

    I just want to make the body of the PSU look a bit more interesting. It will be getting painted, so bear that in mind.
     
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  9. Vault-Tec

    Vault-Tec Green Plastic Watering Can

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    Update two point nine. Nine nine nine, nine nine nine nine.

    OK so I found some nuts and bolts. So I made the halo permanent.

    [​IMG]

    Next step on the PSU is to strip it (that will be fun, it's modular !) and paint it.

    OK so it is time to talk about the GPU. I originally bought it cheap about two weeks before the 3080 launched. Seller told me it had VRAM issues, which was fine considering how cheap it was. I never found those issues in the original loop. It all worked fine. In the small rig though it was getting too hot, and thus displaying issues.

    A lot of the problem was the back of the card. It doesn't matter how much cooling I threw at it the back of the card was soaking up heat. Which does not help the VRAM at all.

    So, as I posted, I bought a new back plate.

    [​IMG]

    And I will now explain why. The one on the card is stupid. Has RGB, etc. It is also angled and not flat.

    [​IMG]

    So now you are probably wondering why I care. Well, the answer is simple. I need a flat back plate. I need it because when I bought the card it had this on it.

    [​IMG]

    And everything else in the rig was Bitspower. So I fancied treating myself. To this.

    [​IMG]

    But also because it saved me taking the Barrow apart and cleaning it out etc etc. I was being lazy, in the best way :D

    So, when I was digging through the cupboards doing my almighty clearout a couple of weeks back (which is ongoing) I found it. The Barrow one. Which got my brain going. What if I had the cold plate milled flat, and then attached it to a back plate?

    Water jacket. It will also alleviate the biggest problem the card has, heat. Plus it also allows me to cram it into the smallest enclosure possible without worrying about it frying.

    The Alphacool cost me a tenner, and comes with pads to surround where the VRAM and core etc go.

    [​IMG]

    The only hard part? is how to attach it. I have a feeling I will be buying some thermal epoxy....

    I am also going to have the total waste of acrylic machined off it too, so even flipped it can be centred on the hot part.
     
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  10. Vault-Tec

    Vault-Tec Green Plastic Watering Can

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    Update three. Materials and hardware.

    So to finalise the spec of the build I had to take apart my backup gaming PC here at home. It has my old trusty Threadripper in it and too much RAM. I built a NAS with it a while ago and made it a bit silly. So, I removed it and recommissioned it as a gaming PC with my 2080Ti Kingpin in. Just incase I have issues with my main PC. Or, need to do work on it etc. I did have it on the TV for a while, but now I don't have room so I will be setting it up in the bedroom soon for winter. Especially now that I have stopped using my Xbox.

    Any way, it had 64gb RAM in it. Two quad kits. I bought one, and then my mother got an Amazon voucher when she switched internet and gave it to me for setting her up, doing the switch etc. So I grabbed a second set. So yesterday I had to pull out the four white DIMMs.

    [​IMG]

    That is another reason I went with Intel over AMD. Because the board was so much cheaper, and the RAM I have is "only" 3000. Which on Intel won't matter at all.

    So that is the spec of the rig. As I mentioned I have gone over some designs in my head and pretty much have it nailed. I do need exact sizes, which is why I haven't put mouse to Photoshop yet. However, I did notice a cracking deal on some acrylic.

    [​IMG]

    The last time I bought a sheet of A3 in 5mm it cost me £8. That was in 2015. These cost me £8.40 each and I have bought 5. The next best price was £14 a sheet.

    Total cost £44. That said I do expect to maybe ruin at least one, so that was why I bought extra. You will see why in a upcoming update.

    Talking of which there probably won't be any for about a week now.
     
  11. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    Plastic! :clap:
    Just warning you again not to play any games with the heat gun over the carpet. :lol:
    -I can't help it. Carpet has gotten stupid-expensive. The current trend is to replace renter's ruined carpet with wood-look linoleum.
     
  12. Vault-Tec

    Vault-Tec Green Plastic Watering Can

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    I won't be doing any of the physical stuff here dude. That shall all be at my mother's, and will probably take place in the attic. Not bending anything either, so no heat needed.
     
  13. Vault-Tec

    Vault-Tec Green Plastic Watering Can

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    Update four, Computerized Numerical Control.

    It is the one thing I have always wanted to do, but at the same time could never justify what it would cost. There were no hobbyist units when I did my last serious mod, and they were hundreds if not thousands of pounds.

    It wasn't just the cost putting me off either. It was learning something I have absolutely bloody no idea how to do - 3D.

    I tried to pick up Fusion and other 3D apps but the knowledge of entry is extremely steep. I never grew up in that world, and my days of spending 20+ hours sat in front of a PC are over. I just can't do it.

    What I do know is Photoshop. Like, every dark deep nook and cranny. As such this has always kept me away from 3D apps and learning them.

    Couple with that I have a lot of experience and knowledge in creating X and Y code, because I used to partake in a hobby that required a lot of it. So I already understand the axis part very well. Thus, I decided to spend a lot of time trying to find what was right for me. I have now found it.

    The CNC I am most interested in is also the most afforable. This one.

    [​IMG]

    Now most would balk at that. "It's too small, the motor is slow and weak" and etc. And TBH? they would have a point, if thinking big. I tend not to, and like to buy items based on use case and what I require. Same as the software side I guess. So I have now spent a week studying them, and the pros and cons, and what software is available. And today? I found the killer combo.

    Oddly enough I stumbled upon it whilst watching a video with 0 relation. The software side of things was still concerning me greatly. I did not want to have to learn how to reinvent a wheel I spent 20 years creating (IE my knowledge of Photoshop). As such? until last night I was still terrified. Then last night I watched a video about a guy making motherboard boxes with slide out trays out of wood (with a laser). I mean, I guess it was somewhat related, but the chord was struck when he pointed out -

    "Sorry, no Gcode for these because I drew them as PNG in Photoshop".

    Eh? come again?

    The software I had decided to use is called Easel. So today I installed it and hoped it would just open a PNG I had created in Photoshop. It doesn't. F**K !. However, I then realised that it did open SVG files. As such I drew a quick knockup in PS, then opened it in Illustrator (which I really don't know how to use I just know how to convert into vector with it) and...

    [​IMG]

    BANG.

    Disclaimer. Before you go into a rant about how it is crap, rubbish, etc. Bear this in mind. About ten years ago I bought THE CHEAPEST plotter for cutting vinyl on the market. I am still hammering it to this day.

    I do not want it to do anything more than I have planned for it. Meaning, I want to cut out PSU mounting holes, IO holes, and holes for a GPU back plate. I also want to cut fan grille designs into acrylic. I will be using convection to cool the second box, which will be almost passive. This means that even if I were to use 140mm fans? this machine can do it. I am not bothered about speed, etc.

    Everything I ever use it for will be acrylic. So yes, I know I will need a spoil board. I will make that myself. Good way to test it without wasting plastic.

    Oh and I forgot. I will not be using this machine to cut the panels. They are too large. I am quite good at cutting straight lines into acrylic any way, and have the tools to do so. What I hated about using my hands was that you could never cut inner cuts straight, due to the way you need to angle the cutting bit in the Dremel to cut through the material. That is where this comes in !
     
  14. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    I'd find the next up from the cheapest, honestly. That thing will eat your soul. Be advised that the work area is larger than the real cutting area. -Also, Chinese oil/grease smells like it was made with ashtray deposits.
    Sounds like you use cutting discs. At some point, they figured out the little diamond ones don't cut all the way through standard tile, so they make large diameter diamond discs now.
     
  15. Vault-Tec

    Vault-Tec Green Plastic Watering Can

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    When cutting I used to hack a rough angled line, then cut straight so I could get the tool over. Does create a bit of waste, but not much. Few mm here and there. I planned the dimensions in my head to be able to do that, but will look into larger ones ta. Those are what I used, too.

    Thing with the 3018s? they are all the same stock. They just get exponentially more expensive with a brand name on, but they are all the same. Some have enclosed sides, but I have already found this. I CBA making one, it would take too long and it's £20.

    [​IMG]

    Because I have this. It even has a hypo allergenic filter in.

    [​IMG]

    Going back to cutting? I just learned my first lesson in CNC. Thankfully before I actually have a machine.. So I am very roughly laying out shapes. Left side is the PSU opening, middle will be the IO and furthest right is the GPU cutout for the PCIE slots. Any way, it is saying it will take over two hours, roughing. WTF?

    Thankfully I now know what a tool path is pmsl.

    [​IMG]

    I did not realise that to cut those out I was telling the software to literally obliterate the acrylic in the holes into nothing but dust :D I then learned about cut on tool path.

    [​IMG]

    /facepalm. 17 minutes lol.
     
  16. Vault-Tec

    Vault-Tec Green Plastic Watering Can

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    OK so I have ordered it. I took a small piece of advice "Don't buy the cheapest one". Thing is? they are pretty much all the same. They only started doing the rounds in 2020 due to the controller being able to be made cheaply. It's Arduino based IIRC, and really started to make them affordable from the research I have done. However, in this case an extra £25 got me quite a lot. Mostly the fact that it has a controller that is in a shell. The £120 unit did not, and the board was exposed (and complained about in a review).

    It also has the acrylic sides to stop crap flying out of the sides. Even to make those would have cost me £20.

    [​IMG]

    Got a few jobs to do before I can even think about putting it together, but grabbed it whilst the price was reduced. Got it on the rain forest too, so it is PD and thus I won't get a surprise when it arrives with DHL with £40 tacked on because I didn't realise it was in the EU.

    Also designed my side vents.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    Sorry, man. I hadn't realized how much the market was flooded with this particular machine. I think I remember why I opted for building my own last time too.
    ON the path? There should be a way to cut inside or out. Otherwise you will be forced to figure the size of your bit into the design. :worried:
     
  18. Vault-Tec

    Vault-Tec Green Plastic Watering Can

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    It does the bit size for you (top right) obviously I can't tell it which bit I have as I don't have any yet :D. But aye they are all pretty much identical yet some are over £300 which is nuts.

    It's literally the Arduino that has made it possible. The prohibitive cost used to be the controller. £700 for a machine you put a Dremel in. I couldn't justify it tbh.

    But yeah you're correct they are everywhere and there is a lot of brand pricing going on. Sainsmart are £350 and the only difference is the body is blue ffs.

    The critical stuff on them is feed rate and cut depth tbh. They aren't fast and you need to be realistic.

    My crap plotter (the cheapest one available at the time) is still going and I have hammered it beyond buggery. It has severe limitations but has always done what I needed. I've used it most for drawing up 2d shapes and then cutting them out of crap vinyl, slapping them on acrylic and cutting them out. It's saved me hours in crap tape measures, pen thickness and rulers. And of course a tape measure can't do .mm whereas my crappy ass plotter can.

    This will be the same deal. Very small very basic realistic jobs. And I'm sure I'll hammer the crap out of it also.
     
  19. Vault-Tec

    Vault-Tec Green Plastic Watering Can

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    Update five. "Computers are always a good source of aggravation".

    So I got over today. First thing on the agenda was take apart old desk, and replace with new one. Took a few hours, but man so much better.

    [​IMG]

    OK so we were off to a flying start. Next up - assemble hardware, plug in my Kepler Quadro and make sure it works. Only, I was on an unknown entity with the PSU I have totally rewired so I figured I would use Gareth's old Asus P67 board and 2600k. Set it all up, plugged in the Displayport cable... Flashing grey screen. Hmm. Now I didn't want to spend hours and hours troubleshooting two unknown entities, and nothing went bang, so I figured the PSU was good.

    I then spent four hours trying to get a signal out of the Quadro. First the DP, then DP to HDMI and then after searching the entire house and having to go through this.

    Mother - "What are you looking for?"
    Me - "You wouldn't understand"
    Mother - "What is it?"
    Me - "DVI to HDMI adapter".

    *silence*

    *Opens drawer in front of TV*

    Mother "IT'S NOT IN THERE"

    Me - "How the fudge do you know? you have no idea what it even is!!"

    *Silence*.

    Any way after hours of searching I found one. Still flashing grey screen.

    Out of sheer desperation, and now in a quagmire of wire and boxes I put the 2080Ti with the water block on.

    [​IMG]

    Which is really sodding annoying because I hoped to spend the evening installing the RAID and getting Windows on. But I can't, because I can't run the GPU for more than a minute or so GRR.

    Even more annoyingly I had to then break it all down and pack it back away so I can move.

    The CNC arrived. Amazon dumped it on the doorstep and ran. Good thing I came over, because whoever said it was light was talking rubbish.
     
  20. Vault-Tec

    Vault-Tec Green Plastic Watering Can

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    Update six - making things.

    OK so after dragging myself out of bed this morning everything hurt. Including my groin where I had a hernia when I was 12. So I started off gently.

    First thing I did was see how the Lian Li panel from another case could go in. I want this as exhaust. Both rads will be on intake.

    [​IMG]

    Goes on one end, needs extending the other. Not an issue, I can make a plate. This was what came out. Not idea to fit two fans to.

    [​IMG]

    I then found the rivets that need drilling but we had company downstairs so that would have been a bit too anti social even for me lol. So I did the next thing.

    [​IMG]

    I did not take any photos before that because I knew I would make tons of mistakes. And I did, the instructions are a bit muddy but I got there in the end.

    [​IMG]

    And then.

    [​IMG]

    So it is complete.
     
    b1g-d0g likes this.

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