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Scratch Build – Complete Posthuman

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by Datulab, 2 May 2021.

  1. Datulab

    Datulab Human? AI? Robot?

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    Time for another small update. I've only been working on this project off and on for the last bit, but here is some progress to show:
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    As you can see, my brain has WIFI, how about yours?

    Not much to tell otherwise. The next steps will be to make the custom cables and the CPU block until I run out of things to do while procrastinating on the outer shell. Part of me is putting it off in the hope that I'll have a CNC soon that can cut everything for me, but mainly it's that I don't really know how I want to do it.
    Speaking of CNC, I ordered a 1.5kw servo and the appropriate pulleys to get it back up and running. I have also been working on completely redesigning the control interface, as the current one is kind of crappy.

    In other fun news I obtained almost everything I need to do anodizing at home. I found a German store that delivers dyes to Switzerland for a very reasonable price and I even managed to get all the chemicals fairly easily (good stuff at that, none of that weak grocery store cleaning crap). Only need to find a cheap used hotplate, as I don't exactly want to play with acid in the kitchen...
     
  2. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    That needs some brain-shape squiggly things. :thumb:
    Acid: Playing with it indoors wouldn't be fun either. None of that stuff is healthy when you heat it and it gets in the air.
     
  3. Datulab

    Datulab Human? AI? Robot?

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    There are few things that motivate me as much to do just about anything else but study for my advanced calculus exam. So this week's procrastination efforts mainly include the custom cables for this build.
    It's the first time that I'm making custom cables, but I've seen it done on YouTube videos so many times that it only took me one or two tries to get the crimping and melting down. What was much more painful, was desoldering and then resoldering the cables at the PSU. Why does the ATX connector have to be such a mess?:duh:
    I haven't gone through with a multimeter yet to see if I got everything correct, but after a few hours of cursing I did get everything in.
    For the CPU header, I played around with the idea of using the cables to show some more brain texture. I'm not sure yet if I love or hate it. What do you think?
    One note about the pictures, the red sleeving looks very vibrant on here, but in reality, it is much more of a burnt / dried blood red.
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    If I go ahead and keep the brain tracks of the CPU cable, I'll, of course, replace these temporary cable combs with soldered brass ones. Also, the stock AMD cooler is, of course, only temporary.
     
  4. Datulab

    Datulab Human? AI? Robot?

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    Made a prototype for the CPU block. To make my life a bit easier, I purchased a base from EK and then designed a top for it. I'll have it 3d printed from aluminum again, so it matches the RAM modules.
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    It's kinda funny designing a CPU block top that is meant to leak out the top, only having an inlet. Definitely wouldn't want to run it with water:lol:

    Also, I released a video on my YouTube about the first part of the progress:
     
  5. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    Neat design. :D I'm not sure about your faith in getting those cold plate mounting holes tapped. You may be better off with pegs to fit the plate.
    You might want to check on that board heatsink. There's no telling what it's held on with. I suspect thermal tape or something else that could dissolve.
     
  6. Datulab

    Datulab Human? AI? Robot?

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    Thanks! There should be enough meat for those threads, they are a bit over 1x diameter deep, with a bottoming tap it shouldn't be a problem, and it's not like I need a lot of pressure on those bolts, they just need to keep it from falling off. (The metal prints are also a bit more detailed than my quick and dirty FDM prototype) PCBWay might even finish the tapped holes after printing, at least they asked for the thread type. Guess we'll see.
    As for the heatsinks, I'll probably take them off anyhow to anodize them the same color as the rest, then I'll remount them nice and solid with epoxy.
     
  7. mADlythick

    mADlythick What's a Dremel?

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    Very impressive frame work! It's hard to get a smooth curve on one piece of hard brass tube let alone several that match up that well :eeek:
    How many discarded pieces :grin:

    The CPU block does look very weird with holes in the top :happy: if it turns out as nice as your ram heatsinks it will look stunning!!
    I didn't know EK sold base plates separately!
     
  8. Datulab

    Datulab Human? AI? Robot?

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    The trick to the brass is to not use tubes, but rods. I tried to use tubes at first, but as you've said, it's very hard to get a nice curve, as they tend to buckle. With solid rods it's quite easy though. You can bend them by hand for larger bends, or using some pliers for tighter stuff. At some point, it gets harder to bend due to the work hardening of the brass, but that's nothing a blowtorch can't fix by annealing it.
    The bases for the EK blocks you can get on their website directly, they are even quite cheap (like $15).
     
  9. Datulab

    Datulab Human? AI? Robot?

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    It's been a while, but I'm finally back with an update. Was able to make quite a lot of progress this weekend on various things.
    First off, the aluminum 3d printed CPU block top arrived, and apart from a minor defect looks great, they even finished the threads, so they are very usable.
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    Next, I finished off the wiring, well at least for the moment. I soldered in the wires for the 8pin CPU and a Molex for the pump. Speaking of the pump, I also redid the sleeving for it while shortening the cables. When I was inside anyhow to sleeve into the housing, I also checked if there were any components that should be protected from the oil in there, but at least to me, it seems safe to submerge.
    Then it was finally time to test if everything is wired correctly, and much to my dismay nothing happened when I plugged in the PSU. Not only no smoke but also no voltage on the output. At this point, I turned everything off and went to lunch. Still frustrated but no longer hungry I started to investigate and after looking up the pinout for the 24pin again to find the 5V standby pin, I realized that I should probably turn the damn thing on.:wallbash::wallbash:
    After that mini heart attack, everything was fine and I did thankfully solder all the wires correctly.
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    This then takes me to the main activity of the weekend, which was anodizing. With all the parts I wanted to anodize finally complete, I set up everything and did a test piece. As you can see only the aluminum wire that was used to hold it in place actually worked, probably due to bad contact.
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    Since the wire worked beautifully though, I still went ahead with two of the RAM heat spreaders. Everything bubbled nicely and after 45min I take them out and instead of silver parts I am greeted by these dark grey things. Don't get me wrong, this looks super cool and in most cases, I would have been thrilled, but here I was going more for a copper color. I did try to put one of them in the coloring bath, and it looks like it did take, but copper on top of grey gives brown at best. So that one went straight back into the sodium hydroxide bath to strip the color. After a few seconds the color was gone, and after a good rinse and brushing the resulting color is quite a bit lighter than the dark grey, but still darker than the original, I actually quite like it. The last picture shows them side by side. My guess is that the alloy they use for 3d printing (AlSi10Mg) has something in there that reacts with the sulfuric acid and creates this black coating. Funnily enough there was also one piece that had a two tone finish, one side was dark grey like all the other ones, while the other one was beige. No idea what happened there. It isn't quite as noticeable anymore in the end, but you'll still be able to see it now that I've mentioned it.
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    And of course, the new CPU block cover also needed to be filed and sanded, my most favorite thing in the whole world...
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    Slightly frustrated with the lack of copper colored parts, I went ahead and stripped the two mobo heatsinks of their grey anodizing with the sodium hydroxide. These parts anodized beautifully (one of them in the second attempt due to bad contact, but nonetheless). They even looked very similar next to each other. Sadly that changed after boiling, one of them lost a lot of color, while the other stayed more or less the same. Seeing them next to actual copper the ideal color would probably be right in between the two. Maybe I'll redo them if I have the anodizing setup out again before I submerge the thing in oil, but for now I had enough (plus the time ran out).
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    To finish off, I gave all the metal printed parts a quick rinse in sodium hydroxide to make them match, and then a polish. I quite like the end look, although it isn't what I was going for. It's kind of a black chrome look with a lot of contrast. Definitely a big improvement over the bright aluminum parts.
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  10. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    The aged look works great with the industrial design.
     
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  11. ifohancroft

    ifohancroft Minimodder

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    I just stumbled on your post asking if anyone has done a brain in a jar type of mod before and I decided to check your profile to see if you have started working on it.
    I am so excited to see that you have. Also, I love the approach!

    P.S. Love the fact you are making your own custom (mechanical key)board to go along with it.
     
  12. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    Pretty long hiatus... I hope it's a woman and not death.
     
  13. 4LIEN

    4LIEN Modder

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    Awesome work, i love it! :rock:
     
  14. Datulab

    Datulab Human? AI? Robot?

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    Hello there, it's been a few days (ok, maybe weeks but definitely not 5 months...)
    Thanks for the concern but I am in fact not dead, just got busy with other projects and got distracted until this one was just a distant memory. But I'm back!
    In the meantime, I got my new RatRig Killerbee nicely set up and I have to say I really like it. It has the large work envelope of a router, but still a surprising amount of rigidity thanks to using linear rails instead of rollers. (I'm somewhat embarrassed but it does make better parts without any major tuning than my other CNC).

    The first thing I decided to finish was the keyboard I had started for this build. The keyplate was already milled and the PCBs were made and programmed, all it needed is a nice frame. The original plan was to mill it out of wood, but my design was way too thin and would have never worked, so I decided to redesign it completely and came up with this, to play into the design of the RAM heat spreaders of the PC. The frame was all 3d printed and then painted. I did also cut a wooden wrist rest on the CNC which was a good training exercise for some simple 3d toolpaths.
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    I also made a video about the keyboard in case anyone is interested:


    Next, it was time to actually work on the PC. While I know that everybody was curious and excited to see my attempts at a mineral oil cooled PC (me included), in the interest of actually ever finishing this build I decided to go the boring route instead and do water cooling. This sadly means that I'll have to ditch the beautiful CPU block I made, but I don't think it would be a good idea to use that one with water :p Thankfully I have this still quite a nice block from Corsair that they generously sent over as the prize for the CryoPC build. With some small modifications (mainly a paint job) I think it should go quite well in this build.
    This project also gave me plenty of opportunities to learn more about CNC machining and every time I got a bit better at it but found the next lesson just waiting around the corner. From material choice to cutting tool selection and work holding there is a lot to learn.
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    Tiny brass knuckles or cable combs?
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    And with that, it was once again time to do some soldering. Remember how beautiful the cable combs looked before, well hold on to that image! Turns out they are quite a bit thinner than the 4mm rod I was soldering to and if you're not careful they melt...
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    Cleaning up and polishing the brain was an absolute chore, my hands still hurt days later just thinking about it. But seeing it shine like that is very satisfying I must say.
    The fans and radiator will need some detail painting by hand as the spray paint didn't quite turn out as well as I had hoped, but some weathering and highlights should make it really pop.
    The next steps will be to start the assembly, make the res/pump mount, and then the big task of the copper tubing, that'll be fun! See ya there (hopefully not another 5 months later...)
     
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  15. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    :rock: Good stuff. Wish I could polish MY brain.
    Copper tubing: They can shift during the soldering process. It's good to scratch mark them to line up angles and the depth the tube seats in the fittings. They can also bind at a slight angle if you are not careful.
    The good news is you can just reheat and re solder any section that was wrong.
     
  16. Datulab

    Datulab Human? AI? Robot?

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    Thanks for the tip, would you use silver solder for the tubing (just like the brain parts) or electronics solder? Since everything connects fairly well and isn't relying on the strength of the solder to stay together it seems like the electronics one could work and would create much less of an overheating danger.
     
  17. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    Plumbing solder and flux.
    -I mean, it's plumbing.
     
  18. Datulab

    Datulab Human? AI? Robot?

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    Somehow uni is claiming way too much of my free time lately, but I still have a small update for you guys.
    I designed and 3d printed some mounts for the pump, radiator (have been redesigned since taking the pictures), power button (not forgetting it this time :), and power plug. I might add more detail pieces later, but these are the main ones I needed to continue.
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    I then also worked on reinstalling the PSU and the cables. Now that the PC won't be submerged in oil anymore, having the PSU open like that is definitely not ideal, but since this build is for me and me alone, I'm ok with it (I'll obviously ground the metal brain).
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    Having the parts test fit like this also showed that I will have to paint a lot of things for it to look good. I started off using the copper spraypaint again but compared to what I can get with copper acrylic paints I'm very disappointed in this fancy copper effect spraypaint. Guess I'll hand paint everything instead.
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    It feels wrong even thinking about it, but how awesome would the memory heat spreaders look painted copper! I think I'll try polishing them a bit brighter first though to see how that looks as it would be a big shame to paint them after going to so much trouble making them out of metal and polishing them.
     
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  19. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    I think the heat spreaders look fantastic as they are. You don't want to go too wild with copper anyway. Like gold, it's better as an accent color with something with a strong contrast.
    I just realized you are probably under the influence of Germany's hyper-anal building codes, and they likely use expensive silver solder in their plumbing... -Anyway, for the plumbing solder I mentioned earlier, find some cheap tin solder. :lol: (Like I have any room to call anyone hyper-anal.)
     
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  20. Datulab

    Datulab Human? AI? Robot?

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    Was gonna post an update last week, but then never got around to it, so here is a double dose:
    I started by sanding and painting the 3d printed parts. While I was at it, I also painted the fans and the radiator, which I previously just spraypainted with this "copper" paint which looked more brown... So I decided to lean into it a bit and create a two-tone brown and copper look.
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    Next up is the base. I used the CNC to cut out what I knew where to put, but the rest was done with good old manual work. Afterward, I hit the entire base with a blowtorch to get an aged and darker look. By using a Scotch-Brite pad I then removed the char which leaves me with a pronounced grain structure and a dark brown color, as if it has stood the test of time and isn't just a brand new pine board. I much prefer this approach over just staining as it is much more 3 dimensional up close.
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    With that, the base is completed and wired. I made sure to attach a grounding wire to the metal brain as it has the uninsulated PSU on it with live wires...
    Since everything is super open and visible the wire of the lighting for the CPU block also had to be customized, it is barely even noticeable now.
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    To attempt to solve my fittings dilemma I printed a little spacer to hide the small extension and painted the nickel 90deg fitting copper. Later I found an even better way to not use either of them, but I thought I'd still show them here.
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    As you can see I also cut the copper tubing (not soldered for now). In the last picture, you can see that one of the 90deg copper pieces actually fit perfectly, so I replaced the fitting and extension with it. This looks much more in line with the rest and means all fittings used will match. What I am not sure yet about is the tube coming from the CPU block at an angle. Everything else is perpendicular to the base, so it looks a bit weird. I don't have a tube bender, but I'd imagine it could look better to just have a bend in it and then go up straight, but not sure.
     
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