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Case Mod - In Progress Project: Isis Ascendant - October 27th, Crystal indicator lights

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by longwing, 4 Jun 2009.

  1. longwing

    longwing New Member

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    August 4th, skip week

    With sincere apologies, I'm afraid I need to take a skip week. I'm waiting on parts to arrive, and they haven't gotten here yet. At this phase in the mod, there may be some odd starts and stops as I line up all the smaller and weirder pieces I require.

    @ The boy 4rm oz, Bad_cancer, and DonT-FeaR - Thanks for the encouragement. I'll try to make up for lost time with a much nicer update next week. :sigh:
     
  2. Krog_Mod

    Krog_Mod New Member

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    I can't believe I haven't seen this project before, it looks great! Keep up the good work.
     
  3. Bad_cancer

    Bad_cancer Mauritius? 2nd speck east of africa

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    Thats cool. don't worry about it.
    This kind of thing always happens when you are modding.
    we will wait patiently.
     
  4. longwing

    longwing New Member

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    August 12th, complications and oddities.

    As promised, I've quite a bit of material this week. Sadly, most of it is detailed reporting of sad, sad, failure.

    Let's start on a high note. I darkened up the switch a bit and installed it. I still don't have a cover for the back, but I'll get there eventually.
    [​IMG]

    I also received my first shipment of shiny new parts! All of this stuff is heat-distribution related. Radiators to replace stock coolers, and thermal interfaces of various sorts to replace thermal grease.
    [​IMG]

    Let's start with the CPU. legoman666 noted in his brilliant and superior worklog that thermal grease will dilute and eventually leak out of the interface between a CPU and it's cooler. So my first step is to clean the thermal grease off of the CPU. Isopropyl alcohol works wonders here.
    [​IMG]

    My solution to the thermal interface problem? Liquid metal, shorn from the very skin of the terminator that nearly killed our one and only salvation... or not. I picked these up from a modding supplier, you can find them at various sites.
    [​IMG]

    The general idea is that the metal (indium) melts at a very low temperature, becoming soft and filling in gaps like a solder. This solution is mentioned obliquely by the Reactor folks, though like everything they do, they try to make it sound waaaay more pricey than it is. :rolleyes:
    [​IMG]

    I've been running the CPU on it's stock cooler, which was hardly a problem, but If I'm going to bother dipping this whole project, I wanted a significantly cooler looking cooler (heh). I've always liked Zalman's products. I know their designs aren't always the most efficient available, but it's hard to argue with the asthetic.
    [​IMG]

    Onwards to the GPU. Step one, remove all the fiddly little screws. Step two, find all the fiddly little screws that managed to roll or bounce away.
    [​IMG]

    Some careful disassembly and isopropyl alcohol, and I have myself a clean GPU. Time to install my shiny new radiator! Except for one tiny detail... I have the wrong mounting hardware.
    :wallbash: Why. Didn't. I. Check. Before. Taking. The. G. P. U. Appart!?
    [​IMG]

    Okay. So. Time to put the GPU back together. At least I can add some real thermal grease this time. I'm using the nice liquid stuff that comes with Zalman coolers (I have a spare bottle from the CPU cooler). When I pried the stock cooler off, I found a several-millimeter-thick layer of bottom-dollar grey gunk. The Zalman grease goes on in a thin layer on both the GPU and the heatsink. Thin enough that you can see through it.
    [​IMG]

    The stock radiator gets a LOT hotter now. Which makes me wonder how much heat the old thermal grease had been insulating rather than conducting. Its all temporary anyways. I'll be back GPU! New cooler and metal pad in hand! I will have my revenge!

    Now it's time to think about anything other than my GPU, before I decide to set it on fire! :thumb: So I measured and cut parts for the rear-section lid instead.
    [​IMG]

    Raw pine is functional and cheap, but it doesn't really fit the theme, so we're going to give it a layer of stain.
    [​IMG]

    Much better.
    [​IMG]

    Now I have a frame for my lid. I wanted to use brass screws, but I didn't have any on hand. I'll hide the problem when I age these parts.
    [​IMG]

    With the skeleton ready, I bent myself a fake-brass lid. Again, still need to age this part.
    [​IMG]

    Only I seem to be missing something. Where are my furniture tacks? Oh. Right. I used them all on the main case. :wallbash: Time to go buy more tacks.
    [​IMG]

    This will be, once the cover is finished, the gap for cables. I thought about a number of possible formats, but settled on a rear cable slat because it's simple and I'm lazy. I finally took the time to reroute the fan's power wire too.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: 19 Aug 2009
  5. The boy 4rm oz

    The boy 4rm oz Project: Elegant-Li

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    Damn this is cool.
     
  6. Bad_cancer

    Bad_cancer Mauritius? 2nd speck east of africa

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    well i wouldn't call it epic failure, just a fail thats all. lol

    that zalman cooler should work wonders submerged in oil!
     
  7. The boy 4rm oz

    The boy 4rm oz Project: Elegant-Li

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    Forgot to point out before that mineral oil actually dissolves thermal grease so unless want to remove the hardware every few months to re-apply the pros recommenced using the actual mineral oil as the thermal grease.
     
  8. Bad_cancer

    Bad_cancer Mauritius? 2nd speck east of africa

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    But as i understand from legoman's log, just putting the cooler on without any form of heat transfer medium doesn't yield good results. Does oil eat at thermal pads too?

    Also what are these liquid metal pads made of? actual metal?
     
  9. Kyor

    Kyor A Visitor

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    It is looking great!
    I absolutely love the theme. Keep it up! :D
     
  10. DonT-FeaR

    DonT-FeaR I know what a fk'n Dremel is ok.:D

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    wicked as normal!
     
  11. stonedsurd

    stonedsurd Is a cackling Yuletide Belgian

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    I really like those fake brass grills. cool stuff :D
     
  12. longwing

    longwing New Member

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    Thanks for the encouragement everyone! It's good to hear, especially after running in to so many issues in the span of a single week. At least I'm not having legoman's current problems. My setbacks look tiny by comparison, so be sure to visit his thread and wish him well.

    @The boy 4rm oz - I've read the warnings about thermal grease as well, which is why I'm working on swapping it for metal thermal pads and thermal epoxy. I'm just running into a few obstacles along the way. Legoman tried using mineral oil as the thermal interface, but he's not been happy with its performance.

    @Bad_cancer - I'd read the same thing from Legoman's log, which is why I'm looking for alternatives. The folks at Hardcore Computer use indium thermal pads in the Reactor, so I'm hoping that they'll do just fine in Isis.

    As far as I can tell, the pads are actual metal. They feel like very heavy, weirdly-flexible foil. I've heard a number of theories regarding their actual makeup. The most common material referenced is indium, but Coollabratory isn't saying. The pad melts at 55 degrees, and you're expected to "Burn in" the pad by heating a given part to that temperature. Once that happens, the pad flows like solder, effectively merging the processor's heat-spreader with the cooler's surface. Because the metal stays soft even when cool, it can be wiped off later. However, since it's not a grease, it won't dilute in oil (that's the theory anyways).
     
  13. Bad_cancer

    Bad_cancer Mauritius? 2nd speck east of africa

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    Well that looks like fun anyway, so good luck with the pads. the theory sounds fine but keep us updated :D
     
  14. longwing

    longwing New Member

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    August 18th, Lighting, brass, and more grime.

    It's Tuesday, time for a shiny new post. No lame excuses for me this time! I'm still waiting for some parts, but I've gotten enough bits together since last week to make some real progress.

    You'll recall that last week I started working on a lid? Well this week I'm just about done with said lid, but not before I added a pile of needless complexity!

    I decided, while I was engineering how the lid would fit on and stay in place, that it needed one extra element: Light! I had this spare LED strip from when I'd first bought my parts. I've already tied one strip to the motherboard tray, but there's not enough room for two. So the second strip will illuminate the rear chamber from within.
    [​IMG]

    After all the work I've done on the rear section, believe illuminating it would make sense. However, I didn't want a bright-as-the-sun led strip shining in my eyes, so I built a reflector from spare aluminum angle bar. Course, I had to cut out part of the acrylic blocks on both sides before the reflector would sit flush:
    [​IMG]

    I also took a moment to add two bolt-posts to the main frame:
    [​IMG]

    Why? So that they'll act as cable keepers when the lid is off:
    [​IMG]

    Back to the lamp, I added end-caps using fiber board and hotglue:
    [​IMG]

    Then I painted the whole thing up a rather predictable shade of copper:
    [​IMG]

    Finally, I installed it on the lid with a set of four brass screws to hold it:
    [​IMG]

    So, new lamp, but now what? Now we get back to actually building the lid. First I broke out my shiny new furniture tacks:
    [​IMG]

    I gave each of the rear corners a bend, so that it'd mach better with the fish-tank lid. The fit's not flawless, but it'll suffice. I may want to revisit this bit later:
    [​IMG]

    I'll bet you can guess the next step. :D That's right, time for more grime:
    [​IMG]

    I'm waiting for the enamel to dry now, then I'll go back over the whole thing with clear lacquer to protect it and give it a nice shine.

    I learned something new about Acetone this time around. Namely, Acetone evaporates like crazy. I tried wetting my paper towels several times as I worked, and found that I could very easily wipe up even fairly tacky paint. Of course, this little discovery warranted even more repainting when I over-cleaned a few parts, but I thought I'd let folks know, your acetone-rag will be useful for only about 30 seconds.

    Also, this marks photo 110! I didn't really expect to take so many pictures of this project.
     
  15. The boy 4rm oz

    The boy 4rm oz Project: Elegant-Li

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    Nice work on the top, I like your custom CCFL lamp :thumb:.
     
  16. longwing

    longwing New Member

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    August 25th, GPU 2 - ready for immersion.

    So I'm twiddling my thumbs again, waiting for more parts to get here. In the interim, I took some time to prep my secondary GPU for exposure to oil.

    Here's the secondary GPU. I'd already switched to an aftermarket cooler in preparation for this project, but I went about things the wrong way, and it needs updates:
    [​IMG]

    My biggest challenge, clearing off the hot-glue from the earlier conversion. Id originally used thermal grease, and then sealed each heat-sink in place with hot-glue. The idea was to prevent the grease from diluting by sealing it in:
    [​IMG]

    So here's the card, sans GPU cooler. You can see the junkyard heatsinks I was using, along with a lot more hot-glue:
    [​IMG]

    After a goodly amount of swearing, I was able to pry the heat-sinks off without breaking anything:
    [​IMG]

    Now that the old parts are off the board, it's time to grab my new solution to the ram-chip problem: Thermal epoxy! I love this stuff.
    [​IMG]

    The epoxy is fairly easy to work with. Slower drying than I'd expected (maybe 10-20 minutes-ish) while liquid, it's about the same consistency as thermal grease.
    [​IMG]

    I cut a new thermal pad for the GPU's main cooler while I waited for the epoxy to cure on the ram chips:
    [​IMG]

    Here's the final configuration of ram chips. I didn't have _quite_ enough copper to get all of them, so I've hidden two aluminum ones where they probably won't be seen much.
    [​IMG]

    With the epoxy cured, I reassembled the whole thing:
    [​IMG]

    Not exactly the most exciting post ever devised, but it's what I've had the time to do over the past week. As soon as the next batch of new parts gets here, I'll have some really interesting work to talk about.
     
    Last edited: 26 Aug 2009
  17. Bad_cancer

    Bad_cancer Mauritius? 2nd speck east of africa

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    hot glue on a video card....Scary thoughts....If it was anything like the hotglue i use, the chips would still be stuck to the heatsinks when i removed them....nice work on the reflector and the video card! :D
     
  18. The boy 4rm oz

    The boy 4rm oz Project: Elegant-Li

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    Nice work on the graphics card, should definitely work great in the oil.
     
  19. longwing

    longwing New Member

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    I certainly hope so. Others have used epoxy before, though they've run into trouble when it's exposed to a lot of heat. Succeed or fail, I'm hoping to provide good data for future modders.

    There were times when I thought I'd ripped the traces right off the board, but it turned out okay.

    When I first put the hotglue on the board, the plan was to seal in the standard thermal grease. That way, the grease would never touch oil, and never dilute.

    The more I thought about it though, the more I realized the flaws in such a plan. The glue would probably lose adhesion in mineral oil. Even if the glue held, the seals would have to be completely flawless.

    Switching to epoxy solves the problem completely, because it can be exposed directly to the oil (I hope).

    Oh, and for anyone trying to look my epoxy up, it's Arctic Silver Thermal Adhesive. It always drives me mad when a modder mentions a product without mentioning what it is.
     
  20. longwing

    longwing New Member

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    September 1st, switchplate design.

    I've only one update for today, because this particular update took the whole week all on it's own.

    Here's the main switch/control plate for the Isis Ascendant:
    [​IMG]

    The cursive at the bottom reads:
    The Isis Ascendant is a delicate apparatus, assembled by Mr. Longwing following the principles set forth by Charles Babbage FRS, and the Lady Ada King, Countess of Lovelace. The Isis Ascendant is confirmed to be Touring Complete, and should only be activated with great caution, as operation may manufacture Infohazardous Memetics.

    I cobbled the design together from 1890s advertisements stored on Wikicommons.

    I have big plans for this template, and I hope to have quite the update for next week. We'll see, since I'm still waiting on some parts to get here. Till then :thumb:.
     

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