1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Scratch Build – In Progress Project "Never Done" - A Triple-Loop Liquid-Cooled Wall-Mounted Dual PC Build

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by IWantAnA2, 25 Feb 2016.

  1. IWantAnA2

    IWantAnA2 New Member

    Joined:
    7 Mar 2015
    Posts:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Good lord, why?

    I built my first liquid cooled PC last year, and I had a blast. The first iteration of it was a single, bland loop with nothing really going on. I wasn't happy with it, so I tore it apart and made...

    Project D-U-N

    [​IMG]

    OK, OK... But why are you doing this project?

    I host a Plex Server for my friends and family, and the constant sound of humming fans from the liquid-cooled PC nudged me along to build a "never turn me off" dedicated media slinging server, this nameless little guy...

    Project No-Name

    [​IMG]

    I've always been a fan of wall-mounted PCs, and when I knew it was time to maintain my loops, I decided to just tear the thing apart and combine it with my media server. I scoured the internet looking for a case that supported two full ATX motherboards and enough space to support liquid-cooling. If you're not surprised, it doesn't exist. If it does exist in some corner of the globe, then it was well over my budget for this project.

    So, I decided I would just take everything I have and cram it on the wall. I don't know how to use photoshop, I don't draw things in 3D well... So, yeah... This is what I'm shooting for;

    [​IMG]

    Alright. We got it, you're a crazy person. But, who are you and why should I read this?

    As a father, sometimes you want to tear your face off and run into traffic. Tinkering with things, working with wood and computers is my happy place. Wall-mounted PCs have a special allure to them. It's not a really well established medium, and I feel it's under-appreciated. I'm going to try to bring a little appreciation to wall-mounted PCs, and have some fun in the process. The liquid cooling part... Well, that's all in good fun. As far as I can tell, this will be the first three loop, two PC wall-mount in existence, and that gets me all hot and bothered under the collar. It's like a moment in "hanging things on the wall" history. I can get down with that.

    Mounting Board

    (2) 24" x 36" Aspen Display Boards, 3/4" Thick

    Verdict: Dumb.

    When I was at Lowe's, I knew the boards were heavy. I thought I could cram all of the parts from two PCs onto *one* of these. This was an oversight.

    [​IMG]

    I had a beer, and decided the current board setup will now be for testing, gathering measurements, figuring out how it won't work, and then transferring to the actual Mounting Board.

    ACTUAL Mounting Board

    48" x 48" Plywood, 1/4" thick

    Yep, plywood. Nice, easy to handle, already-made-sure-it's-square plywood. Once I had the two boards together, I looked up all the dimensions for the parts I would be laying out, and transferred the measurements to scale onto the backing and came up with this damn-near symmetrical setup

    [​IMG]

    I honestly have to give a gigantic kudos to manufacturers for making their product measurements available and so precise. You'll see a few pictures down how accurate I'm talking about.

    Good night, my sweet prince

    Then came the moment of truth... Tearing down and salvaging from the PC I'd spent 50+ hours building, cursing at, crying over, pleading and tinkering with...

    [​IMG]

    Sooooo many screws, wires, zip ties. I don't know how past me did this, because present me hated that guy. Here's the part where the manufacturers measurements were pretty spot on.

    [​IMG]

    99% dead on with the initial mock-up locations. I was super happy about all that. This is two days into the project, and I haven't cut myself (that bad) yet. I'm waiting for the additional parts to arrive, third reservoir, pump, CPU and RAM blocks... They should be here Friday. I'm sure I'll get to dig into this over the weekend, god willing the kids have a sleepover.

    Components


    Gaming PC (Left side)

    Asus Z-97A Motherboard ATX
    i7-4790k
    XFX R9-290x Graphics Card x2
    240GB Solid State Drive
    Seagate 2TB 3.5" Hard Disk Drive
    EVGA Supernova 1000 Power Supply
    16GB Corsair Dominator RAM


    Server PC (Right side)

    Gigabyte H97 Extreme Motherboard ATX
    i7-4790k
    250GB Solid State Drive
    3TB 3.5" Hard Disk Drive
    8GB Crucial Ballistic RAM
    Antec 1000W Fully Modular Power Supply

    Watercooling goodies (Both sides)

    EK Supremacy EVO CPU blocks (clear) x2
    Bitspower 4 DIMM water block
    Bitspower 2 DIMM universal water block
    XSPC GPU Waterblock x2
    Alphacool Laing DDC Waterpump -Silver x3
    Phobya Black/Chrome DDC Pump Top x3
    250mm Bitspower Reservoirs w/Limited Edition Brass x3
    3x120mm XSPC Radiator
    2x120mm XSPC Radiator x2
    Primochill Revolver fitting x24
    Primochill Ghost Fitting x12
    Bitspower 90 Degree Rotary Adapter x10
    PET-G Hardline tubing xA-Bunch
    Probably some custom acrylic inlay channels built into the panel​
     
  2. IWantAnA2

    IWantAnA2 New Member

    Joined:
    7 Mar 2015
    Posts:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Update: 02/26/2016

    Update Goal

    - Come up with a layout that will be symmetrical, aesthetically pleasing, and able to hide 95% of the tubing
    - Make the cooling as efficient as possible with as little air pressure loss as possible
    - Figure out how to mount the two Power Supplies

    So, how'd I do on my goals?

    You win some, you lose some. In trying to maintain efficiency with the radiator pass-through, I decided the absolute best way is to recess the radiators. Other than a sneeze while free-handing this with a router, I think it came out well.

    [​IMG]

    Added bonus, this will make hiding the tubing so much easier.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I'm happy with the way this is working out. I'll have to adapt this to the finished mounting board, given that two things will change, the depth of the board (3/4" to 1/4"), and the depth of framing (3/4" to 2"). I'll end up making a simple mount on the back-side from some acrylic sheets I have lying around.

    On the subject of acrylic, I decided the best way to mount the Power Supplies was simply making acrylic enclosures, and mounting those to the board. So, I came up with a quick 90 degree template/jig for bonding the acrylic into boxes

    [​IMG]

    Each side turned out nicely, although I had a small bleed-through with the bonding agent.

    All boxed up

    [​IMG]

    And with one of the Power Supplies mated up

    [​IMG]

    Instead of working the rear piece on the scroll saw like I should have, I decided to free hand it with the jig saw and sand it later. Eventually, I scraped the whole idea. I didn't like the way it was coming out, it seemed bland, and it was adding unnecessary weight.

    So, after wasting a bunch of acrylic and two hours later, I decided that I'm going to mount the Power Supplies with simple L brackets stood off about 1/4".

    The remainder of my parts arrived today, but I haven't been home to tear through everything, but I'm sure there will be an update by Monday.

    Thanks for reading!
     
  3. IWantAnA2

    IWantAnA2 New Member

    Joined:
    7 Mar 2015
    Posts:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Update: 02/28/2016

    Revision

    I didn't like the way that everything was spaced on the board, so I took some measurements and decided that everything would fit (with some wiggle room) on a 3' x 3' board. I don't use CAD, AutoCAD, Photoshop, or karaoke when I'm sober, I do this s*!t live. Trusty number two pencil and a ruler. Used Microsoft Excel as graphing paper, came up with this;

    [​IMG]

    It's on scale to 1/8", with everything rounded up to the 1/4"... Which leaves me little 1/8" pockets of wiggle room all over the place, because I'm sure I'll need it at some point. This was Friday, I spent about 8 hours over the weekend on this and accomplished virtually nothing tangible.

    So, what happened?

    Well, I showed everyone the Power Supply enclosure I scrapped. From that, there was a little spark of inspiration from the rectangular monstrosity. It's a fact that 99% of the watercooled builds out there feature one thing, this guy,

    [​IMG]

    The cylindrical acrylic reservoir. My original plan called for three of these very popular, main-stays of water cooling history. I thought to myself, well... Why? Nah, f*^k it, we're doing this live, remember? No fancy CNC machines, no Water Jet, no software... Just a man, his square, a marker, jig saw, router and a bunch of Girl Scout cookies.

    [​IMG]

    Awwwwwwe yes, son.

    So, no cylinder reservoirs?

    Nope, not anymore.

    I've never made a reservoir from acrylic before, but you know who was? Those guys/gals who make 500 gallon aquariums. There is so much information readily available on the internet for water-tight acrylic welding/bonding, forming, etc. This was an awesome resource for learning about making my own reservoir. I cut so much acrylic with a jig saw and router that my basement looked like the aftermath of Mt. Vesuvius.

    [​IMG]

    I made a simple guide system with the pieces using a square and the corner of my mounting board

    [​IMG]

    I just cut the acrylic down to a rough size, ran one side flat and then put it into the guide to cut the right length and thickness. The most tedious part was shifting the clamps around to be able to cut, but after an hour of trimming, I was all set to glue. So, I busted out my trusty 90 degree jig again,

    [​IMG]

    I let each side cure for about 30 minutes before I moved on to the next side

    [​IMG]

    And then added the clear front

    [​IMG]

    The bottom was simple, just cut a 2.5" x 1" rectangle and acrylic welded it to the bottom. I didn't take a picture of the black reservoir finished, but there was a fatal flaw...

    The damn acrylic had ZERO transparency, so it was damn near 100% useless to me. You couldn't see the color of the fluid without an LED, and with an LED, it was too bright. No happy median here, so I scrapped it. Then I gave it a go again, this time with 1/8" 60% transparent white as a backer and came up with this,

    [​IMG]

    It needs some touching up, but the sides won't be visible anyway. I plan on recessing this in the board and doing some kind of design cut into acrylic for an overlay. Haven't decided on what that design is at the moment, but it'll be something simple.

    By recessing the reservoirs, I'll be able to hide more of the tubing behind the board for that nice, clean and classy look in the front. It's also going to save me on buying fittings, because $100 worth of extra fittings isn't in the budget.


    I'll be back sometime this week with another update. Hopefully I'll have three of the reservoirs done, tapped and tested by this weekend so I can start laying the other components out.

    Thanks for reading!
     
  4. JaPeMo

    JaPeMo Member

    Joined:
    31 Aug 2013
    Posts:
    94
    Likes Received:
    3
    subscribed!!! :thumb:
     
  5. IWantAnA2

    IWantAnA2 New Member

    Joined:
    7 Mar 2015
    Posts:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    03/02/2016 Mini-Update

    I've been kicking around a lot of different ways to mount everything, one piece at a time. The most time consuming part of this process so far is making all the little pieces and brackets. I decided the best way to do this is with acrylic, and if that doesn't work, I'll resort to aluminum.

    Alright, so what's new?

    I finished all three of the full acrylic reservoirs, just waiting on my new tap to arrive in the mail so I can pressure test them with the pump running.

    I did start mocking up the fan covers, though. Waiting on a new hole saw, the one I have has seen better days.

    [​IMG]

    I used this handy little guy to score the acrylic for the 120mm opening. It didn't cut through, it was a general pain in the ass to use, but it helped me mock up the covers, so there's something...

    [​IMG]

    What are you waiting for?

    A bunch of stuff. I'm not sure if I like the reservoirs I made. They were constructed with 1/8" cast acrylic, now I'm thinking I want to do 1/4". If that's the case, I'll probably have them sourced, put together and tapped by the local plastics shop.

    Once I get the reservoirs 100% out of the way, I'll start installing parts on the rough-draft board to see how it all fits. After that, I have a really cool design in my head for some custom made acrylic coolant channels/mini-reservoirs. But that's super secret, Shhh...

    Thanks for reading again!
     
  6. IWantAnA2

    IWantAnA2 New Member

    Joined:
    7 Mar 2015
    Posts:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Update: 03/04/2016


    So, what's up?

    I'm still waiting on a few little pieces to arrive in the mail, and they're kind of putting a wrench in my plans. I'm off all next week, and everything will (god willing) arrive by Tuesday. I've made a few mounts for various components, such as the graphics cards...

    The backplates happened to have two holes that weren't tapped, on either one. I dug through my bag o' screws and found two likely mates.

    [​IMG]

    I had a tap ROUGHLY the size I needed, a teeny tiny bit too small (SAE to metric), so I ran that through, then just PFT'd the screw through the hole with some blue loctite.

    [​IMG]

    The other side was more of a pain, but was easily remedied. I just cut and trimmed a small piece of acrylic I had lying around to fit the holes and screwed it on with the stand-offs.

    [​IMG]

    I'll file the inside and hit the outside edges with some sand paper and MAPP gas to make it look pretty, but it works. What I didn't notice was that the scrap I grabbed had been part of some other job that I had temporarily bonded to something. You'll notice the junky looking edge furthest from the picture. I had painters tape on it, and didn't even notice until I took the tape off. :wallbash:

    I'll just chop that off at some point down the road.

    As I noted before, the board I was working with is my "test board." It's too big, too thick, and too heavy. So, I started framing the actual mounting board I'll be using.

    [​IMG]

    There's about 2 1/4" worth of space behind the mounting board, which will allow me to hide a lot of components that would clutter the front up, like the pumps, radiators, etc.

    Because I don't want to mess up my final piece when I'm just winging things, I took two pieces of MDF that I'll be doing my cuts on to use as a template.

    [​IMG]

    Other than that, I scrapped the reservoirs I had made before, as 1/8" thickness was less than ideal. I ordered a few sheets of 1/4" acyrlic, and they should be here by next Tuesday. I should have the new reservoirs cut and assembled.

    Speaking of acrylic, I finished the rough-up for the fan covers.

    [​IMG]

    I need to hit the insides with the file, but I'm happy with them at the moment.

    Thanks for checking in!
     
  7. IWantAnA2

    IWantAnA2 New Member

    Joined:
    7 Mar 2015
    Posts:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Update: 03/08/2016

    Down to business

    First and foremost, it sucks that I don't have a plastics place right down the road that I can get acrylic from and I'm forced to order it from the internet... See, if I look up "plexi-glass acrylic in [MYZIPCODE]" nothing com- Err... Nearest place is 1.4 miles away. Well, they can't possibly have what I need, let me make a quick phone ca- Oh, you have everything I need, and it's cheaper than ordering it on-line, too?

    GREAT.

    See kids, this is the leg work I should have done three builds ago. I ordered the 1/4" sheets I needed for the reservoirs, and the 1/8" clear I need for the backing last week, and it looks like neither will arrive until Saturday. I can work around waiting for the reservoirs, I already cut down a 2"x4" I had lying around as a stand-in. However, without the clear, I can't mount anything to the back board.

    Soooo... Did you do anything?

    Other than curse a bunch and cry a little? Yeah, I sure did.

    I'm using 1/8" sign white (non-transparent) acrylic sheets as part of the mounting plates. My plan is that I'll mount the components to the white, then mount the white on top of the clear, and the clear to the back board. The white should diffuse the brightness of the LEDs from going outward, and make it shine only around the edges. That's the plan.

    I cut down the motherboard trays with the table-saw, then routed the edges so they were all pretty and smooth, then tapped the holes for the stand-offs.

    [​IMG]

    I also finished of the mounting plates for the two SSDs, and the two HDDs... Then I did that whole "shoot from the hip" thing again and ended up making enclosures for the HDDs.

    [​IMG]

    Fit like a glove.

    [​IMG]

    I had originally plan on recessing the radiators into the mounting plate, but I'm probably going to just skip that and mount them underneath. I didn't take into account the corner bracket I had underneath holding the frame together, so the holes are a little off. This was on the 1/4" test board, thankfully. I think I was measuring and drilling around 1am, so I'm going to go with that.

    [​IMG]

    I'm off on a stay-cation for the rest of the week, so as long as the acrylic arrives, I should have some pretty sizable updates.

    Thanks for reading!
     
  8. IWantAnA2

    IWantAnA2 New Member

    Joined:
    7 Mar 2015
    Posts:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Update: 03/09/2016

    Damn.

    I decided against recessing the radiators in the mounting board for a few reasons. Either the fans or the radiator wouldn't be centered, on account of the fitting end of the radiator... And I'm going to symmetry here. Second, I wouldn't be able to work any kind of lighting into it.

    So, I decided I would mount the radiators underneath. First I did a bunch of measuring...

    [​IMG]

    So much measuring. I have to say, my measuring game was on point this morning. Usually I'm a little sketchy in that department, but measuring isn't really one of those places where you can just shoot from the hip.

    The holes above are the pilot holes for the hole saw. Flipped it over, ran the hole saw and ended up with this...

    [​IMG]

    Super happy with all the measurements up to this point.

    Then I did a test fit of the fans. I don't know what fans I'm going to go with for this build, but I'm open to ideas. Laying the fans out allowed me to mock up the holes and get those drilled as well.

    [​IMG]

    After I had the fans all lined up, I flipped the board over and went to work on mounting the radiators. I didn't want to come through the front, so I took a few pieces of acrylic I had lying around and made a little slide mount for the radiator. I locked it in with an L bracket. I still need to trim the framing to accommodate the fittings. She ain't pretty, but she's got it where it counts...

    [​IMG]

    And from the front...

    [​IMG]

    So, why damn? Well, by mounting the radiators underneath, I now need to get new radiators with the ports on the side, not the face. Something like this;

    [​IMG]

    I don't have enough clearance to run a 90 degree rotary from the in/out ports of my existing radiators because the frame isn't deep enough. I wasn't looking forward to spending anything additional on this project, but even when I pony up and buy the new radiators, I'll still be under budget. I'll hold off for a while to see if I can come up with another solution, but it looks like I'm stuck buying the new radiators... Unless I cut holes in the wall this will be mounted on... :rolleyes:

    Update: 03/10/2016

    So, what do you have to say for yourself?

    Quite a bit, actually. Make some pretty big leaps from concept and testing to putting it all into action. Another Overclock user solved one of the many problems I've run into... Kinda. I did take the advice, and swung the two 2x120mm radiators around like so...

    [​IMG]

    This was actually pretty cool, because it gave me another idea. The 90 degree kind of eludes to it, as well as what's scrawled below it.

    [​IMG]

    Super secret stuff.

    Eventually, I got all three radiators mounted in. The 3x120mm isn't finished, I need to add another channel by the frame.

    [​IMG]

    Speaking of the frame, I mounted the fan controller on the bottom. I didn't want anything super gawdy, I didn't want any additional lighting, etc. So, I picked the most plain, black fan controller I could find, the NZXT Sentry Mesh. I had to dremel the mount away a lot, but it's in there and secure. Don't mind the little hiccup on the bottom left, I'll fill that with wood filler and smooth it out.

    [​IMG]

    Once all of that fun stuff was accomplished, I finally set about to start mounting the components. I won't be leaving them on bare wood, but for right now, I'm just setting the mounting locations and drilling the holes/mounts.

    Made my fancy clear acrylic backers.

    [​IMG]

    I noticed that most people were ripping the acrylic at a 45 degree with a table saw. I have nothing against a table saw, but I don't like the finish. So, I ripped the pieces all at 90 degrees (normal) and then routed them 45 degrees. The difference is smoothness is fantastic. My little Bosch Colt router is the most used tool, by far.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    6
    I ended up going at the corner components first, the fan locations and the power supplies. I'm still up in the air about what fans to use, but since I have 5 Corsair 120SP fans, I'll probably stick with those and just buy two more to keep costs down.

    [​IMG]

    I test fit every component again, and remeasured mounting locations constantly. I want as close to symmetrical as I can get. I think this will be the final layout.

    [​IMG]

    Double checking that all of the components were secure up to that point. In addition to this picture, I mounted both HDD's. (The picture is sideways)

    [​IMG]

    And a little look at how I ended up mounting everything around back. The only bolts I had lying around were 2" long. I'm going to run to the hardware store tomorrow for 1 1/4", just to keep things tidy in the back..

    [​IMG]

    I'm about spent for the evening. I'm still waiting on the 1/4" acrylic to show up so I can redo my reservoirs. According to UPS, it'll be here on Monday... But it's been sitting in Oakland for 3 days and hasn't moved, so who knows.

    Either way... Thank you so much for reading and joining me on this crazy wall-mounted excursion!
     
  9. JaPeMo

    JaPeMo Member

    Joined:
    31 Aug 2013
    Posts:
    94
    Likes Received:
    3
    Amazing!!!!!

    I want more....

    Enviado desde mi HTC One mediante Tapatalk
     
  10. IWantAnA2

    IWantAnA2 New Member

    Joined:
    7 Mar 2015
    Posts:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    I haven't updated this in a few days, but I made some steady progress.

    I got everything mounted and symmetrical, figured out all of my cable routing, have a general idea about the cooling loops, and prepped the back board for the overlay.

    [​IMG]


    I also received the 1/4" acrylic in the mail yesterday and finished up all three reservoirs.

    [​IMG]

    I'm waiting on quite a few things in the mail, the vinyl film, cable extensions, fittings, and fans... Plus a bunch of other stuff I'm sure I forgot about.

    Real small and quick update, but thanks for reading!
     
  11. Reiep

    Reiep Member

    Joined:
    21 Jun 2010
    Posts:
    35
    Likes Received:
    2
    Nice project and excellent storytelling, subscribed!
     
  12. Mockingbird

    Mockingbird New Member

    Joined:
    7 Sep 2011
    Posts:
    136
    Likes Received:
    2
    Yep, really enjoying this one. Sub!
     
  13. JaPeMo

    JaPeMo Member

    Joined:
    31 Aug 2013
    Posts:
    94
    Likes Received:
    3
    Beautifull & big reservoirs...:thumb:

    Waiting more new updates ;)
     
  14. IWantAnA2

    IWantAnA2 New Member

    Joined:
    7 Mar 2015
    Posts:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    TEENY TINY UPDATE: 03/23/2016

    I haven't had a whole lot of time to spend on this as of late, but I made some progress. I received the vinyl film and put that on, finished up all the little mounting pieces, and worked through some issues...

    I made three reservoirs for this project, leak tested them, and I'm happy with them... Just not for this build. I think I'll use them on another build in the future. I have three 250mm Bitspower reservoirs with the brass caps, so I'll be using those.

    As it sits right now;

    [​IMG]

    I'm still waiting on an SSD, tubing, cables and fittings. Once I get those, I can really get into the build to finish it up.

    I do need to order another pump top. One of the set screws that secures the pump to the pump top broke off in the pump top. I tried everything I could to get it out, but the aluminum used in the top was way too soft and the screw too small to extract it, so I'll need to find another pump top.

    I'm hoping I'll be done with this by the end of April. :thumb:
     

Share This Page