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Scratch Build – In Progress Project RabidCicada (Mineral Oil Computer) - 20th October 2010

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by RabidCicada, 21 Oct 2010.

  1. RabidCicada

    RabidCicada Member

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    Teaser Pic:
    [​IMG]

    Goal:
    Create a mineral oil computer, and specifically the case/tank, to handle extreme GPU computation (Folding@Home) and hardcore gaming while still being silent with 3 monitors. Also to do something other than watercooling. Might overclock some...but hasn't historically been what I do.

    Inspirations:
    These guys deserve lots of credit for putting the work in up front and sharing their knowledge and time with all of us...
    legoman666 from the BitTech forums
    and
    The Puget Guys

    They were critical in enabling me to confidently proceed with building a system. I've watched, and learned and tried to just have fun. I'll be putting this case together here in short order.

    Reasons I don't like Water Cooling:
    • Requires a new waterblock for each device.
    • Requires additional tubing for each device.
    • Does not quiet every device in the case...pesky 1.5 KW power supply

    Things I think about Mineral Oil Cooling:
    • Has WAAAAY higher up front cost, mineral oil is expensive (Especially when designing your own badass case)
    • Absorbs sound generated by ALL components in the computer...except the radiator + fanbank (which you engineer to be low speed/sound).
    • Unifies the cooling system instead of coupling it to each component that needs to be cooled (huge plus).
    • Might make you buy a new desk like me
    • Will save you money in the long run (30yr amortization >.<)
    • Looks cool as ****.
    • Looks cool as **** when you put aquarium rocks in the case...and an aerator.

    High Level (Incomplete) Parts List for New Computer Build:
    • 2 Nvidia GTX 480
    • 1 Nvidia GTX 460
    • 2 Gateway FHX2152L 21.5" 1920x1080 monitors (nice little guys)
    • Custom Made Case--Parts list and work log to follow
    • Rheobus sunbeam fan controller
    • Magicool 9 fan radiator (square 3x3)
    • Fans
    • Strong pump -- Thinking eheim 1260 (lots of head pressure)
    • Tubing safe for mineral oil

    Configuration:
    The Gtx 460 will drive the two auxilliaruy monitors.
    The Gtx 480's in SLI drive the 30" monitor I already own.
    All will Fold@Home when not in active use.

    My current computer specs are:
    AMD Phenom II 965 Black Edition (OC'd to 3.8 @1.465v)
    MSI NF980-G65
    Dual NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTX's / 196.21 ( one just died:( )
    6gb OCZ AMD Black Edition
    WD Raptor 150GB / RealSSD C300
    Windows 7 64-bit
    Dell 3007WFP 30 inch Widescreen
    Seasonic ST1500 1.5KW power supply


    Requirements for the New Case:
    • Must be movable while filled. Case must take shearing force and stress while case is lifted.
    • Motherboard must be extractable for normal maintenance without disassembling entire case or large effort investment. Mechanical slides will be used for this, similar to keyboard tray slides.
    • Must have handles for the lifting the external case and for lifting the motherboard tray
    • Specifically don't care about super low temps but must maintain reasonable temps
    • Must be very, very, very quiet.
    • There must be 2 support frames (external, internal). Having an internal frame ensures that nothing needs to be mounted into the tank...making for less worry about stress cracks, construction issues etc.
    • External frame to support weight, stress during moving, and protect and support tank.
    • Internal frame to support motherboard tray, slides, and all internals. Having an internal frame will allow entire internals to be removed in case of tank damage.
    • Tank must have a drain to support quick drain for relocating if weight is too much, which it very well might be (drain into milk jugs, move, refill)

    Ramblings
    I will be using my current computer internals in my new mineral oil setup until I fully vet any issues that pop up. Then I will spring for the new Graphics cards. I'll probably upgrade my processor/mobo/ram sometime next year.

    A mechanical engineering co-worker of mine, Rob Mackay, has decided to help me design the case. He is excellent at this kind of work and is willing to provide me with some scrap materials, his time, and his expertise in solidworks (autocad software) to professionally design my case .
    He turned me on to a company that makes all kinds of aluminum extrusions that would be awesome for my case. The company is called 80/20 and they have a catalog larger than the phone book!


    Previous to my mechanical engineer coming on board I mocked up a primitive version of the case in google sketchup and it's not great or finished...but it was a start at the time.

    Google Sketchup Mock-up:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    Well...after that my friend had to go and 10 up me. Following is his handiwork.

    Professional Mock-up:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Gah...my design work is so insignificant!

    I decided to make this post finally, because, up until today I wasn't sure I had anything post worthy. But I figure this way people can enjoy the work that's been done. Post opinions and improvements, and generally be the great crowd that finally convinced me to sign up and post:).

    I plan to provide pictures of the construction process etc as things move along.

    I plan to provide full Solidworks design files when I finish the project. Until then I will provide the free viewer format for people to play with if they feel like it. (You'll need the eDrawings Viewer by solidworks to view it.)

    I will reserve the following post for an ongoing cumulative parts list, so that anyone can replicate the work I've done.

    ShoutOuts
    My twin brother for encouraging me:).
    Rob Mackay is an awesome man for lending his expertise and time.
    80/20 --They make great stuff that I happen to be using in my case design.
    McMasterCarr is a ridonkulous for providing great interface for and the largest selection of raw hardware I've ever seen.
    Martin and Ziegler for making something worthy of putting my to-be-made PC on.


    Model Files:
    Rabid's mock-up Sketchup Model (.rar) (.zip) (.skp)
    Professional mock-up (Thanks to Rob Mackay)

    Note to admins...I wasn't sure if this counted as a "project log" as I don't have anything physical started (and I read the rules) so I placed it in the regular mod section. If I have erred..please move.
     
  2. RabidCicada

    RabidCicada Member

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    Cumulative Parts List (Reserved)

    Parts List For Frames (internal+external)(McMasterCarr):
    • 47065T123 4 Each Aluminum Inch T-slotted Framing System Four-slot Single, 1" Solid Extrusion, 8' Length
    • 47065T121 1 Each Aluminum Inch T-slotted Framing System Four-slot Single, 1" Solid Extrusion, 4' Length
    • 47065T175 6 Each Aluminum Inch T-slotted Framing System Extended 90 Degree Bracket, Single, 4-hole, For 1"
    • 47065T932 1 Each Aluminum Inch T-slotted Framing System T-slot Cover, For 1" Extrusion, Black
    • 47065T177 18 Each Aluminum Inch T-slotted Framing System 90 Degree Plate, Single, 5-hole, For 1" Extension
    • 47065T186 4 Each Aluminum Inch T-slotted Framing System Heavy Dty 90 Deg Brace,sngl,2-hole,for 1",6"length
    • 47065T174 2 Each Aluminum Inch T-slotted Framing System Extended Plate, Double, 8-hole, For 1" Extrusion
    • 47065T142 15 Packs Std Zinc-plated Stl End-feed Fastener, For 1" Aluminum Inch T-slotted Framing System

    Parts list for tank, and tank construction (McMasterCarr):
    • 7528A13 3 Each Weld-on #3 Cement For Acrylics, 1 Pint Can
    • 6710A29 1 Each Reusable Type 304 Ss Dispensing Needle, 22 Gauge, .016" Id, .028" Od, 2" Long
    • 7510A655 1 Pack Plastic Syringe, With Luer Lock Connection, 1.01 Oz Capacity
    • 8574K56 4 Each Polycarbonate Sheet, 3/8" Thick, 24" X 24", Clear

    Parts list for bulkheads and couplings (McMasterCarr):
    • 44965K452 4 Each Unthreaded Hi-pressure Ss Sckt-weld Fitting, 304 Ss, 1/4" Pipe Size, Coupling
    • 8328A23 1 Each British Standard Thread Pipe Tap, 3/8"-19 Bspp, 2-9/16" Overall Length
    • 4936K201 2 Each Bspt/bspp/metric Hi-pressure Stl Thrd Fitting, 3/8" Bspp Male X 3/8" Bspp Male Bulkhead

    Parts list for cooling apparatus:
    • 1 Each MO-RA 3 Radiator
    • 2 Each 9x120 MO-RA3 Fan shroud
    • 1 Each Pair of MO-RA Feet
    • 1 Each Eheim 1262 Water Pump
     
    Last edited: 10 Dec 2010
  3. RabidCicada

    RabidCicada Member

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    Tank and Tank Construction Parts list

    Ordered Parts for the Tank 2 weeks ago. I bought a bunch of syringes because I'm clueless when it comes to solvent viscosity. I'm also incapable of reading correctly and bought 3 pints of weld on bonding solvent because I thought it came in 4oz containers.

    Parts list for tank, and tank construction (McMasterCarr):
    • 7528A13 3 Each Weld-on #3 Cement For Acrylics, 1 Pint Can
    • 6710A38 1 Each Reusable Type 304 Ss Dispensing Needle, 30 Gauge, .006" Id, .012" Od, 2" Long
    • 6710A29 1 Each Reusable Type 304 Ss Dispensing Needle, 22 Gauge, .016" Id, .028" Od, 2" Long
    • 6710A23 1 Each Reusable Type 304 Ss Dispensing Needle, 16 Gauge, .047" Id, .065" Od, 2" Long
    • 6710A19 1 Each Reusable Type 304 Ss Dispensing Needle, 13 Gauge, .071" Id, .095" Od, 2" Long
    • 7510A655 1 Pack Plastic Syringe, With Luer Lock Connection, 1.01 Oz Capacity
    • 8574K56 4 Each Polycarbonate Sheet, 3/8" Thick, 24" X 24", Clear
     
  4. RabidCicada

    RabidCicada Member

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    Internal+External Frame Parts List

    Ordered Parts for the internal and external frames Today:)
    Parts List For Frames (internal+external) (McMasterCarr):
    • 47065T123 4 Each Aluminum Inch T-slotted Framing System Four-slot Single, 1" Solid Extrusion, 8' Length
    • 47065T121 1 Each Aluminum Inch T-slotted Framing System Four-slot Single, 1" Solid Extrusion, 4' Length
    • 47065T175 6 Each Aluminum Inch T-slotted Framing System Extended 90 Degree Bracket, Single, 4-hole, For 1"
    • 47065T932 1 Each Aluminum Inch T-slotted Framing System T-slot Cover, For 1" Extrusion, Black
    • 47065T177 18 Each Aluminum Inch T-slotted Framing System 90 Degree Plate, Single, 5-hole, For 1" Extension
    • 47065T186 4 Each Aluminum Inch T-slotted Framing System Heavy Dty 90 Deg Brace,sngl,2-hole,for 1",6"length
    • 47065T174 2 Each Aluminum Inch T-slotted Framing System Extended Plate, Double, 8-hole, For 1" Extrusion
    • 47065T142 15 Packs Std Zinc-plated Stl End-feed Fastener, For 1" Aluminum Inch T-slotted Framing System
     
    Last edited: 22 Oct 2010
  5. RabidCicada

    RabidCicada Member

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    Frame Parts Arrive!....Despair.....

    Got all my frame metal order from McMasterCarr today. Was super happy to have them. I caught the Unboxing on video for everyone to check out what the materials really look like.



    Turns out I ordered the wrong parts. I ordered the wrong parts for the most expensive piece of the material...The 8 foot metal beams and the 4 foot metal beam. I needed 1" x 1" but I ordered 2" x 1" instead. At least I got the Brackets, joining plates, and other miscellany correct. I'll be exchanging the parts here soon hopefully.

    .....And I was all excited :(. Now I gotta fix part numbers in the previous post.

    [​IMG]

    Random Trivia: Video Recorded by my Android phone
     
    Last edited: 22 Oct 2010
  6. Wicked_Sludge

    Wicked_Sludge My eyes! The goggles do nothing!

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    for the youtube wrapper, you only post the numbers that appear after the equal sign in the URL, 09aTRDVMFgc in your case:

    <snip>

    the case design looks great. will you have the cables just sticking out of the top or will there be some type of cover like legomans case has?

    i love mineral oil PCs. its good to see another one coming together :thumb:
     
    Last edited: 23 Oct 2010
  7. RabidCicada

    RabidCicada Member

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    Thanks for the fix on the youtube wrapper.

    I've been thinking about the design for the case top. Don't have any particular idea at this point. Gotta wrack my brain some more, and I'm open to suggestions. I want a clean cable look at top...thats for sure.

    I'm also going to put aquarium rocks, an aerator and some colored LEDs in the tank to give it nifty glows (probably orange and green as those are the colors of the RabidCicada).

    Turns out that the shipping on my incorrect parts is probably more expensive than just ordering new parts straight up..so I've already put in the new order and should have my 1" x 1" beams by Saturday:). Cutting etc will commence when I get back to work with my mechanical design friend.

    I'm trying to figure out which pump to use right now. I was looking at an eheim 1260 because it has more head than the others and I know the mineral oil is pretty viscous. The only problem is I don't have any calculations to even begin to guess as the simulated head pressure due to the viscosity. I'm going to look around the net to see if I can get some better information rather than just buying and hoping.
     
  8. Wicked_Sludge

    Wicked_Sludge My eyes! The goggles do nothing!

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    id be interested to see someone try a positive displacement pump in a mineral oil PC and see if you cant get better oil flow. something with a diaphragm or vanes would have a heck of a lot more head than any centrifugal pump....

    just a thought :)
     
  9. RabidCicada

    RabidCicada Member

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    http://www.pumpschool.com

    Damnit wicked. I'm already cutting into budget for other components, and ordered the wrong parts as mentioned above...may have to get the vid cards and monitors later. Now you've got me scouring the internet to find a good method for using a PD pump in my build.

    I'm going to weigh the desire to have something awesome looking with something efficient. I think it would be cool to see a "breathing bladder" in an LED lit mineral oil case thats clear like I plan mine to be. Maybe a little creepy but awesome looking.
     
  10. Wicked_Sludge

    Wicked_Sludge My eyes! The goggles do nothing!

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    confusion? chaos? disorder?

    my job is done :D
     
  11. RabidCicada

    RabidCicada Member

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    Continuing to do more research and re-read legoman666's work log.

    Some lessons to carry forward:
    Vitton material is oil resistant in terms of soaking up oil. Use it for tubing and for sealing gaskets around bulkheads. If you use normal rubber...it will absorb and expand till it doesn't work.

    Also need to look out for this on the motherboard as some capacitors are capped underneath with rubber seals.

    Also need to look out for this in fans...Some have PVC components.

    I'm going to grab a tube of oil resistant sealant and use it along all the edges of the polycarbonate to prevent leakages from slightly borked bonding jobs.



    Other observations and lessons:
    Using an aerator is not just for looks. It actually counters oil stratification. It helps mix up the oil to prevent layers of hot/not-hot (relatively) oil.
     
    Last edited: 24 Oct 2010
  12. legoman666

    legoman666 Beat to fit, paint to match.

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    Looks awesome! Always like to see other people taking the plunge. Is the tray going to be on slides? Or will it just pull straight out?
     
  13. RabidCicada

    RabidCicada Member

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    Plan is for Mobo Tray to be mounted to slides. Entire Internal frame can come out if more extensive work needs done.

    Least that's the plan so far:).
     
  14. RabidCicada

    RabidCicada Member

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    Yay. I have the right metal beams on the way now. 1" x 1". They'll be here tomorrow.

    I'm prepping the other aluminum parts today by washing them down (to remove metal dust and anodization process leftovers).
     
  15. RabidCicada

    RabidCicada Member

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    Progress! PolyCarbonate Cut. Lots Happening.

    General Update
    Got my new frame metal in. It's all the 1" x 1" metal beams which I'll cut to be the case frame:). Sent the other stuff back this morning. Shipping wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. And McMasterCarr didn't even blink at me returning the metal for a full refund.

    Say hello to my Mechanical Engineer, Rob:
    [​IMG]

    No Positive Displacement Pump. Sorry Wicked.
    I got into contact with some pump guys. They were very helpful with information etc. The only problem is that it would cost ~$2800 :jawdrop: for a (1) Pump, (2) Gear reducer, (3) Motor. That is just too much for one component. I mean...I'm all for spending money on fun stuff but that is a little far for even me. Might spring for one next year >.<.

    I'll stick with an eheim for now. Unless I get a buttload of sponsors/donations anytime soon. :D

    Polycarbonate is Cut
    Rob got free today and I had some time after helping the local middle school Robotics Club (My first time attending...will certainly be helping more:) ). We got to the task...took measurements...and cut it up. Don't know where I'm puttnig my bulkhead yet for the drain valve but that should be easy. Rob was very exacting with all the measurements and ensured perfect cuts.

    Turns out the panels I got were not very exact in terms of being 24"...probably not enough to bother people normally but it would probably cause (aesthetic) problems in the tank.

    After the Polycarbonate was cut...I took some scrap and testing two bonding styles. The Weld-On is water like in viscosity and we decided the best application method was to use the syringe right up on the edge of the joint and let it wick into the joint.

    Bonding style one involved clamped pieces and wicking the Weld-On into the edge of the joint.

    Bonding style two involved non-clamped...just pieces sitting there, and wicking the Weld-On into the edge of the joint.

    I think the non-clamped style will work better because it lets more of the Weld-On wick itself into the imperfections of the cut, making for a very strong seal. I've got the test samples sitting here and tomorrow I'm going to see how hard it is to tear them apart...the style that results in the stronger bond will be the one I use for the real thing.

    One interesting thing to note is that in both cases many tiny bubbles are present in the seal created by the wicking of the weld-on. That should light up very nicely when I put LED lights into the case. Light loves beaming out of the edges of sheets of translucent material into a bed of bubbles like that.

    Other Pics of the Action:

    The Right Metal (1" x 1")
    [​IMG]

    Mid Cut on Polycarbonate
    [​IMG]

    All Precision Cut Panels for the Tank
    [​IMG]

    Syringe With Weld-On
    [​IMG]

    Sample Bonds of Polycarbonate
    [​IMG]
     
  16. Wicked_Sludge

    Wicked_Sludge My eyes! The goggles do nothing!

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    WHAT!? what did these guys think you were trying to pump, radioactive waste? i was thinking something more along the lines of THIS GUY. 3+ GPM and only $80.

    that 1x1 stock is nice looking metal. this tank is going to have a nice, strong, industrial look to it methinks.
     
  17. Nanosec

    Nanosec absit iniuria verbis

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    Whereas I was thinking along THESE LINES. The link is just one of many, and if you search a bit, you can find them to fit right over your standard size tubing. Many companies have them for the O.D. of tygon tube, making it a super quiet method to pump your fluid using the tubing you probably already have.

    Nano
     
  18. RabidCicada

    RabidCicada Member

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    More Pump Stuff
    Wow.....Alright. Looks like the pump is back on the table. Thanks for the pointers and I'll run off and investigate further

    So...I admit to not knowing much about the "modding business" and I figured the best way to get the best answer with the least time investment (read least time wasting) was to show a professional my worklog and explain exactly what I'm looking for. Then have them tell me what a reasonable solution is.

    I specifically mentioned I'd like it to be quiet, or at least submersible to that it can be dampened by the mineral oil. I did ask for something about the rate of the ehiem (10gpm).

    You think the 3gpm would circulate the oil fast enough to keep the tank cool?

    Using the dimensions of my cut polycarbonate and not accounting for displaced oil from the internal frame and all the computer components inside I have 9.25inch*20.625inch*23.25inch = ~72.68 = ~19.20 gallons.

    I assume almost half will be displaced by the internal components including seasonal decorations and aquarium rocks:). I can't wait to stick a severed robotic head in there next year...And have it follow people with it's eyes.


    The linked peristaltic pump seems way too low gpm (.42) to be effective and even the highest end model from Stenner (double head) is only 7 gallons per hour. I really like the look of the peristaltic though. Maybe I can find one with more than 2 heads:)....And just join all the outputs. I'll keep checking them out though...I like that you can see the internals (would add to the case)

    The diaphram could work, and very nicely takes 12v supply...which I think my 1.5KW power supply could handle.

    Lots more looking to do.
     
    Last edited: 28 Oct 2010
  19. RabidCicada

    RabidCicada Member

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    Thanks for the input on the look of the case wicked. I was going for strong and industrial...I wanted a tank. I also want to be able to see the internals well:). I'm really liking the idea of the peristaltic pump now from Nano if I could find one that does what I need. It would have a really nice aesthetic when you can see the internal components rotating etc from outside the case itself.

    I plan on putting seasonal decorations inside just because I can.

    I'm going to finish up the entire body and get something fully working. Then I will probably create a lid to hid ugly wires etc. I'm thinking somehting that has a ladder catch system on the support struts so I can open the lid in like 4 increments and the ladder catches on the support arms will keep it there. That way I can leave the beast open when I want to:).

    Have no clue about the design of the lid yet. After that I may add a lower bay just because using the 80/20 metals is sooooo simple. Just buy metal, buy joining plates/gussets/whatever...screw together.
     
  20. RabidCicada

    RabidCicada Member

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    I was going to avoid tygon tubing by recommendation of the worklog of legoman666. Apparently in mineral oil the tygon gets hard and brittle after a while.
     

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