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Scratch Build – In Progress Project Specced ITX 1.0

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by Gurt11, 6 Dec 2015.

  1. Gurt11

    Gurt11 New Member

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    Hi,

    My name is ‘Gurt11’ or Geert, as my parents called me. I live in Belgium and I’ve been building computers and gradually advancing in modding-territories for some years now. As I have now turned 24, graduated from uni and am about to make steps to build a life of my own, I thought it would be nice to do one more mod. But it had to be a special one. Again something I hadn’t done before. I introduce you to my Specced ITX case.

    SPECCED ITX 1.0

    The idea of the build was to make everything smaller, but not to lose performance or cooling capabilities. I come from a Corsair 600T, which you’ll see soon as a proper goodbye was in order. I have some dremeling experience, I know what a file is, and most important: I took quite some time (at least half a year *-)) to come up with a design for a case that was 1) possible to make myself, without any fancy machinery , and 2) could fit everything I wanted it to.

    Features:

    - ITX motherboard
    - Full sized graphics card
    - ATX PSU
    - Watercooling: 360mm rad + 120mm rad.

    Every mod begins with old fashioned pen and paper!

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    A basic SketchUp soon followed:

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    Measurements: 260mm (W) x 425mm (L) x 276mm (H) (double front included, feet excluded)

    The mind is made up, the marks are drawn, the wallet is (/was) full(-ish). Let’s GO!
    Materials out of which it will be constructed:

    - Aluminium.
    - Plexi.
    - Something that should resemble wood. (veneer was the first idea)
    - Glass.

    Saying goodbye to my trusty 600T. You have been of use for long enough!

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  2. Gurt11

    Gurt11 New Member

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    The midplate

    From a designers point of view, I wanted the motherboard tray to be lit up from behind or from underneath. This meant it cannot be made of aluminium. I could have made an acrylic midplate myself, but I had no idea how to make the correct holes for the motherboard stand-offs and had no idea at which distance from the back they should be positioned for the I/O panel to sit flush with the back side.

    That being said, I wanted to thank PARVUM Systems for the assistance in making this sublime white acrylic midplate. That they were able to produce a quality piece like this from the drawings and measurements I gave them, still amazes me. Thank you!

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    One of those second hand deals of a lifetime:

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    Paired withan Intel i5 4690K, another second hand deal, can’t go wrong:

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    The good old XSPC Raystorm block:

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    More importantly! The aluminium arrived from https://www.aluminiumopmaatgemaakt.be/, a Dutch company that delivers plain aluminium cut to size and bent in basic shapes.

    I regret to announce however that I lost some photos from the aluminium somewhere along the way. The following is a picture from how the panels should come together:

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    As you can maybe tell it consists of 7 different pieces:

    - 2 L-shapes that form the sides and double front.
    - 2 rectangular pieces for top and bottom.
    - 1 rectangular piece for the back.
    - 1 L-shape for a radiator at the front.
    - 1 U-shape to cover the bottom radiator.

    Measurements: 260mm (W) x 425mm (L) x 276mm (H) (double front included, feet excluded)

    As the sharp-eyed may have noticed: the panels didn’t arrive in perfect condition. As you can see from above, the big L-shapes for the sides didn’t have a perfect 90° angle. Maybe this happened during transport, maybe it just wasn’t done properly or maybe I handled it with too little care on unboxing. Anyway, it got fixed with some brute force and the edge of a table.

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    Something else, which I can’t just fix: the top left corner of one of the L-shapes was damaged. (as seen above and below more clearly) This definitely wasn’t my own doing. Transportation went a little rough I guess.

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    All this aluminium will be held together with MODDING CUBES from Parvum. These little things are simply wonderful.

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    Things that need doing:

    - DRILL all screw-holes in the right positions.
    - SINK those screw holes with a sink-bit.
    - TAP all holes to fit regular M3 screws.
    - Cut out fans holes, windows, front, I/O, PSU , …



    Some notes on some tools and bits and bobs I got!

    This is a tap and die set that I got in one of your regular hobby and tool shops.

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    All was fine at the start. I mostly needed the M3 (the smallest) of the tap bits. Those taps fit in a holder that you can see here:

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    Unfortunately, no matter in what way you put the tap in, after a while the points that touch the tap started hollowing out because of the force put on the whole thing when tapping. My guess this happened because of the small size of the M3 tap bit and possibly also just not top quality material. Maybe you can see what I mean in the following pics:

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    To solve this issue, I came across a better mechanism to tap. Message to anyone ever in need of something to tap threads: GET THIS STRAIGHT AWAY! The tap bits fit in by compression. Tapping will be much easier also because of the way this tool works. (I can’t find the English name for this tool anymore. Help? :))

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    Another very nice drill bit is this thingy. Meant to sink drilled holes so that bolt heads align flat with the surface. And ofcourse M3, M4 and M5 drill bits used for this project.

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    I also got some of these round things. An M3 bolts fits inside and makes it pretty. Ofcourse sinking holes is useless when using these. I yet had to make up my mind on if and where I was going to use these.

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  3. Gurt11

    Gurt11 New Member

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    Measure, draw, measure again, draw some more, change your mind, do it all over again and drill!

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    Again, I somehow lost a bunch of pictures from my camera from while I was working on the aluminium.
    These phone pictures will have to do :(

    First I did the bottom plate, radiator cut-outs and corners for the back.

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    Fitted the midplate and one side to the bottom and the back

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    Bottom radiator cover

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    And front radiator cover

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    With the other panels put loosely in place, it should look something like this from the back:

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    Mind you that at this point I had occupied the (old) kitchen table for several weeks. I still dream of my own place to work :3

    NOTE: it became clear at this point that using hexagon-head bolts (those which you can screw in using an allen key) is NOT a good idea. Some of the bolts need a little force to be put in place, which was bad news for the heads: once you put too much force on your allen key, you risk carving out some of the bolts head, which then makes it even more difficult to screw in further or even out again. At this point I switched to phillips head bolts. Saved my life.

    NOTE 2: I also experimented (on a test piece, before these cuttings and drillings) with giving the aluminium a brushed effect. I did this using sandpaper, attaching the alu to a workbench and go over and over again with sandpaper. From coarser grits to finer grits. (100 – 240 – 320) It sure looked nice, and the original plan was to get the panels anodized in black, which would have meant the brushing would have still been visible. HOWEVER, I decided, in deliberation with my bank account, that the cost of having it anodized professionally wasn’t worth it considering my work on its own also isn’t as perfect as I wanted it to be. Drilling and cutting by hand, means making mistakes and having to adapt to even a millimeter gone wrong. Not that these little signs of a handmade case are that visible, but I know they’re there and thus in my mind the cost of anodizing isn’t justified.
     
  4. Gurt11

    Gurt11 New Member

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    Delivery by Highflow. Thanks guys! ^^

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    Bitspower and alphacool fittings, PETG tubing by Nanoxia, tube reamer; Silverstone 120mm fan filters, case feet by Lian Li, Leds by Phobya and some 7v adapters.

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    Delicious fittings.
    These are the ones that are going to be visible. In the back compartment of the case, I'm going to use flexible tube with Monsoon fittings that I still have from the previous build.

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    Thanks to the video Peter Brands made (L3p) I went for this tubing. Looks nice :)

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    Silverstone fan filters. As you can see, the mesh on these is extremely fine. Plus they're magnetic. Not that I'll use that feature, but it's nice anyway :p

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    And to lift it all up, some aluminium feet by Lian Li. Very nice quality, surprisingly heavy too.

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  5. Gurt11

    Gurt11 New Member

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    Update on the case!

    It closes :3

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    On with the radiator cover then. Went with this design, hopefully going to look good with leds underneath.

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    Did the front radiator cover the same way, and tadaaa

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    On with this back side then. Motherboard I/O plate and PSU have to fit snugly.

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    Nice.
    Then did the front, which you can see here standing on top of everything.

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    This little radiator

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    Goes right here

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    No roof without a window

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  6. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    It looks awesome, but that's nearly zero air flow for the radiator. Do you have something else planned that I'm not seeing?
     
  7. Gurt11

    Gurt11 New Member

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    This might indeed form a problem when everything is closed... I wanted to keep it very tidy like this, so I'm ok with a small sacrifice in temperatures. I'll just have to see what the temps are once everything runs.
     
  8. Gurt11

    Gurt11 New Member

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    Next update. Very nearly there!

    Cut out the side window. Nice and big, no tralala or poespas as we say.

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    Top view

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    Front view

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    Exploded view. Made a little cut out there in the front for the front fan to suck air through.

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    Open back view

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    Last thing to be cut was this hole for the PSU fan to let it have some air. OCD much.

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    So then… These raw pieces need painting. So I prepped the garage, Dexter style :3

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  9. Gurt11

    Gurt11 New Member

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    Update!

    All panels were prepped and primed.

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    And hung very handily from an old curtain rail with some chicken fence wire :p

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    Little by little, nice and easy, careful not to cause dripping …

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    Et voilà! A couple days later this was the result. Fairly happy with it :)

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    After which I wrapped the radiator covers with DC-Fix (normally for furniture or window panes). Very sticky and several nice wood finishes to choose from. I went with this walnut look…

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    Stuck it on first and then cut out the ‘ventilation lines’ and fitting holes. On the table (result below). On these feet it shall now be build!

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Gurt11

    Gurt11 New Member

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    Update!

    So I began at the bottom, where after fitting the feet I noticed I had to fix the radiator first, because the feet cover some screws for the rad. Talking about close…

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    So after attaching bottom rad and fan filters, the feet could go on.

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    And boom. Alphacool ST30 360mm rad in place.

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    Fans on. Cover on.

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    Midplate on.

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    That’s a Parvum fan you see peeping here. All fans will be running with 7v adapters. Didn’t want more cables visible (going to the motherboard) then necessary.

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    A blacky going in the front.

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    On an alphacool ST30 120mm rad, attached to the front radiator cover. I didn’t attach it to the front of the case itself (to the big L-shaped piece) because then it would get really hard to access the back. In the way I’m doing it now, I can just take all sides off without having to take anything from the computer or watercooling apart.

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    Motherboard on. Fittings from the front rad were in place when putting in the rad.

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    Those other four holes will have pass through fittings that go to pump, reservoir and via-via to bottom rad.

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    At this point I took everything apart again to put the LEDS in. *Scatterbrain*
    One white LED strip goes between the bottom rad cover and midplate. Kept a perfect 1cm space. And one red LED strip goes underneath the bottom rad cover.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: 14 Dec 2015
  11. Gurt11

    Gurt11 New Member

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    Part 2 of todays update.

    Back to it then!

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    I can look at this all day long.

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    Cover its rear side. Oh yeah, I cut some lines out here as well, hoping it might let some air out.

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    GPU on.

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    The business compartment. Gonna be tight.

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    My good old memory sticks. Still going to have to serve me some in this build. Can’t afford some nice Dominator Platinums yet.

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    Watercool everything!

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  12. Gurt11

    Gurt11 New Member

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    UDPATE!

    One of the lastest, I promise.

    So at the back things will be connected using flexy tube. Not very interesting?

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    The front looks far more interesting!

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    My first bends ever using acrylic tubing. This is the PETG stuff supplied by Nanoxia.

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    Complex, I tell you! It’s bending, fitting, dremeling a little off, deburring, fitting again, maybe take a new piece and bend again, … Luckily I never needed to do a bend more than twice.

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    These are going in …

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    One little bend.

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    Boom.

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    Time to fill up and see if this kind of tubing and fitting actually holds the water in…

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    One can never be too careful…

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    Luckily everything went ok. Little tightening here and there and I was golden. Or red actually...

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    And I’m gonna leave you with this backside shot of some lighting … :3

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  13. storm-83

    storm-83 Member

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    interesting bends there!
    looks really good :thumb:

    curious about the temps with what looks like restricted airflow (as pointed out by Cheaps)
     
  14. Gurt11

    Gurt11 New Member

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    Thank you, and yes I'm curious as wel :eyebrow:
     
  15. Herodj95

    Herodj95 New Member

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    I like the contrast of the wood on white and black, very elegant! ;)
     
  16. Impatience

    Impatience Well-Known Member

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    Awesome look with the chrome, wood and black!
     
  17. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    Awww yea! Why not a mono-block on that Impact though?
     
  18. Concept73

    Concept73 Wannabe modder.

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    Really impressed with the build, nice and clean with some nice subtle features!

    Loop really does make it work for me but the hand skills really was a winner for me!
    I couldn't do that!
     
  19. Gurt11

    Gurt11 New Member

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    Thank you! :thumb:

    Because money (Raystorm is from previous build). And I don't like the look of that mono-block actually, so wouldn't have done that anyway ^^

    Thank you! :D I'm sure with enough time and patience almost anyone could do something like this. I still made quite a few mistakes here and there, but luckily they could be hidden or fixed :dremel:



    I've been busy with getting the right glass for the windows. Updates on that soon(-ish)!
     
  20. Gurt11

    Gurt11 New Member

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    An update? Long time no see!

    We left off at around this stage I believe…

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    Water in, colored red with some Mayhems Deep Red. And them LEDS though :eek:

    After this it took quite a while until I had something that I wanted to show you guys. I’ll explain using pictures :3

    So I got some glass afterall. It has a kind of smoked effect, which they call ‘grey’ glass. Just single layered, 3mm thick.

    And then my grandfather, who’s a glass-artist (‘glazier’?), was happy to help me out in my project which he understood little about :p I love him <3

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    Everything drawn out on the glass.

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    Preparing the knife for cutting by dipping it in petroleum I thought it was? Maybe just gasoline :p

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    An artist’s hands!

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    After cutting a groove from edge to edge, the glass is broken using this simple sort of pliers.

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    Comes off with a little snap.

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    Smoothing the edges on this hyper futuristic device :p it consists of a rotating sanding bit, kept wet by water and a little piece of sponge is put behind it to soak up remaining water.

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    Attached to my side and top panels using silicone.

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    This glass now sticks to the panels like some very dirty word. The only way it can be taken off is by breaking it and damaging the panels because the edges where it’s glued, need to be scraped off. I found out because I was stupid enough to ‘assume’ some measurements from my top panel. This is for the most part why it took so long until this update. Took a while to get the glass again, grandfather went on vacation, I was busy personally etc etc. ANYWAY this is what is looked like the first time around.

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    You can see how some edges where a little damaged along the way as well. On the second try however, I made sure to be more careful, use less silicone and the result came out pretty good…
     

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