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Case Mod - Complete ⭐ Project Trinity

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by DeZoTriX, 11 Jul 2019.

  1. DeZoTriX

    DeZoTriX New Member

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    Hi everybody!

    Let me introduce myself! Since I really fell in love with PC modding and building in general not too long ago I am kind of step by step signing up in different forums to publish my own experiences with starting out. I've been hooked since 2016 when I first built my very first rig which is indeed the case I used for this case mod and that would be the classic Fractal Design Define S. Not long after that I went all in by making a custom loop configuration with the Thermaltake Core P5, as I was always keen on building a water cooled build just for the aesthetics even way before I even had a PC. After a successful first hardline build I instantly got hooked and so I did more and more research on making a build really stand out from the rest and I found this whole 'modding' community which was honestly the best thing that happened to me. And so it began ,by time I got enough courage to start my first case mod and since the budget was a little tight I thought why not re-use my first beloved case which was meant for watercooling anyways. One of the first few things was getting proper tools, and since I have somewhat a mild OCD I needed a CNC router, so I did my research and bought a Stepcraft 840 (the whole process of building and learning how to use CAD, CAM software took quite some time off the project). So when everything was set I actually started to focus my mind on design, material choice and the overall custom loop layout.

    The picture below was the very first sketch I made for this build and the foundation for all upcoming implementations and so a lot of trouble was heading my way which I was not prepared for. :D

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    First thing I got to work on was the actual front of the case, since the standard Define S front looks too minimalistic in my opinion. I got initially inspired by Parvum Systems with their well known acrylic chassis. This was the design I ended up with and I was happy till the end, which I created with Fusion 360. I did two layers of this design with a slight offset to create that nice 3D look.

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    My first few tries on the new CNC, getting everything right before actually milling the real parts, just to make sure I hit the right speeds and feeds. This part was just a quick draw for testing.

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    So after dialing in the machine I took the first try on making the front with clear acrylic which was painted black afterwards. Sadly though the results were way off so the piece was unusable after the first try, but I still did a quick n' dirty paint job just to see the result on the yellow satin/frosted acrylic piece which was used as the background for all of the layers, and I was excited to see that it actually came out pretty nice. First success in this build log so far!

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    One of the first few little things I got when starting out with modding was a small vinyl cutter to create my own stickers or decals. The project name was already set so I wanted to add a very small detail on the front panel.

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    After that I successfully painted the first layer from the front panel, a second one was added after so you'll that later because at that point I thought one was enough, but it looked off to me overall, there was just something missing. :eek:

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    Next up was the PSU shroud, just to make sure I have a possibility to hide all of the unnecessary cable mess and give the rig an overall more stealthy look. Now you'll see that I made some minor and major changes throughout the whole process of building this machine depending on the problems I occurred to. The shroud is the best example, I initially wanted to have a hardline tube run all across the whole PSU shroud, too bad I didn't take the actual PSU into account :oops: Simple solution: shorten the tube run! Nonetheless the main concept was still being used, and so I began working on the different acrylic parts that would need to be glued together. My first plan was to bend the acrylic but that was just not possible with my custom bending machine. So acrylic weld it was! Below are some pre-steps I made such as measuring the base of the shroud and getting a feel for how it will look in the end.

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    This was the whole preparation phase, next up was the implementation by welding all of the milled out parts together to achieve that nice square look. Prior to that I did some dremel work to the case to make sure the shroud would fit in the end. This was a tight fit after all, also taking the tube run into account, so I could mount the tempered glass side panel afterwards.










     
    Last edited: 20 Jul 2019
  2. DeZoTriX

    DeZoTriX New Member

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    Here I let the weld dry with some UV lighting. Next up was getting the primer on the shroud so it can finally be painted in a nice matte black finish. Not looking bad thus far!

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    And again I felt like I was missing something, so I added a few details to get a richer look in the end. Those two pieces made all the difference!

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    So here it is, PSU shroud all finished. On to the next task: Installing watercooling components!

    NOTE: Due to the upload file restriction I'll update this as soon as possible, since the build is technically finished!​
     
  3. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    That's a great start. :D
    I'm guessing you had access issues with the cover plate and plumbing inside?
     
  4. DeZoTriX

    DeZoTriX New Member

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    Thanks! Got some time now, so I'll update today. Yes bingo, plumbing was a real pain especially because I ended up with a severe leak near the PSU. Build was mostly done, but due to the whole structure taking it apart is somewhat a nightmare, but I learned a lot throughout this build to make it better next time :)
     
  5. DeZoTriX

    DeZoTriX New Member

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    Next up was sanding down all of the acrylic parts such as the GPU front cover plate, CPU waterblock and of course the reservoir to get an even satin/frosted look just like the tubing which was pre-sandblasted by Alphacool. At first I used normal wet sandpaper, but there where too many visible scratches even with fine grid when looking at certain angles. So it was funny that Alex actually posted a video on how to achieve that frosted look on tubing etc. just a few days later, as if he only knew I was struggling :eek: Thanks to the mod god I instantly bought some FESTOOL sanding pads and the results were really good!

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    In the meantime I was painting the PCIe brackets from white to black. Also I needed to think about a way to vertically mount the GPU to this case since it never had this feature unlike the new Define S2. I did some research and there were some helpful tips but some of them seemed a little too ghetto, so I decided to buy the PCI Modular I/O bracket from Mountain Mods and attach it on the inside of the case by doing some drilling and dremeling. After I needed to dremel a cutout for all of the GPU ports such as DP and HDMI I thought of adding a small detail by milling a thin frame to achieve a cleaner look. I could have used a rubber grommet with a bigger cutout but this did the trick just nicely, since I really think it looks like it could potentially be something the case had in its vanilla state :D

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    And again, this front cover for the GPU was one of the first tries and changes throughout the log, not by much but I wanted to block any unnecessary visible parts from the nickelplated block, meaning you should only see the fluid chamber or channel. But more to that later!

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    Sorry for some pictures, quality wise I snapping most of the progress with my old phone and recently got a new camera so it's getting better! Noted for the next project log :cool:
     
  6. DeZoTriX

    DeZoTriX New Member

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    Now that I got a hang of my CNC I redid the front and painted it black again, but this time with a two layers ;)

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    I was really happy with the end results, this gave me hope for the rest of the build.
    In between I thought of some detail work a.k.a testing my finesse with the CNC.

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    This really is barely noticeable but makes a nice enclosure for the back of the case by blocking the rest of the honeycomb pattern.

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    The Enermax T.B RGB Fans make a great mix with the XSPC Slim line of radiators :cool:

    These pictures were taken by pre-building some parts just to see where it's going and I wasn't dissapointed :)

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    The front radiator was way too high but there was no other way to drop it, so I did a bit of dremel work to make it fit. Also if you notice, the PSU shroud covers the whole base of the case which was stupid since I needed to drop the radiator, so things like these always happen when improvising. But as we say in Germany: 'What doesn't fit, is made to fit' :D

    Next on the list was a replacement plate for the top of the case, since I'm using a radiator, so key was to block the sight of the naked radiator but at the same time not block the pushed air from the fans through the top. So I decided to mill a two layer pattern with dustfilters added with some magnets for easy attachment.

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  7. DeZoTriX

    DeZoTriX New Member

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    I finally got a decent camera and a nice lighting setup and was fiddling around with taking some nice snapshots so this was the result. I'm still learning on how to take awesome photos :)

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    After that I redesigned the GPU cover to match it to the top aswell as the beauty plate next to the motherboard :)

    These are the resullts:

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    I ordered a couple of fluids to mix my own but it turned out the color dye concentrate from Mayhems was just perfect straight from the bottle. Really happy! :D

    Now came the most important part of this build! The hardline setup!
    I admit I was nervous as hell, didn't have a lot of tubing to spare or mess up since it was very pricey! Not only that, I didn't even know if this whole thing goes according to plan :oops:

    And so it began, note that this was my first time bending PMMA instead of PETG, which was surprisingly good to work with. PMMA with a smaller OD should be a lot trickier I assume, but I personally like the looks of the tubing with the bigger OD.

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  8. Jeff Hine

    Jeff Hine Nothing special

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    @Cheapskate will love this - always gets behind anyone who brings out some serious artillery, like CNC...
     
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  9. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    I've been summoned...:lol: I do love layered plexi.
     
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  10. DeZoTriX

    DeZoTriX New Member

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    Next update! Since I got the front tubing done, the next step was to connect the whole layout to the back of the case. For easier routing and handling I used black softtubing. Meanwhile I added another small detail for my EKWB Velocity CPU block and put on the second layering for my GPU.
    Oh and I sleeved the DDC pump aswell just to get rid of the rainbow colors :)

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    So far so good! Off to the beauty plate!

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    After that I rebuilt most of the components for clearance checks and played around with some of the RGB functions from the Enermax fans. Usually I'm not really a big fan of the whole RGB craze so the end result pics will be non RGB. If you're aiming towards a specific color scheme I love the static feature RGB brings though. Here are some snapshots inbetween:

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  11. DeZoTriX

    DeZoTriX New Member

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    Getting there folks!

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    In the meantime I was busy making the front work with some backlit lighting, therefore I needed to dremel two cutouts to the original front panel, because the idea was to not see any direct LED's, just the indirect light. This is how I did it:

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    Done! ​
     
  12. DeZoTriX

    DeZoTriX New Member

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    Julian Peter a.k.a propagandalf1 was kind enough to make me some sexy sleeved cables with the new transparent sleeves from MDPC-X with colored cables to match the frosted theme.

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    Thanks again brother! Outstanding work you did with these, really professional guy!
    Now since all of my cables arrived, I started working on the back of the chassis. I was intending to use both sides with tempered glass so everything needed to be tidy, a nice little challenge which makes a huge difference in the end!

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    Funny story on a matter, Martin over at Customrigsde helped me out 3D printing these mountable cable combs (Thanks again man!) on which I designed them and sent him the .stl files. He told me off the bat that the ones I designed were way too flimmsy and thin and will eventually crack, especially with how solid the custom sleeved cables bend. I told him to print them and we'll see how it will turn out. After a few days upon arrival, I tested them and they of course...failed! lel
    No worries, adjusted the design to make them even thiccer (yes intended :cool:) and voila! they did their jobs just perfectly. Now you can't really see the 'Trinity' branding on the combs themselves but trust me they are on there :D


     
  13. DeZoTriX

    DeZoTriX New Member

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    The back was cleared, tubing also done, everything was in place, the beast was ready to be filled, but here's one pre-flush n' fill picture.

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    Last edited: 20 Jul 2019
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  14. DeZoTriX

    DeZoTriX New Member

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    And here is where the project log for 'Trinity' ends! Hope you all like the end results, I really put a lot of work and dedication into my first fully modded build, and plan to log everything from now on. I already got the next project up my sleeves, and can't wait to start tracking the process on here. Would love to hear some feedback, especially since there are the most known guys when it comes to pc builds on here! Secondly I want to thank everybody that was involved in this project and had to endure me throughout the process. First huge shoutout definitely goes to EKWB in specific Atila Gobor who always got my back and even went thus far to sponsor me with their premium products on my first bigger project. He really is such a generous guy since I see him help out young fellow modders and builders with some nice hardware. When you start out you don't necessarily have the budget to play around with the most expensive parts yet you still love the progress of modding and in specific watercooling. And your number one priority should not even be getting sponsors for free products, there's always a win-win situation needed to achieve this. So atleast I hope I represented their hardware the best way possible. Next up is as mentioned already in my project log Julian Peter a.k.a propagandalf1 for the dope sleeving job! If you read this, I still owe you bro ;)! And of course the man of the hour and also mentor to me Martin Reinke from Customrigsde. He always gave me ideas to improve and was my mental support when things weren't working out as intended. Of course also hooking me up with some parts with his 3D printer :cool:. Last but not least my family for making this thing happen and for tolerating me throughout this time :D Now let's roll the final pics!

    I present to you Project 'Trinity' with the Fractal Design Define S!

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    Last edited: 21 Jul 2019
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  15. Cristianodanna mod

    Cristianodanna mod Member

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    Nice work
     
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  16. DeZoTriX

    DeZoTriX New Member

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    Thanks man! Appreciate it! :D
     
  17. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    It came out great. :D The only thing I see that might improve it would be covering that PCI riser.
     
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  18. DeZoTriX

    DeZoTriX New Member

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    LOL, I really wanted to include this in the log since this was the most given feedback I got for this build, and yeah it's so true! Have a Lian-Li Riser which is all blacked out, but I already disassembled the build to make room for new things. Glad you liked it overall! :rolleyes:
     
  19. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    Don't take it wrong. I'm the suggestions guy. It's mental training that helps me catch things I miss in my own projects before disaster strikes.
    I noticed you lined up the plug screw slots each time too. -You really do belong here. :lol:
     
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  20. DeZoTriX

    DeZoTriX New Member

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    No worries, I love criticism, it helps you to improve. I already saw you're a really active member around here and it means a lot to me, sounds like a good welcome to me :D
     

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