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Case Mod - In Progress Project XOSKEL [D-Frame Mini Build]

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by Alec**, 6 Jul 2015.

  1. Alec**

    Alec** New Member

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    Hey all,

    So it's about time for a new build! And I've decided to push the boundaries a little bit for this case mod, and go for something more 'outside the box'.

    I went on a hunt for a case that was a little bit more unusual, something slightly different from the standard six-sided box (as much as a like my old TJ07). I was also after something a little smaller, for ease of portability. But above anything else, a case that looks fantastic, and has great modding potential.

    So here it is then, the In Win D-Frame Mini. I saw this at a tech show a few months back and was instantly taken by its unique tubular design juxtaposed with tempered glass sides. More so, watercooling this (currently) Mini-ITX case seemed an achievable task, and instantly had a few mods in mind.

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    The tempered glass sides add a touch of class, juxtaposing the tubular frame really nicely.

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    I'm really impressed with the overall build quality on this case, particularly the precision machined motherboard tray - I've never seen a mobo tray so thick!

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    Front I/O ports and switches couldn't be much more accessible.

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    Without the glass, the case is fully exposed. Hard drive trays and a 240mm radiator mounting bracket are now on show (not that either are staying for long!)

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    The handle is really well positioned, and makes moving this lightweight case a piece of cake.

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    There's no end of perspectives in here!

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    Probably the easiest 'mod' of the build - swapping out those stock red feet with some black ones - looking stealthy!

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    Thanks to In Win for sorting this D-Frame Mini out!

    I’m taking this build on alongside MikeMK, and we've got a series of interesting mods lined up for it:

    • Fitting an mATX Motherboard into this Mini-ITX tower
    • Mounting a 360mm radiator instead of a 240mm
    • Full hardline watercooling loop

    Having often opted for the blue colour scheme in builds, I wanted to mix it up a little bit. As you may have guessed by the project logo, we're going Turquoise. There's a fair amount of cable braiding, motherboard painting, and coolant mixing ahead of us!

    The nature of this open air chassis means noise is an important factor, which is why I’m really excited to have Be Quiet! On side for the build, thanks to the guys over there for providing the new Dark Power Pro 11 850W PSU and three Silent Wings 2 120mm fans for the radiator.

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    I'm really impressed with the look and feel of the Dark Power Pro, a very sleek finish which deserves to be on show! After reading the raving reviews, I was keen to get this in the build.

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    I've heard great things about these Silent Wings, 50.5cfm at 16.5dB speaks for itself (or should i say whispers!)

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    Thanks again Be Quiet! will look at these products in a little more detail when I get them running!

    Finally, the motherboard. The ASRock Fatal1ty ticks all boxes. Except the colour. The red won't be staying.

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    Here's the spec low-down (for now):

    Hardware:
    CPU: Intel I7 5820K
    Motherboard: ASRock Fatal1ty X99
    Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB DDR4 2666Mhz
    GPU: MSI Radeon R9 290X
    Sound Card: TBC
    SSD: TBC
    PSU: Be Quiet! Dark Power Pro 11 850W

    Watercooling
    CPU Block: TBC
    GPU Blocks: TBC
    Radiators: TBC
    Tubing & Fittings: TBC
    Reservoir: TBC

    (Still some work to do on the WC setup!).

    I'm expecting this project to be ongoing for the next month or two, kicking off with the mATX mod and a bit of braiding.

    That's it for now, stay tuned!
     
  2. Alec**

    Alec** New Member

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    So a little update then, first off a few new components!

    First off, i7 5820K alongside Corsair Vengeance 16GB 2666MHz DDR4...

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    I've been itching to try out one of these, Samsung SM951 256GB M.2 PCI-e SSD - it's tiny!

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    The first of the Monsoon watercooling gear's arrived...

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    So here's the general gist of the layout for the case...

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    Here's a little idea on that lovely turquoise I'm colour matching off, a little bit of braid...

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    Time for the first mod! So from first glance at this case, I knew I wanted to get a 360mm rad fitted. The XSPC EX360 is slimline, but it has to be in order to squeeze that GPU in above. In order to get it in, however, a slot had to be cut in the PSU cage.

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    About 3 mins of jigsaw, and 3 hours of filing later...

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    And with the radiator in place...

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    Need to work out the best mounting solution for the rad, a couple of custom brackets are in need I think. Another job for this week is getting the mATX motherboard fitted and cabling holes cut so I know what length the PSU cables need to be for braiding - much fun!
     
  3. Alec**

    Alec** New Member

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    It's about time for an update! Sorry for the radio silence, metalwork seems to be taking much longer than I'd hoped! All the metalwork as seen below completed by use of a jigsaw, and many hours of filing...

    So first job was coming up with a secure mount for the radiator. Seeing as it sits in the PSU cage, thought I'd make use of the mount and cover up the surrounding gap.

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    I'm pretty happy with this bracket, looks pretty clean and does a good job in holding the rad in place.

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    Some kind of fixing was also required at the front, and after many hours of pondering, here's how I went about it.

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    The curve around the tube seems to provide a good amount of tension, holding the rad in place.

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    To prevent any sideways movement, a screw seemed to finish it off. This was threaded in the aluminium tube.

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    So I didn't like the way you could see through the 'DFrame Mini' to a PSU label, and thought it could use tidying up. I therefore cut a panel to side in the PSU cage, this will be painted that lovely shade of turquoise eventually!

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    I've also cut a few cable holes in the mobo tray. From left to right: GPU power, front panel USB, and ATX power. The appropriate mATX stand off holes have also been cut and threaded.

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    And look what arrived.. had to source the paint from a graffiti site as it was the only place I could find a decent range of colours!

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    I'm hoping to get the above panels painted this week, along with the PCI bracket (which is in the works), and an additional panel to mount the res on. I've also got a HDD mount to figure out (hopefully just some holes in the mobo tray), and a couple of slits to cut for the PCI cards in the tray.

    The aim is by the end of next week, to be in a position whereby the rig is being built for the 'final' time, and brading can get underway. Stay tuned!
     
  4. Hukkel

    Hukkel James' minion

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    Looking good so far.
     
  5. Alec**

    Alec** New Member

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    Cheers Hukkel! Hopefully another update to come in a little bit :)
     
  6. B NEGATIVE

    B NEGATIVE All Hail Kim Jong Magoo!

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    I do love a DFM...Mine went from a LAN box to a daily driver.

    You can see it in the LUMO link in my sig.

    I will watch this log.

    Also,Dont forget about the cables from the PSU,That rad blocks a lot of the access.
     
  7. Alec**

    Alec** New Member

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    Love the LUMO build, great work on that mate! I spotted it while in the planning stages for this build, amazed by the attention to detail.. sets a pretty high benchmark lol! The plan is to take all the PSU cables round the side (behind the mobo tray), there seems to be enough room to do that.
     
  8. Alec**

    Alec** New Member

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    A quick update for tonight, more progression on the metalwork!

    So first up, most of the last couple of nights have been spent on producing the PCI bracket. Again, a jigsaw and file job with a dremel and clamp to get the folds. Needless to say, this has been a b**** lol.

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    It seems to be there now though, and holds the GPU in pretty solid.

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    Also had to cut a slit for the PCI cards to sit through the mobo tray, which means the GPU can now be fitted! (for now..)

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    Seems like a pretty momentous occasion getting the GPU mounted, now getting a better idea on how the hardware's going to look.

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    Another plate produced, here primarily to cover up the mass amount of holes which exist for the original hard drive mounts / cables. This will also act as a mounting bracket for the res. A little hole for the 8 pin was also cut, and I'm quite happy with how the 'angled corner' came out, mimicking the angle of the mobo tray behind.

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    So the last one for tonight, I needed a way to mount the hard drive on the back of the mobo tray. At first, I was thinking about just 4 holes and screw right through. However that would mean to remove the hard drive, the entire motherboard would have to be taken out.. hardly convenient!

    So I really liked the stock hard drive mounts that came with the case, the fixed thumb screw bracket makes for easy removal. Here's the original bracket.

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    So I took two of them, chopped off the bulk of the plate, leaving just the thumb screws and a 90 degree section. Simple screw in to either side of the hard drive for a quick release hard drive bracket! Just got to drill and tap the appropriate holes in the mobo tray to mount.

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    Also tested out a black 'paint pen' here. Considering the brackets are already nicely finished, I just needed to 'black out' the cut line. A simply paint pen seemed to give a really thick consistent finish on the cut, think I'll be using that again!

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    The aim for tomorrow is to put the finishing touches to the res mounting plate (as pictured above), and then prep all of the metalwork in the last couple days for painting. Wouldn't mind getting the spray cans out soon!
     
  9. Alec**

    Alec** New Member

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    About time for an update! Painting took a little longer than expected, tip: if you're going for a matte look, don't use clear lacquer, then decide it's not good enough and have to sand it all right back again.

    So first up, I'd mentioned previously I was going to attempt to paint the motherboard, here's the prep:

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    And the result:

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    Pretty happy with the way it's turned out! Heatsinks look pretty cool I think, especially with the silver labels put back on. The turquoise really stands out on the black. Can see also the plate behind the 'D-Frame Mini' PSU cage has been given a paint job.

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    The PCI bracket has also received a coat of paint.

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    Used enamel lacquer in the end to maintain a matte finish, the clear lacquer left a more 'varnish' effect.

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    Here's that mid plate fitted in which the res will be mounted. Definitely tidies up the old HDD holes.

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    The rad bracket also looking pretty stealthy.

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    Still very happy with the way this bracket came out, really tidies up that PSU cage.

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    That front rad bracket also fitting in quite nicely now.

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    Finally got around to mounting the easy release HDD cage on the back of the mobo. Another upcoming job is to rip out the HDD of my current rig to get the top sanded back and painted black.

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    So that's pretty much it for now. Got the first cable braided tonight, will try and grab a pic in the next day or two. Hoping to get the PSU braided by this time next week (yawn) so I can actually start thinking about the watercooling!

    Talking of which, took a look at the GPU block tonight to see an earwig's made a home of it!

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    -Eek! He made a poop in your loop!

    Love the color choice. looks great.
     
  11. Alec**

    Alec** New Member

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    He's left of his own accord now. Block's definitely getting flushed again!

    Cheers! Well underway with the braiding now, colours seem to match pretty well, will try and upload a pic or two later... next colour challenge will be matching the coolant!
     
  12. Alec**

    Alec** New Member

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    A quick update for tonight...

    Firstly, I wanted to do a before and after of the motherboard painting. The sockets / ports painting on the motherboard itself was an absolute pain but it's come out ok, the board has now been tested and can confirm it's fully working! The heatsinks were comparatively easy, I can see myself doing that part at least again.

    Before:

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    After:

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    So most of the last week has been spent braiding the PSU, I've literally just finished the ATX but here's a quick peek at the GPU & P8. All cables have been shortened, recrimped, then braided using paracord.

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    Finally, what should be one of the last deliveries, the final watercooling components (minus a handful of right angled fittings I expect)... The Heatkiller IV's stealthy and sleek appearance meant it topped the EK alternative, with a full acetal top. Really happy with the look and feel of this block, looking forward to getting it in the case! Also gone for an Aquacomputer Aqualis 150ml res with DDC pump top. I always knew a pump res combo was a must for this build due to size, and this seemed to be the perfect solution.

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    Also had a little Mayhems delivery. My logic is blue + green = turquoise, we'll see if this works out in the coming days...

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    So in other news, I've chopped off the mounting brackets on the DDC, then decided the entire pump enclosure needs sanding back and painting. This is in progress and hope to post pics in a couple of days when fully mounted. There's little bits of braiding to do which shouldn't take long, and I'm hoping to paint the HDD too. Other than this, it's on to the hardline! I've got a general idea on tubing route, but it's not easy.

    This project will be finished within 2 weeks tomorrow, so keep your eyes peeled for a few little updates soon!
     
  13. Alec**

    Alec** New Member

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    Time for another update! So I finally got the res / pump combo mounted on the new res-plate, which has now been mounted on the mobo tray. I decided the plastic mounts for the DDC pump had to get the chop, which then meant the pump case needed a sand back and respray. Really happy with how that came out, very clean.

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    I've also finished the braiding now, always one of the most painstaking mods but can just about convince myself it's worth the time and effort!

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    I think the colour match is also pretty good with the spray painted components, let's hope the coolant will come out as good!

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    Final point for tonight, got some Barrow fittings delivered today, mostly right angles. Not 100% fixed on this layout but need to start working with the tube to see what's going to be possible.

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    Looks like I'm on track to have it leak testing next weekend, just a little bit of wiring to do and on with the bending :)
     
  14. Alec**

    Alec** New Member

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    A quick update for tonight, had a couple of deliveries today!

    Finally got around to ordering a sound card, the Asus Essence STX II.

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    And then a couple of backplates from ColdZero. Been really excited for these to arrive, custom laser printed backplates for the sound card and M.2. Kept both of them pretty clean, just adding the XOSKEL logo. Really impressed with the quality of these, can see myself ordering from ColdZero again!

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    So here's the soundcard and its backplate in place:

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    And the M.2:

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    I've now also finished the cable work on the build, including stealth front panel connectors (stealth = black), and a few final bits of braiding. All that's left to do is the tubing! Friday's job is this, project XOSKEL will be finished by the end of the weekend! Will be sure to post a few updates over the next few days.
     
  15. Alec**

    Alec** New Member

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    The penultimate update! So over the weekend I finished off the tubing and got leak testing underway...

    Mixed reactions to the Monsoon kit here. The tube bending was OK once I'd worked out the optimum time to heat the tube for (5 seconds too much you got bubbles, 5 seconds too little it would kink).

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    The real challenge came with gluing the hard-lock caps on. The requirement is to get all the air bubbles out, which I found to be near on impossible! I think ideally the caps needed to be slightly smaller, I found that when you pushed in on one side, there was enough movement to cause the other side to come away resulting in air bubbles. I resulted in caking the tube with glue in best efforts, I guess we'll see in a few weeks how well this worked.

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    Here's how the setup looked:

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    However, started filling up and there was an instant leak. The tube between the Res and CPU wasn't quite flush with the fitting, not sure if this was a result with the hard-lock collar or wonky tube cutting / bending.

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    So I've now re-bent this tube, and simplified it by using a right angled fitting on the res.

    The systems been leak testing for over 48 hours now without issue. I've now got some Mayhems White Pastel Pre-Mix which I'll add to the Blue Pre-Mix and Green Dye to (hopefully) achieve the right shade of turquoise! Will try and get a pic of that later!
     
  16. B NEGATIVE

    B NEGATIVE All Hail Kim Jong Magoo!

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    Im all about the DFM and I approve this post!
     
  17. Hukkel

    Hukkel James' minion

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    Great colour scheme and pipe bending going on in here :)

    Just a small correction; your backplates have been lasercut and UV printed, not laser printed ;)
     
  18. bionicgeekgrrl

    bionicgeekgrrl Member

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    The motherboard painting worked out really well, and the combo of colours does too, great stuff :)
     
  19. neSSa

    neSSa Active Member

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    beautiful!
     
  20. Alec**

    Alec** New Member

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    Thanks all! The positive comments are much appreciated :) Was able to get the right coolant colour last night, and was able to power up the rig for the first time (successfully!). A couple of benchmarks have been run and temps all looking good. Will post some more detail once overclocking is underway!

    Hoping to get some final shots of the build tonight! I'm back on the road tomorrow so might not be until next week to upload a full set.
     

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