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Case Mod - In Progress Rehab - Fractal R4 casemod [Completed]

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by InsolentGnome, 24 Jul 2016.

  1. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Active Member

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    So I did get my blue laid down the other day. Here's a nice shot of the color and effect.

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    The top panels and the side panel still have some paint work left, but I can start the assembly now. Actually I have to. I need to line the panels up for the flames and that means putting things together. But first, I finally got my drive situation worked out. I went ahead and added another 240GB Vector 180 and picked up a 256GB OCZ RD400 NVME drive, cause, well, I want to play with one.

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    On to the good stuff...

    The motherboard heatsinks look nice...if you've got a black and gold build. So they've got to be....modified.

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    First they got taken off and disassembled.

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    Then a nice soothing bath of Sodium Hydroxide, or lye, or in my case, drain cleaner.

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    Looks relaxing, doesn't it? It's even got bubbles. In playing around with the anodizing, I found out that NaOH is great for removing anodizing. And after the bath.

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    I'm assuming there's something with the gold anodizing that is a little tougher than the black. Those pieces have an oxidation layer or something. Nothing a scratch pad can't work out though. Then it was time to put them back on the board.

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    Much better. Now it doesn't clash with my color scheme.

    While I was there, I went ahead and mounted the RD400. Yes, the sticker is ugly. Yes, I'm definitely pulling it off and covering it with something that matches the build better.

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    Then it was time for the board to meet the tray.

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    Before putting the case together, I went ahead and made some new corner brackets. My first ones were jacked. I'd planned on CNCing them, but it was quicker just to cut them on the bandsaw.

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    Now I can put some stuff together.

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    And I had to throw the radiator on to check it out. I shot it with gloss black then Killer Chrome, super fine aluminum particles that come pretty close to chrome.

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    Not as shiny and polished as chrome, but not bad for a spray can.

    Then I threw the MB and tray in.

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    And then a couple of the gauges. I did a turned pattern on the bracket to match the tray and painted the backsides of the gauges since you can see them. Well, not in this picture, but they aren't hidden away so they needed some thing better than white and tan. I went with Killer Chrome on the gauge itself and black for the mounting nuts.

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    It's definitely coming along. :D
     
  2. Vault-Tec

    Vault-Tec Green Plastic Watering Can

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    Awesome !

    Are those grommets Corsair? they look eerily familiar :D
     
  3. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Active Member

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    Not really sure. I got them from MNPCTECH.
     
  4. mnpctech

    mnpctech bit-tech sponsor

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    Love those gauges Dave, I've got a SUN mechanical oil pressure gauge I've been wanting to try with liquid loop, just need to sort out fitting adapters.
     
  5. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Active Member

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    Yeah, getting to G1/4 and back is a pain. Glad you turned me on to Koolance, they've got a nice selection of adapters.
     
  6. mnpctech

    mnpctech bit-tech sponsor

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    Heck Yeah, Koolance is a great resource for us.

    btw, I noticed a TACH in your Tweet the other day... Are you still using the other gauges?
     
  7. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Active Member

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    Yep. Tach for fan speed plus a voltage gauge and a temp gauge. Still need to work out the adapters for the temp probe though.
     
  8. storm-83

    storm-83 Member

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    love the work being done here! especially the implementation of the gauges...

    gayges ought to be mandatory when watercooling
    - especially in steampunk and racing themes...

    looking forward to the next update!
     
  9. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Active Member

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    Oh god, so many details to finish up! and only like 2 1/2 weeks left. Better get to it.

    First order of business, the new res. I managed to drill and tap it without breaking fingers, drills, or the res itself. Well, I think it's impossible to break the res without running over it with heavy machinery, but I definitely didn't add any dings like last time.

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    I spaced my holes a little wider this time because the last go round felt like everything would get a little tight.

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    Makes for a nice comfortable fit now with fittings and a stainless valve.

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    Next up, it was time for a bit of wiring for the SSDs. I need to have the cables hooked to them to mount them so bring out the soldering iron.

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    Since my last two builds were unsleeved, I decided my penance would be paracord.

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    With the cables hooked up, the SSDs went on their backplates and then onto the off side panel.

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    After spending all that time laying down that beautiful blue, I got a little wishy washy and went and painted it white.

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    and then yellow...

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    And then I tried some candy sunset orange for good measure. Wound up with this.

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    I wish the orange would have shown a bit better, but other than that, I'm stoked about how it turned out. My layout def needs some work. Although I hoped it would turn out good, I really expected to mess it up at least once. In all honesty, my expectations were to not get the fade to look right and wind up having to repaint and go with ghosted silver flames. But pulling off the old school look is just awesome.

    Once I calmed back down after not messing the paint up, it was time to take things apart.

    The 1070.

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    The Avexir Raiden. And thank god they came apart, I was dreading having to tape those up.

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    I also pulled apart the Corsair SF600 and the Alphacool pump/top, but I didn't manage to get pics of them. Then a few coats of black and Killer Chrome.

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    And then put it all back together.

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    I'm loving the Killer Chrome and hating it too. The effect depends so much on the angle. The RAM really shows it off. Straight on, it's got a definite silver/metal look, but if you just showed me that back stick of RAM, I'd swear it was chromed.
     
  10. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Active Member

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    Thanks! Gauges are nice. I miss having a temp gauge on my current rig.
     
  11. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Active Member

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    So I've started piecing things together and got the painted RAM, GPU, and pump put in.

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    Getting everything in place let me get most of my cabling done. Just need some combs which are on the way.

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    For tubing I decided to go with 1/2" OD stainless steel. This is .035" wall T-304 seamless tubing.

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    I ordered 8' thinking that would be enough, but I didn't count on fighting my bender so much. 4' later, I've got one bend, but it's a nice one.

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    I ordered more tube, but now that I've got the bender figured out, the rest should go quick.

    While waiting on tubing, fans, and the X-Carve to knock out the start of my front panel, I went ahead and finished up my skins. After the flames came 3 coats of clear, then a sanding to level things out, then 3 more coats of clear and sanding to get it all smooth. Finished of with a good buffing and polishing after hitting it with 1500 and 3000 grit paper and I wound up with this.

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    It sucks that my camera has a hard time picking up the colors in bright light. But in some of the shots you can pick up the fade from the yellow to the orange.

    For the top panel/hood, I ordered another hinge to replace the first one that had been epoxied on and cut it to size. Then with some button head screws and acorn nuts, I put it together. It came out perfect. No screws would have made me happier, but this looks sharp and definitely isn't going anywhere. Plus I didn't have to fight the hinge while painting or polishing.

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    And a shout out to my sponsor again, MNPCTECH. Bill sponsored the fittings, but I keep finding myself going back and buying feet, LEDs, and now billet cable combs.

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  12. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Active Member

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    Getting down to crunch time. Only 10 days left to finish and get pics done so let's get going! With the skins done and that huge weight off my shoulders, I can focus on finishing the assembly and fabricating the grill.

    To keep on with the assembly, I decided to knock out the off side, or what I'm considering the interior section of Rehab. In a hot rod you might find a relocated battery or some other hardware stashed in the trunk. But just because it's in the trunk doesn't mean it can't look cool or unfinished.

    Like this.

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    That was the goal with the off side. I'm not sure if all the snippets of work on that side made much sense, but now it's time to tie it all together.

    I've already got the SSDs mounted to my suede covered panel, so all that was left was to mount the extinguisher mounts and put it and it's edge trim in.

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    It does need a bit of a haircut. The backing on the suede kind of fluffed on me.

    Then I mounted up the PSU and tried to wrangle the wires in. I've got an inch of room behind the panel which is great for extra wire, but with no way to really access it, I had to shove the wires blindly and hope they went where I wanted them to go. There's a bit of work left to get them exactly how I want, but this is a good start.

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    Bad thing about the PSU, I had it sitting on a towel after getting it all back together and it picked up the texture, so I'll be painting it again. Guess 2 days of curing wasn't enough.

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    With the side panel on giving a nice shot of the hardware inside.

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    It's gonna be really tight on airflow to the PSU after the window is in, but I think it'll be able to draw enough air. With a thin piece of acrylic, it should still have 1/4 inch of clearance. Might wind up cutting a vent in the window down the road though. Just have to see.

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    And now my big concern on finishing...the grill. I went back and forth trying to think of different ways of pulling it off. Do I make something? Do I adapt something to fit? Do I figure out a way to make the original front panel work? It was a tough call because I really wanted it to have the look of a billet slat grill, but I didn't want to have to drop a couple hundred dollars on a grill insert and then try to make it fit. I finally came up with an idea to make it from scratch that I think will look dead on. Or at least I hope.

    First off, I cut 2 sections of 3/4" MDF for my frame, one with notches, one without.

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    Then a little glue and some clamps.

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    I sent that through the table saw to get an angle on the side. At first I was looking for a way to rout the edges since I've got a round corner, but I just couldn't come up with any way that would work that I liked. I spent way more time just trying to figure out a way to route it than it took to knock it out on the saw. I got the corner's angle with a sander, just matching it up to the saw cuts.

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    From the side, it looks a bit like the original Fractal front. Nice. All that's left for the frame is a bit of cleaning up and some paint.

    But what about the fins? That's where the notches on the frame come in. I CNC'd two brackets out of some 1/2" acrylic with 1/8" slots about halfway deep.

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    They slot right into the notches of the frame.

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    Next up are the 27 slats that I have to finish CNCing out of 1/8" acrylic that slot right into the brackets. Then a bit of assembly and the whole thing will be ready to paint!

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  13. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Active Member

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    Welp, I guess this is probably the last update before final pics, so let's get on with it.

    Finishing up the grill. First off mounting the brackets with some M3 push in inserts.

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    And then putting the 1/8" slats in and welding them in place with some Weld-On.

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    Assembly done, ready for paint.

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    And with a coat of black and Killer Chrome.

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    Next up, I finally got some fans. I had thought to use some thin Prolimatechs, but wasn't feeling them so I went with the Corsair ML120 with blue LED's. I must say, clicking the pay button kind of hurt.

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    If things look a little tight, well, it's because they are.

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    Doesn't seem to hurt the airflow though and man are they quiet even at a decent speed.

    Now to start jumping around to random things since this is mostly buttoning up details.

    Billet cable combs from MNPCTECH.

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    Aluminum covers for the drives to fit them into the hot rod theme. And oh yeah, the fire extinguisher. I went ahead and discharged it to save some weight. Man that thing has some range!

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    Cover for the RD400 m.2 drive too!

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    Wrapping up the stainless cooling lines.

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    Then there was this *******.

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    Nailed it on the second try. Well, it does rub the GPU and pushes the back panel out a smidge but it's within mm's so I'll take it and probably just modify the GPU shroud a bit.

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    Then the window to show off the SSDs and PSU. Decided it needed some flair so I CNC'd the Gigabyte 30th logo into a piece of 3/16" acrylic.

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    And then mixed up some urethane resin adding blue dye and some silver flake.

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    The worst part of this is that the flake is a larger flake and tends to settle out during the resin's open window so there's a little more flake flashing out the front side than I'd like.

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    God there's a lot of blue in this build.

    Most of the assembly done, leak tested, and ready to turn on and check out the lighting. You might notice a random white tube on the res along with a brass fitting. Turns out my temp gauge won't work, the sensor was too big and there was no way to change it since it was based on some sort of liquid/gas expansion, which I found out after cutting the tubing to see if there was a way of swapping it. So that white tubing is now leading to an oil pressure gauge. I think it'll be useless since there shouldn't be a lot of pressure build up, but it still looks cool.

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    Ouch. The blue in the gauges sucks. Yellow LED on the board that I didn't know about. And where's the LED strip I installed and hooked to a fan header? But the Avexir's...effing cool.

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    Ah, back to white(??) on the gauges and the on board LED can be shut off, but that doesn't really matter because the LED strip has to run 12v on fan headers with Gigabyte's bios so it drowns out everything. I see that getting a resistor. But all in all, I'm liking it.

    Off side, same problem with the LED strip.

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    And now let's throw the grill on for the final look.

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    Next up, finals.
     
  14. jones-965

    jones-965 Modding & tuning

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    Nice work. :)
     
  15. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Active Member

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    Thanks!
     
  16. Vault-Tec

    Vault-Tec Green Plastic Watering Can

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    Great mod. Would look better without the Gigabyte logos though.
     
  17. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Active Member

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    Thanks! For a Gigabyte's 30th anniversary contest so...
     
  18. shrop

    shrop El Jefe of Sleeving

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    Looks brilliant, love the fittings and tubing work
     
  19. Vault-Tec

    Vault-Tec Green Plastic Watering Can

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    Oh OK man I see.

    Great classic flame work BTW.
     
  20. GeneralFun

    GeneralFun Lurker with tools

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    Very nice. Excellent work. Next, build a Hot Rod to match?
     

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