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Scratch Build – In Progress Spark [Completed]

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by InsolentGnome, 9 May 2015.

  1. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Active Member

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    The idea for this build comes from seeing some of the great worklogs going on with people recycling old hardware for new mods. I have to admit, I have my share of extra parts and systems, and I love the idea of putting all that to use.

    The stimulus for this build comes from the fact that an i5 just isn't cut out to do a 3D render while playing GTA5. While I was debating in my head which was more important to me at the time, I looked at my hardware graveyard and saw the bones of the system which got me back into PC's, and I had an idea...

    The hardware:
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    Gigabyte GA-X58-UD3R; From a time when men were men and motherboards were ugly. Seriously, who picked the colors on this thing? And floppy and IDE connectors...oh yeah!

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    Intel i7 920 2.66GHz; 4 cores and 8 threads? Yes, please. This was the chip to have when I bought it. It spent a lot of it's life clocked over 3.2GHz so I'm curious if it's still got the goods.

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    6GB OCZ 1600 DDR3 RAM; Triple channel. The gold was a little too much in retrospect.

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    Corsair TX750; I'm not really looking forward to the cables on this thing.

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    Thermaltake Water 3.0; The basis for my CPU cooling, with possibly some modifications to the radiator setup

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    A whole lot of fans; Corsair AF120's and a couple SP120's for the radiator.


    The plan:

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    The main goal is to build a case around my existing hardware, but leaving the possibility to upgrade in the future to a custom cooling loop, hence the fan layout and space for a pump and reservoir.

    The case will be translucent black acrylic with blue lighting. The render was opaque so I could see the shape better, plus, my computer was throwing a fit with rendering the translucent panels. Just learning the ins and outs of Sketchup.

    But first things first, I have to tackle the hardware. That motherboard and ram need some help...
     
    Last edited: 28 Aug 2015
  2. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Active Member

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    First thing off, I had to pull everything apart.

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    I think I got super lucky that the heatspreaders on the RAM are 2 part. That will give me a chance to give them some extra accent.

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    So after liberal application of adhesive remover, I scratched up the heatsinks with a scotchbrite pad and gave them a nice soapy bath. The MB and RAM got an alcohol bath. It's nice to see them clean again, lol.

    Starting the paint.
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    My first time with an airbrush, but they came out nice.

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    Unfortunately, idiot me didn't think of laying a base of white down under the pearl, so I'll be redoing these.
     
  3. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Active Member

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    For graphics, I grabbed my Asus DCU2 R9 280X that I had bought to play around in coin mining, taking it out of a rig I had at work. I think it was being under-utilized considering it was in a machine with an i3 that is used to browse the internets. This will be a much better home for it.
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    But red just isn't going to work, so I decided to go pearl white on the fans with blue for the cover accents.
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    If you noticed that the accent pieces for the cover look white, good eye. I noticed that after getting the base put down and decided to roll with it. I think the main accent on the board is going to be the pearl anyways and it should be a good contrast with all the black that will be going on. Besides, it's gonna be pretty hard to see anyways being on the bottom of the card. On a side note: Will they ever change this or do they need to start selling mirrors with the cards so we can see the cool designs they want to sell us?

    While getting these done, I corrected my mess up on the motherboard heatsinks and RAM heatspreaders as well, and I'm using the term heatspreader loosely here.
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    For the motherboard, I had to do a little prep for the next part of my scheme
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    And while I'm at it, I might as well do the RAM as well
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    I can already hear the internet screaming. Their voices raging...fingers furiously pounding on keys...HAHAHA!!! Too late suckers! I'm painting this baby! I'm gonna risk the life of a 7 year old motherboard and I don't care what you think! Will it short out? Will it burn up? Will it melt my house into a pile of goo and rip a hole in spacetime creating a scenario where I unknowingly kill an ancestor by stepping on a butterfly in a rainforest thereby creating that all too familiar paradox scenario? I don't know! I don't care! Muahahahahahahaha!!!!
     
  4. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Active Member

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    So I painted it black.
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    And I didn't even rip a hole in spacetime. I'm a little disappointed to say the least.

    My little cardboard pieces in the RAM and PCI slots did a nice job of keeping the paint out. Much better than trying to use a card or the ram to scrape off the paint by installing it a few times. Though I might have to do something with the unused slots, as the original colors will still be visible to a small extent. I'm not sure how crazy I want to get about perfection on this board, plus it might not be that noticeable in the end.

    Still waiting on a few things before I start piecing the case together, but those should be arriving soon along with some parts for my "custom" all-in-one cooler. I guess it's not going to be an AIO any more though. Oh well. "We can rebuild him. We have the technology. We can make him better than he was. Better, stronger, faster."
     
  5. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Active Member

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    The paint is dry, time to see how all this turned out:

    First the pearl R9 280X

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    I like this a lot better than the red, I just need to find out where to get the Asus decals. Mine are a little bent due to removal, but they'll work for this.

    And then the mobo. I was waiting for the paint to dry(exciting), but also on some thermal tape. I'm trying Alphacool's tape. I've never had to use thermal tape before, but it's supposed to stick well(important on my RAM) and it's white, so it should match everything.

    Tape

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    Grill

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    Trim

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    I just glued the trim piece on. It looks so much better than the gold.

    And then the heatsinks

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    Finished product

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    I like how it turned out, but I'm sort of up in the air with the blue on the RAM. It doesn't fit with so much black and pearl. I do have the covers that were on the heatsinks painted blue, but I'm just not really sure I want to use them.

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    Right now I'm thinking if I can find a cheap 12GB triple channel kit in black or white, I might just go with that. I think it would look better
    and doubling the 6GB won't hurt it at all. Sucks to go contrary to the initial idea of using what I had, but it will make it a much better computer and it will look better for a relatively small investment.

    And since I got some goodies from MNPC and some of Parvum's mod blocks, I can start making a home for this pair.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Active Member

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    I just found a Rosewill case that is the same design that I came up with except in a mid tower. Granted, I knew it wasn't a ground-breaking design, actually a pretty obvious choice for a nice case, but daayumn. I guess hats off to them designing something I'd like before I knew I wanted it. But still, it's a mid-tower, and aluminum, and horribly cramped looking inside. So I'll continue on with mine, bigger, better, and clearer.
     
  7. Vinch

    Vinch New Member

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    Seems nice! I'm interested in knowing if the paint will affect the functioning of the mobo (I also want to paint mine a bit), did you use a specific paint?
     
  8. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Active Member

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    I'm curious too! I need to plug it together on a bench to see if it works.

    I used Createx airbrush paints(non-metallics) and they worked ok, though after reading I found out they require heat to get a full cure, otherwise they're kind of a latex film. But I'm ok with that since I don't plan on handling it much. It did suck when pulling the tape of and some of the paint pealed, but a little brush work covered that up. Next time, I think I'll try model paints like Tamiya. I actually had some paint from Tamiya ordered, but I was impatient and got the Createx at a local store.
     
  9. CrapBag

    CrapBag Well-Known Member

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    If you want to hide the remaining colour in the empty ram slot/ pci etc then you could always use these.

    DDR3 slot cover

    PCI-e etc covers

    I'd imagine there's somewhere in the US that sells them to.
     
    Last edited: 17 May 2015
  10. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Active Member

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    Those are perfect! Thanks! I took care of the RAM by ordering a quad kit but I definitely need something for the PCI slots.
     
  11. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Active Member

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    I got a little motivated last night and started on my jig for the outside of the case. I'm using 1.5" PVC pipe(I have access to tons of it being a plumber) and all-thread rod. The theory is that I can make a solid jig which is adjustable and can be used again and if I want I can mess with the size and angles to come up with something different.

    Marking out the pipes.
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    After drilling it out, putting it together.
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    It was going pretty good till I figured out that I left the box of 3/8 nuts at my shop. Crap. It looks wonky now, but once i get everything spaced right and throw in the diagonals, I'm hoping it will do the job.

    I also got my RAM in. 16GB Corsair Vengeance 1600.
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    So lets see if this baby posts. The set up.
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    I think my next project should be a test bench, lol.

    So I hit the switch and it powers on, but nothing on the screen. Mess around, clear the CMOS, nothing. Change video cards and nada. So I pull the RAM down to 1 stick, hit the button, and it works! Added the rest of the RAM stick by stick and it all works, so I have no clue what the deal was, but we're in business!
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    Hopefully I'll have the jig finished tonight and maybe even start getting the acrylic going!
     
  12. shinji2k

    shinji2k Member

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    I have so many fond memories of bending acrylic to fit a form. Remembering all the swearing and frustration and despair just brings a smile to my face.

    Good luck!
     
  13. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Active Member

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    So what you're saying is I should order a couple more sheets of acrylic? :lol:
     
  14. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    A solid bending jig would work better. You will get distortion in the open/flat areas. A positive and negative mold would help get the bends more uniform too. Plexi handles like a hard rubber when heated.
     
  15. 1337G3MR

    1337G3MR New Member

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    The painted motherboard looks awesome! If you don't mind me asking, what paint did you use? Did you use a special primer?

    As for the RAM... why not leave it with no heatspreaders?
     
  16. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Active Member

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    Totally agree with you, Cheaps. My first idea was to make a form out of foam and wrap the acrylic around it, but I'm horrible at shaping rounded edges. I figured in my first try I should play to my strengths, which are over-engineering and overthinking the problem and making it more difficult than it should be. It's part of the reason I've been dragging this part out. I've been thinking about ways to deal with the acrylic sagging in the middles. I pondered wrapping in tape or figuring out some material to fill in the spaces. But I think on my first try, I'm gonna go naked and hopefully use gravity to my advantage. Figured I'd set the jig up vertically(where the acrylic would be on a horizontal plane), clamp the acrylic to the top, and use just enough heat to let it basically just fall down over the bends. It might work? Hopefully. I'm trying to avoid a huge mold even though that would be the best way to do it.
     
  17. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Active Member

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    Thanks! Creatix airbrush paint, though, I'd use a model paint next time. This stuff needs heat to cure, which I didn't find out till after I was done. No biggie though. I don't plan on being too rough with it, so as long as it sticks a little, it'll work for me. The state it's in now is like a latex skin. For the same reason, I didn't use any primer, just cleaned everything real well. This sort of an experiment to see if I could paint it and to use up some old parts, so any ideas dealing with longevity and good planning have been tossed out the window,:lol:. I'm basically killing time and having fun till I start on my next project.

    I thought the RAM would look good with the spreaders actually. Turns out they really don't:duh:. Like I said, just playing around and experimenting. I had got the pearl last minute just for a couple of accents, but it turns out it looks better and now there's none of the blue I was planning. But that Vengeance RAM looks nice and 16GB vs 6GB, so I definitely think it came out for the best.
     
  18. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Active Member

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    Welp, I finally got started on the case for Spark. I've been getting sidetracked by other little projects here and there, and since this is for fun and not on a deadline, it's been getting pushed to the bottom of the list.

    So first off, the case is going to be a little different from my original design. Partly because I made a small mistake, and partly because I don't know what it takes to get a 4'x8' sheet of acrylic delivered and I'm not looking to find out right now. Sooooo, that means the outer shell is now opaque black(my mistake) and will be done in 2 pieces. Now I won't have to figure out how to hide the wiring mess that will be the PSU, and takes care of my biggest question of making the shell: Where to put the glue joint? Honestly that was my stumper. Now I'll have two joints with some Parvum blocks that will also act as tabs for the side panels. So, on to the pictures!

    The Mistake:
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    Yep, totally not transparent. But very shiny. I cut 2 of these down on the table saw from a 2'x4' piece of 6mm acrylic. Free shipping and I can handle it on the saw by myself.

    The jig. In all it's glory:
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    I went this route because I figured if I got all the measurements matched up right, everything would be square, and also the pvc had the curve I wanted. My plan was to clamp my piece to one corner and just start bending it around. And that went....

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    Surprisingly well! I did wind up with some ridges on the edges that I'll have to take care of, and I did melt the pvc a little, but overall, I'm pleased.

    Making the second:
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    And a general idea of what the final will be
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    Square on two edges instead of the initial idea of rounded on all four. Still need to figure out what size and aspect I want(deeper or taller). I should get my next order of acrylic in next week so I can start working out the interior.
     
  19. Ocelot

    Ocelot Member

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    That's a pretty cool looking jig. :)
     
  20. InsolentGnome

    InsolentGnome Active Member

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    I think it'd be pretty cool to clean up the all-thread and nuts, slap some paint on it, and hang some parts in it. Hell, even run a cooling loop in copper pipe. It be a perfect machine for a plumbing shop:lol:
     

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