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Case Mod - In Progress The Powerful Pretty Pink Processor (aka, "The PPPP")

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by cpachris, 27 Mar 2014.

  1. cpachris

    cpachris What's a Dremel?

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    Thanks fuzzy! This was my first pass with the FC8 last build....

    [​IMG]



    .....but I ended up getting frustrated with the power delivery system and ended up running a cable directly from the FC8 to the PSU. I'll probably do something similar for the PPPP, and bypass all that ugly molex mess altogether.....

    Still need to decide if I'm going to make the faceplate pink this time.
     
  2. cpachris

    cpachris What's a Dremel?

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    Doing some preliminary installation of the flex bay stuff today to see what it looks like. First off, to make everything easy to access, I removed the front 240 radiator mount. Love how this works on the CaseLabs S8. A few thumb screws and I can pop the whole thing off and remove it. Super easy.

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    I took this opportunity to rotate the fans so that the power connectors would line up on the inside of the case instead of the outside. I also turned the radiator so that the inlet/outlet are at the bottom of the case instead of the top. This way, I don't burn one of my few precious flex bays.....

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    While I had the radiator mount out...I took a few shots. Easier to see the 24 pin cable with the radiator pulled out. Really need to get on the GPU cables though. They stick out like a sore thumb with the other cables done....

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    I got the Aquaero 6 XT out and pried the stainless steel face plate off the back of the face plate. It's just held on by some sticky.....

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    I replaced it with this black one that I picked up.....

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    ....and then I put the Aquaero's and the Lamptron FC8 in the case. I think the black faceplates look pretty good! But I still think I'll get the extra Aquaero faceplate done in pink, and see which I like better....

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    It's been awhile since I had it all suited up....so here are some shots with all the panels on.

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    I can't wait to see what it looks like with the dual pumps on the left side and the reservoir in the front window. More soon!
     
  3. cpachris

    cpachris What's a Dremel?

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    A dramatic reenactment of a conversation from a few days ago......

    **************************************************

    Me: Come check out the stuff I put in the flex bays!

    Jenn: What are flex bays?

    Me: ....just come look at the front of the computer.

    Jenn: Awesome! Looks great! Where will I plug in the card from my camera?

    Me: We can get an external card reader to plug in when you need it.

    Jenn: You mean I can't just plug in my card to the computer?

    Me: You can after you plug in the card reader to the computer.

    Jenn: Why do I need to keep it separate?

    Me: Limited space in the front of the computer.....

    Jenn: So move something to the back of the computer....

    Me: Like what?

    Jenn: What is that blank spot there for?

    Me: There is an Aquaero behind it. It will control your fans for you.

    Jenn: Do I need to touch it?

    Me: No. You can't touch it.

    Jenn: Then move it to the back of the computer, and put a card reader in the front for me.

    Me: But......but...... Ok. :blush:

    *****************************************************


    My baby may not fully realize what she's getting....but she always knows what she wants. She's usually right about these things anyway. :) Soliciting ideas for a revised location for the Aquaero LT!
     
  4. Hanoverfist

    Hanoverfist What's a Dremel?

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    Pink never looked so good.:blush:
    Had a good laugh at that Dialog chris:lol:
     
  5. cpachris

    cpachris What's a Dremel?

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    Lol....thanks Hanoverfist! A smart man knows where to put the card reader. A smarter man knows when to listen to his wife. :thumb:
     
  6. hanssx2

    hanssx2 Minimodder

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    that are some wise words Mate. Never argue with your wifey:thumb:
     
  7. cpachris

    cpachris What's a Dremel?

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    Here's the card reader I hastily ordered from Amazon to address the situation. Same one I used on the BBBB with good results......

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    My camera uses compact flash, and Jenn's uses SD, so this one covers both of us.

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    I'll hook up at least 2 of the CaseLabs USB ports on the front panel to the motherboard 20 pin. And probably both of these cables going out the back of the case will give Jenn at least 3 USB ports on the front of the case. May see if I think I can hook up the other two CaseLabs ports in a clean fashion....

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    I already had one of the 3.5 inch adapters from my initial package of stuff from CaseLabs....

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    Fits perfect! I think I like the pink around the border. Makes me think I'll like the Aquaero with a pink faceplate....

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    Here it is with the panels on....

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    But....that dull grey box is ruining my mojo....

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    Definitely going to have to paint or powdercoat the housing for the card reader....but I do like how it comes out just about even with the radiator. Doesn't stick out too far....

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    Still playing with alternate locations for the Aquaero LT that was displaced by the late discovered need for a card reader!
     
  8. Hanoverfist

    Hanoverfist What's a Dremel?

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    That should keep the peace..
     
  9. cpachris

    cpachris What's a Dremel?

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    Peace obtained.

    But she told me to paint the card reader box black for the part that shows on the inside of the case. Who am I to argue?
     
  10. Hanoverfist

    Hanoverfist What's a Dremel?

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    A lot of Direction being given..LOL! Once again.. Looks fantastic.. I'm always for the non standard colors.. This fits that category.
     
  11. cpachris

    cpachris What's a Dremel?

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    Finished up what I hope are the final 3d printing design changes for the pump stand, and I have it sent off to the 3d printing club that I have an "in" with. Not huge changes from last iteration I showed off here in the build log....but I made a few.

    From the angle below, you can see the holes I positioned for mounting the EK Res X3. They are positioned so that the brackets included with the reservoir should be at the very top and bottom of the reservoir.

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    From this angle you can see what I'm doing with lettering for this final version. The way I had the lettering positioned before really wasn't very visible from the angles people would be looking at the computer most often. No one would ever be sitting down on that side of the computer....only standing. So the downward viewing angle lends itself to lettering laid out flat on the mounting bracket, instead of standing up. You should be able to see this lettering from a downward angle on the side window....as well as from the top window.

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    This lettering on the back of the pump stand should be visible from the main sitting position while using the computer. You would see it looking through the right side window....

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    I hollowed out a larger hole that doesn't go all the way through for the reservoir mounting bracket. It became apparent that the nut would interfere with the pump mounting mechanism if it extended beyond the vertical plane of the bracket....so I needed to recess the nuts into the bracket.

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    ....and one final angle....

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    Designing a custom part for this computer has been fun. I'm a first timer with 3d printing. But it is just downright cool to be able to come up with a vision of what you need for the build.....and then "print it". Once I've heard when the 3d print will run, I'll keep you updated. Non-members typically only get print time on weekends....and then only when members are not using the printer.

    I'm still deadly serious about trying to start a 3d printing club for computer forum members, where we all collectively purchase a 3d printer. More info on that soon.....
     
  12. Father Fuzzy

    Father Fuzzy What's a Dremel?

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    Love that shot of the pink panther in the front window :cooldude:
     
  13. cpachris

    cpachris What's a Dremel?

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    Finally had a chance to use the latest iteration of the EK Ascendacy software yesterday. EK was on it's 6th iteration of the software trying to solve an issue that most of us in the beta group were having when trying to run the application. They fixed the issue, and I can now use the software (and thus the hardware) for the first time. Don't laugh...but my quick setup is shown below. I hooked up one of my voltage controlled D5's and 9 fans.

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    You can barely see the Ascendacy tucked in there among all the cables, but it's there....

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    I'm going to do a little bit of walking through the screen shots on the system to give those that care a look at how it's setup. At the end of the post, I'll summarize my likes/dislikes about the current state of the software/hardware.

    One of the best parts of the Ascendacy software is this little status box. It's really the hub of the entire application, and everything can be launched/accessed from here. It's main function is to allow quick switching between profiles, and access to more detailed screens when desired. The long thin grey text box that is kind of in the middle keeps switching between different pieces of information. Such as which profile you are currently running...

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    ...how much power your cooling setup is currently drawing (fans and pumps, assuming you have the ascendacy powering everything)

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    ...water temperature....

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    ...and flow rate....

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    The information is OK....but it's really the profile buttons that make this little screen so useful. I'll preface my comparison to the Aquasuite controls with the caveat that I'm still running version 2013-2 of Aquasuite, and things may have changed. But for the Aquasuite, if I want to load a different profile, I have to have first 'exported' that profile and saved the file in a location that I can find later. And then to load a new profile, I have to use the file/open dialog box and find that previously saved profile. And....I've had issues with custom fan/sensor names getting truncated and/or lost on profile changes.

    These little buttons making switching profiles effortless. One click....and you're done. There are always times when I just want everything to spin as slow as possible, or as fast as possible.....regardless of what my detailed control curves are setup to do. EK really hit a home run with how simple they have made this type of process.

    There are 3 predefined profiles. The 'Silent' profile runs everything undervolted. It reported it was giving all my stuff about 7.2 volts when I chose the Silent profile. Balanced was about 10 volts, and Extreme was the full 12 volts for everything. You will also notice the 'Custom' profile button to the far right of the screen. When you click this button you get a fly-out box that shows you all the custom profiles you have created. You can simply click one of these from the fly-out screen to select it. Very elegantly done.

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    Before I move on to some more screens, I will say that this little widget/control box really takes up far too much screen real estate on an 1080p screen. I'd like for it to be smaller, and I'd like the option to make it vertical instead of horizontal. EK...if you need to give up some of the status window to make it smaller....do so. The beauty of this screen/widget...is the quick switching between profiles. Also, I would give users the ability to pick one piece of information they want shown and leave it static. I don't always want to wait through 5 screens of info I don't care about to get to the one piece that I want to know about.

    Moving on. When you double click the grey status text box on the main screen....you get a fly-out window up above it that provides much more detailed information about your cooling system. It's laid out very nicely and intuitively. It's got 3 tabs across the top. The first tab is 'Cooling System Overview'. Each of these 3 main tabs also has subtabs that show up right underneath the tabs. On the 'Cooling System Overview' tab, we have subtabs for 1) Fans, 2) Pumps and Flow, and 3) Temperatures. The first subtab (Fans) looks like this....

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    It's fairly intuitive and doesn't need much explanation. Fans 1 and 2 are the voltage controlled connections, and 3 through 8 are the six PWM connections. You can use the PWM connections to plug in non-PWM fans...but you will be limited to simply On/Off capability. However, you can use one of the sensor values to trigger the On/Off switch. But...you can't control the speed at all. It's either 100% or nothing. I'll also note there that even though you have the option to customize the name of your fans in the custom profiles....this screen here doesn't update at all with the custom names. It always just shows 'Fan1', etc. Lame.

    I also am not sure what the light grey shading is supposed to represent. It would make sense if it were supposed to cover all the 'current' values to help easily identify them....but the 3rd 'current' column (Current Watts) is not included in the light grey shading. Not sure what they were trying to do here. I'll ask.

    I like how below the list of the individual fans, they show the total power draw for all the fans. The fans I had hooked up to these 3 channels were drawing 3.8 watts when I did this screen shot. That's pretty cool. Also, the min/max/avg values are shown right below that. Nice. And in the orange box EK is showing the power draw for the entire cooling system (pumps included). I like how simple they are making it to get totals for all cooling system components. Very nice.

    The orange 'Delete' button just resets the min/max/avg calculations. It was a little scary to press it the first time. Probably should be re-labeled to something more like 'Reset' or 'Clear'. Not 'Delete'.



    The second subtab...for Pumps and Flow looks like this.....

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    Very similar information to that which was shown for fans.

    The third subtab for Temperature looks like this....

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    You can plug in up to 8 temperature sensors to the EK Ascendacy board. The last two locations are hard labeled as water temps....so make sure and plug in your water sensors to these spots. You can't rename the sensors either....so you'll have to remember that Sensor 3 was the one that you ran back to your memory sticks. Lame.

    Also, on this screen the light grey shading is only around the current values. I think this is probably what was intended for the Fans subtab and the Pumps and Flow subtab also.


    Moving on to the second main tab....'General System Overview'. This tab has 4 subtabs, including 1) CPU, 2) Motherboard, 3) Graphics Card, and 4) HDD.

    The first subtab, CPU, looks like this:

    [​IMG]



    It shows speed, temps and power draw. Well laid out. Easy to understand.

    The next subtab is for the motherboard.....

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    It shows temps, voltages and details for any fans that are powered by the motherboard fan headers. Simple.

    Next subtab is for the Graphics Cards.

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    It shows identical information that was shown for the motherboard. The one comment I'll make here...is that both of my graphics cards were identified with the exact same name and no number identifier. I figured out that the orange arrows on the sides of the screen must be cycling through any graphics cards it finds...because I could see the temps change when I would click the arrow. But without the card being identified with a number.... I had no idea which card was which.

    Next subtab is for the HDD's.

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    Just temps for the HDD's.

    You may have noticed that orange button on all the screens that says 'Details'. Clicking this button on any of the 4 subtabs just brings up a larger window that has all the information on these 4 subtabs in one large window. Like this....

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    Time to move on to the 'Diagram' main tab. I would probably suggest EK relabel this as 'Charts', which I think is more descriptive of what it is than 'diagrams'. The Diagram tab has subtabs for 1) Temperatures, 2) Fan and Pump Speed, and 3) Power Draw. The first subtab for Temperatures looks like this....

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    The charts are pretty basic. There is a drop down box on the right that lets you choose between the temp sensors plugged into the EK Ascendacy, or the temp readings from other hardware components in your system. You also have the ability to change the duration shown on the chart with a simple +/- box to click. The charts are drop dead simple....but you really can't do much with them.

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    The second subtab is almost identical to the first, but shows rpm's instead of temps.

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    And the third subtab works very similar to the first two....but shows power draw in watts.

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    Again....even though you have ability to create a custom name for a fan in your profiles....these names do not carryforward into the charts or detailed status window. So you'll just have to remember that Fan 2 was the push fans on the 360 rad in the pedestal of your build. Lame.

    Almost done. Hang in there. The next screen is what you get when clicking the 'tool' option for a custom profile. It's your dashboard for making custom profiles. It shows you each of the 8 fan channels (2 voltage and 6 PWM) and one pump channel. I didnt' ever plug a second pump in, so I don't know for sure if you get an additional window on this screen....or if the one 'pump' window would control both of your pumps the same.

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    From the window above, you click which fan or pump you want to customize, and then it opens a screen like the one below....

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    You don't have a ton of choices for custom control....but it is drop dead simple. For each fan or pump, you can choose a fixed power value (i.e., 50%), or you can choose to have it controlled by a sensor reading. The sensor can be one of the EK temp probes, or one of the system hardware temp values. It was nice that the EK software had all these system hardware temps readily available. For the Aquasuite, you have to have a 3rd party tool, like Aida64, loaded and running to have access to these values.

    Once you select a temperature source, you have a control curve with two points you can control. So although it doesn't offer near the precision or control that the Aqausuite controllers do, it is very simple to operate and setup. You may be losing a little bit of control here, but you can pretty much make it do what you want it to. Not near as comprehensive as Aqausuite controllers options, but much simpler to use.

    Last, but not least....this screen below is the general settings screen. Not much here to discuss...

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    Summary of Praises/Concerns

    Overall....it's an exciting start for EK. Personally, I'm thrilled that there may be some decent competition for AquaComputer in this area. Always better for the consumer to have companies pushing each other to improve.

    If you are comparing the Ascendacy to the Aquaero, the Ascendacy is clearly geared more toward PWM controlled fans. There are only 2 voltage controlled channels for fans, and 2 voltage controlled channels for pumps. You could use the pump channels to power a fan it you wanted, but since a lot of the status screens and charts are hard labeled to treat each connection as a fan or pump....you would render the status screens and charts meaningless if you did. Sure, there are also just 4 voltage controlled channels for the Aquaero....but I could use them for either pumps or fans.....or even lighting.....and then use the custom charts and labels to clearly identify what it was. No so with this version of the Ascendacy.

    However, if you are using PWM fans instead of voltage controlled fans.....the Ascendacy would actually have a leg-up on the Aquaero, with it's 6 additional PWM channels.

    I absolutely love the simple switching between profiles that the Ascendacy software allows. This needs to be copied by AqauComputer. Much slicker. I also like not having to use a 3rd party application to read hardware temps. Ascendacy does that out of the box.

    As far as dashboard and charts and other custom reporting....the Aquasuite has a clear advantage over the simple approach of the Ascendacy. If you like to tinker and build your own dashboards....you want the Aquaero. If you don't care about this kind of stuff....the Ascendacy may be for you.

    For me, I think the biggest Achilles's heel for this beta version of the Ascendacy software, is it's inability to control fans based on Water/Air delta temperature. The Ascendacy doesn't offer anything like the 'Virtual' sensors that Aquasuite allows. Virtual sensors allow you to use basic addition or subtraction of two different sensor values to create a new sensor value. So...a virtual sensor that subtracts your ambient air sensor from your water temp sensor....would provide a delta value for you that is what most people would use to control their fans/pumps. There is no such concept in the Ascendacy software right now. I believe this must be addressed.

    My other primary concern is accessibility. The Ascendacy PCB will be mounted horizontal in a 5 1/4 bay slot. Because the waterblock is on the edge of the card, all of the voltage controlled ports are directly behind it. If you are using a single slot setup, then I think it will be downright impossible to plug in fans while the Ascendacy is installed. You would almost HAVE to have a free slot above the Ascendacy to have any room at all to make/change connections. Even then, it would be difficult to make a connection directly behind the waterblock while the Ascendacy is installed. You would be working blind.

    Now....if EK is planning on the LCD screen taking up two 5 1/4 bays, then maybe it is worth it to have precious little room to make connections. But if the LCD screen will take up a single 5 1/4 bay, then I think most people will have to burn an additional bay above the Ascendacy just to have room to plug/unplug fans.

    To be fair....we can't really judge the Ascendacy yet. The hardware and software are still subject to change before release. If they are able to price it where it is $50 cheaper than the Aquaero XT....then I think they may get a lot of takers. It doesn't do as much as the Aquaero.....but it is much simpler to understand and setup. That will be appealing to many.
     
  14. Father Fuzzy

    Father Fuzzy What's a Dremel?

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    Good rundown of the ascendancy

    Creates a medusa of wiring

    Are they going to release a LCD for it?
     
  15. cpachris

    cpachris What's a Dremel?

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    Just got back the 2nd version of my 3d printed pump stand this evening! This print had some warping issues on the bottom. It's not too bad. I'll take some pictures of it as-is....and then I"ll see what I can do about maybe applying a little heat and trying to flatten the bottom some. Also, we learned that the 8 inch build height limit of the printer.....is actually closer to 7.8 inches. It totally garbled the letters I put on top of the pump stand because they ran outside of the build area. I can probably sand those off.

    If I can't get this one to sit flat and look presentable....I'll tweak the design one more time and do a final print. Pictures tomorrow!
     
  16. cpachris

    cpachris What's a Dremel?

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    Pictures of v2 of the 3d printed pump stand.

    Way too nice a day here today to take pictures inside....so outside we go. Overall....it came out pretty nice. You can see in this picture how the letters on top are garbled, since they were out of the top of the print space by just a little bit.

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    The lettering on the back and bottom came out very nice though.....

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    This one was printed with 100% fill rate, and it is a solid piece of equipment. Very sturdy. The vertical plate is much thicker than last time also. Very pleased with how sturdy it seems to be. Won't know for sure until I get some pumps mounted and running in it though.....

    The pumps and reservoir mounted perfectly. Exactly as I had pictured it.

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    And the fit inside the case was pretty good also. A few nits....which I'll mention after the pictures....

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    In the picture below, you can see how the legs on the front of the pump stand leave just enough space to put two of the modSmart cold cathode inverter boxes between the legs. They are fairly hidden because they are below the window level of the front of the case, and since they are black they blend right into the interior....

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    ...and the legs on the back of the pump stand allow the existing cable management cutout on the S8 to still be utilized....

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    Overall.....I'm pleased.

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    Now...for the nits. I didn't plan on how much space the fittings on the front of the pumps were going to take up. It makes me slide the whole pump stand further to the right of the case than I was planning on. Not a big deal...but it leaves the reservoir not perfectly centered in the front window. So...I either need to make a tighter bend with acrylic than this 90 degree fitting gives me...or I need to tweak the positioning for the holes for the reservoir mounts a little bit on a future version of the pump stand.

    I still don't know for sure how much the slight warping will effect things. I was already planning on lining the bottom of it with some dense foam material. This alone may give it enough padding where the slight warping doesn't impact anything. We'll see...

    More soon! Been spending some out of town time for family trips a lot lately...and haven't been around to work on the build as much as I had been. But it should kick back up into gear again now. Got one more trip planned in August....but that is it.
     
  17. cpachris

    cpachris What's a Dremel?

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  18. Darwing

    Darwing What's a Dremel?

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    This is the cutest and best build log Ive seen, it actually puts personality into it with humor and excitement. Everyone can take pics of all the components with a $2500 camera, but these are priceless with the pink panther always getting in over his head hahahaha

    adorable and beautiful I love it!
     
  19. Hukkel

    Hukkel James' minion

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    I really like the 3D printed pump and res support. Custom part at its finest.
     
  20. cpachris

    cpachris What's a Dremel?

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    "Adorable" and "Cute" and "Beautiful"!!! That's exactly what I was going for!!!! :blush: :blush: the only adjective missing is "FABULOUS"! Thanks for the kind words.



    Thanks Hukkel!
     

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