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Scratch Build – In Progress Zenith Antique Radio Complete Case Build- Update 24Nov10

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by voigts, 25 May 2009.

  1. voigts

    voigts What's a Dremel?

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    Wiring, Watercooling Loop, Leaktesting with Air Pressure

    Wiring

    I have done a lot of work on the wiring to get it as neat and tidied up as possible. The answer to this was to run all or the wiring through the floor of the case and under it in the space beneath. I got well acquainted with the continuity setting on my multimeter making the PCI-E cables. I just ran the wires where I wanted and used the continuity setting to make sure which wire was which on each end. I used the PCI-E cable that came with the PSU to make sure I got the connections in the correct places on each end. I have got to get a good pair of crimpers as putting on the PCI-E pins was a pain.

    [​IMG]

    Pumps Rheostat

    I put the pumps on a 25w rheostat I already had so that I can turn the voltage down a bit on them to quiet them down. I made a little box out of 1/8" smoked acrylic, and mounted it to 2 pci bracket screws. It was easier to place it here near the PSU than near the pumps. I just had to loop the ground wire on the line feeding the pumps to the rheostat. It works like a charm.

    [​IMG]

    Pumps and Tubing in Place

    Here are a few interior shots of the pumps and tubing before installing the hard drives mount box so you can get a sense of how the tubing is running. I changed my previous drain idea and was able to go with my original idea after getting the wiring all hidden. A 1/4" line branches off from the line going from the bottom pump to the bottom rad barb and goes through the floor of the case. It makes draining very easy as I just have to hang the front end of the case off and pull the plug in order to drain.

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    Leaktesting with Air Pressure

    I became convinced and am still so that leaktesting with air pressure is a much better way to leaktest than the water fill and pray method. I use a simple $13 vacuum gauge that I got a Harbor Freight tools for this as it has a large gauge area for 0-10psi. I have a small air compressor, but a simple bicycle pump could be used to do the same thing. I attach the line from the compressor hose blow handle going through the vacuum gauge to the drain. I then pump it up to about 9psi which is easily 2-3 times the pressure in the coolant loop, clamp off the pump line, and give it some time. The smallest leak will easily show up on the dial and its usually very easy to hear the hiss of a leak.

    [​IMG]

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    Here is a pic of the dial when I initially pumped it up.

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    Here is the same dial 3 1/2 hours later. It didn't budge one itty bit.

    [​IMG]

    As I mentioned, I am convinced this is the far better way to leaktest.

    1. If there should be a leak, which has happened to me before, there is no clean up or getting anything wet. You just fix the problem. No draining, drying, etc- too easy.

    2. Leaktesting with water in a system which is at room temp doesn't have the same pressure as a loop that is warmed up. I can pump the loop up to 9-10psi thereby introducing 2-3 times the pressure the loop will experience when running.

    3. It can be easy to miss a small seeping leak as can happen easily at a barb or such with water, while with air, the tiniest little leak will show up on the gauge. You know 100% if you have a leak or not. A very small seeping leak however can be a bit hard to pinpoint with air, but usually you can hear the hiss from the air escaping. At least there is no guesswork, paper towels, etc.

    4. Its not expensive to leaktest. A $13 gauge, a bit of hose, a fitting or two, and a pump are all that is needed. Of course I use a compressor since I already have one, but a bicycle pump, a simple Schrader valve, or ball pump fitting can be used to do this. A <$10 trip the hardware store can net you whatever fittings you may need.

    We'll spend $1000+ on watercooling and computer parts, but rely on the fill and pray method to leaktest, or not leaktest at all. It just doesn't make sense to me.

    The system is put together and up and running. I've got a few minor things to do. I've got a bit of lighting to add to the front dial, and I've got the attach the knobs. Hopefully this weekend I'll get these items done, clean up my shop, and see if I can setup to try to take some decent pics with my mediocre camera. I got cheap off of Ebay a 10'x10' white muslin backdrop. I also got PVC and fabric to make stand up diffusers to use with my halogen lights. Hopefully this will net a better photo shoot than on my last case. I had a horrible time shooting it. One of these days I need to invest in a real camera.

    A funny note on this case. The deal my wife made with me when I started making my own cases was that they had to fit inside of the computer compartment area of our oak rolltop computer desk. When my wife got a look at this case with it all put together, she suggested rearranging things in our desk area so that the computer can be put outside of the desk and be easily seen.
     
    Last edited: 27 Aug 2009
  2. The boy 4rm oz

    The boy 4rm oz Project: Elegant-Li

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    Nice work on the cable management, it looks very neat and tidy. The water loops also turned out very well.
     
  3. voigts

    voigts What's a Dremel?

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    thank you. I'm very pleased with how the cable management worked out. Running everything through the floor was the way to go. I used one copper line from the GPU to the rad so that I could get it to route exactly where I wanted so as not to rest on top of the second pump.

    I have to say I'm also pleased at being able to put 3 hard drives, a fan controller, 2 MCP350 pumps, and 2 MCR320 rads into a case that is only about 11" wide x 20" deep x 17" high (about 280mm wide x 510mm deep x 440mm high for the rest of the non-US civilized world). And those are external dimensions minus the base and 3/4" thick (19mm) oak used for the internal area's size.
     
  4. The boy 4rm oz

    The boy 4rm oz Project: Elegant-Li

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    Yep, you did a great job :D.
     
  5. clocker

    clocker Shovel Ready

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    The whole package is wonderful, I'm very impressed.
    I don't know how you did it but as strictly as you followed the original radio's design, the whole package avoids the "PC crammed into an old" case look...in fact, it looks like it could have been a Zenith product.

    In a way I'm ambivalent about moving the unit from the space it was designed to fit.
    Could you take a pic with it in the desk?
     
  6. voigts

    voigts What's a Dremel?

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    Thank you Steve. I didn't really make the case per se to "fit" inside of the desk. I just made the case the way I wanted to. Actually since it is a good bit smaller than the last case, there is a good bit of room now where it sits. I may take a pic this weekend, but the desk area is kind of cluttered so we'll see.

    I drew up my desk area in Sketchup and am playing around to see if there is any kind of rearranging I can do to get my case out in the open. It is hard however when you have a small house (1300 sq ft) built in 1929.
     
  7. Waynio

    Waynio Relaxing

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    Beautifully made case voigts:thumb:, really well done :rock::clap:.
     
  8. Edge102030

    Edge102030 Son, i am disappoint.

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    Fantastic build voigts, awesome woodwork and very neat internals :):jawdrop:. I absolutely love your air leak-testing idea, never seen that before, and as you said no praying :hip:
     
  9. legoman666

    legoman666 Beat to fit, paint to match.

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    Nice work! I've made a wood case before and it's a hell of a lot easier to work with than aluminum. http://forums.bit-tech.net/showthread.php?t=173608 I recently revived it after being unused for a couple years. You have some nice detailed work on the front; mine is a monster compared to yours.
     
  10. voigts

    voigts What's a Dremel?

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    Thank you ;)

    Thank you. I really put a lot of effort into making the internals neat. As for the leaktesting with air pressure, I really think this is the way to go. It is cheap, and far more foolproof than just filling and hoping you catch any leaks.

    I hate working with aluminum/sheet metal. I had to for some parts of this case, but I don't care for it one bit. I'd much rather work with wood.

    I think that your case is only a monster in the sense of its size as it is much larger. It looks good though.


    I've got to add more lighting to the front bezel area, and final mount the knobs. Then I need to clean up my workshop so I can try to take some decent pics which is hard to do with my cheap camera. I need to break down and buy something decent.
     
    Last edited: 30 Aug 2009
  11. voigts

    voigts What's a Dremel?

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    Well, I've got a temporary hold on getting the lighting finished on the front dial. The LED boards I got are way too dim to do any good. So I went and ordered some ultra-bright yellow LEDs from Ebay, which have to ship from Hong Kong. I'm pretty much stuck waiting for them to get the lighting done and take pics.

    Meanwhile, I'm working on a shelf cabinet to put the case onto to be able to rearrange my desk area. I am following my wife's suggestion to make a way to get the case out of the computer desk itself and into the open.
     
  12. mr_steve42

    mr_steve42 What's a Dremel?

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    Voigts:

    Wow - great work! I was thinking of doing something similar to what you did, but instead making my own 5-s-29 styled cabinet to house a mini shelf radio. Hopefully you still check this forum - can you give me a lead on where you purchased the escutcheon for your radio cabinet build? I've been able to find everything I need for my project (knobs, dial glass, etc.) except for that, and I haven't seen a vintage escutcheon for that radio come up on e-bay. Please let me know either as part of this thread or off-line (mr_steve42@hotmail.com). Thanks.
     
  13. voigts

    voigts What's a Dremel?

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    Thank you. I need to still take final pics of my case. I added some 10mm leds to the front bezel, but they simply aren't giving out enough light to illuminate the front dial. I ordered a 48led light wire from Ebay that will hopefully correct the problem, and am waiting for that to come in. I also have decided to switch out the pumps for an Aquastream XT that I found a great deal on. My dual DDC pumps are simply too loud for my liking.

    This guy is the one to buy from when it comes to antique Zenith radio parts. Everywhere I called referred me to him. I got the escutcheon, knobs, and grill cloth from him.

    http://www.alanjesperson.com/gn_repro.htm
     
  14. voigts

    voigts What's a Dremel?

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    Comp Desk Layout Changes, Pump Changes, Lighting Fix

    Changing My Computer Setup

    I just started again making some changes and finally completely finishing my case. I was most of the way there, but had a few things I wanted to fix before putting up pics, and I decided to make a few changes as well. Also, the Xclio 200mm fan that I had bought for the side panel quit working, and they don't reply to emails and have no place on their website for an RMA, so I need to replace the side fan.

    About 2 months ago, I decided to change the way that my computer space is set up. My wife likes this computer so much that she suggested putting in outside of the desk so that it is more visible. I have found that having the computer inside of the computer desk compartment is a royal pain when it comes to wiring. The wiring behind and under my desk going to/from my computer and stuff was a dusty mess of spaghetti, and was laying all over the carpet behind the desk. Trying to make any changes was a royal pain. Our desk is an oak rolltop, so it weighs a ton and isn't easy to move.

    I used Sketchup to draw out my desk area to consider different possibilities. Our house isn't that large, so I'm pretty much stuck with the area that I have in our living room. I had built a storage cabinet a couple of years ago that sat to the left of my desk. This is the way my layout looks in Sketchup.

    [​IMG]

    The best way that I decided to get the case out of the desk was to build a new shelf, move the cabinet into our spare room, and put the computer to the left of the desk.

    [​IMG]

    However, in order to move the cabinet into our little storage room, I had to build a large shelf unit to organize it and get stuff out of the floor. So I spent about 2 ½ weeks building a large 5 shelf storage unit and rearranging everything in our storage room which allowed me to get the cabinet in there. The room needed some help anyway so this was a good time to do it. Once I got the spare room done, I moved the cabinet into it and built a shelf unit/stand for the computer to sit on.

    [​IMG]

    I also moved the rolltop desk out a bit, and competely rearranged the wiring behind the desk to go along with moving the computer. I didn't want everything stuck on the carpet again where I can't get to it. I took a piece of 3” PVC drain pipe I had left over, cut it lengthwise in half, and mounted one half to the wall. This way I have all of my wiring running on top of the PVC behind my desk so it is now easy to access, neat, and can be vacuumed.

    This is behind my desk now.

    [​IMG]

    This is my UPS and surge protector that now are mounted on the wall behind the computer shelf/stand.

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    This setup is such an improvement in wiring neatness and accessibility.

    Front Dial Lighting

    One problem that I wanted to fix was the lighting of the front dial. I had bought and wired up six 10mm yellow leds for the front dial. They are mounted in a piece of smoked acrylic attached to that back of the dial area.

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    There were two problems however. The LEDs simply weren't bright enough, and the light from them wasn't diffused and made 6 spots on the dial. I ordered a 48 LED flexible light string from Ebay. I used a piece of 4” acylic tubing cut 1” deep, and cut two layers of fluorescent light diffusers to mount to the front inside of the cut tubing. I took the smoked acrylic LED mount, mounted it to the tube, and painted the inside of both gold to help deflect light forward through the dial. I used RTV silicone to attach the LED light strip to the other LED lights mount.

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    Here is a quick pic of how the lighting worked out.

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    I am very pleased with the way it looks. The dial now is completely illuminated evenly.

    Pump Changes

    Moving the computer however up to where it is 2' from my head exacerbates the noise of having two pumps running. I wasn't really that pleased with the computer when it was sitting down inside of the desk, but having it up near my head made things much worse. I got into watercooling in the first place for quiet/performance. I have looked at the Aquastream XT before as it is said to be a very, very quiet pump everywhere I read, but have never wanted to shell out $150 for one. I found a deal however on a new unused XT Ultra on Hardforum for only $105 shipped including a soggy sandwich and G1/4” adapters, so I bought it.

    The only way I could figure to mount the pump is vertically, so I made a stand/mount out of sheet metal for it. I put the rubber foam from the soggy sandwich under it and behind it. I couldn't fit the entire soggy sandwich, so hopefully the foam alone will do the trick to isolate vibrations. If it doesn't, I may opt for some Petras gel stuff.

    [​IMG]

    Forming Tubing

    You may have noticed the nice tight loop going from the res to the pump with no kinks. There is a trick I recently picked up on XS. I can't find the thread now, but the idea is one of the handiest I've come across in years of watercooling. I used this several times in redoing the lower part of this loop, and it works great.

    If you want to form tubing for tight bends or any bends, you can shape it the way you want, and then immerse it in boiling water and then in ice water several times. I found a spring for $3 at a local ACE hardware that fits perfectly inside of the 7/16” id tubing to keep it from kinking while forming.

    For the loop in the pic above, I put the tubing into a plastic cup like this, immersed it in boiling water for a minute or two, then ice water, and repeated the process a few times.

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    Once heated and cooled like this a few times, the tubing holds it shape.

    I have a very tight spot where one radiator feeds the other radiator. The space measured from the outside (not the inside) between the barbs is only 2 1/4” (about 57mm). The inside space between the barbs is only about 1 1/4”. Tubing would normally kink in a bend this tight. Since the piece of tubing was very short, and the bend had to be so tight, I simply used a pair of tongs to hold the tubing while forming.

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    The tubing formed so that just sitting the outside was only 3” apart. I had no kinking problems putting it at 2 1/4” apart.

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    Drain Fitting

    I soldered together a fitting for the drain. This fitting was a pain in that in order to save space, I used an insert to go from 1/2” to 3/8” copper, and soldered in a 1/4” barb to 1/8”NPT fitting to be able to attach the drain tubing to. I had to go really work to get the barb fitting soldered in, and had to go back and resolder the 1/2” to 3/8” joint as it didn't completely seal the first time. Thankfully the resolder worked. I pressure tested it at 25psi with the air compressor to make sure it didn't leak.

    [​IMG]

    The fitting is on the line going from the GPU to the bottom of the case around the base of the pump. Here is a pic without the hard drive cage installed so you can see the routing.

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    The 1/4” tube branches off, goes through the floor of the case, and has a length under the case capped off with a 1/4” barb and a rubber auto vacuum cap.

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    This is going to work really nice in that to drain all I have to do is take the drain line loose and it hangs about 4 inches down under the case. I can just put the front part of the case off of a countertop and drain away.

    Front Grille Cloth

    I made a change to the way the grille cloth is mounted. Having the front grill open allowed any sounds to come out of the front of the case, and I don't really need the cloth for any airflow. So instead of having the cloth mounted to a frame, I mounted it to several layers of cardboard, and make a solid wood piece to fit behind it. This should help redirect any sound, and also should make the cloth last indefinitely.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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    I'm leaktesting with air pressure as I write this. I've got to mount a new 140mm Yate Loon to the case side to replace the Xclio piece of crap fan, and hope to get some final pics up shortly. I bought a large white backdrop, and just got a new Canon SX120 that takes way better pictures than my old lousy Sony camera. So hopefully I can take some decent pics.
     
  15. AnG3L

    AnG3L Ultimate Modder

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    This is F A N T A S T I C bro!!! I really love this case mod man!!! Mod on! :)
     
  16. voigts

    voigts What's a Dremel?

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    thanks. Hopefully I'll be able to take some final pics and put them up shortly.
     
  17. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    Yay! Final pics!
    -Well, I'm a little sad you are done.
     
  18. The boy 4rm oz

    The boy 4rm oz Project: Elegant-Li

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    Thanks for the tip for bending the hose, I will have to remember that.
     
  19. InSanCen

    InSanCen Buckling Spring Fetishist

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    Awesome log.

    I rarely post in this section, but the time and effort involved, not only in the build, but in the log itself is simply great.

    I am now looking forward to the "money shots" with the Muslim Backdrop.

    The hose tip is great (How did I miss that over at XS?). Will be Very[\I] useful in my loop rebuild.
     
  20. voigts

    voigts What's a Dremel?

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    Are we evern done when it comes to modding? I've already started working in Sketchup on another design.

    That tube bending as i said is not original with me, but it sure is one of the best ideas I have come across. It works great.



    I appreciate the comments. Putting up a decent build log takes a lot of time. Just going through and optimizing the pics is time consuming. I go through one by one and tweak them to try to make them as clear as possible.

    I've been reading some in the manual for the new Canon SX120 that I got, and I sure am hoping that I can do better than I did with my last camera. This one has a custom white balance setting along with virtually every other setting being adjustable, which should help a lot over my last camera. My last camera only had all auto settings, none of which worked worth squat and i had to do a lot of Photoshop work to get the pics looking decent. I've also learned a good bit about lighting, and got a nice new 10' x 10' white muslin backdrop.
     

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