Project Resevoir

tuberc

Limp Gawd
Joined
Aug 10, 2008
Messages
131
I know I know, I havent even finished my current project "Cheap case reborn"
http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1363417

But this idea for a watercooled case with a difference has been floating around in my head for a while. Basically I wanted to have two parts to the case, the top part housing the motherboard and the bottom part housing the psu, dvd and hdd's.

The top part will be made of acrylic so that all the nice shiney components can be seen in their full glory. The lower part will be mild steel that hides away all the parts that make the system look cluttered.



Watercooling is the chosen method of keeping all the main parts cool, and what I wanted to do is use the case itself as the resevoir for all the water. The acrylic wall of the case will have two layers that when sealed will form a water container. There will be an input on one side and an output on the other so the case itself will be part of the watercooling loop.



I've alot to learn about working with acrylic so I better get straight to work........
 

ATLPIMP

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 27, 2002
Messages
1,122
Sounds cool... but please, please don't try to seal the acrylic with rtv/silicone.
 

tuberc

Limp Gawd
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Aug 10, 2008
Messages
131
ha ha, nope wont be doing that much of a cowboy job, There will be a full size piece of acrylic for top and bottom of the upper part of the case. I have an acrylic cement to bond them together. Cant remember the name right now but I'll post a pic of it later
 

tuberc

Limp Gawd
Joined
Aug 10, 2008
Messages
131
Been practicing cutting and bending acrylic so now its time to get going on the top part of the case.
I chose to cut the acrylic with a jigsaw that has a blade for cutting plastic. Its not the best method of getting a clean cut but its the best option I have available right now.



I'm not going to try and cut a straight line the lenght of the sheet freehand, it is much trickier than working with wood. So I made a guide that the jigsaw will press against and keep it cutting along the line that I need. Check out the guide in this pic, its held in place by a clamp and a vice-grips.



After all that there are two identical pieces that will make the side of the case. The blade moves so fast on the jigsaw that it melts the plastic when cutting so these melted bits had to be broken off the egde.



The edges are very rough so I ran a stanley blade along the edge at 90degrees to scrape off the unwanted layers of plastic. I need to get the edges perfectly flat and smooth so the cement bonds the pieces together without any holes forming, any holes will leak water and destroy the system.

 

philodox

Limp Gawd
Joined
Aug 6, 2004
Messages
372
Cool idea. I like the way you are partitioning the system. Sort of like the Antec Skeleton. :)
 

shadowlord

2[H]4U
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Jan 6, 2005
Messages
3,086
does your jigsaw have an orbital function ?. running with the orbital function at 1 will greatly reduce the melting of the acrylic. looking at your picture the blade seems to be fine for cutting acrylic, so your problems must come from slow feed of the tool or the missing/switched off orbital function.

good luck with your project, it looks promising.
 

tuberc

Limp Gawd
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Aug 10, 2008
Messages
131
Its a jigsaw that belongs to a friend of mine, and it does have a speed controller, unfortunatley it only works at full speed!!!!!! I think my brother has a better one that actually works, must ask him about it.

Been trying to make a plastic bender today out of an old toaster, got a nice clean bend after a few adjustments. Hope to get bends done in the morning
 

tuberc

Limp Gawd
Joined
Aug 10, 2008
Messages
131
The toaster/plastic bender worked better than I hoped, this should give a better idea of where the water will be kept





next step will be to but more acrylic and cut the top and bottom pieces.
 

rayra

Supreme [H]ardness
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Sep 29, 2001
Messages
5,809
Put some fishtank aeration / bubbler lines along the bottom, for a wall of bubble effect?
 

Outamyhead

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4,259
Put some fishtank aeration / bubbler lines along the bottom, for a wall of bubble effect?

Those fall apart after a while, you won't want particles of air rocks getting stuck anywhere like the rad or the CPU cooler.
 

tuberc

Limp Gawd
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Aug 10, 2008
Messages
131
The bubbles flowing up through the water was the original plan but it just wouldnt work out. I had tought of using a small clear hose with air holes in it but then there would have to be a way for the air to get out of the tank, and then there would be a better chance of the water evaporating faster than in a sealed tank.

Then I was thinking of using a colour dye in the water to change the look of the whole case. Instead I will be using LED's to change colours via a light sequencer or similar.

Should have an update later with pics, hope to get water in there and check for leaks over the weekend. Dont have a pump yet so its time to make up a list of the watercooling parts.
 

tuberc

Limp Gawd
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Aug 10, 2008
Messages
131
Check out these pics, the resevoir is finally holding water!!





Total of 2 litres of water in the case right now. Leaving it overnite to test for leaks,

Silicone was applied to where the pieces join just to make sure that no water leakes out. Its a saftey measure to protect the electronics. Next step is to cut a piece for the top of the case and then build the lower section. I had planned to use steel but I think I'll use the acrylic aswell. If I frost the lower section you wont be able to see the PSU etc, then with some lighting in the lower section it should have a full glow effect....
 

Ang

Gawd
Joined
Mar 20, 2008
Messages
597
Next time if you cut plexi with the highrpm tool, use lowest RPM (I'm sure you did that) and dip the blade in water. It prevents binding.

Also, Awesome idea :)
 

tuberc

Limp Gawd
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Aug 10, 2008
Messages
131
The top of the case took some time to figure out, the firts idea was to have an acrylic cover that was bonded to the sides to make a safe watertight fit. Then have a motherboard tray that slides out to get at the parts inside. However I'm not fully sure what way the radiator will be mounted at the back of the case and it would the project wouldnt look as clean with slide rails on the mobo tray. So now I'll be using a removable top cover. Its just the best way forward I think.
Here is a pic of an aluminium frame made for the top cover but it isnt as attractive as I want so its going in the thrash,,,,,



I should have a pic of the final cover later tonite ...................
 

tuberc

Limp Gawd
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Aug 10, 2008
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131
Quick update. This is the lower section losely in place



Now that I see it I'm wondering if a second tank could be used on the lower section? Then the water would be flowing in the opposite direction than the top tank

hmmmmm. Or will it just get to heavy and complicated then???
 

Elledan

[H]ard|DCer of the Month - April 2010
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Oct 18, 2001
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I assume you don't really need a larger tank? :)

At any rate, yes it would get heavy :p
 

LibertySyclone

[H]ard|Gawd
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Apr 9, 2007
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1,366
Liter of water = 2.204684lbs 1.00002kg

Its looking a lot better so far than I thought it would, you now have my support :) good luck, I like it.
 

tuberc

Limp Gawd
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Aug 10, 2008
Messages
131
@ Elledan - I reckon weight wont really matter but there really isnt a need for more water. Just trying to make it as impressive as I can. Still want bubbles in there somewhere,,,

@ LibertySyclone - glad I've finally swayed your opinion, thanks for the support

@JDM_waaaat - I was hoping no one would notice my bad spelling, got long enough before I was caught LOL, I tried editing the name but my skills let me down
 

WarlordOne

Limp Gawd
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Mar 14, 2006
Messages
500
Cool project!

So are you going to seal the reservoir top or not, you're not quite clear. I think you should seal the res after you drill the inlet/outlet. Unless you want the precipitation from the warm res evaporating into your case. If it's not well sealed that's a risk you're taking.

I'm interested to see how you're going to do the bubbles :D
 

Morphes

Supreme [H]ardness
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Jul 16, 2001
Messages
4,240
That is a really slick idea, got me interested!

If you wanted to add some better cooling you could get a copper plate for the bottom piece... but it wouldnt look as cool, in any case it looks sweet so far keep us updated
 

tuberc

Limp Gawd
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Aug 10, 2008
Messages
131
@Warlordone - I wont be sealing the top in the same way, I want the cover to be removable so it will be screwed down onto the side of the case. Its going to be easier to understand when its done and I post a picture. There will have to be a washer of some sorts to seal it then its screwed in place. A line of dry silicone might suit the task best.

To get the wall of bubbles rising on the front of the case an aquarium bubble bar might suffice. Its going to take some trial and error to get it functioning, and there will have to be holes drilled somewhere to let the air circulate to the atmosphere. Maybe a layer of mineral oil on top of the water will stop the water evaporating while allowing the air to get past?

Experiment number 1 is shown here:


I put a straw into the jar and blew air in, it came right through the olive oil thats floating on the surface of the water in the jar. Its probably a dead end but modding is all about trying new things isnt it?

The lower section is all prepared and bonded together, the pic here show the acrylic cement used and the syringe to apply it



Two top and bottom, tonite I hope to design how the two get screwed together.
 

tuberc

Limp Gawd
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Aug 10, 2008
Messages
131
Check out the ghetto plastic bender, I didnt want to let everyone see this but I tought it would show people that you can get the job done without the best of tools. And yes it is a modified toaster



Here's a pic of the lowest joint after bonding, after a little practice the joints are getting cleaner

 

GhengisKhan

Supreme [H]ardness
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May 16, 2005
Messages
6,433
do you have any instructions on that toaster/bender mod thing?

I've been trying different ways of bending plexi, but without spending $200 on a professional bender, I always end up with massive amounts of bubbles in the plexiglass wherever I make bends.
 

tuberc

Limp Gawd
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Aug 10, 2008
Messages
131
I'll explain how I got that toaster to bend the acrylic, but please be carefull if anyone tries to do the same. I have a qualification in electronics and have been working with high voltage for years, it is very easy to electrocute yourself or badly burn yourself

1. find a toaster somewhere, and take the plastic/metal casing off
2. take some time to examine where the connections to the heating elements are, there are normally 4 to 6 different pieces of wire joined together to complete the element.
3. this toaster has 2 sides and a middle heating part, I cut the connections for the middle part and removed it carefully. in the pic above you can see the two side parts still in their original place. this way you only have to cut 2 of the original wires to get the toater functioning
4. now that the middle part is removed you can unravel the heating element from it. Now you can cut the lenght of the plastic bender you need. Mine was only about 12/13". There was no need to stretch the wire like you see on some other custom benders.
5. make up a bench to work on so you wont be afraid of burning your good coffee table. and put 2 screws into the wood to hold the bender in place. then just connect an electrical wire(any kind will do such as from a mains electrical lead) to each end of the bender, connect these 2 electrical wires back to where you made the cuts on the toaster. This should complete the circuit. I jambed the toaster control to stay on so its turned on by the switch on the extension lead
6. this toaster was not earthed , i just didnt need to,
7. the middle part of the toaster that was used had a fireproof material around which the heating wire was wrapped, I placed this under the bender to protect the wood and stop burns/fumes damaging the plastic
8. test the bender, i had to place a little tension on the wire to keep it in a straight line, if it isnt you wont get a proper bend, this takes some time to get right so just play around with it
9. To keep the plastic above the bender I placed a piece of wood (1/4"thick) beside it, the plastic lies on this when bending

The picture really does show everything needed in action, this bender took about 75 seconds to heat the plastic enough to bend it, it took a few scrap pieces to get this right. the first few bends had alot of bubbles and even stress lines from applying pressure before it was heated enough, just adjust times to get it right, and every toaster will be different. The acrylic I used was
 

Elledan

[H]ard|DCer of the Month - April 2010
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Oct 18, 2001
Messages
15,885
Very innovative yet terribly scary at the same time :D

Definitely not something for beginners to try, but useful for the more adventurous modders among us :)
 

tuberc

Limp Gawd
Joined
Aug 10, 2008
Messages
131
You're probably right elledan, it could have been a bad idea posting how i made that monstrosity that is a plastic bender. Please dont try it at home people!!!!

Todays update is the frosting of the lower section is complete. I bought some plastic film that you apply to glass to frost it up, its used in bathrooms and such to stop people looking in. I applied it to the inside and its just the look I was going for. Here a close up of it before one side was trimmed off.



There are two UV cold cathodes behind it at the moment and it will need at least two more, and maybe some LED's. This thing is starting to come together at last



The hard drive mount will also be made out of acrylic, as will the retainer for the psu.

The pump for the watercooling loop will be mounted at the front of the case in the lower section, this will mean some of the water hoses will be coming from the cpu to the front of the case and into the lower section. This should be an attractive feature with the hoses being fed through holes in the motherboard tray
 

Elledan

[H]ard|DCer of the Month - April 2010
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15,885
Well, it's not a bad thing to tell people how it's supposed to be done. Everything beyond that is the domain of Darwin Awards :)

Can't wait to see how this project progresses :D
 

bluesteel

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jun 4, 2003
Messages
280
I must say its coming together better than i expected. Obviously the bending machine you rigged has helped immensely and it seems like you have a great deal of practice working with these materials.
 

mattym

Weaksauce
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Dec 21, 2007
Messages
94
I gotta say when i saw your first plans for this project i was very sceptical. Did not think that it would look this good this quick.

Cant wait to see some parts go into this thing!
 

undertheradar

[H]ard|Gawd
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Oct 26, 2004
Messages
1,792
For less bubbles in the seams, you might consider weld-on 3... I use it to make plexi aquariums just like #4, but it sets much faster so there is less chance for microbubbles to form.

For your edges.. well... thats where a router comes in. If you use a 1/2" straight bit, set the router to about 18,000 rpm and your edges will be perfect. A router avoids the contact issues that jig and circular (table) saws have with plexi. Other than that, if you have some blade-wax, putting some on your blade will allow you to prevent the 'melting' as well.

One concern I have though: is that acrylic/plexi you are using extruded or cast? If extruded, Im thinking you might want to beef up the bonds more with some Weld-on 16 or you might have some cracks developing in the next few months (crazing). Extruded (what is found most commonly at 'Depot and such, is okay for just bonding, but as soon as you start talking about it being in constant contact with water, cell-cast is the way to go. Acrylic can absorb up to 60% of its weight in water, which will make it expand. Because extruded has a 'grain' to it, the expansion is often not even... so your joints undergo alot of sheer stress. When making aquariums, we use all cast acrylic. It expands evenly in all directions so there is much less chance of splitting a seam 6 months from now.

An alternative to 'toaster wire' bending is to use the gutter/pipe heating cables that home improvement stores sell.

For the top edges of the rez, I would apply a flange to the top otherwise the flat sides are going to bow out under the water pressure and the difference in heat. If you look at how the top of an acrylic aquarium is done, you will see what I mean. This most likely means that the top will no longer open (the flange over both vertical sides will be so thick that it wil block out any opening between the two on top), but as long as you can bond some clear pvc pipe or acrylic pipe to allow water in and out, you should be fine.

OR, rather than having the rez open from the top even, you could cut a circular disk, cut an o-ring groove to into it, and keyhole flange it so you could have a sealed opening on the front of the rez rather than the top (like one of those innovatek barrel rez's, or one of the ones by alphacool or aquacomputer with a 'porthole' on the front'.

Very easy to make if you have a router. OR, you can even buy them pre-done from one of many aquarium fabbers (commonly used to cap off calcium reactors, media filters, and protein skimmers). They usually get bonded to the top end of an acrylic pipe, but there is no reason why you couldnt bond the entire assembly to the flat side of a tank like this. That would look cool IMO.
 

tuberc

Limp Gawd
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Aug 10, 2008
Messages
131
Thanks for all the positive comments guys, and I appreciate any help pointing out things that could be done better.

@undertheradar - i realised I should have bought the faster drying weld-on after finishing the first joint. Will definetly get #3 for the next project. Im not sure if the material is cast or extruded, the place i buy it would be like home depot but the guys there dont know what they are selling. you brought up a good point about the acrylic absorbing water, its one thing I never tought of or even ever heard about. I guess time will tell on this project. Im building in ways for the water to flow away from components if there is a leak at the joints, hopefully it will never happen. Thanks for the input.

I'd love to be using a router on this, maybe santa will bring one? Two months ago i had never worked with acrylic, practice does make perfect and there is actually a big difference in quality between the upper and lower sections. You can see in the last pic some stretch marks on the right most bend, the bends on the lower section dont have these or any bubbles. So if anyone is starting to work with this stuff keep practicing and it will get better.

This case is still a bit of a prototype, just seeing if it looks good and it functions well. So eventually I'll make another that will have slightly diffent dimensions and incorporate a few other ideas i wont use here.

Didnt get much done today, I put frosting on the motherboard tray and placed the psu and hdd's into the case to figure out what mounts to make.
 

tuberc

Limp Gawd
Joined
Aug 10, 2008
Messages
131
The holidays have been really bad for this project, way to much beer and food. I did manage to get a little bit done and here is a small update.

The holes were marked out and drilled for the motherboard standoff's, a 2.5mm steel bit was used and the standoff's were then threaded through the holes. I think I'll use 2 standoffs ontop of each other to give me enough height to hide my cables under the mobo. The top section has to be as clean looking as possible, thats the main aim of this idea.



The holes under the mobo that will have the power/sata cables run through from the lower section were drilled out next, I just located them close to where they will be attached to the mobo.



This is one idea for the hdd mounting, a u-channel of acrylic that will just have slots cut out for the hdd damper to drop into. I wont go into too much detail cause its not the final solution yet,



And lastly the back piece of the lower section, I hope to cut out the hole for the psu in this piece tommorow. Having a new years eve party at my place so I'll be lucky to find the time to do it.



Last update on this for 2008 so happy new year guys!!!!!!!!!

Lets hope its a good year for modding
 

Spoonology

n00b
Joined
Nov 23, 2008
Messages
34
I am really looking forward to this, I've had an idea for this but a bit differant. It'd have the mobo on the top half, water cooled, with the hd, cd drive, water cooling loop, bassicaly everything that isns't attached to the mobo in a wooden half.

If that don't make sense il change it later

I'm drunk


Good lunk
 
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