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  1. #1
    Senior Case Master Navig's Avatar
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    Water Cooled Framer Project

    Hi all,

    My latest project is well underway. Altho this portion of the ocforums seems to have sputtered out since being subsumed by the Cases section, as I have traditionally done, I will post here. Also, as I have traditionally done, my most in depth worklog can be found at the abit forums.



    The DIY Watercooled Framer Project


    1) DIY - This is a going to be a Do-It-Yourself type project which means several things. Easy to obtain materials, tools, and techniques. Like my DIY Benching Station: Simple, cheap, functional, and reproducible.


    2) Watercooled - I recently took the plunge into watercooling. This case is designed to house multiple radiators and loops.


    3) Framer - I have frequently built my cases with fully supported frames, with hung plastic panels (example: frame made with lubic components hang some plastic panels.)

    I'm going to put little twist on this one. For this project, I want the support frame visible--kind of like an exoskeleton.



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  2. #2
    Senior Case Master Navig's Avatar
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    As usual, I start with some concept sketches:





    I plan to have this case be double wide, putting the 5.25 drive bays and hard drive rack side by side. This will allow for side-by-side radiators at the top or bottom of the case.








    As I mentioned before, I'm going to inset my plastic panels, thus exposing the frame elements.




    .

  3. #3
    Senior Case Master Navig's Avatar
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    Here are some layout pics:




    The motherboard will be upright, and floating down the middle of the case.








    The motherboard tray will thus bisect the case. The compartment above the mobo will have dedicated airflow. The compartment below the mobo will house the psu and watercooling elements.















    I originally conceived of this case being for two 2x120mm radiators with 2 completely separate loops. The watercooling elements could thus be arranged something like this:





    Also, as you can see, the overall shape of the case will be a fairly standard double wide rectangle, but I will be adding a sloped edge--which will probably house the switching panel.




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  4. #4
    Senior Case Master Navig's Avatar
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    Since I do have spare lubic component laying about, I decided to make a general mock up of what I had planned. Note the case will NOT be made from lubic components, but rather standard 3/4th square aluminum tube.

    However, using lubic components helps me get a grasp on sizes and general layout. Also general stability of such a large frame.









    Here is the overall concept so far. The dimensions of this mockup are not quite correct: it will be more narrow (I didn't feel like cutting up lubic bars just for a mockup).

    The frame elements will be mostly exposed. The downside to having inset panels is that you lose access to the frame internally. And while you can mount things directly to the plastic panels, for stability its better to mount it to the metal frame. For this reason, the bottom and back panels will be surface mounted, while the sides, front, and top inset mount to expose the frame.


    The other element I'll point out is that I wanted to add a little architectural interest to the case, rather than being a straight cube, I broke up the front edge with a sloped panel.




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  5. #5
    Senior Case Master Navig's Avatar
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    Front components sit like so:












    Plenty of space for radiators (2 rows at the bottom and/or 2 rows on the top):










    Internal components will sit roughly like so:











    Some more component possibilities:









    The double wide nature of this case lets me put the psu behind the motherboard, good space also for watercooling components.

  6. #6
    Member kyleboy77's Avatar
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    holy hugeness! I'm interested in seeing how it turns out
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  7. #7
    Very interesting !...can't wait for the result.

  8. #8
    Senior Case Master Navig's Avatar
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    Now that I've got a general construction design, its time to convert it to stock materials. The bars are easy enough--I'll be using 3/4" square aluminum tube (available at most hardware stores, I picked it up from onlinemetals.com).

    The one critical piece to constructing a frame is NOT readily available from any hardware store I know of. And that is a 3 way corner bracket. This is what comes with the lubic kits:







    However, it's really not beefy enough for my tastes, and again not available for purchase.




    Fabrication of such a bracket is fairly straight forward for any professional machine shop. This thread here from bit-tech really perfectly outlines the concept of a beefy 2 hole per leg bracket.

    I have in fact got a machine shop designing such a bracket for me for bulk quantities. But instead of waiting around for them to mass produce for me, I thought I'd give a shot at my own hand-crafted version.




    First I started with some 1/4" bronze tinted plastic (I had leftovers from my previous Jewel Box Project):





    These brackets are based on a 2 1/2" length, 1/2" width bracket, which will actually expose the metal frame even at the corners.






    Cut and holed:









    Glued together:












    And fit to some square tube:



  9. #9
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    This is going to be pretty cool, man. Can't wait for the updates.

  10. #10
    Senior Case Master Navig's Avatar
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    Here is the basic concept of how this frame will be bracketed together:

    The frame is made from 3/4" aluminum square tube, and the corners are double mitered to come together at the 3 way corners, which will be bracketed by my custom brackets:










    Mounted like so:



  11. #11
    Jolly-Swagman's Avatar
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    Lookin Dam good there,,,as always Navig

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Navig View Post
    And a little side note. Here are 3 sample chips from delvie's. What color do you think for the panels:
    I'd say the light blue. The dark blue and the orange are a bit much if it's going to be the entire panel.

  15. #15
    Member cabose1227's Avatar
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    I like the orange, you may not be able to see throu well tho.
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  16. #16
    I hate blue in a case becouse all the lights are blue now. But that being said, the dark blue looks good. What if you use more than one color?

  17. #17
    Rest In Peace OldSkool's Avatar
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    I'll second Light blue and also subscribed. This promises to be awesome!
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  18. #18
    KosAMD's Avatar
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    ORANGE! Blue is overdone tbh.
    I r Folding for team 32. k thx.

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  19. #19
    Senior Case Master Navig's Avatar
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    A whole lotsa tapped holes later, and wapow! there ya go!








    Got some mockup components in there for size reference. This IS a big case, with big panels. Think I'll stick with subtler colors, probably the light blue. I could maybe work multiple colors, not sure how to make that look nice and keep it simple.

  20. #20
    Member cabose1227's Avatar
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    California 805 ftw
    Looks very well thought out, great design.
    \m/ OverClockers mATX L33T Club \m/
    New Rig : D, thanks to all the people in the classifieds hooking it up with the good parts!
    Silverstone FT03 Titanium
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