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  1. #1
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    The Classified Blue Folder

    The bane of most of my systems has been too much heat building up. Even in my watercooled system, the heat coming off of several video cards folding for me has presented problems.

    I've been experimenting with open bench testing cases, and I'm finally ready to move my main system into one. I've gone with a blue color scheme for the case, and it is an EVGA Classified motherboard that will do a LOT of folding, so may I present the Classified Blue Folder:

    I started off with 20"x20"x1/2" plywood stained blue and aluminum U-channel for edging. Though it was apparent that I shouldn't have used clear gorilla glue. Evening cleaning it up as the extra oozed out, it left some evidence of its passing. Epoxy would have been the way to go.



    For the uprights, I used L-brackets and 3/4" square aluminum tubing. Connected with a mix of blind pop-rivets and 6-32 screws.





    Since it will be watercooled and I wanted plenty of space for mounting radiators, I gave it a couple of extra inches between top and bottom layers.



    The EVGA 4-way SLI Classified motherboard is an oversize motherboard, but as you can see, it will easily fit on top, with room to spare.



    Also, since I'm tired of never quite getting the motherboard mounting screws quite exactly square to the case, I've changed the method I use to drill the holes. Rather than using a scratch-awl to transfer the points of drilling through the motherboard itself, I drew out a CAD drawing of where the holes are supposed to go, then printed it out. After verifying that the scale was correct to the board, I can tape it down and make sure it is square. I still have to use the scratch-awl to dent the wood for the drill, but I don't have to worry anymore about bumping the board and moving it out of alignment.



    And to make sure the board it mounted far enough to the back edge that I have room to tap holes to mount the video card, a quick check for spacing.



    The template will run right up to the edge of the aluminum edging. It may be just a milimeter too far, but if it is, I can use a washer to space the angle aluminum that much further out.

    More later, as I do the work.

    Thanks for watching!
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  2. #2
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    I'm going to walk a bit on the dangerous side for my next trick.

    Rather than drill slightly oversize holes for the mounting screws, I'm going to use the tap drill sized drill (#36 or 7/64", either will work for a tap drill for 6-32 threads) and 'tap' them with the mounting screws. This will let me know if I've really gotten them right or not.

    After about 20 minutes of free hand drilling I have my answer. The template is good, but I can't hold a drill straight. About 4 of the 13 holes are just angled enough to not fit the board over the mounting screws easily. But since they are not out of line in any particular direction, I know my template didn't lead me wrong.





    The mounting system I decided to go with is 6-32 screws threaded through well nuts. Well nuts are kind of like a rubber rivet, but they work well for mounting motherboards. Here is a close up:



    Well nut (or rivet nuts) can be ordered from McMaster Carr Item #93495A120 and work great as 1/2" high motherboard stand-offs. The flange on them is great for providing support.

    Normally, using this full coverage block, I'd have a hard time mounting it and still getting support in the center of the motherboard, as it blocks one of the mounting holes. But with the well nut, I can use it for support with a shorter screw and still not have it interfere with the full coverage block.

    One other screw up with the template though...I'm about 1/8" too far to the edge of the case to use the angle aluminum as is to secure the video cards.

    However about 15 minutes with a mill, and I'll have that 1/8" extra milled off and be ready to go.

    Should have another update tomorrow.

    Thanks for reading!
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  3. #3
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    Looks great so far

    Since I've switched to open air stations, I'll never go back to a case.

    I used well nuts and nylon screws for my standoffs. Whether it actually matters or not I didn't want metal touching my motherboard. Those nylon screws and well nuts can be bought at your local Lowe's or Home Depot as well.

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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattNo5ss View Post
    Looks great so far

    Since I've switched to open air stations, I'll never go back to a case.
    I admit I tend to look at them as heat collectors now...

    I used well nuts and nylon screws for my standoffs. Whether it actually matters or not I didn't want metal touching my motherboard. Those nylon screws and well nuts can be bought at your local Lowe's or Home Depot as well.
    Good to know about finding them locally. I hadn't seen them before, but I didn't know that I should be looking for them.

    And I've considered using all nylon instead of steel for the screws, but I keep dithering back and forth.

    Oh, and when I get this one done, I'll try to write it up as an article for you.
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  5. #5
    Member the_cultie's Avatar
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    This looks fantastic!! It's making me really think about going for an open air setup instead of just getting a bigger case. I was thinking of going for the Corsair Obsidian 800D but this is really making me question cases in general. Plus it looks great Will be watching this closely.
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  6. #6
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    impressive work so far. looks great
    if it screams, crank it. if it cries, kill it

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  7. #7
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    I didn't get much done last night other than mounting the CPU waterblock, due to a bruised leg muscle from a charly-horse.

    I did get a bit more done tonight. Milled the angle aluminum down about 1/8" so that it will fit properly. Also, I drilled the through holes with a 2" forstner bit.



    The hole on the left is for power/reset cables, and 6 & 8 pin PCI-E power cables. The one on the right is for water hoses & 8 pin motherboard power cable. The two on the front are for main motherboard power, drive cables, IDE, and if needed additional PCI-E power cables.

    I'm thinking of mounting the PSU on the underside of the top level, about where the PCI-E slots end. That way, I should have plenty of reach for the cables. The pump and radiators will go on the bottom level on the right, close to the CPU, so I'll have minimal tube distance. On the left side bottom, I'll mount the hard drive cage in the back and have the 5 1/4" bays the same side, but closer to the front and pointing out the right side.

    I might have some mock-up photos of where things are going to go tomorrow.
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  8. #8
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    Awesome work so far. looks impressive !

  9. #9
    Member the_cultie's Avatar
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    I am really impressed with the way this is turning out. Love the colour matching of the motherboard and water blocks. Where did you get those water blocks? I couldn't find those red versions on EK's website.
    AMD FX-8350,, ASUS Crosshair V Formula-Z 990FX,, 16GB CORSAIR DOMINATOR GT (2x8GB),, Sapphire Vapor-X HD 7970 GHz OC 3GB ,, Corsair AX750,,
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_cultie View Post
    I am really impressed with the way this is turning out. Love the colour matching of the motherboard and water blocks. Where did you get those water blocks? I couldn't find those red versions on EK's website.
    When I get home I'll look up where I got them. It was from a US reseller of EK blocks. And at least the motherboard block was specifically made to match this board.
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  11. #11
    Member Grosjambon's Avatar
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    /quote The template is good, but I can't hold a drill straight. About 4 of the 13 holes are just angled enough to not fit the board over the mounting screws easily. But since they are not out of line in any particular direction, I know my template didn't lead me wrong.
    /quote.
    LoL I have the same Problems always end up using 4-5 of the 9 holes i do, or using only 2hole of 4 for my fan
    Doing bigger hole than 6/32 help to get everything lined up. Hope I had an Workstation
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  12. #12
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    I got them from Performance-PCs

    http://www.performance-pcs.com/catal...ducts_id=26783

    http://www.performance-pcs.com/catal...ducts_id=26784

    They do have other color tops for the CPU blocks.
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  13. #13
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    PSU bracket installed.

    Turns out I mis-measured the height of the radiators. I needed about another 1/2" to fit them in vertically. I'll use some angle and flat aluminum to make an external mount for them. They are 2x140 heater cores that I'm planning on replacing eventually anyway.

    The hard drive bay looks like it fits in just perfectly.

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  14. #14
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    Look awesome Todd!

    I am certainly jealous.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by WonderingSoul View Post
    Look awesome Todd!

    I am certainly jealous.
    Thanks!

    Got the support bar for the cards installed and the holes drilled and tapped. got the hard drive bay properly mounted. The holes to mount the water pump have been drilled, but the pump is running with some biocide to make sure it is clean before mounting it.

    Drew up a template for the 5 1/4" drive bay mounting plates. I should be able to have them made up tomorrow. It is just about ready to go. I'll have fans arriving probably tomorrow for the heater cores, and the day after I'll have 4-40 nylon all-thread arriving so I can mount the heater cores and fans on the case. After that, it will be ready to go. I'm going to be getting some nice power switches, and mount them, but in the meantime a salvaged switch from an old case will do.

    Anyway, here is what it looks like at the moment.

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  16. #16
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    well written descritions, and good pics. makes it easy to follow what your doing. very nice thread.

  17. #17
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    Well, the fans didn't arrive today. So I spent my time working on the 5 1/4" bay mounting equipment. I used angle aluminum for the base 1 1/2" x 4" strips of aluminum sheet for the slots above the bottom one. The first template didn't have the holes close enough to the edges for it to actually work. So I redid the template with the holes 1/8" away from the edges. Looks like it will work with only a slight gap. I don't have enough M3x.5 screws to test it out for sure, but it looks good.

    So, unless I'm forgetting something, I'm down to mounting the watercooling heater cores, pump, and fans, and then I'll be read to fire it up.

    Current view:

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  18. #18
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    I figured I might mention a bit more on why I'm going with such an open case and some potential additions.

    I guess you could call me a heavy duty folding@home participant. With the advent of GPU folding, I've got multiple video cards in most of my computers. This one can actually fit 4 2-slot video cards, or 7 single slot video cards. The problem I've had with most cases is that once I go over about 2 video cards, the waste heat gets to be too much to be able to disippate. Even leaving the side of the case entirely open and about 6 more more fans working on removing the heat, isn't enough.

    Water cooling would probably work well to deal with this problem for a normal case, but I didn't really have the budget for as many video cards waterblocks as would be needed. So I went ahead and made a benching station for my media server and, it actually worked with 4 GTX 295 video cars in it without overheating. So, I figured it would be a good idea to do this for my main computer.

    So, while I'm only going to run 3 dual spaced video cards for the moment, I expect it will handle any video card configuration I try. If it is a little warmer than I would like, I'll make a bank of about 3 fans and mount them on the fron of the case. This will help increase the airflow across the video cards.
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  19. #19
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    Sorry, I've been a bit behind on this. Fans arrived a few days after I expect them to. A bit loud, but I can pick up, or make, a fan controller to deal with that.

    However, the second 2x120mm heater core I got from Danger Den about 5 years ago seems to have not weather the time too well. The sides are dented and I'm not sure it doesn't have a few leaks as well.

    So I'm going to go with the same 1x120 and 2x120 heater core setup I had previously.

    Eventually I'm going to get that square 480 (4x120 fan) radiator and swap it out.

    But I should have the case functional by the end of the day today, and get the leak test started.

    Power switch will be a little 'ghetto' until I order in the nicer switches.

    I'll be installing Win7 pro on it.
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  20. #20
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    Ok, as soon as the epoxy dries/cures, I'll be able to assemble the computer and start the 24 hour leak test.

    I went ahead an put the slightly damaged heater core in a loop overnight and no signs of leaks. So I'm going to use it for the moment.

    I only have one double heater core shroud at the moment, so until the one I've ordered arrives, I'll be taking a slight performance hit.

    Fans will be a bit noisy until I build/buy a fan controller.

    Later today I'll do the final backup of my current system.
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