How to use empty drive bays to accommodate big fans.
Happy New Year!! To celebrate, I am re-hashing an idea of mine because a few people have mentioned it (OK, one person mentioned it but maybe someone else will find this useful!)
I went looking for large case fans at a computer show when I found an old rack mount panel that had five 120mm Panaflo fans! The panel had three 120mm ‘H” high output fans (103 CFM) and two 120mm ‘M’ medium output fans (86 CFM). Being new to fans at the time, I used two ‘H’ series in my case: one at the bottom and one as a top blow hole. These were too noisy for me, so when I switched cases to a new ‘supercase’ tower, I kept things quiet by using only one down in the front on a voltage regulator. Here is a before (left) and after (right) of the ca
This was OK for the cooling setup I had at the time: a Glaciator on my Duron, a 120mm intake, a used 92mm Panaflo ‘H’ out, and the power supply fan out as well. I put all the fans on a baybus I made. This setup seemed to be pretty balanced and case temps were usually with a degree or two of ambient.
When I went to water cooling, I pulled out all the stops and put in four 80mm Panaflo ‘L’ fans sucking air out of the case through my radiator. I used four because the 160mm x 160mm profile was a perfect fit for my radiator.
To balance the air out, I had to remove the 92mm exhaust fan and crank up the speed (and loudness) of the 120mm intake. The 120mm fan was annoyingly loud to me so I had to think up something else.
I remembered the two left over 120mm ‘M’ series fans and started wondering how I could put them to use. My solution was to move my CD, CDR, and DVD down and make a “Bay-fan” for an upper 120mm intake fan.
How did I make the “Bay-fan”? I noticed that a 120mm fan is smaller than three 5 ¼ bays, hmm… so I glued all three together with super glue, placed them over a block of wood, and used my 6″ hole saw to take a big hole! (I kept the hole I cut because I am a packrat, you never know it may come in handy!)
I used a 120mm fan grill to line up the center for the whole. I also drilled some holes for the grill to attach.
Here is the back:
As you can see I colored the edges black with a pen. Not sure why I did but it looks good installed in the case! I initially planned to use this to hold the fan, but decided I didn’t want to attach the fan to such a flimsy piece of plastic. I also like to use fan covers with foam filters, so I needed a different mounting method. Here’s where I recycled the metal covers that used to be on the 5 ¼ bays. (Did I mention I was a packrat and never throw anything away!)
I made two metal ‘mounting’ plates with rubber grommets in the fan mounting holes. I then cut them with my tin snips to fit the curve of the 120mm fan.
Here are the plates with an un-used center plate for comparison:
One plate goes on the top of the fan one on the bottom like so.
The plates hold the fan and its filter holding guard in place nicely.
Here is how the fan shows with the front bezel on and with the filter in place.
I used some metal tape to fill in the gaps and then put on the 3-bay cover grill.
Here is what it looks like completed!
I actually run two 120mm Panflo ‘M’ series fans at 7V (~50CFM) in, the four 80mm Panaflo ‘L”s out (24CFM ea), and my power supply (an Enermax 431W unit) has two fans that I an guessing do somewhere around the 20CFM mark for a total of 100CFM in and 116CFM out. This gives me a case temp that stays around 1 or 2 C of the air outside.
The fans are all very quiet and my ears are at last happy overclockers!
Well, for the moment at least, I am always having ‘ideas’ on how to improve things 😉
P.S. I have lately been thinking of how can I remove both 120mm fans and replace the lower 120mm by putting in another four 80mm fans down below to free up the upper bays for a digital doc and audigy sound card expansion bay, hmm….