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building a plexi case for watercooling

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Avatar28

No, I showered
Joined
Feb 27, 2002
Location
Nashville, TN
building a plexi case for watercooling - Need your opinions and ideas.

I'm currently designing my case that I'm going to build for watercooling. Need some thoughts and opinions on a few issues.

1) How to determine where to cut the holes for the I/O ports and PCI cards. I was thinking that I could just measure the distance from the motherboard tray to the PCI card rack from a normal case and just go with those measurements. Ditto for the I/O ports. Just cut out one big hole and use the metal cover that comes with most motherboards to cover that area.

2) Motherboard mounting holes. I hope to upgrade my motherboard, so being able to do so is imperative. I know a lot of cases have many spots for standoffs. Is there any particular set of holes that are used by basically all mainboards so that I can just put the standoffs there?

3) PCI cards. What's the best way to be able to mount those? I bought an old junk case for $5 from a local shop to use for parts. I was thinking about cutting the PCI bracket off of that case and mounting it to the one I'm building. I believe it's just held on with rivets that I could drill out. It may not look quite as good, but I think the metal would be more secure for insert/removing PCI cards without worrying about stripping the acrylic.

4) Mounting the water cooling. I would like to build a separate chamber underneath the system in which to mount my reservoir and pump (res would also be built out of plexi). Not sure what's going to be the best way to do that and still be able to get access to the pump, etc if I need to. Also along this vein, would you use the pump inline or submerged in the reservoir.

5) Mounting the drives. I'm thinking about having all the drives flush against the right hand side of the case. I could run the screws through the right and into the drives from that side, though I would have to find somewhere to get longer screws to account for the extra thickness of the plastic. For the left hand side I would have something coming from the top shaped like this.
Code:
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That would give me room for two 5 1/4" and two 3 1/2" devices. I don't anticipate having need for more than that, but should I maybe include room for one more of each just in case?

6) Last question (for now), Acrylic glue or screws? I'm leaning towards screws, based on the theory that if one panel gets damaged, I can always unscrew it to replace it. My concerns there are if the panels (will most likely go with 1/4" for strength) wil be thick enough to hold the screws. I could always go with corner brackets if that's the case, though they don't look as good.

Any ideas or thoughts are appreciated. Looks are highly important for me in this and I don't want to do a half-a$$ job with it.
 
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dvj81

Member
Joined
Mar 25, 2001
Location
Phoenix
I've been thinkn the same thing. Just don't know if I have the time for it.

1. Since time is a factor for me, I'd probably use the parts out of the cheap case you got.

2. Just about all motherboards use a std set of holes. That I know of, there are 2 std's, ATX and AT. Althought not every hole is used by every mobo.

3. If u use the junk case's PCI bracket, why not just paint it? That should look kewl!

4. If you build a separate compartment for the pump, you will need to vent it when using an inline pump. For submerged pumps, the water cools it down.

5. Most hardware stores carry aluminum brackets shaped in an "L". If you don't mind being able to see it. If not, the screws used by most CD-ROMs/HD's/floppies/etc use metric #4 screws. But a few use ANSI #6 - 32.

6. In what manner would you use screws, if the acrylic wasn't thick?
 

FreezDriedHell

Registered
Joined
Jan 28, 2002
Location
Boston,MA
i have sugested this idea befor, but what i think would look nice would be to strip down a case and use the metal frame and then cut plexi to use as the sides and tp and so on. But you would prob. want to paint the frame first to make it look nice
 
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Avatar28

No, I showered
Joined
Feb 27, 2002
Location
Nashville, TN
For number 1, I'm definitely going to go with the rectangular cutout and use the I/O port covers. This will allow me to use the case with any motherboard should I wish to upgrade. I haven't decided for sure yet exactly how to handle the PCI. I'm not sure how well it will look but it's gonna be a bear trying to cut out an opening for every PCI card too. :-/ All the premade acrylic cases I've seen use a large opening there too.

2) I went to formfactors.org and downloaded and printed out the ATX specification. It lists all the screw holes that are required for ATX mobos and cases. It also lists sizes and location requirements, etc.

3) I might paint it if i even use it. Haven't decided for sure if I will or not yet.

4) I'm probably going to mount a fan on the front blowing air out and have a filter over an intake on the rear.

5) I think I'm just going to try and get longer screws. I'll take a drive into the hardware store and find some that match.

6) With 1/4" acrylic, I would drill holes into the edge and screw into that. With thinner materials, I would have to use a bracket of some kind.


My friend suggested the frame idea, but I really don't feel that it would look good. You may wish to try it someday. And it may be awesome. But it just doesn't fit my concept. I'm getting a clearer and clearer picture day by day. I really think this is going to be awesome when I'm done. I've even had other people ask about getting one from me and it's not even done yet.
 

FreezDriedHell

Registered
Joined
Jan 28, 2002
Location
Boston,MA
oh i plan on doin it sometime, case i got me a gateway case waiting to ripped apart:rolleyes: :D . Well good luck with your case i think it will come out lookin mint.
 
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Avatar28

No, I showered
Joined
Feb 27, 2002
Location
Nashville, TN
Thanks. I'll have to get hold of a digital camera or a good scanner and post up some pics when I'm done. If it comes out close to my mental image, it should be pretty darn sweet.
 

Ugmore Baggage

Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2002
#1, #2, and #3 by buying the slide out tray from one of the case manufacturers that sells cases with slide out trays.

For #4 and #5, if you have a reservoir under the case, a cube design would be a whole lot more stable. The bays are behind the mobo in a cube instead of above it. You could submerge the pump in the corner behind the bays.
 
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Avatar28

No, I showered
Joined
Feb 27, 2002
Location
Nashville, TN
A cube design would be keen, but my space won't allow for it. I've only got at best maybe about a foot of width that I could use. The case has to be capable of fitting on my desk. I suppose I could go for a wider, shorter design though. Wouldn't be a perfect cube though.
 

f155mph

Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2001
I hope you have lots of extra cash and know how to cut that stuff. I build a little res for my water rig and it cost me $15. Plexi isn't the easiest thing to work with so good luck. Please post some pix when you are done.:)
 

fightnfires69

New Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2002
Location
North Carolina, USA
As far as the PCI slots, I just went to the local hardware store ( Lowes) and got the thickest piece of clear coner trim used to protect drywall corners. Atfer you cut all of your PCI slot holes, glues the corner trim where you would have mounted the old piece from the "parts case" and use small nuts with bolts so that you don't have to worry about stripping the plastic. Just make sure that you use a good glue to mount it to the case, otherwise all of your PCI cards will fall! Works well, and looks great, and the clear glue is hardly noticeable!