A case modding and watercooling project

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A case modding and watercooling project

Postby sbohdan » Wed Apr 17, 2013 10:08 pm

So I had an idea of building a nice watercooled rig for a long time now. Something that would have great cooling but was also quiet and pleasent to look at. I was postponing this project for about 3 years now and when I finally decided I will get on it - there was an unpleasent surprise of not being able to get the case I wanted. Danger Den a company well known among watercooling enthusiasts, that in my opinion had the most beautiful case I wanted, went out of business and by the time I noticed what happened, they were sold out and I couldn't find any of their cases - not even on eBay! This was the case I wanted to have for this project originally:

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So, I just bought my second choice - a case that is also good looking but not at all in the same league with the DD - I got myself a NZXT Phantom white:

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There was one problem though: The Phantom was never really meant for watercooling, even though a 240 rad is supported but was never meant for a 360 to be installed inside! The other problem was, that I have already bought a Denger Deen Black Ice GTX 360 on eBay, that was meant to be installled in the DD case's front:

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Now I had a choice of eighter selling the Rad and getting 2x 240's to place one on the top and one on the bottom or... try to fit the GTX360 somehow. I have seen a mod in the past, where a 360 was installed on the top of a Phantom, but that rad was less than 3cm thick and mine was 54mm. That made it look impossible to fit with the fans on it, because the RAM and some motherboard heatsinks were interfering. On the other hand I did not want to cut the case. I still wanted to see if I could fit the RAd somehow because I did not want to give up the cooling performance of the GTX 360 if possible:

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As you can see it did fit but only in a certain angle. There was no way it could go in straight and in the middle. I checked how the Rad would look like from the side and actually it is not too bad - you can't really see, that it is not straight.
So I decided to give it a shot. First I had to make some kind of a bracket to be able to install the Rad, since the 2x 200mm cutouts are not meant for 120mm fans. I simply got myself a white, thin piece of an aluminum sheet and started to do the measuring and cutting:

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First I cut out the two asymetrical strips and made the holes to attach the radiator:

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Next I had to do some additional adjustments and mark the holes to attach the brackets to the case:

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Here you can better see, how the whole assembly is placed in an angle:

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Next, I wanted to see if I could also install fans on top, to have a push-pull configuration, having 3 fans blowing from underneath and 3 other ones sucking the air from the radiator. The ones on the bottom came with the GTX360, that I bought used on eBay for $60 and I think it wasn't a bad deal, since the 3 Aerocool SILENT TURBINE FANS are silent, look good and have LED lighting in them and cost almost as much as I paid for them with the rad, so it's like having the Rad as a bonus :finga:

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Next, I had to do some more cutting and drilling on the brackets, to have them match the Rad and include all the necessary holes:

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Here is the whole assembly installed, just without the 3rd fan:

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The 3rd fan can't fit, so I will install a 9cm fan there. It should be OK, since there is 1 fan pushing air from underneath anyway. I know this is a bit of a getto mod but if you read all the above, you can see how I really had no other choice if I wanted the GTX360 to be used in this project. Now, most of the other parts of the watercooling project I have bought but there are still couple of parts missing and I will continue this, as soon as I get them in the mail. In the meantime I will do something else on the case, so stay tuned :supz:
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Re: A case modding and watercooling project

Postby DMB2000uk » Thu Apr 18, 2013 5:30 am

sbohdan wrote:I know this is a bit of a getto mod

Haha, the first word out of my mouth when I saw you were actually going to mount it at an angle was "ghetto!"

Looks like a good job of a bad situation so far though :)
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Re: A case modding and watercooling project

Postby Apoptosis » Thu Apr 18, 2013 7:39 am

Most people would have given up and gotten a different case! Cool to see you stick with one you liked the looks of and made it work. That is what modding is all about.
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Re: A case modding and watercooling project

Postby sbohdan » Thu Apr 18, 2013 7:21 pm

Thank you guys. I will try to get the best out of this and if I be able to do what I intended to do, than this rig should turn out to be a nice one :ANAL:

Now, as I promised, I will do a little mod to the front of my case, to make this beautiful case a little sharper looking and more unique. So this is what I had in mind to have a NZXT logo cut out in the front door of the case. I was a bit worried, before, 'cause the case is brand new, there are no scratches whatsoever, so I kind of felt reluctant to actually start cutting it but I decided, so I started by being as careful as I could. First, I removed the front door of the case and carefuly unscreved the inside part, so that only the white front part remained. Next, I taped the whole part around, to prevent any accidental scratches. Next, I downloaded a pic with the NZXT logo and printed it out, to have a template for the cutting. I used a little dremel set to cut the letters:

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Now, it is not a laser cut but it is better than I thought it would be. This is a first time I have used a dremel and I feel it would be better next time. I have also cut out a seethrough strip of a clear acrylic and glued it on from inside to have a sort of window (preventing dust from getting in). It is sendwiched between the white outer shell and the black inside cover part.
Anyway, it is almost ready but not quite - I want to light up the inside with leds later on, so that the cut out logo would be glowing - probably a blue light would go with it, since the whole inside theme will be white, blue (the darkblue Primochill tubing ex. and the fan LED's) and black - unless I change my mind later on :-k
Last edited by sbohdan on Fri May 10, 2013 2:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A case modding and watercooling project

Postby Velo:Sity » Sun Apr 21, 2013 5:30 am

Looks great! Makes me wonder why they don't put a logo there from the get-go...
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Re: A case modding and watercooling project

Postby sbohdan » Sun Apr 21, 2013 7:16 pm

Velo:Sity wrote:Looks great! Makes me wonder why they don't put a logo there from the get-go...


Because than we wouldn't have the fun of modding :)
Seriously, I wasn't sure, before I made the first cut, if I didn't screw up and be left with a brand new case without the front door :lol:
Hell, I wasn't sure to the end if it works out. I think I will install a pair of LED's like this, to have the cut out glow with blue light:

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Re: A case modding and watercooling project

Postby Kaos Kid » Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:29 pm

Nice!
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Re: A case modding and watercooling project

Postby sbohdan » Tue Apr 23, 2013 6:38 pm

Kaos Kid wrote:Nice!


Thank you :)

In a week or so, I should have all the remaining parts arriving, so I can continue putting together my first ever watercooled rig :supz:
Can't wait... :ANAL:
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Re: A case modding and watercooling project

Postby sbohdan » Wed May 08, 2013 6:04 am

I now have all the parts needed, except the new VGA (Zotac GTX 660Ti), which should be arriving in a week. here are the parts I have so far. Everithing uses the 1/2" ID and 5/8" OD:

Danger Den Black Ice GTX 360 Radiator
Danger Den Black Maze 5 GPU block
Danger Den Crystal Reservoir (Dual 5 1/4" Bay Reservoir)
Danger Den CPX-pro pump
Swiftech Apogee HD (black)
Primochill UV tubing blue (10')
Primochill anti-kink coils (2pc)
Bits Power Compression Fitting 1/2" ID 5/8" OD (8pc)
Antimicrobial silver coil
NZXT sleeved led kit (white)
Heater core radiator
mod/smart Power Supply Cable Sleeving Kit- White
home made retention brackets to hold the DD radiator

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Now that I'm still waiting for my new VGA card, and since this is my very first WC project, I decided to put together a temporary WC loop with the old card and a clear tube, that I first purchased and also sleeve some cables. This will also help in cutting the proper lengths once I use the Primochill tubes. I can also do some alterations to the loop before I start the final build:

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Re: A case modding and watercooling project

Postby sbohdan » Fri May 10, 2013 2:44 pm

I removed the little HDD cage from the case, since I won't be using it and replaced the seethrough tubing with the Primochill UV blue ones and it was time for the leak-test :ANAL:

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As you can see, I've put a towell on the PSU just in case of a bigger leak and little pieces of paper towell under the compression fittings to see if there are any leaks. So far (4 and a half hours) there are no leaks :supz:

I will leave it like that 'till tomorrow and if all is OK, will continue installing the LED strips and rest of the assembly. So far so good :P
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Re: A case modding and watercooling project

Postby Apoptosis » Fri May 10, 2013 2:53 pm

nice! coming out really good!
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Re: A case modding and watercooling project

Postby DJ Tucker » Sat May 11, 2013 7:50 am

it's not everyday you test a water system/pump and not have it leak even a little bit. so congrats on that. loving the case to. hope the system comes together as planned :)
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Re: A case modding and watercooling project

Postby sbohdan » Sat May 11, 2013 3:42 pm

Apoptosis wrote:nice! coming out really good!


Slowly but surely :)

DJ Tucker wrote:it's not everyday you test a water system/pump and not have it leak even a little bit. so congrats on that. loving the case to. hope the system comes together as planned :)


Well to tell you the truth, there was a bit of a leak at the pump but half of a turn on the barb solved it :rolleyes:

I was working today on the project and first I did cut about an inch from three of the tubes because they were too long. Of course I had to let out some water and refill the system again after :)
I also put the anti-kink coils on the tubes and I think they look great - better than I hoped anyway. I also did some sleeving and I did put most of the parts back in the rig and it was the first time I actually connected the power to the motherboard and turned on the system. There is still more work I will be doing but it already looks better than last time, so here are the pics:

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And some sleeving:

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I also placed little heatsinks on all the chips that are heating up on the motherboard - here are some of them:

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I found the PCI-E wires to be ugly and not matching the rest of the inside, so I took a piece of a leftover tube and put them both in, then anti kinked them for the looks. Kind of looks like being part of the WC loop but of course it isn't :lol: This is how it came out:

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I also did some wire management on the back. It is not pretty but now I can close the back side of the case without struggling with all the wires sticking out :oops:

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More to come, so stay tuned :supz:
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Re: A case modding and watercooling project

Postby DJ Tucker » Sun May 12, 2013 5:20 am

i'm thinking that i jinxed the it hasn't leaked moment lol. looking great though. really wish i could do cable managment like that but i can't wish this case :(
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Re: A case modding and watercooling project

Postby Kaos Kid » Sun May 12, 2013 10:17 am

Bidding starts at $2500 ;)
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Re: A case modding and watercooling project

Postby sbohdan » Sun May 12, 2013 3:00 pm

Kaos Kid wrote:Bidding starts at $2500 ;)


Hehe, I sure didn't think it will be so much work but it's worthed :drinkers:

Right now I'm struggleing with sleeving the MB 24pin cable. I'm double, triple checking and then marking each wire as I'm removing the wires from the connector. This must be the hardest work of the whole project so far...
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