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(In Win 901) Asteria II: Rearmoured

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  • #31
    Hello hello!

    Given the positive response this project has received so far across the interwebs, I thought it was about time to share the first actual failure, and it's kinda big, kinda not.

    The main body part of the case I'm keeping needs a few cuts to remove unneeded tabs, awkward flanges and space making for my pump. Funny really, part of the reason for designing entirely new sections of the case was to avoid chopping up irreplaceable parts, but hey ho, the needs must!

    (I wonder if B Negative has thrown his 901 innards out for Celestial...)

    The original hard drive area has guide runnings stamped into the roof of the case. Originally I was going to repurpose these for the PSU but they're a bit too big and will be off-centre.

    DDC is getting squeezed in here behind the Titan, so we need a cutout.

    Masked off...

    ...let surgery commence! (the next day)

    The 1.5mm thick aluminium cut like butter with the hacksaw, skipped like hell with my rubbish rotary tool and took forever and a day to file cleanly. Didn't turn out too badly actually though.

    So far so good...and now the fun begins. And by fun I mean annoyance, lamenting and re-thinking. Let me tell you another story...
    ASTERIA II: Rearmoured Watercooled 901 mod

    Build log available here


    • #32
      Sometimes you should just following your gut and then take the hints presented to you.

      The plan from the outset was to use a DDC pump. I got very early measurements quite wrong and had largely committed to it for placement and loop order. After realising my folly things were still workable but going to be really tight, given the only space really I could mount the thing neatly was behind the Titan in that far corner. Overhang was the concern: I had about 50-55mm to play with, and any overhang should be no more than 2mm at worst. I could add spacers to the side panel mount to give some extra room and then edge the glass panel with some neoprene to seal the gap. Sounded like a plan.

      At the time I was using a full-cover EK block for the Titan, which meant that all top-facing ports on the DDC top would be blocked off. XSPC to the rescue it seemed as their multi-port DDC top had an an inlet on the side opposite the outlet. Perfect, I could run the loop essentially around the perimeter of the case. Trouble was, by the time I was set to go that version of the top was discontinued, and the new V2 is something crazy like 28mm tall which pushed the entire DDC assembly about 5mm too far, and that's an overhang I couldn't compensate for.

      ...Follow your gut, this isn't feeling viable now...

      Almost packed the entire project in at that point (nothing really had been purchased) until I saw a DDC top on AliExpress that was 24mm in height and had in and out ports on the side. Winner winner, bought it to see how things would go. It was delivered in 3 days, except somebody somewhere messed up and nobody would admit to it: I live in Stoke, the item was delivered to somewhere in Surrey! The AliExpress seller said nothing and couldn't confirm the address he put on the parcel, I tracked the UK courier down and it was Hermes (shock horror) and, after a little social engineering, I got the customer service rep to break their operating rules and tell me what the address was. But I had no reply from the Surrey address when I wrote them a letter asking if they'd had a weird delivery in my name.

      AliExpress refund never showed up either :sigh:

      ...Take the hint the universe is presenting to you...

      Anyway, all ready to rage quit I see the Aquacomputer DDC top with ports on the side too, only this time they're both on the same side as well as a pair of ports on the top. The loop order would be a bit fiddly but I could make it work so pulled the trigger. About this time too is when I found out an EK block for the Titan would be too tall to fit, so switching over to the Watercool block actually freed up some space along the PCB for top-facing ports on the DDC. Winner.

      And here she is: Alphacool DDC310 in Nickel with the Aquacomputer top.

      And the back with my custom mount attached (temporary screws)

      Mating the pump and top wasn't easy. The mounting set supplied with the pump unit were 5mm too long to attach the top and 3mm too long at the mounting side causing more dreaded overhang. Plus, the screws supplied with the top left no means to then mount the assembled pump. Quandary.

      ...Again, TAKE THE HINT...

      Ultimately I decided to just include the pump mount as part of the assembly. Yeah, to remove the mount I'd have to dismantle the entire thing, but when it's in, it's in so no big deal.

      Test fit time!

      Titan is sagging a bit, I'll address that later, but all is looking good. Nicely placed, the outlet fitting doesn't interfere with any capacitors and I can even go back to a non-rotary fitting I had used originally as I have clearance.

      Even my custom cover did the job!

      Putting a stop plug on the center inlet fouled so I made a copy without it.

      And then I looked at the back

      The fins and about 1mm of the heatsink body hangs outside the case. That's about 6mm, and there's no way I can extend the side panel mounts safely to support the weight of tempered glass. The kicker is I kinda knew this would happen but still went for it. So yeah, not at all happy right now.

      So now it's a case of working out where to go. My immediate thought is to finally take the hint and sack off the DDC and run with the Alphacool DC-LT instead. At 35mm thick I won't have any placement issues, plus the acrylic top has side-facing ports so my original loop is back in play. I don't have a mental loop and I've had discussions with a few using them in very restrictive loops with no issue.

      The trouble now though is I have this massive space cut into the case for a pump I'm not using. The DDC is 65x65mm, the DC-LT is 50x50mm and I cut the space a bit big as well, so I have this scruffy-looking gap that looks unplanned (because it kinda is). I may be able to cover it over, we'll see.

      Alternatively, do I cut off the fins on the DDC heatsink? That almost removes the overhang, and I can safely shim the side panel mounts 2mm max. I did have an active cooling idea in mind for the pump anyway so losing the fins shouldn't be an issue. Of course then really I'd need to strip the nickel off the pump housing and clean the brass up to make things presentable. In the long run it might be worth it, and some mod cred too

      So yeah, a bit of a long post just to say "my pump doesn't fit and I kinda knew it wouldn't", but I do like to spin a yarn, and part of doing a public build log is to document the journey and how you arrived at your choices.

      Comments and input welcome regarding this pump issue!
      ASTERIA II: Rearmoured Watercooled 901 mod

      Build log available here


      • #33
        Bent as a nine bob note!

        Between awkward bends, multiple re-bending of bits, cutting, trimming and generally handling the piece, there literally wasn't a right angle anywhere on the main body panel.

        With guide jigs made (I won't rant about how my brand new circular saw was off by 3 degrees and my MDF stock had warped), bolted to the main radiator and everything clamped and screwed together, hopefully this bloody thing will remember what shape it's supposed to be before I start drilling NEW holes rather than just matching existing ones. Need to break out the JB Weld too to fill in a couple of incorrect holes and re-drill

        But, once I can get this main bit finalised and back into the exterior skin I can then test fit the full case and components, and then the floodgates will open with lots of more interesting stuff
        ASTERIA II: Rearmoured Watercooled 901 mod

        Build log available here


        • #34

          I have a BIG update for you. Not so much in volume, but in significance. After 2 years of planning, design, redesign, stress and very scary moments I think I might actually have the case.

          And for all those who asked the question directly, here is the big reveal: the Alphacool UT60 360 radiator mounted inside.

          Close-up of the rad in situ

          And after all the trouble with bending the lower L incorrectly, trashing all backup pieces, bend radii throwing measurements off and ultimately taking a hacksaw to lovely laser cut work...

          It's turned out pretty much bang on. Hell, I might have even taken a tiny bit too much out!

          Things still need a bit of adjustment to straighten bits up, but here's a cheeky shot of the back with a vanity plate I put in to cover the PSU opening. Should look nice once cleaned up and brushed to replicate the case exterior.

          And to wrap up, I simply had to throw the hardware into the case. Consider this a teaser and a spoiler for when everything comes together

          Forgive the grotty photos because I'm over-excited and over-tired! Still lots to do to get the case cleaned up and finalised, but I think finally I've now broken the back of it. The grunt work is done, so everything now is a million little things so I can potter about and do bits here and there, rather than have to schedule in large blocks of time.

          Plenty more to do, plenty more to see, and plenty of things I've not even talked about yet

          Stay tuned.
          ASTERIA II: Rearmoured Watercooled 901 mod

          Build log available here


          • #35
            Hi all, just a quick note to say updates will be slow at the minute whilst I get some cash together for the next phase. If I do something interesting with the blanking plates for the lower portion I'll document that, otherwise it's just some flat plates held on with a thumbscrew or magnets, possibly magnets

            However, I would like to thank you all for your interest in this project so far. It's been a genuine surprise, which is why I'm very pleased and humbled to say that Asteria II has been nominated for bit-tech's ongoing monthly modding poll. I won't post a link in case that's breaking a forum rule here, bit if anybody here are also members of bit-tech's forum and think this project is worthy of your vote, I'd very much appreciate the support!

            Hopefully back soon with some more progress on a fresh element of the project.
            ASTERIA II: Rearmoured Watercooled 901 mod

            Build log available here


            • #36

              Not much to say at the minute as I'm trying to get some money together for the next phase of the project. Rather than let this log vanish into the ether, I thought I'd share a little preview of something upcoming. Very rough photos as this update has been thrown together rather hastily

              With the radiator occupying the entire lower chamber of the case, and the PSU residing where the hard drives would usually sit, I need to relocate the storage. Since I'm sticking with 2.5" drives right now, I thought I'd make the new drive position a bit of a feature. So, one drive mounting plate drawn up and cut:

              and will be placed on the back of the case over the motherboard cutout, something like this

              Space for 2 drives; I'll be repurposing my existing Samsung 840 500GB as it's still in excellent health and pairing it with one of those slim 7mm tall laptop drives for file storage, more than likely the Western Digital WD10SPCX 1TB. Allow this battered Seagate to illustrate.

              I'm going for a wireless look for this storage plate, so each drive has a cutout for running cables out of the way. I'll be using those ultra slim Silverstone CP11 SATA cables to tuck under the GPU, route under the motherboard and out the big case cutout into the storage plate. For power I'm going to try and make up a veroboard for sharing the power a few ways as I have something fancy planned (and is what's costing the money)

              Given the visual mismatch of a mechanical dive paired with SSD, I'm not leaving the drives exposed. Pair of aluminium covers will be used, and I've cut the Asteria II and In Win branding into them for some visual flourish paired with something to come later.

              It'll be along these lines when they're in position:

              That's the general gist of it anyway

              Hopefully I can scrounge some money together soon and get the acrylic and LED strips in and get this bit put together properly.

              Catch you soon!
              Last edited by LePhuronn; 05-21-2017, 10:41 PM.
              ASTERIA II: Rearmoured Watercooled 901 mod

              Build log available here


              • #37
                OK, I have a few things in the works now and hopefully I'll get a few little bits up over the weekend after I've done my acrylic cutting.

                In light of my pump placement issues and discussion on another thread I've decided to have a crack at making my own DDC top doing exactly what I need it to do. This is the pump top I came up with:

                It's based around what I can theoretically do with a drill press and some careful measurements, so no spiral volute this time. I'm milling the volute out with a forstner bit so I could, in theory, offset the center a bit a couple of times to fake a spiral, but it won't be smooth and would probably just end up causing turbulence before the water even exits the top, doing an even worse job than just a circular volute.

                I grabbed some offcut white acetal for a test and have drawn out quite a few drilling guides that I'll be making up in acrylic. All I need to do is build my pillar drill and I can give it a whirl!

                If this works then loop routing is much easier and I'll have no conflicts with the graphics card so can raise and lower the entire pump as required. I'll then address the heatsink at a later date.
                ASTERIA II: Rearmoured Watercooled 901 mod

                Build log available here