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  1. Finally, I get to build something for myself :D The opportunity presented itself after Cooler Master sent me their new Mastercase 5 ($109.99) to evaluate and brainstorm retail accessories / bolt-on custom parts as part of their "Make it Yours" campaign. The Mastercase Pro is the same chassis as mastercase 5, but includes window panel and top cover for $139.99. If I kept waiting for personal time to build a PC for myself, it would have never happened due to lack of free time. I have to admit, I didn't like the Mastercase at first. I captured mod zoo staff unbox Mastercase 5 / Pro in my VLOG. I feel Cooler Master missed a lot of details that could have made the case even better. Especially since CM marketed it as "modular" and designed for DIY liquid cooling. It falls 40% from it's marketing pitch, but the overall build quality and finish is outstanding and eventually won me over after dismantling and re-assembling the case. Here is my final thoughts about the Mastercase, keeping in mind that I look at cases from perspective as PC Customizer and Case Modder. RAVES: *Overall Build Quality, Fit & finish. *Top panel / cover design options are nice. *Modular HD/SSD tray design and mounting options are best to date. *240/360/280 radiator option for front is nice. My suggestions REVISIONS: *Top radiator mounting location should be offset, to clear DDR slots on some motherboards *100% Riveted chassis?! I understand using rivets over screws to save time in manufacturing, but at minimum, the mid section floor should be removable for better access. *Lack of Water pump and reservoir mounting. CM's competitors started embracing DIY cooling market over year ago, by including mounting options for reservoirs and water pumps. *Mastercase 5/ Pro window panel is very flimsy. The "smoked" poly window is bluish/purple and has very poor clarity for viewing inside the case. Inspiration for the custom painted exterior will be the 1970 Porsche 917 from Steve McQueen's "Le Mans" movie. His 917 from the movie was chassis #022 and purchased in 1970 from Porsche by Steve McQueen's movie production company, Solar Productions. It was also the company that would bring the movie "Le Mans" to the big screen. This is the car that McQueen's character, Michael Delaney, starts the race in, and "crashes" late in the race, "writing the car off." The car that was crashed was really a Lola T-70, painted and rebodied, to look like a 917. Many innovations in cinematography, were first tried in this movie. They even went so far, as to weld brackets to the front frame work of the 917, so they could mount a camera to shoot Steve, and the other drivers, in the cockpit. I'll replacing the #20 with #5 to represent the Mastercase 5 and using this clear side panel. Cooler Master Mastercase 5 Chassis assembled with final coat of Gulf Racing Blue paint from 1970 Porsche 917 race car. Custom paint by Brad Galvin at DirtDesignsGraphic Porsche 917 inspired graphics are finished on the Cooler Master Mastercase 5 / Pro. Next stage is clearcoating everything.
  2. Given that virtually all of the case modding skills I have attained so far have come from this forum, I thought it would be appropriate to post my current build log. I am always looking for suggestions on ways to better the build and improve my modding/rig-building capability, so please don't hesitate to critique. ROG 900D Tricolor Build: Completed Welcome to my ROG 900D Tricolor Build. My goal in this build was not only to draw upon the inspiring work of other modders and enthusiasts, but to try to be uniquely original and innovative. It is for this reason that I chose three colors for my ROG themed build (as opposed to the all-to-common red/black combo). This goal is also what motivated me to try some mods/customizations that I have yet to see in other builds. I hope that you like the end product as much as I enjoyed getting there, and I appreciate feedback in whatever form. Final Pics: One through the side panel window with LED’s: System Specs: Chassis: Corsair 900D Motherboard: ASUS RIVE BE CPU: i7 4930k (currently clocked @ 44x) RAM: 4x 8GB 2400 MHz G-Skill Ripjaws Z GPU: EVGA GTX 780ti Superclocked Edition PSU: Corsair ax1200i w/ custom sleeved modular cables by Ensourced. SSD: Samsung 840 Pro 512GB HDD: WD Black 1TB OS: Windows 8.1 Pro x64 Display: 2x ASUS VG248QE Monitors - Calibrated w/ Datacolor Spyder Pro Keyboard: Razer Deathstalker Ultimate - LCD Screen used for system stats via custom scripted applet (i.e. temps, clocks, voltages, etc...) Mouse: Roccat Kone XTD Cooling: CPU Block: EK Supremacy: Clean CSQ (Clear Plexi) GPU Block: EK Full Cover Block for GTX 780ti (Plexi & Nickel/Original CSQ) w/ Backplate SB & Mofset Blocks: EK RIVE-BE Full Board Waterblocks (Plexi & Nickel/ Original CSQ) Reservoirs: EK Multioption x3 250 w/ Multiport Top and Red Harbinger Cover; Monsoon Series 2 Bay Res w/ Swiftech D5 Drive integrated 2nd Pump: Swiftech MCP35x Radiators: 2x Alphacool Nexxos UT60 480mm Fittings: Mostly Primochill Rigid Ghost Compressions Fittings, Koolance QDCs; 2 Koolance Fitting Accessories (45 Degree adapter & 90 Degree Low Profile Adapter); EK standoff fittings Tubing & Coolant: Primochill Rigid Acrylic (Clear) & Primochill Rigid PETG (Clear) Mayhem’s Pastel Blood Red Fans: 8x Corsair SP120s; 4x Noctua NF-F12s; 2x Corsair AF140s; 2x Corsair AF120s Fan Controller: Aquacomputer Aquaero 6 Pro w/ Passive Heatsink -Accessories - 2x Temp Probes; 1x Aquacomputer Inline Flow Meter; 1x AQC Inline Temperature Sensor; 1x 2-pin PWM connector LED’s: 3x 12” Darkside Dimmable White LED strips; 2x Logysis White LED Corner Sticks Modding & Customization: Note: The red in the build is Duplicolor Red Metal Specks, and the gray is Duplicolor Cast Coat Iron Engine Enamel. 900D Front Plate Mod: This case modification is based upon Bill Owen’s tutorial at MNCP Tech. I did make a slight change, in that I did not want to lose the Corsair logo at the bottom of the plate. I left an extra 2” on the bottom and an extra 1” on the top, and then I covered the Corsair logo with automotive masking tape and carefully cutout the general outline of the logo with a utility knife. The ROG logo is a sticker. As a final revision, I painted the steel mesh gray. Here is a shot of my plate: Here is a link to Bill Owen’s tutorial for those who are interested: http://themodzoo.com/forum/index.php?/topic/633-diy-case-mod-guide-corsair-900d-front-grill/ If you have never watched any of Bill’s guide’s, and are interested in case modification, you should have a look… I learned most of the techniques I implemented from he and the rest of themodzoo.com. 5.25” Bay Recess Panels: While I love many things about the 900D, I find the decision to make the sides of the 5.25” drive bays recessed (upon removing the covers) to be a horrible one. - One can see that when the slot covers are removed for installation of bay devices, the chassis is blemished by the front I/O cover and front plate not sitting flush with the 5.25” area, as well as by the bizarre rectangles/squares that are exposed (this part of the bezel is plastic and does not match the rest of the front in color). After failing to cut the plastic of the slot covers in order to reattach the outsides only, I decided the best way to go would be to use 3mm plexi plates that I cut to size, painted and attached. I think it came out well (better than the default at least): Now, I don’t claim to be a master modder (or anything close to it), and there are probably much more efficient ways of doing this, but I thought I’d just do a quick guide on how I made these plates: 1) I cut a piece of clear 3mm plexi with a jewelers saw (although a dremel or hacksaw will work), making sure to cut it slightly larger than the measured dimensions. 2) I then used a metal hand file to sand the piece down to size. 3) I then used some white plastic primer as a base coat… however, if I could do it all over again I would’ve used adhesion promoter or SEM self-etching primer as opposed to plastic primer. I find that it lays flat and doesn’t chip. Here is a shot of one after being primed: 4) I used Rustoleum Semi-Flat Black Enamel for a top/color coat. Because they will not match the brushed aluminum effect of the I/0 cover or 5.25” slot covers, I removed and painted these as well. 5) In order to attach the pieces such that they will sit at the correct depth, another 3mm’s of thickness is needed. I originally just stacked another piece of plexi to make up the difference, but I found another way that I prefer: using 3M double sided mounting tape (the white foam type), stack two pieces when sticking the plates on… the tape is about 1.3” thick, so by doubling it up it your plates will sit at the right depth. Note: Since writing this part of the guide, I switched to only two bay devices. I therefore cut these plates into four total: one on each side of a single 5.25” bay device and one on each side of a dual 5.25” bay reservoir. Painted Top Grill: This was painted in the same way that I paint all metal pieces: scuff, clean, prime with SEM self-etching primer, wait an hour and then apply topcoat. Be careful when detaching the metal grill from the plastic framing of the top panel. The metal grill is attached with tabs that are prone to breaking off when Bent too many times. I painted the metal grill gray: Painted Bottom Side Doors: In the interest of consistency, I decided to paint the hinged side panels at the bottom of the chassis the same color. Pretty simple again: detach the hinged panels, mask off the area you don’t want to paint, scuff with red scotchbrite pads, prime with SEM self-etching primer, and then paint. I also removed and painted the plastic latches red in order to keep with the theme: Painted Faceplates of Monsoon Bay Res and Aquaero 6 Pro Faceplate: For these it was just a matter of removing the aforementioned pieces, then painting according to my usual method of scuffing, SEM priming and topcoating. I painted them gray and reattached: Painted ROG Logo on Right Side Panel: I decided (out of boredom one night, really) to paint a red ROG logo on the right side panel. I first made an ROG logo stencil, masked off the side panel with Sticky Mickey’s Automotive Detailing masking tape, placed the stencil over the tape, and then used an exacto knife with very light pressure to cut out the logo. I then proceeded to paint in my usual manner: scuff, prime and paint. It came out pretty well, so I kept it: The Ludicrously Long Fillport: There is no way to add a top mounted, external fill port on the 900D. I find this to be frustrating, so this was an attempt at getting around it. In all honesty, I would have to say that this is the most disappointing of all the mods I made on the build. I did not consider that when using Mayhem’s Pastel coolant, the nano-particles fall out of suspension if the coolant is not mobilized. Therefore, my fill line (which is not a part of the loop due to it not having any coolant flow) contains coolant that is slightly opaque, and the bottom of the tube is lined with silt… oh well, Hardly noticeable: Coldzero Plates: If you own a 900D and have not checked out coldzero.eu, then I highly recommend that you do. The plates will transform your build, and the gentleman who runs it provides reasonable prices, incredible shipping, and outstanding customer service. For example, I asked for a custom part in the order notes of an order I made, and he was so generous that he cut out the plexi for free and did so in record time. Anyway, I have installed the following plates: 1) 900D Back Panel 2) 900D Motherboard Tray: with EATX MB cutout, cable routing cuts, and reservoir mounting holes predrilled. 3) 900D Long Midplate (Plexi) w/ Corsair Logo: All of the logos are plexi cutouts, and so I painted mine to match my build: 4) HDD Cage Backplate w/ ROG Logo (Custom Part): One thing to note about painting the plexi logos is that you mustn’t apply too much paint (if any) to the sides of the cutouts, as they will not fit back in if you do. I used adhesion promoter primer, painted and then thinned out all of the paint along the sides of the pieces in order to ensure that they would fit… it was still tight, and the pieces on the midplate still sit out just the slightest bit; however, I actually kind of like the effect, so I’m going to keep it. 5) 5.25” Left Plate Clear (no cutouts for mounting an SSD): That’s not a cutout logo on the 5.25” plate. It is a sticker, but it blends seamlessly I think: Drilling Passthrough Holes into Midplate for Tube Routing: If you are reading this thread, you are probably familiar with watercooling… at least to a degree. I have a 480mm Rad at the bottom of my 900D, so in order for my loop to reach it I had to drill holes for passthrough fittings. This is somewhat of a nerve-racking endeavor, as plexiglass can crack easily – especially when it is only 3mm thick. My method of drilling was to use a dremel to drill a pilot hole, and I then used a step-bit up to 7/8”. I finish reaming out the remainder with a sanding bit on the dremel. Use masking tape to prevent scratching the plate, put a wooden block under the plate (so that the step-bit has something to drill into), go slow without too much pressure, watch out for melting due to heat, and use clamps to hold the plate in place. Installed Handle at Front of Chassis: “Why only one?” you might be asking. The handle I installed is intended simply so that I have something to grab when I pull the PC out from under my desk and turn the case for maintenance, etc… The handle I installed is not strong enough to bear the weight of a fully watercooled 900D (and neither am I for that matter ;): Custom Painted Fittings: I have searched around quite a bit and have not seen a single build in which custom painted fittings were used. This I find surprising, given the limited range of color options available. I imagine that the issue is fear of getting paint or other harmful chemicals into the loop. After switching to rigid tubing, the following is no longer applicable to this build; however, I thought I would leave it in the log for those who are interested in painting their flex tubing compression fittings. To paint the compression collars for Primochill’s rigid ghost compression fittings, simply scuff, prime and paint. No part of the collar comes into contact with liquid, so the measures to prevent overspray from contaminating the loop are not necessary. Painted EK Clear Acrylic Waterblocks/Bridges: Like painted fittings, I am surprised that I could not find any builds with this modification… in fact, I couldn’t even find a thread where the idea was mentioned. Here is the issue I sought to remedy: I really like how the clear acrylic versions of EK waterblocks and accessories allow the coolant color to show through; however, most of the block is not filled with coolant, so you end up with a little bit of color and a whole lot of satin-clear acrylic, which I find to be an eyesore. My thinking was that there is no reason for the entirety of the block to be clear acrylic… only the part through which coolant passes. The rest should fit the build theme. I went about painting the pieces like this: 1) I used a little blue dye and some distilled water to locate the channels within the block that would be visible, and then I plugged the blocks. 2) With the coolant still in, I used thin vinyl pin-striping masking tape (capable of round turns) in order to outline the channel. 3) Once I achieved the correct shape with the flexible masking tape, I filled in the remainder of the acrylic with tape. 4) I then masked the metal block underneath the acrylic to protect it from any overspray (I guess I should say underspray). 5) I then painted the pieces with the same SEM self-etching primer that I always use, and, once it dried, I pulled the tape off and put one light coat of clear enamel as a protectant. Here are the results: I also painted the thumbnuts of the supremacy: Now a few shots of these blocks filled with coolant in the system: Custom Painted Tubing! : Of all of the mods that I implemented in this build, this is the one that I was most excited about doing, but also the one that I was most frightened of messing up. I have yet to see custom painted rigid tubing, so this is something that I definitely was interested in trying out. One of my major concerns was that the chemicals of the paint might compromise the integrity of the acrylic, leading to a crack due to pressure within the loop. To ensure that my tubing would not crack under pressure, I closed off the loop with a quick disconnect while leak testing, then started the pumps (I know… could’ve damaged the pumps). No issues, so I figured I was good to go and haven’t had any issues thus far. I went with a spiral paint design, which I accomplished using 3M Vinyl 471 automotive detailing masking tape, which is excellent for this sort of application. It differs from normal masking tape in that it is stretchy, allowing for curves. It is also highly tolerant of removal and reapplication, which was essential given the number of times I failed to apply the tape evenly. Anyway, the process was as follows: apply the tape according to the design you want, use adhesion promoter to prime the tubing and then apply Rustoleum Sem-Flat Black Enamel Spray paint as a topcoat. Here are some shots of the tubing at each of these phases: Although I know that the tubing can be clearly seen in previous shots, I cannot resist some close-ups of the painted tubing installed and filled with coolant: Custom Painted Ram Heat-Spreaders: I painted my G-Skill Ripjaws Z heatspreaders gray as well. This was not too difficult, although care should be used when removing them… and it will void the warranty!!! I think that they came out nicely, but given that they are in so many pictures above I won’t post any more shots. Painted EK Badges: The silver EK badges that are included on all of their products are actually removable stickers. I didn’t realize this at first, but it was a wonderful discovery for those of us who do not want any shiny silver in our build. I removed them and painted them gray. Cable Lacing: A big thanks to Alpenwasser for his wonderful tutorial on how to do this. A link to said tutorial is here: http://themodzoo.com/forum/index.php?/topic/990-cable-lacing-tutorial-aka-cable-stitching-cable-sewing/ And here are some shots of the lacing: Sleeved Internal Cables (including USB 3.0): I went ahead and sleeved the internal USB2.0 and HD Audio Cables: I also sleeved the front I/O cables: Sleeving the USB3.0 cable would’ve been impossible were it not for moddiy.com, where I ordered a USB 3.0 extension that was easily sleeved; however, in my infinite ineptitude I forgot to order black paracord, so this sleeving is only red and gray: ROG Window Decal: The last thing I’ll document is the window decal, which I think I purchased from KustomPCs or something like that. It is an etched effect color, and it looks really nice when the system is powered on: PC case Mod Items from Mnpctech I think that is about all I have the energy to write at this point. There is so much more that I could document, and I must have another 200 photos that I could post. In addition to being tired, I fear that this log might not be read by many and that I am writing in vain… I hope not. If you all have any questions about the build or some feature that interests you please don’t hesitate to ask. I hope that this log is read, and I hope even more that the build is liked. Thanks for reading, Carson
  3. Hello to my Mod Zoo friends!! I would first like to thank everyone for following my last project, Grey Matter! I loved the support and kind words from everyone, it really motivated me throughout the build process. I always couldn't wait to post here to show you guys what I got done, thanks so much! The build is currently entered in the 2013 Cooler Master Contest, wish me luck!! I am trying to keep the ball rolling right into this next build, Black Frost, a Fractal Design Refine R4 case mod! I was originally planning a different mod, but I won this Refine R4 case in a case review giveaway here at the Mod Zoo. I will be posting a review here on the forums under the Fractal Design thread if you are interested in my opinion, the review will be up soon! The case was really nice so I decided not to waste any time and get on it! Thumbs up to Fractal on making a solid case! I am attempting to do something different and make this build a little bit more open concept and the goal is to have everything as neat as possible. Most systems are completely shrouded and the slack from the wires is smashed in a box basically. I want to have everything cut to exact lengths and attempt to minimize all slack. I am going with a black and white color scheme with chrome accents to cut down on full fledged paint job and keep this build clean. Remember to reference this first post for easy links to all the updates on this project! Update 1 : 2/3/2014 : Case Fabrication Update 2 : 2/10/2014 : Interior Panels and Bezel Work PC Components : *TBA - To Be Announced [] CPU : TBA [] MoBo : TBA [] RAM : TBA [] GPU : TBA [] PSU : eVGA 650W SuperNOVA [] SSD : Samsung Evo [] OPT : TBA (possibly none) [x] Case : Fractal Design Refine R4 Water Cooling : [] TBA Key Mods : <> Open concept. <> Chrome copper tubing. <> Solid PSU wires cut to length. <> Hand made acrylic reservoir, possibly another style waterfall. <> More TBA. I am proud and honored to already have picked up a sponsor for this build: Huge thanks to Casefeet.com. They have some super beast mode case feet! I am really happy and excited to have them on board! Checkout the site by clicking the logo! This post will be updated with more information as the build goes on. With all that taken care of, on to the first update! First things first the base of this creation! The Pearl Black Fractal design Refine R4! Here are some photos of the case, taking it to a blank canvas. The blank canvas!:clap: Measured lines to cut the bottom metal out for better air flow for my floor mount radiator Ill be installing. Unpacked these goodies from Casefeet.com! They came thoroughly wrapped and protected! I picked up some 1.5" ID O-rings from McMaster Carr on my way home from work the other day and rolled them onto the case feet into the milled grooved for the black stripe effect. There are other ways to make the effect its up to your imagination! I am still plotting the exact placement for them, I will decide when I cut out the bottom panel. These are the 24" x 36" sheets of acrylic for the build, also from McMaster Carr. ( I love living 20 minutes from there! :D ) I will most likely have to get more but I am starting with two sheets of each color. I started making the cuts to create the floor inside the case. I like working with a flat even floor from the start. It makes for good panel mounting and a nice clean look. I made some 1/2" strips for the floor supports. Then Ill be cementing them to the floor panel after i make my radiator cuts and drill my holes for the panel standoffs. One of my favorite tools here for making precise marks to mount my fence when making router cuts! Every mark its right on the money at all times! Test Fitting of the floor panel resting on its support strips. I had some left over U-channel molding from MNPCtech.com from my last build so I put it to use. I covered it with Rustoleums version of plastic-dip so I could make it white. Then I trimmed out the front area where Ill be making a 240mm radiator mount. Here is a final shot of where I am sitting now, and a shot showing how the PSU will be oriented, and I set in a spare radiator for perspective. The build will actually be using a 240mm rad in that location. Well that is where I left off last night. I would of liked to been further along but I had another little side project and was busy with the holidays. this build may move a little slower at first because I am currently saving money to buy a nice CNC when I get my taxes back. Once I get that, this build will take off and Ill be taking my modding to the next level! I am super stoked for that! Thanks for checking out the build log thus far, stay tuned there is much more to come!!
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