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CPU cooler insert mod for Corsair Hydro i series AIO coolers

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Hey peeps this is a guide on modding Corsair's Hydro Series AIO CPU coolers, demonstrated on an H80i.  This can be a great mod if you want to use an AIO cooler but want to give it a personal touch.  From what I can tell this guide would work with an H100i, an H80i or a H60 (Corair's 2nd gen AIO coolers with the square and glossy CPU caps).  I chose an H80i mod because it lights up and I didn't have room for a 240mm rad.

What you will need:
A Corsair cooler
#1 Phillips screwdriver
Rotary tool w/ cutting bit
Plastic epoxy
Insert or decal
Combination square

Spray paint

Step 1: Dis-assemble the cooler by removing the 2 screws that keep the cover on.  When taking the cover off you'll have to maneuver it around the peripheral jacks on the cooler.


Step 2: Map out where you want your insert to be.  Both the H80i and H100i have this RGB LED pad under the cover, perfect for lighting up a transparent insert.  Being as this was for Project PCB I used a PCB insert and chose to center it over the LED pad to that it would be evenly illuminated after install.  For a rough guide I used the grey area underneath the cover.


Step 3: When you've settled on what are you want to remove, tape off the top of the cover with masking tape and measure out the section you'll be cutting.  A square is nice at this point te get straight lines.



Step 4: Cut out the designated area.  I found that a fine tooth rotary tool blade works well with no melting.  Clean up the edges with a file.



Step 5: Cut your insert and fit it into the hole.  It works well to cut slightly larger than needed and sand/file the insert down until it fits.  You'll want to avoid using anything thicker that 1.5mm or 1/16" if you want it to sit flush with the top of the cover and not damage the LED panel.


Step 6: At this point if you're leaving the cover black you could epoxy your insert in which I will cover below.  I chose to paint the cover, which I will cover now.  Tape off the bottom flange of the cover (this is the area all around the base that has the magnets and countersunk screw holes).  This will be covered by the mounting bracket and doesn't need to be painted.  Also tape the cut surface where you insert will be so you won't paint the surface that will be epoxied.  Rough up the non-taped surface of the cover with a red scotchbrite pad and clean with rubbing alcohol.

 (sorry for the grainy pic)



Step 7: Painting.  I used PlastiKote 312 Metal Flake Green and Plastikote #229 Clear Engine Enamel


Step 8: After the paint dries 24 hours use a 2 part plastic epoxy to fix your insert into the CPU cover.  Lightly cover the surface areas that will contact the insert with epoxy.  Take great care to not get any on the side of the cover that will be showing.  Drop you insert in from the showing side so excess epoxy will be pushed out on the interior side.  Spread out any excess epoxy on the inside with a q-tip and ensure there is enough epoxy to hold the insert in place.  (I used Loctite 2 part plastic epoxy)



Reinstall the cover and hook up the AIO cooler as dictated by Corsair


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