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InsolentGnome

Spark [Scratchbuild] Completed!

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The idea for this build comes from seeing some of the great worklogs going on with people recycling old hardware for new mods.  I have to admit, I have my share of extra parts and systems, and I love the idea of putting all that to use.

 

The stimulus for this build comes from the fact that an i5 just isn't cut out to do a 3D render while playing GTA5.  While I was debating in my head which was more important to me at the time, I looked at my hardware graveyard and saw the bones of the system which got me back into PC's, and I had an idea...

 

The hardware:

NS6tTY.jpg

Gigabyte GA-X58-UD3R; From a time when men were men and motherboards were ugly.  Seriously, who picked the colors on this thing?  And floppy and IDE connectors...oh yeah!

 

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Intel i7 920 2.66GHz;  4 cores and 8 threads?  Yes, please.  This was the chip to have when I bought it.  It spent a lot of it's life clocked over 3.2GHz so I'm curious if it's still got the goods.

 

whLqoX.jpg

6GB OCZ 1600 DDR3 RAM; Triple channel. The gold was a little too much in retrospect.

 

yWaByu.jpg

Corsair TX750; I'm not really looking forward to the cables on this thing.

 

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Thermaltake Water 3.0;  The basis for my CPU cooling, with possibly some modifications to the radiator setup

 

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A whole lot of fans; Corsair AF120's and a couple SP120's for the radiator.

 

 

The plan:

 

ldjACT.jpg

gcKeSz.png

 

The main goal is to build a case around my existing hardware, but leaving the possibility to upgrade in the future to a custom cooling loop, hence the fan layout and space for a pump and reservoir. 

 

The case will be black acrylic with blue lighting.  But first things first, I have to tackle the hardware. That motherboard and ram need some help...

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Definitely not the worst motherboard ever. But what do you mean the RAM needs work? Those sticks have the gangster Mr T look down!

Will it have a side window? If so will it be a full panel window like the corsair (I wanna say 780t) ? Or will it be a panel with a cutout for a window?

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Definitely not the worst motherboard ever. But what do you mean the RAM needs work? Those sticks have the gangster Mr T look down!

Will it have a side window? If so will it be a full panel window like the corsair (I wanna say 780t) ? Or will it be a panel with a cutout for a window?

 

Hahaha!  I pity tha fool that touches my RAM! I'm not sure if they're getting new heatsinks or just getting painted.  I'm gonna look around today.

 

Oh yeah, that render is opaque just because I wanted to see what the shape would look like and the rendering software was throwing a fit with translucent panels.  But the whole case is going to be translucent acrylic.

 

As far as the doors, they'll be full acrylic, same as the case, covering the upper portions of the case(the little gap at the bottom will be open for airflow to the PSU and possibly some cool lighting effect, depends on what I can wrangle up).  The 760 was the one with the full doors. I wanted one of those so bad when they came out. Mine won't be hinged though, and I'm not sure about the handles.  Right now, the plan is magnets to hold the doors on with the handles being something like the PC bar handles from MNPC(I have a pair coming) but I might have to go with a cabinet pull or something depending on how that size looks.

 

My hope is that with the black acrylic, when its turned off, it will just be a shiny black box. But when you turn the system on, it'll light up and you'll be able to see most everything through all sides of the case. I just got my sheet of 6 mil acrylic a couple of days ago and haven't had time to play with it, so we'll see. :)

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Right now I'm planning on cobalt blue and pearl white accents on the MB and hardware over a black base(we'll see how that turns out).  Those corsairs look like they have a nice solid blue LED and I ordered some blue Darkside light strips to top it off.  Not sure how it's all gonna look through the black acrylic, but I'm going to find out. :)

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Ah, design thread.

-You will want space under the mobo. like at least an inch. My last one was 3/4" and it wasn't enough when the wires and backplates got together.

I'd add room for another pci slot below the board. F* it. Add some space on top too. parts collisions suck.

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Ah, design thread.

-You will want space under the mobo. like at least an inch. My last one was 3/4" and it wasn't enough when the wires and backplates got together.

I'd add room for another pci slot below the board. F* it. Add some space on top too. parts collisions suck.

 

Huh?  No Cheaps, I'm starting on paint tonight.  I couldn't sleep last night so I decided to get all the preliminary stuff out of the way. But sorry if I jumped the gun.  :unsure:

 

Under the mobo which way, behind it?  I wasn't planning on anything back there besides a backplate, and that will have a hole cut out.

 

I'm planning on test fitting and adapting as I go just so I don't screw myself somewhere. I don't trust myself that much.  But I did base the outer dimensions on the Corsair 750D, so I should have tons of room to play around with.

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First thing off, I had to pull everything apart.

 

1CZkxL.jpg

jZjrSA.jpg

 

I think I got super lucky that the heatspreaders on the RAM are 2 part.  That will give me a chance to give them some extra accent.

 

ZlG85x.jpg

 

So after liberal application of adhesive remover, I scratched up the heatsinks with a scotchbrite pad and gave them a nice soapy bath.  The MB and RAM got an alcohol bath.  It's nice to see them clean again, lol.

 

Starting the paint.

SW125D.jpg

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My first time with an airbrush, but they came out nice.

 

oqAhxS.jpg

 

Unfortunately, idiot me didn't think of laying a base of white down under the pearl, so I'll be redoing these.

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For graphics, I grabbed my Asus DCU2 R9 280X that I had bought to play around in coin mining, taking it out of a rig I had at work.  I think it was being under-utilized considering it was in a machine with an i3 that is used to browse the internets.  This will be a much better home for it.

Lail2M.jpg

 

But red just isn't going to work, so I decided to go pearl white on the fans with blue for the cover accents.

9yYhBq.jpg

 

If you noticed that the accent pieces for the cover look white, good eye.  I noticed that after getting the base put down and decided to roll with it.  I think the main accent on the board is going to be the pearl anyways and it should be a good contrast with all the black that will be going on. Besides, it's gonna be pretty hard to see anyways being on the bottom of the card.  On a side note:  Will they ever change this or do they need to start selling mirrors with the cards so we can see the cool designs they want to sell us?

 

While getting these done, I corrected my mess up on the motherboard heatsinks and RAM heatspreaders as well, and I'm using the term heatspreader loosely here.

8xKsVC.jpg

 

For the motherboard, I had to do a little prep for the next part of my scheme

n0xxBd.jpg

 

And while I'm at it, I might as well do the RAM as well

cL1tEz.jpg

 

I can already hear the internet screaming.  Their voices raging...fingers furiously pounding on keys...HAHAHA!!! Too late suckers!  I'm painting this baby! I'm gonna risk the life of a 7 year old motherboard and I don't care what you think!  Will it short out?  Will it burn up? Will it melt my house into a pile of goo and rip a hole in spacetime creating a scenario where I unknowingly kill an ancestor by stepping on a butterfly in a rainforest thereby creating that all too familiar paradox scenario?  I don't know!  I don't care! Muahahahahahahaha!!!!

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So I painted it black.

KCzBRl.jpg

6w1FY2.jpg

 

And I didn't even rip a hole in spacetime.  I'm a little disappointed to say the least.

 

My little cardboard pieces in the RAM and PCI slots did a nice job of keeping the paint out.  Much better than trying to use a card or the ram to scrape off the paint by installing it a few times.  Though I might have to do something with the unused slots, as the original colors will still be visible to a small extent.  I'm not sure how crazy I want to get about perfection on this board, plus it might not be that noticeable in the end.

 

Still waiting on a few things before I start piecing the case together, but those should be arriving soon along with some parts for my "custom" all-in-one cooler.  I guess it's not going to be an AIO any more though.  Oh well. "We can rebuild him. We have the technology. We can make him better than he was. Better, stronger, faster."

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The paint is dry, time to see how all this turned out:

 

First the pearl R9 280X

 

aatBrP.jpg

 

I like this a lot better than the red, I just need to find out where to get the Asus decals.  Mine are a little bent due to removal, but they'll work for this.

 

And then the mobo.  I was waiting for the paint to dry(exciting), but also on some thermal tape.  I'm trying Alphacool's tape.  I've never had to use thermal tape before, but it's supposed to stick well(important on my RAM) and it's white, so it should match everything.

 

Tape

 

HcfeuA.jpg

 

Grill

 

p0Uwjl.jpg

 

Trim

 

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I just glued the trim piece on.  It looks so much better than the gold.

 

And then the heatsinks

 

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Finished product

 

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I like how it turned out, but I'm sort of up in the air with the blue on the RAM.  It doesn't fit with so much black and pearl.  I do have the covers that were on the heatsinks painted blue, but I'm just not really sure I want to use them.

 

VOzcwx.jpg

 

Right now I'm thinking if I can find a cheap 12GB triple channel kit in black or white, I might just go with that.  I think it would look better

and doubling the 6GB won't hurt it at all. Sucks to go contrary to the initial idea of using what I had, but it will make it a much better computer and it will look better for a relatively small investment.

 

And since I got some goodies from MNPC and some of Parvum's mod blocks, I can start making a home for this pair.

 

mvNtSc.jpg

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I just found a Rosewill case that is the same design that I came up with except in a mid tower.  Granted, I knew it wasn't a ground-breaking design, actually a pretty obvious choice for a nice case, but daayumn.  I guess hats off to them designing something I'd like before I knew I wanted it.  But still, it's a mid-tower, and aluminum, and horribly cramped looking inside.  So I'll continue on with mine, bigger, better, and clearer. 

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I like the black and white, adding blue makes it a bit too hectic (at least for me) 

It looks really nice and I'd like to know how well it works out once you finish it.

 

I'm with you on that.  I wound up ordering a kit of older Vengeance RAM in black.  The blue is pretty but just doesn't look right.

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***GASP***

 

Ok, now that I got that out of the way, everything looks sweet.  Your GPU look fantastic.  Have you booted it yet?

 

Thanks!  No I haven't tried to get it to post yet, but I will soon.  I've been trying to motivate myself to get a jig made for the case shell. 

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I got a little motivated last night and started on my jig for the outside of the case.  I'm using 1.5" PVC pipe(I have access to tons of it being a plumber) and all-thread rod.  The theory is that I can make a solid jig which is adjustable and can be used again and if I want I can mess with the size and angles to come up with something different.

 

Marking out the pipes.

cieds7.jpg

 

After drilling it out, putting it together.

TclgCE.jpg

 

It was going pretty good till I figured out that I left the box of 3/8 nuts at my shop. Poopadilly.  It looks wonky now, but once i get everything spaced right and throw in the diagonals, I'm hoping it will do the job.

 

I also got my RAM in.  16GB Corsair Vengeance 1600.

0JdcSI.jpg

 

So lets see if this baby posts.  The set up.

FgTLcg.jpg

 

I think my next project should be a test bench, lol.  

 

So I hit the switch and it powers on, but nothing on the screen.  Mess around, clear the CMOS, nothing.  Change video cards and nada.  So I pull the RAM down to 1 stick, hit the button, and it works!  Added the rest of the RAM stick by stick and it all works, so I have no clue what the deal was, but we're in business!

pqjn6t.jpg

VrlWGG.jpg

 

Hopefully I'll have the jig finished tonight and maybe even start getting the acrylic going!

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Welp, I finally got started on the case for Spark.  I've been getting sidetracked by other little projects here and there, and since this is for fun and not on a deadline, it's been getting pushed to the bottom of the list.  

 

So first off, the case is going to be a little different from my original design.  Partly because I made a small mistake, and partly because I don't know what it takes to get a 4'x8' sheet of acrylic delivered and I'm not looking to find out right now.  Sooooo, that means the outer shell is now opaque black(my mistake) and will be done in 2 pieces.  Now I won't have to figure out how to hide the wiring mess that will be the PSU, and takes care of my biggest question of making the shell:  Where to put the glue joint?  Honestly that was my stumper.  Now I'll have two joints with some Parvum blocks that will also act as tabs for the side panels.  So, on to the pictures!

 

The Mistake:

8Gf6Yq.jpg

 

Yep, totally not transparent.  But very shiny. I cut 2 of these down on the table saw from a 2'x4' piece of  6mm acrylic.  Free shipping and I can handle it on the saw by myself.

 

The jig.  In all it's glory:

p7pPyo.jpg

A5fvLw.jpg

 

I went this route because I figured if I got all the measurements matched up right, everything would be square, and also the pvc had the curve I wanted.  My plan was to clamp my piece to one corner and just start bending it around.  And that went....

 

4cFyXj.jpg

TVkJzg.jpg

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Surprisingly well!  I did wind up with some ridges on the edges that I'll have to take care of, and I did melt the pvc a little, but overall, I'm pleased.

 

Making the second:

Ly6MAW.jpg

 

And a general idea of what the final will be

IY50zJ.jpg

 

Square on two edges instead of the initial idea of rounded on all four. Still need to figure out what size and aspect I want(deeper or taller). I should get my next order of acrylic in next week so I can start working out the interior.

 

And as an extra for the gearheads here, one of the projects I was "sidetracked" by.  Pulled the muffler to paint it and couldn't resist starting it up with straight pipes.

 

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So lets see if this baby posts.

 

 

I think my next project should be a test bench, lol.  

 

So I hit the switch and it powers on, but nothing on the screen.  Mess around, clear the CMOS, nothing.  Change video cards and nada.  So I pull the RAM down to 1 stick, hit the button, and it works!  Added the rest of the RAM stick by stick and it all works, so I have no clue what the deal was, but we're in business!

 

sorry about being an update behind..

 

the failed boot was likely paint on one of the ram contacts... as you insert and remove the sticks it can scrape off paint that may have accidentally got on the socket contacts.... some people who paint their boards don't even botther masking off the slots, but instead insert/remove an old pci card/ram dimm  repeatedly till all the paint is scraped off of the contacts..

 

and that board looks amassing... if only you had found a way to remove the colour from the insides of the pci slots.... regardless, im going to have to do that to my baby blue gigabyte board when I next re-build my rig! 

 

and to address the more recent updates, all I can really say is WOW  :o, really want to see the end result of this one, please take your time to get it perfect, it would be terrible to put in all this work early on, just to come out with it not as good as it could have been!

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sorry about being an update behind..

 

the failed boot was likely paint on one of the ram contacts... as you insert and remove the sticks it can scrape off paint that may have accidentally got on the socket contacts.... some people who paint their boards don't even botther masking off the slots, but instead insert/remove an old pci card/ram dimm  repeatedly till all the paint is scraped off of the contacts..

 

and that board looks amassing... if only you had found a way to remove the colour from the insides of the pci slots.... regardless, im going to have to do that to my baby blue gigabyte board when I next re-build my rig! 

 

and to address the more recent updates, all I can really say is WOW  :o, really want to see the end result of this one, please take your time to get it perfect, it would be terrible to put in all this work early on, just to come out with it not as good as it could have been!

 

Thanks!  There are two options that I'm looking at for the PCI slots.  On another board, someone linked some pci slot covers.  They just slip in the slot and cover up the hole and they're cheap and come in different sizes.  The other is to just paint the unused slots.  I would have done that right off the bat, but I wasn't sure if I was gonna put in a network card or what not so I left my options open.

 

I'll be taking my time.  It's like a puzzle in my head right now and I want to make sure I get at least a few steps ahead of myself.  At least paint won't be much of an issue this time,  :P

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Thanks!  There are two options that I'm looking at for the PCI slots.  On another board, someone linked some pci slot covers.  They just slip in the slot and cover up the hole and they're cheap and come in different sizes.  The other is to just paint the unused slots.  I would have done that right off the bat, but I wasn't sure if I was gonna put in a network card or what not so I left my options open.

 

I'll be taking my time.  It's like a puzzle in my head right now and I want to make sure I get at least a few steps ahead of myself.  At least paint won't be much of an issue this time,  :P

 

 

http://www.moddiy.com/products/modDIY-PCI%252dE-%7B47%7D-PCI-%7B47%7D-AGP-Slot-Protective-Jack-Cover.html

 

thats what ill be using now that ive said that i'll be doing the same... bit pricey if you need 5 or more, but they might be suitable for your build....

 

 

and ive been searching for foam dust filter material, and only found it for sale in quantities way to large or way to small, just had a look and found exactly what im looking for for a decent price...

 

http://www.moddiy.com/products/Premium-Dust-Filter-Material-%2850cm-x-40cm-x-5mm%29-.html

 

this site is known for having everything in the way of connectors/misc parts, but dosn't always have the best prices on some stuff...

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http://www.moddiy.com/products/modDIY-PCI%252dE-%7B47%7D-PCI-%7B47%7D-AGP-Slot-Protective-Jack-Cover.html

 

thats what ill be using now that ive said that i'll be doing the same... bit pricey if you need 5 or more, but they might be suitable for your build....

 

 

Yep, that's what they were talking about.  I'll probably get them, a couple bucks a pop isn't bad and it is a nice clean look.  Might even paint them pearl white to match the rest of the board.  I just feel like I should break up all that black, lol.

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So after getting some materials in and spending some quality time with the gf while she visited, I'm back to working on Spark.  Since my last update, I've...

 

suVdJJ.jpg

 

Taped everything green.  Yep.  If you wanted to know what this case would look like in Scotch Tape green, here's your chance.  

 

Actually, I taped it up so I could run it through my table saw without scratching the heck out of it.  Yeah, I was a little over-zealous with the tape, but hey, it was on a roll.

 

I should be ashamed of that, but I'm not.

 

It started out 25"x23 something or other inches, which was a little huge.  I whacked it down to a modest 21x23, making it so a 2'x2' sheet could be used on the door, also allowing other things to fit on a desk besides it, like monitors and keyboards and such.  :P

 

After knee-capping it, did some layout with the mod blocks.

 

3gfjmW.jpg

 

6mm spacing inside to sit inside the door and also act as tabs to hold the door with magnets.  I'll save the mandatory ICP reference for a later update.

 

Drill

 

D53HD0.jpg

 

And install

 

xohPxc.jpg

 

Marking out the layout of my super-cool MNPC billet feet

 

Nlf4IK.jpg

 

And I now have a box, with feet and no sides.

 

jlNeJ9.jpg

 

But it's got some good lookin' shoes

 

Z0Vh1v.jpg

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The bending did leave me with some nice "flares" for lack of a better term on the corners and I was worried that that would make fitting a side panel a pain.  So I tried to work them out a little.

 

Before

 

EfEyji.jpg

 

After

 

KZNEmX.jpg

 

Hard to tell with the shiny acrylic and my photography skills.  But I think it's better and will make the panels fit tighter.

 

And now we're moving up in the world, or the case at least.  Sizing up the bottom panel and trying to figure how far up I wanted it.  The mod blocks work great for this, as long as you like half inch increments.

 

ZuFOXC.jpg

v496In.jpg

 

Drawing a bunch of lines

 

jddnq6.jpg

 

And installed

 

f2WPFl.jpg

 

Placing them on top of the piece might seem a bit awkward, but I'm also going to be using these for mounting points for the PSU shroud, so they'll be covered up.  Same with the ones in outside corners, with the doors on, you'll never see them.  Just need to figure out what I'm doing with the bolts for the feet.  I was thinking acorn nuts, but I'm leaning to just flipping them over and leaving the bolt head up since they're not that big.

 

I ran into a little problem at this point.  My original plan was a short PSU shroud that sat tight next to the door, but I started to play around with the idea of shroud that ran the full length of the case, and with this, I wanted some room between it and the door.  

 

The general idea when I was doing my "hold stuff close and see if it looks like c*** or not" planning

 

4NMiso.jpg

 

I liked it so I held the blocks back to mount it and ran into this problem

 

VJT9pA.jpg

 

Whoops!

 

W6Z6Av.jpg

 

But not to let that slow me down, my case shall now feature "A vibration-dampening power supply mount." At least it will once I find some rubber pads. :D

 

And next up is to bend the shroud, once I finally decide what I want to do.  I like the idea of a full length shroud to hide stuff, but I'm worried that it might move the fans in the front up higher than I'd like.  So I'm gonna play around with it and figure it out.

 

The current idea mock up with a scrap piece

 

vec9aR.jpg

 

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wow man!  your jig is huffing excellent.  

 

at first I didn't know where this was going, but clearly you're giving both Inwin and Parvum a good run for the money.   B)

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