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LePhuronn

(In Win 901) Asteria II: Rearmoured

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asteria2_banner.jpg

Welcome one and all to my very first build log. Hopefully this will be a great experience to share with you all as this is a project of many firsts: first extensive case mod, first foray into custom water cooling, first hardline loop too, and first time putting everything out there for public display! Exciting and terrifying in equal measure :S

Asteria II: Rearmoured is based around the stunning In Win 901 Mini ITX case, and was inspired by Laine's "Clarity". It was great to see a custom loop put into this case, but I felt more could've been done with his radiator placement. A year of planning and exploring later I've bitten the bullet and giving it a shot of my own.

The name
Asteria was a Greek goddess associated with falling stars and prophetic dreams. She was also a Titan and, frankly, that's why the original Asteria was named as such - all of my computers are female and she had a GTX Titan inside :tongue: The Titan and a few other parts of being reused in this new project, and hence Asteria II: Rearmoured was born.

Hardware

  • i7 6700K
  • Maximus VIII Impact
  • 16GB Dominator Platinum
  • GTX Titan
  • Silverstone ST45SF-G V2 PSU

Water cooling

  • EK Supremacy EVO Acetal
  • Watercool Heatkiller GPU-X3 Titan LT with EK FC Titan backplate
  • Alphacool UT60 360 primary radiator
  • Alphacool ST30 120 secondary radiator
  • Alphacool DDC310 pump with Aquacomputer DDC top
  • Aquacomputer Aqualis ECO100 res
  • EK 12mm hardline compression fittings

Fans still TBC


Since this has been in the planning stages for over a year, there's no starting pics of the case I'm afraid since it's all in bits for measuring!

Where I can though I do intend to give some stock shots of components before they're modded. Right now though I only have my phone camera available, some cheap lights and a black bed sheet that refuses to have the creases ironed out of it, so don't expect miracles in the photography department :tongue:

Thanks for looking, progress will be updated as it comes.

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Maximus VIII Impact motherboard

To get the ball rolling here's a quick tour around the motherboard.

impact-stock_full-01.jpg

impact-stock_full-03.jpg

It's a great looking board, but I think the Z97 Impact VII actually looks a little better. What bothers me is the different textures involved on this board.

For instance, the chipset heatsink has a matte grey sticker with subtle ROG embossing, however the shroud for the SupremeFX sound card is a very reflective shiny silver, and fingerprint magnet to boot.

impact-stock_supremefx-southbridge.jpg


And the same grey matte is applied to the Impact Power daughterboard heatsink:

impact-stock_impact-power.jpg

Yes, the ROG logo is embossed with that crosshatch style. Very nice, but I'm not sure I can retain it.


And, frankly, a £200 motherboard should have a more elegant way of connecting a BIOS battery!

impact-stock_bios-battery.jpg


Also, since Asus decided to put a U.2 port on the board (why?) rather than M.2, the I/O cluster for me looks a bit haphazard now with varying heights of ports and big gaps and whatnot.

impact-stock_full-02.jpg

A silly thing to fixate on? Of course :S


All of this is going to be corrected. The red is going and all the textures are being unified. Bring on the vinyl!

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Motherboard work, part 1
impact-mod_pre.jpg
All laid out ready for some love. You can really see the difference between the heatsinks and the sound card shroud, and already in its naked form the board is looking a bit more unified.

So let's break out the black matte vinyl wrap...

impact-mod_components-all.jpg
The wrap is a reasonably chunky 0.2mm thick with a nice texture not too dissimilar to the stock heatsinks so it's covered well without too much effort. Need to tidy up a few edges here and there.

impact-mod_components-soundcard.jpg
SupremeFX III soundcard. It turns out the lettering and red design lines are slightly embossed, so I may well give it another blast with the heatgun to bring the details out a little more.

And yes, I'm too much of a coward to invalidate warranties on my very first proper project, so I just wrapped over the serial number label :blush: it'll be face down towards the GPU though so you won't see it.

impact-mod_components-power.jpg
Impact Power heatsink. The embossed ROG Eye logo came out really well, but unfortunately the Republic Of Gamers text just wouldn't take - looked lovely and crisp when the vinyl was warm and being rubbed down, but it just relaxed a bit too much as it cooled, losing definition.

Not overly fussed right now because, again, this will be facing down and obscured by the CPU block. Plus this took me 4 attempts and is still a little scruffy, so I'm walking away for a bit :tongue:

impact-mod_components-chipset.jpg
Chipset heatsink. The ROG branding came out really nicely, lovely and crisp embossing. Excuse the dodgy edge, I was a bit excited by how well the ROG turned out and had to take a pic!


All together then...
impact-mod_black-interim.jpg
Maximus VIII Impact Black Edition anybody?

Much, much tidier now I think. I did think about covering the capacitors on the power daughterboard similar to B Negative's Celestial, but I think in my case the little flashes of silver here and there serves as nice accenting.

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Motherboard work, part 2
The red and the textures have been tidied up now, but the I/O cluster bothers me as well. It's not the colour this time, it's the haphazard spacing and heights - I just don't want to see it at all.


Bit of measuring, bit of Illustrator, wee drop of ink on some paper and...

impact-mod_shroud-template-top.jpg
Test fit an I/O shroud. It also covers up the serial label on the sound card cover too :p

impact-mod_shroud-template-side.jpg
I think I can extend that wall a few more mm just to get a bit more coverage.

I'll be honest, the EVGA Z97 Stinger is my inspiration for the I/O shroud (and probably my entire board rework too).
111-HR-E972-KR_XL_4.jpg
I love that it's not just a hard-edge plastic box you slap on top of the I/O cluster, but much more organic with a nice bend radius at the ends and all folded from a single cut piece. That also ties in nicely with the smooth, sweeping corners of the 901's aluminium external skin, so I'm rather happy at how my own bend radius has mocked up.

Of course, it needs to be done in something that isn't paper yet. It also doesn't need to be done in 2mm thick acrylic :tongue:

impact-mod_shroud-pigs-ear.jpg
Now this was always more playing with the material rather than making something final, but 2mm is (for me anyway) a bit too thick to get some intricate cuts and rounded corners, and also to fold evenly. Bit of a pig's ear really :blush:

So I'm changing to 1.5mm thick PETG sheet, but will have to wait until I've made up my DIY metal brake to get more accurate, even folds.


Thanks for looking, hopefully be back soon!

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13 minutes ago, Bill Owen said:

Great start, but why no avatar?  ...we don't bite! 

Honestly because I haven't come up with a unified avatar/logo yet :tongue:

My avatar on OCN was something cool I found many years ago, but I don't want to use somebody else's work as I try to unify my forum and social media presence and start this scary journey into public modding.

Hopefully I'll get something soon, and thanks for the interest!

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40 minutes ago, RGBModZ said:

have you thought about 3d printing an io cover? 

I have yes, but by the time I've learned to properly 3D CAD and worked out what I can and cannot do with a 3D printer, I'd have easily sorted out some finer points working with plastics and gone down that route. Plus, if I'm honest, I don't like most 3D printed things I've seen. Too rough and ready, and too much finishing required.

And I have other acrylic bits planned for this project and the future, so I want to get into practice. Like I said, this bit of folding was never intended to be anything production, just experimenting with the material.

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40 minutes ago, Mosquito said:

Really like the motherboard mod so far, it looks far better than original already!

 

4 minutes ago, Kylevdm said:

Loving the MB mods, not something that we see very often!

Also, nice to see more Brits appearing :)

Thanks guys. It's not like the stock board is ugly by any means, but it just doesn't have the same consistency as previous Impact boards, or other top-tier ITX boards for that matter.

Hopefully will have some more updates soon - need to build a metal bender (MDF and door hinges FTW) in prep for the core of this project, and will be working on the GPU next.

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Just a quick note to say I had a tumble off my bike last night and banged my wrist up. Nothing broken, just very sore and a bit useless right now. Apologies for the lack of updates on this.

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1 minute ago, bungwirez said:

nice job with Vinyl wrap... looks very natural.  almost that you went with Plasti-dip here.

+1 to this... won't lie, I skimmed the first time, so I actually thought it WAS paint lol

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lol cheers guys, the vinyl largely did work out nice in the end, especially on the chipset heatsink. But I'll tell you something, paint would've been a lot easier on the power board heatsink - that thing was a pain! Took 4 attempts and still have a rough edge or two where you can't quite see what's space between the heatsink ridges and the actual sticker, and I'm pretty sure I've scratched into the sticker itself (good job the vinyl's staying then :tongue: )

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I'm doing something, honest!

bender-tease.jpg


Wrist is healed, but now lacking strength. Strapped up I can just about cut some MDF. OK, it's not a computer, but it is an integral part to the project.

"One-off job" he said. "No need to buy a circular saw" he said. Yet when your pre-cut MDF isn't squared up properly like you thought it was, a dodgy wrist isn't helpful when you're trying to get some right angles!

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TEASER SHOTS!!

Look what I just collected from the awesome guys at Congleton Engineering...

laser-teaser_1.jpg

laser-teaser_2.jpg

laser-teaser_3.jpg


Lots of cleaning to do, I need to true up the sheet bender because it's a bit off and do some test runs with some scrap alu, but the core stuff has finally arrived.

Quite excited now to get going properly :S

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Hi all, I have a little update for you.

It took a while to get the sheet bender repeatedly accurate and get the bend radius of my aluminium work down to where it should be, but now it's good to go!

So I've folded some plastic instead :tongue:


I/O shroud shape, cut by hand in 1.5mm PETG sheet
io-cover_cut.jpg

Took a while to get that I will admit. Looks like my wrist is still a bit wonky to get accurate cuts with a coping saw, so I went for neverending score, cut and snap with a sharp knife. Got there in the end though.


After a bit of cleanup, I did a quick frosting job on a portion of what will be the top face for an experiment I'll mention shortly ;)
io-cover_frost.jpg

It's not perfect, but will only have tiny amount of it showing so should be fine. Circular motions with 100 grit paper for a few minutes on both sides of the piece, then another couple of minutes with 400 grit to smooth it up. Didn't bother to wet sand this as it's only small.


Then got the heat gun out and folded it all up. The front face was put into my sheet bender for a nice, tight edge, and the curved ends were done over the handle of an exacto knife for a 5mm radius, or thereabouts.

Took a few attempts to get it all correct and relatively straight, but I got so excited at finishing it I didn't take a picture of the untreated item and went straight into a quick test wrap.

io-cover_quickwrap.jpg

Brushed black aluminium effect. I wanted to replicate the hairline brushing on EVGA's shrouds, but wasn't sure if it'd be too much against the matte black I've used on the motherboard...


io-cover_quickplace.jpg

Now THAT is a Black Edition motherboard. Excuse the wonky placement and the dodge Alphacool M3 copper screws!


It's not perfect but the wrap covers a multitude of sins, plus it'll be painted to cover any exposed PETG when the wrap is done properly.

Hopefully my little enhancement will pan out: backlit logo


Thanks for looking!

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Many thanks!

It turned out to be more fiddly than I first though. The little tab on the far side actually stuck out by about half over the folding line for the main bit, so no matter which way I put it into my bender I kept catching that wee part. Fortunately PETG is springy when cold so after a few goes trying to get a tight bend by hand I just shoved it in, let the tab get scrunched a bit and then just heated it up and flattened back out again.

The curved ends were OK and the tight right angle bend served nicely as a support against my jig (i.e. a stack of thin MDF offcuts with an Exacto handle taped to it :tongue:).

The tabs were a pain in the end and there was lots of swearing as I needed 5 hands rather than 2 to balance and position before I could secure down.

My drilled holes ended up being out in the end since the bending wasn't as accurate as I wanted, but they've been ground out to fit, and you won't see the bodging once painted, wrapped and underneath mounting screws.

Was an experience, and after 6 months in Illustrator to get laser cutting done it was nice to actually craft something by hand, even if it's a bit wonky up close :)

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I'm sorry to say that this project is on hold for the time being.

I'm in the process of rescuing a number of abused rats and their babies and will need the spare room to house them all, so no space to get any work done.

Hopefully be back soon!

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asteria2_banner.jpg

Greetings to you all! I hope your Christmas was gluttonous and your New Year will be debauched and decadent; I think we all could use some cheer given 2016's death tally

Well, the ratty rescue situation is more or less under control so I have some time and space to work again. Unfortunately my sheet bender has proven to be largely useless, so the planned case work has to wait while I sort an alternative.

So I've done some GPU stuff instead and, since it's been so long, thought I'd share what I have.


GPU block
Originally I'd planned to use an EK block for the Titan since I like full PCB coverage and no fuss, even if it'll be facing down in the build. Unfortunately, the FC Terminal block pushed the total height about 3mm too much to fit inside the case and put the sides back on. Bit of reading around I found Watercool's Heatkiller GPU-X3 blocks would fit nicely and scored this B-Grade from Aqua Tuning.

gpu-block_pre-1.jpg

Great condition, and that stainless steel plate is so very shiny. Double win is that this LT variant doesn't have any unnecessary cruft on it like the other X3 Titan editions, just a sleek, smooth appearance.

Shame about the copper though...oh wait :S

 

Let's strip it down then...

gpu-block_stripped.jpg

I'll be honest though, I know this is B-Grade, but I wouldn't expect B-Grade to be quite this filthy, and I have no idea how the INSIDE is quite that mucky. Looks like the previous owner used cherry-aid for coolant too.


After lots of soaking in vinegar solution, rubbing, scrubbing and pickling of skin, we get one nice and shiny copper block.

gpu-block_cleaned.jpg

 

Won't last long :tongue: Masked up and hit with primer

gpu-block_primed.jpg

And now the black

gpu-block_painted.jpg

Reassembled and cleaned up!

gpu-block_done.jpg

One Heatkiller GPU-X3 Titan LT Black Edition ready to rumble.

It might be changing to silver/nickel though, we'll see...

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