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(In Win 901) Asteria II: Rearmoured

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OK, about those glass side panels.

The drive to retain as much of a stock look for the case as possible extends to keeping the same thumbscrews for the glass panels, so given I was replacing parts of the case which have panel mounts on them I needed to rebuild those mounts to fit the screws. Now although they're standard 6-32 threads, it took me a while to find brass standoffs that were 6-32 on both sides; usually they're 6-32 male and M3 female. Also they needed to be about 5mm in diameter too in order to fit the rubber grommets and mate with the glass.

Turns out I shouldn't have bothered 🙄

Eventually found some, marked up the new holes, tapped them into place and then realised they were too long. Not a problem, I'll just cut them down to fit, but then I realised a major error in judgement. Firstly, by chopping down the standoffs, there was very little female thread left to screw into, so there was no way the tempered glass could be supported safely even if the thumbscrews could actually go in. Then I realised that In Win had used through hole self-clinching threaded standoffs. This is how their thumbscrews would fully seat into the case and support the tempered glass.

So after carefully inspecting some of the original case parts, I tracked down the exact PEM fastener required, but the company in question no longer dealt with private customers, and I couldn't find any Chinese knockoffs (unlike my flush nuts). So I resolved this by doing something I didn't want to do: irreversibly cut up the original case 😢

These particular standoffs fit into place by cold-forming sheet material into a little channel between its main body and a flange. As a result there's no welding or such required to get them in. So, by cutting into the aluminium either side of the standoff's main body, the material around it is actually no longer attached to anything. Gently pry it off and the standoff is released.



Since these things are steel pressed into aluminium, there's no deformation at all and can be re-used. So give them a quick sand down to remove the paint and get a proper through hole cut into my tabs (5.6mm in this instance). Then apply pressure.



And in they pop!

My half ton arbor press was sufficient for the pressure, but I had to use a chunky M8 spacer I had floating around as a makeshift anvil. Worked nicely though. Unfortunately I couldn't get the arbor press into position for the main body where we have this big B-shape series of folds. So I used my body weight instead; laying the fully folded, tapped and drilled final body work down onto a piece of MDF with a hole in it, putting a dome head screw into the backside of the standoff placing a couple sheets of material onto the screw head and then generating half a ton of pressure by balancing on one foot and doing squats is really, really not how I want to insert these things. There was this big pop and I did not know if the standoff had gone in or if I'd trashed the whole damn thing.

It was the former.


Beautifully stock.

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Neatly done. :D I tried McMaster Carr to try and find those. You were right. they only had flush-fit. 

6-32 standoffs: Nearly all the cases I've gutted over the years used 6-32 male and female thread motherboard standoffs. You made me wonder if it's some US-only thing. -6-32 in the motherboard area and old serial ports, 4-40 on all gpu connectors.

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Well that's the fun. The ATX spec doesn't specify what the female thread of the standoff should be, simply that the standoff itself has an external cross section that fits within a 10mm x 10mm area around the hole. So pretty much all case companies just go for 6-32 female threads, but those standalone hex standoffs are almost universally M3 female.

Almost caught me out actually because the 901 uses 6-32 everywhere, but the 2 mounting holes next to the power daughterboard on the Maximus Impact don't allow for the usual 6-32 head width. M3 fits fine, but obviously they won't screw into the posts.

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Hey there. Might as well post some pretty renders of part 2 of the "seriously, haven't you fixed or discarded the DDC yet" saga.

With the pump assembly perfectly in place, it now transpires that I can't make the tube routing from pump to radiator through the floor to work without a stupid, ugly amount of adapters, and it's too tight for soft tube too and just kinks. So as suspected it's time to return to the custom pump top idea. Completely redesigned this time though. Enjoy the renders 😊





I've extended the body width by 19mm to cover the distance between the pump body and the radiator holes in the case floor, so now an EK 90 degree rotary fitting will align directly above the radiator port's centre line, with sufficient vertical space to get a compression fitting on and angle some tube. That extension means I've gone down a distro plate approach to go from the volute outlet to the port, which has of course necessitated o-rings and a sealing plate.

And yes, the strong resemblance to Aquacomputer's DDC top is intentional; wanting to keep the look, I've drawn on many design cues from their dual DDC top to create mine as a homage to the top I've had to discard. I don't think I can get in trouble for that 😛

To allow for measuring and manufacturing tolerances I will be using Mayhem's ultra clear soft tube for this part of the loop, but it's very clear for soft tube, 13mm OD is indistinguishable from 12mm OD acrylic when piped in, and once I have Oil Black Pastel coolant running you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between the soft and hard tubes I think.

And I'm also very excited to say I'm discussing manufacturing of this right now. CAD models are being verified as I type 😁

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Cheers, Cheaps. I thought that was the case but you can never be sure. However...

Update! Minor change of plan already.

As I was fine-tuning the CAD work, I realised that I'd completely forgotten a fundamental point in this entire build: clearance spaces. And specifically, the entire reason I've been working and fighting with side ports is because I have zero space on the top face. So why in the hell did I put cap head screws along the horizontal centre line? They're going to foul the bloody graphics card! What a wally!

So as I was reworking things, it also occurred to me that as I'd gotten a bit carried away with replicating Aquacomputer's aesthetic, it would actually look out of place with my aesthetic. Countersunk screws solve both of these issues! So, the portion of the pump top that is visible peeking over the graphics card will have countersunk screws just like the GPU backplate. Also, my logo would be totally obscured by the GPU too.

So new model and new renders 😛



It might drop to 4 screws, but this IS getting made 😁

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OK, shortly after I posted last night I had a change of heart about the number of screws in the top plate. 6 started to look a bit cluttered, although I liked the symmetry of it. Since the top plate is 1.2mm stainless steel and won't flex because it's only 77x58mm in size, I remodelled to 4 screws instead. But because it's a slow day at work and I'm procrastinating, the 4 or 6 screw thing is bugging me. So I've done 2 quick layouts to illustrate (Fusion 360 in a browser is awesome!).




Looking at these without any lighting or textures and fancy projections, I think I'm actually satisfied with the 4-screw variation, it feels a lot more "open". The 6-screw symmetry is very nice but does feel a little cramped when I apply the graphics to the plate.

Any thoughts?

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My guy did some CAM tests in acrylic for the internal structure.




Hot damn that looks good! So good in fact there's a small part of me regretting going black acetal for this. But, just like the cap head screws, however good this looks it doesn't fit with my overall theme.

😈 Devil says "Except for the fact the SSD covers are a brushed metal plate with an acrylic light ring, and with the brushed stainless plate on top of this, it would actually look like the SSD covers if you light it up."

👼 Angel says "Except the corners then wouldn't match because these are angled with a parallelogram motif and the SSDs are rounded rectangles."

NO! I shall be strong and stand by my convictions! And stop talking to myself!

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Wow love the pump top in acrylic. I’m with devil ;), acrylic just looks too good and I think you should at least do a install with some pics to check it out. 

Then again, part of what looks so good are the visible water routings, which you wouldn’t really see with the aluminum plate I assume, right?

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Thanks Matthew, much appreciated!

Yes you're right in that the steel plate will hide the channels. Shortly after Lucas did the CAM test in acrylic I did think about replacing the steel with an acrylic plate instead, but in order to prevent flexing I would've had to make it at least 3mm thick to compress the o-rings and make a seal. Unfortunately I can't make an indentation that deep without fouling the threads on the inlet port.

Truth be told, there won't be much to see anyway; half of the pump top will be concealed by the Titan which would only leave part of the exit channel visible, which in turn will be filled with black coolant.

The big kicker here is regardless of which approach I take, you've not going to see much of the top anyway since it's tucked away in that far corner. I wasn't going to do full internal case lighting since the motherboard is getting a lighting ring and the Dominator Platinums have LEDs, but I might add a little accent light to just ping the pump top a little.

I'm also going to attempt to manually finish the acrylic test (he didn't put in the G1/4 ports or the case feet) and see if I can light it up like Devil suggested. At least then I have an option.

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