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Sean E Barbosa

Case Mod Project: Close Quarters

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Hello everyone, let me take a moment to introduce myself. I am known by Sebar on the forums and have started a nice little project called PirateMod to keep track of my builds and other computer/modding related things I do.  


I am calling this mod project "Close Quarters" because I will be cramming in two 280mm Alphacool radiators into a Corsair 350D mATX case and as you can imagine space will be very tight inside the case.


I am still undecided on a color scheme for this build but I have narrowed it down to either Jade and Copper of Black and Copper. This mod will feature a full copper faceplate for the 350D and 10 mm copper tubing inside the case.


The hardware that will be going into the case is as follows:

  • Intel 2600K CPU
  • Asus Maximus IV Gene Z Gen 3
  • Corsair Vengeance low profile RAM
  • Undecided on final video Card, currently I have an MSI R6950 but think I will need to replace this with a short PCB card
  • Corsair AX850 PSU
  • Kingston HyperX SSD (120GB)
  • Water cooling components include
  • Alphacool XT45 280 mm radiator
  • Alphacool UT60 280 mm radiator
  • Alphacool XP3 light CPU water block
  • Swiftech MCP655 pump with Bitspower mod kit and D5 Mod Pump Top V2
  • Black acetyl push fittings for 10 mm OD rigid tubing
  • Bitspower Water Tank Z-Multi 80 or 150 depending on space available.

Now for the good stuff.


Unboxing the 350D.






Here are some initial glamour shots.







Here are some teardown pictures.






I may end up using this MNPCTECH 280 rad grill I got from Bill Owen.




Here I am removing the brushed aluminum from the front panel.





Here is the parts order that I received from Performance PCS.











I was messing around in Blender and came up with a couple rough renderings of the case in Black and in Jade.





Bull3t hooked me up with some excellent renders.





Now it is time for the real modding to begin. As you can imagine 45 mm and 60 mm 280 mm radiators will not fit inside this case without some modification. The first thing that had to go was the 5.25 in drive days.



This allowed me to get the UT60 in the front but the top radiation was just too thick to allow me to install fans inside the case. Here is a test fit with both rads, motherboard, and my bench PSU.



I had to reposition the motherboard to allow for the top mounted rad and fans. I lose the top PCI mounting point on the case but since this case has 5 PCI slots and I only really need 4 that is not a big deal. I cut a spare PCI cover to fill in the gap left in the IO cutout after moving the motherboard down.  I still have to drill and tap holes for the motherboard standoffs to mount the motherboard.



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Thanks guys, I have an update today. The motherboard mod is complete and turned out great. I can now comfortable fit a 45mm thick radiator with fans in the top of the case. Because of the extra large CPU back plate cutout on the motherboard tray I will need to secure some rubber bumper to a few point along the right side of the motherboard tray to keep the motherboard from flexing and making contact in the upper right corner. I am also going to put a protective plastic sheet under the bottom left corner to protect against any contact in the area where the PSU support protrudes up towards the motherboard. There is no contact with the motherboard but I would rather be safe than sorry. 




I also got an SSD for my build. 





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Please Help.

I am looking for some advise on insulating my motherboard tray. I repositioned the motherboard in my build and there is an area in hte lower left corner that bulges up and gets very close to the motherboard. Can I use Plasti Dip to keep the motherboard from shoritng if it makes contact or should I use something else? :unsure:

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IThanks guys, like the electrical tape idea. I may do both, spray the motherboard with Plasti Dip and then tape the back of the motherboard just in case.


I considered cutting that section away but did not know if that would cause any problems with mounting the power supply. I do not think it will so that will be a last resort.

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You could use a thin peice of adhesive non-conducting foam or weather stripping too.  Stick it to the tray and the mobo will rest on top of it.  Using a thin sheet of rigid plastic to put in between the two works too.  Most PSUs use this method between the board and PSU case.

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I have a small update on the build, I got the copper tubing in and I have successfully bent and installed the first section of tubing. This is also probably going to be the most difficult section because of the close proximity. 


I had to come out of the top rad and immediately bend 45 degrees to clear the front panel, I then needed to measure and bend a second 45 degree angle to meet up with the 90 degree fitting on the front rad.







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The front panel is almost done. I had a wobbly drill bit I got from Harbor Freight so my holes did not come out perfect. :(

Just need to polish it up and see how it looks. 


If I spray it with normal clear coat spray paint will that keep it from tarnishing?



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I have a small update to the 350D build.  I have been doing some experimenting with paint. I had a suggestion that I add some texture to the paint on the case so I started looking for ways to do this and have come up with a snakeskin texture that I think works really well with the Jade paint and flows nicely with the polished copper. 




I am about half way done with the polishing and as you can see it looks nice but there are still some scratches that I need to get out. I was using Brasso and it could not give me a ice polished shine so I started experimenting. I had some 3M automotive rubbing compound and decided to give it a try. Works great, gives a much nicer shine to the copper and was a lot faster then the Brasso. I ordered some high grade polishing compound for soft metals (thanks for the tip B Negative) and will see if I can get the rest of those scratches out. 



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Hey I used to think brasso was the stuff until I started polishing all this copper.  You might also try Mothers brand Mag and Aluminum polish for the final finish, It truly is miracle stuff. Get it at an auto parts store.  If you have some deep scratches you might have to wet sand in progressively finer grades?  I noticed that B - negative went through the same thing I did.  You think you have all the scratches out, until you start polishing and then you still see them. Rinse and repeat. I spent a week doing this by hand on one piece. I would have been better off using a courser cloth longer at first and then working though finer and finer.  Don't know how far along you are?  But there is a lot of suffering if you do it like I did. Lesson learned!   

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I am using a hand held drill and a Mothers Powerball to polish the copper. I have only polished about 10 iterations. I started using the brasso and then moved on to the 3M stuff. I ordered some Brown and white polishing compound today and a nice cotton polishing wheel. One thing I notice is, I taped the copper and made two lines with a pencil on the tape where I was going to cut the piece. I decided not to cut and now after removing the tape there is a nice straight line scratched into the copper. I wet sanded with 400, 800, 1000, 1500. and 2000 and the scratch is still there. 

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Love the build so far.  The front panel looks stellar.  I also like that you made your own res.  Anyone that takes the time to build their own components is operating on a high level and has a lot of dedication.  Design and execution are solid on it.


EDIT: Oh yeah, and I guess your hardlines look pretty good too ;)

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Its a shame that gpu is not water cooled. If you want to maintain that glance just polish once in 6month. Love that cooper. Are you going to polish that too or something else? Great build.

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I have finally gotten around to some painting on my 350D build. Here is a cool shot of the top panel. I modded the case, removing the stamped mesh and replacing it with an MNPCTECH BIllet 240 rad grill that I picked up from BIll Owen on the Mod Zoo forum.  I use epoxy to bond the grill to the case and sprayed it with some black plasti dip. I decided that the top panel had too much black so I took the rotating slotted inserts out and sprayed them with some copper spray paint. I still need to put the snake skin texture with the jade paint on the case but I thought it looked too cool to not take some pictures. 




Here is the window mod in the side panel, still need to cut the acrylic but you get the idea. I cut the windowed section to show the Res, motherboard and GPU. I did not want to show off the entire internal compartment. 




Here is a shot of the case with the front panel removed. I painted the front section for the I/O and the bay covers with copper spray paint to keep the look of the case when the front panel is removed. 




Here is the case with the copper front panel installed. It removed using the same procedures as the stock front panel, push two sections on the front panel to disengage the snaps and the copper front panel comes off as one piece. The copper front panel has been polished and has a clear coat covering to help protect it from fingerprints. 




I sprayed the entire case with Black Plasti Dip and will be prepping the case for the snake skin texture soon.



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