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Cosmos Cruizer

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Hey guys, just reposting this log here. I'll post all the updates I've done so far to get it up to date.

July 25th

I've always wanted to do a hotrod-themed build, and I think the Cosmos II lends itself well to this theme with its sleek, aerodynamic lines, and beefy roll-bar type handles. I'll be playing off these features, moving some things around, and generally wreaking havoc on this poor case, but in the end you'll still be able to distinguish it as a Cosmos II. :)/>


The first thing you'll notice is the open-air design. I actually hated to get rid of those cool doors, but I wanted that open engine compartment feel. And with pretty much everything watercooled, there would be no reason to worry about airflow. Next is the watercooling manifold. I spent the most of my design time on this part, as it has to be functional, as well as look like an actual automotive component for fuel delivery. It will accommodate two separate loops: One for the video cards, and one for CPU, memory, and motherboard.

As far as hardware, there are still some items up in the air, but here's a short list of what I have already:

EVGA X79 FTW motherboard


Intel i7 3960X CPU

Cooler Master SPH 1050w PSU

Crucial 4x4Gb Ballistix Tactical Memory

Crucial 2x256Gb M4 SSD drives

Koolance Quick Disconnect fittings & pipe adapters

Razer Deathstalker Ultimate Keyboard

Razer Ouroboros Mouse

EK Waterblocks: Supremacy CPU block, Dominator Ram blocks x2, X79 blocks

EK Radiators: 280 dual, 420 triple rad

EK 250mm Reservoir

EK Dual Pump Top

I'll be updating this as I get stuff in.

Ok, I guess that is enough of an intro, I'll be posting my first progress update shortly. Thanks for reading, and I hope you'll be joining me on what promises to be another wild modding ride!

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July 26th


Let's take care of the bottom bars first shall we? In order to make the headers, I need four ends per side which means I need another set of bars. And Cooler Master were kind enough to send me an extra set. :)/>


Here's a shot of all four ends lined up.


After marking where I needed to cut, I hacked off the ends. These bars are solid cast aluminum. CM does not cut corners when it comes to supporting their Ultra Tower!


Positioning the piece and rechecking my cut angle. The rest will need to be filed away.


One set of header pieces cut! Now for the other side.


Both sides cut. I want the headers to come even with the back of the case, which is why I made the fourth piece longer. It will make for a trickier weld to the first piece tho.


Filing one of the middle header pieces.


I clamped all the pieces upside down to a flat board to aid in the positioning. Once everything is filed down and fitted perfectly, this will be how it will get welded back together.


And finally a close up shot of how its fitting to the main bar. It's getting there!


I'll be doing a lot of filing over the weekend, but the aluminum is fairly soft so it should go quickly. I can bring out my die grinder to get the bulk of it if need be. I just don't want to remove too much material.

For attaching the pieces, I was eyeballing those Alumiweld brazing sticks at Harbor Freight. Anyone have any experience with them? I have seen the demo vids on Youtube, and it seems easy, but there's gotta be some kind of learning curve. I'll probably grab some and just experiment first and see how it goes. :)/>

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July 30th

Made some good progress on the bars over the weekend. Lots of filing and sanding! It actually didn't take as long as I thought. Or it didn't seem like it anyways. :)/>

For the two center pieces, I used a combination of round and half-round files to get them to fit on the main bar. But for the end of the main piece, I had to use my die grinder with metal cutting wheel to get it to fit around the curved end piece. The wheel's diameter was pretty much spot on.


The end result. I don't really have to be too exact with the fit, since any gaps will be filled during the welding, then filed smooth.


One side done. I clamped it to a flat surface again to check alignment.


Once I got both sides filed down, I went ahead and sanded everything down to bare alu. Decided to do a quick mockup, and clamped both sides to a steel plate I had lying around. I put the rubber feet back on to confirm that it would still sit perfectly flat. This is mainly because the orientation of the feet is largely unchanged from stock.


So these things are pretty much ready to be welded. I just have to bolt them down to make sure they don't move at all while they're being joined.


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August 4th

So I went ahead and grabbed me a pack of Alumiweld rods, and gave it a go today. I think it went fairly well! There was certainly a learning curve, but it wasn't too difficult to figure out, and I got the hang of it pretty quickly.


I was going to practice on some spare parts, but didn't really have anything comparable to the 3/4" thick bars, so I just dove right in and started on the first joint: Welding the two longest pieces together.


I had my hands full with one hand holding the torch and the other feeding the rods, so I couldn't get any in progress pics. But here's how it went down...

1. Cleaned parts thoroughly with soap and water, using a wire brush around the areas to be joined.

2. After drying completely, it got wiped down with acetone.

3. Bolted down parts to steel plate. Made sure the two parts could not move at all.

4. Began heating parts with torch. This took about 4 minutes to get the aluminum to the correct temperature (in this case, 750ºF)

5. Started drawing the Alumiweld rod across the joint until it melted into a pool. This was key to knowing when the alu was hot enough. Before, the rod would just break off and away, and wouldn't stick. Once it pooled up, I could work it into the gap with the rod. This took some finesse to get the pool where I wanted it. I ended up dabbing the rod as it melted along the gap.

6. Once the gap was filled, I slowly worked my way around the piece, bringing the heat with me as I went.

7. After going around the entire thing, I quickly moved on to the next part to be joined. After all three areas were welded, I let the whole thing cool for about an hour.

Here's the result of the first weld:



The welds are pretty messy, but I wasn't concerned about getting a perfect bead on my first try! I just wanted to make sure I had enough weld built up to close the gaps and be able to grind it down smooth with no pits or sink-holes.


Once it cooled down, i could unbolt it from the steel plate and check it out.


Next step was to stick it in the vice and start smoothing out the welds. I initially used my bench grinder to get the big chunks, then I moved to the dremel and files.


After the files, I used my orbital sander with 80grit to get all the file marks out. Next I'll move to 220.


Other side:


A couple close up shots of the welds:



Over all, I think it came out pretty good considering it was my first try. It really pays to do your research! I heeded all the warnings about contamination, and made sure everything was as clean as possible. And it helped to watch all the vids available too. :)/>

Tomorrow I'll do the other side, and I'll set up my video camera and see if I can capture some in progress shots for ya.

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August 13th

Didn't get as much work done this weekend as I had originally planned. On Saturday, I was at my kids' school helping clean up and get ready for the new school year. Then on Sunday it was just too danged hot, and I tend to get quite lethargic when temps get into triple digits lol.

Anyway, getting to what little progress I did make... I didn't feel like filing or sanding in this heat, so I decided to just mount the headers to the case.


The first lug mounts in its factory location, then all the others had to be drilled.


A view from the back. I had a little bit of play to work with, and was able to get them looking symmetrical.


I then proceeded to mark and cut the bottom of the side trim away. I thought about cutting separate holes for each lug, but that would have made it very difficult to feed the header lugs through since they are all different orientations. So I just cut the entire area out.



From the side you can't tell where the cut is.


Even when you get down to the header level, it's hard to see the cut line.


And finally a view from the back.


Now that I have one side cut, I can transfer the cut area over to the other side. Any adjustments I need to make should be minor if any. :)/>

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August 20th


The left side panel is one of the more challenging parts of this build, if not the most challenging. It completely does away with the factory door panel, and after the modifications it becomes a major part of the support structure. Almost all hardware will be mounted to it, both front and back, and it will be seen from both sides. So not only does it have to be strong, but it also has to look good as well. And to top it all off, this will be the first time I'll be using fiberglass. So yeah, pretty tall order for this piece!

After spending hours in Sketchup designing it out, checking and double checking my measurements, I finally got to a point where I could start the fabrication process. The first step is creating the form, so a block of foam was glued up. This shape represents the reverse of the concaved area of the side panel where the components will go.


After marking it up with centerlines and borders, the carving began.


Work continued, carving and smoothing the foam to the desired shape (tools used: retractable knife, hacksaw blade, drywall sanding block). Then I added cutouts for the "shock towers" that will later become part of the IO panel on the bottom, and cable access on the top. I also added a piece of plywood on top for strength, and used zip ties running through all layers of foam to make sure it all holds together.


Here's a closer shot of the IO area.


To smooth out the imperfections and fill the voids, I slopped on the bondo.


While that was setting up, I moved on to the custom side scoop that will cover the lower radiator fan intake holes. Again, I stacked up three pieces of foam and glued them together with spray adhesive.


I already carved the door's contour into the bottom piece so it sits flush.


After taking a step back, I decided that 3" was too high. I removed one piece of foam, and started marking out the scoop shape. I added another small piece to the end so it tapers all the way to the edge.


Showing the preliminary front shape.


This piece was small enough to use my retractable knife. These knives are perfect for cutting foam because you can extend the blade out as long as you need it to be.


Once I got one side roughed out and matching the body lines, I needed to do the other side the same way. I'll be making two of these scoops, one for each side of the case, so it has to be symmetrical.


Profile shot. I like it!


Smoothed out and ready for filler.


Body filler added. More sanding required!


Work continues... :)/>

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October 8th

Hey guys, I'm back on this project! Got my other obligations out of the way for now, so I can continue on with the Cruizer. :)/>

Unfortunately, I don't really have much new progress to show. I'm still working on the form for the side panel and scoops, adding bondo and sanding. So nothing new there. I did get some patching done tho, so I can at least show that...

Due to the bottom rails being transformed into hot-rod style exhaust headers, I only need one of the holes in the trim piece at the bottom. And since I'm relocating the top rails to the center, I won't need either hole up there. So I need to plug them up.

I cut out six oval shaped discs and beveled the edges so they fit into the holes.


Here's one of the holes...


And here it is with the disc.


I marked each one so I knew which hole they went into, since they are all different.


After using plastic epoxy to glue them in, I got out the body filler.



Sanded it down smooth. I started with 80 grit on my orbital sander, then went to 220 grit. I used some glazing putty to fill in any small imperfections.


After a final light sanding, I shot it with primer.


I'll sand this down with 400 grit, then scuff the entire trim piece and shoot one more coat of primer once I get all the other modifications done on it.

Feels good to be back on this, and I'll be posting more regularly now as work continues. :)/>

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October 22nd

Ok, so I didn't get as much work done over the weekend as I thought. In fact, I never even got a coat of primer on the plug. Still sanding and perfecting the surface because it has to be absolutely flawless. Any blemish on the plug will be transferred directly to the finished fiberglass piece. So better to try and eliminate all the issues now, than have to fix it later. :)/>

That, and this was the last great weekend weather-wise before the rains come this week, and I spent it with the kids doing Halloween stuff. :mrgreen:

But I did promise pics, so here's my progress thus far...

When all is said and done, the side panel trim piece will be integrated with the new fiberglass panel, so it will all be one unit. So more preparation was done to the trim piece. Holes were drilled all along the inside edge to help facilitate the adhesion of the fiberglass to the plastic. Typically, the two materials don't stick to one another, so the holes will allow the resin to flow through the plastic. I'll add the fiberglass cloth to the back side as well to sandwich it together.


I bent a sheet of aluminum to match the curve of the side panel. The bend was very slight, all I had to do was set it over a 4" acrylic tube and apply a small amount of downward force to replicate the curve.


I set the trim piece face down onto the alu sheet. Here's a closeup of the curve.


Using the trim piece as a guide, I placed the plug on the sheet and marked it.


Here's a closeup again showing the curve of the alu sheet. It will serve as a backing for the fiberglass, and support for the plug.


I set the trim piece aside, then removed the plug from the sheet and applied contact cement to both parts, and put them back together. This was to ensure the plug didn't move while I added epoxy putty all around it, shown here.


Here's the plug in its current state. The putty is all smoothed out, and creates a nice curved transition between the alu sheet and plug. It's getting real close to being done! It will start looking a whole lot better once I get some primer on it and it's all one color.


Once I get a few coats of primer on it and sanded smooth, I'll have to polish it and apply a couple coats of mold release wax, so the fiberglass won't stick to it. Only then will I be able to start the layup process!

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Welcome Brian! Thank you for sharing your project and I'm betting on you taking home 1st Place for CMCM 2012 B)/>

Thanks Bill, but there's no way in hell I'm going to finish this by December 7th, which is only a month away! So I suggest not taking that bet lol. ;)/>

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Just a quick update on the plugs. I got a couple coats of epoxy primer on them a few weeks ago, and have been sanding them down, working my way up to 1000 grit. Not really sure when I will get to lay some fiberglass, as it's now getting colder out, and I will most likely have to step away from this project yet again for another build.

Anyway, here's a few shots...



Back when I can! :)/>

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Ok, I think it's about time I got back on this project! :D/> After I wrapped up the Level 10GTS-M case, I was able to spend some time installing some newly acquired parts from EK. :twisted:


Yes, they were gracious enough to offer up some very cool products for this build, and I can't thank them enough. Here's a shot of what they sent me:


We got a CPU waterblock, motherboard blocks for the X79, Dominator memory blocks x2, ram module adapters (to fit the dominator blocks on my Crucial memory), a 250mm tube res, a 280 and a 420 radiator, and a dual pump top.

I had been searching for a WC solution for my Crucial Ballistix memory, and there are a few universal blocks out there, but I was very pleased to find out EK offers these adapters to fit the ever popular Corsair Dominator blocks. :)/> So the first thing I did was install them onto the Crucial memory.

They come very securely packaged in bubble wrap.


Opening it up we have two sets of adapters, with all the necessary thermal padding and hardware.


Here are the memory sticks with their heat spreaders which will need to be removed.


I had to be extremely careful not to damage the memory in the removal process. I found that pulling both sides off at the same time alleviated any bending of the memory stick.


Crucial uses some really tough adhesive on their thermal pads. It took awhile to get it all off the chips.


All four sticks cleaned off and ready for the adapters.


Applying the new thermal padding. The strips were too short to just lay over all the chips, so I had to cut them up into individual squares, one for each chip. Now for the other side.


Once the thermal pads were all on, it was just a matter of sandwiching the memory stick in between the two adapter plates and screwing them together. Two down, two to go!


All done! I had to install the ram onto the motherboard and add the actual Dominator blocks to see how it looked. Looks very nice along with the Supremacy CPU and motherboard blocks.


I'm super excited to be back on this. I'll be updating more consistently from now on, as this case is top priority! :)/>

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Planning out the plumbing on the backside of the Cruizer. I'm going with stainless steel tubing, to simulate automotive fuel/brake lines. Should look pretty sweet! But before running the lines, I had to figure out the best placement for the wc components. It's amazing that even on a cavernous case such as the Cosmos II, I still had to deal with clearance issues lol.


I'll be running two separate loops: CPU/motherboard/ram, and graphics cards. I got the 420mm EK radiator up top cooling the CPU loop, and the 280mm EK rad in the GFX loop. I figure the 680s won't be putting out as much heat as the processor, especially since I want to do some OCing this time. Both loops go into the EK 250mm X3 res, with one line connecting the res to the dual pumps. Then the two loops split off again from there. I'm a little concerned about the bottleneck there, but I'm trying to eliminate any unnecessary tubing where possible. And with the dual D5 pumps, I'm hoping it will be a non-issue. Lemme know what you guys think.

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I think that is going to look killer Brian! Excellent work on the skechup of the planned loop, I only wish I could do that, I resort to graph paper and pencil lol.

I am pretty sure with those dual D5 pumps you will be golden.

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the only thing I worry about your project is that stand you made on the bottom of the case. I'm just worry it may not stand the weight after all that hardware and water put onto your case. Just be careful and if I were you , I would put like an extra support that connect both the stand.

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the only thing I worry about your project is that stand you made on the bottom of the case. I'm just worry it may not stand the weight after all that hardware and water put onto your case. Just be careful and if I were you , I would put like an extra support that connect both the stand.

Those are solid 1" aluminum bars, and they are the original stands that came with the case, and still utilize the factory mounting points. In fact I added two more mounting tabs to each side, so I think they will be fine. :)/>

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After designing out the plumbing in Sketchup, I've been placing the real parts in the case, to verify my plan will work as it is layed out. So far things have been lining up with minimal adjustments. :)

Here are the 280 and 420 radiators from EK. These things are massive, at 2" thick, but they fill the Cosmos II nicely. :)


Got my stack of 140mm fans plus a 200mm intake fan for the case.


Trying the fans out on the 280 rad, and placing it in the case.


The top 420 rad will go up top, but just barely.


As you can see from the side, the radiator will need to be mounted lower into the case so it fits below the bezel. The Cosmos II only has provisions for a 360mm radiator, so I'd have to cut the top panel anyway.


Lastly, here is a shot of the Koolance quick disconnect fittings I'll be using to connect the custom manifold, along with the Koolance 1/2" pipe adapters and EK 90º elbow fittings.


And I've got more fittings on the way! I found some really awesome push fittings from E22 that will be a perfect fit for this project...


They also carry the 12mm rigid tubing I'll be using along with these fittings. So as soon as I get those in, I'll be able to get the custom manifold together and mounted on the hardware. Can't wait! :)

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haha thanks onevoicewild!

Got a little bit more work done last night on the rads. :)

I cut out the top panel to fit the 420mm EK radiator. You can see the size difference between it and the stock provisions for a 360mm rad.


Here is the radiator set in place with a couple fans to check height clearance.


I also checked the lower radiator clearance. To do this, I set the fiberglass form into the case to give me an idea where the actual fiberglass piece will be. Right now the rad is resting on the form, so it will need to raise up just a bit to clear. I still have about 1/4" room above the fans on top, so I think I'm good.


This weekend, I'll file the edges down and get the mounting brackets made up for this rad as well as the lower 280mm rad.

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Ok, I got a feces-ton of work done on this case over the weekend. :P

Firstly, I got the top radiator mounts made. After measuring how far the rad could go, I cut and bent these four mounts.


These will mount to the center fan holes on each side of the rad.


And it fits into the case thusly. I still have to add holes to the brackets where they will be fastened to the case.


Using my flexible curve to simulate where the top piece will be, you can see how much clearance I will have over the fans once it's all said and done.


Here's a front shot of the rad & fans.


Now comes the major part of the update. I took the plunge and got the side panel laid up with fiberglass today. It was pretty warm the whole weekend, so I figured I'd give it a go. Here's a shot of all the materials I had to acquire: Resin, catalyst, gel coat, curing agent, cabosil (a thickener), assorted brushes, mixing cups, roller, dispersing pump, measuring squeeze bottle, mixer, gloves, and not shown are the paste wax and PVA mold release.


And of course, the fiberglass cloth. I got some heavy duty strand mat and 4oz cloth.


Before I could start any of this, I had to prep the form. After sanding up to 1000 grit, I used some meguire's car polish on it. Then I waxed the whole thing four times. After that, I sprayed it with 2 coats of PVA mold release. That was Saturday.

Sunday morning I got the fiberglass cloth pre-cut and clamped the side bezel down around the form.


After everything was set up and ready, I started brushing on the gel-coat. This was the point of no return, since the cloth had to go on as soon as the gel-coat was tack-free. Then each subsequent layer of cloth had to follow non-stop until it was finished.


After the gel-coat set up, I mixed up some resin with the cabosil thickener to make a paste, then worked it into the tight corners and overhangs where air bubbles were sure to form.


After the paste, it was time for the first layer of fiberglass. Starting with the heavy duty strand mat, I layed it over the form and added the resin.


This took a good two cups of resin to saturate the mat.


Next layer was the 4oz cloth. Procedure was the same, adding resin where needed, saturating the cloth.


After three layers of cloth, I added a few scrap pieces to reinforce the corners and overlap the joints. Then I mixed up one last small batch of resin, this time with the curing agent, which helps the final surface cure without being tacky.


After a few hours under the heat lamps, it was rock hard and smooth. Time to demold! I turned the form upside down and removed the aluminum sheet, exposing the layered foam.


After working the edges, it became apparent I was not going to be able to save the form, so I proceeded to remove it one foam layer at a time.


After two layers of foam, I was able to pop the remaining piece of the form out of the fiberglass.


And there ya go. Thanks to the 4 coats of wax and 2 coats of PVA, I had no trouble with sticking.


behold! A one-piece fiberglass side panel!


Now this thing is not totally without its flaws. Upon closer inspection, there are countless air bubbles and a few spots where the gel-coat was too thin. But I can mix up some more of the resin paste and fill those areas back in. And I will undoubtedly have a bunch of bodywork to do before this thing is ready for paint.

But I think for the most part, it came out really well considering this was my first fiberglassing adventure. :)

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