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The Crimson King/Man in Black - CM MasterCase5 casemod [Completed]

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With the new Dark Tower movie coming up this summer, based on the series by Stephen King, I got really excited.  Excited enough to do a Dark Tower themed mod.  

But I found I still had some excitement left over...enough for maybe another mod...hmmm...

And so starts the story of the Crimson King, or rather, my Crimson King mod.  The Crimson King of the Dark Tower series is the main antagonist.  Similar to our notion of Satan, the Crimson King is a shape-shifter and referred to as "the great scuttering spider-king".  He embodies the ideas of chaos, anarchy, and evil.  Though Roland, The Gunslinger, faces many different foes on his journey to the Dark Tower, the Crimson King is the orchestrator of it all.  In fact, he is the cause for the decay of Roland's world, hoping to bring down the Dark Tower and bring about Discordia, or a state of chaos and anarchy.  The same chaos and anarchy that Roland is trying to stop.  The Crimson King is the evil to Roland's good, the black to Roland's white.

In an interesting side note, a lot of characters from the Dark Tower series cross over to other King novels, like Father Callahan from King's Salem's Lot.  The Crimson King first appeared in Insomnia, and shares the characteristic shape-shifting and final spider-like appearance of Pennywise, or It, from King's It.

To capture the evil vs. good relationship of the Crimson King to the Gunslinger, I'm going to be using the same Cooler Master Mastercase5 Maker and basic design that my Gunslinger build is using, but tweaked a bit.  Mirrored, to capture their opposite sides of the spectrum, but using similar hardware and themed to the Crimson King.  This build will be the evil twin or, perhaps, the doppelganger of the Gunslinger.

So, let's start off with a case...a Mastercase.




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"Come, come, come. You progress, gunslinger! Oh, how I envy you. We make great magic together, you and I. You kill me no more than you kill yourself. Mother-may-I? Yes-you-may." - Walter O'Dim, The Gunslinger

And then, as usual, let's gut the case.


First up is a new back panel.  Luckily, I've already got the design figured out.



Same with the floor of the case.  Measure then duplicate.


It's almost like this thing is on rails, LOL!



Now we're getting to the point that it might be a good idea to figure out what's going into this build.

First off for the MB will be the Asus Z170 Pro Gaming.  The non-Aura Pro Gaming, and conveniently red.


In the Pro Gaming's socket will be an Intel Core i5 6600K.


And for RAM, I'm using 16 GB of G.SKILL TridentZ 3200 DDR4 RAM.  Also, conveniently red.


On the graphics front, I'll be using another Nvidia GTX980Ti.


And powering all this will be a Cooler Master V1000 PSU.


In order to keep the i5 and the 980Ti running cool, the beautiful people at Swiftech have entrusted me with a few goodies.

First off, an Apogee XL2 CPU block with the Iris LED controller.


And for the 980Ti, A Komodo NV TITAN X Luxury Edition.  Damn it's pretty!


Also from Swiftech, a D5 pump setup with this gorgeous acrylic top.


Finishing off the cooling duties will be a Primochill CTR res.


And a Bitspower  360mm Leviathan Slim radiato.


And a very special thanks goes out to Swiftech for sponsoring some awesome cooling products!


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"Shake the hand that shook the world." - Randal Flagg/Walter O'Dim, The Waste Lands

(On a side note:  If you've read The Stand, yes, that Randal Flagg.)

Now that I've got a back panel and a floor, and I know what's going inside, I can bend out a new motherboard tray.  Luckily, I had the measurements from the Gunslinger, so it was easy as pie!


And then trimming down the ends.  


You might wonder why I leave extra on the ends that I have to cut off.  At this thickness, 2mm, my brake needs a bit of material to get leverage on, about 2-2.5".  Less than that and it doesn't bend, but rather it tries to push the sheet back under the clamping bar.  It's a small price to pay for getting good bends.

And the tray mounted, reversed from the Gunslinger build.


Getting the motherboard sorted out.


The I/O panel and PSU holes.



Now I'm ready for the GPU.  Thanks to Swiftech for this beautiful Komodo Luxury block.



Little bit of cutting and bending, with 5052 Al it's soooo much easier, and I've got my simple little GPU bracket.



And now it's caught up with it's foe.


Once again, thanks to Swiftech for their sponsorship!


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^ That just freaks me out Cheaps.


I feel like I'm ignoring the king since I'm working most of the details out on the Gunslinger.  But progress has been made.  Or rather details and measurements have been transferred over.

Laying out the pump set up that will have the back of the pump going through the tray.



For this to make a bit more sense, I guess I should let you in on my plans for the back panel.  In the story of Roland, his era is a sort of feudal time that has come after a very advanced technological society has fallen.  This technological society, created by those Roland calls the 'Old Ones', has been in decay for thousands of years and at it's peak was more advanced than our own.  Even after thousands of years, some of this advance technology still exists and some still even works, though the people of Roland's time consider it evil or magic, and don't really understand it's workings.  Roland and his companions stumble across some of these old machines and computers in their travels, some built by North Central Positronics, a company of the Old Ones that specialized in robotics.  So my plan for the back panel is to give it a look of this decayed technology, electronics that have been wasting away for thousands of years, hence the pump and wires popping through the panel will fit right in with a bit of detailing and weathering.

For the SSDs, I want to make some brackets that allow me to mount the drives with the side mounts instead of the back ones so I don't have to pull everything apart just to pop a drive out.

I'm using some .05" aluminum for these brackets.



And then using a vice to bend them into shape.


Shot a little how to video for easily bending aluminum in a vice for my Down & Dirty Modding series.

The finished product.


And marking out for my SSD brackets and CPU cutout.


A little bit more work and I should be caught up with the Gunslinger again, at least until I get to the details, that's where these will start to show their true colors.

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"Death for you, life for my crop." -  Wizard and Glass

In Wizard and Glass, Roland and his ka-tet end up in a weird remix of The Wizard of Oz, so sticking with that theme, let's give the king a brain.


And it wouldn't be complete without a block.  a Swiftech Apogee XL2.


We also need to get our pump installed.  Just like on the Gunslinger.  I'm mounting it through the tray so that the top is on one side and the pump is on the other side, where I can fit it into my theme for the back of the tray.


Next up is a junction box for my wiring.  I want the back to look like old unused electronics, but the pretty side of the case will have nice and clean wiring.  In order to give myself a spot to switch the look over, I'm going to use a junction box on the back where one set of wires can go in and another prettier set will come through the tray.  In order to keep the box as clean as I can, I brazed it together.  

Marking it all out.


Then I got it bent up in the vise and ready for brazing.  I split the side so that all my corners would be the same and I can hide the braze very easily like this.  I made sure to bevel my edges so that the braze has plenty to grab on to and also used some sharpie marks to give me an idea of temp.  The sharpie evaporates a bit before the aluminum is at temp.


And an easy little braze.  A bit of grinding and you'd never know it was there.



Then mounting it to the tray.  I'll cut a pass through for my wires.  On the Gunslinger, this pass was also a nice CPU cutout...not so lucky this time since the mb is flipped.


While I was waiting for the braze to cool off, I decided to get my front panels matched up, by adding a nice cut out in the King's panel so the reservoir will fit through.  And since they're twins, I just copied over what I did on the Gunslinger.




I also copied the res brackets that I made to attach my CTR reservoirs to the fans.



Now I can start putting things together to get more of a feel for the details I need to add.



And the twins.




Fans and radiator should be here this week so I can get the res mounted and figure out how to dress up the brackets, so until then, thanks for following along!

And thanks to Swiftech for sponsoring this build!


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"Christ the Man Jesus help me, I have Black Thirteen under the floorboards of my church. And it's come alive. Do you understand me?" He looked at them with his wet eyes. "It's come alive." - Callahan, Wolves of the Calla

Update time, and I guess, dirty copy and pasting time too.  I've hit a spot in the Gunslinger and the Crimson King where they are almost perfect mirrors of each other so it only makes sense to do the work on both at the same time.  

And as usually happens along the way, I've changed things up a bit.  I wanted a junction box on the back of the tray to fit the theme I'm going for and also for a place to hide some cable splices, so i bent one up.  It was functional but just didn't seem right to me.  And then wandering about the local hardware store, I thought I'd peruse the electrical aisle to see what I could put together for a junction box.  Came up with this.


I think it fits better than what I made up, plus knockouts are way easier than what I had planned.  A few romex connectors and it'll work perfect, so I fit them over the holes I had already cut for my previous attempt.


And opened up the pass through for a little more room.


With 2 different cover styles installed.  I'm liking the option for a knockout in the cover.  Later, I can figure out what knockouts to knock out and it'll be good to go.


With that sorted and somewhat finalized, I can start on the paint work.  This ones gonna be a stretch for me paint wise, there's gonna be a lot of weathering and airbrush work, which I suck at.  But first, something I'm totally familiar with, primer.


And since I'm going to match the SSD's to the theme and that requires a total repaint, I pulled them apart...


So I could prime them too.  


Next up was a coat of flat gray for the trays and laying parts out.


Now that I can see what I'm working with I've got a better feel for the theme and can start to lay out my ideas.

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'Renounce the Tower. This is your last warning.' - Note left to Roland's Ka-tet, Wolves of the Calla

Paint, paint, paint.  This is always when a build starts coming together for me, but this one is a new challenge.  It's not picking out a cool color and laying down a glassy coat, it's all in the details.  And that means an airbrush, which I have, but have never been useful with.  Let's see if I can change that.

Since the back of the tray is supposed to look like 1000 year old tech that is more advanced than ours but seems a bit more clunky (I always pictured computers and robots from the futurists of the 50's and 60's), I wanted to give it a industrial feel with a ton of aging, plus add details from the series.  I'm starting with riveted panels that everything will attach to.  I started with some lines for the edges of the panels.


Next came learning how to do rivets.



And shading.



Then all the components have to be painted to fit in.  First the SSD's are getting a chrome finish.


And then tackling the PSU.



Naturally, I tape off the sticker and this happens.


And then adding some details.




The hazard marking comes from a spot in the story where Roland's ka-tet finds some of the hardware that keeps the beam of the bear and the turtle functioning.

And the almost finished back panel with the SSD's, junction box, and PSU.  Next up for the panel is some rusting and aging to make it look like it's been wasting away for a thousand years.


And a bit of a teaser of what's to come...


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Had to add a quick update for the weathering.  It's 90% done, still have to add some holes on the Crimson King for some flash on the other side of the tray and need to clear both of the trays, but I'm super happy with how it turned out.

First pass.


It came out too regular but not bad for a first attempt at weathering and the first time really using an airbrush.

Second pass.






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“There's nothing like stories on a windy night when folks have found a warm place in a cold world.” - The Wind Through the Keyhole

So with most of the airbrushing done, it was time to clear my panels to see how they turned out.  I have to say, the clearcoat really brought the detail out.







I also had to do something for the corrosion on the SSD's to make them look like they've been sitting around for a thousand years too.  Since they were a chrome/alloy color, I decided to give it that whitish corrosion that you tend to see on alloy wheels.  First up, some white and black, dabbed with a cloth to give it some texture.


Then a bit of green over the top, dabbed with a cloth as well.


I hit them with some clear as well.  Actually two coats, one after the white, but before the black so they wouldn't mix or rub the white off, then another after the green.  I would say, unfortunately I wound up with some lifting and wrinking cause I hit the second coat of clear a little heavy and the bottom layers weren't at full cure, but I actually like the look, so I'm gonna roll with it. Gives it some texture and an interesting look.


Now we get to the part where the two cases start to take on their own identity.  Each of the motherboard sides will have it's own theme.  For the Crimson King, I went with a hammered black paint to get some texture and give an old and dark feel to the tray.  The Gunslinger gets leather, but that's a different build log.


For details on this side, I had to turn to the king's minions and tools.  There just isn't a whole lot of specifics about the king.  One of the tools of the king is Maerlyn's Rainbow.  Maerlyn was a great sorcerer of Roland's world.  Think Merlin of the Arthurian tales, but with Maerlyn being an anarchist, preferring chaos over stability.  Maerlyn created 13 orbs of different colors and powers.

From The Dark Tower Wiki:

Maerlyn's Rainbow, also known as the Bends o' the Bow or Wizard’s Rainbow, consists of thirteen colored spheres. The first twelve represent the Twelve Guardians of the Beams, each having the secret of a different form of magic; the last, Black Thirteen, represents the Dark Tower itself, which was filled with the evil of the monster-infested void that existed between worlds.

Some have different powers to others with some showing Mid-World, some which show All-World, and some which have the power to transport. Others look into the future and the demon infested worlds as well as revealing the locations of secret doors which give access to other worlds. Additionally, others can see far into the world and witness vile acts most people would wish kept secret. One is said to give the power of levitation, and another the secrets of telepathy.

All were cursed to bring despair and sorrow to those who wielded them, representing a corruption of the White and have a tendency to sap the life of the user, looking into them to a person to see their sins and shameful acts.

Sounds perfect for the Crimson King build!  I started with round dowel rod ends.


A base coat of white so all the colors would come out.


Then I painted them the colors of the Rainbow: Crimson, Orange, Yellow, Pink, Dark Blue, Dark Green, Indigo, Lime, Azure, Violet, Brown, Pearl Grey, and Black.


It looks like I'm making freaking lollipops.  :tongue: 

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3 hours ago, Cheapskate said:

-Enter the alcoholic buddy that takes one and has it in his mouth for an hour.

They would be sorely disappointed.  And probably get splinters from the wood and cancer from the paint.

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The man in black smiled. "Shall we tell the truth then, you and I? No more lies?" - Stephen King, The Gunslinger

Firstly, some changes are in order for this build.  I'm renaming it to The Man in Black.  In trying to come up with ideas to symbolize the Crimson King, I've had to do a little reaching and in the end, the symbols I've decided to use also work well for the Man in Black character from the series.  And since the Man in Black is also the Gunslinger's antagonist, albeit as a pawn of the king, it still keeps with my protagonist/antagonist idea for these cases.  Two other benefits of this change are that it ties in with this summer's movie better, and now I can include some of the cool trivia from the series about the Man in Black, aka Walter Padick, but probably better known as Randall Flagg from The Stand.

So back to business, with Maerlyn's Rainbow dry, it was time to mate it with the mb tray.  I used my favorite 3M double-sided, clear, stick anything to anything tape, that way I would have at least a chance of changing things around if I wanted versus using a glue, epoxy or screws.


I've still got some extra details to figure out for this side, but with this mostly assembled and most of the case out of paint, I can finally put the tray in and see how it all works together.



To keep the back side of the tray looking right, I mounted my spacers for the motherboard backwards.  It'll require using nuts to mount the mb, but let me use screws with rusted heads on the back side, matching all my rust effects.


I still need to get the back panel CNC'd and painted, but seeing this much of it together eased my worry of having three different looks going on at once.  The rusted out back of the tray and the themed front of the tray don't really overlap and both go along with the textured coat on the case itself.  But more about the case next time. :)  And a new sponsor too! :S 

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Thank god my X-Carve is up and running again.  First it decided to change COM ports on me and threw me for a loop.  Then after that, I broke the only 1/16" bit I had.  But, with 4 new bits in hand, I can start finishing my back panels.  

Both the Man in Black and the Gunslinger will have similar exhaust ports on the back side of the MB tray.  I'm going to use the symbol for Ka, or destiny there.  Unfortunately it's not a big as I'd like so there isn't crazy detail.  Took a couple of tries to figure out the best way to cut it, you can see under the test where I started to profile the cut but that was taking forever. 


With everything figured out, it was time for the real deal on the back panel.  For the Man in Black, the MB side of the tray gets the eye of the Crimson King since the Man in Black is acting as his agent.


A little prep and a little paint and this will be ready to install!

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OMG!  Does wiring ever end????  Apparently not, but I have made some progress.  Extensions, sleeved.


But before we get into running the fans, I need to do something about the power and reset buttons.  Although I like having I/Os on the front of the case, I hate the mess you have to deal with on the inside, especially in a mod, so they've got to go to be replaced by a simple power and reset button pair.  First off I need to make a plate to cover the original I/O plate.  Using a pencil lead, I rubbed the outline onto some paper.


I could then cut that out and transfer the shape over to some 1mm Al to cut out.



Then some mounting holes to hold the Al to the original plate and while I was at it I notched the plate out with a dremel to allow my switches to run through.




Voila!  Switches!  Totally looks like an upside down smiley face! :P


I'm painting the plate to match the rest of the case and the switches are red LEDs to match the color scheme.

So there's one thing that any self respecting Dark Tower build needs, and that's a rose.  The Dark Tower is surrounded by a field of roses and in one of the multiple worlds, there exists a rose that is the tower's counterpart.  So rose=important.  I had thought about putting a rose in the back panels, but liked the idea of Ka and the siguls of the King and the Deschain's better.  So another place that was begging for a little love was the grill cover on the top panel.  It's kind of bland and boring up there and I'm hoping that the LED fans shining up through a silhouette will look pretty cool.

ABS on an X-Carve is like going through butter with a hot knife.  A nice change from dealing with aluminum, and probably a whole lot better than what is coming up, a steel side panel.  Not really sure how that one is going to work out.  But I got a nice vector drawing of a rose, set it all up, and let it eat.



I taped the hell out of the first one to keep stuff from flying around and was a bit scared of breaking something taking it up, so the next one I went easy on the tape.  That was a mistake as one of the thinner sections let go and garbled the design.  Not bad and I could live with it, but I'm still going to look into a replacement.

And speaking of milled parts, I just got some awesome milled parts in for the cooling loop.


MNPCTech 1/2" hardline fittings.  A bunch of them!  Can't wait to get these babies in and start planning the loop.

And a big thanks to my sponsors:


and now,


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I want to take a sec to look at the paint, since it doesn't really show in the pics.

First up is a a coat of rattle can black over primer.


It's got a bit of orange peel but that won't really matter.  Next is a medium scratch pad to rough up the surface so that the next layer has something to grab on to.


The top coat is a textured paint from Rustoleum that's supposed to look like rock??? Kind of?  It really isn't bad and basically turns the finish into coarse sandpaper.



It's not the slate brick that's in the story, but it looks kind of rocky.  One nice thing is that as long as the base was black, it all pretty well matched, so I just top coated the parts of the case that didn't need paint and it matched the parts I painted black just fine.  Another is it'll cover blemishes in the base and doesn't scratch unless you really go at it.

Since most all the painting is done, it's time to start the final assembly.

Wired the fans and switches.



And I weathered the wires on the back side to make them look past their prime.


Next up was the putting the mb in.


And cleaning up the wires.


Then it was time to slip the GPU in.


I went with red lighting because the Man in Black serves the Red.  Though I'm gonna have to tone it down a bit, sort of drowns out every thing at 12v.



And a few shots with it's protagonist twin.






All that's left now is the loop!

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Now it's time to finish the loop and get this thing done. Or so I think...

I started the loop like it's twin, in the front on the res.  That bottom line was the tricky one and once I got it done, it was smooth sailing.  Amazingly enough, on both builds, that piece went off without much of a hitch.  I think I had to redo it once between both builds.


And the rest of the loop was A to B making sure to keep everything straight.



I filled it with Mayhems Dark Red.  It just looks so nice in a loop.


While doing the loop, I was also cutting out some acrylic side panels.  They came out mostly OK.  I've still got some measurements to work out to get the magnets to press fit, so I wound up gluing these.


And then things got interesting when I booted the system.  Everything worked, which is always a bonus, but...


It's hard to tell, but I forgot to swap the colored light bar in the GPU block.  Red fluid+green GPU lights is not an attractive thing.  And if that wasn't enough.


I swapped one of the original blue fans I bought for the Gunslinger in without knowing it.  Not a big deal except the res pins the fan to the radiator.  And I soldered the fan wires together.  And there's no slack.  It all amounts to a clean build, but a PIA to fix.  So I drained the loop, pulled the GPU block and swapped the strip and then spliced in the right fan.  Then filled it all back up.



Little bit of drama, but in the end...perfect.  And next up are final shots!

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