Dark Matter Scratch Build:
Who am I?
A bit about me; a few years ago I suffered a traumatic brain injury that caused my brain to hemorrhage. After spending a long time in intensive care I kept thinking about case modding. Before long, its all I could think about. After recovering from my injury I was left with epilepsy and brain that no longer functioned like before.
I started to look at things differently. Inspiration for mods began to pop up in the oddest places. I eventually became overthrown with modding ideas and designs. Soon I decided it was time to start. Theres nothing quite like being in the grocery store and yelling, “thats it, 45 degree angles” and then running out of the store like a mad man. No matter what I was doing, it all kept coming back to case modding. Today case modding is my life and it allows me to be truly happy. For some case modding is a hobby but, for me its a lifestyle.
And So It Begins:
I decided to do this scratch build, “Dark Matter” for several reasons. I was tired of limiting my mods to the confines of a mass manufactured case. There are a ton of great cases out there but, I wanted to do something my style from the ground up. The design phase began once I started getting close to completing the StarCraft Day Zero case. However, a lot of the main features for this build have been planned over the last year.
During the scratch build I will be using new modding techniques as well as using materials that aren't always associated with case modding. If you like seeing original creations and have a love for the truest form of modding; you're in the right place.
Design Screen Shots:
I would also like to thank the Sponsors that believe in the Dark Matter Scratch Build
• Quad vertical PCI-e slots added
• Modded the stock 80mm rear fan into a 120mm
• Tons of custom metal fabrication found throughout the build.
• Almost every piece is hand fabricated (freestyle modding)
• Aluminum triple SSD rack
• Custom built PSU mount w/acrylic center plate (backlit)
• Hand made aluminum grill (top of the case)
• Modded an Xbox 360 power ring to fit the front of the case and added individually addressable LEDs
• Hand built acrylic dual voltmeter mount
• 12mm thick acrylic honeycomb floor
• Acrylic 240 fan grill (custom made)
• Cable shroud door mounted next to the motherboard
• Hand built aluminum brackets for Lexan water-path & EK 480 radiator
• 90 degree brackets for the frame of the case
• Snap in color matched rings for the 120mm PureWings 2 PWM fans
• Gskill logo badge with backlit letters
• EK logo with plate on the top grill insert
• Extensive cable management setup and cable combs
• Case for Arduino Mega and mini TFT touch screen for the animated case badge
• Hinges for all side panels
• Mounts for the aluminum grill (top of the case)
• Custom countersunk washers
• SSD mount extension
• GPU cable combs
• Cable passthrough bezel
• Switch panel for Xbox 360 power ring and 2 Vandal switches
• Supermicro C7 Z170–OCE motherboard
• Gigabyte GTX 960 Extreme SLI GPUs (4-gig each)
• Intel i7 Skylake CPU
• Gskill Trident DDR 4 (4 sticks of ram)
• 3 X OCZ Vector 180 SSDs
• Full custom sleeved Ensourced cable set
• 1,200 watt DarkPower 11 Pro BeQuiet Modular PSU
• 7 X 120mm PWM PureWings 2 case fans
• 16mm angel eye Vandal switch (blue)
• 5050 RGB LED strips with wireless remote
• Arduino Mega with mini TFT touch screen (animated case badge)
• Printrbot various filaments (3D printed plastics)
• 4 X Gas struts for gullwing doors
• Large custom lexan water-path behind the motherboard tray
• Combination of nickel plated and PETG hardline tubing
• Custom built acrylic & nickel reservoir mount w/custom smart LEDs
• Water-cooling passthrough for motherboard tray
• EKWB X3 250 reservoir
• EKWB Supremacy Evo CPU block
• 480mm radiator (quad BeQuiet 120mm fans)
• EKWB Revo pump
- - - Updated - - -
Cutting The Frame:
I started to build the frame for the build by cutting metal stock that I've been saving for this build. Some of it is steel and the rest is aluminum to help shave of any weight that I can. I also designed and 3D printed all of the brackets needed to put the frame together.
I would have rather used a more aggressive tool but, my Dremel and a hand full of cut off disks have made quick work of the first few pieces.
3D Printed Brackets:
Finishing The Frame:
Today I was able to finish cutting the frames square tubing. I knew this case was going to be a beast but, wow. I can now tell how big of a beast it will be. Mock-ups of the frame have been started as well.
3D Printed Brackets:
I also wrapped up a couple replacement 3D printed brackets. I designed these brackets specifically for this build. That way everything fits perfectly. I printed them with 100% infill using a new experimental hotend called the UBIS 13S. Printrbot also sent an experimental 1mm nozzle that makes quick work of any solid or larger pieces I need to print. This saved me a ton of time in printing. It heats up a lot quicker and it can handle the added volume of filament put through it.
I managed to get the basic parts of the frame together. It took a little bit longer than anticipated but, thats ok with me. I used washers that are made from thick pieces of nylon. This helps to insulate the bolts and the frame. I also added lock rings to every bolt used which will keep the bolts from loosening over time.
Mounting The Custom Feet:
I was lucky enough to be able to re-purpose the feet that will be used for this case. I think the feet of a case serve a good purpose other than aesthetics. Getting the bottom of the case up off the floor a bit helps with cooling.
I have decided to look into adding 2X200mm fans to the bottom of the case. This will help pull air in through the bottom and out through the top+back. Smoke testing will be done to figure out the best settings/arrangements for the fans throughout the case. I do this with the majority of my builds. Please don't try this unless you know what your doing. You could damage hardware. The test results will be posted after they are done and I might do a short video.
The Triple SSD mount:
I designed a triple SSD mount to go on the right side of the case. It will have a see through piece of lexan on the outer panel. The SSD mounts were originally designed to be parallel to the side panel but, when I started cutting everything I decided it would look much better if they had a slight tilt. I made a couple of bends on each end, which allows them to be slightly tilted. I finished all the rough work with these mounts and I will do the aesthetic work after I get the rest of the side panels cut and formed.