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Thread: Dark Matter (Scratch Build) W/3D Printed Parts

  1. #61

    New Water-cooling Sponsor: EKWB

    Im happy to announce that EKWB will be sponsoring a lot of the water cooling gear needed for this build. I will be using their Coolstream XE 480 rad, x-top Revo pump, the X3 250 reservoir and the Supremacy Evo CPU block. The package from them just arrived so you know you'll be getting some sweet install pics.

    Under LEDs Mounted:

    This didn't take very long to do but, I wanted to mount two blue DRL LED strips under the case near the inside of the stainless steel rolled lip. These two DRL lights work perfectly to give the bottom of the case a soft blue glow.

    Update: Mocking Up The Lexan Water-path

    Now that the brackets are made and drilled, its time to mock up the water-path. I have already market out the basic location on the back side of the motherboard tray. The water-path has to be lined up with the door. The hardline tubing comes out of the door slightly on its way to the other side of the motherboard tray.

    EK Revo Pump: Test Mounting

    I had already put together and painted the stand for the pump. I still need to put rubber shock absorbing gaskets on the bottom of it. The pump from EK already has a shock absorbing mount but, I wanted to carry this over to the stand that will hold the pump. The EK Reeve pump w/a plexi top os truly a thing of beauty. It can be mounted horizontally or vertically with a mount from EK.

  2. #62

    Addition To The Top Grill:

    I felt like the top grill was missing something so I started sketching out ideas. The grill is made up of hand cut strips of aluminum with a thicker acrylic center strip. I wanted to run a tapered strip of acrylic vertically. The styling matches the other pieces of acrylic on the top of the case. I also notched out space for the bezel that goes around the EK logo. I will paint it flat black soon.

    Modding EK Supremacy Evo CPU Block:

    I went with a less commonly used block from EKWB because I didn't want the same stuff seen on a bunch of other builds. I also wanted to go for the more industrial/futuristic look. It took me a long time to come up with the font and size that matched the milled OUT/IN on the block. I got it very close and It looks great. I also added a custom designed, “Danger Antimatter” vinyl decal to the block which carries on the theme. I might add a little bit of green to it but, I'm going to wait until I have a chance to test mount it on the motherboard.

    Lexan EK X3 Reservoir Mount:

    Now that I have the EK X3 250 Reservoir I wanted to try cutting a mount out of some really thick lexan I have in the shop. The lexan can be pretty expensive when you get into the thicker stuff so hopefully it turns out like I hope it would.

  3. #63

    Gigabyte GTX 960 Extreme GPU Arrival:

    The two GPUs I will be using for the build arrived today. I want to thank Gigabyte for supplying me with these sweet GPUs. I love the look and design of them. They both also come with backplates that would make even the avid enthusiasts smile. I will be doing a few mods to these so that they fit in with the overall build design. I also have some special mounts designed for them.

    Modding Ideas: Gigabyte GTX 960 Extreme Ed.

    I started out by doing some designs on my laptop. The first one I came up with incorporated the Gigabyte eye with Xtreme Gaming. Xtreme Gaming is what denotes these versions of the GPUs. They have true RGB LEDs that are capable of over 16 million colors. This makes them customizable to any build without modifications.

    I took the design and welded them together. After that it was a matter of cutting them out of vinyl and mounting it on the backplates. I will also be doing some mods to the fan side as one will be mounted vertically and the other horizontally.

    Finishing The Front Pieces of Acrylic:

    When I first started building the frame I cut all the major pieces of acrylic needed for the front of the case. Now that I have my EK XE 480 radiator I can continue work on the front. I started by painting all the pieces of acrylic that I had already cut out.

    EK Vinyl Work For XE 480 Radiator:

    In between coats of paint I designed and cut the vinyl pieces that will go on the side of the 480 radiator. There's a few more parts that will be added to it but for now I thought it would be neat to show you some of it.

  4. #64

    Gskill Trident Z DDR4 Ram Arrival:

    The new black and white ram from Gskill arrived today. Gskill recently released several new colors of their Trident Z DDR4 so that your ram can match your build. These ram sticks look much more beautiful in real life then in the pics I've seen which is really impressive. I cant wait to get them all mounted up on the motherboard.

    RantoPad Mouse Mods:

    RantoPad sent some goodies for this build and its time to mod the optical gaming mouse they sent. It has a built in LED that lights up a transformer style logo on the front of the mouse. Im going to mod it to fit the Dark Matter build. I will take advantage of the built in LED and build my own light up logo. Im debating on swapping the LED for an RGB one I have. If I keep the current one it will need to be adjusted down a bit to evenly light the badge. I made sure to take pictures along the way so you could see the process from start to almost finished.

    Cutting The Front Panel & Mock-ups of EK XE 480 Radiator:

    The front of the case will serve as an intake for the EK XE 480 radiator. This thing is a monster and deserves to be seen. I made a custom bracket out of strips of aluminum to hold the rad in place. I made sure to leave just enough clearance in the front for the 4 – 120mm BeQuiet PureWings 2 fans. I haven't decided exactly what material I'm going to use for the grill but, I'm sure I will come up with something neat.

    The front panel was relatively easy to cut out using my air cutter. The air cutter is like a giant dremel with a 4“ blade. I purchased it earlier in the build and I'm glad that I did. Its much quicker and costs less per cut. The only down side is a need for a large compressor to keep it happy. I already had a large compressor for my air tools and airbrush so it was a modest investment.

  5. #65

    Update: Top Acrylic Grill Add-on Painted

    Since it has been fairly warm I've had time to paint the freshly cut piece of acrylic I did for the center of the top grill. Ive also been debating on adding two more pieces but, that will have to wait until later on.

    Backwards Panels:

    As many of you know I suffered a traumatic brain injury which resulted in me getting into case modding. Most of the time I make lemonade out of lemons but, today is one of those days.I realized once finishing up after spending 2 days painting panels; that I painted them backwards. I painted the green panel black and the black panel green. Now I get to sand them all back down and start over. The worse part is that I have to get more paint because I didn't allot enough for a mistake this large. I added this to an update because things like this happen in the modding world. They just happen a little more often to me.

    Update: Right Bottom Door Painted & Re-mounted

    I was finally able to get all the panels painted and re-assembled. This took a bit longer than expected but, I'm extremely happy with the outcome. I have been waiting so long to see this portion assembled and it was well worth the effort.

  6. #66

    Comparison Between CAD Design & The Build:

    Once I get far enough along in the build I like to compare design screenshots to progress screenshots of the actual build. It still amazes me to see how close it is to the design. I still have a few more things to do in this part of the build but, its coming along better than I ever could have imagined. You'll notice little changed here and there that have been made to the design. These come about when I'm struck with inspiration or feel like something is missing.

    Painted Back Side of The Motherboard Tray:

    Painting behind the lexan water-path really made a big difference. I know it would help make it look more complete but, I didn't know how much it would allow the water-path to be seen. The last parts for the water-path are on their way. I need to do a little wet sanding and polish out the milling lines. The picture below shows what it looks like now with it painted behind the water-path (top) & what it looked like before it was painted (bottom). It will really pop once the green coolant is added.

    Led Mount: Back Of The Res Mount

    Ive been trying to figure out how I can mount the LED strip behind the tube res while having the lighting effect also show behind the OCZ triple SSD rack. I don't want them to be very bright either.

    I came up with an idea to make an all lexan box behind the tube res mount that I can slide the LED strip into. This would share the lighting between the two as well as allow me to dim and diffuse the light though the lexan box its mounted in. Im a big fan of solving multiple problems by building single parts and this fits the bill.

    After taking some measurements of the lexan and the LED strip I was able to come up with a template that I can use to make the box. Below I added a quick video of what it looks like mounted behind the EK X3 250 reservoir.

  7. #67

    Vinyl For The Dual Voltmeter Gauge Mount:

    I posted information on how I built the dual voltmeter gauge earlier in the build log. The main gauge monitors the motherboards voltage and the secondary monitors the GPUs voltage. I decided I wanted to add vinyl labels so that I could easily determine which gauge is which, quickly.

    3D Printed Mandrel Set:

    After looking at a lot of the mandrel sets online I decided that I could easily design and 3D print a complete set. The advantage to doing it this way is the ability to change the mandrel size and less than an hour worth of printing. this set is designed for 12 to 13 mm tubing.

    T there are four main mandrels used in majority of water cooling runs. They consist of a 45, 90, 180 and 360 degree mandrels. The nice feature of these is the ability to easily make bends in all axis without added effort. The metal 90 degree brackets allow them to be mounted vertically to a work surface as well as horizontally. I also added angle marks on the mandrels for quick reference.

    BeQuiet 120mm PureWing Fan Decals:

    As many of you know, I have a slight OCD for even the smallest details. I decided to custom make tiny, “Be Quiet” vinyl decals in green ti replace the orange ones on the fans. I will have to put a brand new blade in my vinyl cutter. Doing so will assure that they are cleanly cut at this small size.

  8. #68

    Arrival: Supermicro C7Z170–OCE

    I have been very excited awaiting the motherboards arrival and it's finally here. My first impressions are very satisfying. It came well packaged and looks beautiful. The box was stocked with SATA cables. I've seen a lot of motherboards in my lifetime; I could tell immediately that it was built using quality components. Supermicro is known for making server grade gear and this motherboard shows it. I will be making a few slight modifications to the motherboard so that it fits well within the theme.

    Case Intrusion Detection System:

    After reading some of the features for the motherboard I saw something that said it has an case intrusion detection setup. Im going to explore this further as I like to use as many features as I can to show off what the hardware can do. Theres the JL1 header on the motherboard that is used to trigger the intrusion detection system. I have some switches that will work perfectly for each of the door panels.

    Test Mounting G.Skill Trident Z DDR4 (black & white edition):

    Now that I have the motherboard I decided to was time to mount the G.Skill Trident Z DDR4 ram to see how it looked. I had originally planned on taking the heat spreaders off and painting them to match the build. This was planned when you could only get them in red and a grayish color. I think these would look much better if I changed the G.Skill or Trident Z badge to green instead. That would be the best of both worlds in my opinion.

    Test Mounting EKWB Supremacy Evo CPU Block:

    I also wanted to test fit the EK Supremacy Evo block to see how it would look and in very happy with the way it looks. Combined with the DDR4 it is killer. They match each other and the motherboard better than I could have hoped for.

  9. #69

    Cooler Master Sickleflow 120mm Fan Mods:

    I will be using a Cooler Master 120mm fan on the back of the case. It has blue LEDs that match the build. I am going to do a few mods to it so that it fits in with the build. I have started by designing and cutting out vinyl decals that employ the newer, “Make it Yours” campaign that Cooler Master has been using. Below you can see how the fan comes stock.

    The hard part is the size of the lettering on this part. They are insanely small in order to fit properly on the middle of the fan. I am very happy with the way it looks as its much better than the stock holographic decal used. The decal that comes on this fan is neat but, it makes the brand name illegible. I also paint matched the fan before doing the vinyl work so that it fit in with the color scheme.

    Notched Out The Frame & Mounted 2X120mm BeQuiet PureWings 2 Fans:

    I managed to drag my air-compressor into my assembly room in order to notch out the frame because I didn't want to move the case and all its parts to the shop. I used a combination of cardboard and drop cloths to protect the other sections of the case.

    Aluminum & 3D Printed Cable Management:

    I had originally went with an entirely 3D printed cable management setup for the back side of the motherboard tray but, I decided to go with an aluminum piece. The risers on each side are 3D printed and modular. This allows me to change the height by adding or subtracting the plastic printed standoffs (risers.)

  10. #70

    Crazy Days Ahead:

    Over the next three days I will be finishing up almost all of the case and mods. The last bit of parts from EKWB should arrive then. They are sending the coolant, hard line tubing, bending kit and all the fittings required. Once those arrive I will immediately start work on doing the custom loop and prepping it for final photos. I'm also waiting on some custom vinyl I ordered that should arrive in the next few days. I've prepped all of the cutting patterns for when the vinyl arrives.

    Arrival: Intel i7 Skylake 6700K CPU

    I was finally able to get the CPU for the Dark Matter scratch build. I could have easily gone with an i5 but, all the hardware is top notch so I felt it deserved an equally awesome CPU.

    BeQuiet Dark Power Pro 11–1,200 PSU Mods:

    I have added the last piece that will be part of the dual voltmeter gauge mount. I bent a couple pieces of aluminum in order to taper the front of the panel. I also cut a piece of thick lexan that it edge lit using green LEDs. This will give the completed mount an industrial and futuristic look. The piece of lexan is used to mount some of the pieces so I didn't have to drill holes through the side of the PSU.

    Painting: Gas Struts

    I made quick work of the gas struts and mounts. The majority of them are painted black as they were in the design. The end pieces that are next to the green hinges are painted green in order to carry the then. I also have designed some custom vinyl pieces that will be added when my special order vinyl arrives.

    Cable Management & Water-path Surround:

    I made a panel that goes around two sides of the water-path. The hardline tubing that comes out of the water-path will pass through this panel; through the motherboard tray and out the other side. This surround will also allow me to keep all the cabling from the PSU organized on its way to the motherboard and other components. Now that it's cut and prepped I will paint it to match the build.

    Front Grill Insert:

    Originally I had designed the front fan cutout to just have a grill over the fan cutout. After mocking the front panel up I decided I wanted to try a few different ideas that would give it a bit more dimension. My solution is cutting a combination of acrylic and metal mesh that will go together to make inserts over the fan cutout.

    I started by drawing out different shapes using angles found throughout the build. I found if I make a bend in the middle of each insert it will give it the dimension I've been looking for. Luckily I just purchased a heat gun which came in handy for bending the acrylic. Now that I have all the pieces cut, filed and prepped I can move forward with bending the pieces for the front.

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