Modding may be daunting for most first-timers but the truth is if you have an idea, you are already half-way there. For Shankar Saanthakumar of London, modding for the first time was an experiment on what he can achieve with an inspired idea when paired with a dremel and a spray paint. The result is the Orange Dragon, a compact full water-cooled Fractal Design Core 1000 based casemod.
Modder Alias: Shank8
Real name: Shankar Saanthakumar
Live: London, UK
Years in Computers: 6 Years
Length of time Modding: 1 Year
Personal Website(s): @shank_8 on Instagram
The Build: Orange Dragon
Words from the modder:
I chose to mod the Fractal Design Core 1000 case as I felt the front grill gave the whole case a nice clean feel, and the plain top and side panels provided an uncluttered starting surface to dremel out the dragon silhouettes. After cutting out the dragons (admittedly rather jaggedly), I also cut 2x140mm fan holes at the bottom of the case for a 280mm rad. There is also a slim 140mm rad installed at the front of the case. I decided to use transparent black acrylic for the top and side panel windows as when the case lights are turned off a strong orange/black contrast effect, to match the front grill, is created and when the lights are switched on the internals can be ogled at. A sound control module controls these internal CCFL lights, so the computer almost “dances” with music …I’m a sucker for flashy lights and sparkly things.
Overall, I am very happy with how this project turned out. My one regret is not being more careful when cutting the dragon outlines, as no amount of sanding can correct miss cuts and severely jagged edges. That’s definitely a lesson for next time. If I was to start this mod again I’d definitely invest in a jigsaw to get smoother cuts. I’d also look into Plasti-Dipping the case as you can get some pretty cool effects, and change the colour/revert to the original finish at your will.
- Case: Fractal Design Core 1000 (ORANGE DRAGON mod)
- CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K
- Motherboard: ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe
- RAM: 8GB Crucial Ballistix Tactical Tracer
- GPU: GTX 670
- Storage: 256gb Samsung 840 SSD
- PSU: Seasonic X-series 750w
- Cooling: Watercooled – EK water blocks – Alphacool fittings
Everyone has a story of what got them into Modding. What or whom got you into Modding?
Well, I guess I first discovered modding by accident while wandering the magazine isles of my local supermarket (back when print media reigned supreme)! As a sucker for anything new and shiny, the bright colours and bare PCBs of the PC mags inevitably caught my attention. I haven’t been able to get rid of the modding bug since.
What were the thoughts behind the featured mod?
I’ve always found orange and black builds, such as “Overclocked Orange” by Mremulator, incredibly striking. So I was set on the colour scheme pretty early on. With regards to the theme, I was originally planning to go with a Koi fish design, as their aquatic elegance would have suited a water-cooled build well. After messing around with stencils for a couple of hours I settled on a dragon/Koi fish/serpent hybrid design for the top and side panel windows.
Why did you do it the way you did?
I wanted to build a SFF PC with a full water-cooling loop, so a mini-ITX build in a micro-ATX case seemed like a pretty good solution. I also love the aesthetics of the Fractal Design Core 1000 case (especially its front grill), so this was a great excuse to build in it!
What do you think was the hardest part about doing the mod?
Most probably Dremeling the window designs, as this was my first venture into metal work, and my first time let loose with a Dremel. This inexperience shows as I made several miss cuts early on …I definitely should have practiced on some scrap metal before chopping up the case!
Trying to squeeze the bottom 280mm rad and fans underneath the graphics card was also a challenge. There was a scare moment when I thought I may have to abandon the build as I just couldn’t find enough room. Thankfully, after not-so-carefully pulling and pushing, I managed to fit everything in. However, the resulting fit is a bit too snug for comfort as the rad, ever so slightly, pushes up onto the graphics card’s waterblock inlet/outlet.
Did it turn out how you thought it would?
Yes! Overall, I am very happy. I love how the orange and black contrast, and I think the water-cooling loop looks great through the windows. My one regret is not being more careful when cutting the window designs, as no amount of sanding can correct a miss cut or a severely jagged edge. That’s definitely a lesson learned for next time!
Is there anything you might have wanted to do different?
I’d 100% invest in a jigsaw to get smoother, more precise cuts. I’d also look into Plasti-dipping the case as you can get some pretty cool effects, and change the colour/revert to the original finish at your will.
How much time did you spend on the mod?
Around 6 months of total work time. However this was split up by a large gap half way through. So just under 1 year from start to finish.
Do you have another project in the shop or in the planning?
I always have ideas running though my mind, and a few of those are even realistic! The other day I nearly got hold of a 3ft London telephone box replica, as I thought it’d make an interesting HTPC case. Not sure if the flatmates would have approved though!
I currently have two ideas in the pipeline. I want to take my time to perfect these, so it may be a couple of years before they come to fruition.
Thank you for agreeing to an interview Shankar and we are looking forward to seeing your next creative project.