Back to Work!

posted May 13, 2013, 9:52 PM by Andrew Stock
So... I took a bit of a break from this project to knock out Project Gemini real quick, but now I'm back... and I finally have some progress to post! 

First of all, my workshop had fallen into a bit of disrepair since I started the other project... too many home projects like installing new lights in my house and replacing my water heater... gotta  clean it up, so I can focus on my work! 

With that out of the way, time to recap where I left off! Last time, I had finished putting a coat or two of paint on the case walls and PSU/bottom plates. I went over the finish with some 2000 grit sandpaper (wet, of course) one more time to clean off some of the dust that had accumulated and re-evaluate the paint job. I found a few spots that I wasn't quite satisfied with yet, so I put them back in the booth and gave them one more coat. 24 hours of drying in the booth later...

Some of the pieces came out looking great, like the PSU plate:

Others look a bit 'blotchy' around the edges, which I am not quite sure how fix just yet... perhaps more aggressive sanding? 

Anyway, I put those aside for now to keep working on all the other pieces... back to the workbench! 

As for the other pieces, I put some coats of primer on my radiators, the case housing, and the motherboard tray (really packing the paint booth to make some headway! ):

Afterward, I wet sanded the pieces with P1500, flushed them with clean water, toweled them off, and hung them out to dry:

One thing I forgot to do before priming the midplate was cut the holes for the reservoir and pass-through ports from the motherboard to the lower chamber where the radiators/pump will be. I started off by using the bottom piece of my reservoir to measure out where the holes would be :

As you may notice... the bottom of the reservoir is no longer attached to the reservoir. In fact, the reservoir got completely disassembled thanks to my clumsiness.  I accidentally bumped it off the counter after cleaning and testing it, and somehow it landed just right and both the top and bottom popped off, surprisingly enough. The fact that it came off from just a 3 foot drop means it probably wasn't very well adhered anyway... so I'm going to have to reconsider my gluing methods, or try another adhesive. Many sources online said IPS weld-on #3 was the way to go, but I'm second guessing it now. It seemed solid, but I guess I'd rather it come off now than after fully assembled! 

Anyway, back to the midplate... I made some crude markings to get a rough location, then drew a more exact box around it to give myself some slack. 

My thought is that I am going to fit the reservoir in place, then screw the fittings into it from the bottom of the midplate, so they will essentially hang through the midplate without actually screwing on to it. This greatly simplifies the design I was originally considering, which I'm all for. 

The box ended up being 25mm, which was almost exactly right for using a quarter to round off the edges... so that's what I did. 

A little bit of work with the Dremmel later, and I had my rough cut:

Now, I just need to work on it a bit with the files to clean it up... but I'll save that for another day. 

Next, I took some measurements on the midplate for the PSU, cabling, and through ports, and marked off the area where I would drill the ports. In case it isn't clear, these ports will allow the water to flow from the bottom chamber with the radiators and pumps up to the top chamber where the motherboard and blocks will be, and then back down into the reservoir:

To make these cuts, I decided to go with my drill press and the handy Unibit. I also got a hold of some new cutting oil that is technically for cutting threads, but also supposedly works well for machine bits. 

I expected this stuff to be pretty much like WD-40... but eww... it's weird. It's like a slug made of foam!

The fortunate part of this weird lubricant foam was that it stuck to the sides of the bit perfectly, making it super easy to apply without over-applying (like the last time I used cutting oil to cut the holes in my reservoir... ). A few presses later:

Now this piece is ready to clean, re-prime, and paint I think!

Speaking of paint...

I put the first few coats on the case shell, and it's drying for 24 hours now. I still have to do the 'inside' of each piece, wet sand it, put down a second set of coats, wet sand it, and see if it needs a third or not. Painting takes a long time! 

Anyway, that's all for now! Good to be back!