Finishing Radiator Housing

posted Nov 2, 2012, 4:03 PM by Andrew Stock   [ updated Nov 2, 2012, 4:03 PM ]
Hello again!

I've been working on little bits and pieces over the past few days, but haven't found a good block of time to make some serious progress. Regardless, here's what I've been working on:

First of all, I started with cleaning up the edges of my radiator housing. Fresh out of the router, the edges are fairly smooth, but they still have ridges on them... which you can see here:

Maybe not that big of a deal... but if I'm going all the way on this, I might as well clean that up and make it perfect. I started out with some 400 grit sandpaper to take out the major imperfections and ridges. I wrapped a small piece around a small spare block of acrylic I had from the housing to make an improvised sanding block for small surfaces:

Worked well enough:

And here it is cleaned up with some water. Nice smooth surface, but not shiny and clean like the remainder of the housing:

Next, I broke out the Novus polish kit:

Starting with a liberal application of #3 and working my way down to #1, I ended up with this:

MUCH better. You're seeing the sky reflected in the edge, in case you couldn't tell. 

Now that all that was done and I had the edges looking polished, time to put it all together!

I love the look of the MDPC screws and brainwashers. Just perfect and clean!

There's one half done. Now, to put the two pieces together I needed some unusual screw lengths... around 8MM long (enough to go through a piece of 5mm acrylic and into the supporting blocks) which I could find in your everyday regular screw, but I wanted to be consistent in my use of MDPC's screws... time for a custom screw length! I started with a longer 20mm screw and inserted it to figure out the exact length needed:

Ever wonder what those numbers on some of the higher end pliers and wire crimpers are?

They're for breaking screws at precise lengths without damaging threads. So handy! Just screw the bolt in to the proper length, then squeeze the pliers, and bam:

... custom length MDPC screws. 

Much better:

That's that! Radiator housing is done for now. The next small piece will be drilling small holes in the bottom area for routing all the fan cables... but I need a little more time to plan that out. The next task I moved on to was repairing some of the mods I made in my previous watercooling setup on this case:

I had cut three fan holes in the bottom for the radiator that was facing down at the time, and now I will no longer be using those holes. They were ugly cuts anyway, and I wanted to seal up the surrounding perforations in the case as well to get a good seal in the bottom area. I looked for some similar metal online and in neighboring areas to try and fix the holes, but didn't have much luck. Fortunately, I am thrifty... and I ended up saving all my scraps from the windows I cut earlier in the project. I bet you can see where this is going. 

I arranged the scraps like puzzle pieces and drew out some lines for the shapes I would need to cut in order to fill the holes. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough scrap pieces for all three solid plates, so I had to improvise on two of them:

A little bit of jigsaw work, and we have our plates:

A little bit of filing, and they fit like a charm:

Next step... adventures with bondo! I'll finally be putting my bondo practice to work. Next time!