Reservoir and Radiator Modifications

posted Sep 21, 2013, 5:03 PM by Andrew Stock
Now that I had the basic reassembly completed, time to start preparing some of the components I've assembled for installation into the case!

First, I started with rebuilding my reservoir that was 'disassembled' by my cat a while back.  I decided to go ahead and cut a new top/base, since the original one was a bit marred by the glue and probably wouldn't seal well. I also relocated the holes to be more central, since I'm not putting the light bar in the center of the reservoir (for this iteration, anyway... ).

Next, I used my old tapping rig that I made a few posts back to tap the two holes for G1/4 fittings to screw directly into the base:

I'm sure there's actually a tool meant for this kind of thing... but this works well enough.  I did change up my process slightly to ensure a cleaner/sharper cut. I would now set the tap up like below, then shoot a small amount of cutting fluid into the hole/on top of the bit before starting. This just lubricated the blades on the bit a little more, making it cut easier. 

With that done, time to glue the top and bottom back onto the tube! I changed my process here a little bit as well, after the learning experience from gluing it the last time. I started by putting the wooden guide triangle you can see in the top right of the below picture around the tube, but about 5mm away from the end. This way, I could use it to center on the acrylic triangle using my fingers, but it wouldn't pull the glue out of the seam with capillary action like it did last time. 

I also glued the unit "upside down" this time, putting the tube on the table and running a small line of glue on the top of the tube, then pressing the triangle onto the top of the tube until it held. I would then flip the whole thing over and shoot glue around the outside edge of the tube where it meets the acrylic triangle, allowing capillary action to pull the glue into the seam if there were any gaps. I still wish the seal would look cleaner, but this weld-on #4 is pretty watery and hard to manage right. I could use a different glue, like Weld-on #16, but I've heard it has a white appearance when it dries, which would be even worse. 

Once the "base" of the reservoir was glued to the tube, I used the reservoir housing piece as a guide for gluing the top of the reservoir onto the tube... I couldn't use the wooden guide, as it would be permanently stuck on the tube afterwards, sandwiched between the bottom and top. Glad I noticed that before I mindlessly went ahead and did it. 

After that, I filled it up with water and plugged all the holes to let it sit for a few days and make sure it doesn't leak. I checked back after a few days, no water spots or leaks... dry as a bone. Just to be sure, I did a quick cheap "pressure test" by sealing a fitting onto one of the openings and blowing into a tube... just to make sure it didn't force any water out. I know there are pressure testing rigs that will do this too... but my method is cheap, and just as effective.  

As I mentioned, I didn't really like the look of the seems... but I am hesitant to re-do it again in vain hopes for a better result... instead, I am thinking of a good looking way to mask it. I though about perhaps some kind of black vinyl design or something around the top and bottom of the tube, which would hide the seam area and ports, which are clearly visible. To try and fix it, I quickly threw on some electrical tape I had, just to see what it looks like:

Before and after, with the prism lit up:


 Hmm... not bad... it definitely does a good job of hiding the ports and seams, but it can be better. I'll have to think. Perhaps if the vinyl 'mask' on the top and bottom is some kind of design or something...

Anyway, on to other tasks for now! There were a few modifications to the radiator housing that I had been planning in my head for a while now. I wanted to make it so the cables from all the fans were hidden, or at least better organized. 

To do that, I disassembled the housing and marked off where I wanted to cut a few holes, using a wax pencil:

I clamped it down to my drill press, dabbed on some cutting oil, and put a few holes in it where marked:

Reassembled it, and fed the cables through...

Much nicer! 

I also considered rotating the fans once, so that the sleeve shows a little bit (since will have that nice MDPC sleeving on it!):

Not sure which I will go with... leaning towards the second one... especially since the fourth fan at the back looks more similar to the other three, whereas in the top picture you can see the cable for the fourth fan has to 'backtrack' a bit to go to its hole. This second way, they are more uniform. 

Next, time to plan out where to put all the cabling!

Hooking up 8 fans makes quite a spaghetti mess of cables.  I had some cheap-o 4-way fan splitters that I picked up, but I wasn't sure if I wanted to use them or not. They end up leaving a lot of extra length of cable to deal with, and they are ugly (though they would be hidden anyway...). Meh, maybe I won't use them. Too messy. Time to think of something better...

There are these nice spaces that I left myself underneath the reservoir where I can hide power cabling for the fans and pumps, as well as an arduino controller to manage the fan speeds and such based on water temperature. My initial thought was just to cram all the cabling down there, but looking at it upside down, I thought of a better way to do it. I quickly cut out some acrylic squares to use for prototyping:

Hmm... much neater this way! All I have to do is cut some holes through the clear acrylic blocks for the fan cables to pass through, and I can make a simple PCB that will fit in the bottom area to which all the fans will connect. Then, I just have one cable going from this "daughter board" over to the arduino "main board" in the cell next to it! 

First, time to cut some pass-through holes for the fan cables. I planned on putting one hole through the center of each block, which should be more than enough to fit all the cables:

Now... being the cautious person I am, I pulled out one of the scrap acrylic bars that I cut too short, and used to to try out cutting the holes. These are large diameter holes through rather thick acrylic... and I have had this particular acrylic shatter on me before for no good reason... so I wanted to practice a bit and make sure I didn't ruin any of these acrylic cross-bars by breaking them. 

I set up one of the scrap bars, clamped it down to the drill press, and ran a few holes through it. The first hole went fine until the last little bit, where it caught the edge and cracked the surface. Blah. I scooted the bar over, made another hole... same thing. Ugh! One more time, with more oil and a little slower... this time, the bar completely exploded, jammed on the drill press, and chopped up my hand in the process.

Stupid bar!  Alas, I had to call it quits there for a while... being down one hand with an already finicky piece of acrylic could only spell disaster from here... so I stopped for the weekend to nurse my wounds and think about how best to make these holes. 

Until next time!