Reservoir Redesign

posted Sep 2, 2012, 4:17 PM by Andrew Stock   [ updated Sep 2, 2012, 4:17 PM ]
Well... I think I may have increased my workload a bit. 

I was putting finishing details on my bay reservoir and the various fittings required to get it to work... when I ran into some complications... then made some changes... long story short, I think I just went from using the reservoir I had on hand and crafting the casing to making my own custom fabricated reservoir and housing. 

Most recently, this was the plan below. I had the top three bays consumed by a hard drive/fan bay that would hold my two 3.5" 2TB drives in a RAID1 for data, and a solid state or two for games and system. The bottom three bays would be consumed by a tube reservoir and a custom housing in a hexagon shape around it. Here's the image that most closely represents that plan: 

The issue I ran into was that it would be very complicated and difficult to fill the system. I would need a fill port on the top of the reservoir... but the way the housing had to be put together, I did not have enough space between the top of the housing and the hard drive cage to fit the fill port. 

So... I started tinkering. Now, I ended up here...

The changes I made were:

1) I ditched the half-hexagon reservoir housing in favor of an equilateral triangle. I think it fits better with the 'prism' moniker, requires less material, is less complicated to fabricate, and gives me more room behind the housing for other stuff... more on that later.  It will be crafted out of opaque black 8mm thick acrylic, which gives me a little more room to work with as opposed to the 5mm stuff. 

2) I ditched the EK-250 Multioption Res in favor of crafting my own tube reservoir. I found that I can get cell cast tubes for relatively cheap online, and this way I can have a reservoir of any size, volume, and shape I want. I also increased the reservoir diameter from 50mm to 65mm for a little more room inside because...

3) I added a feature to the center of the reservoir!  I wanted to find some way to bring my lighting plans into the front of the case elegantly, and I landed upon what will possibly be the most obvious, and yet most creative part of the build yet... I will put an actual prism inside of the reservoir center! Crazy, no?  I plan on lighting it from the top and bottom using embedded multicolor LEDs so that I can shine light into the prism and hopefully get some interesting color effects. I am also thinking about embedding lights around the rim of the tube part of the reservoir, so I can light that acrylic as well. I needed something in the center of the reservoir anyway to prevent a water vortex and make sure I get a good flow of water throughout the tube, so this should do nicely I think.

4) I decided to drop the plans for any other case features in the front. I don't want there to be too much going on in the front that would clutter up the design or take away from the central feature. The only thing I might still do is back the front plate area (which is made out of aluminum and perforated with holes for ventilation) with some frosted acrylic that I can light, to give the whole face a feint glow, while blocking the inside of the case from external view and dust/pet hair. 

5) I'll be adding a fill port to the top of the case, and incorporating it into the 'prism' design on the top somehow. Maybe center it on a small clear or frosted acrylic window. This will make it MUCH easier to fill and drain the case, and will bring the front together nicely I think.

6) I'll be replacing the standard front ports with a new USB 3.0 front, so I will most likely have to fill/sand/re-cut it to the correct shape. Glad I taught myself that technique with the bondo bumper repair... looks like it will come in handy. 

So... I have some clean up on the design to finish up my ideas, and maybe I'll get to cutting the top part of the case tomorrow, since I have the day off! (Yay Labor Day weekend!)

Just for fun... here's the evolutionary process of my front-reservoir design so far: