Testing and Clear Coating

posted Jun 17, 2012, 12:35 AM by Andrew Stock   [ updated Jun 17, 2012, 12:35 AM ]
I had a block of free time today (for once in a long while) so I got to make some good progress! ... well... it felt like a lot of progress... but now that I am looking over the images, if feels like I didn't get anything done at all. 

First, I set up a bench in my garage using some of my old watercooling parts from my previous build, and hooked it all up to my new radiators so that I could do some comparisons of airflow to see which combination of fans and radiators gave me the best performance. 

I took some scrap sheet metal and drilled a few holes to help with mounting my radiators, so that they would stay put during the test. I have a set of XSPC radiator stands to help them sit up on end, which screw onto these sheets. 

Here we are, filled and running! I only have the processor in the loop, so there's very little flow resistance. I actually had to turn down my pump to it's lowest setting, and was still getting a pretty deep vortex. 

It took a few minutes to bleed out all the bubbles and such... go figure, one of the brief minutes I took off the reservoir cap to fill more liquid, a June bug flew into my garage, banked off the back wall, and slam dunked into the water. /sigh. What are the odds? The opening is like 2 inches wide! 

System ready!

Anyway, I booted up the system and ran prime95 on continuous for 24 hours, writing down the CPU, Air, and water temp every few hours or so. After I was satisfied with the data points for the first radiator config (which was Fan > Radiator |divider| Radiator < Fan ), I shut down the system and reversed the fans to try out Fan < Radiator |divider| Radiator > Fan . 

Alas, my motherboard decided that it had enough:

(I think 4E means 'i'm tired')

Without a reliable way to generate heat for the loop, that ends testing for now. EVGA has another motherboard on the way! (Their support / warranty is the best. SO glad I stuck with them for the new motherboard.)

On to the next item, more prep and painting! I started with cleaning all the neoprene sticky gunk off the radiator area of my old case. What a pain! (That's the last time I stick anything directly to the case. Ugh.)

Nothing a little solvent won't solve! (and a LOT of elbow grease)

With that out of the way, time for some painting! I propped the painting area up on a box this time to help cut down on some of the debris from the ground that kept getting blown onto the paint job last time. Seems to have helped a little, but still not great... here's a shot of applying the second round of priming to that piece I put the bumper repair epoxy on last time:

I also tacked and wet sanded each of the color strips I had to prepare them for clear coating. Looking pretty smooth! 

I couldn't find any clear coat in a spray paint can at any of the stores near me, but I DID find some in a regular paint can. I figured... why not? I bought those, and borrowed a spray gun from my dad that he just happened to have from painting an old car:

I have no idea what kind of paint he used... but it was ON there. I tried all the solvents I had, no getting that red off... so I figure it's probably safe to proceed with my clear coats in spite of the ugly looking red all over the sprayer. 

Hooray, a reason to use my new toy!

I let the paint strips dry for an hour or so, then started giving them a final tack before the clearcoat, when I noticed something... If I kept scrubbing with the tack cloth, it took off a lot of the haze and left the finish really shiny looking! Weird. I wonder if it was just some of the material on the tack cloth 'buffing' the paint. 

And here's the four strips after clear coat, sitting to dry. The left three got the 'clear' coat, while the right flat black one got the 'matte' coat. They looked pretty similar as a fresh coat, but we'll see how the matte coat comes out when its dry (in 48 hours...)

I really like the shiny black and matte black... I am thinking currently that I'll use some combination of these two on the case... maybe shiny on the large parts, and matte on the small/detail parts. Hmm. 

(Also, tons of orange peel at the moment... hoping some of that evens itself out, otherwise I have a lot of sanding coming...  Anyone know if I did anything wrong?)

That's all for now! Once I get my RMA'd board back (this week) I should be back in business for more radiator testing. Till then!