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  1. Engraving your case is an incredibly rewarding thing to do to your case. It's one of the best ways of adding a totally unique feature and to make it stand out from the rest. You can engrave practically any design onto a metal section of your case. Best results are achieved with a painted/powdercoated/annodised case (most black cases have black powdercoated side panels). You'll need a selection of engraving tips for this task. The larger ball tips are good for engraving/shading large areas, while smaller nibs or tips can be useful for tracing outlines for crisp edges. We'll be using the template/transfer method, whereby you print your logo or image to be engraved onto a piece of paper, and use this as a guide to engrave your design onto your case. Logos like Cooler Master are fairly easy to trace. However if you want to engrave a more complicated images, say a fighter jet, you fist need to perform a bit of photo editing. Don't worry, it's quite easy and all you need is the free editing program called [download here] Install and open paint then load your image. Under Adjustments, select and apply Invert Colours. Now go to the Effects menu and under artistic, select Ink Sketch. If need be adjust the Ink Outline slider bar to reduce the noise in the photo. Now go back and invert the colours again. This will have the effect of creating bold outlines and details that are easy to follow when you're engraving. For our example we've used a simple Cooler Master logo. All you need to do is print it out. Trim the paper to size so you can tape it to your case at the edges. Ensure there are no ripples in the paper and that it's secured firmly - you don't want it moving around while you are engraving. Make sure the area you intend to engrave is flat and free of features such as grilles or windows. The easiest way to engrave is to use a Dremel with a Flexible attachment. This allows you to use the engraving tip like a pen, which means the rest is as easy as colouring in a picture. It also means you're able to be far more accurate as using a Dremel alone is quite heavy and awkward to use. Before you start work on your image, get used to the various tips and how quickly they cut into the paint and metal. If possible use a hidden section of the case or old case to practice on. Start in the middle of the image and work your way out. In our example we began with the letters of the logo, tracing their outlines but doing any inner details first. Once you cut the outline the letter will come loose. Use the detail tip for the edges and the large ball tip for shading in the larger areas. You'll gradually work your way through the paper and reveal the bear metal beneath the paint. Once you do this, move on to other areas, focussing on keeping within your template. Once you're done with the letters, move on to the external ring. Once you cut through this, the whole template will come away so it's best to do this last. You'll probably need to remove the template and make some finishing touches to the engraving, clearing away any old paint from the silver letters so the look the same colour all over. If you've strayed into areas you didn't mean to engrave, you can touch these up with a black marker pen or paint brush. That's it! The great thing about engraving is that you can do it to practically any area of your case and the more you practice the better you'll get.
  2. Amazing desk build Paslis! Extremely sleek and elegant!
  3. Guide to water-cooling your PC - Part 1 Why water-cool your PC? Having fast-flowing water inside your PC may sound crazy but to many PC enthusiasts, having a water-cooled PC is a highly desirable goal. Air cooling is usually enough to keep most PCs cool, but if you’re overclocking, water-cooling has sizable benefits. It’s also a god option if you’re looking to combined great cooling with very low noise. The science behind water-cooling is that water has a much higher heat capacity than air. In other words, water is a much better heat carrier, and is able to remove more heat energy from your toasty processor than air can. More importantly this also means it can remove the heat faster which allows for cooler running processors. Another benefit of water cooling is that if you place the radiator in the roof or rear of your case, with the fans exhausting air, the heat is going from your processor, straight to the radiator and out of the case. Air coolers usually exhaust the hot air back into your case, relying on your case fans to remove it which isn’t as ideal. Finally, we mentioned low noise and water-cooling is the best method for achieving a super-quiet PC. By using large radiators, you can have several slow-spinning fans but still get great cooling. It’s expensive compared to the best air cooling has to offer, and you’ll often need a large case, but anyone who had water-cooled their PC will agree the benefits are worth it. So how do you water-cool your PC? Luckily for you, doing this is easier today than it has ever been. Everything you need is available off-the-shelf and there are even kits that include everything you need to get up and running. We’ll run through the basic components and how they work – there are plenty of options to choose from and not all radiators will fit in all cases. Thankfully, Many of Cooler Master’s cases have dedicated radiator mounts (essentially just fan mounts) so here are the basic components you’ll need to build your own water-cooling system. Barbs and fittings These are probably the most complicated items to understand when it comes to water cooling. However, it’s easier to think of them in three varieties. Compression fittings are the preferred barbs of the moment. You fit the tubing over the barb and a locking ring screws down over them securing the tubing in place and providing a tight fit that many claim means leaks are a thing of the past. They also look great too. Traditional barbs are also popular. The tubing fits over the barb but is secured in two ways. You can use a clip, such as a jubilee clip, or you can by tubing that is slightly too small for the barb. By heating the tubing you’ll be able to stretch it over the barb and when it cools, it with shrink and clamp itself preventing leaks. Push-fittings are generally smaller than other fittings and involve inserting the tubing into a hole that clamps it inside. They can provide an easier method of cooling in small PCs, but are generally avoided as the larger tubing methods look better and are less prone to leaking. On the right above is a standard barb, on the left a compression fitting All the barbs need to be inserted into your pump, radiator and waterblocks. These generally have threaded holes in a size called G1/4in. So long as your block and barbs use threads (the end that connects to the blocks and radiators) this size you’ll be fine. Sizes. There are several main sizes of tubing and barbs ends – you’ll need to make sure all your tubing and barbs are the same size. 10/8mm tubing is usually used with push-fittings - the tubing is pushed into holes that grip the tubing. 10mm denotes the outside diameter of the tubing, 8mm the inside. 1/2in ID (Inside diameter) is compatible with all 1/2in barbs. There are some differences in the thickness of the tube wall though which can affect the outside diameter and as such which compression fittings its compatible with. 1/2in Compression fittings are usually 3/4in and / 1/2in (outside/inside diameter) so as long as the tubing you buy matches this you should be fine. It’s also known as 19/13mm. 7/16in ID (Inside diameter) is a happy medium between 1/2in ID and smaller sizes. It usually has an outside diameter of 5/8in and is also known as 16/11mm tubing. 3/8in ID (Inside diameter) tubing is popular in smaller systems as it can bend more tightly than 1/2in ID tubing. Again there are slight variances in the tube wall thickness which you’ll need to check before you buy it. It’s also known as 13/10mm tubing. The Pump Water-cooling systems are a lot like central heating systems. They have a pump, a reservoir for the water and radiators that emit heat. In addition, PC’s need waterblocks – large hollow copper slabs that mount to processors and graphics cards, cooling them as the water passes through them. The pump pushes the water through the tubing, waterblocks and radiators. There are numerous makes of pump available, but most will be ample for cooling up to two bits of hardware in your PC. They’re small and can fit into a vast majority of cases using double sides tape, mounting pads or even onto specific reservoirs that we’ll talk more about in a minute. The waterblock These are various different types of waterblock. CPU waterblocks usually look very similar with a copper plate and chamber on top with threaded holes to fit barbs. Inside is a heatsink-like plate with lots of fins on it that aid the transfer of heat. Outside are two barbs – one to let the water in and one to let it out. This the same for graphics card waterblocks and motherboard waterblocks too. The waterblocks will replace the stock cooler on your graphics card while a processor waterblock will screw into your CPU socket, just a normal air cooler. The radiator Radiators are available in many shapes and sizes. The most popular are either single, dual or triple 120mm fan radiators as most cases use 120mm fans. If your case has two 120mm fans side by side and the spacing between the fan mount holes is 15mm, it’s likely you’ll be able to install a radiator there. Larger cases can house triple or even quad 120mm radiators. You can also buy 140mm radiators and other sizes such as 180mm. You can mount fans on one side or both sides depending on how much room you have in your case. Most radiators will come with the screws you need to mount fans as you can’t use normal fan screws. They also come in a variety of thicknesses as some cases only have a small amount of room, although slim radiators won’t be able to deal with as much heat as thicker ones. You can use more than one radiator in the same loop to boost cooling and reduce noise. The reservoir You need a way to fill the system and get rid of the air inside it when you do. A reservoir feeds coolant to the pump, allows you to fill the system and also works to trap air as you bleed it from the system. They come in a variety of designs, from tubes to bay reservoirs that sit in a 5.25in drive bay like a DVD drive and even attach directly to the pump itself to save space. How to connect things up So long as you connect the reservoir before the pump, it doesn’t matter what order you connect the other components. It might seem logical to place the radiator before the waterblock, but in reality, the water temperature tends to equalise in the system meaning that you won’t see any difference in temperatures wherever you place the radiator. The diagram below shows the typical order of What components do I need? You will always need the main four components – a waterblock/s to cool the hardware you want to water-cool, a pump, a radiator and a reservoir. In addition, you’ll need enough fittings to connect them all together – you’ll need two for each item usually meaning a minimum of eight. You’ll also need enough tubing to connect them all together. Most systems need around 4-6 feet but we’d recommend getting 10feet in case you want to re-order things or make a mistake. Apart from that you’ll obviously need coolant but that’s about it. How do I know which radiator I need? If you’re just cooling the processor then a single or double 120mm radiator should be fine, even if you’re processor is overclocked. A double radiator will allow you to use low-rpm fans for less noise, while you’ll probably need moderately high airflow fans to cool an overclocked processor using a single 120mm radiator. If you want to water-cool the graphics card as well, then you’ll need at least a double, full-thickness (around 60mm-thick) 120mm radiator for an overclocked processor and a mid-range graphics card. You’ll need to invest in a larger or additional radiator for anything more powerful if you don’t want to use high air flow fans and increase the noise your system makes. Which radiators will fit in my case? Some case manufacturers will tell you which radiator sizes a case is compatible with. Alternatively, Google is your friend – you can search for water-cooled systems that use your case to see what others have done, or you can ask on forums. Alternatively, modding website has a database of case mods called the Case Mod Index. The database is still growing but if your case is listed then it will show you systems that use your case and that are watercooled. You can find it HERE We’ll be showing you exactly how to water-cool your PC step by step in our next guide.
  4. Fantastic project, can't wait to see the final photos!
  5. Hi Jpspinaci. So long as the projects were not started before January 2012, they are eligible to compete. If you see a project that was started before this, let myself or Mullay know.
  6. I'm fairly sure it's just a case mod that's made using a Cooler Master case. Will check this and get back to you!
  7. How to de-rivet your case and paint the inside If you want to spray your case a different colour or even several colours, just doing the outside is fairly easy. However, to do the inside requires a lot more work to get a great result. You need to dismantle your case to do it properly else spray paint can run into corners and you’ll also find it impossible to spray different parts alternative colours. Nearly all cases are held together using rivets – metal pins that are squashed together using what’s known as a pop rivet gun, holding two sections of metal together. They’re smaller and neater than using nuts and screws, but the downside for modders is that they’re a bit tricky to remove as you need to drill them out. In this guide we’ll talk about de-riveting your case, spraying the insides and then using your own rivet gun to secure all the pieces back together again. Our test subject is the Cooler Master CM 690 II Advanced. It has two plastic fascias and is held together entirely using rivets – nearly 50 of them. The first step is to remove everything so all we’re left with is a metal frame. Start by removing the front fascia. On most cases this is held in place by plastic clips that secure to the metal frame of the case. Pinching these together will allow you to remove the fascia. Next is the roof section. This also uses clips to hold it in place but you’ll also need to contend with the wires from the front panel – it’s usually best to cut through any cable ties holding the cables in place. Removing the panel will be easier and you can always replace them afterwards. Don’t be tempted to rip the panel off with force, once it’s unclipped and you’ve freed the cables, it should come off easily. Now it’s time to remove other items like fans and hard disk cages – anything that isn’t welded or riveted to the metal frame of the case needs to go. We also found that the case feet were removable by dislodging rubber pads on them revealing mounting screws. Paint doesn’t stick well to rubber so be sure to remove anything like this too. Now it’s time to identify all the rivets. They’re round screw-like objects that are usually located at the major joins on cases. There will probably be quite a few of them and you’ll almost certainly need to drill all of them out to completely dismantle the case. To drill them out, you can use an electric drill or a Dremel with a drill bit installed. Use a drill bit that’s the same size of the hole the rivet is lodged in – you can find this out by starting with a drill bit that’s about half the diameter of the rivet. If the drill bit is too small, the rivet will remain stuck in place when you drill through to the other side. If it’s too large, you’ll hit the steel frame of the case. Drilling the rivet should be easy and you should see lots of metal fragments coming out of it until you get through to the other side and the rivet breaks in two. If the rivet starts to rotate in place, try using pliers to hold one end so your drill can eat into it. You can also use a Dremel with a drill bit in tight spots. Once you’re done, assemble your case components and make a note of what goes where. This will be useful when you put it all together again. Before you start spraying, sand all the components using 1,200 grit wet and dry sand paper. This will smooth the original paint finish making your new coat look silky smooth. To spray the components, it’s best to suspend them using fine tape or fishing line. If not, place them somewhere that’s protected and raised off the floor. Make sure to use dust sheets to prevent overspray covering nearby objects. Smaller items can be placed in a cardboard box, rotating them as necessary to cover all of them in paint. Be sure to use light coats allowing them to dry in between. Start with primer – a base coat that provides a smooth layer for the final coat to rest on. You need to sand this after each coat as this makes its surface even smoother. Wash it each time you do this and allow it to dry off. Next apply the colour coat – use thin coats, building them up gradually. Primer needs about 10 minutes between each coat, but colour coats need at least half an hour. Once everything is the right colour, allow to dry overnight and then apply the lacquer. This is a clear, glossy coat that gives paint shine and protection. Three generous layers is normally enough. Lacquer needs at least 24 hours to harden. Reassemble your components and prepare build your case again. Start by making a mock-build of your case. Once it’s riveted together, if you make a mistake and secure the wrong parts together you’ll have to drill your own rivets out and risk damaging the paintwork. Building it first should make this less likely. Your rivet gun will have different heads – these are for dealing with different size rivets. You should use a head that’s slightly larger than the rivets you’ll be using – the should be able to slide freely in and out. To see what size rivets you need, measure the diameter of the holes the case’s original rivets were in. Our case needed 3mm rivets. Place the thin tail of the rivet into your rivet gun with the correct head screwed on. It should go all the way in up to the collar of the rivet. Now insert the head of the rivet through the hole making sure that it passes through both sheets of metal you intend to rivet together. Squeeze the rivet gun tightly so it’s handles come all the way together. You may need to do this twice for the rivet to lock in place and for the tail to come away. This can need a fair bit of force but the tail will eventually detach with a bang. Admire your handwork. When you get the hang of it, riveting can be quite rewarding and it looks very neat too. Leave drive cages out if possible till the end but make sure you install any tool-less fittings before you place them back in the case – this will make things easier. If you had to de-rivet your drive bays to remove them, now’s the time to secure them back together again. We had to do this in two phases as we couldn’t fit them back into the case if we riveted the whole drive bay assembly together first. That’s it you’re done! You’re now free to re-fit your case’s other parts or even spray the exterior too – we’ll be back with a guide on how to do this soon too.
  8. Hi ACiD. is a huge PC modding supplier based in Europe. I'm sure they have the parts you need.
  9. Beginner's Guide to modding tools Starting out in PC modding can be a tricky process, not least of all because there are so many tools of the trade, as well as the risk of damaging your pride and joy. We show you which ones you need to do the basics. Files Whether you plan to cut a side panel window, radiator blow hole or just add a custom detail of your own, a metal file is an essential tool for all modders to own. You’ll never get a perfectly smooth edge when cutting metal or plastic with a Dremel or jigsaw – metal in particular can be extremely sharp once cut. Files help to sand this edge down to a smooth finish which looks much nicer too. It’s worth investing in two types of files – metal files and finger files. Metal files are usually large and heavy duty – perfect for sanding side window cut-outs in your aluminium or steel cases. Finger files are much smaller and are designed for precision filing of metal and softer materials such as acrylic or wood. For example, modders who make their own cases regularly use these to make USB port holes or power button recesses. How to use them? A file is a very easy tool to use. Simply move them back and forth over the surface to get a smooth finish. You may find it better to file in one direction, lifting the file each time to start another stroke. Don’t be tempted to press too hard, even if you’re dealing with steel or aluminium. Gradually eat away at it and check your progress regularly to make sure you don’t file away too much. Rivet Gun If you want to paint the inside of your case or need to dismantle it for another reason, you’ll need a rivet gun to put it back together. Your case will be held together using rivets, or a combination of rivets and screws. You’ll need to drill the rivets out to dismantle the case, paint it, then use new rivets to secure the individual parts back together again. How to use it? A rivet gun works by clasping the end of a rivet and pulling, causing the other end to bunch up, pressing against the sides of what ever you are riveting. If you pass a rivet through two sheets of metal, then use the rivet gun, you’ll quickly and easily secure those sheets together. This is how your case is held together. Using appropriately-sized rivets, work your way round the case, replacing those you’ve drilled out. Squeezing the rivet gun secures the rivet in place and chops the end off for a neat finnish. Dremel Of all rotary tools available, Dremel is the make that’s the most popular and the name has become synonymous with the type of tool we’re talking about here. They’re essentially low-torque, high-revving drills but are lighter and easier to use, sporting hundreds of attachments. These allow you to cut, sand, engrave, drill or grind a variety of different materials although they’re normally used for dealing with small areas. People have been known to make entire cases using nothing but a Dremel and a few attachments - they're that versatile. Dremel Cutting discs Cutting discs are perhaps the most widely-used attachment for Dremels. They allow you cut various materials quickly and easily and are less hassle than using a jigsaw or had saw. With some practise it’s possible to use them to cut a side panel window or case fan hole. Thinner discs are used to cut soft materials like plastic and aluminium, while larger reinforced discs can be used to deal with steel. Dremel Sanding wheels These are used to sand the edges of soft materials such as wood and plastic. They’re deceptively powerful though and can eat away at wood and acrylic very quickly so be sure to take it easy. Dremel Grinding wheels Made of tougher materials than the sanding wheels, grinding wheels are great for filing metals. They’re available in a variety of shapes and sizes too, meaning whatever shape or size of hole you need to sand, you’ll be able to find the right tool for the job. Dremel Engraving tips These come in various shapes and sizes depending on the size of the area you want to engrave. Point tips are useful for fine work such as outlines, while larger ball tips should be used for shading in larger areas. It’s also a good idea to use a flexible shaft attachment for your Dremel – this is lighter and more flexible than using the Dremel tool on its own and will allow you to be more accurate. Jigsaw For cutting large lengths of metal, there’s only one tool for the job – a jigsaw. It has a large vertical blade than can chomp through aluminium or steel panels easily which makes it the perfect tool for cutting side windows and radiator blow holes. They come equipped with cutting guides that help you cut in straight lines, but you’ll need to enlist the help of a Dremel if you want to cut curves. Drill An drill is an invaluable tool for modders, especially if you’re hoping to make your own case. Even if you’re project is a case mod, rather than scratch build, a drill is used for removing rivets, drilling fan and radiator mounting holes, installing case feet, cutting holes for toggle switches and many more things. Thankfully, this essential tool is usually quite cheap too. A cordless drill will give you a few hours of work time but if you’ll be using it for days at a time, you might want to consider a corded drill, to save you waiting for batteries to charge, although these are usually very powerful and not suited to delicate tasks.
  10. Great-looking Stacker 831 SE Molotov!
  11. Thanks for posting Boddaker, this looks like it's going to be awesome!