Calen Saddler

"Dark Matter" featuring one off 3D printed parts

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Custom Lexan Waterpath/Block:

The larger Lexan water path is almost finished. I just need to get allen headed bolts and o-ring cord. The threads on the block are already finished as well. I will be mocking everything up as soon as some of the other water-cooling parts arrive.

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New Sponsor: Supermicro C7 Z170–OCE

The motherboard from Supermicro is perfect for this build. The styling and design is a sure bet for the Dark Matter scratch build. It also has available tri-SLi which I will take advantage of at one point or another.

I wanted something that was extremely reliable, looked great and it also had to be something not seen in every other build. The easy overclocking features and system control/monitoring setup was also a factor that drew me to this Z170 VS other Z170s out there. After looking through the options list I also noticed an intrusion detection setup. Im not 100% sure what this function does but, you know ill be fully exploring it.

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Making a Few Changes: Voltage Gauges

I finally got my green voltage gauge in. Now I have one green and one blue. The blue will more than likely monitor the GPUs voltage while the green will monitor the motherboards voltage. I felt like the mount I built for these gauges was missing something so I decided to try out an idea I had.

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Edited by Envious Mods

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New Sponsor: Gskill

Gskill I sending some of their best ram modules for the Dark Matter scratch build. I use Gskill Ripjaw ram in the shop/daily PC and I've been extremely happy with it. Gskill Trident DDR4 is not only beautiful in looks but, its also a overclocking beast. Last I checked they had the record for speed. I will be doing some overclocking to this rig after its built.

The ram will need some green paint to match the scheme and I will also re-cut the vinyl Gskill logo to go back on once re-assembled. I am excited for their arrival. Ive done a rendering of the basic color change but, I have a few more additions that I will save until the ram arrives.

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Paint Matched BeQuiet PureWings 2 Fans: Right Side 240

Over the last couple days I decided to paint two more of the PureWings 2 PWM 120mm fans for the bottom door on the right side. The last pieces needed for this side should arrive any day now. I want everything prepped before their arrival so I can get right to mock-ups. The custom acrylic 240mm grill I designed will be at the shop soon as well. I haven't decided what color I will paint it yet.

The grill from EMI Designs just now showed up and needs to be painted. This grill goes on the inside of the bottom door so it will only really be seen when the door is open. Some of it will be viewable through the fan blades from the other side.

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Right Side Bezel/Panel & Door:

My metal arrived a couple days ago. I took advantage of its arrival by cutting the main panel/bezel for the right side. After some filing and sanding I managed to paint it so it could be remounted. I finished most of the work on the door earlier in the build. Now that the hinges have cured I can re-mount everything so you can check it out.

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Honeycomb Acrylic Floor:

I wanted to do something special for the pump and where its mounted. I put together a honeycomb design and EMI Design cut it out of 12mm acrylic. I want to do a few special mods and I'm going to do to it before its final mounting. It will be really neat once its all installed and painted.

Before I paint it I want to try edge lighting it. I left enough space on one side just incase I wanted to do this. Early testing of this is looking good. This side of the floor will hold the EK Revo pump.

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Update: 3D Printed Cable Passthrough Bezel

All the prep work had already been done on the 3D printed bezel that hoes around the cable passthrough. I decided it was time to paint it and I'm very happy with how it came out. The semi gloss light grey looks killer. Once I paint the frame rails flat black, it will really pop.

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Update: Vinyl Wrapping 240 Grill

I had a hard time deciding if I wanted to paint the 240 grill or leave it clear. I figured that wrapping the top and leaving the edges clear would be the best of both worlds and it allowed me to change it either way down the road. The Ice Silver vinyl does a great job and fits the color combinations rather well.

I took a few progress pics so that you could see how stuff like this is wrapped with vinyl. Starting out I cut the vinyl a little bit larger than what I'm wrapping so that I can trim to fit. After that I lightly run my finger against all the edges which helps down the road with trimming the details. When I move on to the detailed parts I start but, roughly trimming everything and then go back to do it exact.

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Painting: Switch Panel Insert

Now that I have the correct grey I can paint the switch panel insert. I also took some time to sand the cutouts so that they are nice and smooth. This took no time at all to paint and came out awesome.

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Inner Door Panels:

As mentioned previously I will be cutting an inner door panel to sandwhich the acrylic windows. It is the same concept found it car doors. Doing this wasn't in the original plans but, my OCD kicks is and its now being done.

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Im glad I thought to do this though because when people see how clean the back side of the door is they will understand that I put a lot of effort into the parts you wont see. Sandwiching the panels also adds a lot of regitity while keeping the weight minimal.

The spacing between the inner and outer panels isn't very much but I may run a strip all the way around the outer edges. Luckily I already have the materials to do so. I will probably wait a little while before building the edge. That way I have everything exactly how I want it when it's done.

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Bottom Door (Left Side):

There's a lot going on for this bottom door. Hey has two fans mounted to it and a lot of details. There are three panels that make up the door. Two of which are acrylic and the main mount is made out of metal.

Once everything is painted you'll really see why there are two outer panel sandwiched together. The front panel will be painted black to match the rest of the case and the panel behind it which is a few millimeters larger will be painted in the green.

I started by mocking everything up and mounting the hinges. I am very happy with how great it looks; even though a lot of it isn't mounted yet.

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Messing Around:

I had two separate pieces that were built for different parts of the build. I just so happened to lay them on my workspace next to each other and they looked like they were built to go together. I couldn't help but take a pic of what it looked like.

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Update: Lexan Water-path

A large Lexan water path that goes on the backside of the motherboard tray is now able to be mocked up. I'm still awaiting the arrival of the O-ring cord and the allen headed bolts needed to finish this piece. I've had quite a few requests to show as much as possible of the water path so I figured I would mock it up for you all.

This water path is something that I've been wanting to do for the last couple of years but I didn't have the means to do so until now. Since the idea was conceived through this I've seen a handful of custom cases and builds with water-paths integrated into them. Mine offers up a little more than what I've seen commonly though. The hardline tubing goes through the motherboard tray so that it can make its way to the components.

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Custom Aluminum Brackets: Water-path

I decided to take the longer route when mounting the Lexan water-path. Originally I was just going to use standoffs to give it a 25mm gap behind it. Once I started looking into it more I realized that it would greatly benefit from the use of bent aluminum strips. I don't have a professional bending setup or even a cheap one but, I do know; where there's a will there's a way.

Doing a ton of measurements, clamps, a hard edge and a 2by4 I managed to not only make a killer bracket; I pulled off a matching set. This allows me to run wiring behind the water-path. It also lets mount and dis-mount the water path easily. To me this is very important.

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New Sponsor: Gigabyte

I want to thank Gigabyte for sponsoring the Dark Matter build with SLI 4gig 960 Extreme edition GPUs. These GPUs are absolutely stunning. Originally I had planned on water-cooling the cards but, after seeing these I've decided to wait on that. Instead I will be doing some awesome mounts for them. Once the two GPUs arrive I will test mount them so that you can see exactly what I'm thinking about.

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New Water-cooling Sponsor: EKWB

Im happy to announce that EKWB will be sponsoring a lot of the water cooling gear needed for this build. I will be using their Coolstream XE 480 rad, x-top Revo pump, the X3 250 reservoir and the Supremacy Evo CPU block. The package from them just arrived so you know you'll be getting some sweet install pics.

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Under LEDs Mounted:

This didn't take very long to do but, I wanted to mount two blue DRL LED strips under the case near the inside of the stainless steel rolled lip. These two DRL lights work perfectly to give the bottom of the case a soft blue glow.

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Update: Mocking Up The Lexan Water-path

Now that the brackets are made and drilled, its time to mock up the water-path. I have already market out the basic location on the back side of the motherboard tray. The water-path has to be lined up with the door. The hardline tubing comes out of the door slightly on its way to the other side of the motherboard tray.

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EK Revo Pump: Test Mounting

I had already put together and painted the stand for the pump. I still need to put rubber shock absorbing gaskets on the bottom of it. The pump from EK already has a shock absorbing mount but, I wanted to carry this over to the stand that will hold the pump. The EK Reeve pump w/a plexi top os truly a thing of beauty. It can be mounted horizontally or vertically with a mount from EK.

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Addition To The Top Grill:

I felt like the top grill was missing something so I started sketching out ideas. The grill is made up of hand cut strips of aluminum with a thicker acrylic center strip. I wanted to run a tapered strip of acrylic vertically. The styling matches the other pieces of acrylic on the top of the case. I also notched out space for the bezel that goes around the EK logo. I will paint it flat black soon.

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Modding EK Supremacy Evo CPU Block:

I went with a less commonly used block from EKWB because I didn't want the same stuff seen on a bunch of other builds. I also wanted to go for the more industrial/futuristic look. It took me a long time to come up with the font and size that matched the milled OUT/IN on the block. I got it very close and It looks great. I also added a custom designed, “Danger Antimatter†vinyl decal to the block which carries on the theme. I might add a little bit of green to it but, I'm going to wait until I have a chance to test mount it on the motherboard.

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Lexan EK X3 Reservoir Mount:

Now that I have the EK X3 250 Reservoir I wanted to try cutting a mount out of some really thick lexan I have in the shop. The lexan can be pretty expensive when you get into the thicker stuff so hopefully it turns out like I hope it would.

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Gigabyte GTX 960 Extreme GPU Arrival:

The two GPUs I will be using for the build arrived today. I want to thank Gigabyte for supplying me with these sweet GPUs. I love the look and design of them. They both also come with backplates that would make even the avid enthusiasts smile. I will be doing a few mods to these so that they fit in with the overall build design. I also have some special mounts designed for them.

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Modding Ideas: Gigabyte GTX 960 Extreme Ed.

I started out by doing some designs on my laptop. The first one I came up with incorporated the Gigabyte eye with Xtreme Gaming. Xtreme Gaming is what denotes these versions of the GPUs. They have true RGB LEDs that are capable of over 16 million colors. This makes them customizable to any build without modifications.

I took the design and welded them together. After that it was a matter of cutting them out of vinyl and mounting it on the backplates. I will also be doing some mods to the fan side as one will be mounted vertically and the other horizontally.

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Finishing The Front Pieces of Acrylic:

When I first started building the frame I cut all the major pieces of acrylic needed for the front of the case. Now that I have my EK XE 480 radiator I can continue work on the front. I started by painting all the pieces of acrylic that I had already cut out.

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EK Vinyl Work For XE 480 Radiator:

In between coats of paint I designed and cut the vinyl pieces that will go on the side of the 480 radiator. There's a few more parts that will be added to it but for now I thought it would be neat to show you some of it.

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Gskill Trident Z DDR4 Ram Arrival:

The new black and white ram from Gskill arrived today. Gskill recently released several new colors of their Trident Z DDR4 so that your ram can match your build. These ram sticks look much more beautiful in real life then in the pics I've seen which is really impressive. I cant wait to get them all mounted up on the motherboard.

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RantoPad Mouse Mods:

RantoPad sent some goodies for this build and its time to mod the optical gaming mouse they sent. It has a built in LED that lights up a transformer style logo on the front of the mouse. Im going to mod it to fit the Dark Matter build. I will take advantage of the built in LED and build my own light up logo. Im debating on swapping the LED for an RGB one I have. If I keep the current one it will need to be adjusted down a bit to evenly light the badge. I made sure to take pictures along the way so you could see the process from start to almost finished.

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Cutting The Front Panel & Mock-ups of EK XE 480 Radiator:

The front of the case will serve as an intake for the EK XE 480 radiator. This thing is a monster and deserves to be seen. I made a custom bracket out of strips of aluminum to hold the rad in place. I made sure to leave just enough clearance in the front for the 4 – 120mm BeQuiet PureWings 2 fans. I haven't decided exactly what material I'm going to use for the grill but, I'm sure I will come up with something neat.

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The front panel was relatively easy to cut out using my air cutter. The air cutter is like a giant dremel with a 4“ blade. I purchased it earlier in the build and I'm glad that I did. Its much quicker and costs less per cut. The only down side is a need for a large compressor to keep it happy. I already had a large compressor for my air tools and airbrush so it was a modest investment.

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Update: Top Acrylic Grill Add-on Painted

Since it has been fairly warm I've had time to paint the freshly cut piece of acrylic I did for the center of the top grill. Ive also been debating on adding two more pieces but, that will have to wait until later on.

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Backwards Panels:

As many of you know I suffered a traumatic brain injury which resulted in me getting into case modding. Most of the time I make lemonade out of lemons but, today is one of those days.I realized once finishing up after spending 2 days painting panels; that I painted them backwards. I painted the green panel black and the black panel green. Now I get to sand them all back down and start over. The worse part is that I have to get more paint because I didn't allot enough for a mistake this large. I added this to an update because things like this happen in the modding world. They just happen a little more often to me.

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Update: Right Bottom Door Painted & Re-mounted

I was finally able to get all the panels painted and re-assembled. This took a bit longer than expected but, I'm extremely happy with the outcome. I have been waiting so long to see this portion assembled and it was well worth the effort.

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