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phinix

PHINIX NANO TOWER - Scratch Build - 2011 Casemod Competition

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phinix    0

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Hello everyone,

I decided to join this nice competition, presenting my latest project - PHINIX NANO TOWER.

This is my second mod, scratch build actually.

First, a few words from the beginning of the project. It has been started a while ago, now it is in final stage. Well... there is still a lot of work to be done:)

I've been always trying to use smallest dimensions I can get, to create great performance unit without any sacrifices on power and abilities. What I wanted to make is a case that its base will be smallest as possible, so it won't take a lot of space on my desk. To do that I had to make it a bit taller, so that is why I decided to build tower-shaped case. Is it going to be tall? Tall just enough to take the longest graphic card on market. Also I wanted to cool it with water. Two loops, cooling graphic card and cpu separately.

So, it has small base, 20x20cm, it is tall - main aluminium structure rods have 40cm. Tall, smooth tower.

Now, to make it more difficult for myself, apart of longest card and i5, mentioned before - two loops of water cooling, internal, I will squeeze in two drives and one slim dvd drive. What else? Full size modular ATX PSU. I think that will make it difficult enough to get everyone's attention:)

The plan for this creation was to make a very small, yet very powerful build, so complex that sounds like impossible to achieve, use many innovative ideas, make it unique and beautiful.

To be short - smallest and most powerful mITX rig that has been ever made. Period.

So, here it is, main idea, general plans and hardware that are being used to create Nano-Tower:

Material - aluminium and some acrylic bits.

Main ideas :


  • [*:ltsylwu0]install motherboard in vertical position, so I/O panel will be on top
    [*:ltsylwu0]water cooling system installation, two loops, one for CPU, one for GPU
    [*:ltsylwu0]vertical PSU installation, power cable will go outside through the bottom panel
    [*:ltsylwu0] vertical installation of DVD drive that will go out on top of the case, slot in version
    [*:ltsylwu0]window installation on the left and right panel
    [*:ltsylwu0]fabricate mesh-radiator grill for top of the case a'la TJ-07 (clean mesh)
    [*:ltsylwu0]some nice front panel
    [*:ltsylwu0]lighting system installation

Hardware:


  • [*:ltsylwu0]i5 750 CPU watercooled
    [*:ltsylwu0]DFI mITX motherboard
    [*:ltsylwu0]new generation graphic card (right now I have GTX580)
    [*:ltsylwu0]4GB dual channel DDR3
    [*:ltsylwu0]SSD as OS drive
    [*:ltsylwu0]1x 2.5" HDD as games drive
    [*:ltsylwu0]full size modular PSU

Cooling system:


  • [*:ltsylwu0]closed loop watercooling kit for CPU with Coolermaster Turbine Master Silent Fan
    [*:ltsylwu0]pump + combo reservoir
    [*:ltsylwu0]triple radiator for GPU loop
    [*:ltsylwu0]GPU water block
    [*:ltsylwu0]compression fittings
    [*:ltsylwu0]tubing (orange)
    [*:ltsylwu0]3x 120mm slim fans for triple radiator
    [*:ltsylwu0]CoolerMaster thermal paste for CPU and graphic card water block

Additional - EXTRA stuff:


  • [*:ltsylwu0]Switches and fan controller to control all lights and fans.
    [*:ltsylwu0]leds to light it all up:)
    [*:ltsylwu0]yellow acrylic

Project color scheme : black and yellow!

First, let me show you all my sketchup images, showing the main idea of the case and first plans for construction.

Here is the main structure.

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This the motherboard tray and middle panel where CPU water cooling radiator sits.

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This is how the hardware will sit in - vertical motherboard, graphic card also vertically installed, with output sockets on top.

Middle chamber with reservoir sticking out from the power chamber at the bottom. Rear of the case will take triple radiator, which will have 3 slim fans. Fans will suck or blow air in the case, depends on the chamber it comes in.

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Here is power chamber, with PSU installed - also vertically:)

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...and here are the concepts of side panels, left, right and top one.

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..and the whole case itself....

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Next post, I will add photos of real stuff:) Photos of materials, first work done in aluminium.

Enjoy and stay tuned ! :)

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Night_Flyer    0

Wow,

I believe this is one of the best design's I have seen so far (towards my taste).

If you 'd manage to actually do a qualitative build of this and I weren't in the contest myself, you 'd probably have my vote

In other words, I 'll follow your build up close.

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Fotes Lykos    0

I have to admit its a very clean and sharp design. This is a project to watch. Just make sure everything fits properly because you are really pushing the space.Best of luck to you.

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phinix    0

Thank you very much guys!

Well, I have to admit I am pushing it with dimensions and amount of hardware I'm installing in it, but this is what I always loved about scratch builds - you can do whatever you want, design your very own case and based on your experience after having dozens of manufactured cases, make one that has it all:)

I had maybe 20 different cases in the past, so I knew what I want to achieve.

I desinged my case to be nice looking, smallest as it can be, quiet with great cooling rig.

It took me few months to think over all aspects and design main concept in Sketchup.

OK! So here are photos of first incomes - I remember it was before Christmas:)

Here they are:

First, arrived all pices of aluminium, main 4 rods and plates for each panels...

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I used these right angle dowels to install main rods.. a lot of drilling and measuring, but it was worth it! :)

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First cuts done!:)

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Top panel...

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main frame rased from ashes !!! :D

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Bottle of Coke inside to show how small this baby is:D

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Then Christmas came and all presents started to show up:)

mITX motherboard, small enough to push it in, but still powerful to build this little MONSTER :)

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Reservoir combo for my pump...

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and pump with installed res next to triple radiator...

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Now, few more shots showing main frame and panels mounts.. very thight but snuggle fits...

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You can see those small space below the mobo tray - 2mm for "power cage" top panel. Power Cage will be explained later:)

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This was my first design of motherboard backplate.. changed it later on a bit...

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I will add more photos later on....

STAY TUNED !!! :)

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phinix    0

As metioned before - power chamber. It is a section of the case where PSU and water pump will be installed. From here all the wires will spread all over the case, powering every part and all lighting leds.

I made 3 of 4 panels for this thing. Also made two main L shape profiles which holds left panel (one below the left window).

On the photo below you can see this left panel.

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Now, two other BIG things I made: top panel with huge hole in it - for fan exhaust and access to cables plugged to the mobo.

Of course you also can see that small, 13mm deep gap on the front - that is for dvd that will go up to the main top acrylic panel.

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Here is the hole for CPU water cooling radiator.

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Now some photos of each side walls of power chamber.

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As you can see I tried to make it all very precise, even when making all these parts in hand, using dremel.

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Here's rear element - it also has small 2mm gap to align with front panel.

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And here it is - mounted into the whole thing:

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I measured and drill holes for PSU in the bottom case panel. To show it easier I put PSU gasket to make it more visible.

As you can see I changed the layout of the elements in power chamber. PSU in no longer along the case, it will be mounted in the front part and pump will end up in the back, near radiator fans.

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Now, just take a look how those two power chamber panels aligned.. I cannot believe it! How did I manage it, I will never know;)

All parts of power chamber were made in hand, using dremel and files... hours.. hours of work.... :roll:

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Night_Flyer    0

Nice progress, I still like it so far.

Got you get some pic's in the next update that shows how/what tools you us to make the parts, or is this a trade secret :)

Greets

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phinix    0

All tools I use for all pieces are dremel, wireless drill or drill press, hand files and sandpaper:)

Rods were ordered to be cut to size, but I had to file them down 2mm - it is hard to get aluminium in perfect size you want. I ordered it from 3 different sellers on ebay and all of them always have +/- 3mm margin of missalignment :cry:

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phinix    0

Another update. After I had done main structure I took some time on sleeving all the cables. Extensions mostly.

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After that I spent some time on desinging side panels...

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Top panel was a bit more tricky...

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Then I decided where I'm going to put screws in the side panels - it was important cause I had to mark holes in inner panels to get space for nuts behind the main panels.

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After a while main aluminium panels arrived and I started to align them and drill holes.

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As you can see the align perfectly! I love when it happens, but sometimes things can get a bit nasty - this time all fit perfectly and I was really happy:)

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I also cut PSU hole in the bottom panel...

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Those side panels went out beautifuly, hex window holes were cut on CNC.

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Here si a hole for slim dvd drive - it will stick out in top panel, but it will all be flush so only a thin long hole for dvds will be seen outside:)

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Look how nice those panels are aligned...

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Then the horrible work started - threading the holes... there were so many....

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I also designed and cut out front power chamber panel which holds SSD and HDD drives.

Before dremel touches the alu...:)

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...and after some dremel love :)

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Just a few more photos of side panels:)

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