OK I just spent the last week and a half designing and building an external rad box. It's in the testing stage at this point in time, but getting straight to performance figures: 2500 @ stock speed, idling at 44C with fresh AS5. my temp readings (coming from cpu socket) are inaccurate, but what does matter is that it was 55C idle before with an internally-mounted BIX.
First I started with the rad - I really wanted to move upstream from the BIX so I got this heatercore from a VK commodore, new from carlingford auto cooling:
They also soldered on some 1/2" copper tubing for me. Total cost for the rad was $83.05. I then cleaned it with a scrub thing (from the kitchen) and spray-painted it silver.
I essentially built the box around the rad (as it was the biggest component) so after I got it I designed the box in 3d software:
I had decided to make the box out of 12mm MDF (as opposed to 14mm pine, as I had earlier planned) due to cost reasons (MDF is 4x cheaper) and the fact that MDF was much easier to work with. After a failed attempt trying to make the box using butt joints (alignment, squaring and stripping problems) I decided to make the box using hand-cut dovetail joints. (all you hardcore woodworkers can cheer now.) Surprisingly, this was a huge success.
I wanted the system to be modular, so I got some neat fittings from bunnings that are essentially 2-ended barbs but with threads and screw on fittings which are intended for hose security, but also function well as a means to rigidly attach them to the case / box. Here are the two that are mounted to the back of the case, I simply popped out one of the port press-outs and enlarged the hole a little bit with my wiss tin snips:
Now without further ado, here are the pics of the assembled box:
The rad is held in place by friction provided by the foam squished between it and the surrounding walls. The fan(s) are held in place by friction provided by acoustic material, in a similar fashion to the rad. The pump is bolted to the side wall and the res bolted to the front wood panels. The wood panels themselves are attached with PVA+ glue.
Electronics are provided by a 9V/1A ac adapter which is actually feeding my evercool fan well over 12v (because it's drawing less power than the ac adapter's designed for). I hacked up some 3-pin fan extension cables to accept 2 3-pin fan connectors which will receive the power in series. There's only one fan in there at the moment (running at ~6v), since I'm still in the testing stage. Ghetto cardboard divider makes sure the fan is pulling air through the rad.
The box was designed to allow the pump cable, ac adapter and double adapter to sit inside the case, under the pump. There's also a rear door, which will go on afterwards, that hides everything and leaves only the rad visible (when looking from the back). The notch at the bottom-right (when looking from the back) is where the power cable is fed out. That was one of the main criteria when designing this box: 1 power cable for both the pump and the fans.
Here's a pic showing the tubing, it goes pump -> rad -> out … and in -> res:
Here's a more detailed pic of the side, which shows those neat barbs (mounted on some steel salvaged from a retired case in the spare room) as well as the tell-tale dovetail joints:
The silver things are nuts/bolts, the upperleft 4 for the steel plate for the barbs, and the other 4 for the mounting bracket for the eheim 1048 pump.
And finally.. Here are some pics of it in action:
And a last picture for the amusement factor: a photo of all the bunnings receipts I've gathered during this project:
If you've read down to here, then thanks for your patience
I really enjoyed making this box and it's an extremely rewarding experience. That it pips my previous setup's performance by more than 10C is an added bonus