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 Post subject: Project: Hush!
PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 5:24 am 
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Hello all. I've been using SPCR for ages to guide purchases and enjoy the excellent reviews and tests. Someone from another forum suggested I post my build-log here. It's not finished but is getting there. Not sure if this is the best section of the forum to post it in, but hey ho. If it would be better placed elsewhere could a passing mod kindly move it?

The idea is to make a very very quiet rig (fanless bar a seasonic x750, with SSD, samsung 5400rpm 1.5tb storage drive and 10w ddc pump) built for passive watercooling and also very heavy overclocking... Hope you enjoy. :)


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 5:25 am 
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Hello all. I've started making a large passive radiator/case. I've been working on it for a while, but since the design is quite complicated I thought I'd wait until it got to a recognisable, likely to work(!) stage before starting the build log.

I have had an innovatek Konvekt-o-matik before selling it on members' market, but from what I've heard you really need a shedload of them to handle high heatloads. Plus, they're expensive (~£80/6tubes), bulky and the design is flawed in my opinion - aluminium, made for 8mm ID tubing, and by their design the more of them you add the larger the pressure loss - 8mm inlet splits to 8mm tubes running in parallel.

So I figured I'd make my own; :)

copper,
designed for 7/16" or 1/2" tubing,
minimise pressure loss by matching resistance of the tubes to 1/2" tubing,
massive amount of surface area (since it's the equivalent of an Aga it needs to have headway for extra heatload),
wide fin spacing and compact enough to be self-contained within a case.

The case is going to be approximately 45cm wide x 40cm deep x 46cm tall + height of castors. So it's slightly smaller than a mountain mods UFO (45x45x45)

The top, far side of the case (the non-window side panel on a normal case) and the bottom will be made up of a large finned copper radiator, hopefully with enough surface area and passive airflow to run completely passive, with air rising up through the case. :) I wish I was competent enough with google sketchup to draw a detailed plan, but it just seems a nightmare because of the design, so I'm afraid I've largely stuck to hand-drawn sketches. Here's a very rough idea of what the passive radiator element of the case will look like.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 5:26 am 
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Initially I was going to use 30 metres of standard 15mm outer diameter half-hard pipe used in home plumbing and flatten it as in normal watercooling radiators, but after buying a small sample (a gentle elbow bend) and trying to flatten it I realised it's very tricky to get an even inner channel, and it would take forever to flatten 30m of the half-hard stuff...

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After scouring around to find a cheap source of soft copper pipe I found on ebay what was listed as 9m of soft 15mm outer diameter, 0.4mm-thick-walled copper pipe used as gas lines in boats and motorhomes, and being the only bidder got it dirt cheap. :). I picked up an adjustable pipe cutter (3-22mm) for a few quid and measured and cut 130cm lengths. Turns out I was sold around 14m, so had 10 x 130cm, and an offcut.

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Unfortunately, though slightly easier than the the half-hard copper, the walls of the stuff I got was 1.5mm so it was still a nightmare, and still came out uneven in cross-section and took ages to flatten. I also found it's expensive stuff to get any more - about £80 for 25m. I'll find a good use for it later on though.

So, time for plan B. I managed to find a site selling 10m x 6mm outer diameter, 4.8mm inner diameter soft microbore copper tubing, so I picked up 6 rolls for ~£42 inc p&p

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I then unrolled them, measured and cut into 48 lengths - 16 x 120cm, 16 x 125cm and 16 x 130cm - the difference is because the 48 tubes will be arranged as so, so the outer tubes need to be a bit longer:
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The microbore copper is so soft it's very easy to bend and straighten, though it's tricky to get 130cm lengths completely straight. It work-hardens and quickly becomes difficult to bend, though it can be annealed again by sticking it over a gas hob.


Anyhow, I had originally planned to use some of the 15mm pipe I had for the end pipes distributing the water to the 6mm copper tubes. It has a 12mm inner diameter so is a pretty good match for either 7/16" or 1/2" tubing.. After straightening one of the 130cm lengths I bent it to a hook shape over a rolling pin, which was quite tricky. I then cut it to a rough length and measured out the 48 x 6mm holes for the microbore pipe to connect to.

The pipes will have to do a bit of bending at the ends, but hopefully with the small bore pipebender I got this won't be too much trouble, though in reality it'll probably be very very frustrating, since the pipe needs to be bent after the copper fins have been pushed into place.

After lots and lots of drilling here are the radiator end pieces. This would have been so much easier if I had a bench drill and a vice, but as I didn't at this stage I had to improvise:

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Plan for pipes joining distributor end tube - side view

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After all that drilling my plans changed (always the best way for a project to go horribly wrong:eek:). I managed to source some cheap copper sheet for around a quarter of the going rate from shopping around:cool:, and for a small extra charge the seller was even willing to cut it with a metal shear into lots of 395mm x 50mm strips for the heatfins. So the dimensions of the whole thing changed, and the drilled pipes were now the wrong size. Ho hum.

I now plan to instead use a plenum akin to those in standard pc radiators. They serve a purpose in allowing a reservoir of water so that water going down the tubes doesn't cause unequal flow between pipes at the inlet end compared to the other. More importantly, it would be easier to make rather than many cramped, fiddly bends for the tube ends.

Here's a picture of the copper. It had been left lying around in a scrapyard for God knows how many years, and was a bit scratched here and there, but should clean up nicely enough.

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In the pic are a 39.5cm x 45.5 cm x0.9mm copper sheet for the side wall the tubes go through, 63 of 39.5cm x 5cm x 0.9mm copper strips to be used as heatfins, and 16 of 7.5cm x 39.5cm strips (additional 39.5cm x 5cm heatfins have since been cut from them). There's also some copper bosses (solid cylinders) that I nmay put to good use. :)


After cleaning

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Last edited by Monkey Puzzle on Tue Apr 13, 2010 5:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 5:27 am 
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Location: UK
I then needed to drill 48 x 6mm holes in each of the copper fins and the copper wall.:eek: This took a while.

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I initially tried using G-clamps and my bench drill and ran into several problems. As the holes were drilled, they pushed a cusp through, deforming the clamped stack. Whilst the cusp/sleeve from drilling is actually useful for soldering and heat transfer, it introduces inaccuracy in the drilling. So I made a jig for putting the copper strips in for drilling.

JIG FOR DRILLING

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Sadly the bench drill I have is only 180W, and so lacks the torque to drill large metal holes, so I switched to using an 810W hand drill in a heavy duty drill stand, which allows accurate vertical drilling.

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PICS OF DRILLING

After doing some reading up on natural convection and passive heatsink design, I came across a problem sheet set for engineering students on how to optimise the fin spacing for a passive radiator, from a book by a couple of heat transfer professors, and even better, the software it ran on was freely available on the web.:cool: So, using the software, I adjusted the parameters to model my heatsink as best I could.

Passive heatsinks rely on natural convection, and this requires the free movement of air over the fins. The fins are much more effective spaced much further apart than in air-cooled heatsinks (~2mm for a Thermalright Ultra Extreme) or even the most sparsely-finned watercooling radiators (~1fin/3.125mm or 8fpi for an RX XSPC radiator).

The simulator models a given width, height and depth of passive heatsink at a given input heatload, and plots the heat transfer of a given fin, and the total heat transfer of all fins combined, at varying fins spacings.

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So, whilst the heat transfer for a single fin increases up to a certain point, increased fin spacing means fewer heatfins overall. There's a balance between the two, giving an optimal spacing for a given heatload:

From the simulator there's also another interesting trend - as the input heatload decreases, the optimal fin spacing (fin-pitch) increases, which means I need to optimise the heatfin spacing for the air-water delta T I want to aim for...

The simulator mathematically models a heatsink made from two copper plates held at a set temperature with heatfins that run perpendicular between them, so it's not exactly what my heatsink design is, and in adapting it to model my design I'm not entirely sure how to adapt mine to it, since my design has 48 6mm outer diameter, 4.8mm inner diameter tubes running through the heatfins. I'm unsure as to whether I should adapt it so I equalise the inner heatpipe surface area (4.8mm)to the end-heatplate- to-heatfin surface area in the model, or the outer heatpipe (6mm) surface area... Hope that makes sense!

I altered the parameters to assume just two end heatplates as in the original design, to give a conservative estimate of the performance, and the heatfin spacing (1 heatfin per 10mm, so about 9.1mm between each heatfin). This gave around a 300w heat transfer for a delta of 10C between the air (20C) and the heatpipe/water temperature (30C). But as I say, this is hopefully the worst-case scenario (though the model uses copper-copper joins rather than soldered joints...). A point to note is that the model only calculates the heat transfer from the heatfins - it excludes the heat transfer from the copper tube surface area (~11,000cm^2) and the copper wall (~3,600cm^2).

PIC WORSTCASE SCENARIO (spacing of 10mm on the x-axis)

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Adjusting the model to equalise the end plate-to-heatfin surface area in the model with the tube-to-heatfin surcace area gives silly numbers (~560W heat transfer at a 0.5C Delta T, 400W for a 0.4C Delta T).

The real performance will probably lie somewhere inbetween - whilst the best case scenario is probably largely correct in terms of more accurate surface area for the water to transfer heat to the pipes and fins, the model assumes continuous copper joints, and inaccuracies in hole size and loss from soldered joints (~96% tin/ 3.5%Silver/0.5% copper solder) will no doubt lower performance.

Anyhow, enough hypotheticals, here are some pics of where the project is up to at the moment.

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After drilling the heatfins I found the holes were marginally too small, using a digital Vernier, in th order of a few hundredths of a mm.

PIC OF DIGITAL VERNIER

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So I decided to erode them down slightly by putting them in a drainpipe full of vinegar and harpic toilet cleaner (since it's hydrochloric acid based). I must say, looking through household detergent ingredients for the strongest acid in the supermarket made me feel like a terrorist!

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PIC OF TUBES IN DRAINPIPE
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PIC OF TUBES OUT OF DRAINPIPE
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I then used a microbore pipe bender to make the bends in the pipe. It's a handy little tool, but unfortunately they put far too much paint on it, meaning the measuring bits and the 6mm tube channel was too small, meaning the tube wouldn't get equal pressure around it when bending and would deform too much for my liking. After a quick bit of paintstripping with Nitromors I bent the tubes for insertion into the copper wall. This was a bit fiddly; in order for the bends to line up exactly with the drilled holes I needed to know amount of length the bend took. After a few annoying mishaps, annealing and restraightening I got the tubes bent accurately.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 5:29 am 
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After inserting all the tubes I could then start putting the heatfins on.

I ran into a bit of a problem when putting the fins on - they're a tight fit and the smallest angle off horizontal, or pipe angle off vertical means they can be tricky to get on. It's a bit of a trade-off between tight fitting fins with minimal gaps (less solder and better heat transfer) and ease of putting the thing toether. The fins are pretty tight, and in gently hammering them ona few of the tubes were pushed too far down, which you can se in the pic. Luckily, using the pipe cutter without the cutting blade inserted it's possible to grip the tube and push it back through the heatfins.

PIC OF PIPE CUTTER MINUS BLADE

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There's only 11 heatfins on in various temporary positions (finished article will have 74 fins);

PICS WITH HEATFINS

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I've just got the solder and flux and need to make a watertight box tonight to deoxidise the copper in a vinegar bath before, and after soldering them with a propane/butane blowtorch, since it'll oxidise all the surrounding copper. Anyone know of a place I can get lots of cheap, relatively strong acid? Not sure where to get it and any regulations - was told by a car bits shop that they can't sell battery acid (~35% sulphuric acid) these days. I could probably make do with distilled vinegar but it'll be expensive for the amount I need and take a long time as it's weak.

Any questions just ask. :)


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 5:30 am 
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Roughly how the removable motherboard tray will sit (looks a little tighter height-wise than it will be due to the top pipes being a little bent down atm). The PSU will sit behind at the bottom, fan facing down.

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A sheet of 2mm styrene that was lying around:

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Heatgun:
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Bending:
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A quick and dirty tray to bath it in. So quick and dirty that it leaked:o, so it has an outer box lined with plastic sheet a mattress came in - now it's in the styrene tray to avoid cutting up the plastic lining:
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Deoxidising:

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Shiny:
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Making solder slinkies. :)

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After cutting to solder rings - not sure how many are in the bag, probably a thousand or so.

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Blowtorch - gets up to temperature okay. :)
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Various bits for putting fins on and soldering:
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Fin in place with 9mm thick wooden spacers for straightening the fins (they need to be hammered gently into place and deform a little in the process)
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Solder rings put around the pipes - it's quicker to put them on like this, with a fin above, near the pipe ends, as it made putting the fins on a lot quicker.
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Solder rings after tightening with needl-nosed pliers (surprisingly quick and easy).
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A freshly soldered fin on top: The fins are a bit rainbow coloured from scale slowly being removed by the weak acid bath - hopefully it'll all go - the bottom fins are quite pink. It was pretty disconcerting to see the shiny copper scale up and get covered with burnt flux, as it didn't seem to get removed at first. I'm a bit concerned about the acid possibly attacking the solder joints - I may switch to cleaning it only at the end when all in place and using a fine wire brush to clean the pipe before soldering.

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Unfortunately I couldn't correct the bend that got pushed too far through (3rd from the left at the bottom). :( A few of the first fins are a little bent as well, though they'll be mostly out of sight behind the motherboard tray.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 5:31 am 
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Time for an update. :)

I changed the method by which I put the fins on;- before I had deooxidised the copper pipe prior to putting new fins on, now I instead changed to using strips of 120 grit wet'n'dry with sellotape on the back to strengthen, which I used to sand about 4cm of the pipes, flux and slide fins on (I had already filed the holes of):

PIC OF SANDED PIPES

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All the heatfins are now on, and the pipes have been trimmed down.

PICS OF MONSTROSITY

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I've decided to make the manifold/plenum from copper - it'll have an inner box made from thin copper (0.152mm thick) joined to the end fin by solder paste, and strengthened with some of the thicker 0.9mm thick copper made from 4 leftover copper strips I had.

My friend Robin has some nice tools and machines, so I asked him to maked the inlet, outlet, fillpoint and drain port for the radiator from the 25mm diameter copper bosses I had.

PIC OF LATHE

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After making 11.8mm holes with the lathe the copper bosses were tapped on the lathe with a BSP 1/4 tap, cut with a circular saw mill bit and then fly-cut on the mill to give a beautiful smooth shiny surface, which doesn't really come across in the photos:

MACHINING

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PORTS DONE -

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I'd bought a roll of thin copper when I started the project:

PIC OF COPPER ROLL

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PIC OF ROUGHLY HOW THE BOX WILL GO TOGETHER
The sides look angled and messed up at the moment, since only some of the flaps of copper have been soldered together. I need to be able to open the box at this stage in order to press it against the end-heatfins to make good contact when being soldered to the side of the box with the slits (the pipe ends will protrude through these slits). The rest of the thin-walled box will then be closed up and soldered into place, and reinforcing 0.9mm copper strips soldered to the outside of the box and the inlet, outlet, fillport and drain port soldered on.


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Sadly the project will have to take a short hiatus since I'm moving away for work next week and won't be able to take it with me, so finishing it off will have to be done when I can take a week's holiday. :(


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 5:32 am 
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small text-based update: Didn't get as much done over christmas as I'd hoped, and can't post photos yet due to pc problems atm. My friend who's cutting the aluminium plates for the frame got the lurgy over xmas so was unable to cut the pieces before I returned back to work...

But I did manage to get it watertight after a lot of effort (and araldite!) and do some quick flow testing using a 5 gallon wine making barrel to fill;

using a 10w ddc pro (with alphacool top) in an open flow system into the barrel with an xspc edge and 2 metres of 1/2" tubing in total in the loop, the flowrate is 1.87gallons/minute, which I'm very happy with.:) if anyone has access to martins flowrate calculator I'd be really interested to see how that compares to the restriction of something like a pa120.3.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 5:32 am 
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Time fopr a proper picture update - now has end-boxes and leak-tested.

Taken to be bead-blasted yesterday - not perfect, and not shiny due to being blasted with tiny beads, but instead now a matt pink. Still, gives itmore surface area I guess. Still needs some tidying up.

The aluminium plates have been cut and the ends of the copper fins slotted into place. They'll be glued into place with araldite 2011 epoxy. The plates will have steps cut to sit flush with the upright aluminium angle.

Here's lots of pics - they're a bit muddled up atm, soi'll probably clean up this post a bit later....


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 5:33 am 
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Update time!

Lots of countersinking and tapping.

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The motherboard tray will sit further back towards the back wall, but the countersunk screws poking through from the back aluminium frame just happen to be the right distance apart to go through the motherboard tray holes....
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one of the 19mm anti-vandal switches (photographed badly!). It's anodised-black aluminium with white light. I'm still undecided as to whether to anodise all the aluminium black or have it mirror-polished aluminium..

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Image Needs a bit of filing down to tidy up but getting there. :)

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Not fully screwed together and epoxied into place yet so sitting on a box atm. The aluminium frame sits very snugly in the slits for the copper fins.

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The copper back wall got warped from bead-blasting. Should bolt to the aluminium easily enough though.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 5:34 am 
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Sadly my friend cut one of the logos the wrong way up.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 5:41 am 
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I'm speechless.

On a completely unrelated note... I love my Gaggia Baby!


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 5:52 am 
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I've been following your build on bit-tech and I remember thinking "Someone should post this on spcr". :)
Amazing idea, very ambitious and very very well executed so far! Can't wait to see some cooling results from this monster :)

Looking at it I just wonder what you have planned for the large area between the motherboard tray and the side.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 5:56 am 
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I am not sure I understand what you built, but it sure looks impressive.

How well does it work?


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 6:13 am 
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Cool beyond words. How many hours do you have into this project at this point?

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 6:51 am 
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That is epic!

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 8:56 am 
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ces wrote:
I am not sure I understand what you built, but it sure looks impressive.

How well does it work?


It's a large radiator built into a case - so water goes into an inlet tube (barb) at the top on the underside of the copper rectangular box, gets distributed between the 48 tubes running through all the copper fins, and comes out through the outlet pipe on the opposite end on the top of the rectangular copper box at the bottom.

Not sure how well it'll cool - should do well though - it has around 6x the surface area of a thermalright ultra extreme cpu cooler, and is copper, so almost twice as good per unit area at transfering heat to the surrounding air. Will depend really on passive airflow. Looking forward to testing it. :) The water flowrate is pretty good - generally as a rule of thumb you need a flowrate of around 1gallon per minute to get around 90% of the maximum cooling from a radiator; below around this amount and performance quickly decreases.

From flow-testing with a single XSPC Edge cpu waterblock, 10w pump and 2m of 1/2" ID tubing it gets 1.87gpm, so should have plenty of headroom to add in GPU blocks etc.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 8:59 am 
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How does the heat get from the heat sources to the cooler.

The heat sources presumably are the CPU the GPU, and the North/South Bridge.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 2:40 pm 
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ces wrote:
How does the heat get from the heat sources to the cooler.

The heat sources presumably are the CPU the GPU, and the North/South Bridge.

It's a large self-made reserator (very nice!), the waterblocks and pumps need to be added and with some tubing you have the loop.

I wonder how much volume this will hold - the weight has to be enormous once filled...


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 3:56 pm 
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spookmineer wrote:
ces wrote:
How does the heat get from the heat sources to the cooler.

The heat sources presumably are the CPU the GPU, and the North/South Bridge.

It's a large self-made reserator (very nice!), the waterblocks and pumps need to be added and with some tubing you have the loop.

I wonder how much volume this will hold - the weight has to be enormous once filled...
OHHH! This is the radiator for a passive water cooling setup. Is that correct?


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 5:00 pm 
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Wow, that thing is a beast. :shock:

Very nice craftsmanship on it as well, can't wait for an update on cooling performance.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 13, 2010 5:57 pm 
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Holy grill-master! How many Burgers and Dogs can you cook at once on that rig? -JK...:lol:

But really, what an awesome looking build. can't wait to see the cooling performance with a system inside.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 4:03 am 
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I just came. :shock:


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2010 3:54 am 
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Holy copper crap !!!!!!!!!! :shock: :twisted: :shock:

This is like a ninja copper, just bigger, SO MUCH bigger !!!!!

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2010 8:44 am 
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Wow! That's a ton of work. Good job.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 16, 2010 3:53 am 
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Glad to see it posted here, Its an amazing radiator/case.
Remember my grommet offer.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 16, 2010 9:38 am 
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ces wrote:
spookmineer wrote:
ces wrote:
How does the heat get from the heat sources to the cooler.

The heat sources presumably are the CPU the GPU, and the North/South Bridge.

It's a large self-made reserator (very nice!), the waterblocks and pumps need to be added and with some tubing you have the loop.

I wonder how much volume this will hold - the weight has to be enormous once filled...
OHHH! This is the radiator for a passive water cooling setup. Is that correct?


bump for an answer to his question...


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 16, 2010 11:05 am 
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danimal wrote:
ces wrote:
spookmineer wrote:
ces wrote:
How does the heat get from the heat sources to the cooler.

The heat sources presumably are the CPU the GPU, and the North/South Bridge.

It's a large self-made reserator (very nice!), the waterblocks and pumps need to be added and with some tubing you have the loop.

I wonder how much volume this will hold - the weight has to be enormous once filled...
OHHH! This is the radiator for a passive water cooling setup. Is that correct?


bump for an answer to his question...



Yes.


I know reading's not the done thing nowadays, but the second post confirms that this is indeed a passive radiator built into the case for a watercooling loop. (and a very pretty one too)

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 7:09 pm 
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And I thought I was serious about quiet be3casue I swapped out the stock Antec case fan with a Noctua :)

Very nice job. Incredible dedication to the task and the theory of silent computing. You have raised the bar. Thank you. Dave


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 1:48 am 
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*whistles* Metal works always stun me in awe. However, let's see how loud the pump will be.


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