Stage 02 – Testing The Water System
So the water parts all showed up and I couldn't wait. I wanted to know what the temps were going to be like. So I decided to hook it all up outside the case just to make sure everything was working and after a bit of leak-testing I slid my motherboard under it and just made sure everything looked good.
Once I was happy it was all working and was going to cool well, it was on to the case work...Stage 03 – Deconstructing The Thermaltake Armor
So there's a few things I don't like about this case right off the bat. First of all, there's this horizontal cross-member thing that just serves to get in my way, so that thing's gone. Next, the pretty little green and purple “toolless” card locks. Gone! I've never met one of those I actually trusted to hold a card in and I'm certainly capable of turning a few screws and doing the job right. Then, there's the clear things that swing and hold the 5.25” drives in place “toollessly”. Well, I feel the same about “toolless” here, so off they come. Unfortunately, the top one was stubborn and wouldn't come off, so it had to stay, but the rest were history. Again, I can turn a screwdriver and do the job right...
So here's a shot of before (left) and after (right):
So now, there's the matter of the extra drive rack in the upper left. Unfortunately, it's not in the pictures, but it was a removable rack that held 3 or 4 3.5” drives that mounted up in the back next to the PSU. Well first of all, the standard 3x3.5” cage that mounts up front would be more than enough for my needs, and second that extra cage had to go or my plans for the new PSU mount would never
fly. So a few rivet-drillings later and that one's out too. Now we've got ourselves a wide open case that's ready for some hardware!
Again, here's a before (left) and after (right) pic:Stage 04 – Cutting (AKA: There's No Turning Back Now)
So my idea to rotate the PSU mount 90 degrees would be no small feat. I knew that going in, but it had to be done if there was any chance of getting room for 2x120mm fans in the back. So I started by cutting out the plate where the PSU mounted. I hoped to just reuse that piece because it had all the proper screw holes that would just line up perfectly for the PSU.
In this pic, you can see where I've cut the plate out and set it against the case. (Cut from the upper right and currently sitting in the lower left)
So unfortunately, there's a few skipped steps here where I didn't take pictures. But remember, that was years ago now, so don't blame me, blame 25 year old me
Anyways, what I did was I stood the case up on it's front so the back was facing up in the air. This way, I could set the radiator where I wanted it for the purpose of mocking it up. Once I liked where it was and it wasn't interfering with anything else, I used a blue marker to mark where it was so that I could work around that. You can sort of see the blue in the pics.
As you can see, from this point I just started cutting with no mercy. I had two goals: One was to get the PSU plate to sit where it should. I accomplished this with a few different tricks. One was to have one of the holes in the plate share a mounting screw with the top metal of the case. The other was to use a lip that the plate already had to sit against a cut I had made in the old mesh where the single fan should be. This joint involved some JB Weld, which I'm a bit ashamed of, but it got the job done and after some testing I was VERY confident in its ability to hold the weight of any PSU I could perceivably throw at it.
The second goal, from before, was to cut out as much of the back of the case as possible for maximum airflow for the two new fan holes. It was like cutting out the mesh of a fan mount but doing it on a fan mount that doesn't exist yet
The trick here was to leave just enough
so there was something there for the fan bolts to go through. The plan, you see, was to have the rad on the back, fans inside, and the bolts going through the metal of the case to hold the whole contraption on. So after a lot of test-mounting, cutting, and repeating, I had sufficiently massacred the back of the case to my liking. As ugly as the cuts are, I knew 95% of them would be hidden by the rad and fans, so that didn't bother me and I took no effort to clean them up, which I think it's painfully obvious in the pics
(more to come still...)