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Review: Project Black Ice - Part 3

by David Ross on 18 April 2002, 00:00

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Modifying the Case

Project Black Ice - Part 3-1

Welcome to the third installment of Project Black Ice. Last time I looked at the majority of the case mod's and evaporator housing. In this article you will get to see the remaining touches to the case, the fitting of the vapochill rig and some of the electronic control systems.

Let the work commence!

In the lower front of the case a large 'Big Momma' radiator will be fitted, so a square hole needs to be cut out. I made the hole slightly smaller than the radiator size so I can drill some mounting holes around it and mount it with very long cable ties going through the fins.

With the shape marked out, I drilled 2 pilot holes and cut it out with the jig. Again remember to sand any edges after cutting metal - blood doesn't go well with PC's :)

One problem with a case this big and with this much cooling equipment, is the sheer weight of the beast!. To ever have any hope of moving this thing around it needs castors. I removed the flimsy plastic feet, drilled out some holes and mounted four sturdy castors to the base.

Next it was finally time to actually get the bulky vapochill rig into place. The rig will block four of the upper drive bays but will leave me with two for a CD-Writer and a DVD drive. To help support the 10 KG weight of the rig I thought it wise to put in an aluminium support plate going across the case.

The plate is cut from 3/16" gauge aluminium, four holes were drilled and countersunk. The holes were marked on the support bar edges, as seen above, and drilled. Finally I riveted the plate down.

The back plate supplied with the case is completely useless now, as the power supply will be much further up and a large rectangle hole needs to be cut for the vapochill condenser. Seeing that the back plate was too small to be 'moded' I used the scrap metal from the window cut to create a new back plate.

Using the old back plate as a template, I marked out the power supply hole. Then with some careful measuring I marked and cut the rectangular hole needed for the condenser. I also had to cut a bit off the back of the case, to extend the height of the 'plate' hole, so I can fit the PSU in. After drilling some mounting holes for the plate, I riveted it into place, then gently eased the vapochill rig into place:

Drilling from underneath, I drilled four holes straight through the aluminium plate and the base plate of the vapochill rig - so I could mount the rig with 4 bolts. The existing holes on the rig base plate were also used to screw it to the back of the case and the front sides.

You can see that I decided to change the fan supplied with the vapochill rig to a 120mm YS-Tech fan. I covered the fan with some pax mate sound absorption material to help absorb any vibrations. To help increase air flow and reduce noise further, I put a rubber gasket around the fan to lift it off the condenser fins. The fan will also of course be speed controlled to reduce the noise level.