Case: Full custom, copper pipes, backplate, GPU mount, etc…
GPU: PNY 3090
Memory: 4x16GB G.SKILL Ripjaws DDR 3600
Motherboard: ASUS Crosshair VIII Formula
GPU Waterblock: EKWB Vector 3090 Copper
CPU Waterblock: Optimus Foundation Copper
Pump: EKWB Dual D5
Fittings: Alphacool Eiszapfen 13mm, Brass AC/Compression Fittings
Case Tubing: ¾” Copper Type-M
Fitting Tubing: ½” Copper Soft AC Tubing
Radiators: Aliexpress Copper 2x360, 1x240
Fans: 8xNoctua Industrial 3000
Gauges: 5v Analog powered by an Arduino Uno R3 & Python script
Flow Meter: Mechanical ½”
This went from an idea to a multi-month project.
The watercooling addiction took hold and I had this idea in my head that I couldn’t get over… which was to have the case be the distribution block for a watercooled, open frame, PC.
The result was to build a custom case using ¾” copper tubing and fittings.
Here is a view of the fame with all of the fittings soldered and polished before building up the mounting plates and components. Note the cables that I had put through the pipes prior to soldering so that I could run power to the lights as well as the power switch through tubes that were not handling coolant.
Designing the loop and then making it actually function posed some interesting challenges. The most fundamental challenge was “blocking” flow from certain headers in the fittings to control the water flow into a closed loop. The reality is that pipe fittings are not meant to “block/plug” pipes, they are meant to connect them to flow. After several iterations, I landed on brass threaded plugs that I soldered into place to plug the outlets from the fittings that needed to be closed.
Why not rubber plugs? They would melt when soldering the joints. Why not valves? They are too long and would affect the structure/shape of the case which I wanted to optimize for layout/fitment of radiators, motherboard, reservoir, etc…
To connect the hard copper tubing to the fittings I used soft ½” copper tubing and a pipe bender as well as several brass AC compression fittings.
I had to fabricate the mounting plate for the motherboard as well as a custom vertical GPU mount using copper plumbing hangars/fittings. The back of the motherboard is a sheet of copper that I custom cut and then bored holes for the analog gauges as well as the PSU 24 pin connection to come through to the motherboard.
The reservoir is a GrowlerWerks uKeg 64. I bored a hole through the bottom and the back so the water circulates in from the back and out through the bottom to the pump. Note to self, boring two ½” holes in a double-wall stainless steel container is not that easy.
Gauges are 5v that I purchased from eBay. I created custom gauge display backs in black with white lettering so they would display the appropriate values and ranges. The PC is running a python script to pull info from openhwinfo and then putting the tokenized values across a COM port over USB to an Arduino UNO R3. The Arduino is looping, parsing the values, and translating them into analog output values to the gauges.