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====Quick introduction====

 

My name is Kurt Schuff and I’m (presently) 34 years old.  I live in the gorgeous Pacific Northwest in the US, also home to one of the most amazing LAN parties ever (PDXLAN).  I’m a Software Quality Assurance Engineer by day, and a computer and gaming enthusiast all day long.

 

I’ve been modding my PCs since 1999, constantly trying out new things and loving every learning opportunity.  Recently I was blessed with a chance to do a build for charity at PDXLAN 27. I was immediately overwhelmed by the other names on the list of builders and was determined to hold my own. It was a great time to focus on what we do best and integrate wood and lighting into the case.  I took a core design element of circuit traces and managed to apply it to nearly every component in the build without making it overwhelming.   With help and patience from my teammate, we completed the build in what felt like an insanely short time period and got it to PDXLAN. The charity ended up raising $15,000 for a great cause, and I was honored to be a part of that. After many incredibly supportive comments and tons of support from the community, I once again find myself presented with an opportunity to create something amazing in the medium that I now love.

 

 

 

====This Build====

 

This build will be based on one of my favorite games: Diablo 3.  Specifically my favorite class, the Demon Hunter.  It will use a mixture of wood, metal, and some other fun elements to tie everything together and present some opportunities to try new things. 
One of the aspects I’m most looking forward to is getting some time in with the forge and anvil. I plan to hand forge a number of the elements going into the case.
We’ll also get high-tech in there with lighting schemes, laser work, and some airbrushing (another skill that I’m planning to learn during this build).

I look forward to how this build takes shape and am deeply honored to be a part of such an elite crew.  I can’t thank ThermalTake, Newegg, Asus, Avexir and any other sponsors enough for providing this opportunity.

 

 

 

====Parts List====

 

GPUs:  2x Asus 980 Strix GPUs in SLI [link]

CPU:  Intel Core i7-6700K [link]

Motherboard:  Asus ROG MAXIMUS VIII FORMULA (LGA 1151 Intel Z170) [link]

RAM: 4x4G Avexir RED Tesla DDR4 [link]

Drive 1: Samsung 850 EVO 2.5†500GB SSD [link]

Drive 2: Samsung 950 PRO M.2 256GB [link]

Case: ThermalTake Core P5 [link]

PSU: ThermalTake Toughpower DPS G RGB 1250W Titanium [link]

Cooling: ThermalTake LCS components [link]

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Progress!

 

I really started digging into Autodesk Fusion 360 for this.  Prior to this project I hadn't really used it at all, so it's been a bit of a learning curve.   The modeling tools are great though, and being able generate CAM paths has been amazing (although still learning the finer points there....).

 

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Took the opportunity to use CAM paths made in Fusion to try out some aluminum milling on our CNC.  We had only done wood before this point, but since we swapped out the router for a spindle we were looking to try out some new stuff.  Actually went REALLY WELL!

 

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Spent some time on the CNC this weekend.  Got the rough cuts done, and everything measures up!  Just gotta do some sanding and cleanup to make them look immaculate, and then on to the next part of the GPU Waterblock Mod.

 

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Planning a small modification to the TT Pacific W2 CPU Waterblock.  Will remove the central emblem, replace the LEDs w/ RGB ones, and mill an aluminum cover plate:

 

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LEAK TESTING!!!!   Assembled the main parts of the block and made sure that no leaks were exhibited while running water.  After about 14 hours, it remained totally dry!

 

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Also did a basic fit test.  Sadly, that upper bracket on the GPU will have to go, as it sits right in the way of the GPU block bridge.

 

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And lastly, laying out graphics for what to put on the remade GPU blocks!!!

 

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Progress continues!  The next layer of the GPU block has gone from render to reality with a quick lighting test!

 

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Detail shot.  I REALLY like how this turned out.

 

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And, of course, we have to see it in blue as well!

 

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Got the small set of LEDs mounted in there.  Just need to do the aluminum top trim and then cleanup/assembly.  And... then do it all again :D

 

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Also took some time to play w/ wood.  Doing an iron acetate wash on some wood to see about getting a dark black/gray type look.   First pass yielded some interesting results, more testing needed though.

 

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Nothing like spending a quality shop day in the great NorthWest!!

 

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Fired up the CNC and began cutting the aluminum sheets for parts.

Probably could have done it by hand with the saw and drill... but this is WAY MORE FUN!

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Started blocking out the wood pieces that will make up a lot of the structure in the case.  Nice natural cedar harvested from the acres around the shop. 

 

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Finished the structural assembly of the waterblocks.  Now is a lot of sanding and polish and cleanup, some LED work, etc. 

 

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The first iteration of the CPU block insert.  I went a little too thin on the aluminum in the middle and got some buckles, so I'll be doing another revision, but I do like how it is starting to look.

 

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And the finished cutting pieces of the fan grills.  These need some grinding and sanding work yet.  The tabs will be bent 90 degress and become brackets that hold the radiator assembly to the case. 

 

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A nice shot of the major pieces worked on this last weekend.  There were a couple others, but I'm saving those for later... ;)

 

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Spent some time with the airbrush on a piece that will end up on the backside of the case.  I literally just started learning how to use an airbrush, so it's a trial-by-fire project. :D  Fortunately I etched several pieces of acrylic so I have extra to work with and practice on.

These three pics are the same paintjob, just with different amounts/angles of backlight.

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I also started connecting fittings, making sure I made enough LED caps, etc.

I didn't get pictures of them yet, but I also started the teardown of the 8 fans that will go on the radiator to change out the LEDs like I did on the last project.  

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Lastly, I wasn't real happy with  the way the acetal I carved relieved internal stress by bowing downward, so I started looking at a backup-plan of painting the original white piece of plastic from the blocks.

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Initial test turned out okay, so I'll continue down that road unless I free up a lot of time to try the acetal again.

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Fan grills are nearly done.  On Friday a buddy helped bend the tabs over.

 

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And today, after some light sanding/polishing to remove tool marks, the mounted up just great!!!  Now I just need to drill holes in the tabs and mount 'em to the case proper!

 

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A quick test at a method to do an aluminum inlay in some cedar... Considering I totally screwed up my mix, it actually turned out tolerable!!

The next step is to do an iron acetate wash to age the wood and see what we're working with.

 

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I also cut some cable organizers.  These will be mounted in the middle of the case and help route the cables.  

 

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Lastly, did a first run on the tubing.  Happy with it for the most part, need to tweak a couple small pieces but otherwise things ended up where I wanted it to!

 

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Yesterday I spent most of the evening working on the fans.  The LEDs need wired up in series, so I began the arduous task of figuring all that out... it's a mess :D

 

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