Modding Log - markkleb's "Project Crossflo" Page: 1

Overclock3D and its forums are all about community. Our roots are firmly planted in the Overclocking and Modifying scene where our members have continually shown us their technical skills and imagination through their project logs posted on our forums.

Today we'd like to bring to you one of these project logs from modder Mark Klebofski. One of his latest projects is a small form factor, custom designed case with interesting airflow. I asked him to write us an article going through his build...

Making of "CrossFlo"

My thought on building this case was to eliminate the problems associated with SFF cases.

2-Lack of Hardware choices
3-Poor cooling
4-simple design (something everybody could do)

Here is a picture of one of my earlier comps a Qpack showing how it can be over filled with stuff causing very poor airflow.

qpack pic

My thought was to remove the power supply from the top of the case and put it below out of the way thus separating the heat from the motherboard and its components.

By turning the ATX motherboard sideways it allows the same rectangular shape as the Qpack/Microfly. It also allows the airflow to travel form one side to the other thus the name CrossFlo. My thought in using side to side flow was it is more efficient (flows with the axis of the cards) and has a shorter path to go.

Bigger cases have air basically entering from the front and exiting the back, but the air has to go up, over and around obstacles thus making it much less efficient.

silverstone tj09

When airflow is more efficient you need less to do the same amount of work., so the comp becomes quieter as slower speed fans can do the work of high speed ones.

Now to pick out the components that I will build this case around:

Motherboard - DFI LP 590 W/AMD X2 4200
Memory- 2 Gigs of Corsair XMS2 Pro
HDDs- 2 WD 160 GIG sata 2 in Raid0
LiteOn DVD (laptop slot-load version)
PC Power and Cooling 510 power supply
DangerDen dual 80mm Rad
DangerDen DDC pump W/ Petras custom top

It sounds like a lot to fit in a case smaller than a Qpack..

Motherboard tray and bottom half of case

First lets start with the motherboard. To add a little flash and also insulate against electricity I will make the motherboard tray out of plastic. The motherboard will be on one side and the PSU on the other.

To make fewer pieces necessary I am going to make the I/O plate as part of the motherboard tray.
To bend it just use a heat source (torch, hairdryer or heat gun). Keep the heat moving because if it stays in 1 place too long it will melt or BURN.Than I just bend it over the edge of my desk. Working with plastic is pretty easy, just remember to use SHARP tools (no dull cutters or CRACK)

bending plastic bent plastic

I am using Nylon screws and spacers to support the motherboard and PSU. There is less chance of damaging the back of the motherboard .Since I am hinging the motherboard tray and using it to support the motherboard and Hdd I have decided to make a aluminium piece for the front and back to add a little extra support.

mobo tray

mobo tray

Now to bend up a piece of metal to serve as the bottom half. Just bend it over the edge of my desk

bending bottom half

Now just attach the motherboard tray to the bottom half.

riveting motherboard

Power Supply and wiring

Power supplies have a lot of wires coming out of them. I am only going to need about half of them.

psu wiring

Also power supplies are much smaller without their cases. CAUTION DO NOT REMOVE YOUR PSU FROM ITS SHELL UNLESS YOU HAVE A THOROUGH UNDERSTANDING OF ELECTRICITY. Not to mention it instantly voids the warranty.

psu wiring

I will be using 2 HDDs and the Laptop DVD on 1 circuit. The water pump, lighting and fans will be on 1 circuit, then I need the 24 pin, 8 pin and 6 pin for the motherboard plus the wires for the voltage controls of the PSU. This means that all the rest can go. Here is what it looks like after I removed the ones not needed.

psu motherboard wiring

power connections

I like to solder the PSU wires directly to the back of the motherboard. This is a pain in the back-side and also instantly voids the motherboard's warranty, but it eliminates a bunch of extra wire and the possibility of voltage loss through added connections.

I say possibility because while on the chalkboard there is some loss in current every connection you make as long as the connections are good I believe it wont be noticeable.

custom pots pots switch

I also made a custom voltage controller so that I could adjust the voltages of the "pots" (potentiometers)

Water Cooling and HDD Rack

Since the bottom half of my case is 3 ½" tall I am going to use a DangerDen Dual 80mm rad.

80mm rad

Also I am only cooling my CPU so a Huge complicated Water loop is not necessary.
I will draw air in from the right side through the rad and than across the PSU and out the left side. I am also going to cut a 80 mm fan hole on the left side to make sure that air has an easy escape.

cooling setup

I will notch the bottom half of the case where the tubing will pass through and line it with rubber molding so the hoses aren't cut by the metal when the case is opened.

Now to make the brackets for the Hdds and DVD. I am using Aluminum. The front piece will add structure to the bottom half of the case.
I am mounting the HDDs using rubber grommets to help to cut vibration/noise (example from previous build).

mobo tray

I saw one of these fans online and just had to have one.

flash fan

It's a 80mm fan sold by BlueGears and as it rotates it shows the temp of the air passing through. Also it helps to cool off the HDDs as well as adding a little flash to the front.

Read on to see some work on the top and front of the case...

Modding Log - markkleb's "Project Crossflo" Page: 2
The top half

Now to make the top shell. This one is a little harder as it needs to match the width of the bottom . I measured and bent the perforated metal over the edge of my desk.

bent top

The sides need to be longer so there can be tabs that fit into the bottom piece of the case to lock them together.

tabs for join

Now I just need to figure where the I/O plate is and the exhaust for the video card will be. Out comes the Dremel and Voila..

graphics card hole

Cut the holes small and then trim/file to fit.

graphics card rear II

For painting I used a self etching primer (sticks better) than a few coats of Dupli-Color Metalcast Red Anodized. After drying a few coats of clear should help out.

Now to install the GPU and chipset cooler. It seems to me that if I mount the Thermalright hr-05 chipset cooler like this I can use a 80mm fan in the back side of the case to supply cool fresh air to cool it off and than on to the 8800GTS to act as a intake for it as well

gfx and nb cooler

Now on to the iMON. It's a 2 line VFD (vacuum fluorescent display) that can show you info from the internet as well as be a spectrum analyzer. It allows all the computers functions (including ON/Off) to be remote control. To mount the iMON I cut a piece of threaded rod and attached it to one of the unused holes in the Apogee CPU block.

imon front

imon rear

Making the fan

I am trying to clean up the case as much as possible so the elimination of screws is important. I have always felt 4 screws to hold the fan and grill was just too much. Here is what I started with, typical 120 and 80mm fans.

stock fan

I get out my trusty dremel and cut away everything that's not round.

cutting fan

Than on to the belt sander to smooth it out.

belt sanded fan

Throw on a little Bondo (body filler) and sand it down spray a little primer and VOILA no more mounts.

finished fan

To mount its so easy just cut a hole in the metal, add a little rubber moulding and push it in.

fan in hole fan in hole

Front Panel

Now I have a frame I line the edges of the metal with a rubber strip. I cut a piece of Smoke plastic to fit tightly. Than its just a matter of cutting the hole for the fan, Voltage controls and a slot for the DVD to pass through.

front panel

Rear Panel

The rear panel is the same as the front except for the 80mm SilenX fan and on/off button.

rear panel

rear panel II

To finish this off I had to have a matching keyboard!

matching keyboard

A couple more finished shots:

finished front finished tope view

I really had a great time building this comp and had some luck at the PDXLAN 9 mod contest sponsored by CPU magazine.. (took second place)

fiished inside finished inside 2

finished case imon

top5 pdxlan

Thanks to Mark for writing the article.


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