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The Military Moochine

Carlos Martinez

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This is my first ever attempt at modding a computer case. I started as my own personal project and didn't even know about this competition so I decided that I'll just submit my work in progress. 
As a background, I've owned this case for a couple of years now and wanted something new. The local frys had a sale on a z87 msi motherboard that I just couldn't pass up, so I decided that it was time to do something about the case. This was when I decided to mod the case myself and see what I could do.
So I bought this motherboard on sale and the processor off of craigslist used (thankfully it worked  :D ). I then just reused my hardware from my AMD build that I had originally put together over 2 years ago. The graphics card, one of the ssd's, and wireless card were purchases in the recent months,  otherwise, everything else was reused from my old build. Most of the parts were bought on different sales and black Friday deals.
Case: Coolermaster Storm Trooper
Motherboard: MSI Z87-GD65
CPU: Intel i5 4670k
RAM: 2x HyperX Grey Series 4GB
          2x G.Skill Sniper Series 4GB
Hard drives: Seagate Barracuda 7200 3TB
                    500 GB that came with my even older commercial desktop computer (Lenovo)
                    Kingston SSD V200 256GB
                    PNY XLR8 248GB
Optical Drive: OEM disk drive from Lenovo (again, older computer)
Wireless card: Asus PCE AC-1900
Sound card: Creative SC X-Fi Xtreme Audio
PSU: Antec 750w high current gamer
On the way still is a swiftech h220x that is on back order from NCIX.
(It was on back-order for too long so I ordered everything from mainly from EKWB)
Water cooling from EKWB:

EK-DBAY D5 Vario (incl. pump)
EK-Ekoolant Pastel WHITE (concentrate 250mL) x3 (although only used 1)
EK-Supremacy EVO - Nickel
EK-CoolStream RAD XTC (280)                                                Leaked  :( 
EK-HD Tube 10/12mm 500mm (2 pcs) x4 for 8 total
EK-HDC Fitting 12mm G1/4 - White x10
EK-FC970 GTX ACX - Nickel x2
EK-AF Pass-Through G1/4 - Nickel x2
EK-ACF Fitting 10/13mm - Nickel x4
EK-CoolStream PE 240 (Dual)


EX280 Dual Fan Low Profile / High Performance Radiator


LRT Flexible Tubing  2ft
Sadly, I seemed to have lost my original pictures of the case. But below is a link to the case so you can see what it looked like stock.
See post 6 for original case pictures.

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So that's the setup that I'm using for now. After putting in the motherboard, I decided to make the case my own instead of just wasting my money and buying a new one.


I started with the window. I do not own a dremel, or any of the tools to do the metal work and had to meet at my friends house and use his. I mapped out the window and decided to just cut around the bevel that was already on the side of the case. Since I don't have the expertise on cutting out metal, and then adding more in, I had to make the window larger that I wanted. You'll see in the future pictures that the drive cages and hard drives really stick out. I plan on fixing this by adding a custom plexi glass cover for the psu and the wires coming from the hard drives. That will have to come later, as I still haven't been able to add the glass for the window itself.


This was done the first weekend in Jan.


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Next I decided to do the really hard part... digital camo by hand. I grew up playing paint ball when I was younger and I've done camo in the past, but I've only done digital once, and it didn't come out to well. I took my time and spent over 35 hours preping, cutting the stencils by hand, and painting the case in an urban camo.


Originally the case had the stock red led fans in front and with the asus red pcb and red msi mother board I was going to go with a red digital camo. But the led's in the computer were all different mix of blue, green, and white colors. This made me lean more towards the neutral colors of urban, so that I could mach with as many other parts as I could. 


I used a gloss white, aluminum, gloss grey, gloss black, and triple thick clear coat spray paint from my local walmart for about $4 a can. I then got wax paper and painters tape for the stencils and prep work. 


I started by cutting one stencil and seeing how the painters tape worked with the wax paper. As I said before, I did digital once when I was younger, but I just cut the squares directly on the roll of painters tape. This worked for a skinny gun that I did then, but it wouldn't have allowed complex or large designs to be cut due to the limited width of the tape. By layering the tape on the wax paper I was able to get a much larger area to work with.


I put the wax paper with tape on it on top of a cardboard box and used a small pocket knife to cut the designs. I printed a digital camo stencil from the internet and used that for majority of the page. All of the left over space I used to make my own random custom stencils to get a more varied design. The system worked, but it took a lot of time to cut them and to peel them. In order to peel the tape off of the wax paper, I had to work at the edge with my knife just to lift it off the paper enough to peel it off like a sticker. But again, it worked.


So I then took about 3 pages of wax paper and put painter's tape on them and cut them all at once cutting the time. The next pass I used 5 pages of wax paper, but I layered the tape on both sides to cut the time even further.


So I had around 14 total "pages" in the end I could've used at least one more page, but it just so happened to be the perfect amount of stencils for this case.


Then I prepped the case. In hind sight, I didn't account for all of the dust that the paint would create and I actually didn't cover enough of the holes. Even though there was no unintentional over spray, all of the dust got everywhere in the case and I had to dust the living crud out of the case. But with a little of elbow grease it came out by hitting it up with rubbing alcohol and a soft paint brush.


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But for the actual painting, I also should've added a primer base coat instead of just the white paint. It immediately started to run the moment I started to paint it white, and with the case being black to begin with, the white paint just would not become solid. So it the paint was running and clumping in areas I didn't want it to, so I rushed to walmart and picked up some light sand paper (I can't remember the exact grit) and came back and sanded down the parts that had uneven white paint. 


Once I touched all the paint up with the sand paper, I tried it again with the white paint and used far lighter coats and built up the paint very slowly (I used close to 2.5 cans worth in just misting the case with the paint). The paint was still not perfect, but I just made sure not to cover the trouble spots with the stencils that I cut. If the paint looked solid I just covered that part with the painters tape stencil so that only that section would show.


I then did the aluminum coat, grey, and finally black.


Please note that it took hours to apply all of the decals as I had to work each and every single one of the edges of the painters tape with my knife and take my time placing the decals.


Once I finished the all of the coats, I used a couple of the "female" stencils I had left over to add some grey color where it looked like it needed the extra color.


When I took off all of the painters tape from the case I noticed that the aluminum paint was coming off with the tape itself and was leaving obvious marks where the paint had come off. I started to get worried, but after applying a thick coat of the clear coat over the entire case it blended the aluminum color and you really can't tell that the paint finish was tarnished.



This over all process lead to the interesting color scheme that you see now. It was not my intention, but the white, grey, black look reminded me of a cow. Hence the name... Moochine.


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So this is where I'm at now. I still have more plans for this case. I still need to add the glass to the side window and I want fabricate a plexi-glass covering for the psu and wires that are on the bottom of the case to give it that professional clean look. I'll continue to add more photos of the paint job as well as keep better track of my progress.

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  • 1 month later...

Okay, it's been a few months since my last update, but its been very busy here lately. I've managed to find an old back up of photos from when I originally built the computer in 2013. I had penciled in a Jayhawk on one of the sides, but didn't keep it since I decided on cutting a window instead. 


As for the rest of the project, I am nearing completion and will be posting what I've done so far. I've completely water cooled the system and painted many parts of the motherboard. I also have some plexiglass covers that I am working on custom painting or possibly etching. 


As for the some of the parts, I since got rid of the fan controller you see on the front since I knew there would be no room for it and I could use a swiftech fan controller. 


The two red fans I replaced but kept for another project that you will see later.


And the left side with the two fans was cut at the very beginning of this build as per my previous posts.




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Update to worklog- Feb 25


I ordered water cooling components from EKWB as soon as they released the 970 FTW water blocks. I also added another 970 FTW since the local Fry's Electronics had it for sale. So I had to do some extra ordering.


This was my first attempt at water cooling a computer using a custom loop. And I choose to use acrylic tubing. This led to a host of problems, but I got it to work as you will see over the course of the next few days. 


This first day, I took all of the components and prepped them all for their placement. I also began painting the red components on the motherboard to help them blend in with the custom paint job. 


I used standard high temp grill paint in white and standard grey paint for the radiator.


Looking back at it now, the radiator was just a little too big, and painting it was not necessary as you can't even see it with the side panel on, but its there.


I also attached the first GPU water-block to the system. 


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Feb 26:


I continued to work on the water cooling. As you can see in the photos, there isn't any room to put fans on the bottom of the radiator like I would've preferred, but I was able to fit one on top. So it worked out a little bit and I was able to get by. I also was waiting on the other GPU water-block for the newly acquired GTX 970 that I picked up on sale.


I thought about possibly modding a 120mm fan on the inside of the case, but decided to err on the side of caution and more than likely it would've come out crappy.


In order to help hide the unsightly SLI connections, I cut the rubber protection grommets in half to cover the portion that the SLI bridge was not using.


From there I began bending the acrylic tubes. Sadly I had only ordered two pipes and ended  up order another six to help give me room for error.


The Asus wifi pci adapter was also standing out a bit to much with the red heat sink. So I also painted that.


And as a final project for the day, I began the cover for the hard drive bays and psu.



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Feb 27:


With the heat sink dry I reattached it to the pcb and put it back in the system.


I also started to map out the cuts for the psu cover and finalize the hard drive bay cover.


Then I put the psu back in the system and began some wire management. I moved the ssd’s to the back of the case by using a single screw to hold them in place so that they would not force me to have more wires than necessary in the viewable part of the case.


And I tried using gorilla glue for the bay cover, but a few days down the line I ended up having to use specialized plastic glue.


I also began prepping the metal grill for the side of the case for paint to help it match the front grills on the case.Feb 27:


With the heat sink dry I reattached it to the pcb and put it back in the system.


I also started to map out the cuts for the psu cover and finalize the hard drive bay cover.


Then I put the psu back in the system and began some wire management. I moved the ssd’s to the back of the case by using a single screw to hold them in place so that they would not force me to have more wires than necessary in the viewable part of the case.


And I tried using gorilla glue for the bay cover, but a few days down the line I ended up having to use specialized plastic glue.


I also began prepping the metal grill for the side of the case for paint to help it match the front grills on the case.



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