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Gigantea - CM Elite 130 casemod


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Hey all!  InsolentGnome here, back for my second year of the Cooler Master Case Mod World Series.  This year my subject is the Cooler Master Elite 130.  A nice, tame mITX case that I'm hoping to give a little more bite!  I'd tell you more about what my plans are but that would totally kill the surprise!  I love a bit of suspense in a build log. :D  Don't worry, at some point I'll have to let you all in on the big plot twist, but until then...ooooohhhhh, suspense!  


So lets start with the patient.  Or rather...test subject.








Uh oh, kiddies, close your eyes.  It's getting naked!






So you're probably wondering about calling an mITX project Gigantea.  Definitely a odd name for a tiny box.  Stick around to find out.

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Now for the guts of Gigantea.  At the heart of the beast, we have an Intel i5 4690K Devil's Canyon CPU slotted into a Gigabyte Z97N-WIFI motherboard.  Cooling for the CPU will be taken care of by an EK Supremacy EVO block.




Memory is an 8GB kit of 2133MHz Corsair Vengeance Pro 




Graphics will be handled by an Asus Strix GTX980 with an EK GTX Strix water block.




Storage will be 2 Samsung 850 EVO SSD's, one 250GB and one 500GB




And power will come from a Cooler Master V850 PSU




Now for the cooler stuff, er, cooling stuff.  Radiators are 120mm Alphacool XT45's.




The reservoir is one of Monsoon's new MMRS setups.  The 200mm version with the red accents and the frosted reactor tube.  Though I'm not sure whether I'm coloring the coolant yet or not, so I do have a blood red tube on the way as well so I have options.  This res pairs well with Monsoon's red free center fittings and 90's.




And for the pump, an Alphacool D5 with a Monsoon pump top and cover.  I'm actually swapping this pump mount with a D5 adapter for the res.  They were sold out, but after some checking with people in the know, PPC's got some more in stock and I've got it on the way.




Next up, I might actually mod something, LOL!

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Back at it.  If you happen to be wondering about the mid tier kit that I'm using, it's all from my build last year save for the MB, which I had to switch to because of the mITX form factor.  I remember being so ticked off about the 980Ti coming out just after getting my 980.  But it's still very capable stuff and should make for a quick machine.


So let's start modding!  First things first, lets get this case torn down and see what we've got.




That all came apart pretty well, except I did break the feet getting them out. :(  Guess I'll have to come up with some replacements.




And the frame of our build.




But, I do seem to have a lot more stuff than will easily fit in there, so let's make some extra room.




Still looks like it's lacking room.




That's better, but I NEED MORE SPACE!  Maybe these 2 extra CM Elite 130's will be enough.



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Continuing on, let's take a look at our other 2 test subj....er....patients.




I almost hate doing what has to be done, but in the name of progress, they're getting the same treatment as the first 130.  That leaves us with this party of nine.




Plus a few bits and pieces, of course, which I plan on incorporating along the way.  Maybe I'm funny, but I think being in the tower side of the competition, the end result should retain some idea of the original case, or at least something that ties it to the original.  But back to the task at hand, lets get these pieces arranged in some sort of order to approximate our final layout.




I think I finally have enough space for all the components I want.   biggrin.png  Next we need some way to put all this together, cause carting around 5 feet of computer connected with wires and and tubes would just be a nightmare.  Though, you might be able to roll it up.  Hahaha, a flexible tower.  But that's not what I'm doing.  I need a large piece of aluminum.  Meet "The Spine".






A 5' piece of 3/4"x1" aluminum tube ought to hold everything together just fine.  I still need to work out the spacing and a few other details, but here's the gist of what's going to happen.






Naturally, there's going to be a bit more to it than just screwing everything together.  That will have to wait for one of the next few updates, though, when I think I'll finally have to let the cat out of the bag about what Gigantea's final form will be.  But I did try to put some vague hints in the log so far if you want to take a stab at guessing it's nature. wink.png

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  • 2 weeks later...

Finishing up my last project has sort of slowed the start on Gigantea, but I have managed to do a little.  So before I get around to the idea reveal, let's hack up the PSU.  Cause that sounds totally safe, right?


I'm starting with a Cooler Master V850 that I took out of F3.  Since it was mounted on it's side with no back panel, I had it screwed down through it's cover.  That left a few ugly marks.




So I'm going to cut those sides out and replace them.






It's a bit odd since the stamped lines are on the bottom side of the panel on one side, and the top on the other side, but oh well.  Now to put in some 2 way mirrored acrylic.  






I'll admit I completely stole this idea from the InWin H-Frame 2.0's PSU.  I really liked that look.  The problem now is that the 2 way acrylic needs light behind it to work, so let's grab a LED fan to replace the stock.  Except...




It's a 135mm fan.  Crap.  Ok let's order a LED fan.  Except...




The only 135mm LED fan I can find is blue and I need red.  So I'm changing out some LEDs.  Now can I put it in the PSU...yep!

Fired up and running.




And the side panels look pretty slick!




But what I was really after...


Powered off




Powered on.




It does look clearer in person, the 2 way fools my phone pretty well and the low light doesn't help.  But this should put a nice red glow in the belly of this beast!

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Getting back to work on the case.  I need to make some end pieces.  Luckily, CM put an almost perfect front panel on the Elite for my needs.  Almost.

The original front panels and front section.




Square doesn't really work for me though, so lets chop 'em and give them a little flair.




Adding some aluminum panels to give them a little strength.




Then I took out the grill section of the front panel.  It's not the look I'm going for and I really don't want to try to get the hex pattern under the grill to fit the new angles.  Wouldn't look right.




I'll be cleaning these up a bit once I get a little further along and figure out what I'm replacing the grills with.


Now to start mounting pieces to the spine of Gigantea.








As it stands, literally, it's now 6 feet 1 1/2 inches tall.  Taller than me.  :(  I'm gonna have to do something about that next time.

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So this whole height issue...yeah, I don't want to be shorter than my case so I've got to do something about it.

First off, I need to find the center between my sections along the spine.




And then draw some cool designs on it.  Cause cool designs add 20% to your overclocks.  True story.   :P




I then tried to kill my bandsaw by cutting out the angles that I marked on the spine.  I didn't kill it, but it was not happy with me.  Then I applied some heat and some pressure.  If it was a rock, I would have made it metamorphic.  I knew those geology classes would come in handy. :D




I finished by metamorphosing it into a giant "S".  "S" stands for spine.  Or stupendous and super.  Or silly and screw loose.  You're call. :)




I know it looks like a snake.  It's the first letter of snake.  Totally not going to be a snake.

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So I guess it's time to let you all in on my idea.  So first the name.  Gigantea.  It's the species name of a member of the Scolopendra genus.  S. Gigantea, more commonly known as the Amazonian giant centipede.




Cute, ain't it.  And at up to a foot long, it lives up to it's giant name.  And, oh yeah, one bad mofo.  


So how did I come up with this crazy notion?  One day when I was trying to figure out what to do with a Cooler Master Stacker 935 when Knife Party's "Centipede" came on.  You know the song that samples the giant centipede vs. tarantula nature video.  I thought it'd be pretty crazy to split that top 915R into sections and give it some legs and make a giant computer centipede.  Crazy, I know.  One of my biggest hurdles was figuring out the legs...how to pull them off, what to make them out of, etc.  I got lucky enough to have won a case last year, and it just so happened that my idea for it included large, jointed(non-mobile) legs.   Hmmmm....perfect test.  So with a handle on the legs, I was ready to tackle the giant tropical centipede.  Unfortunately I couldn't find any CM 915s for the contest, but the Elite 130 is a close replacement, though it's about 100mm shorter front to back.  Rather than the two 915s I was planning on using, I went with 3 130's to make up the length and that's where we are now, 3 Elite 130s in pieces and a giant spine frame.  Now that you know where I'm headed, let's get to work!


With the spine bent into shape, I went and brazed the joints and then ground them flat.  I'll be pretty-ing them up with some filler once I start prepping them for finish.








And a couple ground down joints.




Next was to clean up what was the bottom of the case and add some strength to my sections.  Enter some .08" aluminum.




The sections of case didn't need to be perfectly flat, but they did have some mounting points that I needed to level out.  First, let's try out a hammer, cause that would be the easiest.




Just what I was afraid of, flattening out the raised sections pushed outward on everything else and gave it a curve.  Looks like I'm cutting the raised sections out.






Much better results.  Doing this 9 times over was a bit of a pain though, lol.




Next was riveting the aluminum to the case sections and putting our mounting holes through the aluminum.




After some evening out on the edges, I put them on the spine, because, well, I had to see how it looked. :)








At nearly 30 inches tall right now, I'd say I've got the giant part down.  And I still need a body and legs! 


And my model, LOL!




I'd say I'm pretty close.  I did roll the mid-section back at more of an angle to help with weight distribution.  Keeping this thing planted  and not crashing head first is going to take some work, and maybe some lead. :D

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Did a bit more work over the weekend.  Since this is supposed to be a computer, I guess I need to mount a motherboard in it somewhere, LOL.

I whipped up a nice little platform for the MB out of some .08" aluminum.  The stuff is a bear to bend well, but very stout.










It's got a seat up front and center.  I'm not quite done with it though.  After getting it mounted up I've decided it needs more, so I'm actually going to add a piece of 1/4" acrylic to the top of the tray and edge light it to give it a glowing effect.  But that's for next time.

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After staring at it for a while, I changed the motherboard mounting a bit.  I decided to reduce it's height off the back plates and instead of adding a layer of acrylic to the tray, I just made the tray of acrylic.  By switching to just the acrylic for the tray, I reduced some complexity and also made attaching the brackets to the plates a whole lot easier.




A 1" rise off the back plates instead of 2".   Looks tighter and will help with some things in the future.




Next is the GPU.  I thought mounting it would be a little tricky, but I turned out to be pretty straight forward.  I had been thinking of ways to attach brackets to the backplate, but I didn't really like that idea since it would ruin the backplate for any future use.  I've already hacked the I/O bracket on this card to pieces for the last build it was in, I really didn't want to ruin the setup any further.  Since the backplate is held on with M3 screws, I decided I could use some M3 standoffs in their place and pretty much treat it like the motherboard, but with the standoffs reversed.


Pulled the backplate and added the standoffs.




Then I used the backplate for a template for my acrylic GPU tray.




Mounted to the GPU.  It's got good clearance, so I'm not too worried about any heat build up.




And the GPU mounted with the same style of brackets I used on the MB tray.








With all the hard work done mounting these two, all that's really left for them is to frost the acrylic for the LED lighting and figure out some way to pretty up the brackets.

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