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Crimson Tide


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So for my build, I am using an old school CM stacker the anniversary thing is just a bonus I have some sentimental reasons for using the case as well as I like the rounded front bays and old school look.


The reason I am calling the build Crimson Tide

This will be my first proper build and as such my first attempt at water cooling, I have been keen for ages.  The colours are deep reds and purples with some subtle UV and white accenting. 


Submission photos of the PC.








Unfortunately, the front and some LED controllers did not take well to the going to the photoshoot.  





A big thank you to:

  • Prusa was able to get my shipment out ahead of schedule, Customs put it right back though unfortunately,  I really appreciate that they were super keen to learn what I was using it for and very helpful great bunch of guys they did not have to help but they did go the extra mile and a half.  


  • My Friend Ryan took some great photos much better than I could so I just left him to the machine. Unfortunately, the front got badly damaged in transport so it limited what we could shoot from the front was very noticeable.  


  • Have to throw in the wife as was up all hours in the final days working on the machine to get it done int time a few all nighters. 




The goal of the build

To make something functional take what is nice with the case and improve on it without sacrificing aesthetics, so I have tried to put a lot of thought into everything it has proven to be far more complicated than I expected as everything has taken 3 attempts it feels.  If you look I have added some integrated handles that now blend the shape and break up the boxy outline while allowing you to move something that otherwise is impossible to move given the weight of the case when loaded as well was ventilation for the radiators using a convection system. 


Now to the aesthetics

The aim is to break out the boxy shape I have tried to use 45degree angles and rounded edges throughout the build and avoid any hard right angles where possible. The main aim is for elegant and subtle with as much integration as possible in the design elements it is going to be a gaming machine mostly but most modern gaming rigs are too crazy with the design elements as well as updating the silhouette and modernising the unit as a hole.


To this end, I purchased the Maker 5 upgrade kit to update to look of it and have tried to use every part in some way.

  • The I/O panel was reshaped to fit a 51/4 bay and replace the old unit (no easy task if you know the unit)
  • The grill has been repurosed for the top of the case
  • The angled cover was cut down the middle and rejoined to make a cover for the cables at the back of the case to keep it neat


So without further ado here is the start.


For those who don't this is the CM stacker I have had mine for a seriously long time and have always wanted to do something crazy with it.



This is the project around the mid way mark this was just to see how everything fits (So much Tape).




Here is my current state of affairs.


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So the teardown.


Full disclosure I did rush any cuts that are not going to be seen in the final build.  


Removing the top guide rails was rather nerve racking 





Making space for the divider to close of the 5 1/4 bays



Added a whole behind the CPU to make changing it in the future a lot easier as well as some spots for cables to the fed through.



Old cases equals no radiator mounting points. 



The MB support strut was clashing with the armour plate at the back of the Maximus so that had to go so much filling.



Reducing the width to fit the slimmer stacker this will cover the cables at the back in the end.



Added holes to feed all the cables to the MB again will be masked off in the build





Brand new ROG PC front had it all of 5 min and stripped it to make modify it to allow the Maker 5 I/O to fit under the unit.



Top Rad hole



Grill set from the maker upgrade kit (No part left behind) 



Rejoining after taking out some of the middle girth.



Yay for sand paper



This was a mission I felt like House MD with the scalpel 





Would like to say the red if from cuts to the fingers.



The Phanteks GPU block matched the lines of the tubes so well. I just had to get it this is a sexy block.



Painting time the neighbours thought I was nuts hanging up a PC on the wash line.



Hah who is nuts now.



Had to make additional clearance to accommodate the swing hinges for the divider 



Stock side window not after all this.



Removed all the original rivets and kept the rounded and 45 degree motif going.



This is my file there are meany like it but this one is mine.



Checking for clearance with the hinges



Making holes for the fill / vent ports at the top one direct to the pre-res and one for the start of the loop super easy to fill the loop now.








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The I/O conversion was a mission very much a square peg in a round hole.


So how do you make a Maker I/O fit a 5 1/4 bay drive apply Dremel liberally to all.


Sizing up the front plate



It fits



Now to make this fit.



Yip Still too much -  More Dremel 



Almost but still more needs to come off



Boom like a glove.



It is super tight in there.



Here is the front for test fittings



Test fitting the 3d printed side cover





Before and afters 


So this case has a lot of chrome and blue LED's so over that now.


Brushed aluminum and matt black



Plain Jane ROG front be gone.



This was a mission.




Well that's all for today will try post up tomorrow.



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So all the cabling and messy odds and ends are going to be hidden away, so the Power supply has moved from the top back to the 5 1/4 bay it was an exercise as a lot of the bay needed to be removed to fit the unit.  




The PSU hovers over the pump, and a drawing fan was added to bring in air, as this area of the case is cordoned off from the rest of the ventilation.





So onto the divider of misery.



Here is the Mk 1 getting made, I thought it easier to cut then bend unfortunately I got frustrated heating it with the heat gun and applied too much pressure snapping the piece.20160925_201554.thumb.jpg.9a2e002ee2bd04bc552de75ac403d21b.jpg


Here you can see the snap and blowout but used it to check the fit and clearance.



So onto the Mk 2, this was plenty of heat gun befoe bending and then Dremel out the door after getting bent.



With the door cutout 



Was not overly happy with the MK 2 as it was too boxy and the pin hinges left a lot to be desired when they closed and the door sagged. 


So onto the MK3.

The MK3 uses a single bend but is now swept and off angle.  This made things far more complicated.




Generating a cutting template given the MK3 is tapered made making the holes a nightmare and matching up with the bent piping from the components without a solid reference point was an interesting exercise that is why there are two sets of holes below the first attempt was horribly wrong.



Overall was happy enough with the outcome was relieved when the large res hole lined up



The MK2 and MK3 side by side.



Moving onto the door cavity for the MK 3



While test fitting the bloody thing snapped so acrylic glue here we come the inner recess shelf acting as a brace.



So given the MK2 rear hinge looked terrible I opted for a double action cabinet hinge had to build it up to meet with the door given that it was not square the things I have done for aesthetics and breaking up the boxy shape.  I also had to remove more of the bay drive to accommodate a massive swinging arm.

This stupid hinge came with a massive spring when opening if for the fist time it gripped onto my finger.  It was like getting whacked by an over engineered german mouse trap. 



So glueing the whole thing together.  Unfortunately, the whole thing pulled and the door popped out 3mm, so the door looked terrible. 



So off to the automotive shop to get some filler.  If the door would not go down the piece would come up, it also meant I could fix the lines of the door as they did not cut straight the jigsaw just decided to tack in for no reason, so my el cheapo was binned and upgraded.  



Making the lines straight in paste 



Starting to match up finally this is probably my 5th layer



Now that is a nice straight line with minimal gap 



So much dust my wife wanted to kill me the whole garage was covered in it.



Checking clearances.



Much better you can see the old line in marker at the bottom



So combination filler for the buildup - glazing putty for the smaller imperfections and pitting and then a blast with aerosol filler.  

Given how munted the thing was I am glad to salvage the part as making those holes again was not going to happen.



This simple divider proved to be a real pain but I can finally see the light.   It took way longer than I expected and put me way behind schedule.






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Sorry for the lack of updates have been flat out trying to get the thing finished ordered a 3d printer ages ago but did not realise the wait times on the Prusa's was so long then it got stuck in customs so was on the back foot. 


Posted up the photos of the finished build at the top/front post and I will post some extra build shots but have not had much sleep in the last two weeks of this event.  

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Sorry for the lack of posts have been flat out at the moment here are the last of my work log photos


Testing the lighting system mixing the red and UV on the old UV panel makes a crazy purple combined with the breathing it looks rather nice. 



One of my crazy ideas - the Larger main res gets fed by this smaller hidden unit it works well at reducing bubbles in the main horizontal unit and makes for super easy bleeding and filling with the top fill ports.  Tried to put a bit of thought into everything. 



Gives a goo idea how much of the case was cut



Testing till the wee hours. 



The floating res supports glow well with a single 3mm led underneath 



Rear accent lighting behind the res



The res also works at hiding the lower cables there was the was tooth achrilic behind the res to hold them.   But I still made sure the were neat and wrapped.  



Was finally able to get the minimal panel gap I was looking for and getting the textures to meet up





Test fitting this rad got a nice scratch across the front so that needed fixing rushing and all that. 



Rear fan assembly



Just painting over the seams to they look crisp.



Test fit of the top cover



The old door getting repurposed,  The old unit was a little too much this in the floating config is a nice throwback without over dominating 



Laser powered photon tube.  Goooo



Was rather pleased with how straight the lines on this were giving it was done with a jig saw



Starting to come togeather.



Was so happy when this came.  Prusa was kind enough to move the delivery forward a bit at the end so I could make parts for the comp but customs did not like that idea and it was held for days for inspection.  I wish I had this at the start of the build now so handy the last week will have to do. 



Late night assembly.  I finished building it at 5 am to power on and have nothing.  was not a happy camper but figured out the issue the next morning was freaking out I broke it as you should never be building things like this though out the night.



Some brackets to hold down the internal door - had the Z height wrong so my fan cover got a little etched in the bed. 



Part of the new front end.



Door clips in action





Man 3d printers are fantastic.  I have been dreaming of owning one since I did a print for work 8 years ago when it was stupid expensive to print 



The top end over the bay areas



It's getting tight in there.



Did not want to have the tubes exposed so did a removable cover. 







Replacement front bars getting treated to remove joins



NVM cover



Need to make a recess and touch op so had to gimp the machine.





Paint matching the Gskll strips to the rest of the case. I left the inner logo but the oriental red was a bit much but these ram sticks are sexy, love the design of them.  The angle bend matched my build with the CPU cover the water GPU block so nice and constant throughout.



Have not been super heavy on taking photos been under the gun with this.  I love the stacker case but it has not been easy to work with but I did bring it with me when I moved halfway around the world so I had to do something with it. 



Goodluck to everyone in the comp I have seen some crazy good builds on the forums blown away in fact.  I am rather happy with my first attempt at modding but don't know when I will do it again this thing almost killed me.






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