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Explore Modding - Project A.R.E.S.


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Aaaah feels good to be back man...   Hey everyone! My name is Alessandro, for those who don't know me, I am the winner of last year's Tower Mod 3rd place. I was super happy to get there as i

Of course, a starship wouldn't work without its very own command center! For the peripherals mod, I decided to carry on the A.R.E.S. theme and create a dedicated command center for it. The worklo

I finally figure out the design for the PSU side and came out with some sort of armor for the PSU itself which will add a lot to the overall looks. The main goal was to make it look like some sort of

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hello everyone, hope you had some great holidays and I wish you all a restoring 2021!

 

I've been absent for a few weeks, but don't worry, I was just being too lazy to update, I actually went ahead with works 😜

 

Let's start slow with this simple radiator mount for the top 360mm rad, made out of 5mm aluminum

 

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Next something I had to experiment a bit on. These are "fittings" that will be used to fix the corrugated pipes which will carry the cables from the hardware panel to the insides of the case. I was initially going to make them out of 5mm aluminum, but I needed to pocket it to three different thicknesses, one that fit the narrow spaces of the tube to lock them down to the panel, one that created a slot that would fit into the panel hole, and one as the full thickness of the stock. I messed up the first try of the 5mm alu due to an endmill breaking and the machine acting up with the zero coordinates after the pause job. So this made me rethink what I was doing and I realized I could make the design much simpler and no less functional than the original: I ended up using 2mm aluminum and taking the thickness down 0.5mm wherever it was needed to, which was just enough for it to work as I wanted. So these two halves work like this: one gets screwed to the panel, then the tube can get slided in and loosely get held by the half fitting, so the other half can get screwed in as well and the tube is perfectly secured to the panel.

 

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With that done, it was time to get to something pretty unique: the "face". This will basically be a slab of epoxy resin, with a bunch of optic fibers into it, which will be lit up and hopefully create a "stars in void space" effect (spoiler: it worked but I'll stay chronologically true so showing you in the next updates, since it took a week for the resin to fully cure). To do so, I cut a template with the shape of the face pocketed down, and drilled a random pattern of holes on the drill press. This was used as a top cover for the epoxy mold to hold the fibers in place. Four fillports were cut onto it so I was able to pour the resin through them, without having to worry about moving the top and risking unwanted movements of the fibers. As mentioned, at this point the epoxy will take about a week to fully cure because I was slow cure epoxy, which works for pours from 2 to 5cm thick, and this is 2cm. I made this choice because I wasn't able to work the bubbles out with heat, due to the top covering the epoxy, so having the epoxy cure so slowly allowed it to let the bubbles escape by themselves. It also allowed for a much uniform and "chilled" cure so there was no overheating and all unwanted effects coming from it.

 

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One thing that bugged me from the start of this project was the C700M handles, particularly the way the braces and the way they mount to the case. The braces themselves didn't look like they fit the overall aesthetics I was aiming for, and the way they mounted to the case wasn't actually optimal for this design since all the cable and tubing management is happening behind the external panels so they should be easy to remove, and by default, they're not, because you first have to remove the handles together with their eight screws in total. So I cut the braces off using the scrollsaw, buffed them off with the belt sander and finished the area with orbital sander, then I drilled some holes into the handles and transferred the position to the external panels, so they can now be mounted directly to the panels using some spacers, moreover they have that floating look which is a lot more fitting for my design. They obviously lost their use as handles now, but it's not that big of a deal since I wasn't going to trust them anyway for how heavy this thing is turning out to be.

 

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Now these pieces had to be patched up with some 2K body filler. The handles are made out of cast aluminum, which led to a few hollow spots where I cut off the braces. Also, the plastic panels had to be filled up where the braces went in the original design. The same technique was used to fill the gap between the two pieces that make the front I/O and top fangrill of the original case design, since I need them to be a single piece in my design.

 

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The next update will give the start to an exciting paintjob phase, and I'll be using some original colour combos for this one. So stay tuned :D

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey everyone! Finally a new update, and as promised we'll take a look at the painting progress, as well some other interesting stuff.

 

First of all I'd like to show you the resin pour safe and sound out of the mold. The fibers catch the light super well but to enhance the effect, as well as all the sparkles from the mica dyes, I will paint the back black so no light shines through except from the fibers.

 

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Now to the paintjob. I had a bit of a hard time this time because I'm using a new brand of spray cans which are pretty different to what I'm used to. Used a high pressure black base coat which gave me a very wrinkly finish, but quickly recovered it and used a standard low pressure can the second time. It was probably due to too much paint laying down in the coats.

Anyway, I had also started with that light blue which really wasn't speaking to me, so I turned to the darker blue which is spot on!

 

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I chose copper for the second colour, which will be used for details and smaller parts, starting from the trim that usually light up in the C700M. I thought it would fit the theme better with them creating some sort of division with the copper along the case, more consistent and effective than lights. The handles got the same copper treatment

 

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Current state of the external parts painted so far :D

 

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One thing I've put off until the end was the pump placement, even though I always had the same idea from the very start. This pump reminds me of a thruster, so I turned it into exactly that! :D Made some nice and easy angled brackets and fixed it in the back, where I had already made the cutout when I made the 8mm alu base.

 

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Then I started disassembling all the internal parts to paint those as well, starting from the two acrylic rad grills. For the internals I chose to go with a titanium paint and to leave the aluminum panels raw, by finishing them in a particular way which you'll see in the next update. This is to resemble the human technology inside and the alien technology I'm imagining, outside. This is brought along by the lines which tend to be more curvy on the outside and more squared on the inside.

 

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In changing the hex reservoirs' top with the ones with no Bitspower logo, I noticed those weren't clear, so I went ahead and did a little polishing

 

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Final part for today, I installed the white LEDs in the acrylic side frames and tested the look. Looks fire if you ask me :D

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Oh my, I fell behind on updates... I mean... I have like 60 WIP photos and just finished the project today. Guess a marathon is coming! :D

 

So, the finish on aluminum I was talking about in the last update. Basically did a brushed finish as a base and then went on random patterns with a drill and a 75mm sanding disk.

 

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Then got part of the base painted in usual copper and blue, masking off the pockets for the acrylic pillars though, since they're already super tight and didn't want to mess around with the thickness of the paint later.

 

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Time to finally peel off the film from the center piece! Done that and started assembling all the parts, after having finished the aluminum disks, clamps and motherboard/GPU tray

 

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Getting that sci-fi clear display vibe with some blue LED strips embedded in the acrylic :D

 

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Finished off the PSU armor parts with an acrylic marker in copper colour. It's not a metallic finish like the spray paint I'm using, but it works just as well in this matte finish :D

 

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Mounted that as well and started cable management, straight PITA. Also because I got the wrong pinout from CableMod (Cooler Master has the same name on two different versions of the PSU), so I basically had to re-pin every cable in order to make the thing work. But these clear insulated cables are sooo slim and work so well in this specific case, also perfectly fitting the theme!

Also, my girlfriend wanted to photograph me and the progress so guess I'll just leave it here for the lulz :D

 

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So here you can see what I was talking about with corrugated tubes and custom fittings for that. Routing cables towards the insides of the case was a super smooth process and delivered a super clean look! Specifically, I routed power chord, power button cable, and two molex to use splitters on once inside the case, since the space in the tubes wasn't a lot and I had to use the least amount of cables.

 

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Cable management is done! Now onto tubing

 

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Ah no, the pedestal first! Got the aluminum base painted, unwrapped the acrylic part and installed the aRGB LED strip

 

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Done!

 

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These pump brackets are basically invisible in the build, but if you look at the bottom searching for them, you'll kinda see the standoffs. So I grinded those to cylinder look instead of the classic hexagonal look. Then got them painted in blue as well

 

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Tubing done! I was actually still missing the short run at the back left corner, eventually managed that with just a 45 degrees and male to male rotary since it was too short to make a tube for it

 

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Now it's just missing the soft tubing inside the case, the goal is to make them the right length and find the best layout so that they can move when the central system rotates

 

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The pump got a small makeover, I didn't want the cables to stick out from behind so adapted it to have the cables coming out from the side. Eventually routed them better :D

 

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Final update is here! This will be the last post before the final pics, so let's enjoy every single word of it! :D

 

Going on with the paintjob, I finished up the side pieces and installed them, together with the white dimmable LED strips.

 

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Now time to start the works in the hidden section of the case, so all around the exposed internals. Top and bottom are populated by the two 360mm radiators, while I used front and back to route the cables for power, fans, lights and pump. Of course I made the soft tubing and found the perfect balance to offer a nice and smooth movement when the pivot is rotating

 

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Quick fit test for the parts painted so far

 

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After having fit the three reservoirs to their panel, with hard tubing between each other and soft tubing behind, long enough to be able to remove the panel and set it aside when it's needed for maintenance, it's time to fill it up!

 

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And now my personal favourite part (I probably said it at every single part of this project... whatever :D ), the externals!

Starting with the front, I painted all the parts blue and went into the engravings with the copper marker. Also made a clear midplate to mount both the acrylic face and the resin casting to the front itself, so that I don't have to disassemble a bunch of parts when I have to reach inside.

 

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ARGB LED strips for backlighting, resin casting painted black to highlight the fibers, which were shortened for clearance. It was when I powered the LEDs on that my jaw just... dropped. I was frozen in front of it for a good bunch of seconds before I realized that I had made that thing. I had expectations on this piece but I never imagined it would've looked THIS cool, I actually feared it was going to be the tackiest part of the whole project. Well this will end up enhancing the look of the whole project A LOT!

 

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LIFE = COMPLETE

 

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After I cooled down a bit, I kept going and it was the top's turn. Same treatment, blue all over and copper marker in the engravings

 

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Same, again, with the back parts, with the twist that I added warm white LED strips inside to enhance the space helmet looks from the reservoirs and clear domes.

 

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And with this sneak peek of the final shoot, I announce that A.R.E.S. - Astral Robot Enclosure System, is officially complete! Final pics coming tomorrow :D

 

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Whoaaaaaa.....

These pics were not shown on social media yet, so me likey likey!!!

Damn dude, that last picture really shows the beauty of this whole project.

So many colours coming together as one, so unique and beautiful!

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6 minutes ago, Pine PC design said:

Whoaaaaaa.....

These pics were not shown on social media yet, so me likey likey!!!

Damn dude, that last picture really shows the beauty of this whole project.

So many colours coming together as one, so unique and beautiful!

 

Gotta save some of the juice for the worklog since it's here that the magic officially happens hahaha :D thank you so much dude, and thank you for following along this journey from the very start!

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Project A.R.E.S. has landed.
My entry for Case Mod World Series 2020 is a tower mod based on the C700M case. I wanted to tell a story with this project: the starship used for the space program ARES, comes in contact with some sort of organic alien technology, which starts to merge with the starship, covering the external structure and contaminating the propellant.
This is visually identified in the colours used (blue and copper for the alien technology, aluminum and silver for the human technology), and the lines which are more curved for the alien technology, and straight for the human one.
The three astronauts at the back, impersonated by the Hex reservoirs, look into the void while trying to communicate with the alien being. The front is a mirror which reflects the destination of the starship, the Copper Nebula, so called for the peculiar colour that appears to have.
Eventually, the humans and aliens succeed in communicating and join each other in a common cause: survival.
Back to reality: this project is a story, told in art form. A.R.E.S. took me over six months to complete, my most ambitious project to date, with countless different techniques, and unique features like the rotating system, the cosmic eye and the floating structure.
 
Here are the specs for you more down-to-earth people:
Cooler Master C700M
AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
Asrock X570 Steel Legend
Inno3D RTX 2070 Super iChill Frostbite
Adata XPG D60G 32Gb RAM - S40G 512Gb m.2 SSD
Cooler Master V850
Bitspower watercooling
CableMod custom SFF cables
 
I want to thank all of my sponsors: HWLegend Modding - Trippodo - Cooler Master - Inno3D - Asrock - Bitspower - Cablemod - ADATA XPG
 
I hope you guys like it, and enjoy the pictures!
 
Full res photo gallery here: https://imgur.com/a/qBV7j30
 
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Of course, a starship wouldn't work without its very own command center! For the peripherals mod, I decided to carry on the A.R.E.S. theme and create a dedicated command center for it.

The worklog is obviously available in the Peripherals Mod section, but I also want to talk about it here, as there is a specific feature that I didn't talk about before, which is the I/O cables management.

From the pics, you'll see the there are pass-throughs on each side, that can be used to connect corrugated tubes to the back of motherboard tray, in proximity of the I/O ports, allowing a perfectly tidy cable management.

 

Enjoy!

 

A.R.E.S. Command Center worklog at: https://worklogs.coolermaster.com/topic/28934-explore-modding-ares-command-center/

 

 

Full res photo gallery at: https://imgur.com/a/8FA7heQ

 

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