Project: Hush!

Soldato
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Next up is sorting out the 2 cast polyester-coated water distributor boxes that the 48 copper pipes connect to, at the top and bottom of the case. In making them originally, I had made a mold from acrylic sheet to cast the polyester resin, and the heat from the polyester resin had heated the protective sheet on the acrylic so much that it shrunk and caused wavy valleys in the cast polyester.

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What looks like spiders webs there is scoring with a craft knife/scalpel to aid with the new resin bonding to the old.
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The mold is acrylic panels, attached and sealed with silicone glue, or with Copydex (latex glue - much less nessy and easier to clean-up and remove afterwards). Holes and slots were blanked with Copydex or Bluetac where needed, and the aluminium rubbed with candlewax to aid release after casting.
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Lots of bits needed recasting of resin to tidy up and then sand down to flat and sharp edges to then veneer with walnut (with pressure-sensitive adhesive backing). To get the veneer to sit flush with the copper ports the surrounding resin was sanded 0.4mm deeper than the ports, and similarly for the resin box sides to sit flush with the aluminium angle 'legs' of the supporting frame.
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To make sanding easier I made several plane sanding blocks by gluing a roll of p280 sandpaper to a large thick steel plate (~50cm x 15cm) and a smaller 1cm thick piece of aluminium plate.

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Sanding to get flat surfaces and sharp edges for tge veneer:

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Disassembled aluminium wall with IO/PCI slot bracket.
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Below: Making a veneer skin for the wall the IO panel attaches to. I decided to make life difficult and cut holes for all the countersunk bolts, partly to keep the slightly industrial look of countersunk bolts, and partly to allow disassembly, and partly because I found a cheap manufacturer of grade 5 titanium bolts to replace the stainless steel ones, and machined titanium bolts are very attractive. To make the holes in the veneer I used hole-punches (8mm diameter for m4, and 6mm diameter for the m3 countersunk bolt heads). The next issue will be getting the countersunk bolt heads to sit flush with the ~0.4mm thick veneer - either with countersunk collars for the bolts or by sanding down the whole aluminium sheet by 0.4mm.

To mark out the hole positions etc for the veneer I used a sheet of low tack plastic adhesive sheet, which I could score the edges of the countersunk holes to cut the holes from the plastic sheet, then transfer to veneer to guide cutting and hole-punching. (On that board is a test veneer piece of rosewood stained with Shellac/French polish - didn't like the colour).

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Large 25mm diameter hole punch for cutting holes in the veneer cladding for the copper g 1/4" BSP ports to poke through/sit flush with, on a test piece of veneer.
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One of the veneer pieces to clad the resin boxes. Fiddly!
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Mock-up of the veneer on the top resin box - that's the fill-port with a gold plug screwed in. Quite finickity cutting the walnut veneer precisely - probably need to redo this one as I shaved off a little too much at the bottom right. I also need to sort out the gap in the aluminium sections by milling the thicker plate (it was unfortunately milled a little short for the step for the right-angle aluminium in the bottom right to sit flush, and is a little inaccurate anyhow)
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Below: Early mock-up of unstained and unattached veneer panels for a rough view of how it will look.

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Didn't see the wood coming, I must admit. Seen the recent posts and have been slowly catching up on the old...so it's entirely possible you stated it as an intention and I've either missed it or not got to it yet!

Be interesting to know what you're using for the epoxy resin and what you thought of it. Everything I've seen previously has extolled the wondera of TotalBoat. You can get that here if you're prepared to pay an arm and a couple of legs for it...but it seems excessive.

Lastly, I mist object to your radiator.... it's making mine look small! :eek:;)
 
Soldato
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Didn't see the wood coming, I must admit. Seen the recent posts and have been slowly catching up on the old...so it's entirely possible you stated it as an intention and I've either missed it or not got to it yet!

Be interesting to know what you're using for the epoxy resin and what you thought of it. Everything I've seen previously has extolled the wondera of TotalBoat. You can get that here if you're prepared to pay an arm and a couple of legs for it...but it seems excessive.

Lastly, I mist object to your radiator.... it's making mine look small! :eek:;)
Ah, 'total boat' - yes, I had a look iirc a while back but it was quite expensive and tricky to find as I remember. I went for a artists casting epoxy resin - for my purposes the epoxy doesn't need to be particularly strong (other than resisting applying pressure for the veneers pressure-sensitive adhesive to stick) and it won't get exposed to any UV of note under the veneer.

The veneer's a relatively recent idea - it's quite a lot of extra work (still have 2 box sides with 48 holes to punch apiece!), but tung oil-stained walnut is just beautiful. Hopefully will give the project a 70s/80s hi-fi equipment look it it when it's done :)
 
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Seeing as i wasn't here for when this build started, i must say that looks a beast. You put some serious work and planning into this. the re-polish came up fantastic :) Any plans to use it for a recent build?
 
Soldato
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Seeing as i wasn't here for when this build started, i must say that looks a beast. You put some serious work and planning into this. the re-polish came up fantastic :) Any plans to use it for a recent build?

Yep, that's the plan. I've been using an old build of an i750 at 4.2ghz, overclocked xfire 290x for years. Plan is to finish this case in the coming months and put a new high-end build in, but it seems this gen is soon to be replaced, so makes sense to wait for ~September to make a new build of next gen zen/raptor lake and 4090/4080 I guess. Old psu of seasonic x750 gold psu needs replacement, and some m2 ssds would be nice!
 
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Yep, that's the plan. I've been using an old build of an i750 at 4.2ghz, overclocked xfire 290x for years. Plan is to finish this case in the coming months and put a new high-end build in, but it seems this gen is soon to be replaced, so makes sense to wait for ~September to make a new build of next gen zen/raptor lake and 4090/4080 I guess. Old psu of seasonic x750 gold psu needs replacement, and some m2 ssds would be nice!
Looking forward to the build :)
 
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M.2s are always good for a build. Instant tidy cabling ('cos there isn't any) and if you can get away with less space or afford large M.2s, you don't need to bother building mounts for 3.5" or 2.5" drives. I'm running iSCSI over a 10Gbps link to an all-flash array (home server) for the extra capacity. Works quite nicely as long as you can increase your MTU size on the network segment; if not, you're probably better with a straight network share.
 
Soldato
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Didn't see the wood coming, I must admit. Seen the recent posts and have been slowly catching up on the old...so it's entirely possible you stated it as an intention and I've either missed it or not got to it yet!

Be interesting to know what you're using for the epoxy resin and what you thought of it. Everything I've seen previously has extolled the wondera of TotalBoat. You can get that here if you're prepared to pay an arm and a couple of legs for it...but it seems excessive.

Lastly, I mist object to your radiator.... it's making mine look small! :eek:;)

I missed your request for feedback about the resin - I used this one


It has a long cure time - I'd previously used polyester resin, which cures quickly and has short working time from what I remember, so epoxy resin is better in that regard. Mix for about 5 minutes slowly to avoid bubbles, pour slowly into mold. It says you can demold in around 5-6 hours, but I player it safe. It sets in something like 12-24 hours (I left for 24 hours). I'd poured after about 8 minutes (5 or 6 minutes of that being mixing) and poured into open top mold. It's 'self-levelling' - in reality it's still viscous enough that it formed meniscus lips around the mold edges that needed sanding.

If I were doing something structural that needed strength, I'd get a more expensive and stronger non-casting epoxy resin like total boat or similar - having a search for boat-building forums discussing it etc I found discussions of peoples experiences with different epoxy resins
 
Soldato
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Didn't see the wood coming, I must admit. Seen the recent posts and have been slowly catching up on the old...so it's entirely possible you stated it as an intention and I've either missed it or not got to it yet!

Be interesting to know what you're using for the epoxy resin and what you thought of it. Everything I've seen previously has extolled the wondera of TotalBoat. You can get that here if you're prepared to pay an arm and a couple of legs for it...but it seems excessive.

Lastly, I mist object to your radiator.... it's making mine look small! :eek:;)

I was trying to remember the other high end epoxy manufacturer name I had seen mentioned a lot: West Systems

 
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Small update: Testing of wood oils

This is testing of 0.4mm thick walnut veneer with pressure-sensitive adhesive backing sheet. Small test piece applied to a small red painted tool box here, 4 coats of Danish oil (which is a combination of Tung or Boiled Linseed oil and polyurethane varnish) applied here, light sanding after 3rd coat. It brings a deep 3D quality/depth to the walnut veneer and differential reglection of light at different angles, darkens and brings out the grain pattern and gives a slight yellow tinge (I suspect this Danish oil formulation has boiled linseed oil in it). You need to play the 10 second video below to see this properly:

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YouCut_20220611_143450686 by Tom ., on Flickr

Click video above to see the depth the oil gives
:happy:


This is testing of the walnut veneer with pure tung oil - this is only 1 coat (first coat mixed with white spirits to reduce viscosity and aid saturation into the grain, applied heavily for 30 minutes to saturate then wiped off - here left relatively dry in parts after 1st coat. It gives a more brown stain. There's just the hint of depth added to the walnut so far, but will no doubt improve with more coats.

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Getting more photos in the sun was cut short by a swarm of bees swarming around a nearby tree! More to come later

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Soldato
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Time to make the really fiddly bits of veneer - to cover the sides of the resin-covered manifolds/boxes that all the 48 copper water pipes connect into.

This is cut a little oversized in length and width atm to trim down after. The little drill bit pictured there is a paper drill bit - essentially a sharpened tube drill made for specific paper drills...

It's a little oversized at 9mm diameter to allow for resin meniscus that formed around each 6mm diameter copper tube when casting the resin manifolds

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Sadly the paper drill bit has a funny tapered end for the specific paper drill (basically a proprietary bench drill), and the coloured collar in the middle was larger than the drill chucks of and bench and hand power drills I have, so I dremelled off the tapered part and ground down the coloured metal middle part with a micrometer to check it was parallel and would drill accurately.

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I used low tack adhesive plastic sheeting to avoid marking the veneer. It's attached to a neoprene sheet in the above photo (to avoid mangling the paper drill bit), though I switched to using a piece of pine wood as a drill bed instead as drilling needed downward pressure and the neoprene didn't help here.

I stacked two pieces of veneer to drill both at the same time and save a bit of time, with pins to prevent the veneer moving about.

48 holes drilled for the copper pipes. This will then need to be cut into thin strips to thread between the rows of pipes, aligned and stuck down and stained with tung oil with a small paintbrush. That'll be fun.

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I got a few pits in the mail from AliExpress - some little 1/4" BSP plugs to aid in spray lacquering the copper ports, and 1m of 1/4" ID cream Tygon A60F norprene tubing to use for the drain port as a valved tube tucked away, with a little baby ball valve on one end - should make draining the loop easier and less messy. I quite like the cream colour - should go well with the walnut I think for a slightly retro hifi look.

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2nd coat of Tung oil on the test pieces - again most tung oil wiped off after saturating for 30 minutes - more coats needed.


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Thanks for reading.
 
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The Tung's definitely looking like a contender now - wasn't comparable after just one coat.
Wasn't aware they did Norprene (or any similar) in anything other than black. Nice.
Holes all look nice and clean. Figured you'd use the leather punch but new techniques are always interesting. If you end up needing to do similar in sheet metal (eg case sides etc), are you already aware of the "Q.Max Sheet Metal Punch"? Worked nicely for the cut-outs for the rad fittings to screw through - would have been nicer still if it hadn't been overlapping the edge by quite so much - a bit, yes but not like half the hole!
 
Soldato
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The Tung's definitely looking like a contender now - wasn't comparable after just one coat.
Wasn't aware they did Norprene (or any similar) in anything other than black. Nice.
Holes all look nice and clean. Figured you'd use the leather punch but new techniques are always interesting. If you end up needing to do similar in sheet metal (eg case sides etc), are you already aware of the "Q.Max Sheet Metal Punch"? Worked nicely for the cut-outs for the rad fittings to screw through - would have been nicer still if it hadn't been overlapping the edge by quite so much - a bit, yes but not like half the hole!

The tung oil test pieces have just got to the stage of soaking the wood properly - it was still not really soaked in properly after the first coating (and still not really) - it's notoriously time consuming as tung oil takes ages to react with air and dry properly and needs lots of coats, whereas the Danish oil has polyurethane vanish in it and starts looking better much quicker. I think the tung oil is going to look great when it's built up the layers... Should also be waterproof enough (they used it for centuries in Asia to waterproof ship timber)

Yeah the leather punches are difficult to position correctly - I'd tried making a 25mm punch from steel tube and sharpening one end but gave up as was too much work to sharpen properly - not an issue for the 25mm leather punch anyway as you can align it by using a piece of scrap veneer that's been punched and draw inside around the punched hole to align the hole punch (and punch the hole & then measure and cut the piece if veneer around it to ensure it's in exactly the right poisition), but would be too inaccurate to do that for the grid of 48 x 9mm holes.

Thanks for the sheet metal hole punch recommendation - not seen that before :thumbsup:

I've not seen anyone use the cream norprene tubing either. It's quite a nice colour - bit like an Alien film prop! Very expensive stuff - can only find it in 50' lengths online for silly money, except on aliexpress, and even then I think it was about 15 quid for a metre of 1/4" ID, around £20 for 1/2" ID iirc.
 
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Soldato
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Time to slice up the veneer box sides for the side of the resin manifold the pipes pass though so it'll pass through the array of 48 pipes.

First few slits cut here were by cutting repeatedly along the cutting line to cut through, and aren't perfect - I switched after this photo to cutting by using the scalpel blade as a sort of pivoting guillotine and that allowed cutting in one strike and the rest are very clean.

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Next up horizontal cuts to seperate the veneer into 2 halves, to pass from above and below the grid of copper pipes.

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Shows better here:

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And here. All the bits cut out are arranged on the white a4 sheet to position with a pair of tweezers when the two halves have been positioned. Looking forward to that. Adhesive plastic sheet still on the two veneer halves at the bottom (so cutting guide-lines still visible)

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Thanks for reading.
 
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THAT's going to be a 'fun' jigsaw. Hope it goes well and you don't get visited by an OCD mother-in-law that rearranges all the carefully laid out screws pieces into height order to look tidy! Yeah, I'm not still bitter ;)
 
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