The Project is finally starting to take shape as Ben has now attached the legs and started to paint some of the panels, it is actually starting to look a bit like a desk.
The legs are simply attached to the side of the chassis with four 2.5″ screws per corner placed so the heads won’t be visible, and to provide a good level of structural integrity.
The aluminium control panel that Ben designed and had Seattle Based company DataPro manufacture has arrived and Ben has cut out a space in the front of the and situated the components. The silver touch sensitive power switch will be sprayed black to match the panel and different mounting screws will be used, but the photo below gives an idea of the finished product.
Mounting the UPS display and controls was a bit of a challenge. As the board was only ever designed to be mounted inside the APC UPS it was removed from, the control panel had to be designed around it to a certain extent. For the buttons to work correctly the display board placement had to be very precise. To achieve this Ben took all of the relevant measurements and ordered stand-off screws of a particular size and cut out an aluminium mounting bracket to support the display from behind.
Having finished work on the base panel which will sit under the glass, Ben has started sanding and painting. The finish is coming out exactly as he had hoped for, matt black but with grain of the wood visible through the paint.
We should start to get a much better impression of how the finished product will look as more panels are finished and painted, but painting is a slow process. Ben is applying three coats of paint to each panel, each requiring 16 hours drying time between coats. As the desk is made up of 21 individually cut panels there is a fair bit left to go.
As the base panel was drying, Ben set to work on making the wiring loom for the cooling system. This comprises of thirteen 120mm fans, an 80mm fan, water pump and temperature sensors. The part Ben has made so far is just to monitor and control the intake fans at the front of the desk, and at the rear mounted 480mm radiator. The custom wiring loom was necessary due to the bespoke design of the chassis, Ben needed to monitor and control banks of fans in different locations in order for the system to regulate temperature and noise efficiently.
The loom itself is fairly simple, there is a single 12 volt line leading directly back to the PSU to power all the fans. Each fan header takes power from this line all the way down the loom, one fan in each bank is used as a master which will report its speed reading back to the PC. All fans in each bank will receive the same PWM control signal from the motherboard.
There will be a total of four banks to control, front intake, rear radiator intake, rear left and right exhaust. The loom will ultimately allow these thirteen fans to be effectively controlled with four fan headers. With some strategically placed temperature sensors and tweaking the fan speed/temperature curves on the Asus thermal management software, the goal is to have the system virtually silent when not under load, and very well cooled when running the most demanding applications (by which of course Ben means games) 🙂
Making the loom itself is quite time consuming, the individual cables needs to be cut to size, pulled through the braided sheath and then the connectors need to be crimped and the end.
With the first section of the loom completed, Ben has tested with the front intake fans and found it works perfectly. It also looks quite neat as the spacing between the fan headers was designed so that the connectors could be tucked between the fans getting rid of messy trailing wires.
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