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(COMPLETED) "IKONiK" (1st Official Of The Be Quiet Dark Base 900 Pro)
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EnviousMods
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Videocard: GSkill Trident Z DDR4 16G
Processor: Intel i7 6700k Skylake
Mainboard: Supermicro Z170-OCE
Memory: 16 Gb
Soundcard: Onkyo
PSU: BeQuiet Dark Power 1,200w
Default (COMPLETED) "IKONiK" (1st Official Of The Be Quiet Dark Base 900 Pro) - 07-23-2016, 03:57 | posts: 216 | Location: NW USA



The Concept:
The plan is to break away from traditional aesthetics while tipping my hat to a generation of forward thinkers. I strive to create something that goes beyond “standard” ideas and instead pursue this project inspired by layout, location, and function. Frank Lloyd Wright’s mentor, Louis Sullivan famously stated that, “Form follows function”. This idea is expressed by Modernism's tendency to have the function of a project dictate much of the design ideas. I will attempt to look through the eyes of this perspective throughout the build.

IKONiK will be my interpretation of a sleek, modern and high tech PC. It will feature the latest hardware modded into one cohesive design. I have purchased a good deal of exotic materials and finishes that will help give it the modern design cues I am looking for.



The concept design for this build serves as an outline of what I want the build to look like. As the build progresses I will add some things, keep a lot from the design and change a few. This helps to assure that this build is up to my standards when its finished.








I will be using the new DARK Base Pro 900 from Be Quiet for this build. I am honored that they approached me to be the first person to mod this case. It has a lot of new features; with modularity being a big part of the design. The plan is to invert the motherboard and take advantage of the design features found throughout the case.



This build will primarily focus on modding the hardware as well as the case. My last build, “Dark Matter” was a scratch build that required hundreds of hours focused primarily on building the structure of the case. For this build I get to save that energy and focus it towards modding the case/hardware. As with all of my builds the main features tend to evolve. The build usually takes on a personality of its own during the process. I have set guidelines and a concept for this build but, it will have a lot more “freestyle” modding that I tend thrive in.

Last edited by EnviousMods; 06-29-2017 at 04:25.
   
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EnviousMods
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Videocard: GSkill Trident Z DDR4 16G
Processor: Intel i7 6700k Skylake
Mainboard: Supermicro Z170-OCE
Memory: 16 Gb
Soundcard: Onkyo
PSU: BeQuiet Dark Power 1,200w
Default 07-24-2016, 04:02 | posts: 216 | Location: NW USA




Be Quiet: http://www.bequiet.com/en

• Dark Power Pro 11 PSU (1,200 watt)
• 4 X Be Quiet PureWings 3 – 140mm fans and 2 X 120mm fans (These are the new ones that recently came out.)



EVGA: http://www.evga.com

• Motherboard: Z170 Classified K
• GPU: GTX 1070 SC
• Ram: 16gb Superclocked DDR4





OCZ:https://ocz.com/us/ssd/

• Vector 180 (480gb) SSD
• RD400 NVM M.2 PCIE SSD



Mnpctech: https://mnpctech.com/#/home

• Billet aluminum cable combs (3 X 24-pin & 7 X 8-pin)

You can buy your own set of billet aluminum cable combs here:

<a href="https://mnpctech.com/buy-stealth-cable-combs-for-pcs/#/category/497" rel="norewrite external">https://mnpctech.com/buy-stealth-cable-combs-for-pcs/#/category/497</a>




CableMod: https://cablemod.com
Fully Sleeved Modular Cables:
• B-series ModFlex modular cable set (Black







ModMyMods: https://modmymods.com
Alphacool: http://www.aquatuning.us

• Alphacool Eisblock XPX CPU block (silver)
• Alphacool 250mm tube reservoir
• Alphacool UT60 420mm radiator (special edition white)
• Alphacool Single GPX SLI connector
• Alphacool GTX 1070 GPU block
• Alphacool Eispump VP755 (version 2) x2 w/acetal blocks
• Alphacool brass (chrome) hardline tubing 13mm
• Alphacool bulkhead fittings
• Alphacool assorted adaptors including check valves and pressure release valves
• Alphacool Aurora reservoir RGB LED ring
• Alphacool Dual 45 degree rotatable fittings






Last edited by EnviousMods; 03-11-2017 at 05:45.
   
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Videocard: GSkill Trident Z DDR4 16G
Processor: Intel i7 6700k Skylake
Mainboard: Supermicro Z170-OCE
Memory: 16 Gb
Soundcard: Onkyo
PSU: BeQuiet Dark Power 1,200w
Default 07-24-2016, 20:00 | posts: 216 | Location: NW USA

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3D Printing: Fan Grill Logos

I wanted to get started on the, “IKONiK” and “EKWB” logos I designed a couple days ago. After the logos were finished on my 3D printer I went ahead with some light clean up and applied some sandable filler. These inserts will be used on the radiator grill and rear 140mm fan.

Next up to be 3D printed is the actual fan grill that these pieces will mount to. When the new PureWings 3 fans arrive I will post some mockups of them with the grills.






PSU Arrival: (Be Quiet 1,200 Dark Power Pro 11)

The PSU from Be Quiet recently arrived at the shop. I used the same PSU on my last build and I liked it so much that I requested it again for this build. I have wanted to do a few mods to a PSU for a while now and this design will work well for the IKONiK build. Be Quiet was nice enough to throw in some awesome swag. I shall wear this shirt proudly.



PSU Mod Ideas:

The plan is to cut a window in the side of the PSU so that I can mount two-way security acrylic. This will allow people to see inside the PSU when its on but, not when its off. I will need to add a few LEDs inside the PSU for this. When the backlights are off the lpanel will look like a mirror. This is the same concept used for security in places like Vegas's Casinos.




Sleeved Cables Arrival: CableMod B-Series (black)

As with most PSU manufacturers, Be Quiet uses special modular connectors for the cables being plugged into the PSU. I have had a hard time finding pre-sleeved solutions that are specifically designed for this PSU until I came across CableMod. They sell all kinds of pre-made and custom cables solutions for a large selection of PSUs including Be Quiet. I loved the look of the cables immediately and I am very happy to have them as a sponsor of the IKONiK build.




Last edited by EnviousMods; 08-07-2016 at 00:10.
   
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Videocard: GSkill Trident Z DDR4 16G
Processor: Intel i7 6700k Skylake
Mainboard: Supermicro Z170-OCE
Memory: 16 Gb
Soundcard: Onkyo
PSU: BeQuiet Dark Power 1,200w
Default 07-31-2016, 23:43 | posts: 216 | Location: NW USA




Flipping The Motherboard:

Being the type of person I am I couldn't help but, flip the motherboard tray on the Dark Base 900 Pro. Theres quite a few advantages to doing this. It fits in with my anticipated custom loop and also locates the plugs where I want them. Ive heard that the instructions were somewhat difficult to follow when it comes to flipping the motherboard tray.

For this reason I decided to see how hard it would be to do it without the instructions. Surprisingly it was pretty easy to accomplish. The only thing I didn't like was some of the bolts used in the case. You need about 3 different sized phillips screw drivers to remove the bolts without stripping them. Other than that I found it to be very intuitive. The swap just made sense; which I really like.




Scratch Built Reservoir Design:

I've been playing around with different designs for a scratch built reservoir. I will build the reservoir using basic tools like a scroll saw, files and sandpaper. Im attempting to do it this way to show aspiring case modders what can be done if your willing to dedicate the time towards it.

I tried multiple ideas and I've finally determined the shape, custom mount and size that I will use for it. The only part I still need to determine is exactly where I will put the inlet, fill port and outlet. The plan is to run the inlet from the 420mm radiator that will be mounted next to it and the outlet will go directly to the pump below it. Typically I run my res directly to the pump as it helps assure that the pump doesn't run dry.




Hard Drive Rack Mount Cover:

After reading some reviews on the new Dark Base Pro 900 I found that there were very few dislikes for the chassis. One of the dislikes was that there was no optional cover for the hard drive rack if you chose not to use it. This is an easily solved problem and I'm glad that they didn't make one. I say this because I want to make a passthrough where the cover would go. Making my own will allow me to customize it to fit my needs.



As you can see in the picture above the cover will be made from stainless steel and it'll have a bend towards one end in order to wrap around the edge. Im doing it this way to help re-assert the design cues for the build. Modern designs use lots if straight clean lines. This cover will have just that. I also took some time to polish the stainless steel sheet to see how it'll look and I love it. The collage shows what it looks like stock (upper right side photo) & with the new cover (bottom & top left.)




Modder Tip: Polishing Stainless Steel

Polishing stainless steel can be tricky but, if you know the right process its not so bad. All stainless steel has striations or grain. Its usually either vertically or horizontally. Make sure you only go with the grain when polishing as it'll make it look a lot better. Start by using a soft paper towel or 100% cotton towel and put dawn dish soap on it. Then put just enough water on the towel to make it damp. Wipe down the stainless, making sure to go with the grain.

Once you done the entire surface, take a dry towel and wipe of any water or soap. Use a new towel a put a very small amount of mineral oil or baby oil on it. Wipe down the stainless again and your in business. The picture shows the reflection after I polished my stainless steel sheet. Its so good that I could see my case from across the shop.

   
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Videocard: GSkill Trident Z DDR4 16G
Processor: Intel i7 6700k Skylake
Mainboard: Supermicro Z170-OCE
Memory: 16 Gb
Soundcard: Onkyo
PSU: BeQuiet Dark Power 1,200w
Default 08-05-2016, 01:21 | posts: 216 | Location: NW USA



PSU Shroud & Partial Pump Cover:

I made a template using hard stock because I knew that I would be changing the design a few times. Usually I'll use foam board or something more rigid but, this gave me a lot more flexibility to make changes very quickly. Once I had it perfected I transferred the design over to sheet metal. My air cutter made quick work of all the detail and I got an opportunity to test out my new angle grinder which works fantastic.

Once I had the shape cut out I bent the metal 90 degrees to wrap around the PSU. I decided to do a more gradual curve instead of a very tight one. It looks great. I also didn't use a metal brake to bend the sheet metal. I wanted to show what could be done using the most basic of tools. I also took the opportunity to see where the passthrough would be if I ran the pump through here.






3D printed 140mm Fan Grill:

This fan grill can be seen in the concept design in the first post of the build log. It will have a 3D printed IKONiK logo that will go on top of this piece. The IKONiK lettering is previously shown. Im almost done with sanding the filler primer. Once finished I want to try and paint the main grill in a either grey or black with the lettering in a sterling silver. I will update once I start painting these pieces and mock them up.

   
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Videocard: GSkill Trident Z DDR4 16G
Processor: Intel i7 6700k Skylake
Mainboard: Supermicro Z170-OCE
Memory: 16 Gb
Soundcard: Onkyo
PSU: BeQuiet Dark Power 1,200w
Default 08-10-2016, 18:04 | posts: 216 | Location: NW USA



Starting Work On The Custom Reservoir:

I have determined the shape and design but, I needed to figure out the actual size that the reservoir will be. I ended up going with about an inch and a half thick. As with all my acrylic stuff I cut out I make templates first and then use my scroll saw to cut out the pattern.



I've got the majority of the mount finished and about a half of the reservoir cut out. Once I have all the pieces I will glue them all together, drill and tap the threads for the water cooling fittings.




Painting 140mm 3D Printed Fan Grill & IKONiK Lettering:

Now that I've had time to finish sanding and priming the grill and lettering I have started doing some test painting. I will start out with a black and sterling silver combination. This will be my first time working with sterling silver paint so I hope it lives up to my expectations. The first few layers went down well on the main grill.

When the rest of my fans arrive from Be Quiet I will test mount everything. Im also going to try a new 2–tone paint job on some of the fans so it'll be neat to see what they look like together.








New Sponsor: EVGA

I am very happy to announce that EVGA has decided to sponsor the IKONiK case mod with all kinds of sweet hardware. I will be using an EVGA motherboard, GPU and DDR4. I will update the list with the exact parts that will be used. Ive been a big fan of EVGA for quite sometime and I'm excited for the new hardware to arrive. I will also update and take pictures once the new gear arrives at the shop.
   
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Videocard: GSkill Trident Z DDR4 16G
Processor: Intel i7 6700k Skylake
Mainboard: Supermicro Z170-OCE
Memory: 16 Gb
Soundcard: Onkyo
PSU: BeQuiet Dark Power 1,200w
Default 08-13-2016, 02:56 | posts: 216 | Location: NW USA



Update: 3D Printed 140mm Fan Grill & Lettering

I was finally able to mockup the 3D fan grill and IKONiK lettering. This was a prototype I did to test colors and scaling. Everything came out great and it'll look much better when the letters are actually correctly spaced/mounted.




3D Printed & Stainless Steel Cover For The Breakout Box:

The Dark Base Pro 900 comes with a breakout box mounted on the back side of the motherboard tray. It has eight fan connectors and two LED strip connectors. The LED strips are controlled via a switch in the front of the case to change the color of the RGB LED strips.

The fans can be controlled via the motherboard and software by connecting your mobo to the breakout box. I personally love this feature as it is super convenient. I also want to see if you can control your pump with the pulse width modulation output. It would be an ideal set up if I could control radiator fans and my pump via the breakout box Be Quiet has included.

Even though the breakout box really isn't seen due to it being mounted on the backside of the motherboard tray; I still want to make it look awesome. I came up with the design for a cover by freehand sketching ideas on a notepad and translating it into a CAD design. Once I felt like I had a winner I used hard stock to make a template to scale.

The main cover piece is made out of ABS and the inner piece will be made out of 1 1/2 mm thick stainless steel stock. The process from 3D print to painted piece was exceptionally long on this piece due to the high quality result I was after. The process is very similar to the one I detailed earlier in the log. The main difference is that I used dissolvable support material when printing this piece and the clean up/paint prep process was more intense. More than likely I will cut some vinyl to let me know where the inputs and outputs for the breakout box are. This will make things easier down the road when swapping cables around. Due to the bolts going through the PCB I will use nylon washers for the 10mm standoffs.






Update: Scratch Built Reservoir & Mount

I now have all the pieces for the reservoir cut, sanded and filed. I will polish the pieces after I have the input, output and fill ports threaded. I cant decide if I should put the ports on the side or top of the reservoir. Ive also started working my way towards finer grit sandpaper for the edges.



   
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Videocard: GSkill Trident Z DDR4 16G
Processor: Intel i7 6700k Skylake
Mainboard: Supermicro Z170-OCE
Memory: 16 Gb
Soundcard: Onkyo
PSU: BeQuiet Dark Power 1,200w
Talking 08-14-2016, 20:19 | posts: 216 | Location: NW USA



Optical Drive Bay Removal:

One of my favorite parts about this case is the modularity. It allows you to move, change or remove any of the pieces you want. They all have removable bolts versus pop rivets found on most cases. It only took about 10 minutes or less to remove the optical drive bays. Im sure this time would have been more like 5 minutes but I tend to look at the design of things when I take them apart. The two front bay covers come off in a matter of seconds and the 3rd fan is easily bolted into place. Be Quiet did a good job of anticipating wiring routes which allows you to cleanly wire the fans.

Stock Fan Arrangement & Optical Bays Mounted:


3rd Fan Added & Optical Bays Removed:



Custom Vinyl Decals For 140mm PureWings 3 Fans:

I decided it was time to try out a design to replace the decals on the front 3–140mm PureWings fans. This isn't something that makes a huge statement but, its one of those small details that will bring everything together in the end. The plan is to mount a 420mm radiator on the inside and I also have some neat ideas for painting these fans that I will detail later on.

I downloaded the font used for the IKONiK logo onto my laptop so that I could generate a cut file for my vinyl cutter. In order to determine the size needed I used my digital calipers to measure the space available. I could have just removed the stock decals and placed the IKONiK decal but, it doesn't look as good as it would if I re-cut a new black, blank circle. It adds some time and steps to the process but, its worth it in my opinion.

Once I had everything cut I added the white IKONiK letters to the black circles and prepped the fans for installation. Proper placement for the vinyl is always the trickiest part. It requires you to take lots of measurements so that each decal is centered and laid out correctly.



   
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Videocard: GSkill Trident Z DDR4 16G
Processor: Intel i7 6700k Skylake
Mainboard: Supermicro Z170-OCE
Memory: 16 Gb
Soundcard: Onkyo
PSU: BeQuiet Dark Power 1,200w
Talking 08-17-2016, 04:21 | posts: 216 | Location: NW USA



Rear Addition: (IO/PCI-e Cover)

Ive been wanting to make some sort of cover for the back of a build for quite sometime now. This is one of those ideas thats been floating around my head for quite sometime now. I wanted something that looks stylish while still serving a purpose.

A combination of aluminum and acrylic will be used to get the shape and depth I'm looking for. The design I put together in sketchup, did just that. The cover allows air circulation through the rear fans and organizes all the ugly wiring. An LED strip has also been added which allows you to see where all the plug ins are on the back of the case.

Ive dry fit the rough cut and test painted pieces. I will make sure to update the build log as I start to build the bottom section






Be Quiet Fan Arrival: (The 1st Set Of Silent Wings 3 in The U.S.)

The new fans from Be Quiet arrived at the shop today. This is the first set of the new Silent Wings 3 fans in the United States. I have received 4 of the 140mm PWM versions and 2 of the 120mm standard versions. Below I've taken a few pictures showing their arrival through to the unboxing.

The new fans have a lot of innovative features that I've never seen before. They come with different mounting options that make every fit; a perfect fit. They come with rubberized mounts or mounts that use a push pin to lock them in. The nice part about the push pins is that there is no need for bolts. Installation is quick and painless. These options are perfect for using them on a radiator, heatsink or case mounting. I will be using some in the case and others for radiators.

I also want to thank Be Quiet for sending me the latest gear they have to offer.

Silent Wings 3 Fans Arrival:



Unboxing The New Fans:



SilentWings 3 In The Wild: (120 & 140mm versions)





Last edited by EnviousMods; 08-17-2016 at 04:32.
   
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Videocard: GSkill Trident Z DDR4 16G
Processor: Intel i7 6700k Skylake
Mainboard: Supermicro Z170-OCE
Memory: 16 Gb
Soundcard: Onkyo
PSU: BeQuiet Dark Power 1,200w
Default 08-19-2016, 17:18 | posts: 216 | Location: NW USA



Aluminum Side Piece:

There is piece that is used to mount the power supply inside the case. I wanted to cut a piece of aluminum that it is thick enough to make it even with the PSU shroud. It will also help to give it a much more polished look once its cleaned up. I used a scrap piece of aluminum because you wont notice a difference after I clean the piece up.

I also inset the bolt heads a little bit which helps to locate the bolts almost exactly where they would be before the plate addition. I will update once I have time to do the finish work on the aluminum. Below I've added pictures of what it looked like before the installation and after so you can easily reference the differences.






Update: PSU Shroud (Test Painting)

I got tired of looking at the un-painted PSU shroud and I really wanted to get an idea of what it would look like painted black. I have some left over from the Dark Matter build so I thought, “why not?” I quickly prepped it with a sanding sponge and then I used Rustoleum 2X. The nice part about this paint is the primer and paint being in one can. It really makes test painting rather painless to do.

After remounting the PSU shroud and the PSU access panel I was really happy with how it looks. Theres a lot more pieces that go together to make up the full PSU shroud but, these are the main ones.

   
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Videocard: GSkill Trident Z DDR4 16G
Processor: Intel i7 6700k Skylake
Mainboard: Supermicro Z170-OCE
Memory: 16 Gb
Soundcard: Onkyo
PSU: BeQuiet Dark Power 1,200w
Default 08-24-2016, 06:34 | posts: 216 | Location: NW USA



Making Side Panel Templates To Scale:

I translated the CAD design to hard stock for the side panel pieces that will go on the tempered glass panels. Its pretty easy to do as its literally transferring each measurement over. I've decided to use thin steel stock to make all of these pieces. It'll take longer than making it out of acrylic but, I think it'll fit the design better in metal.

To adhere them I will more than likely use heavy duty transfer tape thats used typically for adding acrylic side panels. That way if I ever have to remove them; I can without messing up the tempered glass. I also remembered that there are two holes in the tempered glass which are used to mount it to the case. I will take advantage of these to help hold the back pieces in place. The picture below are of the templates after I used them to cut the pieces. I will update the logos once I make more progress on them.




Update: Side Panel Pieces

I decided to use my air cutter to cut the metal pieces for the side panel. Im trying out a new design technique for these pieces so it will be interesting to see how it turns out. The panels are made up of two solid back pieces and layered top pieces that have 1–4mm spaces between each piece. The varied 1–4mm gaps will look really neat once everything is painted and mounted. Here's the rough cut pieces before filing and sanding.




Update: Rear IO/PCIe Cover (Bottom Pieces)

The bottom two pieces for the rear IO/PCIe cover were made using templates made out of hard stock. I then transferred the templates to metal sheet stock and cut them out using my air cutter. After the general shape was cut out, it was time to use my bench grinder to fine tune the cuts. Once I had that finished I run them through a process of filing and then sanding the edges to make them exact. Then, onward to test painting and mock-ups. As you can see I was able to mockup the 4 pieces I have finished. There will be a few more pieces that I still need to build and mount.





Modder Tip: Bending Metal

They need a 45° angle at a specific point which is pretty easy to do without a bending brake. I run a line along the edge I want to bend and then use a counter top to bend it along. The bend edge will match the edge your bending it against. If your countertop edge is a gradual bend; your metal piece will have a gradual bend. I needed a tight bend so I used the edge on my workbench.

You'll want to clamp the top edge so that it stays flat against the top of the work bench. I usually use a piece of steel with a clamp on each side and then use another flat piece of steel to push against the other edge. This helps assure that you have even pressure along the entire piece you are bending. There are lots of tutorials online that show step by step on how to do this.
   
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EnviousMods
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Videocard: GSkill Trident Z DDR4 16G
Processor: Intel i7 6700k Skylake
Mainboard: Supermicro Z170-OCE
Memory: 16 Gb
Soundcard: Onkyo
PSU: BeQuiet Dark Power 1,200w
Thumbs up 08-31-2016, 06:06 | posts: 216 | Location: NW USA



Status Update: Envious Mods HQ

I just wanted to update you all as I will have more updates on the build log in the next couple days. I have just finished moving into a rental while I build the new Envious Mods HQ. It will have a machine shop, final assembly room, walk in paint booth and a rather large apartment adjacent to it. I have been planning this over the last year or two and it is the next big step for Envious Mods. The machine shop and paint booth building was already on the land purchased. It just needs some TLC, new electrical and some shelves/stands for my heavy equipment. I am currently setting up my daily workspace and reconnecting Internet service.

This is a huge commitment for Envious Mods but, with all the growth of Envious Mods over the last yr; I would be stupid to not invest in its future. As many of you know I do almost daily updates and I felt it was only fair to let you know what's going on. In the next couple days I will resume the detailed build log as well as share a few surprises I have in store. Thanks again to all my faithful fellow modders and forum followers.

   
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EnviousMods
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Videocard: GSkill Trident Z DDR4 16G
Processor: Intel i7 6700k Skylake
Mainboard: Supermicro Z170-OCE
Memory: 16 Gb
Soundcard: Onkyo
PSU: BeQuiet Dark Power 1,200w
Default 09-03-2016, 20:22 | posts: 216 | Location: NW USA



Back Side of The Motherboard Tray Design: (Rear Shroud)

I wanted to come up with something neat for the back side of the motherboard tray. It really won't be seen much and a good portion of it has a bolt on cover. I still want to include it in the log and I'll more than likely include it in the final pics. My favorite idea is to make a partial grill that is diagonal along the lower right hand corner. I will probably use some aluminum strips I have left over from a previous build. They will need to be cut in half, sanded, filed before the finish work can be done. With the last grill I made from scratch; I found that it looked best if I designed a 3D printable mount for the grill slats. More than likely I will integrate them into the cover like the Sketchup design shows.

Rear Shroud: CAD Design & Template

I finalized the design for the back side of the motherboard tray and cable shroud. I moved forward and made a quick Sketchup design of these new pieces in order to better visualize it. Once I had it all laid out in decided to make a template to scale. I made a couple minor changes to the design. The main change was to break the back panel into 2 pieces. This will make installation much easier and it'll also make working on the computer easier. I added a small piece that overlaps where the two panels meet up which is primarily aesthetic. Adding the overlap will give it a more polished look.

CAD Design Ideas:






CAD Design Translated Into A Template:


   
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EnviousMods
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Videocard: GSkill Trident Z DDR4 16G
Processor: Intel i7 6700k Skylake
Mainboard: Supermicro Z170-OCE
Memory: 16 Gb
Soundcard: Onkyo
PSU: BeQuiet Dark Power 1,200w
Default 09-07-2016, 02:55 | posts: 216 | Location: NW USA



PSU Shroud Side Pieces:

I started putting together ideas for the side of the PSU shroud. I want to carry over the design cues from the tempered glass side panel. This will help it look like a cohesive design. These pieces will be cut out of sheet metal and layered to give the piece more depth. So far I've put together the basic design and transferred it into a template. I still need to break up the template into multiple pieces so that they can be cut. As you can see in the picture below I used the Sketchup design but, built off of it to give it a better look.




Front Fan Surround Design:

After playing around with different ideas for the front piece that will go around the 3 X 140mm fans I decided to integrate the design of the fan inlets. These are custom designed for Be Quiet's Silent Wings 3 fans that just came out. They have a distinctive shape that helps with airflow and the pattern the air creates on its way into the radiator. I am using the high speed PWM versions of these fans. The high speed version is specifically designed with a higher static pressure rating for top of the line radiators. The main surround will be made out of 15mm thick lexan and I will add a top piece made out of sheet metal. Once the lexan is backlit it will make the fan and edges of the lexan glow. I have the basic surround template finished for the lexan and I will update the logos once the template for the sheet metal is finished.




Vinyl & Paint Technique Testing: Texture & Embossing

I've been wanting to test out some ideas I've been tossing around when it comes to adding texture to paint and vinyl. I started out using spray paint to try and add a texture to a painted surface. I used a sanded piece of thin metal rod and taped it to the front of the spray paint can. I filed the tip of the rod so it would taper to a point and then positioned its just below nozzle height. Once sprayed it changes the natural flow of paint causing a textured effect.

The embossed vinyl was made by first designing and cutting a vinyl pattern. Once that pattern was laid down on an acrylic surface I grabbed another sheet of vinyl and laid it over the placed pattern. Using a hair dryer I slowly heated the top layer of vinyl to help it sink into all the nooks and crannies. Using my finger I helped coax some of it into the more detailed sections of the pattern. I've never seen this technique done and it really gives a new aspect to uses for vinyl. Ideas like this is what I thrive to discover and I enjoy being the first to implement it into case modding. That way more people can try these ideas and take them to the next level.

Embossed Vinyl Technique:


Textured Paint Technique: (With Embossed Vinyl Under)
   
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Default 09-09-2016, 02:45 | posts: 216 | Location: NW USA



IKONiK EDITiON:

I've wanted to do a special or limited edition build for a long time now. I felt that it would be fitting being that this build will be primarily high end hardware and exotic finishes. I recently finished up a new design for the Envious Mods logo which consists of an angled “EM.” The EM logo will be used in a couple minor places throughout the build. I will also be adding the, “IKONiK EDITiON” badge under the Be Quiet badge that is mounted on the front of the case. It's the little additions like these that really bring a build together.





Rear SSD Mount:

I more than likely won't be using the single, rear SSD mount but I wanted to do something to dress it up. I made a template for a cover piece and also placed the EM logo for Envious Mods. I intentionally made it small to help keep it within the design for the overall build.



   
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PSU: BeQuiet Dark Power 1,200w
Default 09-13-2016, 21:57 | posts: 216 | Location: NW USA



Silent Wings 3 - 140mm Fan Blade Tests:

I've been wanting to do more to customize the blades of a fan in one of my builds. I took the opportunity to try out a few ideas using vinyl. I have two more ideas to try out before I settle on using one. Once I've determined a final style and layout I will use the vinyl to make a, “mask.” This will allow me to paint the entire fan one color with the vinyl mask off and then paint it another color with the mask off. This is a technique painter's have been using forever. Another way of doing in is to lay down the vinyl and clear coat over the entire piece. Doing so will protect the vinyl and make it more uniform.




Update: IKONiK EDITiON & EM Logos

The first set of EM Logos and IKONiK EDITiON badges were cut in a new textured exotic vinyl I got for this build. I'm almost ready to order the rest of the vinyl needed for the IKONiK build. The order will be fairly substantial due to all the different types and colors needed. After I measured all the placements out for the vinyl I started designing a cut path for the vinyl cutter. I also wanted to try a new technique which makes lettering look like the light is reflecting off of it. The new vinyl has a brushed or drawbenched look to it. I like the fact that you can actually feel the texture when you touch it.

I've weeded or removed the excess vinyl and prepped them to be test mounted. I decided to add the IKONiK EDITiON badges first. I've special ordered chrome mirrored vinyl just for this badge. This will match the Be Quiet badge very well which will make it look like it came from the factory with this badge. The pictured test version will help me to determine the correct size and placement.






Hardware Shipped: EVGA


The long list of hardware from EVGA has been shipped and should be at the shop in the next couple days. I will do some quick unboxing pics of the hardware and share a few of those here. For those of you who love to see a bunch of pictures of the hardware; I will post those on my site and social media. I have some really neat ideas for modding the motherboard and GPU. Some of those ideas will be 3D printed as well.
   
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Default 09-16-2016, 22:11 | posts: 216 | Location: NW USA





EVGA Hardware Arrival:

The hardware from EVGA arrived at the shop today and I'm like a kid in a candy store. They sent me their Classified (known as Classy) lineup which will be integrated into the design. Below I've added a few unboxing photos so that you can see the gear first hand. As some of you know I've been a big proponent of EVGA products for a long time. My first deep dive into custom hardware was with EVGA so they will always hold a special place in my heart. Quickly after opening the boxes you can see and feel the quality that synonymous with their hardware. I haven't had a chance to dig into the PSU yet but, I wanted to post an update with the ones that I had finished. As previously mentioned I took quite a few photos of the entire unboxing process; I posted the main ones here but, soon I will post the rest of them via my social media and site. For those of you who love to see tons of product photos; they will be available soon.




EVGA Motherboard:
Starting off first we have the EVGA Z170 Classified K motherboard. It came unbelievably well packaged. Every heatsink was covered in a protective coating so that it would arrive perfectly to the user. A lot of time was spent on every detail of the design and it shows. I couldn't have picked a better motherboard for this build. It embodies the exact design cues that I'm putting into the IKONiK design.












EVGA GPU:

Next up we have the EVGA GTX 980ti Classified Edition GPUS. This too came very well packaged. Like the rest of the gear from EVGA; you can quickly tell the extremely high quality of the hardware. It came with two power adaptors and a vga adapter. The box was fully stocked with some swag from EVGA as well. This made me very happy as I am the type of person that loves this sort of stuff for the shop.










EVGA DDR4:

The EVGA Superclocked DDR4 is a perfect fit for this build. I will be doing some custom work to these as well as the other hardware sent from EVGA. Each piece will get some custom touches to put the Envious Mods style on it. In the past I've heard of a lot of people who wanted to use this ram on builds but, it was backordered at that time. I'm unsure if this is the case today but, I'm honored to get to use it in the IKONiK build.






Keeping It Classy:

The IKONiK build exudes modern design styling and reaches towards a classy sophistication. Classy is a term commonly used by enthusiasts to refer to the Classified Edition of EVGA's hardware. I felt it was important to tip my hat to this by custom designing a decal that says, “Keepin It Classy” on the cable shroud. This slogan fits the build well and will be recognized by enthusiasts everywhere. The font for this has to be perfect and I've tested out about 25 different variations. Below is a pic of the best fonts so far.


Last edited by EnviousMods; 09-16-2016 at 22:32.
   
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PSU: BeQuiet Dark Power 1,200w
Default 09-18-2016, 19:49 | posts: 216 | Location: NW USA



Front Cross Bar Removal:

After debating on whether to leave the cross brace or take it out; I decided it needed to be removed. This brace is here for those of you who may want to use an optical drive. I won't be using one so it's got to go. It's an aesthetic choice and won't make any difference performance wise. I used a hand or hobby saw to cut the pieces out and now I need to file and sand the edges. The lexan fan surround will cover up part of it. Painters tape was laid down so that the saw didn't rub against the plastic causing more work. The area remained rigid, even after removing the cross brace.




Update: Front Lexan Fan Surround

I've finished the updated template for the front fan surround. I always mount my templates using painter's tape. Doing so creates a contrast for the cut line and it also helps to stop the acrylic from melting. Once that was squared away it was time to cut it out on my scroll saw. Having a scroll saw is an important tool for any Modder to have. They are fairly affordable and can be used on a lot of different materials. The one I own was bought used and it's almost 10 yrs old but, it still works great. When I first test fitted the freshly cut pieces I quickly realized that I needed to notch out a couple spots to give it a perfect fit. The majority of this piece of lexan will be covered by either stainless steel or sheet metal. Spots will be cut out allowing the lexan to show through when its edge lit.








Pro Modder Tip: Cutting Acrylics

In order to cut acrylic with a scroll saw or jig saw you need to make sure the acrylic doesn't heat up too much or it'll re-fuse itself back together. There are several methods I use to help counteract this. Painters tape helps a lot. I always place it over the areas I'm planning to cut and then draw my cut line over top. Using a blade with a lot of teeth also helps. One of the main factors is speed. The faster your blade moves; the more heat is created causing the material to melt. Using a combination of these methods will help assure that your acrylics will be cut cleanly.


Mocking Up Hardware: EVGA

Even though it's a bit early to put hardware in, I still like to as soon as possible so that I can make sure everything is where I think it will be. I also like to do it as it inspires me to design the mods that will be done to the hardware. After looking at the cable connections I realized that I'll need to cut a passthrough in the PSU shroud in order to run the 8-pin power cable to the motherboard. This won't be difficult to do once I determine the location that will look best. After checking the rest of the cables I feel that I'm in good shape. Be Quiet did a good job on placing the majority of the passthrough needed to cleanly install a system.





   
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Default 09-22-2016, 04:02 | posts: 216 | Location: NW USA



Update: Rear SSD Cover

I felt that the SSD cover is built was missing something so I started doing some freehand drawings in order to come up with an additional piece. I will do bare metal finish work with a clear coat for the main base piece and I'll paint match the two additional top pieces in black to match the rest of the build.




LED Testing:

Now that I have my new camera I decided it was time to test out the new LED configuration. I had to move one of the LED strips to give the inside an even glow. When I mocked up the hardware is noticed that the GPU blocked a lot of the light. This caused the lower half of the motherboard to be dark. Moving one of the top LED strips to the side did wonders for it.



https://vimeo.com/183765104


GPU Support Bracket:

I've been wanting to build a GPU support bracket for quite a while know. The only downside is that there isn't much space for creativity other than the fit and finish. Bill from Mnpctech has already perfected the design so it'll be a challenge to figure out something new. It's like trying to reinvent the wheel. I think I came up with a bracket that will work well and look even better.





Acrylic Insert For GPU Support Bracket:

I've come up with the primary design for the GPU support bracket and I designed a piece that inserts flush with the metal side piece. I knew that I wanted it to have the EVGA Logo on it as well as the IKONiK EDITiON badge found on the front of the build. It took me a while to figure out the vinyl details and I ended up coming up with a neat design. It does a great job of drawing attention but, not overdoing it. Two out of the three pieces that make up the GPU support bracket are almost done and I'm about room start cutting the main piece.

   
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Default 09-25-2016, 00:34 | posts: 216 | Location: NW USA



Update: Prototype Support Bracket GTX 980ti Classified

I managed to finish cutting the last piece of the support bracket for the 980ti classified GPU. I also took some time to paint it to match the rest of the pieces. After putting all the parts together to mark it up everything looks great. The front piece is 3D printed and allows for adjustments up and down to change the angle that it supports. I've debated on adding a second piece that would be adjustable as well towards the right side. I'll have to give that some thought but for now I'm going to move forward with the rest of the build and come back to it once I have more of the Interior work done.




Update: SSD Cover Acrylic

I've cut out the 2 additional pieces being added to the SSD cover. These pieces are for aesthetic use only. I went for a very clean, simple design that helps tie in the combination of sharp lines with the occasional rounded lines. Small pieces like this do a great job of reinforcing a chosen design. It's one of those things that doesn't look like much by itself but, when it's all put together it'll make a noticeable difference overall. For now I have painted it black but eventually it'll be painted a little more fancy. This gives me an opportunity to play around with different finishes and shades of color.

After cutting out the template in acrylic I went ahead and sanded/filed them to the exact shape I wanted. A light surface sanding helped to prep them for paint. It took about 3 to 4 light coats to achieve full coverage of the pieces.





   
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PSU: BeQuiet Dark Power 1,200w
Default 09-28-2016, 07:22 | posts: 216 | Location: NW USA



EVGA DDR4 Mods:

I don't have all of the mods figured out for the EVGA Superclocked DDR4 but, I do know that I'll take all the labels and stickers off. They will be replaced with one's that I will design specifically for this build. Small details like this really work to bring the build together. I can't say this enough; the small details that 1 out of 10 people will even notice, makes all the difference.

The design for the new decals is being done right now and I'll update once finished. More than likely I will keep the heat-spreaders with a stock, black base and do some additional.custom paint work. I want to try and mix flat black with a high gloss black for accent or use a black that is a couple shades lighter.




Update: Rear Cable Shroud


Previously I showed the design and templates for the rear cable shrouds. Recently I went to the machine shop so that I could cut out these templates in stainless steel sheets. Stainless is typically pretty expensive and I was able to snag these from another shop at a discount because they had some superficial scratches and staining. I am going to completely refinish these panels anyway so the shape doesn't effect my process.

I will also coat all of the stainless in a heavy duty clear coat once finished. This will help to protect the finish and give it a little more of a shine. I show some of the before and after some simple refinishing. I did this to see how easily the stains and scratches would come out. Almost all of them came out after the Simple refinish; so they'll look perfect once I do the full job.




2 Weeks In The Woods:

Modding is more than a job or hobby for me and I put in 6-7 days a week with no time off unless I'm very, very sick. One time a year I take 2 weeks to go off in the woods and recharge my batteries. I take a few electronic devices so that I can do some design work after being inspired by nature. The majority of the time I don't get cell or Internet coverage; unless I climb a mountain. I might post a few design screenshots while I'm in the forest.

When I get back a lot of progress will be made rather quickly. I've rough cut a lot of the parts for the case so that I can sand and mock them up once I get back. The updates will be epic and I'll also give an update on the scratch built reservoir that some of you have been waiting for.


A Day of Cutting Materials:

I decided to wait until I have a decent amount to cut before I go to the machine shop to do any major cutting. Right now the machine shop and paint booth is about 2 miles away. Once the new Envious Mods HQ is finished it'll be on the same property. I have a bench grinder at my small shop so I could work on cleaning up the rough cuts. This will make it all come together quickly now that most of the tools and machines are setup. Below is added a pic of some of the pieces that were cut but, I'll save the rest until the next update.

   
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PSU: BeQuiet Dark Power 1,200w
Default 10-16-2016, 23:38 | posts: 216 | Location: NW USA



Back From My Trip To Nowhere:

As many of you know I take two weeks off in the begging of October to recharge my modding batteries. My trip starts by wondering into the forest for a couple days to make sure I'm out of range for cellphones and people. I spend a lot of this time playing with designs and modding related ideas I've had over the past year. Nature tends to inspire me a lot; even though my natural building style is quite mechanical. I look for the hidden mechanics found in nature and adapt those into usable creations for my builds.

I focused a good deal of that time on the IKONiK build and I've come up with some really neat concepts that I'll be exploring throughout the 2nd half of this build.* It's good to be back and I'm excited to get started modding again. I ran across an old skidder when I was in the forest and it was a great opportunity to study aged paint and rust growth for paint jobs on future projects. These are great for painting battle hardend cases.



Below I'll go through some of the updates I've determined while away. The rest of the updates will follow over the next week.


Side Panel Ideas & Design:

During my two weeks off I came up with a few ideas for the side panel that has the dual fan mount on it. I wanted something that is classy and gives you that IKONiK feel while still throwing in a bit of my own personal styling. Originally I had planned on back lighting the area around the pop out for the two fans and I think this will work perfectly with the designs I came up with. I put together a Sketchup design of what it will look like which helps me decide if I should move forward or re-design.

Since the design for the side panel looks great in Sketchup, I will move forward with it. Now I'll take the dimensions and make templates that are full scale. Once the full scale templates are mocked up I can start cutting acrylic.








New Sponsor: OCZ "A Toshiba Company"


OCZ will be joining the IKONiK build. They'll be sending memory storage including their new RD400 NVM Express M.2 SSD. These bad boys are known to out perform SATA SSDs by over 4.5 times in sequential read and over 3 times in sequential write speeds. The adaptor is pretty sweet for those who want to wait to do a motherboard upgrade.

I'm very happy to have OCZ join in on another Envious Mods build. They have been a great company to work with and their gear surprises me everything I use a new piece. I will also be using a larger SATA SSD as a main storage center. More than likely it'll be mounted on the rear SSD mount. The RD400 will be used to run OS, system files and a couple other things.
   
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PSU: BeQuiet Dark Power 1,200w
Default 10-19-2016, 22:32 | posts: 216 | Location: NW USA



Making a Bevel In Metal: PSU Shroud Pieces

I also want to try making the piece so that the bevel is a different color than the rest of the piece. First off I'll try to paint the entire piece and file off the edges.

Since I don't have a working CNC; I have to make the bevels by hand. This can be very tricky to make sure you have the same angle throughout as well as the same depth. I started this process by using my bench grinding wheel. Doing this first gives me the same angle throughout all of the edges. Then I mark the depth on the outer edges of each piece. The hardest part is the hand filing. I use a very large metal file. Do to the small size of the pieces I run the pieces against the file instead of the other way around. Hand filing is very time consuming and a lot of it comes down to experience. Knowing how to read the metal and applying pressure in specific spots.






Triple Lexan Fan Surround: Final Trimming

I had already rough cut the lexan piece that goes around the front 3 fans. Typically it would be filed and sanded from here but, I want this piece to perfectly match the shape of the Be Quiet Silent Wings 3 fans. They have a very distinctive shape that I really like. To make sure these are perfect I remounted the lexan panel and drew the exact shapes needed. Most of them only needed a small amount taken off but, to get the look I want they have to be exact.





Pro Modder Tip: Sanding Difficult Areas & Shapes

This is one of the earliest tricks I can remember as a child. As far back as i can remember, I loved spending time in both my grandfathers shops. At that age I didn't understand the genious behind all the hand made tools found throughout their shops. The first trick/hand made tool that really made an impression on me was the sanding blocks made from random materials.

Whenever he would need to sand in a place that a typical sanding block couldn't get into he would quickly make a sanding block out of anything the was the correct shape. If he needed a small round one, he would use a large marker and wrap the sandpaper around this. If he ever needed a specific shaped one that he was using for a larger project he would shape one out of a piece of wood. It's a pretty neat and simple trick but, it's come in very handy for sanding the lexan triple fan surround on the IKONiK build.

   
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Default 10-26-2016, 04:05 | posts: 216 | Location: NW USA



Update: OCZ SSD Cover EM (Envious Mods) Logo


I managed to finish the majority of the work on this EM logo. It was especially challenging because it is pretty small and hand cut out of super thin acrylic. Originally I had planned on waiting until me new bandsaw was setup but, I got too excited and cut it out using my trusty scroll saw. It took a while to file and sand it as well. It's almost completely done and ready for paint but, I might try out some new vinyl I special ordered that should be here any day now.





Update: OCZ RD400 NVM SSD Plate:

I've yet to see a modded RD400 SSD and I jumped at the chance to mod one. I wanted to show off the actual drive while making a custom cover for the rest of the SSD. Looking at the box the RD400 came in; I became inspired by the neat design on the front. I threw the box on my photocopier and made a template based off of it. I added that template to the covers template to see what it look liked and I was excited with the results.

There will be two pieces that will makeup the partial cover. The main piece surrounds the drive and will be what the designed piece is adhered to once painted. I cut the main plate and I made sure to take lots of pictures so you can get an idea of the process I typically take. I managed to rough cut the 1st two layers and I'm prepping to cut the 3rd layer which is even thinner than the other 2 layers.

Process of making the SSD panels:






Back Lighting EVGA Motherboard:

I've wanted to back light a motherboard for a couple years now. The main concerns I have are: It doesn't interfere with the PCB, low temperature, the LEDs are soft instead of bright. I decided the best route to go was with waterproof LEDs because they are coated with polyurethane. This assures that it doesn't mess with the PCB or cause shorts. I've also slightly lowered the input voltage which makes them run cooler and helps insure that they are not to bright.

I haven't decided how many strips to run. I'll have to do some further testing to see if one strip in the middle will work or will I need to run 3 strips; 1 across each edge. The reason for my hesitation on running 3 strips is the wiring involved. It's a lot to tuck behind a motherboard. Reguardless of the amount of work needed I'll always go with the best performance or look reguardless of the work involved.

   
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PSU: BeQuiet Dark Power 1,200w
Default 10-29-2016, 21:44 | posts: 216 | Location: NW USA



New Shop Equiptment: Band Saw

My birthday is on the 30th and I managed to get a gift a few days early which is great. I got a 10" Craftsman band saw. This saw will save me some time; especially with acrylics. It has the ability to accurately angle edges and perform perfectly straight cuts as well as more detailed work. I'll be using it with some thinner, soft metals like aluminum. Anything heavier than that can be cut using my air cutter.

I recommend getting a good set of blades if you buy this saw. The blades that come with it are not real great and a quality blade makes all the difference in the world. I got two different types of blades to use on different materials. One for softer metals and another for acrylic work. Depending on the thickness of materials you'll probably want a 12-16TPi blades. The more teeth the finer it cuts and the thinner the materials you can cut. I added some custom old school style pinstripes to make the saw an Envious Mods saw.




Update: Scratch Built Reservoir

The long awaited update on the reservoir I've been building. As many of you know I'm still settling into the temporary shop being used until my new shop is built from the ground up in spring. It's taken me a while to find some of the pieces I started before I moved. I finally managed to find the reservoir that I have been building from scratch. I had a couple things left to do to it before it was ready to be chemically welded using Tap Plastics acrylic cement. I've just finished drilling and tapping the holes for the fill port, inlet and outlet. This can be very nerve racking as I don't want to crack it when drilling.

Tap G1/4 & 11.8mm Drill Bit:


I've found that it works best if you drill the holes before spending all the time to cut and shape the materials. I used an 11.8mm drill bit to prep for the G1/4 tap. It is important that you use a bit that is exactly 11.8mm. Otherwise the threads won't be right and you won't get a water tight seal. Also when you tap your hole; make sure that the tap is perfectly straight so that the threads are correct. Typically I'll put the tap in my drill press and turn it by hand. This helps a lot. If I don't have my drill press handy I use a laser to tell me where the exact center mark is. When tapping I just make sure the laser stays in the center of the tap.



   
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