Water-Cooled Borg Cube, Part 2: Radiator

aka Bob is assimilated by his Borg Cube...

After a lot of futzing around over planning, I decided to start out building the radiator. This is the largest assembly I have to find room for, but its the easier of the two fabrication jobs, the other being the reservoir. In the fine tradition of procrastinators all over the world, I like to save the hard parts for last!

The raw heater core is an ungainly beast...
A Dremel with cutoff wheel and a torch are all it takes to get rid of those silly pipes...
Next I made a pattern out of posterboard for my radiator shroud. The shroud will make the radiator more efficient, because it ducts fan air over the entire surface (better than just bolting the fan directly to the core), and it will clean up the overall appearance of things. I think if you were feeling seriously fabrication-challenged, you could just use the posterboard, or perhaps polystyrene sheet such as one finds in hobby shops for modellers. I wanted something a little more permanent for Borg Cube.
See how this will work? The two tabs on the outside will be used to mount the shroud, and hence the fan and radiator, to the case.
A second piece goes on the inside of the radiator. We'll bolt a 120mm fan to this piece when its all said and done.
Downstairs in the garage (wife hates Dremel activity in her kitchen), we've taped the patterns down on the copper sheet and run a Sharpie around the edge.
The outlines are traced. Note how quickly the acid on my fingers is tarnishing the edges where I've held the sheet. We're going to need to paint or protect this stuff somehow when done!
The Dremel is a Case Modder's universal tool...
How the Flying Nun would look if she was a radiator...
Trial fitting the holes. Things came out pretty close for me. Remember, tracing the pattern means your copper will be larger than the posterboard model, so you have some margin for error. Just make sure you're cutting on the line!
I used this metal straight edge and the table as a bending brake.
Isn't she lovely?
Pretty near done cutting and folding. You can also see the block off plates I JB welded over the original inlet/outlet holes.
As a finishing touch, I decided to create an edge detail using aluminum (that's al-u-min-i-um) angle bracket. The best way to do this (I know, because I tried separate pieces before my brother suggested this) is to bend it out of a single piece. So, you takes your Dremel and cuts 90 degree vees at the appropriate places, then you bend it. To finish, I used a little piece of the angle stock and some JB weld. You can see I'm using my nifty corner clamp (purchased to make square acrylic boxes for the rest of this activity) to make sure it stays square. I also arranged that the corner getting the glue is the one that'll be hidden by the case, but it turned out fine. No worries...
Yours truly drilling a series of holes in the side of the frame. You can't imagine how much easier this is with a drill press.
Next step was to glue copper sheet to the inside of the angle bracket setup with JB Weld (handy stuff that JB Weld). Note the holes I drilled in the angle bracket before hand. You'll see the purpose momentarily.
Here's what it winds up looking like. I still have to drill the hole for the 120mm fan, but we're about done with this piece. I think the allen head bolts give it a nice industrial feel--good for Borg. Incidentally, the radiator stands a bit proud of the shroud for clearance reasons. I lose a little bit of the heater core cooling area, but not much on a percentage basis. Just the increased efficiency of shrouding will offset that versus cable tying a fan to the core.

I'm not gonna drill that fan hole until I decide how much to polish the copper, clear coat the copper, and in general am 99% ready to mount this thing in the case. I'm still pondering different weird fan possibilities too.

In any event, check out this little goodie sitting in front. What do you suppose that is?

Why, that's a Swiftech MCX462 air cooling block that I'm going to modify into the coolest frickin' water block you've ever seen!

Woot! I wound up blowing off the copper because I came up with a better idea. After seeing how well my UFO Mod came out, I wanted to do a radiator shroud out of plexi. The plan is to frost it, and light it internally with a 4" cold cathode. You can see here how far I've gotten.

Here's the fan I'll mount on the front of it:

Here's how the radiator looks assembled in plexi...

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All material 2001-2006, Robert W. Warfield.