Building A Custom Water Cooled PC From Scratch

Contents

  1. Introduction & Components Used
  2. Stripping the Case Down
  3. Adding Fans To A Windowed Side Panel
  4. Drive Cage Air Flow Modification
  5. Case Roof Water Cooling Push/Pull Modification
  6. Component Testing & CPU Installation
  7. Fitting The Radiator Into The Case
  8. Motherboard Posts & IO Shield Installation
  9. CPU & Full Motherboard Water Block Installation
  10. Pump & Reservoir Assembly
  11. Building A Custom Water Cooling Loop
  12. Memory Installation + Light Bars
  13. Solid State Drive Installation
  14. Case Drive Cage Re-Assembly
  15. Fitting The Power Supply (PSU)
  16. Additional Air Cooling
  17. LED Custom Lighting
  18. Cabling & Keeping Things Tidy (including adding PCI-E Cards)
  19. Running Up The Finished Article

Addendum

  1. Graphics Card Upgrade

Case Roof Water Cooling Push/Pull Modification

The Cooler Master Storm Stryker case by default allows a roof mounted water cooled radiator (240mm or 280mm), with 2 fans (either 120mm or 140mm) to be installed. It does not however permit what is called a push/pull configuration.

I would best describe this as being 2 fans mounted to the bottom of the radiator pushing cool air over it and 2 fans mounted above pulling hot air away from the radiator.

The objective therefore for this stage of the build, is to modify the case's carrying handle located in the roof to allow such a configuration.

CM Strom Stryker Push/Pull Case Handle Radiator Modification

Let’s start by removing the case's roof cover to expose the carrying handle and its fixings.

CM Strom Stryker Push/Pull Case Handle Radiator Modification

The roof of the case is held on by 6 plastic clips, 3 on either side. To release the clips, push the tabs inwards away from the underside of the roof frame.

CM Strom Stryker Push/Pull Case Handle Radiator Modification

Now that we have clear access to the area we need to work on, let us investigate which fastenings need to be removed, to facilitate the detachment of the handle form the case.

CM Strom Stryker Push/Pull Case Handle Radiator Modification

CM Strom Stryker Push/Pull Case Handle Radiator Modification

On closer inspection, the handle is held on by stainless steel rivets. The front of the handle has the head of the rivet exposed, so a 3mm titanium high speed tip drill bit should make light work of that. Or will it! In fact I broke one drill trying to do this. The trick was to put the drill on maximum RPM and firmly push, as opposed to my original approach which was to drill slowly using a light touch.

CM Strom Stryker Push/Pull Case Handle Radiator Modification

The rear of the handle is also secured using stainless steel rivets, except these ones are inverted. Access from below is limited, so drilling them out is not such a viable option as there will be a chance of the drills chuck fowling the case.

CM Strom Stryker Push/Pull Case Handle Radiator Modification

CM Strom Stryker Push/Pull Case Handle Radiator Modification

I did try to drill the rivets out from above but the drill bit kept slipping. In the end I got a small hacksaw blade and cut the rivet off and then cleaned the hole with a 3mm drill bit.

CM Strom Stryker Push/Pull Case Handle Radiator Modification

CM Strom Stryker Push/Pull Case Handle Radiator Modification

At last, to my relief the handle was free with just a few scratches that can easily be resolved.

CM Strom Stryker Push/Pull Case Handle Radiator Modification

CM Strom Stryker Push/Pull Case Handle Radiator Modification

With the handle removed, we need to offer it up with some test fans in place. As you can see, the handles feet are off the case's surface by quite a few degrees. Time to start fashioning a new handle shape!

CM Strom Stryker Push/Pull Case Handle Radiator Modification

I bent my handle purely "by eye" but I am sure that someone will have a scientific way of doing it! I would stress that using my method you take your time and do not hit it with a metal hammer! As you can see from the picture below, I used G-clamps, wood blocks and a rubber mallet.

Also after every bend I made, I went back to the case and checked the shape of the handle against the fans. This whole process took about an hour and even then when I thought I had it right it was not. I had forgotten to check it in place with the roof of the case on. You will notice in subsequent pictures that there are two unwanted drill holes. Learn from my mistake!

CM Strom Stryker Push/Pull Case Handle Radiator Modification

CM Strom Stryker Push/Pull Case Handle Radiator Modification

As the handles rear fixing point is now circa 20mm in the air, the question is how to secure it. I have used stainless steel tubing to make posts, which has an opening large enough to pass an M4 machine screw through.

Stainless steel is quite hard to cut accurately, so don't worry about getting the length exact or the ends completely flat, as you can always shim them out with washers.

CM Strom Stryker Push/Pull Case Handle Radiator Modification

CM Strom Stryker Push/Pull Case Handle Radiator Modification

CM Strom Stryker Push/Pull Case Handle Radiator Modification

As you can see, there is now a nice clearance for the fans to reside in. These fans are just my test fans and when I get to the radiator fitting stage, I will be using the Noctua NF-F12 PWM 120mm Focused Flow PWM Cooling Fans.

CM Strom Stryker Push/Pull Case Handle Radiator Modification

Now to tidy up those scratches on the handle. As in my previous sections, I have used etch primer and acrylic black spray paints. You will note that I have completely covered the rubber grip to ensure that no paint gets on to it.

Although I have not shown it here, I have also sprayed the stainless steel posts black to match the handle.

CM Strom Stryker Push/Pull Case Handle Radiator Modification

All that is now needed is to fit the case's roof top back. You will need to remove both the roof cover and the handle again, when it comes to fitting the radiator and push pull fan configuration.

CM Strom Stryker Push/Pull Case Handle Radiator Modification


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