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Where to put Hard drives in Scratch build Acrylic case?

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November 9, 2012 7:54:33 PM

OK, so for my product design project at school I will be making an acrylic PC case, specifically designed for water cooling. I am in the process of doing the final design so that I am able to get the acrylic ordered and laser cut for assembly. I am quite competent with Google Sketch-up, and since it is free I have been using it to design my case, which will be made from 6mm and 3mm acrylic, either all clear or mostly clear. I now have the problem that I must design it right the first time because I wont be able to use enough acrylic to get it wrong and I haven't got a clue where to put the hard drive enclosure bit. This is a problem because the whole of the front of the case will basically be filled with fans and a radiator (I am using an old heater core), so the hard drives can't go there. I have two obvious options of where the hard drives will go, at the top or at the bottom in front of the motherboard but behind the disk drives and water cooling parts, but I don't know if the acrylic will be strong enough to hold them at the top, because they are heavy. The right side (or left if your looking at it front on) of the case will also be built with a gap in the middle, and be used as a reservoir with water trickling through, like a waterfall. I would also like it if I could get some general advice about building the case.
Here are some pictures of the Google Sketch-up model. I take no credit for the disk drives, fans or power supply, since would not have had the time or effort to make them myself and would not have done such a great job.











As you can see, the model isn't finished yet, but I just thought I should get some advice from people who know what they're doing when it comes to computers.

Thanks in advance
November 9, 2012 8:36:26 PM

Best place looks like behind the fans at the front, mount the HDD rack on the pannel that the motherboard is mounted on.
November 10, 2012 9:25:19 AM

I was considering that, but the laser cutter at school can only cut 600mm by 300mm, so it won't really fit, also I'm not sure how you mean. The side panels will be rectangular and not need much holes in them so this shouldn't be a problem for them.
Thanks anyway, and I forgot to say that the pump will have to be directly behind the radiator and fans.
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a b ) Power supply
November 10, 2012 10:03:30 AM

I was thinking putting them 2 deep between the psu and the rad, so that you have clear airflow above them, i.e. keep the profile as low as possible. so perhaps a 2x2 array of drives.
November 10, 2012 10:37:18 AM

That seems like a good idea, but with the pump Id only really have space for 2 drives, I guess that could be enough.
a b ) Power supply
November 10, 2012 10:44:05 AM

look at the fractal design cases, some of them bolt SSD's to the back of the mobo plate, so you could have a 2x3.5" drive spaces, and some sdd space behind the mobo.
a b ) Power supply
November 10, 2012 11:00:53 AM

cabling from the odd's would be tricky. you could mount on the backplate parallel to it.
November 10, 2012 11:03:40 AM

What if I make the cages so that the bolt onto 120mm fan holes and carry two hard drives each, so that I can mount them on the fan holes on the bottom, or the top, or optionally instead of a radiator at the front?
a b ) Power supply
November 10, 2012 11:39:47 AM

if you are doing water cooling, why so many fan positions?
November 10, 2012 11:42:39 AM

The more fans the more options, and the more places to mount radiators if I want, also I'm only water cooling the CPU.
November 10, 2012 11:58:48 AM

This is what I have come up with. Any thoughts? It will mount onto 120mm fan holes.







a b ) Power supply
November 10, 2012 12:11:04 PM

I like it, for the down hanging one though consider how to make the joint stronger.
November 10, 2012 12:12:56 PM

The cage will be glued together, but I'm not sure how strong the acrylic top is, because the hard drives are quite heavy. Also I could mount them with a fan on top or on the bottom for airflow.
a b ) Power supply
November 10, 2012 12:14:48 PM

you'd get no airflow unless it is going sideways
November 10, 2012 12:16:46 PM

I know but it would push air onto one of the hard drives and generally improve the aiflow of the case because more fans do that :) 
November 10, 2012 12:23:12 PM

looking at the case though I'm wondering how the double layer of fans at the front rad is going to be any good... I really hope you'll make that into a push-pull with fans on eather side of the rad.
a b ) Power supply
November 10, 2012 12:23:13 PM

no not really, yes the one hdd would get cooler but not the other, and it probably wouldn't 'improve the airflow'
November 10, 2012 1:51:39 PM

Well there are large gaps under the hard drive cages so the fans would be able to push air into or pull air out of the case. Also, the radiator will have a push pull set up, the fans are just like that to work out the thickness and it was faster to put the radiator there in the model. I will accept though that I think the more fans the better. Is this wrong?
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