Concept 17.5L modular case with 2*240mm radiator support and full side window

AwesomeTrout

Efficiency Noob
Original poster
Oct 12, 2017
7
19
Update: case finished, build completed!


Features:
  • Small volume of about 17 L
  • The top-front panel is customizable and replaceable by only loosening 4 screws
  • Total external dimensions: H38 x L33,5 x W13,5 cm (smaller footprint than an M1 to give perspective)
  • 2 x 240mm radiators, with standard 30mm thickness and standard 25mm thick fans
  • All components are visible from the transparent side (except psu)
  • A lot of space for watercooling and cables, easy access and cable management
  • GPUs up to > 300mm in length if using a pump-cpu block combo
Hello! This is my latest case design, after quite some time of work.


As an objective I wanted to make a compact case under the famous 20L theresold, but with a lot of requirements: 2*240mm radiators, transparent window, motherboard and gpu must be in full view, >300mm gpu length support, good space for cable management, and great airflow.

This is the result, I'm pretty happy about it. The design is already good for production in sheet metal so I will probably have my new case made in the following months. It will come in handy with the massive future gpu and cpu power consumptions, even though I will probably never have enough money for a high end build. I'm currently running an amd 3900 cpu with an rtx 2060 gpu :)

For the components inside, most are from GrabCad (RTX 3090, Asus motherboard, Corsair Psu, Ram), also massive credits to Alphacool for providing 3D models of most of their products.

The loop can fit a 240 radiator in the top and a 240 either on the side or the front. If on the side, there is a maximum GPU length of ~310mm which should be reasonable for current generation with waterblocks. With shorter GPUs, like the reference Nvidia designs, it is possible to mount a DDC pump + reservoir combo in the front, together with the side-mounted 240mm radiator. In the render there is an alphacool DC-LT for the cpu + pump, but other solutions are possible with long GPUs like the barrow cpu block + DDC combo.

The cooling performance should be really good for the configuration with top and side radiators set as exaust.

One of the key features is the cover panel: it is a single piece of steel wrapped over the top and front of the case to avoid seams. It is removable with 4 screws, so it can be removed and changed to get a different color and texture. Currently I'm planning to have it painted with a very nice sandstone, rust or stone textured finish.
 
Last edited:

AwesomeTrout

Efficiency Noob
Original poster
Oct 12, 2017
7
19
Update: Metal pieces cut and bent!




This week the laser cut pieces came from the factory. After checking that everything was right, they were bent in a CNC brake machine. The measurements were pretty much perfect, and everything seems to align properly in a test fit using the alignment holes. This was probably the part I was more concerned about, because when you bend steel the material stretches a lot, so you need to take that into account. Fortunately the compensations for the stretching in the 3d model were correct!

Now the case can be assembled, spot welded and then painted. I also received the last pieces for the final assembly like the power button, rear usb, rubber feet, standoffs, etc
 
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Dnard

Case Bender
New User
Nov 6, 2022
2
1
This is really cool. Interested in seeing a finished build in it. If you ever plan to sell it I would be a customer for sure.
 
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Xab3r

What's an ITX?
New User
Mar 3, 2020
1
1
Seems awesome, are there any plans to get a Kickstarter campaign or any other way of mass-producing it? I would be a very happy buyer/backer - this is THE SINGLE case in existence that supports this combination of factors(vertical gpu, 2x240, visible CPU block).
 
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AwesomeTrout

Efficiency Noob
Original poster
Oct 12, 2017
7
19
Seems awesome, are there any plans to get a Kickstarter campaign or any other way of mass-producing it? I would be a very happy buyer/backer - this is THE SINGLE case in existence that supports this combination of factors(vertical gpu, 2x240, visible CPU block).
Thank you! The design was made exactly for that reason, ample watercooling capability with all the components visible.
At the moment I do not have plans for a production run unfortunately. The main issue for me is with the external components, so all the things that I can not have made by the factory I have already worked with. This means the glass panel and the riser expecially. From some quotes, this two components alone would almost double the production cost of the case.
Maybe next year I'll try to find some different suppliers and think about producing a small run :)
 
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AwesomeTrout

Efficiency Noob
Original poster
Oct 12, 2017
7
19
Update: All the metal parts are ready and painted!
All the parts are done with spot welding and painting. I went with a matte black interior and side panel, with a brown-ish sandstone-like texture finish for the cover panel. It looks and feels really good in person!
Coming from wood custom cases this one feels so much more rigid and sturdy. All the holes and measurements (except one hole that needed some "adjustment") fit perfectly so I would call this prototype a big success considering the complexity of the project.
Next is assembling the pc with my components inside to see how it looks.
 

AwesomeTrout

Efficiency Noob
Original poster
Oct 12, 2017
7
19
Update: PC build complete!


The build inside the case is complete! Despite the small overall volume of 17,2 L including feet and the pci-e support (H38 x L33,5 x W13,5 cm) there is a lot of space inside for cable management and watercooling runs. The 2x240mm radiators are mounted with the fans as intake, even though the optimal solution would be to have both as exaust, because I wanted to have dust filtration and positive pressure. The city I live in is very dusty!
The cable nest on the back could be optimized a bit, but there is space for so much stuff. I currently have 2 rgb controllers, the temperature sensor, sata drives, pump power and all the rgb cables for a grand total of 4 molex connectors and 2 sata power connectors. I really do not like molex connectors but you have to work with what manufacturers use.
Since the GPU does not have an aftermarket full cover waterblock I used a generic one and then I cut an aluminum heatsink by hand to work as a heatsink for vrms and vram. Probably a bit unnecessary for an rtx2060 but I like it :)
Water temperatures are very good, and with both radiators as exaust you can probably cool whatever you want with very reasonable noise levels.
Overall I'm super happy with the result!
 

youngdocument

Trash Compacter
Nov 15, 2018
34
12
Absolutely beautiful. Like hands down one of the best sub 20 watercooling layouts I've seen. I think enough of your target audience is familiar with sourcing things like riser cables and power buttons for that to not be a worry for you -- the thing almost none of us can do is get a case fabricated or designed. One nice-to-have idea (speaking selfishly here) is making it so it can be flipped and sit on the left side of a desk or monitor and have the window face in. Not sure if you have the interior frame welded together such that the top and bottom interior panels can't be swapped... or if the exterior L-shaped piece can be installed on either interior panel. Just a thought -- either way, congrats on an amazing design and build.
 

Shelby

Cable Smoosher
Aug 16, 2022
9
10
That´s a great case design. I was wondering, why a case like this doesn´t already exist. Small, all parts visible from one side, plus the fan compatibility. A production run would be cool!
 
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AwesomeTrout

Efficiency Noob
Original poster
Oct 12, 2017
7
19
Absolutely beautiful. Like hands down one of the best sub 20 watercooling layouts I've seen. I think enough of your target audience is familiar with sourcing things like riser cables and power buttons for that to not be a worry for you -- the thing almost none of us can do is get a case fabricated or designed. One nice-to-have idea (speaking selfishly here) is making it so it can be flipped and sit on the left side of a desk or monitor and have the window face in. Not sure if you have the interior frame welded together such that the top and bottom interior panels can't be swapped... or if the exterior L-shaped piece can be installed on either interior panel. Just a thought -- either way, congrats on an amazing design and build.
The inverted layout idea seems really nice! When I have some new free time I'll definitely try the challenge to redesign everything to improve the current design and if possible accomodate the left-side configuration. Thank you for the good idea! :)
 

AwesomeTrout

Efficiency Noob
Original poster
Oct 12, 2017
7
19
That´s a great case design. I was wondering, why a case like this doesn´t already exist. Small, all parts visible from one side, plus the fan compatibility. A production run would be cool!
Thank you! The case actually has a smaller desk footprint compared to an M1, it is just taller. And the component layout makes cable management, building and running the loop extremely easy even for an inexperienced builder imho. Maybe some bigger manufacturers develop on this layout idea and give us a good affordable case!