Prototype A 3d-Printable GPU AIO Mount!

Colinreay

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Aug 28, 2016
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Hey everyone, hope you are all having a wonderful day so far!

This will just be a quick project log, where I prototype and finalize a fairly basic (yet hopefully useful!) bracket that allows you to mount an AIO cooler to a GPU. Two main goals of mine for this project are for it to be as simplistic as possible, and thus affordable and easy to make!

Furthermore, this bracket should make it much easier to integrate AIOs into SFF cases, and thus combat the high temps that many people see as intrinsic to SFF builds. It also allows case makers to design and integrate VRM cooling into the case itself that will hopefully cool itx cards effectively.

Inspiration

Of course, brackets that allow you to mount an AIO to a GPU are not a new idea - you probably have seen or heard of one of the following: NZXT Kraken G10/G12, the Corsair HG10, Arctic Accelero Hybrid, etc...

These are all great products with some incredible engineering behind them, but I feel that they are inherently limiting in their design. They seem more optimized for cards with long PCB lengths (reference or longer.) However, what happens if you have an itx card with an extremely short PCB? The VRM cooling modules on these AIO brackets will just overhang the actual PCB of your card, and won't really effectively cool anything. Having just bought a 970 itx card (from someone on this forum!), I realized that these pre-existing brackets would not work.

I then stumbled upon the exact thing I was looking for:

This awesome little bracket made by an OCN member




This seemed like the best solution to me. However, since all of the people who made these brackets had either closed shop or gone MIA, I set about making my own.



Solution

I decided to create a similar, semi-universal bracket like the one I saw. The bracket is designed for Asetek coolers, and should support all of the coolers that the Kraken G10 does. Unfortunately, the design of this bracket prevents it from using newer Asetek AIO's due to space conflicts (I'll explain later.)

As for GPU support, this bracket should work with Nvidia Cards newer or better than the GTX 570 (the 560 had weird mounting holes), and the 5830 or newer on the AMD side. Apparently on some R9 280(x) models, the GPU die varies in height, and some existing brackets like the G10 recommend the use of a copper shim. I don't really know how to address this yet, so I'll try to find a solution!

Because this bracket forgoes any vrm/memory cooling, you can more effectively integrate GPU cooling into a custom designed case!

All my bracket consists of is: A backplate that mounts on the back of the GPU pcb (to provide support to the AIO's pump block), 4 30mm M3 screws, 4 M3 Nuts, 4 M3 Washers, and the AIO pump bracket. This should make it cheap to buy/build, and also source additional parts if something you have isn't working.

Here is what the AIO pump bracket looks like:




As you can see, the bracket has little teeth. These "bite" into little tabs on the AIO pump block, and will allow it to be secured on the GPU. You can expand the spoiler to get a more visual representation of this.


Here, you can easily see the little teeth, or tabs that are on the pump block of the AIO. The teeth on the pump bracket will bite into these little pockets, and use them for leverage to cinch the block down on the PCB.



Here you can see the thin teeth on a pump bracket for mounting the pump block onto a motherboard. These are what bites into the pump head's tabs/pockets.



Here you can see how the teeth and pockets mesh together, allowing the pump block to be tightened to the PCB.

Here is what the bracket's backplate looks like:





The pump bracket has chamfered slots that the screws will mount into. The chamfer is designed for 90 degree flat head M3 screws, so that they can sit flush with the bracket's surface. Additionally, the bracket has a little square cutout in the bottom. This is where I will mount some foam. Although 3d printed stuff shouldn't cause any shorts on the card, the foam will provide a little dampening and prevent the bracket from exerting too much pressure on a single spot.

Cost

I have no idea how many people are interested in this, so can't really give an accurate estimate on larger scale pricing (it could very well be that I'm the only one interested in this!) However, for example, I am getting my first prototype of this bracket printed on an Ultimaker 3 for a little over $5 with free shipping, thanks to 3d hubs. It would be very cheap to put together a little screw/nut/washer kit for this mount, so I'd expect the total cost for a bracket (purchased on an individual level) to be around $7.

Wrapping Up

To address what I mentioned earlier about the bracket not supporting newer AIO's, the pump head seems to be enlarged on Gen 5 Asetek pumps (I'll try to get pictures later), and thus means that a bracket that is designed like mine would have to made out of thin sheet metal (way more $$$!)

Once I can ensure this bracket works great, I'll upload everything to Thingiverse, and of course the resource section if anyone is interested. Thanks!




 

Colinreay

Cable-Tie Ninja
Original poster
Aug 28, 2016
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446
Hardware Update:

Here are some photos of my test subject, my old 660Ti. Since I didn't want to pull my 970 out of my rig, I went and found my decommisioned GPU.



Quite a lovely cooler, but holy balls, this thing is loud! If you look closely, you can see the protective plastic is still on the blower fan, lol!




Here are some shots of the aluminum heatsink that cooled everything. I apologize to anyone that hates the look of dust, but since I'm never going to use it again, and because I'm lazy, the cooler will remain as is. I like the copper slug on the bottom of the cooler. It's a pretty wide piece which intrigues me, because it wasn't cooling anything except the small GPU die.



VRMs. Couldn't get the heatsink off!



SK Hynix VRAM.



Full Board Shot.


As for the AIO, I'm using a 120mm sized Asetek AIO. Fun fact, this is a prototype that includes Quick Disconnects. Last year, I contacted Rob Teller at Asetek to sponsor my High School's computer club (on Reddit, the least formal place ever, lol), and amazingly enough, he actually sent over a few crates of Asetek coolers, unfit for retail in one way or another.



COPPA SLUG



it has some pretty short tubes!



Close up of the QDC.

Also, the 3d printed parts are done and shipping to me!

3d Hubs does not allow you to save images sent by the guy who prints the parts, so I took screenshots instead:


 

Aibohphobia

aka James
Gold Supporter
Feb 22, 2015
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Interesting, is the bracket stiff enough at that thickness and material to replace the original metal one? If I recall, the plastic brackets for the original Corsair H50 were much thicker.
 

Colinreay

Cable-Tie Ninja
Original poster
Aug 28, 2016
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Interesting, is the bracket stiff enough at that thickness and material to replace the original metal one? If I recall, the plastic brackets for the original Corsair H50 were much thicker.

Hopefully! The bracket is 4mm thick, and I'll probably experiment with PLA, ABS, and PETG to find what works best.
 
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Colinreay

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Aug 28, 2016
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Do I understand correctly that the goal here is to mount CPU AIOs to GPUs?

Exactly. I want to do it in a way where I am only mounting the AIO onto the GPU, fans for cooling the vrms/memory can be integrated into the case or a separate bracket for more specific/efficient airflow to different video cards.
 
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Colinreay

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Aug 28, 2016
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446
Update!

3d Printed parts have arrived, and man, do they look great in person. Very pleased with how the print quality turned out, PLA seems plenty rigid enough for this application, and for $5.70 shipped, it was a very good deal as well (actual parts come in at just over $2.)


Here are the parts in person. ^ Front sides.



^Backside.

I took some more in-depth photos of each of the mounts as well!

You can see the little indent, for mounting foam to prevent shorts and reduce strain on the PCB.




Chamfered edge for mounting screws.



You can see how the flat head 30mm M3 screws sit flush against the plate.


Here, you can see how the bracket has thick teeth to bite into the pump head, and cinch it down.



Up close of the teeth + mounting holes for both AMD and Nvidia.


Hardware



This is all you need for the bracket. 4x 30mm flat head M3 screws, 4x M3 nuts, 4x M3 washers, the bracket, and some foam.


GPU

Now, let's meet our main star, the GTX 970 that I'll be cooling, purchased from @W1NN1NG! \

He did a great job of painting the backplate/cooler, as well as the rear IO. I'd love to keep the white backplate, but it'll have to go to make room for the bracket.



A warranty void sticker, prevoided! :p




Heatsink

With great excitement, I took of the shroud/backplate to see the cooler underneath. I was expecting it to be like my 660Ti, where the VRM heatsink was seperate from the core/memory.

Aaaandddd....



It's one piece. Crap.... Hacksaw to the rescue!



Much better!

Mounting Process

I had some old Asetek foam adhesive blocks normally used to insulate/pad the cpu backplate. I'll be using them for a new purpose.!



Adhesive off...



Backplate on!



Next I route the screws through, going for the farther holes (Nvidia.)



Pump bracket mounted on the pump head!



The tabs actually friction fit perfectly!



Backplate bracket mounted with screws sticking through PCB. New thermal paste has also been applied!



Image from the backside of the PCB for reference.



Then I mounted the Pump block to the GPU, and secured it with the nuts/washers.







Testing coming soon!
 

Colinreay

Cable-Tie Ninja
Original poster
Aug 28, 2016
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Update

Welp... I've run into some trouble. A - the tubes are not long enough to run anywhere in my case. It was totally my mistake not to check. B - I'm pretty sure the AIO is defective. Why do I say so? The pump maxes at 1500 RPM from what I can tell, and won't go any higher on 100%. The GPU is hitting 90C in Heaven with push pull.

Luckily, I have a Corsair H50 lying around. I'll mount that today and give it a shot. Fingers crossed it works!
 
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Colinreay

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Aug 28, 2016
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Is it making good contact?

Great question. I did notice a little bowing on the sides of the 3d printed parts where the screws were putting a lot of pressure, but after switching to the H50, it seems to work. I'm idling with 2x ML120's at under 30C. However, this doesn't really mean anything, and I will have to do stress testing as well.

That being said, as long as I can ensure the Pump block makes good contact with the GPU die, I would imagine performance would be similar to that of something like the NZXT Kraken G12 (without the VRM fan of course.)

I'll upload both STL and DXF files to thingiverse if that is possible, and will probably end up milling something out of steel or aluminum for some extra rigidity.
 

Colinreay

Cable-Tie Ninja
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Aug 28, 2016
193
446
Hey guys, sorry for just going dead on this thread. I ended up having to file down the edges a little and switched the AIO out for the Corsair H50. I also added a horizontal fan using the MNPCTech hanger (didn't want to bother laser cutting one myself) to cool the VRM. On my OC'ed GTX 970, I'm maxing out in the 40's in games (Far Cry 4, full utilization, Forza Horizon 3, etc.), today was especially hot in the Bay Area and I only got to the low 50's. I would consider that a success. I'll upload the files ASAP, but a little apprehensive about the use of 3d printing. Sure it worked for me, but IMO, the best solution would be to laser cut it out of aluminum.
 

Biowarejak

Maker of Awesome | User 1615
Silver Supporter
Mar 6, 2017
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Reminds me of my efforts to water cool my 750ti :) I was using a cheap CPU block and just couldn't get it to work with the 3D printed bits. Probably would have had more success if I'd tapped some holes in the block.
 

Einhasad

Minimal Tinkerer
Oct 1, 2017
4
2
Great question. I did notice a little bowing on the sides of the 3d printed parts where the screws were putting a lot of pressure, but after switching to the H50, it seems to work. I'm idling with 2x ML120's at under 30C. However, this doesn't really mean anything, and I will have to do stress testing as well.

That being said, as long as I can ensure the Pump block makes good contact with the GPU die, I would imagine performance would be similar to that of something like the NZXT Kraken G12 (without the VRM fan of course.)

I'll upload both STL and DXF files to thingiverse if that is possible, and will probably end up milling something out of steel or aluminum for some extra rigidity.

I tried to find the files on thingiverse with no succes i'm curios if this works for my 280x. Did you upload them?
 
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Einhasad

Minimal Tinkerer
Oct 1, 2017
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Well did not find them. Maybe reupload them there if he can. I could report if it works for a few video cards.
 

Colinreay

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Aug 28, 2016
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I tried to find the files on thingiverse with no succes i'm curios if this works for my 280x. Did you upload them?

If you find them there is no reason it shouldn't work flawlessly.

Well did not find them. Maybe reupload them there if he can. I could report if it works for a few video cards.

Hey guys, sorry but they haven't been uploaded to Thingiverse yet - the project was put on the backburner for awhile as I started school again. However, I'll work on getting the models uploaded to Thingiverse by tonight or tomorrow!
 
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SpringerTheNerd

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Sep 7, 2017
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Hey guys, sorry but they haven't been uploaded to Thingiverse yet - the project was put on the backburner for awhile as I started school again. However, I'll work on getting the models uploaded to Thingiverse by tonight or tomorrow!

Man you gotta get your priorities in check! lmao. Thanks for the follow up I really appreciate it.

Fun fact this bracket will also allow you to put a AIO liquid cooler on a Xbox or Playstation ;)
 
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nxrUK

Trash Compacter
Mar 29, 2017
48
17
This project sure is great. What would be absolutely perfect is if you could 3D print a shroud similar to a hybrid card so it doesn't look so bare. It'd look amazing and function perfectly. I could even cool say a MSI Aero 1060 ITX in my CustomMod 5.92L by using a slim 120mm AIO from silverstone.