Prototype Knarr: ~12L case with a focus on liquid cooling and aesthetics

Poblopuablo

King of Cable Management
Bronze Supporter
Jan 14, 2018
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One possibility to ensure the rigidity (to prevent warping) of the wood while also having it magnetic, could be to also have another metal panel and bond it to the wood, then have the assembly magnetically attach to the rest of the chassis (which would already have some sort metal top) it would cost more, but just an idea.

I like the idea of magnets. As long as they are strong. The magnets that shipped with Nouvolo steck were pretty sub par for the job, albeit functional. (Then again, they used 3m strips)
 

Shatrod

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Dec 6, 2019
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One possibility to ensure the rigidity (to prevent warping) of the wood while also having it magnetic, could be to also have another metal panel and bond it to the wood, then have the assembly magnetically attach to the rest of the chassis (which would already have some sort metal top) it would cost more, but just an idea.

I like the idea of magnets. As long as they are strong. The magnets that shipped with Nouvolo steck were pretty sub par for the job, albeit functional. (Then again, they used 3m strips)
That's how the era itx does it. It's a good solution. I figured since there is already a steel sheet at the top that the wood glues to, making another steel sheet just for the wood with embedded magnets would add little value. But perhaps I am wrong. If we want the top wood to be removable then I will have to do that.

I got 6x2 mm neodymium magnets for the panels. I hope they aren't too strong if anything
 

JDragon

Average Stuffer
Aug 22, 2018
79
44
Okay here is an updated render.
1) I removed the mounting screws from the panels and frame, because magnets.
2) power button sunk deeper in and given a wood overlay. Its in the same spot, just stealthy
3) wood panels got a small cutout on the sides. This is to aid in removing the side panels and provides a place to grab them and pull away. I also think it looks nice.

Im still tweaking the internals a little but i think i am overall happy with the look of it. After i do some tests on the magnets (whenever they ship... ) and confirm they will work as expected i would probably commit to prototyping the V2.

I am a little concerned about the wood lip, around the perimeter at the top, it is in no way load bearing but it is kind of thin and i imagine would be easy to break if one is not careful. I could just make the wood thicker (and the whole case taller as a result), or I could make the wood attach with magnets also instead of gluing it in place so if it does break you could replace it (but the wood generally warps slightly and i dont think the magnet will counteract this). I could also go back to having the wood "inside" and not flush with the side panels, but there was feedback already that that looks worse. Alternatively I could also just do nothing and leave it as is, perhaps it is an unfounded fear.

These latest renders are goddamn gorgeous. The cutouts in the wood, the front vent pattern, the non-obvious power button, complete lack of screws - awesome.

Is there going to be a stylized vent pattern for the side panel also?
 

Shatrod

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Dec 6, 2019
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These latest renders are goddamn gorgeous. The cutouts in the wood, the front vent pattern, the non-obvious power button, complete lack of screws - awesome.

Is there going to be a stylized vent pattern for the side panel also?
Thanks!

I was not planning on a stylized side panel but it can be done. What were you thinking? Similar scattering holes towards the back? Currently I like that both side panels are identical. Saves on manufacturing and it blends nicely with the front. I think if I scatter either or both ends there is no way for both side panels to blend nicely with the front at the same time. Maybe corners?
 

JDragon

Average Stuffer
Aug 22, 2018
79
44
Thanks!

I was not planning on a stylized side panel but it can be done. What were you thinking? Similar scattering holes towards the back? Currently I like that both side panels are identical. Saves on manufacturing and it blends nicely with the front. I think if I scatter either or both ends there is no way for both side panels to blend nicely with the front at the same time. Maybe corners?
Ah I see, yeah, it would have to be top/bottom or corners then to look good on both sides. Maybe something aligned with the cutouts? Don’t really have any useful ideas here, I just feel that adding a bit of style would go great with the asymmetric modern look of the case.
 

Shatrod

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Dec 6, 2019
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I modeled up some various accents on the mesh. Just throwing ideas around. I am partial between versions A (nothing) and C. Let me know what you think ( dont know why imgur presents them out of order). Still very much open to other ideas :)


 

polygonalsnow

Minimal Tinkerer
New User
Mar 9, 2019
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2
I think it would be interesting if it "mirrored" the front panel in a sense. Kinda like the scatter, but distributed top to bottom and having it taper off as it goes across the panel. Keep the renders coming!
 
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Poblopuablo

King of Cable Management
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Jan 14, 2018
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I think it would be interesting if it "mirrored" the front panel in a sense. Kinda like the scatter, but distributed top to bottom and having it taper off as it goes across the panel. Keep the renders coming!
Probably going from the top right/front down to the bottom left/back. That would make the most sense.

That way radiator can still pull air (through both the side and the front vents), leaves the top left open for users with air-cooling (specifically top down coolers) and it leaves the GPU less obstructed.
 

Shatrod

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Dec 6, 2019
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I think it would be interesting if it "mirrored" the front panel in a sense. Kinda like the scatter, but distributed top to bottom and having it taper off as it goes across the panel. Keep the renders coming!
Right i originally had this idea too but wasn't sure it would look good from the back side as well. I modeled it up anyway and you know what, its quite good. Im liking it from both sides.
If the back seems like it clashes you could always rotate the panel 180 degrees (its symmetric) and have the scattering face each other albeit that would make the radiator airflow a little more restrictive.

Probably going from the top right/front down to the bottom left/back. That would make the most sense.

That way radiator can still pull air (through both the side and the front vents), leaves the top left open for users with air-cooling (specifically top down coolers) and it leaves the GPU less obstructed.
I could make it triangular but no matter how you look at it it would block airflow to something. Like a downdraft cpu cooler wants top/left quadrant vented. Rad should have entire right side vented, and gpu should have the entire bottom vented. That pretty much sums up to vent everything everywhere, which the full length side scatter still does (mostly).


Edit, i dont mean to be spamming polls, but i cant seem to edit the original one above to include this so i just made a new one for this pattern specifically. Mainly so if someone doesn't have an account can still give input without having to make one.
 

Shatrod

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Dec 6, 2019
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Another small update while I wait for magnets to arrive for testing. I was unhappy with the GPU retention bracket as it does not actually screw into the gpu at all and the GPU is quite loose and wabbly. I designed and 3d printed a replacement bracket for the original v1 case to test that screws both into the case and the GPU. I am much more happy with it, it hold the card a lot more securely. Will propagate this into v2.

 

scatterforce

Cable-Tie Ninja
May 21, 2018
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I've been following this and had a thought: with all this new ventilation, the case might perform better with an all negative pressure set up (assuming a non-blower GPU).

Another interesting option: an ITX sized gpu like this in a custom loop with a thick rad. At present, you'd be limited to a 2070 (if you can still find one) but a custom loop would be able to handle a 3950x for those who need more CPU brawn than GPU.

I love the options this case offers and hope to see it come to fruition.
 
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Shatrod

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I've been following this and had a thought: with all this new ventilation, the case might perform better with an all negative pressure set up (assuming a non-blower GPU).

Another interesting option: an ITX sized gpu like this in a custom loop with a thick rad. At present, you'd be limited to a 2070 (if you can still find one) but a custom loop would be able to handle a 3950x for those who need more CPU brawn than GPU.

I love the options this case offers and hope to see it come to fruition.
Thanks. I also think all negative pressure could be a very good option. I think it's almost ready for another round of prototyping. I would love to take it to a small batch production.

Currently still waiting for magnets to arrive. They are not "essential" and the shipping in Canada is heavily overloaded unfortunately.

In the meantime since there isn't much to do until I can test the magnets I have been toying with the idea of making the top plate removable afterall. It would create an option to mount 3 80mm or two 92mm fans at the top. I don't know if that's a little excessive though and I still plan to ship it with a solid unvented wooden top. But maybe I can make some 3d files and offer them for people to download and 3d print their own vented tops?
 

scatterforce

Cable-Tie Ninja
May 21, 2018
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Thanks. I also think all negative pressure could be a very good option. I think it's almost ready for another round of prototyping. I would love to take it to a small batch production.

Currently still waiting for magnets to arrive. They are not "essential" and the shipping in Canada is heavily overloaded unfortunately.

In the meantime since there isn't much to do until I can test the magnets I have been toying with the idea of making the top plate removable afterall. It would create an option to mount 3 80mm or two 92mm fans at the top. I don't know if that's a little excessive though and I still plan to ship it with a solid unvented wooden top. But maybe I can make some 3d files and offer them for people to download and 3d print their own vented tops?
If it isn't cost prohibitive, then a removable top would provide more options for people who want that.

If it adds $20 to the cost of the case, then I would stick with the solid top. It's very eye-catching and is a good look that differentiates your case. TBH, I think your design is far better than what Fractal put out.
 
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Shatrod

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Small update! Magnets came in today finally. They are not exactly super strong... But not exactly weak either. I think 4 per panel should be okay at the corners to hold the panels. They wouldn't fall off on their own. Also I'm confident the epoxy will hold them to aluminum no problem. I will be testing that as well as contact cement shortly. Will post results!
 

Shatrod

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Dec 6, 2019
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So. Testing results.

Contact cement is no go. It doesn't grab to the magnets at all, they just fall off the glue layer.

Epoxy is looking good on the other hand. After about 20hrs curing, I can not remove the magnets from the aluminum plate (I didn't try very hard...) They handle repeated sticking and un-sticking onto a powder coated steel surface no problem. They are also pleasantly strong but not super strong. Overall removing the test plate from the steel plate was pretty pleasant with just some resistance. I had 2 magnets epoxied to an aluminum plate, for one of them I scuffed the aluminum with 1500grit sandpaper, for the other there was no prep work. Both hold fine. I think the magnets are a go!

Now onto a new problem. There is some variance in the size of the magnets. They were advertised as 6mm by 2mm. They are not. I measured one magnet and its diameter is 6mm but that's not so important in this application. The height is important and it's definitely not 2mm. The variance however is not wild. I measured 5 stacks of 10 magnets with digital calipers, added them up and divided by 50 to average out their heights and it worked out to 1.712mm. not bad, I think I can work with it. Measuring the magnets on the aluminum plate and subtracting the average magnet height and the plate thickness gives me the thickness of the epoxy layer. That worked out to 0.038mm. practically negligible. The manufacturing tolerances for the rest of the case definitely are not that tight. So no concerns there.

I will update with "final" renders soon
 
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Allhopeforhumanity

Master of Cramming
May 1, 2017
449
442
So. Testing results.

Contact cement is no go. It doesn't grab to the magnets at all, they just fall off the glue layer.

Epoxy is looking good on the other hand. After about 20hrs curing, I can not remove the magnets from the aluminum plate (I didn't try very hard...) They handle repeated sticking and un-sticking onto a powder coated steel surface no problem. They are also pleasantly strong but not super strong. Overall removing the test plate from the steel plate was pretty pleasant with just some resistance. I had 2 magnets epoxied to an aluminum plate, for one of them I scuffed the aluminum with 1500grit sandpaper, for the other there was no prep work. Both hold fine. I think the magnets are a go!

Now onto a new problem. There is some variance in the size of the magnets. They were advertised as 6mm by 2mm. They are not. I measured one magnet and its diameter is 6mm but that's not so important in this application. The height is important and it's definitely not 2mm. The variance however is not wild. I measured 5 stacks of 10 magnets with digital calipers, added them up and divided by 50 to average out their heights and it worked out to 1.712mm. not bad, I think I can work with it. Measuring the magnets on the aluminum plate and subtracting the average magnet height and the plate thickness gives me the thickness of the epoxy layer. That worked out to 0.038mm. practically negligible. The manufacturing tolerances for the rest of the case definitely are not that tight. So no concerns there.

I will update with "final" renders soon
I don't know where you sourced your magnets, but I've had great luck with K&Jmagnetics, specifically there small N52 class magnets for my Steck. The twenty 4mm x 2mm ones that I got were all within ~10 of microns of variance.
 

Shatrod

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Dec 6, 2019
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I don't know where you sourced your magnets, but I've had great luck with K&Jmagnetics, specifically there small N52 class magnets for my Steck. The twenty 4mm x 2mm ones that I got were all within ~10 of microns of variance.
I just got some from amazon.ca also n52. They are all within 10% variance of each other which is why I think it's okay. They just aren't within 10% of the advertised dimensions. I will check out K&J magnetics though as well, thanks for suggestion.
 

Shatrod

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Dec 6, 2019
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Hi Folks,

After some delay, here is a final render and some cooling configurations that are supported. I have triple checked everything and all the tolerances look good to me. I also spoke to the shop that fabricated the original prototypes and they are happy to do another round. I think i will pull the trigger on the sheet metal work for these this week :) Once the new prototypes are done I will start a new thread for it, Its time to start working on a website.



 

scatterforce

Cable-Tie Ninja
May 21, 2018
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The dual 240 rad support.... that's a wild idea! On the horizontal rad, will there be room for 2 standard fans underneath it?

For the overlap, I can envision a single fan pulling air through one and pushing it through the other.