When I started this 2-week project about 3 months ago, I thought it would be a standard rectangular ATX case made of case fans. But it had already occurred to me that everything is better when it rotates, and I had the industrial bearing and part of a VESA TV mounting kit, so I thought I should build a rotating stand. Well, a rectangular box wouldn’t work on a rotating stand, of course, so then it had to be sqaure. Squares are fine, but making four of them is boring, so what can you do?
Note: You can see video of the build running, along with posts from all during the build, at #casefanpc on Instagram.
I declared open war on right angles, and this is the result. Only the base fans and the 200mm front fan are at right angles to the X and Y axes. None of the rest are even aligned with their adjacent fans. I used 15-degree angles as much as possible because it looks right to me.
There are 55 case fans and 5 CPU, GPU, and PS fans for a total of 60 fans, last I counted. They include 40, 60, 80, 92, 120, 140, 180, and 200 mm sizes. There are Cooler Masters, Rosewills, Thermaltakes, and a bunch of other brands you likely haven’t heard of. They just had to be clear plastic and for whatever reason clear blue LED fans are cheap and plentiful.
The case is made up of the fans and a lot of hand cut Lexan polycarbonate. You can and probably should cut Lexan with a jig saw, but I’d already spent a lot of time learning to use an Olfa plastic scoring knife, so I stuck with that.
This is the third version of the roof. The first one was too ridiculous and impractical even for me. The second was boring. Then I remembered that everything is better when it rotates and stumbled on the final design trying to do something else, as usual. I used a hollow bore slip ring to get hard-wired electric power to the rotating fan.
If you love cable management, this is the project for you. 55 fan wires, scores of extensions and splitters, along with the 4 controllers and hubs and the PS cable set. Perfectionism gave way to just hoping that I didn't accidentally unplug a connector that would require a complete tear down to fix. I was so happy to find the silver cable wrap left over from another build.
Regarding airflow: I’m for it. Seriously, there’s not much to it in a case like this. The difference between running all the case fans at full and turning them all off is less than 5C for the GPU and around 2C for the CPU. And that’s running the full 3DMark Time Spy Extreme benchmark. The temperature differences when comparing either case to a mix of fan usage are even less than that. I believe it's because any fan that isn’t running is basically a hole for hot air to escape. There’s more open than closed area in the case walls. Even when running only intake fans, I doubt it would measure as a positive pressure environment. At times I thought I was adjusting the wrong control knob because the fan I tried to turn off was in a jet stream that kept it spinning.
Probably for the same reason, the PC performs like it would in a regular case with good airflow no matter how you adjust the case fans. There’s just no practical reason to run the fans fast. But practical is overblown...by all those freakin’ fans! What a rush it is when you start this thing and get blasted by air, noise, and blue light. Right now I’m trying to pop my ears.
I suppose there are other components in the build. Despite running the two Lamptron FC-8 controllers (up to 30W for each of the 16 channels and using 6 Molex cable connections) and the two Silverstone 8 connector hubs (on 2 SATA power connectors), the Corsair PSU didn’t have any issues. Fortunately, everything else except the graphics card draws power from the motherboard.
The 8700k and the 5700 XT run as you would expect them to. I didn’t spend much time trying to squeeze performance out of them. It was impossible with the 8700k, because this was a mediocre bin and because the cooler, well, it looks good anyway.
This build required a lot of soldering and wire connector work. I also misplace tools a lot, leading to daily shouts of “where are the strippers!” Yes, I have downstairs neighbors.
If you’re thinking of doing a project with a lot of acrylic, buy something like the Lexan polycarbonate instead. It costs more, but it is definitely worth it.
For me, it’s better to start with a strong idea and a vague plan.
Thanks to you for checking out my build and to PCPP for providing the forum and all the other great free services for us. Somehow this came out looking like a Holiday build, complete with ornament, so Happy Holidays to everyone.