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[Cancelled] The Pride Of Hiigara - Phase 3: Electronics
#1
So, I've been living in Dubai for over two months now, getting settled into both a new job and a new life. Working with such a high-end airline naturally comes with many perks, including free electricity, and powerful air cons in free accommodation that can keep any specific room at 16 degrees very easily.

So what can powerful air cons and free electricity do? Why, they make running an extremely powerful 24/7 F@H/BOINC rig very easy to run, of course!

The purpose of this thread shall be twofold. Firstly, and most obviously, it will eventually display what has been created. Secondly, and most importantly, it will be a place to plan everything from scratch, and hopefully get suggestions and input from you fine folks along the way, so that I get the most out of the money I put into this, and so that I can rectify any issues before mistakes are made.

What I'm planning is something big. Really big. With so many of my living expenses covered, I'm comfortably living off a mere $10 a day, so I'm saving up a lot of money. My hope is that by the time my probationary period is up by the 31st of December, and I'm still in this job of course, I would have begun the second phase of my project, which is the purchasing of the parts. In the meantime, there's a lot more planning involved in this project, compared to a standard build.

Gentlemen...BEHOLD! Wall-mounted computers. They've been around for a while, but this particular computer ignited my interest when it was linked here in another thread. After reading the worklog of that computer, I thought to myself "I could do that".

Thing is, why stop at just one video card? Could I find myself a motherboard that can handle many more video cards dedicated to scientific endeavours? The answer is yes. To my knowledge, mobos with the capacity for 7 connected cards exist. But how would I fit a bunch of high end cards onto one card? The linked computer uses a riser, but that severely restricts how one would design the location of the hardware on the wall mounting. Solution? Another idea grabbed from another thread here: PCIe -> USB cable -> PCIe adapter. Though the speed is restricted to x1 as opposed to x16, I'm told that it makes an insignificant difference for F@H/BOINC.

Naturally, anything this elaborate simply must have water cooling, because water cooling is cool. Also, because it takes full advantage of my air conditioning, and reduces the noise I would expect from 7 high speed video card fans (or 14 fans, if they are two to a card). This throws a heap of complexity into the mix, as the components and planning required in this area will be like another project all on its own. After all, getting identical cards for identical GPU blocks, and then designing the direction and layout of the water pipes will be a nightmare, and it makes things more expensive if I want to avoid a mix-and-match of cards, which I do.

So as far as the list of hardware is concerned, this is what I'm looking at:
  • 1x Motherboard with as many PCI-e slots of any speed as possible. So far, the highest I've found is 7.

  • 7x Video cards, or as many as the mobo would support. Whether these will be extremely powerful, or more value for money will depend on how much money I have by the beginning of next year, but they will need to all be the same, or at the very least, look the same, and they must all be able to use a full card water block that cools more than just the GPU itself. To that end, I could use Cooling Configurator to check what blocks are available for which models.

  • 2x PSU: There won't be a single PSU that can handle this all on it's own. This could well exceed 2000 watts of power drawn. To that end, I'd be looking at platinum efficiency units. Okay, I have free electricity, so why should it matter and all, but if I can reduce the costs, I'd do it regardless. Besides, higher efficiency means less waste heat. I could use the 1KW Seasonic from the rig I left behind in Sweden, which would halve my costs for power supplies, but whether or not I can retrieve my computer would depend on if I get rostered for a flight back there at some point. Even that scares me, since my mother would have to deliver the computer to me in a very short period of time, and I'm not exactly looking forward to trying to guide her on how to untangle the computer from the wires, and then dismantle the parts over Skype prior to my arrival!

  • 1x CPU: Obligatory for a healthy computer. Stick an 8 core Haswell in there, or whatever the AMD equivalent is. I dunno, I've been out of the loop ever since moving here.

  • 16 GB RAM: I'm sure I'll need it all, especially if I want to use the computer for my own purposes alongside everything else running. Preferably low voltage, again for the reduced heat generation and power consumption. Yes, yes, those are dwarfed by the cards, I know.

  • HDD: I dunno, I'm not too fussy. The only reason I'd want more than two drives is just to make it look even more impressive than it is, but that's obviously not a priority, unless I have more than enough money to do it. I'm thinking I get the SSD from my previous rig, then two low RPM drives in RAID1.

Any special components to add as extra to the above would be some special start switches, water temperature gauge, LED lights, and probably a self-made auto starter for the secondary PSU with a relay.

So that then leaves the pure aesthetics. How would all of this be laid out, what colour scheme to use, etc. There's a lot in that other wall-mounted rig that I'd want to replicate, but at the same time, it would be nice to put my own unique spin on it. That's probably the hardest part for me. I can get creative with technical things, but not with something like this.

My objective for now is to get two things done. The first is a rough price estimate; one I expect to easily hit several thousand dollars for new parts. Granted, prices will change drastically, along with technology in 4 months, but it still gives me an estimate, and whether or not my expectations are realistic, and whether or not I need to adjust them. I'm definitely open to used parts as well, but these will be especially unpredictable for pricing and availability.

The second thing is to get a draft for the layout of the hardware, using approximate/average dimensions of typically-sized hardware, then arrange them in an aesthetically pleasing fashion. Ideally, I'd like to have almost an entire wall taking up some sort of design. Not necessarily the computer parts themselves taking up that much room, but some sort of design which incorporates the hardware itself.

Now for a few specific questions:

The first thing I'm unsure of here is the maximum length for the USB riser cables. This is important, because it affects my options of where to place the cards.

Another uncertainty is the actual water cooling parts themselves. In all honesty, the only experience I have with water cooling is the lazy man's water cooling setup (Corsair H70), so as far as what are considered quality parts, and where I can get parts from in the first place, I really have no clue.

Thirdly is the usage of multiple power supplies. Now, I've done this before by wiring up a toggle switch to the green cable on the 24 pin and turning on the secondary power supply first, which was only connected to hard drives, then turning the primary power supply on, but I don't know how it will work with video cards. I can't think of any reason why it wouldn't work, but obviously I'd be a fool to make assumptions with something this expensive.

Next is getting things that can be shipped to the UAE. That really does restrict me in terms of variety and pricing, but I'd be open to getting packages forwarded to me from other countries.

Finally...I wonder if something like this could be sponsored by a few companies.



So yeah, this is definitely something I'd consider to be a massive project. I'd really appreciate input and suggestions wherever possible, because this isn't just something for myself. This is for the advancement of science and the bettering of lives, for our team, and for the memory of my late grandfather, one of the most generous people around. I promised myself that for being so lucky with landing the job that I have, I'd spend $500 on charity after my probation is over, but hell, I can do better.



Worklog Below:

27-09-14

Went to the print store today. Decided to go for the larger size to span the height of the wall, which brings it to 260cm. Cost 200 AED (55 USD) to print all five sections. To see how it would look in my room, I started sticking the different sections up:

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I haven't put up the last two sections, as I need to sleep for a flight, but more photos will follow.

Already loving how this looks, and I almost feel bad that I will be cutting this up to use as the templates for the acrylic that will go in its place.

I've also decided to stick with the theme and name this the Pride of Hiigara.

I'm hoping to get the plywood and acrylic ordered by early next month.


28-09-14

All five pieces are now up!

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Now comes the fun part! Buying the acrylic, router, chamfer bit, and either a router table, or something I build myself. I'm probably not going to have any further updates until the 6th of October at the earliest though.


21-10-14

Yay, updates!

So it has been a while since I promised my update. I mentioned the earliest being the 6th or something, and then I had expected my parts to arrive about 4 or 5 days ago, but there were some delays from my supplier. Not a big issue though.

So here's what arrived today:

- 4 boards of 13mm 4ft by 8 ft plywood
- 1 router (the woodworking tool, not the internet thingy)
- 1 handsaw
- Pliers
- 7 butt hinges
- 4 caster wheels with brakes
- 13mm masonry drill bit
- Eye protection

Total cost: 1517 AED (412.99 USD)

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Oh boy, it was quite an adventure getting the wood into my apartment! It took my ingress buddy (aka, my supplier) and I a good hour to do it. You ever tried getting 4x8ft plywood into a small service lift up 28 floors four times, while the lift insists on trying to close its doors on you? Not fun, people. Not fun at all.

...Okay, maybe it was a little fun, but it was tiring work! At one point, we almost gave up, and I was seriously considering taking the stairs with each board alone...up 28 floors. I'm crazy, man, I'd do it!

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So yeah, four boards. I know I'm going to have some excess wood left over once I've finished building this workbench, which is good, as it will serve as support structures for the table, and extra parts for the computer's base layer.

The idea with this workbench is to make something foldable, since there is very little room in my apartment, and obviously I want to be considerate to the other two living here. I can't just leave this in the living room. So, inspired by the folding newspaper trolleys that we have on board aircraft, I decided that some hinges and caster wheels (for easy mobility when folded) would be the best way to keep it compact when not in use. Best of all, I can fit it under my bed!

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All the other stuff I purchased as well, neatly arranged for your viewing pleasure.

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The star of our show, the plunge router! One of, if not the most important tools any woodworker can have.

That's all for now, folks! Due to a little issue with communication, mostly my fault, no screws were ordered, so I can't actually assemble anything yet. I'll probably grab a few screws tomorrow, but I still don't have screwdrivers either. I've ordered a set of magnetic screwdriver bits and a drill adapter for them from eBay, but shipping isn't exactly fast. In the meantime, I can measure and cut, though.

I'm still wondering if I should bother getting a jig-saw. Those are almost twice the price of a router, and I seem to make almost dead accurate cuts with a handsaw anyway.


21-10-14

Oh, wow, my arm is aching! Spent the whole day sawing. It took longer than expected because it was also extremely difficult to maneuver each board on my own, as opposed to when I received them, since I had help for that. Here however, working alone was to my disadvantage, which was further compounded by the constricted space.

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Getting ready to hit the gym! Had to begin each cut by first measuring out and drawing straight lines for me to follow while cutting.

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Initial cut.

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Quick inspection. Now if I were to have tried this with a jig-saw, I definitely wouldn't have the same straight line. Even with an edge guide. I have no idea how those guides never helped me. Oh well, manual tools FTW!

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Looks pretty even to me!

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Final products. Three of the four boards have been cut. Including spare pieces, plus the fourth board, I now have 9 pieces, all transferred to my bedroom for storage. Flying back to Moscow, so I won't be doing anything for a couple of days at the very least.

Next on the to do list is to buy the screws that I forgot to order. I'm just going to go to any store and grab a few. I'll need several long ones if I want to maximise the effectiveness of the hinges in their ability to support everything. Once I have the screws, I can put everything together with some rubber on all contact edges to dampen vibrations and noise when in use. Finally, using the spare wood, I create mounting sections for the caster wheels. From this point, the workbench is functionally complete!

...And then the real challenge begins. That's when I'll be ordering the acrylic boards. This will be the hardest part because these are all irregularly shaped pieces. For this, I'll take down the paper design I've had hanging on my wall for all this time, then cut out the shapes, stick them to the back of an acrylic board, and cut the shapes out by following the edge of the paper.

The question is how to do this. I can't use a jig-saw because I can never seem to keep one steady. I could use my router, but I need to build a template to use as a guide for creating an accurately cut shape, which obviously sounds like an infinite loop issue when it comes to creating an accurate template for the final product. I obviously can't use my handsaw, no matter how much I love it. So what's the alternative?

A scrollsaw could get the job done, but they are generally too small to be able to build the larger pieces that I will eventually have. Vertical bandsaws are ridiculously large. But what if I put my workbench to good use and give it a little mod? I could buy a jig-saw, flip it upside down and mount it under the workbench, so that the blade sticks up from a little hole I make in the tabletop. That would effectively make it a large scroll saw, allowing me to work with larger pieces, and at the same time, retain it's jig-saw uses. All I'd do then is feed the workpieces into the blade.


3-11-14

Alrighty, small update. Workbench is progressing nicely. Currently taking a break after dropping the edge of one of the boards on my foot. I'll be fine in a few minutes though. I've done worse to my limbs and extremities!

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So, I grabbed my drill, hinges and screws, and started on the first two pieces. Very straightforward job. Drill a small hole for a slightly larger screw to be screwed into. This prevents the wood from splitting, which is especially important with plywood.

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Closeup. Everything looks nice and aligned. Was a bit of a challenge to do this alone, since I had to prop up the wood at an angle to prevent it from falling over. This meant that things were not aligned. Using a combination of folded pieces of cardboard, and assorted household items, I managed though.

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Things are slowly starting to come together. Two things you might be noticing here. The first is that this table looks really low. The second is the question of how the table top will go on, if the sides were attached to the hinges on the outside of the back board, rather than the inside. Both of these issues are a non issue. The table is low because the wheels still need to go on, and a good workbench is a little on the low side to make using it easier. As for the board placement, I'm going to create a recession to align the outer face of the side boards with the edges of the back board. That will allow the table top to be supported on the sides.

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The boards folded. Also known as folding at home (feel free to boo me for that atrocious pun). Yes, I'm aware that the side boards overlap. I forgot to cut 12 inches off from the sides of each board, as the back board is 7 feet wide, and the boards are 4 feet each. So a cut of 12 inches, plus an extra 12mm for the aforementioned recession, should get everything perfectly aligned. I can just measure one board, place it on top of the other, and break out my trusty hacksaw. The extra wood that I get from that will then be put to good use as bracing on the table top. After all, something of that size and weight will sag considerable with nothing more than side supports.

That's all for now! I might have another quick update in a few hours. Otherwise, I have three days off. There is a good possibility that I can finish the basics of the workbench in that time.


4-11-14

So here's the next update!

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First caster wheel in place! Now due to the metal base of the wheel, I needed to cut out a wooden block of the same area, then bolt that onto the metal base, before securing the block to the side board via four 90 degree braces.

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Second caster finished. You'll also notice that I fixed the overlapping issue. The excess wood I got from it was what I used to cut the blocks out for the wheels.

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This is where I leave it for now. I'll need to purchase additional screws and braces to mount the last two casters on. The final two will be mounted at the ends, via the back board. Also, I still need to make that recession for the hinges, which is why you still see a gap in the middle.

One concern I currently have is with the top board. For it to fold up and back, it needs to be as short as the combined height of the back board and caster. This means that with the current dimensions, the top is too big. I'll need to make a few measurements to see just how much needs to be cut, and then decide on what the best course of action is. Most likely, I will use hinges (again!) to fold the excess part on the outer edge (ie, the edge closest to the user) down and underneath the main body, which would then fold up and back as a whole, making the excess part face outwards. This presents the problem of having a small gap running along the entire width of the bench when assembled. A few stick-on door/window seals could help there. I'm already planning to use some on other edges to reduce vibration noise when tools are in use.

4-11-14

Another minor update:

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Wood cut to size. I've laid out everything to show how it would look disassembled. The bottom layer consists of the two side boards, the second last is the back board, the next one up is the main part of the top board, and the final smaller piece is the excess that will hinge out.

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Alternate view

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Closeup.


26-11-14

Making progress!

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Purchased some random items. Got a 50 meter spool of three core electrical cabling, three male plugs, and a pair of wall sockets and housings. Why, you ask? Well the big issue I have with a rig that is expected to use 4500 watts (5000, just to be safe) is that there is no way I can safely run that from my room, on a single circuit. A single circuit can only take 13 amps. I could technically replace the circuit breaker with something that handles higher currents, but I would burn the place down soon after if I did so. The solution is to take power from three different circuits in the apartment. Each of those three sources of power would go to a single PSU, so electrical distribution is safe, and low on each circuit (thereby allowing other appliances to share the circuit).

So the plan is to run power cables from the edges where the walls meet the ceilings, hidden inside those plastic things that hide cables in them. I'll trail one from the corridor outside my room, and another from the living room. Two holes need to be drilled into the walls for this. The male ends plug into sockets in those rooms, and then each cable goes into one of the two wall sockets I purchased. The third comes directly from my room, hence the reason I only bought two wall sockets.

Next are those two blue things. Those are router bits. The small one  does straight cuts, and the large one will be what I use later on to create the 45 degree angles on the acrylic edges. The blades next to those router bits are for a jigsaw that is in the process of arriving. I chose those specifically because they are nice and thin, which will help when I make tight curved cuts on the acrylic with the jigsaw/improvised scrollsaw.

And finally, some random assortment of screws, nuts and bolts in one bag, and a heap of L braces in another.

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Finally got the last two wheels on the workbench! It's fun pushing this thing around now!

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That gap that used to be between the sides when folded is now gone. Cut a small amount from the backboard to achieve this. Lines up perfectly! I'm going to get a small deadbolt to hold the boards in place when folded. I've noticed that they like to open up on their own while moving about.

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Finally reunited with my precious Dremel from Sweden! I missed my baby! Put it to good use as well. Had to cut off a small bit of metal on one of the caster wheels which was stopping it from swiveling properly.

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It's no garage pegboard, but it will do! My little shed (aka, a few shelves in my bedroom wardrobe) is starting to grow!

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Aaaand finally, my workbench starting to take form! Ordered a couple of heavy duty double action hinges (think of spring loaded doors that swing inwards and outwards), then removed the studs that determine the strength of their springiness, effectively disabling them. They are pretty large, so I need to cut small recesses into the top board so they would fit properly.

That's all for now, guys! I would have made more progress, but this site issue popped up, and took up a large amount of my time. I won't have any further updates for at least 5 days, but rest assured that the updates should become more frequent in December. I've got 12 days off in total, not including my rest days, so plenty of free time!

I'm close now. Almost ready to begin working on the computer itself. Once the workbench is complete, I will get the jigsaw and the router mounted to the bench, and then it's showtime!


3-12-14

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Table top has been finally secured. Used my new jig-saw to cut a couple of recessions into the board, so that the hinges can fit.

Once concern I have is with keeping the sides aligned. If they open up more than 90 degrees, then the table top will not rest on anything, and therefore fall down. For the time being, I've made a temporary workaround by screwing the corners of the top board into each side board with a single screw, but I'll need to figure something else out. Probably either replace the screw with some rod that I just drop in and take out, or some sort of quick release fastener. Not particularly important at this stage. I can work with the screws for now.

Also, you may have noticed a little bolt lock at the top of the side board. This is just a simple little solution to keep the side boards reasonably secure while being wheeled around. Otherwise they just open on their own.

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Everything folded up. Not perfectly flat because the back board warped a little, thanks to me being away on work all the time, and the way I had stored it. Not a massive issue though.

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So now that the workbench is somewhat functional now, I have begun to make preparations for bench-mounting my two power tools. I've decided to start by mounting the jig-saw first, as doing so will get me one step closer to beginning work on the acrylic. So here's what needs to be done to mount the jig-saw:

You can see in this photo that there are four screws on the base of the saw, as well as a hex screw in the middle. That hex screw allows the base to swivel left and right, to create angled cuts. Removing it completely allows the base to come off the tool.

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After removing the four screws, I removed the black part of the base, and was left with this. Since I had those square holes on either side of the base at the bottom, I only needed two more holes, which I drilled at the top. These four holes will serve as the mounting holes for the four screws that look like the one pictured above.

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After a bit of work, I was finished! You can see the blade sticking out on top. I simply drilled a hole a little larger than the blade, and it now allows me to easily exchange blades straight from the hole.

Also, before anyone mentions how close the blade is to the edge, remember that I still have the final third of the table top to mount.

Everything is holding well. Fired up the jig-saw on full speed. Works great. Haven't tried cutting anything with it just yet, but I'll be sure to give it a whirl once the workbench is complete.

I'll need to order more small hinges for the last part of the table top before the workbench is completely functional though. I had some extras, but I used them after needing to replace the hinges on one of the side boards. I installed the hinges in such a way that after opening and closing that side, the hinges ripped clean off each other. Saw the problem, didn't make the same mistake again, but now I'm short on a couple of hinges because of it.


5-12-14

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Added the L brackets in the corners of the top boards to prevent the side boards from opening too much, and risking damage to the bench.

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Since the workbench is nearing completion, I figured it would be a good time to get the papers with the design printed on them, and cut them out. Grabbed my precision knives, and made a rough cut. There's still plenty of white around the edges, but I'm going to cut that later on.

The reason I used those knives instead of scissors is so that I can mostly retain the shape of the paper the shapes were on. I want to keep them in case I need them to determine the right distance between different parts of the design.

That's all for now! I'll be in potatoland for the next two days, but I've already requested further parts from my supplier. Hopefully I'll have them around the time that I get back.


20-12-14

Sorry for the lack of updates recently. I should be back in action now, especially with my latest delivery!

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I decided to go for the slide-out method, instead of the hinge method, so I got 8 heavy duty drawer slides. Dual rail, 16 inches. Extends out by a decent bit. 20 toggle bolts to go along with that. These babies should hold up a good portion of the unit's weight. Of course, the wheels will be doing that instead. Received another 5 caster wheels with brakes, exactly like the ones on my workbench.

Speaking of the workbench, I've also received my hinges, so I can now mount the final part of the workbench. Once this is done, the workbench is ready to be used for the acrylic stage.

This means that my work will now branch into two things. The first being the finalisation of the workbench, and the second being the very first steps of actually constructing the base layer. The drawer slides will be mounted in the appropriate locations using the toggles. Then, I will use my workbench and jigsaw to cut a perimeter for the base. The perimeter will serve as a standoff between the base and the wall, have the wheels mounted at the bottom, and get mounted to the rails. Once the perimeter is completed, the base can then begin to be mounted onto the perimeter. I may need to purchase some metal box tubing, or I beams to ensure that things remain straight, but I'll decide on this when the time comes.

For my workbench, I'm also going to need to build some sort of adjustable edge guide. Otherwise, there is no way in hell that I'll make straight cuts for my perimeter. Should be easy enough to make one. Make a T shaped guide by attaching two straight pieces of wood together, add two points where the I part can be tightened onto the workbench, and loosened to adjust the guide left and right as necessary.

See y'all when the workbench is completed!


20-12-14

Workbench can wait. Too excited not to do this. Folks, this is the point in my project where I can officially say that the work has truly begun!

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I know, I know, it doesn't look like much of a start. One drawer slide. Big whoop. That thing took me two hours to put up! The rails had to be removed, so that I could use the primary section to mark the place I'd be drilling. I then had to drill the hole with a 13mm masonry bit, which was 2 or 3mm smaller than the hole needed to be. I don't have a larger bit, so I did what do best, and improvised. I made the hole bigger with the 13mm by forcing the sides of the bit round in circles to gradually cut away the hole. So basically, I used my drill like a crude router. Popped the toggles on, reattached the slide rails, and pushed the entire assembly into the holes.

This is where it took ages. It was easy enough to secure one toggle with my ratcheting wrench, but due to where the slide is (ie, right in the corner), I couldn't use it on the second toggle. Since the toggles use manly bolts, instead of wussy screws (seriously, fuck Phillips heads), I needed to use some pliers to tighten that toggle up. This was the painstakingly long part that took up most of my time.

I've got five more of these to do, for a total of three on each side. If I can fit an extra one and make four on each side, even better. Not going to do them now though. Will do it sometime tomorrow.

Also, there's drywall dust EVERYWHERE.


21-12-14

Halfway there!

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Perfectly aligned! Though I suppose it's no surprise. When you install a toggle bolt, you have to make a hole large enough for the toggle to fit through, which means the bolt itself will have a lot of wiggle room. Install the toggle bolt, move the whole piece into the position you want, then tighten. I love these babies!

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Fully extended. No idea why that third one extends more than the others. Or maybe I didn't properly pull out the others. Doesn't matter either way.

Now to repeat the same step on the other side!


30-12-14

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Decided to get three 6 inch C clamps. I probably won't need that many, but too much is better than too little. I plan on using the clamps for a variety of things, including holding down a jigsaw guide to the workbench. It's a crude solution, but it works just fine. Plus, building it into the workbench would only make portability more of a bitch. Also grabbed myself a 90 degree angle clamp. I might need it when making the perimeter.

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Also grabbed a whole bunch of these. Top ones neatly arranged are sort of a combination of screws and bolts. They have the threads of bolts, but the heads of phillips screws. Attached to them are some standoffs. Basically nuts that are elongated. The idea behind these is that they screw into the acrylic, get fastened to it by tightening the standoff, then inserting the remainder of the screw into the base layer, and securing it on the other end with another nut.

Some standard bolts and nuts are also among my supplies. These will be for the wheels that I'll attach. The bunch of wood screws on the side will secure the front of the base to the perimeter, which is why they are so long.

I'll need to purchase a countersinking drill bit, so that the screws on the acrylic will sit flush with the surface. Otherwise the angled head will destroy the acrylic when I tighten it up.

I don't have an ETA on my next update, but I'm guessing it will be either near the end of January, or the beginning of February.


31-01-15

Been a while since I've had an update here...

So I've been inactive due to the fact that my mother had visited for a month, which meant I really couldn't have any time alone to work on my project, mostly due to the fact that loud noises and horrendous mess does not agree with her. Aaaaaanyway...

So I decided that it would be easiest for both myself and my roommates if my operations were done completely within my room. I had to turn my bed 90 degrees, and move my dresser into my wardrobe to make more space so that my both my workbench could fit, and I could comfortably stand in front of it.

Of course, what I had not counted on was performing all my measurements and pulling out a piece of plywood to draw lines on, only to find that my boards had been severely warped. Unfortunately during my mother's stay, the air con, which used to be set to maintain 22 degrees, had been adjusted by her to 17 degrees. The resulting temperature difference, and removal of moisture had resulted in the bowing and warping I now have to deal with.

Now for those who don't know, the reason plywood is so susceptible to warping is because it is made of several layers of thinner pieces of wood, with each layer alternating the direction of its grain by 90 degrees. The problem with these thin layers is that the top and bottom most layers are in most contact with the surrounding air, so what happens when one side dries out more than the other side due to moisture removal? That side shrinks, causing the board to curl inwards, towards the drier, shrunken side.

The solution? Add moisture back into the dry side to re-expand it, and try to get back the balance of moisture on each side of the board, so that everything is flat again (or reasonably flat, anyway. Assembly and bracing can fix the leftover unevenness). I'm doing this by wiping the dry side with a wet cloth. Not the entire side, mind you. Just the areas affected by the warping, starting around the peak (or rather, valley) of the warp, and moving outwards to the surrounding areas:

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As you can see from the places where I applied the water, the warp isn't a perfect bowing, where the peak/valley is perpendicular to the length of the board. Rather, it's a bit diagonal, which is why I've introduced moisture in an uneven manner. If you look hard enough, you can see where the board bends on the top and bottom edges.

Once this is done, the board is placed onto a flat surface (like my floor), concave down (wet side down), so that the weight of the board helps it flatten faster.

So far, I've repeated this process once, and I'm making progress. Waiting for it to dry a second time. I think it might be slightly warping the other way around now, so I'll put a bit of water on the other side to slightly reverse the process. I'll wait until the second run is dry first, though.


02-02-15

So last night I decided to grab some plywood, and begin measuring out the perimeter pieces. Basically, I measured the distance from the floor to the ceiling, and divided it by three. The result would be the length of the plywood, multiplied by 25cm (for its depth). Originally I was going to do this in two pieces, but I decided on three, as it makes more efficient use out of my stocks of plywood.

So after measuring, I began cutting. Half of it I did with my handsaw, and the other half with my bench-mounted jigsaw. Basically, the longer distances were with the jigsaw, as it would save time and energy. My major issue in the past with jigsaws was that I could never make straight cuts, even with an edge guide. However, in this bench-mounted configuration, I grabbed some extra plywood, positioned it in such a manner that would guide a workpiece along, and used a couple of C-clamps to secure it to the bench. It's simple, and it works amazingly. I would just adjust this makeshift guide left and right to cut at the right areas, and then feed my workpieces in.

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So far, I've created four pieces, out of six. I'll need to do that at a later stage, but time constraints stopped me from getting those done. Each piece so far looks like the one above.

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In the meantime, I've also made a start on mounting the first part of the perimeter to the rails. One on each side. To do this, I took out the inner portion of the rails, made the appropriate measurements, and screwed them into the plywood.

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From there, it was a simple matter of aligning each of the four rails back into their housings, and pushing it all in.

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Gave it a few test slides, and everything seems to be moving well enough. I've already repeated all this on the right side as well, and that one extends and retracts smoothly. However, on the left, it's a little bit jerky because when I originally mounted the rails, I made a small error in measurements on the second rail. Not a significant enough error that warranted fixing though. It's just got a little extra resistance to it, that's all.

So, where to from here? Obviously get the next two pieces attached on each side. I've still got two more pieces that are ready to be mounted, but as I mentioned, I still need to cut the final two. I'll also need to go buy some fasteners to attach each board to the next. I've got L braces, but those won't work. I basically need the flattened versions of them. Once all three boards have been mounted on each side, I can get the bottom part of the perimeter made and mounted, along with the wheels.

Also of interest, after I finished mounting the boards to the rails, I tested their holding capacity by hanging from them for a few seconds. Looks like they have no problem holding my skinny 50 kilo ass up. It's reassuring, as this means the two sides combined can hold 100 kilos just on their own. I'll still be placing the majority of the weight on the wheels, but I hadn't been too sure just how much weight those rails would be able to hold. In hindsight, I'm not sure why I even worried. That's the whole reason I purchased toggle bolts!

I'll be doing a Zurich flight over the next couple of days, and then I'll have about 2.5 days of useful free time. Hopefully during that time I'll be able to purchase the necessary parts. If I'm lucky, maybe I might even get the left and right sides of the perimeter completed.


06-02-15

It's nearing 2 in the morning here, so I haven't done much, considering most things I do will cause noise. Thankfully, the apartment will be empty tomorrow, so in preparation, I have decided to measure out the bottom part of the perimeter and prep that for my jig-saw. Three pieces in total. Once cut, I'll attach the wheels as well.

I've also started measuring where I'm going to be drilling in those large screws I purchased a while back. That is, the screws that attach the front face to the perimeter. I realised that I'm probably not going to be able to make perfectly perpendicular holes when drilling, so I decided to get creative once again.

Ladies and gentlemen, the first rule of woodworking: Under no circumstances are you to throw away scrap wood.

The second rule of woodworking is that there is no such thing as scrap wood.

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Using some of my scrap useful wood, I placed the pieces into my corner clamp, and joined them with a pair of screws. Using this simple little object, I can place it perpendicular to what I want to drill into, rest the drill bit in the corner of my makeshift tool, and drill. The result should be a much straighter hole than would be possible without any aids.

I've yet to test it out, but I should have tomorrow to do that!


07-02-15

Back from my shopping run!

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Spoils of war include 20 flat braces, masonry drill bits, five toggle switches, four latches, and a cable track.

I intend to use three flat braces when joining my perimeter to adjacent perimeter sections. So with three sections on the left and right, plus another three at the bottom, I'd need 18 at the points of contact.

The masonry drill bits were something I purchased because at some point, I will need to remove the door stopper anchored into the floor, and drill it in another position, so that I don't accidentally open the door too much and damage the unit.

The toggle switches will also be something I will use much later on, but since I was there, I figured I might as well grab them. I wanted to get those red flip-up guards, but I couldn't find any. Guess I'll go to eBay for that.

The latches will be used to secure the unit while it is in its closed state. When fully against the wall, these latches will keep the unit against the wall and prevent it from moving out. The wheels have brakes, but these latches will close that final gap and keep it perfectly against the wall. So obviously this means that one part of the latch will be mounted to the wall, while the other part will be on the perimeter.

And finally, the cable track. It's much longer than what I need to use it for, but they sold them at a minimum length of a meter. I'm sure I can remove the segments somehow. Anyway, the point of the tracks will be for cable management. There will be several cables coming out of the unit. Multiple power cables, peripheral cables, etc. They need a movable section to go through, so that when the unit is puled out, nothing gets damaged.

I've got another flight after tomorrow, but departure is at such a time that I need to go to sleep tomorrow by 14:00. My roommate has a flight he will leave the apartment for at around 12:00. This should give me enough time to fire up my jig-saw and make those cuts that I was supposed to do yesterday.

At the moment, I've taken down one of the top perimeter sections, and joined the second section to it. I've done this with a combination of PVA glue, and the flat braces. I've also drilled holes into the front edge, where the front face of the base layer will be attached to, and screwed some of those long wood screws I purchased a while back into them at even spaces. I'll set it aside tomorrow, cut the rest of the wood, and attach the third piece in the same manner. At the very least, I'm hoping to get one entire side of the perimeter finished. If I'm quick enough, I might get the second section done on the other side of the perimeter as well. Doubt I'd get the third done in time.

...Of course, I could sacrifice an extra hour of sleep. It's just a flight to London Heathrow...

...on an A380...

...with a full load of passengers...

...

God dammit.


08-02-15

Both the left and right perimeters are mostly done!

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So after taking down the first perimeter to place the second section on it, I set it aside, cut out the rest of the wood, and attached the third section to the first perimeter. Because I had used a combination of PVA glue, and the metal braces to fasten the sections together, I needed to let that dry out. However, due to a lack of time, I didn't want to wait that long, so I took the second perimeter down, and joined the second and third sections to it. Bit hard to see in the photo, but one perimeter is sitting on top of the other.

I also broke my 3mm wood drill bit, and two screw heads in the process. Bit sad at the fact that my drill bit broke. I've got backups, but they are the generic drill bits that are better suited for metal.

I'm really overdue for some sleep, so the final thing I need to do with the perimeter is to drill the long screws in, and then I can mount them on the rails again. That won't be done until I get back in two days.


11-02-15

Aaaaand I'm back!

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Left and right perimeters are fully complete! The front edge that will attach to the front face has been drilled, and all the screws are in place. Total of 14 screws spaced 18cm apart. I've screwed them in, just so that I have a place to put them. Once the front face is ready to be mounted, I'll remove them, mark the place to drill, and screw them in with the front face to complete the base layer.

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Clearance is perfect as well, with a mere 5mm gap from the ground. The clearance up top with the ceiling is impossible to measure, as it is that small.

Next, I need to grab my Dremel and remove a bit from the rear of the bottom sections of the perimeters. As you can see, on the floor, where the wall meets, there is a ~1cm protrusion that borders the wall and floor. This means that I cannot properly push the perimeters back just yet, as they would be slanted.

Once that's fixed, it's time to finish up the perimeter assembly with the bottom part! I may or may not get the chance to complete the majority of this tomorrow. If not, then I should have it done in a few days after my flight to Glasgow.

Also, I mentioned a while back that the left side rail assembly had an issue with the second rail sticking a bit. Turns out all it needed was some tightening on the toggle bolt, so that it wouldn't scrape along the inner rail. So now both sides retract and extend smoothly!


12-02-15

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Bottom perimeter is now complete! It's almost ready to be mounted. Just needs the long screws drilled in for the front face, and then I can position it in the appropriate position.

The process here was pretty much the same as the left and right perimeters, just with the additional step of having some wheels. The holes on the wheel flanges were slightly too small, so I had to drill them larger. Metal shavings are all over the place, and I'm walking around in socks. I've already had my fair share of embedded metal in my skin. I need a neodymium magnet...

Anyway, made larger holes, drew the holes onto the wood where I needed the wheels to be mounted, made the holes, and threaded some bolts through them, securing them tightly with my trusty ratchet.

Hoping to have everything mounted in four days!


16-02-15

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I now have the bottom perimeter in position. Using two of my trusty C-clamps as handles, I picked up the bottom perimeter and aligned it as required. Seriously, C-clamps are amazingly useful for shitloads of stuff. I love them! Them, and ratchets.

Anyway, I don't have a clear view from afar at the moment, but I can only assume that just by putting the bottom into place, I have aligned the left and right perimeters into a straighter position.

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I've also made a start on actually mounting it to the left and right sides. To do this, I first need to make sure the bottom is level, hence the leveling tool. Then, while keeping it level, I align the front edge of the bottom, to the front edge of the side, place a corner brace into the appropriate position, mark the holes, drill them, and then screw everything together.

Because of space restrictions, I can't get my drill into the corners while the two pieces are joined, so this first brace merely acts as a stabiliser, so I can more easily mark the rest of the braces, without having to keep leveling the bottom. Once I have everything on that side marked, I will remove the first brace, drill the appropriate areas, then screw everything back with my ratchet, and repeat the process on the other side.

So that's exactly what I'm going to do now. I should have the bottom mounted within one or two hours.


24-02-15

So no delivery just yet. Looks like it will come tomorrow afternoon. In the meantime, I've made a start on the front face!

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This was a nightmare trying to get up on my own. You know how much a 4ft x 8 ft x 14mm board of plywood weighs? A little less than me!

So, just like the previous board, this one was also wonderfully warped. Did a bit of moisture treatment on it, and it fixed the major warps. Still have some warp, but I decided I'll fix it after mounting. That said, I needed to lay the board flat on the ground, and lift it up so it would stand on one of its shorter sides. Then, I had to practically hug it and shuffle about to move the board into place. I needed to lift it slightly up off the ground, to align it with the bottom of the left perimeter, so I stacked several L braces, and while standing the board on each corner, I nudged the faces underneath. Then I used a couple of chairs, and my suitcase to keep the board from falling onto me, as I needed to have it stand straight up to properly align and drill into the perimeter.

It took a good long while, but the board is now securely mounted on the perimeter. All the screws are in on the left side, but I've only drilled two of the screws in at the bottom. I still need to drill in about 6 or 7 more screws, but I'll do them tomorrow, since my roommate is currently sleeping. I'm going to keep the L braces under the inner corner of the board though, as there would be too much strain on the two screws without it. I'd probably wake up to the sound of two massive snapping noises.

Two complications: One of the bottom screws snapped, trapping the majority of the screw inside the wood. Had to work around this by drilling another screw in about 1cm to the right of the snapped one. I just applied too much force, that's all. I need to be careful though, as I only have one more spare screw of this type left. I snapped two others while making the perimeters, and utilised the same workaround with them.

The other complication is screwing the board to the bottom perimeter. The left perimeter was easy enough. I could easily estimate where to drill because it was right on the edge, so I just needed to draw some lines, and I'd get the holes aligned nicely. However, the bottom ones...? I'm completely blind. At the moment, my technique has been to use my leveling tool and a ruler to draw onto the front face where the bottom perimeter should be, and then drilling into the wood based on those drawings. The two screws I've currently got in seemed to go in just fine, and I can't feel any bulging on the perimeter itself, indicating that I've drilled it accurately. Now the question is whether or not I can do this consistently for all, or at least most of the screws on the bottom.

Anyway, all this stuff is for future me to worry about. In the meantime, if my delivery does indeed come tomorrow, I'll have a little fun test driving the sander, and then I'll mount the second board on the opposite side. This will leave a smaller gap in the center. I'll cut the required length out of the next board and fit it in there, making sure it's as snug as possible. Then, I'll cut a few more planks of wood to fit at the top. As you can see in the photo, the board does not reach the ceiling. The boards didn't come in larger sizes, and they wouldn't have fit in the elevator if they did! So I'll break out my trusty handsaw for this!

I'm going to need to purchase more flat braces as well. Will need to join the boards together somehow.


25-02-15

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Delivery came today. That sander is a beaut! Also got the three boards of plywood, respirator and cartridges, and beading.

I've already mounted one of the boards on the other side of the perimeter. All the side screws are in, so I just need to drill the bottom screws in, as well as finish the bottom ones on the first board. I shall busy myself with that tonight and tomorrow. Until then...

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08-03-15

Haven't done much lately, what with my flight to LA taking almost four days, and my roommates being around. However, I've been working on other things in the meantime.

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Above is an oversimplified circuit diagram of the electronics. Due to the limitation of the program I made it in, a few things had to be done incorrectly, but it gives a general idea of what will be wired up. Notes of interest:

- As shown in under the AC and the PSU sections, there will be three PSUs, each unit obtaining power from three separate outlets/circuits.

- I will build a small control panel on the side of the unit, atop the left perimeter. This will contain some master controls, such as individual toggle switches for the live and neutral sides of each power cable, for a total of six power switches. These switches are labeled S1, S2, S4, S5, S7, and S8.

- On the control panel, an indicator light will be placed to show that power is available for a specific PSU. This light will only illuminate when both the live and the neutral switches are on, for the respective PSU. They are labeled L1, L2, and L3.

- A 15A analogue AC ammeter will be connected to each PSU in series on the neutral line. From what I've read, this is safer than putting it on the live side, but if anyone thinks I should change this, let me know.

- A 300V analogue AC voltmeter will be connected in parallel on each PSU.

- Also on the control panel will be three starter switches. These will be used to turn each PSU on, using the same principle as shorting the green cable on the 24 pin motherboard cable. The only difference is that a switch is used instead of a paperclip. These switches are labeled S3, S6, and S9.

- Symbols R1 to R6 represent the collective computer hardware and peripherals. I've drawn it like this for simplicity, rather than schematic accuracy.

- The control panel will also contain a water temperature indicator. This is (incorrectly) represented by the thermistor symbol R7. The thermistor itself will be what is immersed in the water loop of the water cooling system, and an analogue dial will be physically on the control panel, but the drawing program I used was limited in functionality, so I improvised.

- L4 to L8 represent the LEDs that will be providing the backlight for the design layer. These will be controlled by switch S10. To create a fade on/off effect, a capacitor will be used, marked C1. I had originally thought of programming a microcontroller to achieve this effect, but caps are cheaper and simpler. Though a microcontroller could also be programmed to control individual sections of lighting, as well as ways to modify the lighting based on events such as high water temperature, so that's still a possibility. For now, caps.

Long post for a small update! Anyway, I've already ordered the ammeters and voltmeters a while back for about 60 bucks in total, along with those aircraft style red flip-up guards for the toggle switches. Didn't seem like it was worth mentioning as an update at the time though. ETA should be around early April, because China shipping.

As for the progress on the front face, I need to wait until I'm alone, so I can continue sanding down a bit of the center section's side. Then I can mount it, and secure it to the bottom perimeter via the long wood screws, and to the left and right parts of the front face at the top using my last two flat braces. Then I need to go buy more braces. Also one of those flexible shafts for drills. Not sure when I'm going to have a proper progress update though. My next two flights are also to the US, which means lots of time away from home!


14-03-15

Received my switch guards! Loving them already!

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Screwed them onto my toggle switches and played around with them for a few minutes. It's almost perfect. I'll need to make a small alteration though. On the switch itself, there is a small slot in the threaded area where those thin nuts screw onto. This slot aligns with a protruding piece on the switch guard, so that the guard remains aligned with the screw. Now, when I have the guard on, the way the switch works is that you need to flip the guard up to move the switch into the 'on' position, and pushing the guard back down will also move the switch into the off position. This makes sense for most applications, as these guards are supposed to prevent accidental triggering of something.

However, because these switches will be wired to the green cable on the power supplies, I'll need to achieve the complete opposite. That is, if I want to cut the power, I need to flip the guard up, then flip the switch off. To switch it back on, I simply push the guard down, and it pushes the switch on.

Simple fix. Dremel with my trusty diamond cutting disk should fix it up perfectly.

In other news, the center section of the front face is partially mounted. The bottom perimeter mounting is done, and I've used one of my flat braces to join the right side to the center at around middle height. Haven't done it for the left side yet, as the wood is warped, and requires moisture treatment first.

I might head out to grab more supplies tomorrow. Not sure yet.


14-03-15

Decided against buying supplies just yet. I figured I'd make more efficient use of my time and money if I worked with whatever supplies I have left, then do a bigger shopping later. So I worked on this instead:

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Pardon the shitty quality, but it should be clear enough to make out the newest addition on the right side. I've added the first latch that holds the unit to the wall. The small metal piece mounted to the wall has a C-shaped part which the latch secures in to. However, this latch was not designed for perpendicular usage. Only parallel. Otherwise, the latch just slips out from the C section. I worked around this with the solution to every problem in the world: Use a hammer.

Hammering the C section made it curl in on itself, stopping the latch from slipping out. From there, I just drilled two 5mm holes into the wall, hammered some anchor plugs in, screwed the C section in, and drilled the latch into the perimeter. Yes, yes, I know I shouldn't be using anchor plugs for something like this, but it works just fine. Gave it a stress test and all. If it starts to become loose at a later stage, shoving some debris and glue in there will make the plug's expansion more effective. It's really not worth making massive holes in the wall for stronger solutions.

Also, the dark line between the perimeter and the wall is not a shadow. I've added the beading to the back of the perimeter. Only had enough for the bottom and right sides though, so I'll need to buy some more.

Oh, and you can see how bad the warped wood is in the photo as well. It's requiring a lot of moisture to straighten out, but it's getting there. Once it's reasonably straight, I'll get my last flat brace, and connect the adjacent front face section to it.


26-03-15

Voltmeters and ammeters have arrived!

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They're a little smaller than I expected, but it's not an issue. I think it might be to my benefit, actually.

I still haven't received my other order yet. Was supposed to be today, but no word on it so far. If I don't get it today, I won't get it for at least three days, as I'll be flying back to POOTISland. Not particularly bothered though, now that I have my gauges. I'll be able to grab a block of wood and start designing the master control panel.


29-03-15

Since I'm still waiting on that delivery, I figured I might as well get a start on those top sections:

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I've only put the side ones up, since I can secure them to the perimeter. Without the flat braces, I have no way of securing the middle section to any adjacent sections. That's also partially why the C-clamps are there.

So my experience using a Dremel as a drill was..interesting. The problem with it as I've mentioned before is that it's a tool designed for high RPM use, so it lacks the torque that a drill would have. That said, I was still able to successfully drill holes with it by pushing down on the wood in a pulsating motion, rather than a continuous one. It was surprisingly effective. There were a few times when I pushed it too much and it locked up the tool, but no harm done.

Also, I've moved my smoke detector further away. I mentioned a while back that with the unit fully extended, it would hit the smoke detector, so I figured I should get that out of the way now. Gives me something to do.


01-04-15

My delivery has finally arrived!

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Purchased another roll of beading, so that I can finish the back of the left perimeter. Then purchased 3.6 liters of primer, and 3.6 liters of white matte paint, plus a brush and roller to go with that. I'm going to have fun getting high on the fumes! That bag of greenish stuff is a powder that will be used as a wood filler. It...didn't come with any instructions, so I'm going to have to figure it out on my own. I'm sure it's not too difficult. The smaller bag contains screws and flat braces, so I can finally finish connecting all the panels of the front face.

Not pictured are three four meter lengths of T section metal. Will use these to provide additional bracing behind the panels. Because each section was 4 meters, it didn't fit in the lift. So I carried it up the stairs, 28 floors up.

You know...for science!

Before I do anything though, I need to do a liiiiiitle more sanding on the top sections. Getting sick of sanding though...


03-04-15

Today marks the first day I begin work on the electrical side of things...technically, anyway.

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Got the cable track installed. There should be enough room to fit at least six cables the size of a standard power cable, though I'm pretty sure I could fit 8 cables of that size in there. I'm probably going to have to buy a second one to install alongside it. Three power cables and an ethernet cable going into the computer, plus a USB extension cable and 3 to 5 HDMI/DP cables coming out. And to top things off, I may be considering four power supplies instead of three...which means I'll have to order additional switches and meters.

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Power Central. Drilled these two external power outlets into the wall above the built-in outlet. As you can see, no cables are coming into them, so there's no power available in the sockets just yet, meaning I can lick the contacts all I want in the meantime. However, once powered, this is where the power supplies will all be plugged in to. The source of the power from here will be from other rooms. One to the corridor outside, and another to the living room.

EDIT: Post character limit reached. Derp on my part. Rest of the worklog is within this thread.
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(2014-09-08, 08:37:03 AM)hiigaran Wrote: So.............

PCIe -> USB cable -> PCIe adapter

Why stop at 7 cards? ===>Try TheSe<=== Again, bandwidth still shouldn't be an issue. If you're running Linux, you can use a lot more graphics cards with that item. Since money wouldn't be an issue, go all out.

Once I take care of some financial matters, I'm going to scale my operation as well, for Folding. I'd like to hit 5,000,000ppd with my little setup.

(2014-09-08, 08:37:03 AM)hiigaran Wrote: The first thing I'm unsure of here is the maximum length for the USB riser cables. This is important, because it affects my options of where to place the cards.

You should be able to go to at least ten feet per USB cable. Just for Sidekicks, I will test that for you......With my 16-Foot USB cable. USB itself is limited to 10 feet. That should be your safe maximum with just a USB 3.0 cable. Then you can go further by adding a powered USB cable like mine. I got that cable to connect an HD webcam twenty feet away for surveillance.

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Soooooo, the 16-foot powered USB extension didn't seem to work, so you are limited to just 10 feet with the USB 3.0 cable. I just don't know what went wrong Derpytongue2. I plugged it in and it reset my BIOS. Not complaining ,though, since my computer boots up 10x faster now. So...yay? YayYayYay

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10 feet is a little more than 3 meters, so I don't think Ill need to use anywhere near that much length. Water pipes need to be considered as well. Too long, and more powerful pumps are needed.

So, PCIe splitters, huh? Hell, I never knew they existed. I was actually under the impression that you couldn't do that with them. Would be interesting to see the results with someone who has used them. My other concern is about whether or not something like that would burn out a mobo. I mean, 7 slots, with x4 splitters for 28 cards would surely cause some issues, no? Not that I have THAT much money for so many cards...or the fuse ratings...Even so, it would also have to depend on the mobo chipset, wouldn't it? There could only be so much that it can handle via PCIe.
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I know you are sold on watercooling, but from a price to performance standpoint I don't think it makes sense.

Based on my math the 280x and 290 are about the same in terms of value. PoNyePiC might tell you the 280x is the best value card. I don't know where the 285 falls into this as it is new. For now I'll assume the 290 is the best value card, but you should do your own math.

So a 290 sells for around 300 USD, and then to add watercooling you would need at least 130 USD for the water block and fittings PER CARD, not to mention the tubing, pump, radiators, and fans. Watercooling doesn't add 43% more performance to make up for the added cost. You should just stick with air cooling and use the money to buy more GPUs. I have never seen a folding rig water cooled because it just doesn't make sense.

I understand aesthetics are a big factor and if you think that the watercooling is worth the cost for looks then go for it. (or for noise)
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#6
I don't really understand the need for water cooling either, unless the card you're getting have heat problems with stock and/or aftermarket coolers. Regardless of noise difference between water and air cooling, I'd image that a 7 GPU system is going to be noisy anyway and not something you'd want to sleep beside.
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#7
Noise will be a factor, definitely. It would be literally two meters from my bed. I'm hoping that a large radiator with large fans would help with that. I've lived with a noisy computer for long enough that I've become used to it, but it's still something I'd want to try and reduce. Water cooling is probably the best way to do that, since passive cooling probably wont be effective on video cards. Not that I'd want to use passive, though...And im sure phase change would be stupidly expensive, and ridiculously loud to accommodate all the hardware.

I do want to overclock though, so there's that.
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#8
I'd still just go with a well-cooled aftermarket card rather than watercooling. You're going to need lots of fans regardless of whether or not you use watercooling, so why not spend you money on faster, quieter cards with no need to overclock, than setup an expensive watercooling solution and overclock? This also comes with the requirement that the cards you're getting are quiet in the first place, so I can see where this logic might fail, hehe. I'm just used to my 780, I guess. Honestly have no idea how 280/290s are these days for that.
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#9
While I plan to overclock regardless, since if the temperature allows it, then why not, but it does come back to the noise issue. One massive fan will be better than several small ones, so having a large radiator like this 3x3 rad, then fixing a fan as large as the entire rad to it would be more effective in every single possible way.

On that note, I definitely do plan on building a fan shroud and gutting an AC fan for cooling. Something like a pedestal fan, though that might be a little too big.
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#10
Eh most fans don't have the pressure required to push though a rad. Airflow isn't everything.
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#11
Indeed. I'd need to find a fan with the right curvature to its blades if I want to use something with a high static pressure. Anything that is high RPM with a shallow camber will be a bad choice.
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#12
I use only air cooling for my graphics. All of my cards can stay below 70°C with no problems.

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#13
a USB port can *THEORETICALLY* support 172 devices. so if speed isn't an issue and you obviously don't need to power the GPU with the USB port you could just chain a bunch of USB-PCIe adapters together with USB hubs and run a lot of GPUs. but it would take a ton of electricity and PSUs
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#14
(2014-09-12, 02:33:45 PM)spypengen Wrote: chain a bunch of USB-PCIe adapters together with USB hubs

From what I understand the PCIe extenders aren't actually USB, they just use USB cables for convenience.
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#15
(2014-09-12, 02:36:40 PM)davidfg4 Wrote:
(2014-09-12, 02:33:45 PM)spypengen Wrote: chain a bunch of USB-PCIe adapters together with USB hubs

From what I understand the PCIe extenders aren't actually USB, they just use USB cables for convenience.

I know it's basically having multiple GPUs share a lane.

but I don't know if its possible and it will most likely be unstable.
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