“Eismaschine” – a concrete vision

  • karel 

In spring 2016, I was looking for a concept, to try something new in PC building- with research, it has shown that almost every material and style already was part of the now- only concrete I haven´t found. With having some experience because of my job, I knew, what in general was to be done. So first of all, I wanted to have a build in the end, that offers a highly comfortable accessibility in the first, I wanted a combination of wood, and I wanted to have a nice view on all parts.
I made my homework, in meanings of building physics, knowing, the concrete was in need of a steel skeleton, to carry the weight and force of the case, I planned to hang to the socket. So I designed the shapes and sizes, made detail drawings of the concept by hand and on PC, with allowing myself, to follow the direction, I set, but designing the very outer look on the build itself, in leaving freedom to subjective decision on the sheer object, better than to a drawing of smaller scale. With the raw shape found, I ordered a base steel skeleton from my design, that at this time seemed to be strong enough. At the same time, I decided to use a full-opening drawer runner-set, to which I would mount the top cover to. I fell in love with the idea, to open it to the side with ease, while the system, including the fans on the running- out part keep running undisturbed- the moment the cable chain set foot into the planning.

With the ordered skeleton delivered by the friend, who professionally welded it for me, I found out, it was strong enough, but a test run with the drawer opening showed too massive vibration and structural stress to the construction. I knew this would not work, at all. With never having learned to weld, I decided, there will be no better moment for, but now, and bought myself a mid-range power electrode-welding device- and started… now I was able to add rebar steel to the skeleton, which was bit more thin but strong enough, to build out a cage, that much better would lead forces to the ground. Just now I added construction details to the framework-like the long threads, that would carry the fan-controller, later, and of course the possibility, to demount it, later, for having a chance to move the build without trouble. When deciding, enough metal was set for strengthening, I started to cut out Styrodur, which usually is used to walkable floor insulation, of 12cm thickness, to the shape I saw the inner space to be, after the cast, which, to be honest, somehow was the most tricky part, to visualise everything “negative”. I decided for angled edges, so i planned some 45° rails out of 12x12mm material, and set them on the edges, on HPL sheet material, usually used, to cover doors or table plates, a very even and homogeny material. As construction plates, I kept with traditional yellow casting board, which made the whole bit more usual to me. After preparing the cast form for the socket first, which alone took me two weeks, the same like for the arm –

the first cast was up to do…. I worked out a good concrete recipe by research, adding fibers and flow improvers and- said all or nothing, knowing, that anything could happen- with having 3,5 cm gaps for the concrete to flow through, even when a vibrator was planned to use. It worked perfectly- but if anybody just is inspired, to try it by himself- do not lack off the angled edges rails- the cast oil, that prevents sticking to the form reacts with the varnish- and ruins the edges- and two days of waiting after the cast is better….even when after one it was good to go- the arm was freed from form a day later, and it was much easier.

Even, when I had some damage to the edges- now concrete shows, why it is an awesome material in building- I touched it up with some fresh, allowed it to dry and sanded it even- it takes its time- but today, you see sharp edges, and it looks natural and harmonic.

With having both, socket and arm, the mounting of the PC base and the drawer cover was possible, and I just worked out the carrying plate for the mainboard, PSU and radiator from acrylic, which made it easy to drill and cut any needed holes to it, and polish scratches from edges away, dreaming of a slick finish.

The next step was to set up the main reservoir on the left side, which I decided to be a constantly flowing, free waterfall. I had drawn the design and gave it to a pro company, that exactly and perfectly in glueing and measuring, made it for me. With setting a test loop up, for working on the flow, I was delighted to see, it would work like I desired. I knew the cases housing should be “light”- an intention, that sounds ridiculous, in context, but important, when not setting it all on one card, in concerns of forces working. So on the drawer sled, I closed sides by fans, that were given concrete corners as well, and some acrylic in maple framing, to at least by percentage imitate a closed against dust case, with acceptance, when opening and dusting it was promising, to be easy.
The framework on the sides and on the case openings of the socket are mainly put together by drilled-in alumina tubes of 1cm thickness, and mainly screwed hardly visible, what always is a challenge, to the joiner, I am.

The very setup of the PC was very comfortable, wiring it up of course as always needed some discipline, which- I can say it, in the arm could have been bit more serious- but- I feel, in the visible parts, my Eismaschine, whose name first should have been concrete vision- but was tooooo obvious- knows, how to present itself nicely. I am very proud, what came out from four big hand-drill-mixed buckets of concrete- and I just would do it again. If you are interested, to do a concrete build yourself- I will share my experience- just let me know your questions. With this, I say: Mod on!

Eismaschine specs:

I7 6700K
32 Gb G.SKILL Trident Z DDR 4 3400
Asus Z170 Deluxe
Samsung V-Nand SSD 950 M.2 500GB
Cooler Master V850 PSU
Sapphire Vapor-X R9 290X 8GB
AC aquaero 5 incl. water cooling block
AC Highflow Flowmeter
Cooler Master Silencio 120 PWM fans in the case

Alphacool parts:

XPX Eisblock
GPX-A 290 M08 GPU cooler
M.2 cooler
4x D-Ram cooler & acrylic block
Eisdecke incl. Reservoir
Eisbrecher rad 3×120 in the case
Monsta rad 3×120
Susurro 120 fans on the Monsta
2 Eispumpe VPP 755
Eislicht white
Acrylic pump top in the basement
Eisflügel flow indicator

All fittings chromed Eiszapfen or HF by Alphacool…..

….and the project´s name “Eismaschine” is a reminiscence to Alphacool´s “Eisfamilie” products, I was able to use here.

Thanks a lot for producing this video to Gadget Joe!

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