Welcome to TBCS’s Modder’s Challenge!
This contest series was devised to test the artistic, creative, and engineering skills of PC modding enthusiasts anywhere in the world. Our challenges call for design submissions only rather than actual construction with the intention of keeping the entries open to everyone with a brain and a pencil, not just those with an arsenal of tools and materials. Participation is open to TBCS members worldwide, has been thought provoking, and downright genius to say the least. We have yet to be short of impressed with the solutions devised by the minds of our community and they keep getting better and better.
The Modder’s Challenge series will continue to drive the imaginations of our members to their creative potential. With an ever-increasing rate of submissions and sponsors, the prize packages only get better in order to properly award our victors. Along with the wide range of prizes comes the notoriety of being one of the finest among many, one who has what it takes. So the only question for you is, do you have what it takes?
Modders Challenge History
As new members arrive daily, and with Modders Challenge 4 upon us, we thought it would be a good idea to dig up some historical facts on our Scratch Built Watercooling setup on a $150 budget. With this first Challenge, teams of up to 4 were allowed as long as you stuck to the budget. Members were allotted 32 days to submit their entries. Modders Challenge 1 set the standard, "You have to design it, but build it only if you want". With nothing more than a custom forum title, and mention on the front page as a prize, MrChew accepted the challenge and came out on top as our first Modders Challenge winner.
With Modders Challenge 2, popularity grew, and we had our first sponsored prize. The Leatherman Wave multitool was our focus this time around. The Antec Super LANBOY was the base to build upon. We took away your tools, and asked you to create something using only the Leatherman Wave. The good folks over at Bit-Tech even got in on the action this time. In the end, our own dgrmkr designed a very impressive Home Theater PC, and emerged as our winner.
They say that "April showers bring May flowers" but the TBCS staff must have planted their own special seeds. Modders Challenge 3: Vandal Proof! made it's debut on May 1 2007. The guys at Apevia sponsored the challenge with a black X-Pleasure case being awarded to the winner. MCE.com also donated $100 to help defray the expense of shipping the case to the winner. Things got a little harder with this challenge. Modders were asked to take a black X-Pleasure case and make it Vandal Proof all while keeping the original look of the X-Pleasure case. Sabrenoose came out on top this time with his stunning design and presentation
Modder's Challenge Winners
Modder's Challenge #1: Home Made Watercooling
The winner of the first Modder's Chellenge was... Mr Chew!
His simple yet effective cooling system involved brass for heat transfer and a pond pump. Although weren't sure about the thermal properties of brass, Mr Chew's design was exactly the sort of thing we expected. Here's his own explaination.
"The plan for this water cooling is simple. all parts are purchased from home depot. pricing in the spreadsheet reflects the prices at my local home depot, in san diego.
The water block is made from a brass door kick plate. machining can be done with a dremal tool. the layout of the pieces is shown in the sketchup files. because sketchup (to my knowledge. . .) doesn't allow small scale drawings, i used a scale of 1ft=1cm. i made the waterblock on the small side because i was worried about flexing of the material. as i'm sure you know, the main component of the brass alloy is copper, with some tin, chromium and zinc mixed in to prevent corrosion. heat transfer should be negligably different from un-alloyed copper. lapping and polishing is possible, but i didn't include it in the plans for price reasons. honestly, it would be much cheaper and easier to just buy a pre-made water block, but these plans fit with the macgyver-esqe requirements. there would be enough material left over in the plate to construct both a gpu and chipset water block, but the hardware requirements (the brass bolts to sandwich them together) would have put it over budget, again.
The pump is a simple 210 gph pond pump. the model that i found has a plastic strained basket on the inlet that can be removed to allow access to garden hose threads. the adaptor and 3/4"-thread hose barb are used on the inlet to allow attachment of the 1/2" vinyl tubing. the outlet will already accept the 1/2" hose.
The radiator is constructed from a 12" house fan and 10' of soft copper tubing. tis design mimics the homemade a/c units that have hit the make blog recently. zip ties are use to attach the tubing to the face of the fan grill.
The pump will be at the lowest point of the system, negating the need for a reservoir or priming. the outlet of the pump will go to the radiator, and from the radiator water will enter the cpu-block. from there it returns in closed loop fashion directly to the pump.
It's a very simply design, i would have liked to have included a power relay so that the pump would automagically turn on with the computer for safety reasons, but i was unable to find any type of relay at home depot."
Modder's Challenge #2: The Multi-Tool
Who's written a simply incredible account of the way he'd use the leatherman to build his theoretical case. Normally, i'd thrown in a little bit of presentation: but the work that's went in here is incredible, so i'm just going to throw this at you and hope you read all the way through-because it's certainly worth it!
"When challenged not to use a dremel, a drill or a jig-saw... what can you build? Will this hamper your creativity? Heck no! I once had no drill! No jigsaw! No dremel! Just screwdrivers, scissors, a knife or two... and an open flame, but I won't use that... sure, I didn't do much. But not because I lacked tools! Because I wasn't infected with modding
So, when I saw the leatherman wave I immediately thought 2 things:
1. Wood! As a child I used only knives and occasionally a hammer to do some really weird... stuff: crossbow, sculptures, "engravings", small wanna-be furniture... and not to mention a rare one-time fishing pole so, a scrap wooden case! Made from small fur-tree or maybe balsa... I think lateral going to go cheap (more real) and not use balsa for my virtual case. I worked with woods ranging from light to oak, and all you need is patience... even with sandpaper alone you can do art... with a nice sharp knife and some more accessories.. Possibilities are endless.
2. Leatherman... leatherman... I don't know... leather? : D bingo! I’m gathering experience with leather working right now so I think a mental exercise is perfect. I know I only need some chalk and a pair of sharp/stainless-steel scissors to "shape" leather.
So... i have to use wood... basicly, with just a serrated knife, i can't cut round holes or cut long portions of wood pannels... if it's not cheating, i will use some 10mm plywood already cut to size.. It is possible for me to get panels up to 25mm, for free, up to 400x600mm, as I build speakers when given the budget to do so. Basically, I tell someone the size of the panels and that's it... i wont go that way till the end though. For interior structure I will use the serrated knife a little and cut the virtual 10x10mm wood struts to size... now, what else can i do with the options i have... well, some woodfiller wood be nice, as the entire case will be made from pieces of wood... except for the panels that don't have holes...
What case to build? The antec is nice, but I’m not sure what strength I can get from the wood... a tower would be too... too... i don't want a tower so, this is gonna be a desktop/htpc case.
I have a DVD burner and 2 hard drives... none works... so let's imagine I will use them. Also, I want an lcd display... I don't have the money or the product in a window shop nearby.. But a single bay matrix orbital will make me happy, even if only a picture of it! Also, in the long run, I might need some space for controllers. That brings me to fans... nowadays, I hate noise, so I'll be using 4 arctic cooling fans... the open-frame ones... I think they are the most silent working fans ever made!
I also want some windows: can't cut plexi with scissors, the knife-way would be too long (unless I was in a place where time is all you have )... so I'll use a cheap creative trick I used long time ago: use cd cases for their plastic! 3 windows will suffice, as I wanna see stuff that's worth seeing.
I have a socket A rig, with 1x 9550 video board and an audigy 7.1... So I’ll use them. Unfortunately, I can't spare my Sonic tower in this project, as it has other plans... but i'll leave the cooler choice to a cnps9500 or thermalright 120 model (i like the second right now.. seen it and it's a piece of art).. Towers are way too big for this rig anyways... what i designed is 450mm wide, 170mm tall and about 350mm deep. So, it's smallish and won't take much room... anywhere.
The build is simple: using the 3dsmax sketches (good thing I have them...) I’ll take any piece of wood that has one dimension of 10mm and use it... i need lots of pieces, because i have to make holes for fans, mobo i/o and racks.. So, cutting slowly and carefully with the serrated-knife, filing when needed, gluing with carpenter's glue and then filling with wood filler I get the shapes I need. Then I assemble everything with glue and maybe a wood-screw or two. Before mounting the stuff in, I’ll use the screwdriver to make some holes for the bronze-mobo-mounts. Smaller holes in order to get a good tap grip. If a computer related screw is needed, leather going to screw the hell out of my screwdriver and make some holes thru the wood... for those who think this is stupid/pointless/impossible, i have to say i don't have a drill and i make holes in aluminum or steel using simple and brute force. Not an elegant method, but it can't get more DIY!
Some denser wood will be needed to carve some stoppers for the hdd mounts... no problem! I have a knife and anything available can be used... just have to be careful not to cut myself then i glue the small pegs so that my hard drives sit tight on them and don't move that much.. Wood mounting should dampen some vibrations... but what about cooling? Well, I got that covered... pics will say it all.
Hmm... How can I mount/fix the fans? Well, design and... Screws and the DVD? Rails and maybe one screw... and the LCD? Well...hot glue? That’s all I can think of right now... and if i think it through, glue is perfect, because it won't leave any marks on the outside... just the LCD... which leads to another idea! No buttons! Right now, I use my keyboard for on/off tasks and don't touch the case unless I wanna cut it.
The most important part is finding a proper layout for components... air-flow, clearance and... Looks! I mean, I don't want to hide my stuff... this is what i have... i should be proud of it! Of course, I don't mean frontal/lateral/top/back nudity... one panel with windows, nothing else... plain, simple, robust... rounded... RAM, CPU and video should be visible... fans and wires... not."
Modder's Challenge #3: Vandal-Proof PC
I have spent absolutely ages on this competition, its been a great challenge, and i have
been really excited about getting to grips with it.
I felt that the best way to do my work justice was to compile the images and videos as a
web page. If this is an unsuitable format for use of the site, drop me an email and i
will modify it so that it is suitable.
I hope you enjoy what i have done with it, so here is the link to my entry, entitled
See website entry here."
TBCS Modder’s Challenge #4
As Master Chief you've crushed the Covenant Forces on Earth and in far away lands sending shudders down their squishy spines....the calluses on your thumbs reveal your valor. In online multi player combat, your mastery of the S2 AM Sniper Rifle and a few skillfully thrown plasma grenades have ended friendships with the footprint of scorched soil. You've pumped round after round with precision and unmistakable purpose into your enemies, as they fell one after the other. But as a seasoned warrior, you know all to well that there is always another battle over the horizon, and this horizon shall prove no more merciful. Unfortunately for you, the nemesis awaiting your battle-cry today is no mere grunt armed with a needle-gun, but a group of minds, the minds of some of the finest modders alive and they are armed with ideas. Your skill, your strategy, your goal, and your defiance to kneel before your rivals are what make you the Master Chief and the Master of your will. The question you are now facing Master Chief, is do you have what it takes to be THE Master......chief? And this is our question to you. Do you have what it takes to define your limits and reveal your competitive nature in an all out Halo-themed case mod design war? Time to stand your ground, confront your foes, leave them writhing in humiliation, trembling at the superiority of your Halo mod. The gloves are off, civility is but a distant memory, you stand wielding only your ingenuity with one clear goal, you must design (but not necessarily build) the greatest case mod these old forums have ever seen. So it is in this dawn of a new day for TBCS, that we challenge you to compete in the TBCS Modder's Challenge #4 Project: Halo3 PC. Aside from the beaming sense of satisfaction you'll feel while looking down from the hilltop at your decimated foes, there are also material rewards for your honor in service.
• $250 cash from Paul "Crimson Sky" Capello
• Danger Den 4101 Complete Water-Cooling Kit
• Halo3 for the Xbox 360
• Microsoft Coffee Mug (Large) Trend Coffee Mug (Small), Webroot Spysweeper, Provided by
• PNY nVidia Quadro NVS285 128mb pcie x16 card
• Intel Water bottle, Beuatiful Intel thermal coffee cup, Giftcor Collection bottle opener, Intel blue net bag, Velocity Micro hat, Intel t-shirt, Velocity Micro ice scraper, and an AMD mouse pad. Provided by Velocity Micro.
The mod is based on the letter O - O, and the symbol for the whole game.
After a long time of brainstorming and looking into different parts of the game I got many ideas. In which was a case totally based on the helmet of the master chief, a gun and different sets of the game, I stumbled above a picture because I was interested in the scene. It was then I saw the logic, why make a mod that looks like a single aspect of the game, a single weapon or vehicle, when you could make a mod that frames a computer “inside” the HALO!
The frame of the mod is 14 aluminum & 13 acrylic pieces formed like the O and is optimized for passive airflow so the air in the case never runs hot which helps to keep temps the last bit down In front there is a custom milled water-cooling block made to cool two drives since most people today runs two drives in raid 0 for optimal performance. The water block features the HALO text and two straight lines since the text mostly is eye candy, but also have an overall effect. In the front at the whole is a small mesh inserted.
The mod requires a powerful pump, but a laying will do the job with its lift height at 5.8 meters, and the position of the reservoir makes filling the system easy, though there will be a lot of air in the hdd cooler at start, but this will be drawn away with time.
Position of psu, and pump makes a very clean look on the inside, and wires can be lead via the base frame sides
An incredible mod, expertly presented.
P0pe covered all the bases here. Completely custom from the ground up, no expense was spared on this design. Custom milled dual hard drive coler, stainless steel water res, and acrylic and aluminum pieces in the shape of the Halo are the icing on the cake.
As victor of this Challenge, he has won many prizes that include:
• $250 USD from the Master-Modder himself, Paul Capello!
• A Danger Den 101 Water Cooling Kit
• A Copy of Master Chief’s latest quest, Halo 3
• A Microsoft Coffee Mug (Large) Trend Coffee Mug (Small), Webroot Spysweeper:
Provided by Acrodex
• A PNY nVidia Quadro NVS285 128mb pcie x16 card
• And Provided by Velocity Micro, a Intel Water bottle, Beautiful Intel thermal coffee cup, Giftcor Collection bottle opener, Intel blue net bag, Velocity Micro hat, Intel t-shirt, Velocity Micro ice scraper, and an AMD mouse pad.
On behalf of The Best Case Scenario, Paul Capello, Danger Den, Acrodex, MCE, and Velocity Micro, we would like to thank ALL of you that participated and congratulation to the victor!
Although this Modder’s Challenge is over and the victor named, who is to say that you may not be next? Keep those pencils sharpened and watch out for the Modder’s Challenge #5