Erector Set PC Projects

Updated 04/29/07


I wanted to make an external water cooling system for my computer. It's also been in the back of my mind to make a custom PC case. Looking around the web, most of the unique ideas that are easy to acheive have been done. The Lego case, the shoe box, attache, aquarium, Amiga, etc. The really unique ones look way beyond my abilities. But as I thought about doing a prototype for the cooling system, the Erector set came to mind. The jump to doing a PC case the same way was a relative short stumble, so, I looked around the web. The only thing I have seen is Frank Clark's working Erector PC , but it's just a rectangular PC case made from Erector set parts. Cool, mind you, but I had different ideas. I figured I'd go for it.

The first project is the external water cooling system, which is in progress.

WaterPlant - Erector Set Water Cooling System

The project is in progress.

Photos of the WaterPlant project

WaterPlant work log on

WaterPlant Article on

The idea is to get all the heat away from the PC and have as little need for fans as possible in the PC itself. Also, the cooling system itself should be very quiet. You can see below what I'm doing on the PC, so here's what the cooling side looks like. Quick disconnects on the PC and the WaterPlant so they can be moved independantly. Water will flow from the PC to the lower side of the radiator, from the top of the radiator to the top of the Reservoir, from the bottom of the reservoir to the pump intake, and from the pump output back to the PC. By placing the reservoir at the highest part of the circuit, and having the water flow up through the radiator, the air in the system could collect nicely in the reservoir. The WaterPlant will have its own monitoring system. As the water temperature rises, the fans speed up. If the water is leaving at too high of a temperature, the Hradcano will alarm. The PC has it's own monitoring and will alarm or shut down if the temps get too high. So even though this external system will have no electrical or data contact with the PC, there are plenty of safeguards.

Existing PC watercooling plans.

I have the following:
  • Kingwin CPU block
  • Kingwin GPU block that I hope to convert to a chipset block.
  • Koolance water jacket to cool both sides of my ATI Radeon 800XL
  • 2 Koolance disk coolers to cool 2 drives each.
  • Koolance RAM cooler for 2 sticks
  • Koolance quick disconnects for the PC and the WaterPlant
  • Thernaltake Hardcano fan controller
  • I'll be getting:
  • Possible replacement for the CPU block
  • Possibly get a chipset cooler made for the job

  • First itteration will be a single loop system, but I'm thinking I may want to go to at least 2 loops. The watercooling part is kinda straight forward. Since all those components will be water cooled, the Hardcano can run the existing fans very slow. In the description above you'll see how I plan to keep the WaterPlant quiet as well. Photos will follow here when I start working on the PC.

    PowerStation - Erector Set PC

    After I get a working system in the above two projects, if I'm still having fun, I'll start on the Erector PC case. That'll take some more time on eBay.

    I'm thinking I want the components to be individually held up on stands, maybe suspend the disk drives, etc. It would be cool to find a way to use some motorized functions. Like maybe the DVD could be hiden, but rise/swing/something into position to be used. I am not envisioning any side panels, but if that changes, the side panels could open by motor and pullys. I don't want to add motion just for motions sake, but if anyone has any ideas of something that would somehow make sense, let me know.

    The latest idea is to stand the disk drives up on end, plug end up. The drive cooler will have a drive on each side, a sandwich of drive/cooler/drive. The water tubes will come out the center of the top, and the power and data cables on either side. Two blue water tubes, two red power cables and two green data cables. Since there are 4 drives, there will be two sets of this. The cable will be strung across in the air. The finished product should look like two transformers in a power substation.