Inspired by Nissan’s Skyline GT-R R34, Ronnie Hara built this amazing case mod, based on Cooler Master’s Cosmos II chassis, and incorporating rigid tubing and original car accessories.
CPC: What inspired you to build Skyline GT-R? Ronnie: The design of Cooler Master’s Cosmos II case, and Nissan’s Skyline GT-R R34 car. I’ve always thought the latter was both very beautiful and powerful, and beauty and power were the main facets I wanted to convey with this case mod. I’ve owned two Skyline GTS-T R32 cars in my life, but I’ve always been passionate about the GT-R R34. Since I couldn’t have one, I thought I’d instead play on the design with a case mod.
The case that provided the foundation for the project was given to me by Cooler Master, a company I’ve admired very much since I became a computer enthusiast. This was my first sponsorship, which I managed to achieve on the basis of my previous Zeus case mod – it’s great to have sponsorship and support from a manufacturer whose products I’ve been using for at least the last six years.
My goal was to show how much I admire this manufacturer’s large cases, with their fairly elaborate designs. I immediately imagined joining two great passions – an old passion, which was cars, and a current passion, which is the modification of computers. I always try to be very thorough in my projects, calmly considering the right way to perform each step of the design.
This project was no different. In fact, it required even more consideration, as Cooler Master was also expecting a good result from me.
Upon receipt of the case from Cooler Master, I started working on ideas and acquiring materials for the mod. However, as I had completed my Zeus case mod only a little while beforehand, my budget for this project was limited, so I had to go after other sponsors. Luckily, I received other sponsorships that were essential for enabling the project to stay exactly as I had imagined. Among them are Alphacool, Avexir, G- Vans, Mnpctech, Phobya, X- Zone, E22 and (again) Cooler Master, who provided me with the power supply as well.
For this project, I also decided to use the Intel LGA2011 platform, as it’s great for games – one of my favourite activities. As such, I bought an LGA2011 chip that was not only in my financial reach, but that I knew would also meet my requirements – the Core i7-3820.
CPC: How did you find working with rigid tubing? Ronnie: The first time I’d used rigid pipes was when I was working on my previous Zeus project, so I’d done it successfully before. However, my lack of knowledge at the time resulted in me buying compression fittings with very low profiles, which then caused leaks when I started the machine. I spotted this quickly, and then bought safer fittings for the system. Despite this small problem with the Zeus project, though, I liked the end result and decided to use rigid pipes again in Skyline GT-R.
The pipes also have a special finish, which you can mainly see in the inclined reservoirs. It’s a lot of work to use these tubes, as every detail must be planned and studied, but I recommend any case modders to allow one day with them on a project. Despite initial difficulties, the end result is very rewarding. I’d also like to thank E22 for supporting me and allowing me to use this type of tubing again on this project.
CPC: What difficulties did you come across? Ronnie: The main difficulty was finances. As I mentioned, I started work on the GT-R soon after I’d finished Zeus. All the materials, shipping and so on for the Zeus project were funded by myself, as there was no sponsorship. I spent a lot of money buying and importing materials from outside Japan, and the cost of freight and transport of materials isn’t cheap. This difficulty disappeared as soon as I got some sponsors for the project. This time, I invested in some tools, which made work on this project a lot easier.
CPC: What materials did you use? Ronnie: I often use acrylic in my projects, and in the case of the GT-R, I also threw in some 3M carbon adhesive. Because it was inspired by a car, I also searched in car shops for materials that would convey the design of the original car. I used many actual accessories for cars, such as the temperature and pressure displays, as well as original emblems. I also make a point of painting all the cases I modify. I have a friend who works at a car painting company, where I can use the equipment. In this project, I actually used the original Skyline blue paint.
CPC: What tools did you use? Ronnie: In my early modding work, I just mainly used a Dremel for making cuts – nothing out of the ordinary. However, when I started trying different ideas for the Zeus project, I found I needed to be better prepared – I came across many difficulties and began searching for the easiest and fastest ways to perform simple tasks. The GT-R design was similar; during my work on the project, I acquired a small benchtop band saw for cutting various metals and acrylics, some tube benders and some other small tools and accessories.
CPC: How long did it take you to finish building Skyline GT-R? Ronnie: The total time was around four months, from receiving the chassis to producing the final result.
CPC: What have you learned from the build process? Ronnie: To be patient and remain calm when performing each step of the project. There were a few times when I made mistakes while cutting, and I had to be patient when making the cuts again. I’m only human, and we all make mistakes. The great lesson from this project was patience – I think the result was worth it.
CPC: Are you happy with the end result, and is there anything you’d differently if you built it again? Ronnie: I wouldn’t change anything, and I’ve had lots of comments praising different parts of the project. It was all thought out in detail, and I get requests from other people wanting to replicate this project; it’s a pleasure to answer their questions. Skyline GT-R is currently my main computer, which I use to play games and watch videos with my son. It stays in my living room, and any friends who visit me are delighted with the design, and curious to know more about it, as most of them are unfamiliar with case mods.
This all demonstrates to me that the final design appeals not only to me, but also to many others. I just have to thank my sponsors who made this possible, and all the people who admire my work.