[Beowulf] materials for air shroud?

Lux, Jim (337C) james.p.lux at jpl.nasa.gov
Wed Aug 31 11:43:39 PDT 2011

Cardboard? Card stock? Masking tape? White glue? (that's what I usually use for cooling ducts.. easy to cut, glue, tape..)  It's no more flammable than plastic, and it doesn't melt and get soft. Papier Mache, works too.

On the other hand, if you want to mold a smooth curve, then plastic is the way to go. Vacuforming can make a very nice thing, and the form is made out of wood (usually), but you don't need to go to that extreme.. you get some nice thermoplastic, put it in hot water to get it soft, and mold as needed. (yes, you could use those old LPs you've got stashed away.. )

Thin, cuttable plastic could be polyethylene (not necessarily High density) or similar.  Polystyrene and acrylic tend to be more brittle.  ABS is very nice to work with.  PVC is also easy to work with. Nylon is another possibility.

Do you want to be able to glue it?

What I would do is call up profesionalplastics.com  formerly Cadillac Plastics (many outlets nationwide) and see what they have.  It might be more useful to find a retail outlet and go look through their scrap bin.. Before Gem-O-Lite in Woodland Hills went out of business, that's where I used to go.  Plastic Depot in Burbank has a huge selection.

Drive over there, and ask the counter folks what would work for you.  $10-20 will get you more plastic than you know what to do with.

Art supply places (e.g. Blick on Raymond.. any of the countless Michaels or Aaron Bros) also carry sheet plastic, but I find the plastic places tend to have more variety, and more practical information about use for "engineering" applications.

Jim Lux

> -----Original Message-----
> From: beowulf-bounces at beowulf.org [mailto:beowulf-bounces at beowulf.org] On Behalf Of David Mathog
> Sent: Wednesday, August 31, 2011 10:29 AM
> To: beowulf at beowulf.org
> Subject: [Beowulf] materials for air shroud?
> Anybody know of a nice cheap, high melting point, easy to work with
> sheet material, for making a custom air shroud?
> We have one box with stuff in it that looks similar to HDPE, the
> material the white flexible cutting boards are made of, but it is a bit
> thinner and more rigid that that.  Unfortunately there are no markings
> on it, so HDPE is just a guess.  Whatever it is, it cut easily with
> scissors (I had to trim it slightly at one point.)
> Background.  We have an older Supermicro SC-823 server with dual
> processors.  The air shroud it came with only covers the first
> processor.  That didn't matter much when it had two low power processors
> in it, but after upgrading it to dual Opteron 280s, the uncovered second
> one runs considerably hotter than the covered front one.  (Swapping the
> processors around didn't help - the heat stayed where it was, so a
> ventilation issue, not a processor issue.)  Supermicro does make a newer
> shroud which extends to the back of the case, but the manual (google for
> "SC-823 air shroud user's guide") indicates that it is designed for
> Intel CPUs.  So it may or may not fit around the Opterons.
> The redesigned air shroud will probably work, but I'm about 90%
> confident that taping a sheet of plastic onto the back of the existing
> shroud would work as well - if I can find a plastic that won't flap
> around or melt.
> Thanks,
> David Mathog
> mathog at caltech.edu
> Manager, Sequence Analysis Facility, Biology Division, Caltech
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