Repair.IT of course – Corsair H100i liquid cooling standoff

There is a kit from Corsair that would contain the standoffs that we could use to replace the one that broke.  We checked a couple of computer shops but these were not in stock, with no information about when the kit might be available.

The results are in – the majority of votes (being one) are to “repair.it” – great, another use for my machinery.

Alright – lets get into it.  The standoff that had the screw stud snap off, has a M3 thread, i.e. metric 3mm thread.  I happened to have M3 machine screws in my cupboard of different lengths.  I chose to use a 20mm machine screw.  First thing is to put the standoff in my lathe chuck, then face it off.

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Face off in metalworking terms means to make the end face flat, i.e. remove the remaining threaded portion.  Next, I use a 2mm centre drill – to start a hole in the end face.  A centre drill is used to put a starting hole exactly in the centre – as it means.  If I start with the 2.5mm drill that I will require, I may end up with an off-centre hole.  After doing this, I followed up with the 2.5mm drill that was needed.  To work out what hole is needed to tap a particular size thread, we refer to a tapping chart.  To tap a M3 thread, I needed to drill a hole that is 2.5mm in diameter.  Actually a 2.46mm drill would be ideal – but these don’t exist, hence the nearest one being 2.5mm.

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The above photo shows the standoff after tapping.  I use cutting fluid on the tap as I am tapping, backing off from time to time as recommended.  After tapping is completed, it is necessary to clean the tapped hole – I use a duster spray on a thin nozzle to blow out the metals bits.  Next step – to screw my M3 machine screw into the tapped hole.

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Now I cut the end off with a hacksaw, the length needed is not so important as long as it is similar to the original – it does not have to be exact.

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Then the end is cleaned up with a metal file.  I try a M3 nut to make sure that the threads will engage without difficulty.

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This photo shows the two side by side, the repaired standoff is on the right – you can see the different silvery screw.  Yes, the one on the left – the bottom thread appears slightly bent because it is – it shouldn’t be that way though, but I won’t try to straighten it.  Great – I have “repaired.it“.  Overall time it took – about 20 minutes because I did not want to rush.

[Note]  When using metalworking machinery – it is always important to be safe.  Wear eye protection – the little bits of metal can be so small that you might need a magnifying glass to see them, especially when spraying into the tapped hole.  My lathe does not have a very low speed, the minimum speed is 100rpm, which is a bit too high, so it is necessary to tap manually.  I disconnect the power plug to the lathe, then install a spindle handle so that I can manually turn the chuck that is holding the standoff – in this manner, I can hold the tap handle in my right hand and turn the chuck with the left.  When working manually on machines like this, it is so easy to forget what you are doing and accidentally hit the power button – often with disastrous results.

Return.IT or Repair.IT – that is the question for the Corsair H100i liquid cooling kit

My younger son is building his first computer.  Previously he had either store bought computers or the last one was built by his older brother.  Now embarking on his journey he has specified a list of parts which were ordered and which I picked up yesterday afternoon.

The cooling system for the Intel i5 cpu that he chose was a Corsair H100i Liquid Cooler. Fitting the cooler to the motherboard comprises of installing a bracket under the cpu socket, then fitting some standoffs onto the bracket.  The cooling system heatsink is then placed on top of the cpu and then another bracket clips over the top onto the standoffs, and fastened into place with thumbscrews.

I had gone out in the evening to play badminton and when I returned, my son said he broke something.  It turns out that when fastening the thumbscrews, one of thumbscrews broke off on the standoff.

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This morning I made a call to the shop and spoke to customer service.  It seems that I will have to bring the cooling kit back to the shop – they will send it away to the manufacturer and see whether or not the manufacturer will accept it as a warranty claim.  It will mean that my son will have to use the Intel stock heatsink and fan until such time as this cooling kit is resolved.  If Corsair won’t accept it as a warranty claim, then we may be up for more expenses – unknown at this stage.  I checked that there is available a Corsair Intel Mounting Bracket Kit for this cooling system that would contain all the parts needed to install it – specifically, it contains a set of standoffs – for $18.70.

After inspection of the standoff, I determined that the broken screw thread is a metric 3mm thread.  It would be possible to face off the standoff, drill a 2.5mm hole into it, then thread it with a metric 3mm tap – then insert a M3 screw and cut it to length.

The question then is… “Return.IT” or “Repair.IT” or buy the kit?

What do you think?

Another alternative is to email Corsair and ask them if they would consider this as a warranty claim and if they can just send out the replacement standoff.

[PS]  The Corsair warranty indicates that within the first 30 days of purchase, to return to the place of purchase – after that to contact Corsair in HK.