Introduction: Ethereum Mining Rig

So there is this big Ether mining craze at the moment (it is June 2017) and it sounds like fun.

Ether is a crypto currency (like Bitcoin) that you can mine with a GPU on a computer. This means that you give the power of your GPU-card to the Ethereum network and get Ethers in return.

To get your rig as economic as possible, you want as many GPU's as possible on one motherboard that runs as cool as possible. This won't fit in a normal computer case so it is common to make an open 'rig' to hold your parts.

In this Ible I just explain how I have made the rig. I won't go into detail about the computer parts.

Because I have a lot of aluminum pipes for free, this is what I use, but you can also use any other kind of tubing; steal tubing, copper if you have it or probably even PVC.

You can also build something else with this system.

Step 1: You Will Need

Materials:

  • Pipes (I used aluminum with a outer diameter of 25 mm and 2 mm thickness)
  • (Old) race bike inner tube
  • some nuts and bolds
  • standoffs
  • some scrap pieces of metal
  • some liquid soap

Tools:

  • Drill
  • metal saw
  • scissors
  • file
  • 3D-printer (I use a robo3D)
  • 3D drawing software (I still use 123d-design)

To put it to use:

  • A powerful computer power unit
  • A motherboard that can handle a few GPU's
  • A CPU
  • A small harddisk
  • Riser cables
  • As many GPU's as your motherboard, power unit or your wallet can handle

Step 2: 3D Printing

Because it will take a long time to print all the parts, it might be a good idea to start with printing.

I'm sure that you can build your whole rig with just using the 'miner T' part, but I used also 4 'miner hoek' parts and 2 'miner recht' parts.

I used 30 of the 'miner T' parts. I printed them 2 at one time in PLA, without brim and without support. I used 40% infill.

To make this printable without problems, I print one connector in two parts. With two 'miner T' parts you can make a crossing or a corner. Just turn one half 180 degrees.

The round parts are just smaller than the inside of the pipes I use. There will be some inner bike tube around them, to make them fit snug.

I added both the 123D and the STL files, so you can do with it what you want. You can also just copy the idea and draw your own version for the pipes you have.

Step 3: Cut the Pipes

I used some scrap pipes that I have with an outer diameter of 25 mm and a inner diameter of 21 mm.

You can make your own design for your rig, but I used:

  • 8 pieces of 203 mm length
  • 12 pieces of 65 mm length
  • 5 pieces of 340 mm length
  • 5 pieces of 125 mm length

The size and design of your rig will depend on the parts you want to use for your computer.

Use a round file to get the burs from the inside of the pipes.

Step 4: Add the Inner Tubes

They give the old inner tubes away for free. It is trash for your local bicycle shop. I've got the smallest inner tubes, I could get.

Cut pieces from about 15 mm from the inner tubes.

Put the pieces tube around the tips of all the round 3D-printed parts.

The tubes will keep the two halves of one connector together at this point in the build.

Step 5: Start Building

This is the FUN part!

Push the connectors in the pipes. This is supposed to be difficult. Put some liquid soap on the outside of the inner tube to make it a little bit easier to get the connectors in the pipes.

The first layer will hold the motherboard.

Step 6: The Second Layer

The second layer is almost the same as the first.

I pulled a big piece of inner tube around the long pipe at the back to make this pipe non-conductive. The GPU-cards will lean on this pipe later on so I thought it might be a good idea to put some rubber around it.

I made a plateau on the left part of the second layer to hang the hard-drives from and put the power unit on. I used a piece of scrap metal that is perforated to help with the cooling and makes it easy to montage the drives.

Step 7: Top Layer

For the lop layer I used less pipes, but you can make it any way you like.

To make it easier to add the GPU-cards and fans, I added a scrap piece of corner-steel on the front long pipe.

Test fit a GPU-card.

Step 8: Add the Motherboard

To place my big motherboard, I need to make 3 braces. If you have a smaller board, 2 might me enough.

(I took the bottom layer from the rig to make it easier to acces for this step)

Just bend the strips so they fit over the two longest pipes on the bottom layer.

Put the strips under the holes in the motherboard.

Mark where to drill.

Drill 3 mm holes where you marked the strips.

Screw the M3 standoffs on the strips. (you can also use M3 bolts and some nuts/rings/bushes to make sure that your motherboard doesn't touch the strips.)

Screw the motherboard on the strips. I didn't screw the strips on the pipes, but you probably should.

Step 9: Add the Computer

Now just add the computer parts. This is not my expertise and you can probably find info about how to build your system on this site.

I know my cable management should get some attention, but I am still waiting on extra cables to connect two more GPU's

My system runs 20ºC cooler with 2 GPU's than it did in an open housing with 3 extra fans, while the power consumption is down from 370 watt to 335 watt. (this power saving could also be accomplished by the better power unit that I used in this rig)

Now start mining!

Before you start mining, be sure that you know what you are doing. The Ether price can go down and the price of electricity can be to high where you live to make money. At the end of 2017 it probably won't be possible to mine Ethers with GPU's anymore.

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Bio: I'm a social-worker, working with 12 - 23 year-olds. I used to be a printer and I worked voluntarily in Romania for a couple of ... More »
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