Custom Loop and Modding Tools
Our goal with this blog is more or less a basic guide to the tools you may need to build both custom loops and custom PCs in general. It will also serve as an organized list of links for those of you that know the struggles of searching through the thousands of parts we carry here at Performance-PCs.com. For some, this may be too basic, and if you’re looking for more specific guidance with your custom build I’d highly recommend you head over to our Youtube channel here and browse the many in depth guides we have there. For the rest of you, sit back, grab your favorite beverage, and enjoy some crucial information for getting started in the modding scene.
With that said, lets take a look at our favorite modding tools.
Custom Loop Tools
Cutting Tools - Most often when building a custom loop in your PC you will need to cut the tubing you are using, whether it be soft or rigid. Below I will list some of my favorite tools found at PPCs for cutting your tubing.
- EK-Loop Soft Tube Cutter - Great budget option to easily cut all sizes of soft tubing.
- Barrow Tube Cutter - Another very budget friendly choice in the more traditional “scissor” style format.
- Alphacool Tube Cutter - Heavy duty scissor style soft tube cutter for all sizes with replaceable blades (sold separately here)
- Monsoon Hardline Pro Cutting Kit (16mm/ ⅝”, 13mm/ ½”) - These might be everyone’s least favorite hacksaws to use, however they will cut every type of hard tubing aside from glass, and the included aluminum cutting jig helps quite a bit. The two size options give you every size you’ll encounter as well. For less than $25 these kits are hard to beat.
- Barrow Tube Cutter - PETG ONLY - Same as before, best budget cutter if you only plan on cutting PETG, this will not work with acrylic.
- Bitspower Metal Tube Cutter - This is your basic metal tubing cutter, much like you’d find at your local hardware store for plumbing. This will cut both metal tubing (copper/brass) and PETG, however it will not work well with acrylic or glass.
- Mayhem Tube Glass Cutting Kit - This cutting kit is your best friend if you’re trying to use borosilicate glass for your custom loop. With both measuring guides and a sharp cutter this tool won’t let you down for those tricky glass runs.
- PPCs Tubing Reamer - Although this isn’t a cutting tool, you will always want to use one of these to finish a cut you’ve made in your tube in order to keep the sharp edges from cutting the O-rings in your fittings.
Bending Tools - Soft tube users can keep scrolling, however, the rest of us might need a hand when we’re making those perfect bends in our hard tubed loops. See below for some of the most useful bending aids and tools that I’ve come to find over my years of watercooling.
Silicon Inserts (8mm, 10mm, 11mm, 12mm) - I grouped these together by their IDs accordingly, as I have always had the best luck using inserts that are slightly loose in the tubing, rather than tight against the walls. This will help a lot if you plan on making more than 1 bend in your tubing without removing the insert, as the more bends the more difficult it is to remove. For ½” OD tubing I recommend using the 10mm insert, and for ⅝” tubing the 12mm insert will work perfectly. Be sure to double check both your tubing and the insert you choose to ensure they are compatible.
Monsoon Heat Gun - This tool is required to bend any rigid plastic tubing like acrylic and PETG. This is your best bang for your buck 110v heat gun and will not disappoint you!
Barrow Hard Tube Bending Tool - Here is the most versatile hard tube bending mandrel you’ll ever find for under $25. For more in depth info on this amazing mandrel, check out our Tool Tech Tip video on it here.
Other Useful Tools - Here are just a couple other random tools that can prove to be very useful for when putting your custom loop together.
Alphacool Measuring Kit - This kit is very handy for accurately measuring your tubing runs, including the bends. Remember, measure twice, cut once!
Leak Testers (EK, Barrow, Aquacomputer, Alphacool) - These leak testers are your best friend when it comes to safely testing your loop for leaks. Gone are the days of covering your rig with paper towels and crossing fingers when you flip your PSU on for the first start up. I’ve listed each brand we carry as they often go out of stock, however each are very similar in how you operate them.
Perhaps you didn’t realize, but PPCs carries practically every tool you would ever need to start modding your PC. Whether it be down to the wires inside the system to the panels that hold it all together, we’ve got the tool you need!
X-Acto Double Knife Set - The most basic of cutting tools, the X-Acto knife. These are razor blades with premium handles for the most precise cutting you can do by hand.
Dremel 3000 Kit - Even if you’re new here, you’ve probably seen most modders use or at least recommend using a dremel when you want to get into case modding. This beast of a rotary cutter will cut through most any case panel. It comes with many other attachments for sanding, drilling, boring, etc. There really isn't a more useful tool for modding.
Cordless Drill - Most case modding requires some sort of drilling, so don’t be left in the woods when it comes to getting that case customized exactly the way you want it. Pick up an electric drill and some of the drill bits recommended below to cover all of your drilling needs.
Step Drill Bit Kit - When you need to bore out that drain port, or drill a fill port in the top of your case, your best bet will be to use one of these step bits. Of course they can be used for many other drilling jobs as well.
Metric Drill Bit Set - If you’ve got some rivets to remove or just some small mounting holes to get in a side panel, this kit will do everything you need.
Hand File Set - For some of those finer jobs, you may need to smooth out some tight spots. This file set will give the ability to get to those hard to reach places.
Multi Tool Kit - This kit includes a multi bit screwdriver set as well as many other useful tools to aid in removing panels, screws and other fasteners in your PC case.
ATX Pin Extractor - This may be a simple looking tool, but when it comes to removing those pesky ATX pins to work on your custom cables there isn’t a better option.
Molex Pin Extractors (male, female) - When you want to customize the length of some of your cables you may run into some molex connectors, these tools will allow you to remove all of those pins with ease.
SATA, PCIe, and Fan Pin Extractor - For all of the other little connectors in your build, this tool will remove them!
Wire Cutter/Stripper - This is your basic wire cutter and stripper that will serve you well when you need to cut and strip the wires for your custom cables.
Pin Crimper - This is the best crimper I’ve ever used myself. With a grippy handle and all metal construction, this crimper will repeat the perfect crimp on all of your pins until the cows come home.
Of course this is not the most in depth guide for you to use to get into case modding or custom loop building, however it should serve you well in getting your feet wet to say the least. If you’re looking for more guides like this, please check out our previous blogs here as well. As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly for help as well, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope this helps some of you with your builds!