Side Panel Mod / Case Fan's Question

I have 2 questions, basically I'm going to soon mod my case side panel possibly with 1 or 2 120mm case fans.

My first question is what fans should I use, my goal is silence. Here are a few examples I have gone around finding the best fans from what I have heard and putting the info together.

Nexus 36.87CFM 22.8 DB $13.95
Global Win 41.70CFM 19 DB $5.95
Yate Loons 47CFM 28 DB $5.95

SilenX 58CFM 14 DB $29.95 +$6 Shipping

1) So my First question is which fan is best for silence, basically are the SilenX really quiter then the other 3 and it also pushes more air...

2) My second question I was wondering if I could be pointed to other supplies I will need for this mod, examples: Fan Grill // Fan Filters // and anything else I might need, or need to know.

And any recommendations would also be appreciated.


Thanks for any help. Storm
140 answers Last reply
More about side panel case question
  1. This 120mm fan is one of the best I've used.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16811999344

    I also second the use of 120mm hole saw. Much faster, easier and cleaner cut. But it can be done with a dremel tool as well.
  2. Fan noise evaluation is highly subjective. You might be able to tolerate a rumble, but a ticking will drive you insane, or vice versa.

    Fan noise ratings are full of specmanship. SilenX fans have their noise measured using a non-standard method. Arctic cooling rates its fans in Sones instead of dB.

    Put these two facts together and just resign yourself to the likelihood that after all the reviews and recommendations you're probably going to buy a fan or two more than you actually use.

    As for cutting the hole I recommend you try reversible alternatives first. Clean up your cables. Build some ducting out of cardboard to bring outside air directly to the spot you want to cool. If that doesn't work then start hacking holes in your case.

    Grills are cheap, use them unless the fan is completely inside your case. Fan filters cut the air flow slightly, but also cut dust build up inside your case. They're also cheap and can be removed if you really need that last 0.1 CFM of airflow. Also consider silicone fan gaskets, they too are cheap and removable.

    Fan controllers are not as cheap as cheap as grills or gaskets, but they do help lower the noise.
  3. @mpilchfamily

    That is also what im trying to decide where to put the hole's and how to get it exactly where I want it considering I dont have a sidepanel window to see where I'm doing it. Im using a Sonata 2 Case.

    My first question is could someone draw me up a example on where you think I should put my hole or hole's. Ill post a pic.

    And second could you guys gimme some link from like lowes or homedepot or something available locally probably.

    Is this what I need to get?
    http://www.toolup.com/productinfo_froogle.asp?pid=%7B1C2262E2-7E05-4C0C-B728-D8C1BD77CF59%7D&AdCamp=Froogle

    I would just like other links so I can buy them locally. And anything else I might need or try post a link please.

    http://i94.photobucket.com/albums/l109/storm1234/DSCF0529.jpg

    Picture of case for an idea of where to put them, im either guessing 3 locations.

    1) exactly over the CPU
    2) in the middle of the CPU and ram
    3) by graphics card fan if I put 2 fans

    Mainly just need #1 or 2 for now, 1 hole at a time incase i dont do the second one.


    Thanks very much for any help.

    Thanks Storm
  4. Why do you want the side panel fans?

    If your goal is to silence your computer then adding fans will not help. Replacing fans, moving fans and changing heatsinks will help silence your computer. Adding fans adds noise (more or less depending on the fans).

    Do you want something to be cooler than it is? What do you want to cool: CPU, GPU, Northbridge?

    Or do you just have an itchy Dremel-finger?

    Clean up your cables (silent, free, and no permanent damage to your case). Take some cardboard and make sure that intake fan near your HDD actually draws air from the outside and is not recirculating case air (silent, nearly free, no case cuts). Take some cardboard and isolate the bottom corner of your case where there the empty PCI slots are, but don't cover the bridge chip (silent, etc.) Mount another intake fan below the one you have on your HDD cage (not silent, not free, but you don't have a gaping hole in your case if it doesn't work.)
  5. I also have the Sonata 2 case and have been thinking about modding it to have a side intake fan. I was debating on adding a window with a fan or 2 or just cutting into the side of the case.

    I found a window kit for it here (the Sonata 2 can't use a standard rectangle since the side handle thing gets in the way):

    http://www.frozencpu.com/products/3942/win-84/Clear_Chenming_Elite_Window_Kit_w_120mm_Fan_Hole.html?id=rDm8WbmX&mv_pc=1906

    Right now I have replace my hsf with a zalman 7700cu and my video card is cooled with an arctic cooling hsf. Also added an AeroCool fan for the exhaust and moved the stock fan to the front intake.

    After all that, I am kind of happy with the cooling, but I think it could be better. I am pretty sure that the intake on the case is limited since the stock fan I moved up front is behind the hard drives (I have 4) and there is a filter on the front AND the front of the case has a plastic piece over the filter (air has to go around the plastic to get to the filter).

    Also, the case comes with an intake duct that takes air from the back of the case and dumps it onto the CPU. I ended up removing this duct cause it hindered the front -> back airflow of my case a lot. That being said, there are 2 locations in the duct to mount fans (92mm I think) over the gpu and cpu. This would probably help too.

    Either way, by far the loudest fan in my case was my GPU fan (sapphire ati x850xt). It was not only loud, but made an irritating kind of vibarting hum. I didn't want to mess with it at first (since it voids the warrentee), but eventually I got pissed off enough and replaced it with my Arctic Cooling Rev 5 (or something) and it lowered the temps by 10 degrees at load and it vastly quieter (nearly inaudible even at 100%).

    So if you want cooling, there are many options with that case. What part(s) of your system is running hot? I guess you don't use the duct, but if your CPU is hot, it might help. If your front intake fan is better than the stock rear one, you could try swapping them (exhaust should be > intake). Also, the stock fan has a fan controller, is it set on the highest setting?
  6. K, I guess I forgot to state my main reason for wanting to put a side panel fan.

    My reason is to cool down my CPU - P D 805

    There's only so much cable management can do, and iv'e pretty much fixed them the best I can, and a little bit more isn't gonna add but maybe -1C.

    So my reason is to cool down my CPU.

    So back to my post before this, can anyone post some links, and any other info I may need..


    Thank you very much. Storm
  7. Also, you should move your hard drives down to stop them from blocking the intake to the fan. Right now it looks like your lower HD could be blocking the air from getting to the intake and end up just recirculating the air.
  8. Firstly both my case fans are Antec TriCool fans so can't move them around there the exact same. And everything in my case fan wise is on max.

    I might try your HD idea on moving them down.

    Also about that Window Kit few things I dont get about it, it doesn't say anything about working with Antec Sonata 2 case. I also dont see how it attaches to the case, and I also dont think it would help me out much for the hole being at the bottom and I need it at the top for my CPU.

    But I dont know much about them so maybe you can explain it a little bit more, possibly im missing something.

    Thanks for everyone's help, I appreciate your comments, I'll be back in about 4-6 hours looking forward to reading some replies.

    Thanks very much. Storm
  9. So you want to get better cooling on your CPU. I understand the D-805s tend to just run hot, so adjust your expectations accordingly.

    You want to run more air or cooler air (or more and cooler) through your heatsink. More is hard to get, you have to replace the heat sink fan. Cooler you can do by adding a side vent, but you don't need a fan in it.

    Here's a test to try that's nearly free and reversible. Pop open your unused 5 1/4" bay. Make a cardboard air duct from the front of your case to the CPU fan. (It make take a little effort with scissors and tape, but it'll be easier than cutting your case.) See how much that lowers the temp on your CPU.

    I also respectfully disagree that you have reached the limits of cable management.
  10. Those Antec fans, at least on high speed, seem to push a decent amount of air. I have found that my AeroCool (turbine something or other) pushes quite a bit more air and I don't think its any louder.

    The window kit I am not 100% certain that it works for the Sonata 2 case. It says that its made for the Chenming case and that it is also sold as an Antec (somewhere on that site, can't remember where).

    Looking at the Chenming cases they sell, the case looks different, but I think the side panel is the same (w/o the window). At least they have the same handle:

    http://www.frozencpu.com/products/1572/cst-26/Aluminum_Blue_Chenming_601_w_Full_Size_Window.html?tl=g1c7s28#blank

    I was planning on e-mailing them and asking if it would work for the Sonata 2. There are instructions in a PDF on how to install the window. You basically trace a line on your case using the window as a guide, then cut out the hole, put window in case using rubber seal stuff:

    http://www.frozencpu.com/images/products/pdf/window_kit_installation_guide_v2.pdf

    I also wanted a hole above the cpu instead of the GPU area, which is where it looks like the hole on the window is (unless you could flip it around?). I was thinking I could mount a fan below the GPU (some really quiet one) and then cut a hole for the other one above the CPU.

    The more I think about it though, now I just think that I may cut a hole above the CPU like you have suggested. If I really want a window later on, then I can just cut the window out and the current hole will just get cut away. They have some pretty nice fan grills there though :) :

    http://www.frozencpu.com/cat/l3/g36/c221/s468/list/p1/Fans-Fan_Grills-120mm_Laser_Cut_Grills-Page1.html
  11. Does anybody know where you can buy a tool to cut a 120mm hole? Do I need to buy a dremel and a bit for it? Was the bit in that link above for cutting metal?

    http://www.toolup.com/productinfo_froogle.asp?pid=%7B1C2262E2-7E05-4C0...728-D8C
  12. @ brer_squid

    I dont really understand how the whole cardboard thing works, and how to make it go to the HSF. Would you beable to show me a picture of how it should be built and attached..

    I also would like you to look at my case picture above, considering you say I can do more basically, and if you could tell me what to do exactly, my case pretty much looks the same except now I have a TV Tuner Card in the middle PCI slot.

    Very much appreciated if you could. And I will give them both a try.

    @gm0n3y

    I beleive that link I posted to see if that will beable to make my hole for me will cut threw medal. And its used with a electric screwdriver I beleive, not a dremel.


    Thanks very much. Storm
  13. one thing to consider is airflow. i mean air from different directions
    air from one fan can dissrupt the air to another. slowing the rpm
    on the affected fan thus stressing the electric motor.

    if you want quite. mounting rubber pads between the case
    and fan helps vibration and noise a little.
  14. Here is a good example of the cardboard thing.

    http://overclockers.com/tips1187/index.asp
  15. pretty good link. storm you should check it out.
  16. I will try to do my best verbally here.

    What you want to do is bring the coldest possible air directly to the CPU fan. From what I see in your picture the bottom 5 1/4" bay is unoccupied. Pop out the front panel inset for this bay. You probably will have to pop out some case cutout as well, but it wasn't adding any serious strength to your case, and the front plastic insert will cover the hole if this doesn't work.

    Now get some scissors, tape and cardboard (cereal boxes are a good choice). Build a duct from your front panel 5 1/4" bay opening to the front of your CPU fan. This will be a little tricky as you are starting with a rectangular opening and ending with a circular outlet. Since you don't have a window looks don't really matter here, and you can use lots of tape. Do not tape the duct to the CPU heat sink as the adhesive will gum up the fins and cut its thermal characteristics.

    There all also areas of your case where you want LESS airflow. The bottom of you case towards the back has very few components and they don't generate much heat at all. Put a little cardboard box, or chunk of packing foam here. Don't cover the North or Southbridge chips and leave some room for air to get around the TV tuner card. This will make your inlet air tend to flow around the components that need it most.

    As gm0n3y suggested move your hard drives so that inlet fan has more unrestricted airflow. This is a mixed blessing as your drives will get a little warmer, but I'm guessing these are not really hot 15,000 RPM monsters.

    The round floppy cable is a nice idea but it is sitting in the path to the CPU fan. Move it or go back to a flat ribbon cable folded out of the way. Here's an example:
    Cable folding examples

    With a little effort (and maybe some tape) you can get the mobo power cable out of the way too.

    Good luck, and if this doesn't do any good then you can still go and buy power tools.
  17. Im to tired to post a bunch at the moment but I appreciate your help, for right now I have a quick question before I go to bed, for when I make my hole I start from the inside *non* painted side correct...

    Oh and also, what do I use to clean it up after, for like sanding it down wise..? Other then sandpaper...?

    Thanks very much, Storm
  18. @brer_squid

    The problem with the air duct idea above is that the Sonata 2 case has a front door on it, so the door would have to remain open for this to work. The original duct that came with the case took air from the lower back corner of the case and routed it up to the CPU. This would work well, but the duct has some corners and impedes airflow to the rest of the case. You could try putting that duct back in and compare your temps. In my case (pun intended) I was also worried about GPU heat, so it was best to take it out (or install duct fans as mentioned above).

    I like the idea of installing something into the empty area at the bottom of your case to help airflow to the CPU area. I guess some sort of angled piece in the lower back corner would help to get airflow to the top of the case:

    http://img215.imageshack.us/img215/5299/sonata2drawingnt4.th.jpg

    That link to the cable folding example is pretty sweet. Somebody posted that in another thread about a week ago and I think when I get my new PSU next week, I will redo my IDE cable folding it like that (I will probably have to use a new one though, my old one is pretty bent up already).


    @Someguyy

    That cardboard duct idea is quite neat. I haven't seen that before and it seems to work quite well.


    If you want to try out the 5 1/4 bay duct idea (meaning you don't mind leaving the door open), you could try getting one of these as well or instead of using ducting:

    http://www.xoxide.com/scythe-kama-bay-cooler-black.html

    I think if you paired that up with some ducting, you would get vastly better cooling results. The only issue that I have with this is that the case, while beautiful (IMO), looks pretty ugly with the door open.

    Image with scythe fan and air duct:

    http://img183.imageshack.us/img183/8277/sonata2drawingwithductvc2.th.jpg

    Or if you don't want to use a duct, you could try putting a cardboard piece in front of the psu to direct airflow towards your CPU. You would have to cut a hole(s) out for cables, but I don't think that would be too hard:

    http://img226.imageshack.us/img226/9560/sonata2drawingwithscytheandpsucutoutzk0.th.jpg
  19. Crap, I forgot that the Sonata 2 has that Antec PSU with front air intake. That kind of rules out the last suggestion of mine.

    However, I actually really like the idea of having the intake through the 5 1/4 and blocking off the PSU like that. When I get my new PSU that has a 120mm intake on the bottom, I will may try this out. On the other hand, the case does look better with the door closed... still easier than cutting up the side panel though (or you could always just cut a hole in the door :) )
  20. Quote:
    Why do you want the side panel fans?

    If your goal is to silence your computer then adding fans will not help. Replacing fans, moving fans and changing heatsinks will help silence your computer. Adding fans adds noise (more or less depending on the fans).


    Not always true. Sometimes you can significantly up your case flow while simultaneously lowering the SPL by doing exactly what the OP is proposing - add quiet fans. On my game box, I added a second 12cm in front and an 8cm in the door and the SPL at the ear in the keyboard position went down by over 3 dB. The main reson is that the improved airflow caused the chipset fan to throttle down from 7000 rpm to ~3500 rpm and it was the single loudest noise source. Having a large vent surface with slow quiet fans is not a bad idea.

    To the OP: I've got quite a bit of experience comparing SilenX, Scythe and Nexus fans. If you go with low rpm fans, all will cut your noise measurably. To my ears and dB meter, SilenX is the quietest. I'm fiddling with the Yate Loons now and don't have enough data to conclude yet. Good value though. The real key is to figure out if you have one or two major noise sources, then decide what to do about them.
  21. I did some extensive searching to help storm out.. :lol:

    After reading some, I noticed some are willing to cut a hole on the side.

    Well.. I did stumble on this, with pre-cut holes that is a window for 2 120mm fans to mount to it:

    CrazyPC Square Window Kit with Dual 120mm Fan Holes $17.99

    So, all you need to do is cut the pane for the window.



    Not sure how well this will work, but keep in mind:

    Quote:
    Window dimensions are 12" x 12" - leave an extra 1/2" edge around the window to fit the case.
  22. The problem with generic window kits is that the Sonata 2 has a handle around the CPU/GPU area so the area that you would want to mount the window doesn't work unless it is a window designed for the case.
  23. Well.. the only other thing you could do with it, is to cut it down, so you wouldn't have to make the 120mm holes, that is if your really good at cutting plexi glass, to shape it to the case needs.

    However, it would be nice to be able to find things for certain PC cases.
  24. I'm loving all the ideas, thanks very much.

    I will point one thing out, I will be doing 2 other computer cases before I do this one my main one.

    First one of the cases I'll be expanding from a 80mm hole to a 120mm hole so that should be interesting. Second the other case Ill be doing the whole thing from scratch no previous hole. So the good thing about this is I will have some experience *if I cut into my case.

    Ill probably start mainly over the weekend, how do you guys think I should go about expanding a alrdy made 80mm side panel hole to a 120mm hole?

    And a random question, what is VRM baffle? And where can it be baught?


    Thanks for the help. Storm
  25. Is it easy to cut plexiglass? Can i just use a sharp razor and cut into it? Do I need to use a dremel? How fragile is it (will it crack)? Also, if you buy a kit that comes with the rubber seal, I guess you would have to cut this down to size too, has anybody tried this?
  26. I've modded my case already with 120s and obviously the lower the CFM the quieter the fan, but you would probably want ot keep the CFM in the 40 range, keeping in mind the volume of air is increased the larger the hole.

    Also a good front drivebay multifan controller is good to take into consideration, that way gaming you can run the fans wide open, surfing the web turn them down to a quieter level, all easily accessed on the front of the case.

    My case is modded with two 120mm blowholes on top, heat rises so I decided to assist it getting out of the machine seriously dropping the interior case temperature, I simply removed the existing 80mm case fans and allowed the 120s up top to pull the air into the case through the existing holes.

    My original plans were to add an additional two side 120s, and I set out the venture locating the center of the first 120 dead over the location of my 2 video cards in SLI, but after mounting the 120 over the video cards I realized there was no need to put a second side 120, because I had created a perfect chimney wind tunnel, that blew straight on the video cards, and created an airflow over the CPU and the RAM as it traveled upward out the top blowholes.

    You can find just about any style fan or fan grills right here.

    Tips: You'll get the cleanest hole using a bi-metal hole saw but a 120mm hole is a big hole to cut into the metal, so you have to make sure the drill you'll use is powerful enough to push it and be prepared for the torque backlash if it binds during cutting.

    Tip 1 is to put wood below the metal when cutting a side panel that the holesaw can cut into, this will help keep the holesaw straight.

    Tip 2 when holesawing into a side panel clamp it all down the torque it takes to cut a 120mm hole through metal is a lot and if its not clamped down it can get away from you and hurt you.

    Tip 3 a small round metal file will be needed to remove the edge burring.

    Tip 4 If you decide to go the Jigsaw route if the case metal is steel you need finer metal cutting blades and higher speed, aluminum needs coarser metal blades and slower cutting speed.

    Tip 5 use masking tape to cover the cutting area when using a Jigsaw that way you won't scar the finish surface with the bottom of the Jigsaw plate.
  27. Quote:
    Is it easy to cut plexiglass? Can i just use a sharp razor and cut into it? Do I need to use a dremel? How fragile is it (will it crack)? Also, if you buy a kit that comes with the rubber seal, I guess you would have to cut this down to size too, has anybody tried this?



    The best way to cut a round hole in plexiglas is with a hole saw over flat wood at slow speed, at high speed plexiglas melts into the saw teeth, a drill press would be the most ideal and safest way to cut the hole, as long as the material to be cut is properly clamped to control the outcome.

    Thin plexiglas with break from the vibration of a jigsaw but if the plexiglass is at least 3/16" thick a jigsaw will work just fine, just control the vibration allowed and mask the cutting surface to avoid scarring.
  28. Nice posts and tips 4ryan6.

    Ill be back later tonight again probably from now about 6 hours or so.

    Looking forward to reading everyone's replies again.


    Thanks very much Storm
  29. Quote:
    First one of the cases I'll be expanding from a 80mm hole to a 120mm hole so that should be interesting. Second the other case Ill be doing the whole thing from scratch no previous hole. So the good thing about this is I will have some experience *if I cut into my case.



    Back the area to be recut with plywood clamped into place firmly enough to ensure when the plywood is cut so is the case metal and use a Bi-Metal holesaw to cut through the case metal and the wood, the plywood will keep the center guide drillbit of the holesaw in position allowing you to recut the size of the hole without shifting on you or moving during cutting.
  30. Quote:
    The problem with generic window kits is that the Sonata 2 has a handle around the CPU/GPU area so the area that you would want to mount the window doesn't work unless it is a window designed for the case.


    You can always swap and use the backside panel if it will interchange.


    You don't have to have a handle on the front side it gets in the way of what you want to do, thumb screws work just fine for quick removal of the front side.

    As a matter of fact I did exactly that with my case, and it allowed me to do everything I wanted to do to the side panel, as far as where I wanted my holes located, theres nothing worse than side holes bored in the wrong place, or window kits limited to what you have already existing.
  31. This is the type hole saw you need 4 1/2" not the one you posted a link to its got finer teeth and its easier to control, these type BiMetal holesaws and the mandrels can be purchased from any hardware store, Lowes, Home Depot, Etc., they pretty much all carry the same or similar inventory.

    120mm measures out to 4 3/4" but do not buy a 4 3/4" holesaw you need a 4 1/2" holesaw, trust me on this I know what I'm talking about as a lesson learned the hard way, for a 120mm fan you want a 4 1/2" BiMetal holesaw, same design as the link I posted.
  32. @ 4ryan6

    Is there any other ways on making the hole bigger from 80mm to 120mm with out that tool, I dont have 75$ for the tool, and 35$ for that other part for making an entire hole.

    Thanks very much.
  33. Quote:
    @ 4ryan6

    Is there any other ways on making the hole bigger from 80mm to 120mm with out that tool, I dont have 75$ for the tool, and 35$ for that other part for making an entire hole.

    Thanks very much.


    You can use a jigsaw and metal cutting blades.
  34. Quote:
    The best way to cut a round hole in plexiglas is with a hole saw over flat wood at slow speed,


    I have long said that the best way to drill or cut plexiglas is to use polycarbonate instead.
  35. Polycarbonate? Is that a different type of window material?

    @ 4ryan6

    That idea of swapping the side panels is a good one. I hadn't thought of that. I do like the handle where it is, but this would make it easier to do a window kit for sure. I could probably even find another black panel to use instead (I don't really need the handle on the right side of the case) and save the handle one if I end up wanting it back. The only issue would be finding one that has the same paint.

    Also, thanks for all of the tips. What I was talking about with cutting the plexi was about cutting a rectangle window around the shape of the handle on the case. What kind of tool can I cut this with, preferably something cheap (I don't own any power tools).
  36. Quote:
    Polycarbonate? Is that a different type of window material?


    PC is more expensive than PMMA (plexiglas) but is a better window material. Commercial audio CDs are typically PC. It is a very tough polymer - less brittle than plexiglas and thus easier to work with. Auto makers coat PC lenses with a silicone hard coat and use it for exterior bezels for headlights, turn signals, etc. But my previous comment was supposed to be a joke. I guess that attempt at humor failed.
  37. Quote:
    Polycarbonate? Is that a different type of window material?



    Polycarbonate is probably 10 times or greater in strength than plexiglass, some grades can be formed cold and actually bent cold like steel, actually polycarbonate layered is bulletproof and is the material used in Bank sheilds, and armored vehicles, and is expensive!, and unless you need a bulletproof computer forget it! :lol:

    Quote:
    Also, thanks for all of the tips. What I was talking about with cutting the plexi was about cutting a rectangle window around the shape of the handle on the case. What kind of tool can I cut this with, preferably something cheap (I don't own any power tools).


    If you support it exactly where it needs to break you can score plexiglass and break it just like glass, BUT and its a serious BUT, if you don't know how to do it, it will run just like glass all the way across the piece.

    The safest sure fire way if its not too thick is pick up a plastic cutter from the local hardware store, and just cut until you get through it, however whichever method you decide to use, you do not want to leave 90 degree angles so take a drill and drill a hole at the corner where the two scoring lines meet so the cut doesn't run.

    If the score goes past the drilled hole it will break.

    I hope I've explained that clear enough for you to understand, if not PM me and I'll try to explain it better.
  38. I have read a bit about glass cutting before, so I get what you mean about scoring the pane and then running a break up it. I was hoping you could kind whittle the pane down like you would a piece of wood, so I could pretty much carve the shape I wanted.

    And yeah, I guess if I had known what polycarbonate was, I would have gotten the joke, my bad.
  39. Quote:
    The safest sure fire way if its not too thick is pick up a plastic cutter from the local hardware store, and just cut until you get through it, however whichever method you decide to use, you do not want to leave 90 degree angles so take a drill and drill a hole at the corner where the two scoring lines meet so the cut doesn't run.


    That brings up too many bad memories. Plexi cutting is a pain. If you don't have the right power tools, I recommend a trip to the local high school. Talk to the shop teacher and maybe he'll just cut it for you on the spot. Or find a metalworking shop and pay them a couple of bucks. A band saw is a good way to go. Some people use a table saw with the blade turned around backwards. A scroll saw will work too but once the blade heats, you'll melt the polymer, etc. Band saws rule for this work.

    Here's my real take:

    Every project is an excuse to go buy a tool.

    Go get a cheap tabletop band saw and you'll have a great tool that has hundreds of uses.
  40. Only thoughts I had on that premade window, was to just cut off the extra clear part, so you have 2 120mm holes.

    I've never tried cutting plexi glass, though, not even sure if that is the material it is made out of. It does say "Clear Acrylic". Would that be a different material?

    Also, the cutting tool I had in mind was more of a rotary drill type of saw, like:

    Black & Decker RS250K

    That way your not using a saw that would cut causing (up/down) vibration that would perhaps be more frustrating then a drill type of saw.

    I haven't done mods to PC cases before, so I'm just throwing some ideas on the table for you guys to work with.
  41. Quote:
    I've never tried cutting plexi glass, though, not even sure if that is the material it is made out of. It does say "Clear Acrylic". Would that be a different material?


    That's a common name for PMMA. The wiki is decent:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acrylic_glass
  42. I would love to buy a table saw, but I live in a 1 bedroom apartment, so storage is pretty limited. I may be able to hop over to my parent's house and use their table saw...

    If there is some cheap (less than say $60) handheld tool that I could buy that would do this, I would consider that.
  43. I think the rotary saw is prolly the only tool that is not in my garage. :lol:

    Rotary Saw Kit RS150K

    Heh, that is on sale.

    Price: $59.99 - Super Sale price: $39.99

    Dunno, might be some good/better prices out there. Though, not sure if that would be the best tool, but it should make it easy. (I think)
  44. Quote:
    The safest sure fire way if its not too thick is pick up a plastic cutter from the local hardware store, and just cut until you get through it, however whichever method you decide to use, you do not want to leave 90 degree angles so take a drill and drill a hole at the corner where the two scoring lines meet so the cut doesn't run.


    That brings up too many bad memories. Plexi cutting is a pain. If you don't have the right power tools, I recommend a trip to the local high school. Talk to the shop teacher and maybe he'll just cut it for you on the spot. Or find a metalworking shop and pay them a couple of bucks. A band saw is a good way to go. Some people use a table saw with the blade turned around backwards. A scroll saw will work too but once the blade heats, you'll melt the polymer, etc. Band saws rule for this work.

    Here's my real take:

    Every project is an excuse to go buy a tool.

    Go get a cheap tabletop band saw and you'll have a great tool that has hundreds of uses.


    Well I have the tools myself, but I agree with you on that, the job and outcome is so much easier and professional if you have the right tools and hardware to accomplish the job.

    Some just don't want to invest in the tools to do the job right, and thats understandable for a one time thing, it would be an easier investment if they were doing more than 1 machine, but they still have to accomplish the task at hand.

    One thing is very important here though, cutting into the metal case is a one shot deal at getting it right, skill is needed even running a jigsaw to do the job, cut too fast and the saw bucks and bends the metal, or breaks the plexiglass, then the money they thought they saved by not getting the proper tool to do the job ends up being used to replace what was screwed up.

    And that is a possibility.
  45. Quote:
    I was hoping you could kind whittle the pane down like you would a piece of wood, so I could pretty much carve the shape I wanted.



    Plexiglass is too hard to whittle but if you manage to pull it off please post instructions on how you did it. :wink:
  46. Is there a difference between a rotary saw and a dremel?
  47. Also, what would I use to smooth out the edges of the window (to make sure the line is straight)? I would think that sandpaper would risk the chance of scratching the surface (and 'fogging' it).

    I think that I would end up just buying a decent dremel if I do this. That seems the best way to go. A bandsaw would probably be just as good, but I don't have the space for that, plus a dremel seems more versitile for other situations (like cutting fan holes).
  48. panaflo 30 somthin dba, or the vantec stealth
  49. Quote:
    Also, what would I use to smooth out the edges of the window (to make sure the line is straight)? I would think that sandpaper would risk the chance of scratching the surface (and 'fogging' it).

    I think that I would end up just buying a decent dremel if I do this. That seems the best way to go. A bandsaw would probably be just as good, but I don't have the space for that, plus a dremel seems more versitile for other situations (like cutting fan holes).



    FACT; Too high of cutting speed builds heat and melts the plexiglass/acrylic and will gunk up your cutting tools, too high of cutting speed in aluminum will also bond aluminum to the cutting teeth.

    Use a small fine file for the edge.
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