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Cuttin side windows(acrylic) and other places on cases, dremel or drill?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hey.

I want to do some mods to my Air 540 case and I have never done this before. What I want to do first is add holes to the acrylic side panel window for two fans. Later on I'll probably be doing some more work, and it's nice to have the opportunity for future cases as well. The thing is I don't have any tools at the moment, but with the holidays coming up I thought I might as well persuade my parents to get me what I need then.

I have been searching around a lot to try to find out which tools to use to get the best possible holes(for a total newbie). I've seen a lot of different techniques used and have figured out that I would probably be best off with a hole saw. I also want a tool that is versatile and can be used for many different things, so I'm thinking that a rotary tool(Dremel 4000 is the one I have been looking at) with a lot of different attachments and bits would be best for me. Is it ok to use a hole saw with a rotary tool? The 4000 goes down to 5000 RPM, but I have read that rotary tools have too high RPMs for acrylics and will melt them, so maybe I would be better off with a drill? What would be a good drill to get?

Like I said I probably will do other mods in the future, so it would be nice to have something that will allow me to effectively cut into metal as well. Maybe I could persuade my parents to get me both a cheaper rotary tool(Dremel 3000) and a drill? It would be nice to have both, but if I have to choose(this is MAINLY for cutting fan holes into the acrylic side window first) which one should I go for? I'm not really sure here so any tips and tricks would be very useful. Thanks in advance for any answers!
post #2 of 8
A Dremel is a great tool for case modding, and a lot of other stuff.

To cut acrylic with a hole saw you'll need a drill or drill press. Clamp the acrylic sheet between two pieces of scrap wood to get a nice edge.



As for other tools,,,,get started!

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post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks to you sir.

I just watched this video on dremel techniques by Bill Owen. What he does there to cut a hole(45-degree angle) in the metal, could that method be used on acrylic? If so I think I'll probably go for the dremel. I'm not gonna be sloppy with this and will spend a lot of time to get it right. I even have a spare window from my old case to practice on!
post #4 of 8
If you're going with a dremel or any rotary tool, the lowest speed is usually enough to cut acrylic. Acrylic material melts quickly with the cutting wheel, so no need to cut any faster. The 45 degree approach is used on that size hole because it is easier to cut curved lines that way and the cutting area is minimized. So this would work as well with acrylic.
post #5 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by ccRicers View Post

If you're going with a dremel or any rotary tool, the lowest speed is usually enough to cut acrylic. Acrylic material melts quickly with the cutting wheel, so no need to cut any faster. The 45 degree approach is used on that size hole because it is easier to cut curved lines that way and the cutting area is minimized. So this would work as well with acrylic.

I would think that a 1/4" drill bit, a bunch of holes in a circle and a curved file would be just as effective.



Cutting acrylic with a cutoff wheel will be a mess, you'll have to do use a file to smooth out the cut anyway.

I've cut circles in acrylic a number of times and a hole say is best way. One like this:


Edited by billbartuska - 11/28/13 at 6:36am
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post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys for your replies, very much appreciated.

I was just on the phone with my mother(who is responsible for my xmas presents:D), and told her what I want. Discussed the possibility for getting both a decent rotary tool and a decent drill to have more options when modding. And having tools for the future is always nice!

Are there any brands of tools that I should stay away from? I know cheap stuff from stores like home depot and such is best to avoid if I want something that will last a while, is that right? I am in Norway so we probably have a few different brands over here, but the most common here are Black&Decker, DeWalt and Bosch. I do know a lot of professionals over here use DeWalt tools so I told my mother that if they get a drill I want one of those with a cord. Also told them to stay away from anything cordless.

If I get a drill I'll most likely go for a hole saw to cut my holes though. But with a rotary tool the method of drilling several holes around the circle seems to be the least "dangerous" method IMO. At least for acrylic. I will be adding another fan hole to the back compartment of the Air 540 as well to get some air in there to cool my HDD's and SSD's as well.

Again thanks for tips, and if anyone has anything more they would like to share I would be happy to recieve more information!
post #7 of 8
I've cut the acrylic with a hole saw attached to the drill that worked well for me, just a little tiding up around the edges with a file . As for the case I tried the 1/4" multi hole approach but that did not work out so well. Instead I found that a pair of tin snips cut through the top of the case very well. Now you still will need a drilled hole to start cutting. I haven't priced tin snips out but I'm sure they are cheaper then a metal hole saw. As long as you concentrate you can get a decent cut out for your fans.

Edit: just remember with hole saws that the ones you will probably get are ment for wood , the metal hole saws can be up to 5x more expensive for a kit. If you try to use your wood hole saw you will just end up with a lot if scratches in your case and a dull saw
Edited by Devo 66 - 11/28/13 at 7:45am
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My System
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
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Samsung 840 PRO Asus DRW-1608P (x2) Custom Water Cooling Win7 (Ult), Win 8.1 & Win Server 2012 R2 
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2 X Samsung 915N Ducky Shine III, Blue Cherry/Blue LEDs PCP&C 1kw Lian Li PC-71 (W/Window) 
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