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Classic Side Panel Window Mod W/ Pictures

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Here is a step by step of a quick and purdy side panel window mod.

The case is a Lian Li but this mod applies to any case with a removable side panel. The back side of the panel had already been covered in sound deadening mat--presenting an extra hurdle.

The pictures are attached below in order so as to follow the text.

The panel had already been moded for blow-holes--so the window would have to be at least large enough to cover the old holes. Not wanting boring parts to show--the window would provide a view of the UV lit tubing but hide the light. Due to the particular layour of the radiator shroud--part of the window would be mesh and part plexi.

Originally I layed out for 2 windows--one for plexi and one for mesh--but after looking at it for a while I decided to make it one larger L-shape.

Here's how to go about it.

1) Gather your tools: a hammer and punch (a phillips screwdriver will do) a drill and hole saw and some bits. Cover the panel with masking tape--you will be glad you did. Use a framing square or measuring tape and layout your window patern so that it runs parallel to the edges of the panel--this is something you will see later if you don't get it right. Make sure you are exposing the areas you want and nottoo close to the edges of your panel.

2) After you have the outside perimeter layed out square marke 1/2" in for each outside corner. Square up from those marks off your line and the intersection will be where you want to make a dent with your centering punch (or phillips) and srill starter holes with your drill about 1/8" bit is good.

3) Use the 1" hole saw and drill in each outside corner. Then remove the holesaw from the arbor and use it as a pattern to trace the inside radius. You have now made all your radius corners and are ready to start Jigsawing the rest of the window--it is connect the dots here--if you took proper care marking, punching, predrilling and holesawing then your holes should rest right on the edge of the line you are cutting.

4) Here's where I had it ready for 2 windows but then changed my mind. I then went ahead and cut the window out. I used a Bosch set to 0 orbit with an 18 tpi metal cutting blade.

5) There it is--the classic L-shape window mod. Still more to go.

Please Read On in the Next Post...
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post #2 of 13
nice going, I might try that on my older rig thats begging for a side panel
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post #3 of 13
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6) Before attaching the plexi it is important to straighten out your cuts. On aluminum it is easy enough to knock it down with a sanding block--the one I use uses belt-sander belts--I prefer 3M purple paper--it lasts forever and will even do a job on thin gauge steel.

7) Use masking tape again to protect the plexi and aid in marking it.

8)As I only needed half a window here because of the radiator I cut a piece slightly larger than the opening.

9) I peeled off the film--you can leave the backside on if you wish--and made sure it was the size and shape I needed. With the panel face down I got ready to apply some glue. In this case i used some stuff I got at the grocery store--anything that sets up well and sticks to acrylic will work--even double-sided foam tape.

10) Only use enough adhesive--and make sure to keep it back from the edge--when you press the plexi down it will spread somewhat and it is impossible to remove.
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post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
11) Position the plexi over the opening and press it down with clean fingertips.

12) Use masking tape again to hold the plexi in place until the adhesive cures--I was impatient so I flipped it over to take a look....

13) And slipped it on the rig...

14) Checking it outsome more...

15) And admired it with the UV lights on
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post #5 of 13
why the mesh? i just wanna know
    
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post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TrueNoob
why the mesh? i just wanna know
I have a 2 year old son.

Also-- the radiator fins are delicate and need to be protected--I could have drilled holes or cut slots--but I need all the airflow I can get. Click the link on my first rig and you will see the "before" shots showing the full plexi sidepanel with built-in resevoir. The Radiator is that oval cut-out in the plexi--the 120mm fan mounted in the front of the case pushes air through the rad and out that hole.

I originally was going to make two holes in the aluminum side panel--one to see inside and one for the rad to breath through. But it looked kind of odd when I drew it out so I changed it to an L shape but I couldn't run a continous piece of plexi over the L because it would smother the rad.

Hope that answers your question....:***:
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post #7 of 13
NICE WORK!!! It looks great man! I like the plexi/mesh combo so your rad can get proper airflow...
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post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pbasil1
NICE WORK!!! It looks great man! I like the plexi/mesh combo so your rad can get proper airflow...
I kept screwing around inside the PC--and the plumbing to the original plexi sidepanel/res was real tight--I kept straining the junctures where the barbs screw into the plexi and a tiny leak had developed--I fixed it for a while--but wrestling with the side panel was counter productive and somewhat annoying. It looked cool--but actually the res tended to warm up the entire case.

I eliminated the res all together and for a few days had the side open on the rig--which is just tempting fate with my curious son around--he is fascinated by computer guts....anyway I dug the original side panel out of storage and whipped up the deal.

Not something that took a lot of time or planning--I thought about doing it for a day then went to Lowes and got the 1/8" plexi and went out back and started working--about an hour in it really not counting shopping...

Much happier now that changing out an expansion card only takes a few minutes instead of half an hour...temps are about the same...

Thanks for the compliments P!
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post #9 of 13
Wow Very impressive.

Great job you did there!
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post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Ahhh I was bored...
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