First timer needs to cut tabs from 5.25" bays. - Overclock.net - An Overclocking Community
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First timer needs to cut tabs from 5.25" bays.

 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-05-2020, 12:00 PM - Thread Starter
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First timer needs to cut tabs from 5.25" bays.

After years of lusting after one, I've finally found a Silverstone FT02 for the right price. There's a catch though. The little metal tabs that help guide things into place in the 5.25" mean that I can't install my Icydock MB453SPF-B (https://www.icydock.com/goods.php?id=47). So the tabs have got to go.

I have never modded anything before but I do have access to a Dremel and an assortment of bits. What's the best way to remove the tabs in the 5.25" bays without making my beloved FT02 look like hammered poop?
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-05-2020, 12:07 PM
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Quote: Originally Posted by Doctor McNinja View Post
After years of lusting after one, I've finally found a Silverstone FT02 for the right price. There's a catch though. The little metal tabs that help guide things into place in the 5.25" mean that I can't install my Icydock MB453SPF-B (https://www.icydock.com/goods.php?id=47). So the tabs have got to go.

I have never modded anything before but I do have access to a Dremel and an assortment of bits. What's the best way to remove the tabs in the 5.25" bays without making my beloved FT02 look like hammered poop?
Tape off the areas you do not want cut and use it as a guide (painters or masking tape), use the dremel with a proper metal cutting wheel and then sand off the burr's. If you've never tried it, I'd find some old metal or pc case to try it on first. Also keep the rpm's on the dremel at a level that allows clean cuts. Nothing worse than slow rpm and bogging or even too fast rpm and getting pulled in the wrong direction.

Also, clean the area as much as possible prior to the cut.


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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-05-2020, 01:35 PM
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Quote: Originally Posted by SoloCamo View Post
Tape off the areas you do not want cut and use it as a guide (painters or masking tape), use the dremel with a proper metal cutting wheel and then sand off the burr's. If you've never tried it, I'd find some old metal or pc case to try it on first. Also keep the rpm's on the dremel at a level that allows clean cuts. Nothing worse than slow rpm and bogging or even too fast rpm and getting pulled in the wrong direction.

Also, clean the area as much as possible prior to the cut.
SoloCamo pretty much nailed it; he obviously kows what he is talking about. To expand on what he said:

1. The metal cutting wheels are made of abrasive particles bound into a very thin, fiberglass reinforced disk. These are extremely fragile but are still the best ones to use. I suggest getting the newer style that have the funny shaped hole in the center and uses a spring loaded mandrel to hold the disk in the Dremel chuck. This setup is more forging of slight misalignment in a cut kerf and less likely to shatter in use.

2. When SoloCamo said to practice cutting on some scrap metal, he wasn't kidding! You need to do a lot of practice before you attempt to cut on your nice, new, expensive case. Dremel motors and cutting bits and wheels are the best thing since hot and cold indoor plumbing but they can do a lot of damage to the work, and you, if you aren't careful.

3. When cutting with an abrasive cutting wheel, use very little pressure on the cut and keep the depth the wheel penetrates the metal as shallow as possible (most people go too deep). Let the tool do the work. Too much pressure will wear out the wheel prematurely and will make slipping more likely. A good technique is to just lightly dab at the cut line gradually deepening and lengthening the cut until you finally cut through.

4. Hold the body of the Dremel motor in your non dominant hand and guide it by holding the nose of the Dremel motor with the fingers of your dominant hand. Hold it very firmly but you don't need a hand cramping death grip. It helps if you can steady your dominant hand against the workpiece.

5. While it seems counter intuitive, you want to cut the tabs from outside of the drive cage. Besides having far more room for the tool, you will be able to see what you are doing far better and you won't be limited by the close quarters inside, assuming you can get the tool in there at all. Make your cut line just above the bottom of the little radius the base of the tab makes where it's been from the side of the cage. Remember that you can always cut or file more metal off but you can't add it back (unless you know how to weld sheet metal).

6. While it's nice to wind up with a pretty looking cut exactly in the right place, don't obsess over it. Instead, just get close to where you want the cut to be. Once the tab is gone, you can clean up the cut with one or more files. You will need to file off the sharp edges of the cut anyway.

7. Do your work somewhere where hot sparks will not spark a fire. Wear eye protection! Safety glasses are a must! Adding a face shield is also a good idea since the hot sparks that will fly off the wheel will sting like the dickens when they hit bare skin. Avoid wearing light clothing made of synthetic fabrics; synthetic fibers are far more likely to catch on fire from hot sparks than natural fibers, such as cotton.

8. Above all, be careful and don't rush your work. If your hands get a little tired, stop and take a break.

Good luck!

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-05-2020, 06:17 PM - Thread Starter
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First of all, thank you both for two excellent replies.

Quote: Originally Posted by SoloCamo View Post
Tape off the areas you do not want cut and use it as a guide (painters or masking tape), use the dremel with a proper metal cutting wheel and then sand off the burr's. If you've never tried it, I'd find some old metal or pc case to try it on first. Also keep the rpm's on the dremel at a level that allows clean cuts. Nothing worse than slow rpm and bogging or even too fast rpm and getting pulled in the wrong direction.

Also, clean the area as much as possible prior to the cut.
In regards the tape...

A. How large of an area do I need to mask off?
B. Lady Fitzgerald says I should cut from the outside of the drive bays, should I mask inside and out, or just the outside?

As for practising on an old case...

C. I'm a little bit sentimental when it comes to the old computers I have and I'd prefer not practicing on one of them unless I really have to. I can however get me hands on plenty of metal scraps of a similar thickness to the 5.25" bays, that I could clamp into a bench vice. Would said offcuts be an acceptable practice medium?


Quote: Originally Posted by Lady Fitzgerald View Post
SoloCamo pretty much nailed it; he obviously kows what he is talking about. To expand on what he said:

*snip
1. I'll bare that in mind, thank you. I must just clarify though, that the "Dremel" I have access to is not actually a Dremel branded one but it can use Dremel bits.

2. I got the case for an absolute bargain price but it was finding someone willing to ship it to me that made it as rare as hen's teeth. Non the less, I will make sure to take my time and get it right the first time.

3. One of the few things I already knew about using a Dremel was that you should let it do the work rather than you.... it's the same with chef's knives. If it feels like hard work, you're either doing it wrong or there's something wrong with the tool / knife. I do have a few follow up questions regarding the shape of the cut though. I have attached an image of the outside of the 5.25" bays. Could you please open it in Paint (or something similar) and draw on the image to give me an idea where the cut should be made, how large it should be, and how much material I should remove?

4. and 5. Great advice regarding how to hold the tool. I probably would have done the opposite.

6. As long as there are no sharp edges, the 5.25" bays are still structurally sound and I don't scratch the paint, I don't mind too much about how it looks. Aside from masking there area off, are there any other precautions I should take to protect the FT02?

7. The only place I can really do it is on the brick patio in my garden but I do have dogs though. Will cleaning up anything that might end up outside of the case be an issue or am I over thinking it slightly?


8. Will do.

Quote: Originally Posted by Lady Fitzgerald View Post
Good luck!
Thanks again. I'm sure you and SoloCamo have set me off on the right foot.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-05-2020, 09:23 PM
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A., B. and 6. Actually, you don't really need to tape anything. If you accidentally touch the cutting wheel to the tape, it will just cut right through the tape. Just be careful. Also, don't let the metal you're cutting get too hot to avoid burning the paint.

C. Any chunk of sheet steel similar in thickness to the sheet metal in the drive cage will be fine to practice on. It's easier if you lay the case on its side so your cutting on a horizontal surface you can rest your hand on while cutting. Your practice pieces should also be horizontal. Just practice cutting a straight line. Also, you want to cut from right to legt for the best control. If you cut left to right, the wheel is likely to get away from you.

1. They all work the same.

3. I recently switched from Win 7 to Linux Mint and haven't learned how to use any of the drawing programs yet (not to mention all I can draw is flies). The tabs have been been bent up so just draw a line across the tops of the U shaped cutout that the tab was bent from, cut just below that line, then use a file to clean it up to the line and get rid of the sharp edges.

7. I would keep the dogs away from where you are working just to keep them from distracting you and to avoid possibly getting something in their eyes while you are cutting. other than, it won't be a problem as long as you pick up any sharp pieces you cut off. And yes, you are overthinking it a wee bit but that's better than underthinking it.

Good luck and have fun making sparks!

Edit: This video shows the wheels and mandrel I suggested using and the best way to make straight cuts.
Note how shallow the wheel goes into the metal. I've seen far too many people practically bury the wheel in the work which is dangerous. Also note how he cut just inside his lines. It give a little wiggle room for error and makes it easier to clean up up the cut afterwards.

I still recommend using a file to clean up the cuts instead of a sanding drum as in the video. A flat file is actually easier to use and will do a better job of making a straight edge.

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