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post #21 of (permalink) Old 05-20-2014, 07:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Alright ladies and gents, here's the moment we've all been waiting for. The tricksy false front panel! This is probably the most complicated, metalwise, of the work I'm doing on this particular case. I have very limited room to work with, and many things could go wrong here. So let's start with some even moar careful measurement.

I admit it, I stared at that front panel for hours until I didn't trust my own measurements. So I says to myself. "Self, mayhap someone's made a template for just such an occasion." And after a quick Googling (don't tell the wife) I found this:

My thanks to MNPCTech for publishing such a useful template. Technically, it's for a radiator, but it works beautifully for a pair of 120mm fans too. You can find other templates like this in PDF format here:


I started out by printing it (NO SCALING) on thick cardstock, then cut it out to fit. Here's what it looks like setting in there.


You may notice something else... the presence of a metal plate on the left there. That is a nailing plate from Lowes Home Improvement, $0.83 and the perfect size for my purposes. The only problem was some of the pass-through holes in the front panel had rolled edges, which I had to grind down.

That done, I could drill the first hole through plate and panel and temporarily mount it with a machine screw and nut. It will eventually be attached with pop rivets. Haven't decided whether to do that before or after painting.

And with that out of the way, I could finish drilling the other mount points for the plate and fixing it in its final position.

Next step was to drill out all the fan screw holes and the center hole to ensure the hole saw wouldn't slip. Found out the hard way I made one error (see next photo). Bit kept jumping on that corner hole, turned out I forgot to grind down the rolled edge there.

Okay, time to break out the big guns. My 4.5" hole saw. But first, let's apply some lessons learned and make a "Metallic Debris Deflection and Containment Device" or as I like to call it, the MDDCD or, in the vernacular, a bunch of (expletive deleted) cardboard and a plastic bin lid.

And let's make sure we are clamped down well, sandwiched between wooden blocks to prevent deforming the panel. And again, this turned out to be a good thing, as even with my gentle pressure the hole saw jammed once and would have likely sliced through my arm or taken off a finger otherwise. Hole Saw + Sharp Panel = HIGH RISK OF INJURY

And then grinding off the burrs.

Second oops. That rolled edge before? Too close to the fan screw hole. The bit slipped and chewed it out. I'll have to do something to mitigate that at some point.

So here's the cleaned up final panel. I won't say this is professional by any stretch, but overall, looks pretty good I think.

And hooked up a temporary fan to check out how it's going to look. It'd be even cooler if I had more than one spare fan. ;-)

Final Thoughts:

The panel had several pass-throughs, rolled edges, and raised vents that made drilling exactly where I wanted to challenging. If I had it to do all over again, I might have just cut the whole drowning middle out of the panel, cut the fan mounts into a virgin piece of sheet steel, and then mounted it in the gutted front panel. As it is, I was only 1mm off on the top hole, bottom hole was perfect, and only one fan screw hole was hosed. Not bad overall.
Originally Posted by BruceB View Post

Noice! thumb.gif

And again, thank you.
Jhereg10 is offline