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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This may seem like a super noob question, but I am just that when it comes to case modding. I have never before done any serious case mods to my pc and would really like to start doing it purely for better visuals, as most case mods are just that.

I have an Antec 300 Illusion case...and the side panel is completely steel...my ultimate goal is to cut out a window of sorts and place some plexiglass in its place. Now, what I can't wrap my head around is how do I install a fan in the plexiglass itself?

I want to buy two 80mm case fans (clear LED) and install them right into the plexiglass itself...so when you look at the side of my case there will be a window with the two clear case fans installed but I don't really understand how to accomplish this. I have searched all over youtube and google trying to find installation of case fans in plexiglass and can find nothing, so I am here looking for help! I mean the only thing on the outside of the plexiglass will be 4 mounting screws correct? So should I just cut 4 holes for the screws and then a much larger hold in the plexglass in order for the fans to intake air?

Thanks guys, as someone who has never personally modded and can't find videos on plexiglass fan installation this is difficult for me to visualize and I would like as much information as possible before cutting holes everywhere. Thanks in advance!!

For reference I guess I would like something similar to this
 

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Quote:
only thing on the outside of the plexiglass will be 4 mounting screws correct? So should I just cut 4 holes for the screws and then a much larger hold in the plexglass in order for the fans to intake air?
Yeah that's one way of doing it.


^This is factory made but its the same thing

You want a 80mm hole saw to make a neat clean hole for the intake and some regular drill bits for the screw holes. Use the fan it self as a template so everything lines up.

 

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Drill bits exist espically for acrylic.They have a much steeper angle on the cutting edges(very "pointy"). These bits will allow for drilling holes without the acrylic chipping (which is what happens with "regular" or bits intended for wood or steel.You do not want to cut the big hole so fast that the acrylic starts to melt and some type of bit to cleanup the edges of the big hole cut would be nice.If possible start out with a test hole to get you cutting speed established.Finishing the inside edge can be as crude and simple as working with a file or as complex as using a router and the correct bit,with the material held down correctly.
 

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You can also use blue painters tape in the area where you are drilling. It will help to prevent chipping at the end of the cut. Slow and steady on the cuts. If you rush it, you'll ruin it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yeah I was planning on using blue painters tape for sure, I was wanting to avoid purchasing anything too expensive though and would like to keep it at using my jigsaw if possible. Is it going to be incredibly hard to cut the middle circle out with a jigsaw though? And don't they have special jigsaw saws I can purchase for acrylic... or would I have to buy something similar to a steel grade?

A hole saw would obviously be pretty nice but I don't really ever see myself using it again after this project so I was hoping to avoid that purchase. Also, how big exactly should the center fan be (to intake air) I assume as big as the fan itself? Lets say I want to mount a standard 120mm fan, If I bought a 120mm hole saw wouldn't that cut out a hole bigger than the fan itself? Like cut out a hole that would also expose the mounting brackets etc.. or is a 120mm fan the circumference of the actual fan itself (the circle and blades) not including the measurements of the square that goes around the case fan.. this may sound confusing sorry.
 

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Unless you are really really skilled with a jigsaw and or use a lot of time and effort with a file to clean up the hole its not going to look anywhere near as good as hole made with a hole drill. The hole it self should be the same size as the fan. For a 120mm fan you use a 120mm drill and for a 80mm you use a 80mm. A hole is round and the fans is square so the fans square part will extend over the circle.

The 120mm is the fans width not circumference. A 120mm fan is about 120mm wide and 120mm high an usually 25mm deep. The hole in the fan is slightly smaller 118mm or so as there needs to be some plastic for the frame.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So if I purchase a 120mm hole drill the hole it cuts will be slightly smaller than the hole needed for the circular part of the fan correct?

Also, about how much is a hole cutter, and if I were to go to Home Depot etc. right now will it be called a "120mm hole cutter" or will it have a different name and/or measurement? Thanks so far guys!
 

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Originally Posted by cctaylor88 View Post

So if I purchase a 120mm hole drill the hole it cuts will be slightly smaller than the hole needed for the circular part of the fan correct?

Also, about how much is a hole cutter, and if I were to go to Home Depot etc. right now will it be called a "120mm hole cutter" or will it have a different name and/or measurement? Thanks so far guys!
A 120mm saw will cut the right size hole for a 120mm fan. You said you wanted to use 80mm fans so you need a 80mm drill. Some times hole saw bits can have odd numbers and in that case its better to go a bit smaller rather then bigger as haven a to big hole will look ugly.

I believe that the correct name is "hole saw drill bit". Price varies a lot but even quality kits can be had for really cheap.

I'v seen kits similar to this go for as low as $10

 

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I would think that the "cheapo" series hole saws would work fine on wood or soft metal.By my experience every tool I have purchased to work with acrylic was priced at the higher end of the price spectrum.Remember that acrylic sheets will come covered in a protective paper (both sides) so don't stress over blue painters tape unless you are using product that the protective coved has been removed.Also remember with acrylic there is no "fudging" to get a piece to fit.If you try and fit a piece that is to large it will crack for sure.

EDIT: yes the good hole saws are expensive but you really need only the common fan sizes.
 

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Originally Posted by PCCstudent View Post

I would think that the "cheapo" series hole saws would work fine on wood or soft metal.By my experience every tool I have purchased to work with acrylic was priced at the higher end of the price spectrum.Remember that acrylic sheets will come covered in a protective paper (both sides) so don't stress over blue painters tape unless you are using product that the protective coved has been removed.Also remember with acrylic there is no "fudging" to get a piece to fit.If you try and fit a piece that is to large it will crack for sure.

DIT: yes the good hole saws are expensive but you really need only the common fan sizes.
Your probably right but I suspect you still get better results with a cheapo metal drill then you would by going at it with a jigsaw. Going slow with a light touch is the key.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Okay guys I think I am going to go ahead and start looking around the net for the right hole saw sizes for mounting fans, anything in particular I should look for?

Also, what inserts/bits/etc should I buy for a dremmel saw? I really would like to purchase one of these because I would like to make some grommets on my motherboard tray for wiring and I obviously need something small as a jigsaw won't do. Possible that I could cut a few holes with a small hole saw bit and then "connect" them by cutting the middle metal out with a dremmel saw

Thanks so much so far!
 

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You are still going to run into the melting issue using a dremmel tool. I've wondered if you could find a 120mm ring and heat and drop it through the plexi. Maybe hook up a live wire and drop it on the plexi.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by cctaylor88 View Post

Okay guys I think I am going to go ahead and start looking around the net for the right hole saw sizes for mounting fans, anything in particular I should look for?

Also, what inserts/bits/etc should I buy for a dremmel saw? I really would like to purchase one of these because I would like to make some grommets on my motherboard tray for wiring and I obviously need something small as a jigsaw won't do. Possible that I could cut a few holes with a small hole saw bit and then "connect" them by cutting the middle metal out with a dremmel saw

Thanks so much so far!
Pretty much the bigges cutting disc you can find that still fit the dremmel. The smaller ones that usually come with the dremmel are to thin and fragile for the though steel of a case frame.

Something like this --> http://www.mnpctech.com/DremelDisc.html

or this would be ideal --> http://www.amazon.com/Dremel-EZ406-Cut-Off-Mandrel-Cutting/dp/B000FBLRVA
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Yeah I had no idea there were so many different dremels... is there a certain power I should look for? I really don't need anything overkill just looking to cut up the steel on a PC ha. Also really liked your NZXT Tempest work log man
 

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Originally Posted by cctaylor88 View Post

Yeah I had no idea there were so many different dremels... is there a certain power I should look for? I really don't need anything overkill just looking to cut up the steel on a PC ha. Also really liked your NZXT Tempest work log man
Trust me when I say this: when it comes to cutting the steel of PC cases I have yet to see a overkill dremmel. When I did the motherboard cut out on my tempest I didn't have proper cutting discs and you would not believe how many it took as they shattered or wore out in seconds. I'm just happy that my local store now days has EZ SpeedClic's in stock.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
If I were to buy a rotary tool (black and decker, craftsman etc) besides the dremel what do I purchase in order to use discs? It looks like they all just come with attachments for sanding only
 

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You need a drill to use a hole saw, not a dremel. The dremel doesn't have enough torque. Look at grainger.com for hole saws. They have a huge assortment made to cut various materials.
 

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Originally Posted by VABuckeye View Post

You need a drill to use a hole saw, not a dremel. The dremel doesn't have enough torque. Look at grainger.com for hole saws. They have a huge assortment made to cut various materials.
Read the thread again he needs a hole saw for the acrylic (obviously to be used with a drill) and a dremmel to cut some holes in the motherboard tray.
Quote:
Originally Posted by cctaylor88 View Post

If I were to buy a rotary tool (black and decker, craftsman etc) besides the dremel what do I purchase in order to use discs? It looks like they all just come with attachments for sanding only
That depends on the disc. Most discs use a small screw and a shaft and thees are pretty universal



If you want to use the EZ disc then you need the EZ shaft to go with it (you can buy a pack that has both)
 

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For plexiglass use a holesaw or jigsaw, rotary tool spins too fast and melts the plastic. Holesaw sizes is 5 1/2 inch for 140 mm fans and 4 1/2 inch for 120mm. For drilling holes in mobo tray use a step drill which comes in sizes up to 7/8 inch, larger sizes are available but are quite expensive. You can always use a small holesaw as well, make sure when using a holesaw that you use a slow speed with a little bit of oil and secure item being drilled. >>> Remember measure two or three times and cut once !
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Well I have purchased a dremel with the EZ lock setup for minor custom grommet stuff and possible a side window for the plexiglass but I don't know what to do about installing a fan because neither Lowes or Home Depot had metal hole saws that large and even sizes smaller than the required 4.5inches (120mm fan) were incredibly expensive. I wonder if I can find a 4.5inch hole saw cheap used or something

I have no idea how you said you found a kit including the 120mm hole saw size for $10
 
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