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      PCMods.com Rectangle Window Kit Review

     
     Date: April 19th, 2001
     Type: Review
     Supplier: PCCaseGear
     Author: mayhem

    Well for all those out there who are interested in modifying your case, then this is probably one thing that you have wanted to do, but thought to yourself "Its too much work and money" to put a clear window in the side of your computer. But the thing is its not, its as simple as any other mod that you might want to do, and not expensive if you order a kit from PCCaseGear. And I must say that once you place your order you can expect to see the kit sitting on you door step no later than one working week from the date of purchase.

    The case that I am going to install this window is an Aopen Midi-Tower ATX (see pictures below), this is the exact same case as they demo on the pcMods.com website. The computer that is housed in this case is my Celeron 600 Linuxbox (this will be the test machine for most of my modification reviews).

    Out Of The Package:
    The package itself is a little misleading, it looks rather small (being in a POSTpak), but inside is all the things you will possibly need short of equipment for cutting the whole.

    Inside the kit you will find:
    - Acrylic window, covered in paper
    - 3 foot molding
    - 3 foot locking strip
    - Spacer (washer)
    - Instruction Sheet

    The window material is made of 100% acrylic with the dimensions 11.125" (28.2cm) x 8.69" (22.1cm) with a 30 degree rounded corners, this is so that the molding will fit in nice and flat without having lumps from a sharp corner.

    The instructions were nice simple and to the point, anybody can install this mod if they have the recommended tools (as per the instruction sheet):
    - Pencil.
    - 2" Masking tape.
    - Sabre saw, Nibbler, or a Dremel tool.
    - Drill
    - Round file or deburring tool
    - Flat file
    - Utility knife

    (NOTE: This entire review was done without turning my machine off [didn't want to affect the uptime of my Red Hat server], while this worked for me, I recommend that you turn off and unplug you machine before taking the case off, this is for your safety)

    Measuring Up:
    The first thing to do is to establish where you want to place the window. When we first marked it up we realized it might be too close and prevent the case from fitting back on the computer, so we remarked it and use the second area to put the window (you can probably notice the second pencil line in the photos). It is best to place it away from any obstructions and for best results you want to be able to see all your main hardware (Motherboard, CPU, Video Cars etc.). Once the location of the window is established you want to line up the window so that it is perfectly square with the edges of the case (nothing worse than putting the window in on an angle to ruin your day). We used the width of a standard metal ruler (wide one) to mark the case from the back and up from the bottom.

    Once you have it exactly how you want it you need to use the spacer/washer with a pencil, trace around the acrylic with the washer firmly up against the side of the acrylic, this marks the line that you will need to cut along.

    The next step is to mask off a wide area (about 2" wide) all the way around the line you just marked, you want to do this on the outside of the line, this masked area is to protect the painted surface of your case from chipping and scratching while you are cutting the whole. Once you are satisfied that your case is safe for cutting then its time to get to it.

    Cutting The Whole:
    It depends on which method you has chosen to cut the whole as to how you will proceed next, in my case I have decided to use a jigsaw with a fine tooth metal blade, this is the only tool I had available. To cut the whole with this or the nibbler you need to make a pilot hole, with the drill, big enough for the blade to fit through. On the other hand if you have chosen to use the dremel too then you won't need a pilot whole at all. Now that you have your tools ready make sure that you wear some form of eye protection before you start cutting and that the case side is clamped down (be ready for the case to wobble alot).

    When you clamp it you want to make sure that you do it carefully otherwise you risk bending the case and even chipping the case (we learnt from our mistakes), you could also bend the catches on the case and once again this can cause problems, so be careful and it will turn out fine.

    Once you have the whole drilled you need so clamp down the panel so that it doesn't vibrate or move while your cutting the whole, this is to make the process easier and reduce the chance of making any mistakes. To cut the whole, very carefully follow along the line that you have marked out. Using a jigsaw should only you take a couple of minutes, but take your time so you can accurately cut the whole.

    Once you have the whole cut into the case you will need to a use a file to smooth the metal along the cut line. This is to prevent you from cutting yourself on the sharp edge and to make the acrylic easier to install. Trust me you want to do this properly because the edges of the case are going to be really sharp and you don't want to end up with a cut in your hand.

    NEXT: Installation and Conclusion

     

      Supplier Information

     

    If you would like to purchase the Rectangle Window Kit or and of the other case modifications products that PCCaseGear.com provides then please visit there site http://www.pccasegear.com/. They stock a wide variety or windows, lights, fans and other great products that will make your case stand out among the rest.

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