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
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.
kit you will find:
- Acrylic window, covered in paper
- 3 foot molding
- 3 foot locking strip
- Spacer (washer)
- Instruction Sheet
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.
were nice simple and to the point, anybody can install this mod
if they have the recommended tools (as per the instruction sheet):
- 2" Masking tape.
- Sabre saw, Nibbler, or a Dremel tool.
- Round file or deburring tool
- Flat file
- Utility knife
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)
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Installation and Conclusion