Easy case mod guide

Aron Schatz
November 10, 2002
What do you do when everyone has cool modded cases and your stuck with a plain POS? DIY modding time for beginners!
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With all the hype about modding cases and all the expense of those great premodded ones, how can a person with a few bills and a case get their fair share of looks? This guide will show you how to do an easy and inexpensive mod on your existing crappy case! You'll be able to brag to your friends that your case cost like $30+ mod expenses and it will look very nice. Get your stuff together, we are painting and adding a window to that case of yours!

<B>Step 1</B>: Planning

<center><img src="http://www.aselabs.com/images/articles/nov02/easycasemod/begin1.jpg">
<img src="http://www.aselabs.com/images/articles/nov02/easycasemod/begin2.jpg">
This is what I'm starting with</center>

Your first step is to think of a color scheme and window location for your particular case. I really can't help you with the color, but perhaps if you ask in our <a href="/forums/">forums</a> you'll get a few ideas. The window location on the other hand is a no brainer. You'll need to pick a spot that will make it visible to most of the parts of the case. Do not make it too high or too much to the right, the drive racks and power supply may block the view. Once you get a good location for your window, pick a shape. If your just starting out, please pick something simple. I picked a circle. Make sure you can trace your design on the case, or you'll have nothing to follow for cutting (use a pencil). When you have all your thoughts together, time to get the parts.

<B>Step 2</B>: Get the parts

<center><img src="http://www.aselabs.com/images/articles/nov02/easycasemod/parts.jpg">
Some parts not shown</center>

Probably one of the easiest steps, given you already have the tools. You'll want some type of GOOD spray paint (Rust-O-leum) for the color of your choice. The next few things are for the window: A jigsaw/dremel (your choice), a saw bit or dremel bit for metal cutting (I used a jig blade for metal with 32 TPI, teeth per inch, the more TPI the better), goggles (VERY IMPORTANT), screw driver for taking the case apart, Molding in any color (Automotive stores have it in chrome, gold, black, etc) it will be for a door most likely, a piece of plexiglass that will be larger that your window cut, GOOP or some other type of adhesive. You'll also need the case.
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<B>Step 3</B>: Break apart the case

<center><img src="http://www.aselabs.com/images/articles/nov02/easycasemod/layout.jpg">
Most case skins will come off pretty easy</center>

You'll most likely need just a screwdriver for this. Take apart every side you want to paint. If your going for a two tone look, all the better. In my case, I'm leaving the front the original color, but painting the drive holders. Lay all the parts out and then go from there.

<B>Step 4</B>: Mark and cut the window

<center><img src="http://www.aselabs.com/images/articles/nov02/easycasemod/pilothole.jpg">
Pilot hole made, notice the pencil circle</center>

With whatever tool you are going to use to cut, you'll first need to draw a stencil of it to follow. Use some type of circular object (a plate is good) or any other thing you may think would look good. Once your done with the trace, cut a pilot hole (assuming using a jigsaw) about an inch away from the line inside the window area. You'll want to try to go tangential to the circle then follow it. Don't worry if you can't make it too even, just get the general idea. The molding will take care of most minor sloppy cutting mistakes. When you finish, you'll want to sand down some edges just in case they are too sloppy.

<center><img src="http://www.aselabs.com/images/articles/nov02/easycasemod/cuthole.jpg">
I sanded it down after to make it a better circle</center>

<B>Step 5</B>: Get ready for painting

<center><img src="http://www.aselabs.com/images/articles/nov02/easycasemod/beforepaint.jpg">
See the drive plates in the upper right, I'm painting those too</center>

This is an important step. You'll want to be in a well ventilated room, or outside preferably. The sun outside gives you the best lighting in my opinion. Make sure no one is going to bitch at you if you mess up and get paint all over. You can prime the parts if you want, I just used some light sanding. Get something to put the skins and sides of the case on to paint. I used wood like you see above. I just took a few nails and hung the parts on them. Make sure the surfaces you are painting are clean!
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<B>Step 6</B>: Paint it

<center><img src="http://www.aselabs.com/images/articles/nov02/easycasemod/2ndcoat.jpg">
<img src="http://www.aselabs.com/images/articles/nov02/easycasemod/2ndclose.jpg">
Here is the second coat</center>

<center><img src="http://www.aselabs.com/images/articles/nov02/easycasemod/3rdcoat.jpg">
<img src="http://www.aselabs.com/images/articles/nov02/easycasemod/3rdclose.jpg">
And the third</center>

To get a nice looking paint job, you may want to practice on something first. For a few times you may put too much paint on and it'll run. If it does run, what I did was wait and then use paint remover and started over again. You'll most likely want at least 3 coats, just to make the color nice and bold. Hold the can about a foot away from the case and go side to side and down, overlapping on each movement down. Don't stay in one area for too much time, it'll run! Go to the next piece and do the same thing. About 5-10 mins later, you can do a second coat and then a third coat after that. I usually do the sides of each part, then the main section, but you can do it any way you want.

<center><img src="http://www.aselabs.com/images/articles/nov02/easycasemod/mepainting.jpg">
That's me painting the top part</center>

<B>Step 7</B>: Let it dry

Get a drink of your choice and watch the paint dry, or move on to step 8 while your waiting.

<B>Step 8</B>: Cut the plexiglass

<center><img src="http://www.aselabs.com/images/articles/nov02/easycasemod/slice.jpg">
<img src="http://www.aselabs.com/images/articles/nov02/easycasemod/slice2.jpg">
<img src="http://www.aselabs.com/images/articles/nov02/easycasemod/sliced.jpg"></center>

If the people at the place you got the plexiglass didn't cut it for you, you'll need to do that. What you basically do is score it on both sides and then just hit the piece of. Simple huh? That is my dad doing the cutting, I was watching the paint dry Wink. Leave the protective film on both sides until you are ready for step 10. The size of your window will determine the size of your cut. Don't make it overly large, it may block SOME air from the holes in the side. What ever size your cutting, make sure to leave a lip to glue the piece on to the case.

<center><img src="http://www.aselabs.com/images/articles/nov02/easycasemod/cutbang.jpg">
Line it up and smack it off</center>
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<B>Step 9</B>: Insert the molding

<center><img src="http://www.aselabs.com/images/articles/nov02/easycasemod/mold1.jpg">
<img src="http://www.aselabs.com/images/articles/nov02/easycasemod/mold2.jpg">
<img src="http://www.aselabs.com/images/articles/nov02/easycasemod/mold3.jpg"></center>

There are two ways to do this. You can cut it at the end, or cut it to shape before you start. I suggest doing it at the end, you never know if you cut too little until it is too late. With the molding, just feed it to the case, pushing very hard on it into the groove. There is glue there to hold the molding in place. Once your at the end, cut it longer than you think! Then snip it off until you can force it to fit snug with the adjacent side.

<center><img src="http://www.aselabs.com/images/articles/nov02/easycasemod/mold4.jpg">
<img src="http://www.aselabs.com/images/articles/nov02/easycasemod/mold5.jpg">
Snuggly soft</center>

<B>Step 10</B>: Glue the plexi on

<center><img src="http://www.aselabs.com/images/articles/nov02/easycasemod/linewindow.jpg">
<img src="http://www.aselabs.com/images/articles/nov02/easycasemod/glue1.jpg">
<img src="http://www.aselabs.com/images/articles/nov02/easycasemod/glue2.jpg"></center>

It is all simple from here. Remove one side of the film. You'll need to use the adhesive of your choice and glue the plexi to the molding. Do this on the outer portion of the molding so no glue shows through the window. When you have it all glued up, put the plexi on it, squared to the case side. All that is left to do is to smash it for a few hours. I used paint cans of equal weight to secure the glue, try not to put too much torque on the plexi, it can break. And equal amount of force on four corners will be fine. Let sit for a few hours.

<center><img src="http://www.aselabs.com/images/articles/nov02/easycasemod/glue3.jpg">
<img src="http://www.aselabs.com/images/articles/nov02/easycasemod/smash.jpg"></center>
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<B>Step 11 & on</B>: Put it all together and show it off!

The last steps are to put the entire case back together and throw all your parts in to show off! You should come out with something like these pictures.

<center><img src="http://www.aselabs.com/images/articles/nov02/easycasemod/finish1.jpg">
<img src="http://www.aselabs.com/images/articles/nov02/easycasemod/finish2.jpg"></center>

This is where I'll stop the guide. I hope you had as much fun reading this as I did modding the case Smile. Remember, this guide is to help beginners get into the painting and cutting thing, it is simple once you get started. I'm not done with this case just yet. A blue LED is going in that translucent blue part and it'll light up. Hit the <a href="/forums/">forums</a> and you'll see later today what I mean.

<center><h2><a href="/forums/">Anything and everything in the forums</a>!</h2></center>


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