25 Jun 2002
Mungler's Further Adventures in Case Modding
Well, I think it has be long enough since my last adventure in case modding. If you missed the first installment (the Lian-Li Stealth Modding Guide) you can find it here.
I still have the Lain-Li case from the previous episode and it is still my subject for this further modification. [ed. note: how many modifications would it take before it's no longer a Lian-Li PC-60?]
Anyway, as you may of guessed from the title of the article, I am going to install a window in the side panel of my case. Windows have become increasingly popular mods and I can think of no better way to show off your expensive (when I bought it), cutting-edge (when I bought it) and good looking (ahem) equipment.
As always, I begin my mod by planning exactly what I am going to do to it first. The are many options available to the happy modder once they decide to install a case window. Many online retailers are now stocking windows in a wide range of sizes, shapes, window colours and extras like appliqués and neon. If you search the internet you can come up with a good selection of suppliers and price ranges...choice remains one of taste (of which I will not attempt to dictate).
I narrowed down my choices to these possibilities.
1. Buy a Lian-Li window side panel from a reseller.
2. Buy a self install window kit from a reseller.
3. Go the whole hog and do a custom window kit from scratch.
Well as you may have guessed, I am going for option three. After the success of my previous mod, I have become more confident with modding and have decided to take my junior hacksaw skills to a larger portion of a still relatively new case (*shiver*)
As mentioned above, planning the mod comes first. You should have no doubt in you mind what you want to accomplish before starting surgery on your case. The nature of this mod means that there is a point of no return very early on.
Here is a scan of the terrible drawing I did to plan my mod. The first section labelled on the picture is the inside of my case. The 'shaded' parts on the drawing show areas of interest. The second part of the drawing shows various designs I was thinking of that would show off those areas.
In the end I decided I like the puddle effect of the first design and moved on to transfering my design onto the side panel.
I have 'enhanced' this picture a bit as it would normally be impossible to see the pencil lines in this shot. I have marked out various area's on the side panel.
The brown line shows the area of the side panel that I can have my window. I have left a one inch space around the brown line for mounting my window. If I use any more space than that I will not be able to slide the panel on and off the case anymore. Obviously, this is important. The green line shows the area which the piece of plexi I have covers. Once again, I have left a gap between the edge of the window and the edge of the plexi to allow for fixing the plexi to the side panel - I don't want any gaps in the window when viewed from outside. The area also gives you room to apply whatever adhesive method you choose to implement.
I have chosen to use polycarbonate as opposed to regular plexi. The poly sheet is less brittle and won't crack so easy when I rip of the side cover to put out the fire!! [ed. note: Is that a hint at a third mod?]
Above I have carefully marked the amount of poly carbonate sheet that I will need. I only have enough for one try so it had better not go wrong!!
You will need some sticky back plastic or similar protective sheet. Apply this to the outside face of you case panel before you do any drilling or cutting. This sheet will protect the outside face of the panel from any scratches by aluminium swarf. If you do have a small amount of scratching, you can buff those out later with a metal polish (beware: do not use abrasive polishes on coloured, anodised surfaces, the anodised suface is very thin and comes off easily which looks horrible!!)