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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 19th March, 2005, 11:22 AM
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Question cutting a top blowhole

hi all,
I'm thinking of cutting a top blowhole in my case. I think my case is aluminium so i just want some tips on how i should go about it. I don't know how or if the top panel of my case removes or not so i don't want to wreck the rest of my computer. I've never cut up any part of a case before so don't really know what to expect which is why i have asked for help. I need to know what tools i need and how i should go about it. The case on its own weighed less than 0.5KG so that why i suspect it is aluminium. The case i have is this one
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Old 19th March, 2005, 12:55 PM
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just looking at the picture i think the top panel is just about the only panel on that computer that *is* steel. theres a pretty easy test. grab a fridge magnet. aluminium is a non-ferrous metal, where as steel isnt. The magnet will be atracted to the steel and will not be atracted to the aluminium.

that is the easiest way to find out. With the case being that cheap i doubt its aluminium on top, as it would need steel for structural integrity if nothing else. good cheap case though.

if its aluminium happy cutting, but watch for buckling and warping. also beware as often aluminium is covered with a plastic kind of coating over the anodisation which resists scratches, but also catches fire when your hole saw gets too hot. Particularly thermaltake cases are like that but some others do too.

If its steel, make sure your local hardware store has a good supply of drill bits. Because you are going to need them on tap LOL.
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Old 19th March, 2005, 12:56 PM
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And either way, DONT FORGET EYE PROTECTION. Safety matters, particularly with metal filings and broken drill bits!!!!

i cut myself very badly on the wrist with a broken (shattered under heat) steel cutting dremel bit while doing a steel window installation and i cant image what could have happened if it hit me in the face while i had no safety glasses on.
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Old 19th March, 2005, 04:06 PM
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I highly doubt thats an alu case, probably just very thin steel
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Old 19th March, 2005, 07:43 PM
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I should have thought of the magnet test, i've just learnt about how aluminium and iron/steel are made at school, a few weeks ago. Anyway, to my surprise, it is steel, very light though. I just hope (and doubt) that it isn't reinforced steel. The top panel does remove, just unscrews round the edges and the lifts off. I will obviously wear eye protection and i think my dad has a diamond edged blade so it should go through it quite easily. Just hope he's got an 80mm (or possibly 40mm) version. I'm going to let him drill it because i'm not really good at this kind of stuff and he is, he's a welder but has done DIY all his life (he doesn't fail in DIY either). I'll draw the area to drill out and tell him he may need water or drilling fluid running in a constant flow over the drilling area.
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Old 20th March, 2005, 12:34 AM
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nobody thinks of the magnet test lol. I watched an electrical engineer measuring the volume and then weighing an aluminium project box to decide which drill bit it needed. Then i handed him a magnetic calender thing that was hanging on the bar fridge.

Its a lot easier lol.
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Old 20th March, 2005, 12:45 AM
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The kind of steel used on budget cases is usually quite thin and soft and easy to cut, it shouldn't be a problem.
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Old 20th March, 2005, 11:17 AM
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Well it is quite flexible so i think you're right.
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Old 9th April, 2005, 04:04 PM
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Well, is the hole cut as yet? Do you have a pic of it being cut? Or a post cut pic.
Did you use a hole cut saw? A dremel? did you draw a circle and drill a hundred holes around it?

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Old 9th April, 2005, 09:17 PM
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It will be cheap rolled mild steel, should cut a treat with a HSS (high speed steel) tool bit. If you go wait a min or so between each drill hole (if thats your plan, 80mm drill bits are err rare, biggest i've got is 10mm, lol.
I do have a 40mm arbor based piece though which made easy work of cutting my case a while back (still havent filed off the edge though lol). I'll post a pic'y later when i find my digicam.
Oh as for case airflow replacing those stock drilled mech bits with something less restrictive can reduce case temps alot. Mine went from 35-40c to 25-28c (cpu temp dropped from 50c to 42c as well)
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Old 9th April, 2005, 09:35 PM
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Pic 1 = Tool + hole
Pic 2 = Tool in its component parts
Pic 3 = Rear fan holes with there guards removed (pair of exhausts) should really get round to finishing it off hehe
Attached Thumbnails
cutting a top blowhole-1.jpg   cutting a top blowhole-2.jpg   cutting a top blowhole-dscf0008.jpg  
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Old 9th April, 2005, 10:00 PM
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Im suprised that holesaw survived that, usually only the bi-metal ones will.
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Old 9th April, 2005, 10:28 PM
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that looks quite good actually. I haven't got round to cutting the hole yet, just been really busy lately. I will get chance though, i might even ask if my skool will cut it for me. I'm moving into a new school in a few days because they are knocking the old one down. This new one reminds me of one of those japanese technology colleges, looks good. I will get round to cutting the hole soon though. I managed to get that fan controller in and get 2 fans connected to it. I'm planning to connect the other 2 when i get some molex to 3 pin adapters. I'll get my nice new red neon 'bubble' light for my PC by thursday which is even sweeter, gives a rippling effect inside the case apparently and as my mod is called Etna, it will give the effect that it could do anything at any moment. I've put a 'caution' logo on the side (stencilied) and then coloured it in with a silver gel pen, took absolutely bloody ages.The next thing after these light are some LED case feet and an external molex connector so i can have some lights under the case. I'm really using stock parts to create a mod but i plan to do some more personal mods when i have the time and skill. As far as i know, i'm the only modder in my area, one of my mates painted their case with the black and yellow 'danger stripes' and that's what got me interested but it was about a year after that i started doing something about it.
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Old 12th April, 2005, 11:23 AM
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Ok, my dad says that he might get the bits to cut it for me later today. I'm going with an 80mm if possible. I'm going to take the top part off of the case as that's obviously the easiest and safest way to do it. My dad said that the case will be wrecked when he cuts it, don't see why if it's being held in place with a clamp. I'm going to put the fan filter from the side of my case into the top hole when it's been drilled. I'm going to have air going in through the front, heating up, rising up, some going out through the PCI fan and some going out through the coolermaster aero blower at the back. I just need to make sure that i draw the circle in the right place so that it's not above the drives or the PSU. I can also do the 'flame' mod using the top blowhole which would suit the mod as it is called etna. The next mod is some under-case lighting then i'm going to submit it to PC extreme (!!!) as i saw some amazing modsbut they just looked cr*p. One was made of lego (it's called legobortion), one made from an antique bird cage whch was the worst IMO (it's just called antique bird cage). The other 2 were nice though. One was called short circuit, it was all blue and had 4 120mm fans in the side panel (OMG!) it had 6cathodes in total (1 x 12" and 5 x 4"). The other one is called scientist and is designed like one of those big computers in a mad scientists lab but it looks mint. I can't explain it really, it's really that different. I'm going to stencil some flames onto my case as well. oops, went way off topic there, sorry.
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Old 13th April, 2005, 01:30 AM
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I was suprised to find with mine that its actually slightly sucking in air at the top, I suppose my case has only 1x80mm feeding in from one side, the pair at the back + psu are all shoving air out. The case does have numerous small holes all over it (it came like that!) they had created a nice dust patter on the backplate heh! At least the holes will be a good place to route water cooling through when i eventually get the funds together to go wet
I did notice a rather nice alu rad down in the lab the other day i shall have to see if its needid anymore as it would suit water cooling a treat!
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Old 13th April, 2005, 07:58 PM
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All done! it has been smoothed off. My dad had to buy a full set and even then, they were carbon. The one he used was about 76mm and just left a groove in the top panel so he decided to drill lots of holes, push it through and then smooth it off with a file. He even cleaned it for me with some 'special fluid', it's also used in paint thinner but it didn't make a mess of the outside of the panel. It turned out very well, i'll get some pictures of it in a bit. I just have a hole covered with a fan filter at the side now but it's not causing too much bother. The whole thing will look great tomorrow because i get some more red lights which will complete the red effect, just get some under case lighting then.

As for the sucking on the top fan, there is always a little bit, around the edges mostly because it doesn't have the fan blades right up to the edge so it tries to take air from there as well. A bit difficult to explain.

At the moment, i've got a front intake fan blowing air over the hard drives which works extremely well at keeping them chilly. I have a pci exhaust which takes almost all hot air away from the graphics card. I have a coolermaster exhaust fan taking hot air out through the back and the new top fan removing the hot air that accumulates at the top. The average temperatures are:

28°C between the HD
32°C near the processor and graphics card (main electornice basically)
28° near the top of the case
27° near the bottom of the case (ambient temperature)

So it is pretty good all round, to say that this is all air cooling, it is quite good. The voodoo and cathode (one of them bust a few days ago) generate a lot of heat between themselves so it's good. It doesn't matter what processor you've got, if it has good thermal grease and a good heatsink, it will get rid of a lot of heat. Same with the graphics card. (i also put some of that silver based thermal grease on the voodoo and got rid of the crappy thermal pad)
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Old 16th April, 2005, 01:38 PM
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Talking look......

my amd64 3800 only useing 1x120mm 2x80cm 1xcpu

norm temp is around 33c
maxs is around 45c
case fans 1xcpu fan

i use the draper multi-tool kit todo my holes
if u take a close look at the case front u can see were i cut the 120mm case vents at front............
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cutting a top blowhole-picture-001.jpg   cutting a top blowhole-picture-004.jpg   cutting a top blowhole-picture-006.jpg  
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Old 18th April, 2005, 11:12 PM
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Drilling a steel case the old fashioned way(~100 1/8" holes around the perimeter of the hole for a 120mm fan) bites. Having an unused "1mm" thick case panel or steel scrap to practise on is a must. Talk about a slow afternoon.
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