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Author Topic: Good cases for modding + other questions  (Read 8262 times)

Master_Rudik

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Good cases for modding + other questions
« on: August 04, 2009, 02:20:45 PM »

Hello all, I'm new to case modding and just have a few questions.

The first, main, question I have is what, in your experience, are some specific cases you've found are good for modding? I'm talking about best for adding windows, best design, easiest to paint, and whatever else made it great for modding. I myself am looking for a full tower case that will fit all types of motherboards simply because I expect to keep this case for a while and upgrade my computer quite often, but am open to other types of cases. Price is not so much a problem, but a more simple case that is open to modification would be nice. If you have a link on have a link on hand, a place to buy it would be nice, too.

My second question is, what is the best material to use for case windows? I've seen many different materials used, but am confused at which would be best. What's the easiest way to cut this material cleanly? How should it be attached to the case for the best aesthetics? Where can it be purchased?

My last question is pertaining to case windows also. I was wondering the best was to etch designs on them. I've seen the guide that says to use one of the grinding bits on a rotary tool, but that looks messy and not so precise. I have also seen glass etching bits online, but don't know if they would work on whatever the best material is for the actual window. Ease of use and accuracy of the tool should definitely be a factor. I don't want to have to purchase those custom made stickers that go on the window because I want to do very precise pictures and designs, and because I want it to entirely have been done by me.

Any input that could be given would be helpful! Thanks!

P.S. I'm looking for personal opinions
« Last Edit: August 04, 2009, 08:27:09 PM by Master_Rudik »
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bliq

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Re: Good cases for modding + other questions
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2009, 08:14:29 PM »

There's tons of opinions online regarding all your questions.  personally I like working with aluminum as it cuts easily.  Some of those steel cases are far too sturdy and end up eating cutting wheels

I've only ever used acrylic for case windows.  I don't remember ever seeing a glass one.  it would be kinda heavy I think.  It can be cut in several ways.  I've used everything from cutting discs to routing bits to hole saws.  The key is not to let it get too hot and distort.

as for etching, I've never done any, but some of the most amazing ones I've seen were done with a hand etching tool.  I have no idea where to get one though- maybe a hobby shop?
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GideonX

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Re: Good cases for modding + other questions
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2009, 10:34:59 PM »

I prefer the aluminum cases as well. Lian Li cases are easy to chop up.
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urgannagru

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Re: Good cases for modding + other questions
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2009, 11:04:32 PM »

There are all kinds of modding. I personally don't like windows, but you can buy versions of most cases that come with windows or without, and then etch your own design in an existing one. I prefer to paint a blank black case, built solidly like a tank. If I wanted to do serious modding, I would be more inclined to just build a case from scratch, as some people do.

If I were to do a window etching, I would go with sandblasting, but that's because I have access to a machine, which isn't easy to come by. There are also tutorials online about chemical etching, but that is too messy of a process for me (though it can be more precise, if you don't have steady hands, and I know I don't)
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wonko

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Re: Good cases for modding + other questions
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2009, 12:10:19 PM »

All very good answers so far, and I have to agree that aluminum is the way to go, but I've also found that some of the old (like early 90's) steel tower cases can be a blast!  If you have any shops around that recycle, you can find em' for pretty cheap, and I've even got some for free.  Find an old full tower, and go to town.  I've been thinking about doing a custom scratch built case, but right now most of my $$$ is going into my model (RC) planes and heli's.  The Lian cases rock, but I could never bring myself to hack up something that's already a work of art (IMO).

As for window material, I've used glass once (I liked it) but it can be a pain to mount solidly.  Acrylic, or better lexan seems to be the easiest way to go if your looking to do some etching.  I haven't done alot of that sort of thing myself, but I've tried my hand with acceptable results.  Sand blasting is probably the best way to go, and I'm sure you could find a place locally that could do a nice job for you for a price.

It's good to see that the modding scene hasn't died out.  Maybe someday I'll get back into it, but right now I just don't have the funding.  Good luck, and make sure you let us all see what your doing!

                                     Brian
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I LOVE ED

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Re: Good cases for modding + other questions
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2009, 12:50:11 PM »

If you're just starting on modding and looking for a good case to start, I would look for one where spare parts are easily accessible, especially with doing a window.  I have personally made windows on a generic steel case and an aluminum one (Lian Li) and aluminum was easier to cut.  I used a jigsaw on the steel one.  a clean cut didn't matter at the time since I used rubber moulding to fit the window into the case.  if you want a clean cut, try to leave as much slack on the side panel and just use a file to clean up the burrs.  I used cutting wheels and a rotary tool on the aluminum one and it took around 2-3 wheels to make the cut.

for the window material, acrylic sheets can be bought in home improvement stores.  if you mess up your etching, you can always buy some more as they're quite cheap.

for etching, i'd go with sand blasting as well.  or just mask your window and rub the sand yourself.  there are some etching solutions sold in arts and crafts stores that all you need is a design mask.
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Master_Rudik

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Re: Good cases for modding + other questions
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2009, 01:21:41 PM »

Thanks for all the replies, but nobody seems to be fully understanding my first question. I am asking for some specific cases that you found are good for modding, not types of cases. Like the Antec Twelve Hundred, or the Raidmax Smilidon. List some cases that you really enjoyed modding.
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Hak Foo

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Re: Good cases for modding + other questions
« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2009, 07:43:04 PM »

The cases I liked best are not available anymore.

Skyhawk MSR4620-- a clean, slightly oversized aluminium mid-tower... cuts up like butter.

Ark SR-8100.  So big as to invite lovely cable management options.
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bliq

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Re: Good cases for modding + other questions
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2009, 04:08:15 PM »

I enjoyed gutting an aluminum Antec Dragon I got for $40 back in the day, but like many people, I have a hard time cutting up $150-200 cases- too much risk to screw up.  I've worked on several cheaper cases, Enermax clones and such but they were not as easy to work on as that aluminum Antec.
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urgannagru

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Re: Good cases for modding + other questions
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2009, 04:50:49 PM »

i think you'll find that most case modders either start with free junk cases that are lying around, or they don't buy premade but instead just create their own from scratch. its hard to recommend a specific case to mod, because most cases aren't on the market for very long. i doubt you can buy a case that has been on the market for much more than a year.
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