Window/Door edge trim or "U channel": Available at autozone or mcpctech.com
Scotch heavy duty mounting tape: Available at most hardware stores and mnpctech.com
Painters tape: Available at any hardware store.
Acrylic sheet: I had an orange sheet laying around, but you can find some at most hardware stores
Two small cabinet handles: I got mine at Lowes, you can get them anywhere
Four Washers that fit with the screws that come with your handles: I had some laying around but I bet you can guess where to find some.
A PC Case you are willing to cut up and drill through: I used an Antec 300 although any case will work fine
*optional* Some case lights: I picked up a green LED case light from microcenter with the Antec 300
-Time and Patients-
Paper: for making a template for your window
Cardboard: for making a template for the handles
Pencil/pen: for marking and creating you templates
Ruler or Straight Edge: For measuring and making straight lines
Scissors: for cutting out your templates
Knife: for cutting off any excess tape for the window
Dremel: for making the starting cut for the window (you can use a large drill bit if you do not have a dremel)
Jigsaw: for cutting the window and acrylic.
Metal cutting Jigsaw blade: It's best to use a blade ment for the desired project. (A metal blade will generally cut acrylic fine as well. We want the finest blade possible.)
Drill: for drilling the holes for the handles
Drill bits: We need one small bit for the pilot holes and one bit the same size or slightly larger than the screw
Screw Driver: for attaching the handle to the case
Various Clamps: for clamping the acrylic to the "work station"
Suitable Workspace: My workspace was outside, I used a couple saw horses and a sheet of plywood to serve as a table to cut the window and the acrylic.
*Optional* air duster and Goo-Gone:
Step 1: Make Your Templates
The next thing to do is make a template for the handles. This is a bit more difficult and depending on the handles you pick, the template will need to be constructed a bit differently.
To start, take a thin sheet of cardboard and cut it so that it fits on top of your case. Then measure the width of the case. (mine was about 20 cm) You want to inspect the inside of your case and find the best place for your handles. Make sure there are no parts that will block access to the handle installation. If you only want one handle, make sure it is placed in a spot where the case is balanced with all the components installed.
Once the cardboard is cut, measure the distance from the back where you want the handle to be. (I chose 2 cm) Then use a ruler (straight edge) and draw a line from that point vertically to the top and bottom endges of the template. This will give you a straight line to place the hole marks. Now measure out the width of the case on the template and mark the template appropriately. Now find the middle of the case width and mark that on the line drawn for the handles. Now measure the length of your handle from the middle of the screw holes. Divide that number by two, and then take that number and measure out from the middle mark on the line. Make a dot with a pen/marker. This should center your handle and space it properly for the screws. Lay the handle next to the dots and make sure they line up. Now take a push-pin and punch a hole through the dots. Now take a small philips screwdriver and make that hole larger. Keep increasing the size of the whole until it fits the handle's screws. Now insert the screws and attach the handle to make sure it fits properly. Your template is complete!
Now take everything out of the case. I recommend either removing or covering any fans. The metal particles from drilling holes can destroy any of your PC components.
Step 2: Prepare Your Window
Remove the side panel from your case and set it on the floor or on a desk.
Lay the template on the panel and measure the distances from the back, top, and bottom of the panel. This will help you arrange it later. Now cover the panel in painters tape, this will prevent any of the paint to chip off and the panel to get scratched while cutting out the window. The painters tape also gives us a surface to trace out our template onto the panel with your marker of choice.
Once the panel is covered with tape, place some tape loops on the template and stick it on to the panel in the desired spot.
My window is 5 cm from the back, and 7.25 cm from the top and bottom. This gives me a view of the motherboard without any nasty cables or dive bays in the way.
Step 3: Cut Out Your Window
Find a suitable workstation and get your hands on a cardboard box slightly smaller than your panel. Then place the panel on top of the box (open the box) and test to make sure the panel will be stable. I find this to be the easiest way to cut out the window, as the box will support the panel from all edges, while giving us an open area to cut out the window. (Pro tip: put something inside the box that will support the window while cutting.)
Now it's time to take out your trusty dremel and start the cut. I recommend using a carbon fiber cut-off disk, but I believe any cut-off disk could work for this trick. Using the dremel cut a a small slot along your line, this will give us a place to put the jigsaw and begin cutting, If you do not own a dremel, I recommend getting one, but in the mean time, you can use a drill with a large bit and drill a hole somewhere along the line (on a curve perhaps) to get you started, (Pro tip: if you don't want any curved corners, make sure to make a starting slot at each side of your window first.)
After the starting slot is cut, take your jigsaw and put in a metal cutting blade. (the finest (smallest) teeth blade) and begin cutting out the window making sure to follow your line. Be carful when cutting out any curves or turns, be patient and in a few minutes your window will fall out perfectly.
Once the window is cut, take a minute to admire your work and before you take off the tape, file down those sharp edges with either a dremel and grinding/sanding bit, or a metal handfile. Now it's time to peel off the tape and marvel at your own skills.
Step 4: Cut Out Your Acrylic
Now that you have the size measured out correctly, use a straight edge and draw out the acrylic window on the big sheet. After that, clamp done the acrylic as much as possible to the work surface and take your jigsaw (with the finest blade you can find (metal cutting blade works)) and begin the two )or more) cuts necessary. It does not take long, but be carful not to shatter the acrylic while cutting.
After the acrylic has been cut, take a cloth and or air duster and get all the little plastic shaving bits off the acrylic. Now clean up your work area and get ready to finish up the window.
Step 5: Making Your Window
Once you finish applying the U channel, cut the excess U channel off, and join the two ends together. Glue is not necessary, but depending on the type of U channel you used, it might be. (use superglue)
Now peal off the paper on the acrylic and if necessary use Goo-Gone to remove any stickiness left over. Place the acrylic on the inside of the panel and check to see if it fits correctly. Use a pencil and mark out along the corners or endges where the mounting tape will go.
After that, depending on the U channel, you may need two layers of tape, I did, so all you do is cut the mounting tape and stick it on to where you marked, staking the tape as needed. now peal off the backing and lay the acrylic over the window fitting it against the mounting tape. Press hard against the tape and make sure the acrylic is stuck firmly in place.
Using a knife to cut off any excess tape from the window, after that your done!
Step 6: Prepare the Top of the Case
If the back dots line up with the handle, All you have to do is slide the template up to the front, keeping it aligned with the case. Most cases have a plastic bezel on the front, so make sure to keep the template on the metal. Mark the dots again and test the handel. You should now have the appropriate marks and prepare to drill out the holes!
Step 7: Drill Your Handle Holes
Start with a pilot hole. (a small hole drilled first before the main one) After the pilot hole is drilled, find a bit that is the same size as the screw (same diameter). Now use the drill and enlarge the hole to fit the screw. After that's done, remove the cardboard from under the case top and try to fit the screw through it. Does it fit? Yes? Great, now get ready to attach the handels. No? Ok use a bit slightly larger than the diameter of the screw and try again. **Avoid drilling through any wires that may still be in the case**
Step 8: Attach the Handles
***Use an air duster and spray the inside of the case to remove any metal particle!***
Step 9: Put the Case Back Together
Step 10: Assemble Your PC and Admire Your Work
(Pro tip: You can even make these mods for your friends and give them as "gifts".)