Introduction: How to Mod a Computer Case
By: Connor Sheehan
Step 1: Step 1: Plan What You Want to Do
Google is a great tool for this, all you have to do is search something along the effect of "custom pc." Another great place to look is case modding competitions, this is where I found the idea for my project. Once you have an idea of what you would like to make, do some sketches, draw it in cad, make some things in cardboard. These are all a lot easier to visualize and change, then the metal and materials. Once you decide what you want to do, now its time to figure out how and out of what... This is where YOU have to do the work, ask questions like: what kind of tools do you have? How good are you at using those tools? Are you going to paint the piece? If so where and how? Can you get materials? Do you have time? Another big question is the price. For my case I wanted to replicate the picture above with some design tweaks. Below is the Bill Of Materials for my project:
-Corsair 570x (open box) $148.49 https://www.amazon.com/Corsair-Crystal-570X-RGB-CC...
-.118" 12" X 12" clear acrylic sheet $10.20 https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004U7B9HM/ref=o...
-.118" 12" X 12" X2 blue acrylic sheet $23.82 https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006FLYMGG/ref=o...
-.03" 12" X 12" X3 clear acrylic sheet $29.40 https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00520AR9C/ref=o...
-Krylon Interior/Exterior Enamel Spray Paint 12 oz Gloss White x4 16.36 https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000QSZFZ6/ref=o...
Mind you I had most of the acrylic laying around, but it can get expensive quickly. These questions are not to discourage you, but to make you understand what your getting into. Also this indestructible is not "how to mod the corsair 570x exactly how I do," this is an indestructible on how to take your ideas and make them into your new case. That being said lets begin!
Step 2: Step 2: Get the Materials, and Continue Planing
This is where almost everyone branches off, you need to buy your things. At the minimum, you'll need a computer case. There are thousands, if not tens of thousands of cases on the market. You could also be looking at if you have an existing case, then you can skip the rest of this paragraph. A great place to purchase/discover these cases are amazon, newgg, and even pc part picker. Building upon that, pcpartpicker.com is one of the best resources you can use when building a computer. This website allows you to "virtually" put together a pc and gives you compatibility issues and other useful information.
Now assuming you have your new, or old, case sitting in front of you, see if your idea will fit with the case. This is where using cardboard and such will help immensely. As you can see from the picture, I just took some cardboard and started drawing and cutting. Like quickly stated above, I started with the Corsair 570x, and the materials I'm mainly using are acrylic sheeting. I have found amazon is the best place to buy acrylic sheets as long as its under 12x12. The thickness I prefer to use is .118", I found the .03" thick acrylic is a little to thin to use effectively. Once you have what you want to make, move on to the next step.
Step 3: Step 3: Disassemble the Case (If Painting)
BEFORE YOU TAKE ANYTHING APART TAKE PICTURES OF WHERE THINGS GO! That being said this process is different from case to case, most of the time you can start with the side panel, then work to take out every part. If you are NOT painting the case, just take off the necessary parts to gain access to the places where your going to mod. One trick I have learned over the years is, after you take a part off, screw the screw back into either the part, or the case. This way you don't have to worry about keeping track of the hard where. Once you have all the pieces your ready to mod!
Step 4: Step 4: Paint the Case! (If Necessary)
FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS ON THE PAINT ALWAYS! If you need to prep the surface before paint to that now, luckily I didn't need to do that on this case. Improvise and make a relatively clean area to work in. Outside or in a very well ventilated area. I put down news papers outside my dorm making sure I was far enough from anything so it wouldn't paint things I didn't want, then started to paint. Start in light coats then add on more depending on what the paint says. LET IT CURE AND SET DON'T TOUCH IT, you will regret it! This will take some time, to paint my entire case (requiring 15 min dry time) took just over 2 hours.
Step 5: Step 5: Mod/Make the New Parts
Now this is where YOU take your designs and make the pieces. This is the process I went through, odds are your project will be a little different so use your better judgment.
1.Trace pattern onto acrylic sheeting
2. Cut out pattern on ban saw/scroll saw
3. Sand edges down to exact sizes
4. Repeat steps 1-3 from inlay pieces
5. Design logos in cad
6. Laser cut inlay pieces for precision
7. Glued pieces together (super glue will discolor the acrylic so use acrylic glue for best results)
Tips and tricks: Always cut larger then you need and sand piece down to desired shape and size, test fit, and keep test fitting for results, measure as many times as needed to make a good first cut, and most of all if using laser cutter don't light the acrylic on fire.
This section may look like it lacks content because YOU need to make the parts with your tools and prepossesses, every project is different.
If you are cutting the case use painters tape for a strait cut and it helps reduce scratching and unwanted cuts
Step 6: Step 6: Reassemble
This is where the pictures from earlier come in handy! Proceed one part at a time and try your best to not scratch the case or the part. Now you need to evaluate how well you did, any flaws? If so how can they be fixed? what did you learn? etc. These will come in great hand next time you decide to take on a project. Admire.