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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am partially considering adding a side window or two into the side panel of my case... marking out where i would want my window(s) is not hard but i do have some questions

1.) How is the best way to ensure clean edges on your cut?
2.) What is the recommended material to use for the window? (glass, acrylic)
3.) How is the best way to fasten said material to your side panel?
 

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1) Cut "inside the line" then use a file or a rotary tool to clean up the edge.
2) Acrylic is the easiest to work with but it will scratch
3) Two-sided tape. I use a type made for attaching automobile emblems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
are there any special concerns to keep in mind when planning the window location? (structural, grounding, etc?)

where is a good place to get the acrylic and tape?

what thickness of acrylic do you recommend purchasing?
 

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There should not be anything using the side panel as part of the grounding circuit. Structural members, if any, will be around the circumference of the panel.

I have a supply of recycled bits of clear, smoked and colored acrylic panels I picked up at auction a few years back. You may buy pieces, in bulk or cut to fit, at most glass dealers. Look for 3mm (1/8"). Any thinner will flexx; any thicker looks weird (IMO). Cut it such that it will overlap the hole by ½" or so. Two sided tape can be found at auto parts stores and most department stores.

In this link, the fellow uses an "all-in-one' window kit, but the steps are basically the same. I generally do not use molding as I think it's just as ugly as a badly cut edge. I prefer to take the time to make nice straight cuts and clean curves.
 

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A few additions to what gcavan has already stated...

Tape off the entire surface to be cut, draw your lines on the tape and cut through the tape. This will prevent damage to the finish of your side panel.

Use as fine a scrolling blade as possible and take your time cutting. Let the saw do the work and be patient, applying too much pressure to the saw will cause more burrs and less precision as well as a higher chance of a broken blade.

I prefer hand filing to remove burrs and clean up edges. It takes longer, but with a bit of patience and some elbow grease, it will make the nicest edge next to laser-cutting or stamping.

If you aren't going to use moulding, I suggest applying paint to the bare metal edge to prevent oxidation. You can apply the paint before removing the tape that you placed before cutting.

Then, as gcavan stated, use automotive grade double sided adhesive tape to hold the window in place.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
There should not be anything using the side panel as part of the grounding circuit. Structural members, if any, will be around the circumference of the panel.

I have a supply of recycled bits of clear, smoked and colored acrylic panels I picked up at auction a few years back. You may buy pieces, in bulk or cut to fit, at most glass dealers. Look for 3mm (1/8"). Any thinner will flexx; any thicker looks weird (IMO). Cut it such that it will overlap the hole by ½" or so. Two sided tape can be found at auto parts stores and most department stores.

In this link, the fellow uses an "all-in-one' window kit, but the steps are basically the same. I generally do not use molding as I think it's just as ugly as a badly cut edge. I prefer to take the time to make nice straight cuts and clean curves.
Thanks for the tips. I am a carpenter by trade so i am familiar with cutting things, but this will be the first computer case i have done up. Just so i dont ruin a $180 chassis i will probably practice on an old panel first... Does anyone know if it is possible to buy just a replacement side panel in case something did ever happen? I'm not saying I'm worried I'll mess it up just curious...

Also, does anyone know anything about adding extra lights to my chassis, I have a few areas that will look killer light up but i don't even know where to begin in hardware selection or how i would give said lights power.

A few additions to what gcavan has already stated...

Tape off the entire surface to be cut, draw your lines on the tape and cut through the tape. This will prevent damage to the finish of your side panel.

Use as fine a scrolling blade as possible and take your time cutting. Let the saw do the work and be patient, applying too much pressure to the saw will cause more burrs and less precision as well as a higher chance of a broken blade.

I prefer hand filing to remove burrs and clean up edges. It takes longer, but with a bit of patience and some elbow grease, it will make the nicest edge next to laser-cutting or stamping.

If you aren't going to use moulding, I suggest applying paint to the bare metal edge to prevent oxidation. You can apply the paint before removing the tape that you placed before cutting.

Then, as gcavan stated, use automotive grade double sided adhesive tape to hold the window in place.
 

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Some merchants do sell parts for certain popular cases. You can usually purchase parts directly from the manufacturer.

Lighting is pretty staitforward and a relatively inexpensive addition. Single LEDs and LED strips and arrays, and cold cathode tubes are popular. Commercially available items will take power from a spare 4-pin Molex of your power supply.

Newegg has a small selection of case lighting bits but there are many sites on the web which specialize in this type of thing.
 

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Lexann is a superior material. It can be cut with common tin snips and can be drilled without cracking/breaking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Some merchants do sell parts for certain popular cases. You can usually purchase parts directly from the manufacturer.

Lighting is pretty staitforward and a relatively inexpensive addition. Single LED's and LED strips and arrays, and cold cathode tubes are popular. Commercially available items will take power from a spare 4-pin Molex of your power supply.

Newegg has a small selection of case lighting bits but there are many sites on the web which specialize in this type of thing.
I looked at what newegg had for chassis lighting but it seemed like their LED's were either too long or not going to be long enough. I want my case lit but I don't want it to look like Christmas lights draped everywhere. The cold cathode tubes looked possible but the reviews all said they were more orange than red so not the color i am looking for.

I don't mind doing a completely custom setup and installing my own LED's and hard wiring my chassis if i can get the look i am going for, i just don't know where to begin or the technical stuff to get from PSU to illuminated LED

Someone gave me a link to a dimmer unit and maybe that is a start, but still not enough information to know what i am doing. There is plenty of space inside to mount a control unit if i could find a suitable one.

Computer case Product Electronic device Technology Font

Product Electronic device Computer case Technology Electronic instrument

Technology Electronic device Electronics accessory
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Lexann is a superior material. It can be cut with common tin snips and can be drilled without cracking/breaking.
Lexann... thanks Tyree, i'll look into it.

Sorry about double posting but i was replying before this last came it. didnt see it till it was too late.
 

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As I said, newegg has a very limited selection of items. Spend an hour or so with your preferred search engine looking at some of the modding supply sites such as FrozenCPU.com, Xoxide.com or CrazyPC.com

Looking for a specific shade: going to be hit and miss and a lot of experimentation.
Under chassis: I've seen such things as LED feet.

That dimmer looks kind of humungous. It's high current but only a single channel. You could use one (or more) channels of a fan controller to accomplish the same thing and you wouldn't have to worry about losing the remote.

If you are a bit handy at electronics, the following circuit works equally well as a light dimmer and a fan controller. None of the component values are critical but those shown will give an output from about 6.5volts to 11.5volts (when using a 12 volt supply).
Text Line Diagram Design Parallel
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The job i have worked at the past few years i have become familiar with soldering wire harnesses and circuit boards. I could probably come up with something off of it.

Would I be able to run multiple outputs/runs off of that circuit or would i be able to run one circuit for my whole case? about how many LED's would that power or does that depend on a particular type of LED (if there are different types)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Ok so i took a look at the sites you suggested and found one particularity well stoked. Looking at the control board options i noticed two basic types, one powered from the mobo and one powered from a molex connector. Of the molex powered there are some with the option to plug in with resistor or without, what is the differences and which type is better?

Also i notice common to all of them is the 2 pin plug and from what i can see it is meant to power an individual LED... Is there anything wrong or bad about wiring several LED's in either a series or parallel circuit and plugging multiple runs into the control board?

I also noticed there was room for 20 LED's in one board, is that a maximum number able to be plugged in on a molex cable or is that just the number the manufacturer decided to stop at?
 

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Max load depends on the transistor (Q1) used and its case style. The TIP31 comes in a TO-220 package. That will give you up to about 500 mA without a heatsink and up to 3 amp with. Figure on 30-50mA draw per LED.

I don't know what controller(s) to which you are referring.

resistor or without, what is the differences and which type is better?
An LED connected directly to a power source will burnt out immediately. There needs to be a current limiting resistor, in series, with the LED. Size of the resistor depends on the supply voltage and type and number of LED's used. Most commercial units will have the resistor in place but LEDs bought in bulk will require a resistor.

If you plan to use single LEDs from bulk, I suggest you read up on them; ie how they work, what the specs mean and how to connect them to a power source.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I don't know what controller(s) to which you are referring.
I'm sorry, i had in mind to include a link to what i was referring but didn't actually do it.

I am planning on just buying a controller board from frozen and using that instead of having to come up with what i need to build and mount your sample circuit. Looking at the control board options i noticed two basic types, one powered from the motherboard and one powered from a spare molex connector. Of the molex powered there is a header section with the option to plug in with resistor and one for no resistor, what is the differences and which type is better? My goal if possible is to not have to run a tail to each LED i wish to install on my chassis. Ideally i would run a few LEDS in a section to a single plug but i dont know if that is possible without overloading the control board or physically with how an LED works. If it is possible would i wire in series or parallel... or does that really matter in this case?

With the way i hope to wire, would this board be a good choice? Also i noticed different sizes of LED's ranging from 3mm to 10mm. Apart from physical size is there any other difference or benefit?
 
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