How to mod your pc tower case with a plexiglas panel window




It is customary after some time to get bored at one’s own case, and to want it to look cool in one way or the other. One (also) useful way to modify it is to make a panel transparent, so you can see inside, and check if all fans are working, or see what’s the model no. of an HW component without using a screwdriver. This naturally applies only to tower (mini-midi-full) cases, and the guide itself uses some techniques which may not be appliable to every model; I decided it was much easier to exchange a whole panel with plexiglas, instead of sawing off a square from the original aluminium, possibily damaging it and my own fingers, and below you can see what I was able to make.

You can easily notice the reflection of the light on the plexiglas surface (I mean, there’s actually something on it, I didn’t make a shot of a panel-less case to make it look transparent)

 

My case structure had some incisions to let some stirrups on the alumium panel to make friction and stay stable.

These two holes are the insertion points of corresponding stirrups on the panel, so sliding the panel forward, the stirrups would get a grip of the structure; we need to reproduce this mechanism on our plexiglas panel.

 

First, you need to provide yourself with the necessary material: a plexiglas panel, the same size of the aluminium panel you want to replace (I used a 2mm thick one), and then both a instrument to make holes in plexiglas without fracturing it (I used a screwdriver-shaped solderer to melt where I needed), and a series of straight thin metal stirrups you can easily bend.

Notice the solderer point, about the width of the thin metal stirrups, which must not be wider of the holes in the case structure, since they must fit in there. You can see an example ofhow you must bend the stirrups, but we wil need it later. (I removed those stirrups from an old AC-adapter solenoid core, ue your fantasy to get yourself some stuff like it elsewhere)

 

Put the plexiglas panel in place, and with a marker draw on it the side of the holes where the grip should occur, then about 5mm ahead of it make a vertical hole with the solderer. I decided to use only the first and last holes on the upper and lower side of the panel, to reduce the amount of work, and the probability of bad alignment of all the stirrups. In this phase you should also write with a marker on the plexiglas "OUTSIDE", so you can easily find the orientation of the plexiglas against the case.

You must use the marker sign on the plexiglas as a reference, to make an hole with the solderer ahead of it, to let the stirrup pass from one side of the panel to the other. The sign you draw should perfectly correspond to the hole edges (not like the picture, in other words), Make sure the hole is wide enough for the stirrups, if not, simply touch it with the solderer again until the stirrup fits.

 

Bend the gripping side of the stirrup to reproduce the U-shaped hook on the aluminium panel, insert it in the hole, then bend again the long straight side to fix the stirrup on the plexiglas.

This is how the bent stirrup should look like: the "U" base should be in the same position of the sign you marked on th plexiglas. Now the gripping mechanism of the aluminium panel has bein reproduced.

 

Try to adapt the just completed panel, which will almost for sure not be perfect, but adjusting the bending of the stirrups, or forcing them in the holes will get it to work.

A blurred detail of a stirrup in place.

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