Case Window Cutting and Installation

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Introduction

Most online stores sell premade window kits which are really good but sometimes you want to make your case 100% DIY. Online stores sell window kits that come in a many different shapes, sizes, and colors, but you may want more. The only way to really get the design that you are looking for if it is something unique is to do it yourself. Cutting your own window is a pretty easy thing to do and can make your case look a lot cooler and more unique.

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What you will need

  • Sheet of plexiglass
  • Window molding
  • Washer
  • some sort of saw to cut the Plexiglass
  • Dremel or other tool to cut case
  • Pencil

The reason that I am writing this guide is because I was using air cooling and had a 120mm fan mounted to the top of my case. I switched over to watercooling and when I did I put the radiator on top of my power supply in the back. When I put the radiator into my case it ended up being too close to the blowhole on the top and a 120mm fan would not fit anymore. The best way to solve this problem I found was to put a window in the top because I already had a window on the side and why not have one on the top. The side window was also done the same way that I will be doing the top one in this guide just so you can get more ideas. The first thing I did was to remove the top from the case so that I could cut it. After removing it I took a ruler and made 1 inch margins around each edge so that the lines would be equal.

After making the one inch margins around each side of the top of the case I needed to round off the ends so I went searching for something to use. After searching around my house for a while the best thing I could find was the top off a coffee can which I used to make the ends at the front and back rounded. Look around your house for something thats the right diameter for your particular case and design. Be sure that you take your time when you are drawing out what you cut because once you cut that’s it.

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After tracing the lines for the rounded part of the design I headed out to the garage to do some cutting. I will be using a Dremel with a regular cutting wheel because I didn’t have any reinforced fiberglass ones at the time. I will also be using a cylindrical grinding stone to smooth the edges of the cut when I am done. You can use a jig saw or any other cutting tool that you want to use but I prefer the Dremel. Be sure to always use safety gear when cutting, I always wear goggles when cutting and usually a mask because a lot of junk flies into the air when you are working.

Click here for a larger image After about 20 minutes and a few cutting wheels I had finally gotten it totally cut out. I didn’t use masking tape on the parts that I was not cutting because I was rushing but I really recommend that you do because it can save you paint from being scratched. If you have never cut a hole with a Dremel its pretty easy. Just turn it on to full speed and take little bites out of the case, don’t try and just bore through it because it wont work well. Take you time as you cut because its easy to slip and mess up your case. Your cutting wheel will probably be eaten down to nothing and you will need to change it so dont worry about that. Because you are probably going to be using window molding like I am it doesn’t really matter what the edge looks like. I went ahead and ground it down though a little because its really sharp and you will cut yourself most likely, especially when installing the window.


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After you have the edge of the hole nice and smooth you will use it as a template on your plexiglass, Lexan, or Lucite for your window. I had a piece of Lucite lying around from when I did the side window so I will be using that. The reason I am using Lucite is that it’s really strong, nice and clear, and doesn’t scratch as easy as Plexiglass. I took the piece of Lucite and put it on my workbench then put the top of my case upside down on it so that I could trace the outline. You will need a washer to do the tracing because the window needs to be smaller than the hole. The size of the washer will depend on the size of molding you are going to use. At most online stores they will include the washer that you need, but be sure you have a washer that’s the right size. Be sure when you are doing this that the pencil is inside the washer closest to the edge of the hole in the case. Place the washer on the inside of the hole and use a pencil to trace all the way around the hole until you are done.

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Now that you have your window all traced you will need to cut it out so you can put it into the hole you cut in your case. I will be using a scroll saw because this is the best tool I have for the job. I would suggest using some kind of saw tool rather than a Dremel or cutting tool because the Dremel will melt it and cutting it will probably crack it. Just for your information I had a cheap piece of plexiglass that I tried out on my scroll saw and it cracked after going about 2 inches so I would really urge you to buy Lucite if you can find it because it’s much stronger. Again always use safety gear when using power tools and be careful. I powered up the scroll saw and away I went, after about 10 minutes I was done. As you can see it’s not the most professional or perfect cutout but it doesn’t have to be because the edge of the case and window are going to be covered by the molding.