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Old 02-22-2008, 10:09 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Case Modding Basics... Steel vs Aluminum?

I'm going to sell my HTC Mogul Pocket PC phone (~250-300) and I'm going to use that money to start a basic modding project. Probably something along the lines of a UV case mod with custom water cooling.

One of the dilemmas that I face is how well or how difficult using a dremel on steel is compared to aluminum. I've never used a dremel... but I won't be doing anything difficult and I'll have plenty of scrap metal to practice on. Anyways, so cutting steel with a dremel is possible right? And its not super difficult?

Another question I have is, I've heard that you need carbide tipped drill bits to cut through steel... are those bits expensive? and what exactly does a hole cutting bit or w/e look like/cost? Do you need some super drill that costs a lot? Or can any basic drill work?

Finally, is there anyways to tint or color clear acrylic blue? I've got some sheets of clear acrylic around and I'd like to use that if I can since I'll be doing a UV mod. Also, can you slice a sheet of acrylic down its length? The sheets I have are pretty thick and can't really be used effectively in a case.
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Old 02-22-2008, 10:13 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Case Modding Basics... Steel vs Aluminum?

Depends if the drill bits are rated for steel. Some cheap ones at the store will probably melt or shred when you press it only steel. What does the bits say?

Yes you can stain the acrylic, don't know how effective it is. As for cutting the acrylic, you can use a bandsaw or some form of a saw.
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Old 02-22-2008, 10:16 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Case Modding Basics... Steel vs Aluminum?

Steel cant be cut with conventional cutoff wheels on a dremel. im not sure about specialized cutoff wheels for steel on a dremel but you could do some looking around. but im telling you that if you try to do it with just regular cutoff wheels all your gona do is just scratch it.
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Old 02-22-2008, 10:35 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Case Modding Basics... Steel vs Aluminum?

hmm... so is it worth it to spend the extra money to get an aluminum case?

the water cooling parts alone are going to be pretty expensive...

anyways, when you cut the acrylic, is there anything you need to be aware of or watch for? do you need a face mask or anything? I have access to a band saw and regular table saws as well as dremels.
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Old 02-22-2008, 10:37 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Case Modding Basics... Steel vs Aluminum?

Yes, it is.

Well, face mask is always a nice precaution, you never know how things can go wrong. You just need to cut the acrylic and use some sandpaper to smooth out the edges.
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Old 02-22-2008, 10:39 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Case Modding Basics... Steel vs Aluminum?

alright, I guess I'll go for an aluminum case, guess I'll be ordering one online then... I was hoping I could just go out and buy one of those generic brand steel cases at MicroCenter or something heh

anyways, since I'll be ordering online anyways, can someone link me to some sites that sell UV Blue Acrylic?

and thanks for all your help so far guys

any suggestions on a nice case? Preferably black (so I don't have to paint...) and with NO FRONT DOOR. A window is optional, but appreciated (reduces my work and the parts I need) and it has to be aluminum heh

finally, midtower or full tower? I won't be transporting this case around, but I really don't like having super large cases... I currently use a generic brand midtower which houses everything fine.

edit:

new question now heh. how exactly do you go about finding a water block for a motherboard's north or south bridge? are there motherboard specific ones that you need, or can you find 1 that will work for many motherboards
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Old 02-22-2008, 11:03 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Case Modding Basics... Steel vs Aluminum?

you just buy them acording to your chipset specs. and there really is no need to cool the south bridge just the northbridge IMO

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Old 02-22-2008, 11:06 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Case Modding Basics... Steel vs Aluminum?

I thought the north bridge was integrated into the motherboard in AMD motherboards? or something... maybe it was the south bridge... I'll cool whichever one is on my board lol

and yeah, I'll definitely be ordering from petras!
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Old 02-22-2008, 11:11 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Case Modding Basics... Steel vs Aluminum?

OH umm in AMD the northbridge is non existant its incorperated onto the CPU. and plus when water cooling you dont want excess heat from other components heating up the water your using for your CPU cooling because keeping that cool is MOST important.

and dont even bother with the southbridge. i mean yea its important but not important enough to WC.
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Old 02-22-2008, 11:16 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Case Modding Basics... Steel vs Aluminum?

Steel is no problem at all for any decent dremel, go to home depot get the heavy duty cut off wheels and you'll be fine, they are about $7.00 for 10 or so. The extra heavy duty fiberglass reinforced ones are also good, they are about $10.00 for 3. I use both on steel and aluminum, to be honest most of the cases I work on are steel and I have no issue at all with the above bits, I use them up but they cut nicely. Don't get the puny little once, they'll shatter on you 9 out 10 times.

Here you go, #426: http://www.dremel.com/en-us/attachme...=66367&I=66371

ALWAYS WEAR SAFETY GLASSES with a dremel, at 35,000rpm if a cut off wheel shreds you can loose an eye. <--- read that again and take it to heart, ALWAYS WEAR SAFETY glasses with power tools, I use a full face shield when I'm on the dremel, i had a wheel shred on me a few months back, actually cut my forehead open, nothing big once the blood was cleaned up but the wife was not pleased.

drill bits? you mean for a cordless drill? just go to your local hardware store and ask for the metal bits, standard bits for metal will be fine for you unless you start drilling a lot of holes, I use cobalt tipped bits and they are about $20 each, but I drill a lot of holes in sheet metal. There are titanium coated ones that are a little cheaper as well but you should be fine with standard all purpose (wood and metal) drill bits. It will say "all purpose" on the package or show pictures of a 2X4 for wood and an "I" beam for steel...something like that,changes by brand.

As for the acrylic, do you mean you want to cut it thickness wise? That the stuff you have is too thick so you want to cut it's actual depth down? I've never seen that done and don't know how you'd do it so that the acrylic is still nice and clear. Just buy yourself a nice thin sheet somewhere if thats the case.
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