For my next build I want to take a standard case (something along the lines of the Lian Li PC-61
) and cut my own window. I like the aforementioned case mainly because the side panels don't have any grills, fans, or other holes/ridges that would get in the way of a window. Also the inside of the case seems pretty open, thus allowing for a bigger window.
The window I plan to make will be a custom design incorporating the letter S (my last name's first letter) in some way, shape, or form. My initial designs were relatively simply to allow for an easier time cutting. However, I then remembered that my school has a water jet cutter
that I can more than likely use for this project. At this point the whole idea of keeping it simple went out the window (no pun intended) since water jet cutters can be extremely detailed - see here
for some examples. I more than likely won't be using any window molding since some of the holes will more than likely be too small for it.
For those of you that don't feel like reading up on it, these machines use a very fine stream of water (about 0.01" diameter) at absurdly high pressure (ranging from 20 to 60 ksi) to cut whatever material you need cut. They were originally designed to cut lumber but can now cut through anything ranging from fiberglass insulation to metal to food to concrete.
Now, I've never used a water jet cutter before nor do I know the specs of mine such as whether it's pure water or abrasive. However, I don't think the specs would really matter seeing as how the material I will be cutting through won't be more than 1.0 mm thick. I'm wondering if anyone here has had experience with a water jet cutter whether it was used in modding a computer or not. I did a Search on these boards looking for people that made their own windows and I only came across one thread that made mention of it and it was about a year old. From what I understand you have to import a CAD file into the machine and then do some tweaks to line it up properly as well as show it which path you want it to cut. I am well versed with AutoCAD 2006 so desiging it isn't a problem, it's getting it from AutoCAD to the panel that I'm not sure of.
I can easily obtain instruction once I get back to school but I'm really excited about the idea of using this process and wanted some input on it.
Oh, on a little side note, the computer I'm running now isn't that old so I don't plan on actually doing this build for another year or so. Right now I'm just trying to figure out if this idea will work so that I can get serious about designing the window.
Here's a preliminary layout that I had in mind and threw together over the past couple days, let me know what you guys think.
Just to clarify, the blue parts are the parts are cut out.