Cutting the Case
Now for the fun part - cutting into your beautiful brand new case for the first time is something that is very hard to explain. Not unlike filling up your new water cooling loop or pouring your first LN2 bench session, that initial cut is a mixture of panic, anxiety and excitement.
First off you will need to decide what sort of cutting implement you are most comfortable with. Some people like to use rotary tools and some prefer a jigsaw. I have decided to use a jigsaw with a metal blade as it's a bit quicker for long straight lines.
When using a jig you will have to make four insert holes for the blade, these will need to be made at all four corners. To do this start by drilling a small pilot hole about 10mm from the inside edges of the proposed cuts.
Pilot holes are essential for panel work as it saves the bigger drill bits from straying and damaging the panel. Once you have damaged a panel you very quickly learn that is a lot easier to take the time to drill a 15 second pilot as opposed to hours of sanding and painting to fix a mistake!
I have been a little careless with my panel as it will be sanded and painted after cutting is complete.
After finishing up with the small drill bit it is time to pull out the big guns. We need to create a hole large enough for the jigsaw blade to be inserted so choose a bit accordingly. Following the same techniques as used for the pilot holes carefully bore out your jigsaw insert.
With the insert positions for the blade created we can now begin to cut out the window. Clamp the panel to some scrap wood or a cutting table, prepare your safety gear along with a brand new metal cutting blade. Once completely prepared place the jigsaw blade through the predrilled insert and begin the cut.
When making your first cut work inwards towards the closest line to your starting point, make sure not to twist the blade. Aim this initial cut on only a slight angle aiming for the cutting line, once reached straighten out and continue onwards down the marked line. Remember as long as you stay on the inside of the cutting line you can always re-cut or file off any mistakes or excess. Cut slowly and as always let the tool do the work, take special care when coming into the corners with some patience you can get perfectly joined square corner. Take your time and get the cuts right at this stage and you will save some time with the clean-up.
Once we have made our way around the entire piece the excess metal should just fall away. Now remember the side panel will be hot so give it a few minutes to cool before handling with bare hands. After the panel has cooled grab your trusty file and start working any extra metal back to the cutting marks, also making sure to remove any burs and jagged edges in the process.
Tip - Use some WD40 to help keep the cutting process cool and lubricated which will equal cleaner cuts!
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