Our first part in creating this box, is to get a nice window on the side of the case. Yes, this is way too popular nowadays. Every Tom and Dick has a window on their case, but you know what? It looks damn good! If you have some insane equipment, flaunt it.
Before we start, we should get together some essential tools to help us out:
- A Dremel, tool of all mod freaks
- Flat and a Philips head screwdriver
- Masking Tape
The Lian-Li case is made of all-aluminum, a really light weight but sturdy material to work on. A point of advice for anyone modifying this case and any aluminum case, the metal cuts fast! Go slow and measure twice, you will not be sorry.
To start off, we get the side off that is located directly covering the main compartment. This is the panel we will be adding our Window Kit. You can order this case with the panels cut or uncut. You can specify on PCMods.com's website, a nice feature for people who do not have the time or the necessary tools to get it done. For a detailed idea of how to cut out your own window, check out our guide we wrote a while back.
Here is the side we are talking about:
We received an oval window kit, but there are other shapes you can choose from. I just think oval brings out the best in this case : )
Included in the kit is a precut sheet of acrylic, a black rubber holding strip, a smaller black locking strip and a nice sheet of instructions. The instructions are adequate in explaining everything, but we discarded it like how all manly men do...hopefully this won't backfire.
The holding strip contains a slit on the top and the bottom and a large gap in the middle. Manuver the slit over the cut side panel of the case. You want to make sure that the gap in the middle is facing the inside of the case, it will look rather silly if it was on the outside.
After trailing it around the whole oval edge, make sure its tight and in line. So use your hand and squeeze like you never squeezed before. You do not want your acrylic window to fall out while moving it!
Once you have that complete, take the pre-cut acrylic sheet and place it over the other edge of the rubber holding strip. Place one edge into the other slit and start squeezing the window into it.
It takes a good 10 minutes to get this totally in. For us at least, I have a set of barbarian hands which are not meant to work with such small items. Anyway, if you are having trouble squeezing the window into the holding strip, pry the edge of the rubber toward you and the window should slide a lit easier into it.
After the window has been shoved in, we are left with a semi-wobbly window. What we want to do is take the locking strip (the real tiny rubber thing) and place it in the middle of the larger rubber holding strip to lock it. It's rather ingenious considering that the two rubber strips cause enough friction against each other to hold each other together. A real simple and effective way to keep the window in place.
Once the strip is in and secure, your window is complete. Here is what you should most likely have...
I did a little testing and shook it a little to see if I would get a flying acrylic frisbee coming out of the panel, but it was nice and firm. Now on to our next mod for Part 1 of our LAN Box Guide, a nifty handle!