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System Cooling and Case Cutting (Page 2/5)

Posted: February 21, 2000
Written by: Dan "Tweak Monkey" Kennedy

Tools Checklist

The tools will be harder to come by than the parts, most likely. You'll need ONLY ONE of the following to cut the holes:

-Round, metal cutting blade for a drill (and a drill, of course):
If you have a drill and want a perfect round hole and you have money to spare, you can head down to the hardware store and buy a circular blade made for cutting metal holes. These are quite expensive and when we went to the store to check prices, they ranged from about $15 for a 60mm or 80mm size to $25 for a 120mm size.
-"Dremel" style tool with metal cutting blades and grinding wheel:
This is what we used for this article. If you have a Dremel style tool, we recommend this method because it's pretty fast and gives a nice even circle if you're careful. Here's what our tool looked like:

Here are what the metal cutting blades look like:

See the size of the piece in the center compared to the others? That's how small these babies get after about 5 minutes of cutting. And they break sometimes too, so wear safety goggles! :)
-Jigsaw with metal cutting blade:
A jigsaw works pretty good for this task if none of the other cutting tools are available. Make sure it has a metal cutting blade. If you don't have one, they cost about $2.00 or so from a hardware store. Here's the metal cutting blade we purchased:

And here's the ol' jigsaw:

-Drill with metal bits (optional):
If you're cutting in a place that doesn't already have holes for your bolts, you will need to drill holes. This is a very easy task if you have a drill and metal cutting drill bits. Find a drill bit that's approximately the same size as the bolts, then put the fan in place and hold it very secure. Drill through the fan's mounting holes and into the metal. It may take a little pressure to get it through. When you're done, smooth around both sides (inside and out) where the metal may have popped up a bit.
In addition to having one of the cutting tools mentioned above (and possibly a drill), it would be a good idea to use something to smooth the edges when you're finished. We used a Makita drill with a large wire brush bit. This smoothed the edges so you could touch them without feeling any rough edges. A fine metal file will also do the trick. There are other tools that can be used, of course. Be creative...

Fan Size

There are several different types of fans and sizes available. For this guide we're using 80mm fans, but you might want to use something bigger. I highly recommend 120mm fans because they move about 90CFM, each. This is quite a bit more than an 80mm fan and definitely a lot more than smaller fans. Here's a picture comparing the fan sizes:

(Excuse the cheesy $100 bill, we used it so you would see the difference in size only)
From left to right, 50mm, 80mm, and 120mm ball bearing fans.

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