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Planning Your Mods

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Planning Your Mods
Author: ARTbyTROY

You am what you is.
I am an artist and I mod, but before I mod I plan. That's right I plan. I drink a beer and I contemplate modding my case. It works for me, your results may differ. This article was written to show what goes into planning a mod that hasn't been done before, no small feat in itself...

Beginning the end.
For this mod planning project I will be using my own case. It is heavily modded and there is not room for much more, so we will start with that. This will be the last mod I do to this case, after this it's on to something new so I want this mod to matter. I want to add something unique to my case, something that no one else has. Now I have to figure out what and where. All my bays are full, as is the top of my case and the bottom. The left side is also modded out and I like the way it looks so the only spot open is the right side, that's where we'll start.

Fleshing it out.
I did a drawing that I want to base this mod around, now I need to figure out the best way to make it a part of my side panel. I like to write ideas down when planning a mod, it helps to keep track of things, I also draw out rough sketches of what I want it to look like when finished. I had written down a couple of different ways to make the image a part of my case including painted or engraved but decided against both. The side of my case has to be something not just anybody can do and knowing this I have decided on my mod. A right side window. I know windows have been done to death and it doesn't sound remotely unique but this window will be different.
I had first planned to cut the design out of the side panel and glue plexi-glass underneath with a 4" cold cathode but I shot that idea down, because it's been done. For this mod I plan to use the scrap aluminum from the window as my drawing and put a layer of plexi under it. The aluminum art piece might not fit under the molding with the window, I may have to cut it to fit the inside edge of the molding, no big deal, I have a nibbler. Either way I would like to use the scrap for the window detail work. I have made a rough sketch of the window, and plan to light the underside of my artwork with led's. The picture is just a draft of what I want it to look like when finished, no actual measurements have been used.

Ending the beginning.
Now that I have a solid idea of what I want to do it's time to start measuring the panel and deciding on options. The panel is 18 1/4" long and 16 3/4" tall and a 9.7" x 12.7"oval window kit will work nicely, the artwork fits perfectly inside it and it also ties in with the other windows in my case. I will need to drill a pilot hole and use a jigsaw to cut the oval, no problem. Translucent molding with glo-wire around it will be the frame for my drawing. I considered wiring up some LED's to light the inside of the window myself but decided that it is more cost effective to just buy a lazer-led unit pre-wired, also it will tie in with the bottom of the case. I will mod the wiring of the led unit for an on off switch and call it good. I will also need to find someone to laser cut my image, I want it exact and as a result a dremel really is not an option, if I can't find anyone to cut it only then will I attempt to dremel it myself. I know that there are "mod purists" who will scoff at the idea of not cutting the design myself let alone using a window kit and pre wired LED's, but in my opinion it's all a means to an end. This mod is about my artwork anyway and it will be the perfect finishing touch that will truly personalize my case. I will write a complete how-to of this project when it happens.

Figuring it out.
The first thing to do when planning a mod is decide where to start, try to visualize the project and write things down. If you are just beginning on a new case you probably have several ideas for things to do, but it will come out best if narrowed down and properly planned first. Here's a quick example, If you wanted to vinyl dye your case and install a window it makes sense to cut the window hole before painting and install the window after the paint dries, it looks better and you lessen the risk of scratching the paint or window.
Think the project over before you jump in, take your time and do it right. Plan out the tools you will need as well, make sure you have the right tool for the job. No amount of planning will make up for mistakes resulting from less than adequate tools or materials. You should also check the case mod forums and do a topic search to see if the mod you plan is there, forums are a great resource and can make planning easier. The planning you do initially can be the difference between a successful mod and having to buy a new case.

*The art work presented in this article is protected under United States and international copyright law. All rights are reserved. Retransmission or reproduction of images or text contained in the article without the express consent of the copyright holder is strictly prohibited. Content may not be reproduced, downloaded, disseminated, published, or transferred in any form or by any means, except with the prior written permission of the author/artist.

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