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Cutting aluminium for case mod

By jb444
Dec 11, 2006
  1. Hey all,
    My brother was throwing out an audio mixer with a big sheet of black (looks anodised) aluminium about 400x1000x1 mm for the backplate with a few screw holes round the edges (its a bit scratched but with a lick of paint i reckon itll look cool).
    It looked perfect to make a nice (or maybe two) side plates for a pc, and I've sketched out a few designs etc but cant think of a good way to cut the design out.
    Best thought I had was to drill holes round the edge of the pattern, cut it out with a hacksaw 1mm from the edge and file it down for the last mm and paint over the exposed edge.
    Think this'll work?
    Any other ideas on how to cut out the design?
  2. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,761   +360

    One of these with a metal cutting blade:
  3. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 4,985

    An electric jigsaw cutter does the job well too!!!!:)
  4. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,761   +360

    The problem with jigsaw and hacksaw is that the blade moves back and forth, and on something thin like this (although fairly thick for a case side) you need to have both sides fastened down as close as possible to the cut, otherwise the material catches and your cut won't be as nice. You can work around this a little by just cutting slower than you think you should. But with a skilsaw the blade is always moving in the same direction, making a nicer cut. Will save a bit of time on the sanding part.
  5. jb444

    jb444 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 113

    Trouble with a skilsaw is your stuck with strait lines, so you're pretty limited with the design. Electric jigsaw sounds alot easier than my idea.
    Thanks for the response,
  6. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 4,985

    The big problem with the jigsaw is vibration!!!

    But if you are careful and cut slowly with the finest blade you can find then the result can be very pleasing!!!

    The other thing to do is to mask everything up with masking tape to minimize damage and scratching!!!

    Having the panel securely clamped down can make the work easier and much much safer!!!

    A jigsaw however, will never match a skilsaw for straight lines tho!!!!

    Almost forgot, one bit of advice i was given that helps a great deal, is keep the blade oiled!!!
    It sounds like it would hinder the cutting process but it actually does the opposite! Works well on drilling too!!!

    I will also add, be safe and wear protective goggles!!!!:)
  7. halo71

    halo71 TS Rookie Posts: 1,289

    I have used a electric jig-saw on alluminum before with no problems. Helps to have one with an adjustable motor speed. Make sure you use a metal cutting blade that is fine. Turn the speed on the motor up.

    I would though suggest using the skillsaw for the straight run cuts though. If you have a dremmel, it might help with cut-outs etc.
  8. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,761   +360

    Ah yes, I forgot about you sketching designs, I thought you were just cutting sides out and basically building a case from scratch, rather than just cutting your own designs in the side.

    But yeh, cut the edges with the skilsaw if possible, everything else with jigsaw or dremel.
  9. jb444

    jb444 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 113

    Naah...maybe when ive got alot more free time ill think about building a case from scratch...doubt I could make somthing up to Antec's standards anyway :)
    cheers for the advice everyone
  10. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 4,985

    Good luck and i would like to some piccies of your mod !!!!:)
  11. jb444

    jb444 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 113

    Sure, will post when done (making the attatchments to the case as we speak)
    Thanks again for all your advice
  12. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 4,985

    I am about to cut a window out of my pc too, just waiting for some reasonable weather as i don't have a workshop!!:)
  13. TimeParadoX

    TimeParadoX TS Rookie Posts: 2,438

    Yeah I was thinking of making a custom case too but I dont know where to start and how to make it fit all the parts ;)
  14. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 4,985

    The starting point is easy, mobo mounting!! Once you have that sorted you can build what ever you want around it!!:)
  15. TimeParadoX

    TimeParadoX TS Rookie Posts: 2,438

    Yeah, I'll try and build a case someday ;)
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