case mod 101: stealth blowhole and case handles

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Give your machine the personal touch–improve its usefulness and appearance–and make it stand out in a crowd.

In this article, we look at two simple mods: a stealth blowhole and handles. Along the way we show you how to use templates and jigs to make your work look more professional. It seems simple enough to make a hole in your case and mount a couple of handles, but we’ll teach you some advanced modding techniques, introduce you to some useful tools, and walk you through the steps to modifying your stock case.

In future articles in the case mod 101 series, we’ll take the same case and subject it to many more modifications, and by the end of the series you won’t recognize this beige refugee from the accounts receivable department–in its place will be a tricked out hot rod that you’d be proud to show off at your next LAN party.

our case mod victim
this generic case is about to begin a transformation

A blowhole is nothing more than an additional exhaust fan, usually added to the top panel of your case. A stealth blowhole is a variation where the mounting screws for the fan don’t show through to the outside of the case. Most stock cases don’t offer much airflow, and that can impair your cooling. By adding an exhaust fan to the top, we draw air out of the hottest portion of the case. And the handle mod, that’s to make your case easier to move when you take it to LAN parties. Since we’ll have the top panel removed of the blowhole, installing the handles won’t be much additional effort.

Before we start making our modifications, we’ll need to remove all hardware from the case. Having metal shavings on your motherboard is a recipe for disaster. Now that we’ve cleared our work area and emptied the case, we’re ready to start the process.

With our newly empty case, let’s look briefly at the construction. The top panel is fastened to the chassis by rivets. Removing the panel involves removing the rivets by drilling them out with a 1/8 inch drill bit. Almost all cases are fastened together this way.

rivets hold the top in place
drilling out rivets
drill out the rivets with a 1/8″ bit

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