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Case Mods: 101
Author: Rob Baumstark       Date: October 26th 2000
Page: 5

The Handle and The Wheels.

What do you do now with your cool-running monster-machine? Take it to the nearest LAN party of course. And I find this much easier with a carrying handle and some wheels on it, especially since my box isn't exactly considered LAN-size (hmm..., "normal" LAN case - 15", my LAN case - 24". I like it). Besides that, now that I have wheels I can challenge Kyle over at [H]ard|OCP to a race. (Kyle: Can you once mention that big case of yours without saying anything about the "deluxe coaster set" you got with it?) Again, I didn't get any before pics of my case, but I did get some installing a second handle in another case. The wheels didn't actually involve much modding.

Note: This section assumes you've prepared for modding, and have already done the stuff in the safety section, namely removing EVERYTHING from your case. These are specific handle/wheel steps, not a list of steps for a complete project. If you don't know what I'm talking about, go back to the beginning of the article and start again, without skipping any pages this time.

The Handle:

Step 1. Figure out exactly where you want it, and mark where to drill the holes. I started by holding the case up with just 2 fingers, one on either side, the case hanging between them to find the center-of-gravity of the case. Apparently the front of my case weighs a lot more than the back, because it balances quite well with the handle about two thirds of the way forward (not centered). With the weight info in mind I just kinda guessed as to where to put the handle on that axis, and then whipped out the ruler to calculate the center of the case width-wize. The other case (the one I'm using for the handle installation pics) had a different hole below the case shell, and so I aligned it such that the bolt heads wouldn't hit the frame of the case when closed. Again, I guessed as to center on that axis, taking into account the frame below it, and measured out the center across the width of the case. Once you have where you want the center of the handle, you can calculate where the ends of the handle will intersect the case, and mark them out as well. You can get an idea of what you need by the following diagram (my drawing on the case of where to drill).

Top of a case after I finish drawing on it.

Step 2. Check to make sure you got the holes right. If you have big enough crosses drawn on the case you can simply set the handle down on the case and see if they line up. It's pretty easy to see if a handle will fit or not, so I only re-checked this one twice.

Handle in place for a test-fit before drilling.

Step 3. Punch the center of the holes so the drill bit doesn't wander around while drilling (more detail about this on the previous page), and drill out the holes. If the Dremel is still handy you can use it to quickly sand off any burrs sticking out the other side of the hole. You want to drill from the outside of the case to the inside here as any roughness where the drill comes out will be covered by the washers on the inside where noone can see it.

Step 4. Screw the handle into place. You'll probably need some big-ass washers on the screws, I'm not sure how much weight I trust on the little head of that screw alone, but I'd love to see a computer heavy enough to pull the 1"+ diameter washers I'm using through the top of the case. I highly recommend you get yourself some washers when you get your handle. I used 2 washers as the really big ones all had holes in the middle so big that the screw fell right through them. When it's done it should look something like this. (Back to my case..., you can see how the handle is off-center, but it balances perfectly there.)

My off-center, balanced, case-handle.

The Wheels:

Step 1. Same as every other part, mark out where you need to drill holes to put the wheels. The easy way is to happen upon wheels and a case that have compatible holes already in them, as I did. My entire wheel installation involved nothing more than putting in some screws, but I'll cover it in more detail for those of us not so lucky. So, the not quite as easy way is to simply place the wheels on the bottom of the case where you want them (with the case upside down), and trace through the holes to mark where to drill on the case.

Step 2. Again, same as every other part. Check to make sure you got it right. I finally didn't have to repeat this part at all here, but I'd recommend that unless you happen to have factory holes in the right place like I did that you check it at least twice.

Step 3. Punch and drill. You should know how to do this by now. This time though I'd drill from the inside out, so that the rough edge is covered by the plate that the wheel is attached to.

Step 4. Bolt them in place. You shouldn't need washers or anything here, as there should be very little stress on these bolts. Again, I happened to be very lucky here, and my holes were threaded. I just used standard case screws, and screwed them on. Here's a couple pics of the wheels installed.

Inside view: you can see the screws coming up from the wheels. Outside view: four sets of wheels under a big mess.

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Case Mods: 101

Added:  Thursday, October 26, 2000
Reviewer:  Rob Baumstark

Page: 5/7

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