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Bubble-Plexi Mod

Written By: Matthew
Date Posted: May 6, 2002

First I would like to introduce myself and give my disclaimer and warning.

I'm Matthew, aka NovaScorpio, and this is my first formal case mod [I did start a window for my panel which was destroyed (not by me!)& I'll get into that some other time&] The premise for the following mod is as follows: About 2 years ago I constructed a new computer for myself and used the Fong Kai 320 Black case under the recommendation of Anandtech.

Finally choosing my logo, I wanted to make some sort of display of my logo on the front of my case, perhaps similar to the one shown :

But a biohazard sign is very universal, not so unique& I'd want something to represent me& so I found a piece of art made by snecx ( - great artist). With his permission I was permitted to use this image:

Only, there were 2 problems:
1) I don't have a case made out of plexiglass and tinted windows
2) My front bezel isn't flat& it's curved

The design is too complex to just cut out with a Dremel on the bezel - and even if I wanted to cut it out, the bezel is made of plastic, it cuts like butter under the Dremel, if I did use the Dremel to cut the design out, I would need to be especially careful.

I resolved to do something else& something I haven't seen as of yet. Bubbled Plexiglass:

So here's my warning - I, NovaScorpio and Viper's Lair take no responsibility whatsoever for any actions that might be taken because of this article in any aspect whatsoever - inspired or following directions. The stuff that's done in this article isn't exactly kids stuff, I hurt my self a few times [no, I'm not ashamed to admit it!] and I was being pretty careful. If this is done recklessly, you could very well hurt yourself badly.

Some of the things we'll be doing:

Cutting plexiglass - Just be careful and consistent& I'm not genius at cutting plexi, but with a box cutter you should be OK. That being said, don't cut your finger off.

Melting plexiglass - this means we need a high heat source. Just a note here on melting plexiglass and other plastics - if a plastic starts to melt, it's viscosity changes - it will flow easily, and will cool rather quickly. If you melt the plexiglass and then you slip and it comes in contact with your skin, not only will it burn you severely, but the plexiglass will also stick to your skin. It will stick on you as if it were holding on for dear life - you can get a third degree burn this way.

Cutting with an exact-o knife - you can take skin off pretty damn easily this way, stitches are not fun.

Painting with spray paint - Don't huff paint. It's stupid. Get a paint respirator or use a rag.
All right. So now that I've gotten the warnings out of the way you're psyched up to get yourself some bubbled plexi action. And if you didn't read the warnings then shame on you& or something.

Note: The bubble that I have made is rather steep. The same kind of procedures can be used to make a shallower curved bubble.

What You'll Need:

1 x Box cutter [to cut plexi]
1 x Exact-o knife [to cut masking tape]
1 x Plexiglass (depends on how big you want your bubble to be)
1 x Metal Tongs [to hold plexi while heating]
1 x Gas Stove (or other method of high heat source)
1 x Dremel (or other method of cutting out a hole)
1 x 40 Grit sanding bit
1 x Cutoff Wheel
1 x Masking Tape
1 x Cutting Board
1 x Paint (choose your color to match the bezel, eh?)
1 x Can (Some way to prototype your hole)
1 x Epoxy [You can also use hot glue if you don't know if this'll be permanent]


Lighting (use whatever you want&)
I wanted an even distribution of light, and green seemed like an OK color so&
1 x Indiglo Night-Light [walgreens]
1 x Soldering Iron
1 x Solder

So how do I do this exactly?

The process by which we will create this is outlined here in a basic form:

1. Cut hole out
2. Heat and bubble plexi
3. Cut out shape [in masking tape]
4. Spray paint
5. Secure bubble to bezel
6. Light it up

Each of these 6 steps have subsections to them, and each can be done right if you're not in too much of a rush, in a pretty simple way.

Next Page - Procedure



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