CNC drilled hole pattern in Computer Case?


Hi Dallas Maker Space gurus. I want to cut a clean rectangular sized hole pattern in the side of my computer case to act as a vent for the power supply. There are 2 thin layers, steel (inside) and a brushed aluminum side panel.

Is there any way to program a machine to so do this cleanly so it doesn’t mar the nice brushed-aluminum panel? Also, I’m happy to pay someone to help me with this to get it done asap.


I’m not available but the short answer is yes. A hole can be done cleanly. The corners of the square will be rounded. You have to follow up with a smaller and smaller endmill to get the corners closer to square but it will never be a perfect square but most likely things will fit.


If it were my project, I would drill circles and then deburr the holes.

If you can get one of the guys who’s signed off on the CNC HAAS to do it for you, that will be the easiest route for you. If you want to do it yourself, I wouldn’t learn to use the HAAS just for this project and I’d do it on the bridgeport (which is still training required, but is a single class not 3 (or 4?)


Yes, what I meant was drilling clean holes in an even pattern in an overal rectangular shape. The 4 corners don’t have to be perfectly round. I just want it to look clean from the outside. How can I get in touch with one of the cnc hass guys and any idea what cost would be? Thanks for your guys’ input!


Could maybe also use the plasma cutter? You would need to clean it up a little after, and you’d only get one shot. But that’s true no matter what process you’d be using.


Yeah, you could. The only issue is you’ll need to undercut the size of the hole a bit and finish with a file to get a good look on it.

Edit: The reason I didn’t suggest it at first is he only has one of the thing he’s working on, so any screw ups with the settings on the plasma and he’ll scrap his part.


Would the Shapeoko handnle this?


Not sure, I’m not Shapeoko trained :slight_smile:


That may be too big for the Shapeoko.


I am, but not that handy with it. I was trying to reply to the thread, and don’t seem to have figured that out yet. :slight_smile:


I thought the Shapeoko was limited to wood, plastics, and aluminum - soft stuff, relatively speaking.


This is an aluminum panel though.

Don’t know about DMS specifically, but I know people Shapeoko aluminum all the time. Fine as long as it isn’t too thick and you don’t take thumb-sized depths of cut at 9000 IPM.

If you wanted to really go too far with it, you could plasma cut and finish an entire new panel. Skills test in metal finishing.


Another semi-low tech option: laser cut the pattern onto some plywood or MDF, then clamp the aluminum panel between the lasered sheet of wood and a 2nd sheet of wood. Clamp well, then hand drill the holes using the lasered holes as a guide. Drill through the wood, then metal, and into the backer board. Repeat for remaining holes.

You could eliminate the high-tech all together by drawing the hole pattern onto the front piece of wood, bypassing the use of the lase.

The two layers of wood would minimize/eliminate burrs in the metal. Seeing the pattern in the wood would allow you to make adjustments before mangling the “real” part.


What size? You may be able to get a knockout depending on the size.


86mm x 150mm is the size of the power supply exhaust, so that’s what I had in mind.


That’s probably a bit big for a knockout punch. A nibbler may work well as well.


When working on aircraft skins that were polished, plastic sheeting was applied to the outer surface, then just drilled through that.


I want to drill a bunch of holes in an equal and uniform pattern within that 86mm x 150mm dimension. Wouldn’t be easier and cleaner to do like cnc drill of some kind?


what’s a mm?


I thought you needed a square area cut out. If you just need to drill holes, just about anything will work.