Hoping for help with a small project

Greetings all!

I am hoping that someone in this community might be interested in helping out with a small project.

I have recently added a GPU to my mini-tower server, and it needs some additional ventilation. I would like to drill (or cut, or punch, or …) a pattern of smalle holes in an approximately 2" x 2" area in the side of to case. I could probably figure out a way to make some holes on my own, but it’s important to me that the result look as neat as possible.

I’d be more than happy to pay for any assistance received as well as making a contribution to the Makerspace. Please respond here if you’re interested.

Thanks!

Would it be easier to make one large hole then cover it with an aftermarket fan grill? Lots of size and pattern options available online.

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If the case can be removed, it would be easy to simply drill holes in it using the large drill press in the machine shop. If you need to cut a ‘square’ hole, it can be done on the manual mill. anything more fancy would probably have to be CNC’d.

I did think of that, and it would likely provide more airflow than a bunch of small holes. There are a few things that have me leaning toward the “bunch o’ holes” option.

  1. I’m frankly not sure how one goes about cutting a large hole in a piece of metal like this. Some sort of special hole saw?

  2. I would have to figure out how to attach the grill, probably by with machine screws and nuts, which means that I have to track down black screws of the appropriate size. Not a show-stopper, but still a pain.

  3. I believe that this option will always look like a mod, whereas a group of holes in the right pattern will look more “integrated.” (On the other hand, a single large hole does remove the potential problem of messing up the pattern if “eyeballing” a bunch of small holes.)

Picture of the case is here.

Thanks so much responding to a total stranger!

Yup. A drill press was my first thought, but I didn’t want to jump to a solution without really knowing what the options are.

I’ve uploaded a picture of the case here. As you can see, it comes off easily; the only issue I can see with using a drill press is the potential to mess up the pattern when trying to position a bunch of holes by eyeball.

Thanks for responding!

Why don’t you create a pattern on a computer in Inkscape or something similar. Then print the pattern and apply it to the case. When you’re done you can simply remove the pattern from the cover.

When it comes to black screws, you could use a sharpie to color them and no one would be the wiser.

Why don’t you create a pattern on a computer in Inkscape or something similar. Then print the pattern and apply it to the case. When you’re done you can simply remove the pattern from the cover.

That’s my plan, but it still leaves me matching the position of the drill bit to the pattern by hand/eyeball for each hole.

When it comes to black screws, you could use a sharpie to color them and no one would be the wiser.

Or just “own it” and use a silver grill and screws. (Still leaning toward the “bunch o’ holes” option though.)

instead of the drill press, get help on one of the knee mills (Bridgeport) which has an X-Y table and digital read outs.
you can be spot on with your positioning.

Does the Bridgeport’s DRO do hole patterns?

no. it does x and y positioning. To do this, line up your first hole and zero the DRO. Lock either the X or Y direction (let’s assume the Y is locked). You drill your hole. Move the X to whatever distance the next hole is. Assume 0.5" for this example. Drill and repeat. Move another 0.5" for the 3rd hole and repeat until the line is done. You can then move to your zero position since the DRO tracks that - unlock the Y and drop the X 0.5" (or what is appropriate. Lock the Y again so it doesn’t wander and rinse an repeat until you 2nd line is done. Repeat procedure for all other lines. There are plenty of members that can help with that. I’m not generally around except on Fridays.

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So the Pasma does. It has the fancy schmancy newer Newell DRO

The Bridgeport you can just use coordinates using a hole pattern app or website. Ive done that before.

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You can print and glue the pattern, then mark each starting point with a center punch and small hammer. The drill bit will be attracted to the dimple from the punch mark and not inclined to wander.

Aim small - miss small. A small point to target will be more accurate.

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So it certainly sounds like one of the knee mills would be the best option for ensuring a regular pattern. How could I go about moving forward?

Thanks again for all the helpful discussion!