Case Modding: Glass Windows

Case Modding Cutting Methods

Mark Up the PanelMark up the door with pencil (cover the entire surface with blue painters tape, if you have an already painted door). Notice I traced around the handle on this door. I got the line by marking around the plastic handle and reducing the size a bit so the metal edge does not show when the glass is glued in and the handle is fastened — it will look like the handle floats in the glass.

Mark for drillingThe X’s at each corner in the picture above are the center points of the 1″ radius corners I am doing. In order to keep the drill bit from drifting, I am using a center punch to dimple the starting point of the hole. You can use a nail or other sharp object too. Tap the punch just enough to make a mark that will prevent the drill bit from drifting.

Drilling the cornersLooking closely at the pictures, you will see that I have plywood under the doors to give me a firm surface and to protect my work bench. I guide the drill, holding it straight, through the starting point and cut through the door with a hole saw. If you want a square window, you should still drill holes to have starting points for your cutting tools.

File a flat spot to start the jigsaw straight.It’s now necessary to ensure that the cutting tool of choice cuts a straight and true line. I am using a straight edge clamped to the door to guide the tool. To keep the blade of the tool from binding, especially when using a jig saw, a flat spot is filed into the drilled hole.

Use a straight edge to cut a straight line.Taking accurate measurements, clamp the straight edge firmly in place to guide your cutting tool of choice. Notice the flat spot, which will help start the jigsaw without binding the blade. A good blade is not cheap. As you can see by enlarging the picture, the flat spot is not complete. You can leave a small amount of extra metal on for later finishing. I do not want to use a trim around the window, so my finish has to be very smooth.

Nibblers are an alternative method for cutting.The nibbler takes out a large chunk of metal with each bite. When it’s power driven, the pieces really fly. I notice this was harder to control because the cutting edge was hard to see. The straight edge made the cut very clean. A power nibbler is faster than the jigsaw, but bits will need to be changed more frequently.

The jigsaw is my favorite tool for case cutting.The jigsaw also made a very clean cut. The line was easier to see and the straight edge ensured a true line. This particular jigsaw (also referred to as a sabre saw) is a Bosch. I use it in my flooring business because it is sturdy and reliable. I am a firm believer in quality tools. You really do get what you pay for.

Jigsaws are made for cutting curves and corners.I have heard so many of my fellow modders say you need a Dremel to cut around corners. The jigsaw’s main job is to cut curves. That’s what it was designed for and it does the job well. In this picture, you can see the work is clamped well and there is a piece of plywood under it to add stiffness.

Case Modding Involves Case CuttingThis door was cut using two very different tools. Each did the job quickly and cleanly. All that is left is filing, sanding and finishing the edges. In the next steps, I will cover these topics. Attention to these kinds of details will separate you from the rest. Take your time and do it right.

Continue to the final steps in this case modding tutorial, where I explain all the Finishing Touches. Click the Next Button below to read on.

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