8. Case Side Panels

When making these panels, make one panel at a time, starting with the smaller panels first, and test fit each one with the rest of the case before moving on to the next. It’s very likely that your first attempt to make one will result in a panel that simply does not fit. If this happens, adjust its height in the file and try again.

When you find a panel height that works for the first panel, you should adjust the height of the rest of the panels by the same amount before trying to make them. If you follow this procedure, the first panel is the only one you should need to make several times. You can save the bad panels for cutting parts of the remaining cards. That way, you minimize wasted acrylic.

Cut and test the panels in the following order for best results:

  1. Back
  2. Right
  3. Left
  4. Front

If you have a lot of trouble with the panels fitting with parts 7T and 7S in step 1, you may need to do step 2 early. If so, recheck their fit after completing step 1 and remake them again as necessary.

Step 1. Make the Panels

For each side panel, do the following:

  1. Cut and clean all acrylic parts.
  2. Set aside all parts except the panel, buttons, rim, and stiffening braces (where applicable). Put the rest of the parts in a clean location for later use.
  3. Glue the buttons to their appropriate locations on the rim. Make sure they’re glued to the face with the etched marks indicating where they should be placed.
  4. Give the adhesive on the buttons 10 minutes to dry.
  5. Align the rim and panel. The buttons should end up in the appropriate holes in the panel when they’re placed together. When aligned, the back panel looks like this:
    Case Back Side
  6. Glue the panel, taking great care not to glue the button mechanisms. Slots are placed in the panels to discourage adhesive from wicking into the mechanims, but it can still happen if you apply too much adhesive! If a little bit does get into a mechanism, stop gluing to take care of it. You’ll need to hold the area apart that needs to be free of adhesive and hold the area together that’s supposed to be glued. Your joint won’t be as pretty, but you will prevent more adhesive from wicking into the mechanism, which should save the panel.
    Button Mechanism Detail
  7. If you were cutting the back panel, you will now have part 7R. Glue it to part 7Q and give them a few minutes to bond, then glue them to the central structure with 7B. The appropriate locations of these parts is shown in the image below.
    Labeled Top Shot
  8. Give the panel 30 minutes to dry, then test fit it with the rest of the case with parts 7S and 7T in place. If it’s too tall or too short, remake it as necessary until you get it right. A panel that fits well should probably have at least 0.3 mm and at most 0.8 mm of clearance between the top of the teeth and the bottom of the top plate.
  9. If you were testing the right panel and it fits, you should now glue in the stiffening braces.
    Case Right Side - Stiffening Brace Detail

Step 2. Finalize and Glue 7G, 7G, 7S, and 7T

After all four panels are complete, test their fit one last time with parts 7G, 7H, 7S, and 7T. You can do this on your work surface, holding the panels upright. The action between these parts should be very smooth, but not loose. If it isn’t smooth, it’s likely there isn’t enough clearance for the panel teeth. (This can happen if your acrylic is thicker than anticipated in the design.) If this is the case, recut 7G, 7H, 7S, and 7T and test the new parts with the panels. Do this until you get smooth action. After, you may glue in 7G, 7H, 7S, and 7T. Take great care to orient them properly before gluing them in, as there’s really no good way to remove them once they’re glued in!

7. Case Central Structure 8. Case Side Panels 9. Fan and Filter Harness

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