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Modding Flush Window?

Discussion in 'Modding' started by THEkorean, 11 Jan 2008.

  1. THEkorean

    THEkorean 42

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    So, I'm sorta back in my planning stages for Gearbox and I really need help with a problem that I'm having. So here it is, I need to cut a plexiglass window into an aluminum panel, but I want it to be completely flush.. any idea how I would do that? also there is another problem, if possible I want the borders to be ~1/4" thick, the aluminium is a little over 1/16" thick and I need to know if it might not be structurally sound enough to support a flush window (if it's even possible). Any insight into this will be helpful so dont hold back bit-tech!
     
  2. Oreon_237

    Oreon_237 CHEA BRO!

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    for a flush window maybe you could like router down the side to match the thickness of the aluminium and polish down the sides for any minor difference?
     
  3. Tyinsar

    Tyinsar 6 screens 1 card since Nov 17 2007

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    What tools do you have?

    Besides the already mentioned router a (very clean) table saw with the (right) blade set up the thickness of the aluminum and the fence set back the distance of your overlap might make this easy.
     
  4. THEkorean

    THEkorean 42

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    Unfortunately I only have pretty basic tools available, Scrollsaw, Dremel, sanding stuff (paper, disks, drums, files, etc), Jiggsaw, and thats pretty much it :\
     
  5. Tyinsar

    Tyinsar 6 screens 1 card since Nov 17 2007

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    Sounds like a lot of careful dremel work with a sanding drum then - unless you can borrow something.

    Or drop it in the oven & melt it in :hehe: (don't do that unless you Really know what you are doing - besides the obvious some plastics release toxic gases when heated.)
     
  6. Oreon_237

    Oreon_237 CHEA BRO!

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    do you have one of those dremel multi purpose cutting kit things(technical term). if you do you could use it as a guide for a dremel bit of some sort. and then use that as a ghetto router
     
  7. The_Beast

    The_Beast I like wood ಠ_ಠ

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    Doesn't Dremel offer a router type table???

    Or you could build a guide of somekind
     
  8. THEkorean

    THEkorean 42

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    It seems like the router is my only option.. Does anyone else know any other relatively costless method of doing this?
    Also, how would I secure the window once I have it? Would I just "smash" it in and let the pressure keep it in?
     
  9. crazybob

    crazybob Voice of Reason

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    Once you've got the lip cut so the window sits flush, there are a few options for actually attaching the window.

    Pop-rivets are easy and inexpensive, but not terribly attractive.

    Real rivets are much harder to use and require more expensive tooling, but leave a cleaner appearance.

    Nuts and bolts are a very effective and easy method as well. For the best appearance, you'd probably want to use black socket-head cap-screws, which are unfortunately rather expensive.

    However, since you're going to all this effort to make the panel flush, you'll probably want to attach the panel from inside, with no visible fasteners. Probably your best choice is glue. I would suggest hot-melt glue or silicone, because they are easy to work with and can be removed in a pinch. You could run a bead of glue along the mating surface, where the material has been cut down, but that could throw off the thickness and undo your hard work making the panel flush. You'll probably want to lay the panel in place and hold it with some masking tape, and then make a fillet of glue along the edge of the acrylic to hold it in place. If you work with hot glue, be sure you get everything in the right place, because once the glue hits a giant piece of cold aluminum it'll solidify almost instantly.

    Another approach, which is paradoxically both more permanent and easier to remove, would be to create aluminum straps or brackets to hold the panel in place on the inside, and attach the straps to the inside of the panel with JB-Weld.
     
  10. Oreon_237

    Oreon_237 CHEA BRO!

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    What about using the 3M double sided tape that is used in the MNPCtech window. the red one that comes of cleanly and holds on strongly
     
  11. THEkorean

    THEkorean 42

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    Hrm, correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm getting this mental image from what you guys are telling me. With a router I am supposed to 'cut' a hole in the pannel with a lip around the border like so:
    Code:
    Side profile:
       ____                                                              
     |      |__  <-- Place Window Here            
     |________|                                                      
    PANEL
    
    
    and I would place the window in on the lip, and fasten it.

    Now lets say I dont have a router, would really careful cutting and sanding allow me to do this:

    Code:
     Side Profile:
      _________                                        
     |_________|      Place Window Here      
     PANEL
    
     
    Both methods would, in theory give me a flush fit, but the 2nd one has a problem with fastening the window in place.
    Would it be practice to get the plexiglass cut to proportions SLIGHTLY larger than the hole (for the 2nd method) then go ahead and heat the aluminum panel then refrigerated the plastic so that they would fit and once they equalize in temperature, they should fit really tightly?

    I can see many places where this method might go wrong, so if anyone else has another idea please feel free to share it :thumb:

    P.S. I was digging through my dad's toold chest and I found a router-like power tool that is called Roto Zip, anyone know if I could use that to create a lip around the window hole?
     
  12. crazybob

    crazybob Voice of Reason

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    I think you have the idea backwards - we want you to cut into the window material, not the panel, and then place the window inside the case. While your approach might work, this way will be much easier and probably look better. First, the window will probably be thicker than the panel, and second, you'll be able to hide the edges of your cut acrylic inside the case.

    [​IMG]

    Trying to get a panel to stick in this position without a lip on one of the parts, like your second drawing, would be extremely difficult. Even if you got them to stick together, it would take little more than a light bump to knock them loose. However, I do like your idea of heating the panel and cooling the window to create a force-fit. You'd still want a lip like my drawing, and you'd have to be careful with the cold window as it would be quite brittle, but the idea is excellent.

    If you don't have the proper tools and don't want to spend the cash on them, the project is going to be extremely difficult and the results might not be to your liking. Consider that case panels are probably 1-2mm thick and ask yourself how much of an issue that small ridge will be.

    EDIT: Roto-Zip is generally used for cutting blind holes in drywall, but if you could find a proper bit it might work very well. The most important things are a way to set the cut depth and a nice guide to hold you steady and perpendicular. I know the Roto-Zip will hold you perpendicular but I'm not sure how much control you'll have over cut depth.
     
    Last edited: 13 Jan 2008
  13. Oreon_237

    Oreon_237 CHEA BRO!

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    you could rig a drill press with a router bit and construct a rig on the platform so you could feed the plexi through while the router bit cuts the lip.

    [​IMG][/IMG]
     
  14. THEkorean

    THEkorean 42

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    Thank you for all your insight. It seems like the router is my best bet, but before I stop the search I have one last question, is there any chemical that i could pour into the window hole so that it will dry clear and stick to the panel? I remember seeing something like this before, not quite sure how it would be done or if I could do it out of my garage. Anyone ever heard of this?
     
  15. Oreon_237

    Oreon_237 CHEA BRO!

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    Do you mean a Acrylic Weld-on glue to stick the window to the panel, or a resin? to pour into the panel so its like one piece? if you have any plastic suppliers makers near you. you could probably get them to cnc/ mould something for you.
     
  16. Tyinsar

    Tyinsar 6 screens 1 card since Nov 17 2007

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    If you mean pouring a window that can be very tricky - Using plexi / acrylic should be easier & give better results.

    If you mean glue I'd recommend clear silicone caulking - it can take some flexing without letting go but can be removed if needed (just don't get it on your clothes).
     
  17. Krog_Mod

    Krog_Mod What's a Dremel?

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    Actually... theres something similar to what you're talking about.. but im not sure how it'd be done. They use it for bar tops.. it's a very thick coating that cures super clear.. but takes a long time to cure. Glaze... I wouldn't recommend using something like that.. as you'd have to pour it face down.. and getting that to be crystal clear means it has to be face up.

    I'd recommend just taping off the area that will be shown as the window.. have about 1/2 inch extra on all sides.. and then just sand down about 1/16 of an inch. It sounds like a lot of work.. but using a router to do that could be risky especially when you're only cutting off 1/16 of an inch. I'm sure its possible to do with a router.. but i'm thinking the margin for error is a lot smaller when you're doing it that way.
     
  18. Thacrudd

    Thacrudd Where's the any key?!?

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    The glaze you are referring to is called resin and you can it it at most home improvement places (lowe's and H Depot) I don't know if I'd go that route though. Consider crazybob's picture or get some H moulding
     
  19. Oreon_237

    Oreon_237 CHEA BRO!

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    resin has has to be carefully worked with to stay clear. maybe you could put in a window behind the case panel and pour in resin to make flush (i dunno but it may have a reaction) if you want to go that route.
     

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