June 11, 2006
How to ventilate your computer

Last weekend, the hard drive in our media server died. This sucks, but is not the end of the world, we had backups. This is the second time the hard drive in the media server has died. My best guess is that this is due to excessive heat.

To prevent further losses, I've replaced the hard drive with a pair of hard drives in a RAID set. A RAID is basically telling two hard drives to act as one. If one fails, you have the other. I also bought an external hard drive to do even more backups.

But I need to address the heat issues. Michele is insistent that the covers stay on the computer. So, the easy method, leaving the sides off, is right out.

That meant using forced air blown through the case. I had a ultra-quiet Cooler Master fan and a grill for another project I never got around to doing.

So I had to figure out to mount this fan on the inside of the case. It had to mount on one of the side panels with a grill on the outside to protect from the fan and cover the cut-out.

After getting a good idea where the fan would fit, I laid the grill on the outside to make sure I could mark the drill and cut-out lines well.

I drew the lines and checked them 3 times. My father always says, "Measure twice, cut once." and he's right. If I messed up the outer case, it not like I can run to the hardware store for another one.

Next I drilled the screw holes. That allowed me to keep checking on the cut-out as they are the point of reference. Note the scrap lumber underneath to get a clean hole as I drill through.

Now a pilot hole for the nibbler was drilled near the where I needed the edge of the cut-out.

What's a nibbler you ask? Well, it's a special tool for cutting out bits of metal. Bascially takes little bites out of metal. Mine is tiny and only takes about 1/8" by 1/4" bites out of aluminum or thin steel. Good for precision work.

Once the hole there, I can place the nibbler inside it and start. You can see how I can track the line to nibble by just watching the top follow the cut line.

Again, be very careful not to make a mistake, I repeatedly compared the grill to the hole I was cutting out.

This is the hole only a few nibbles before completion. You can see a few of the cut-out bits on the ground. You need to be sure to vacuum these up. They are sharp and can cut feet easily, whether they human or canine.

Here is the fan in place, behind the side panel with the grill ready to get screwed together.

Once in place, the fan is ready to go.

Here is the grill in place as well. Looks pretty good, eh?

The power is plugged into the fan, and I'm ready to close up the case.

Last step was checking for Michele's approval. She thought it looked nice as well.

Project complete.

If you want to try it yourself, it's fairly simple. The keys are having the right stuff (fan, grill, and a nibbler) and taking your time. Rushing the nibbling or trying to use a makeshift tool like a file instead will to disaster.

Posted by michael at June 11, 2006 05:40 PM


Wow. I'm impressed. O

One of these days you should teach your mom how to back things up.

Posted by: Mom [http://momonthealert.com] on June 11, 2006 9:46 PM

Women do not appreciate the elegant beauty of the inside of a computer.

Posted by: patinhisrightmind [http://blog.patbryant.com] on June 13, 2006 11:07 AM

How long does it take to move a 30 minute show out of your Tivo and across your network to the PC? I'm considering same.

Thanks for the info on your site... It's very inspiring!

Posted by: Tivo Friend [] on June 14, 2006 3:41 AM

Aren't you worried about pulling a lot of dust/hair/etc inside the case? I used to vacuum the inside of my computer every month until I fit some filters in front of all my fans. Of course now I change the filters every month so I'm not sure if I'm really any better off.

Posted by: Joseph Pascoe [http://www.eng.buffalo.edu/~pascoe] on June 15, 2006 9:09 PM

Hey. Good tut. I might have to try that out bc my pc is flaming hot. its making me sweat

Posted by: rowell [http://www.rowelldionicio.net] on June 25, 2006 7:38 PM

I love being shown with piccies, being the klutz I am.


Posted by: deadmaus [] on July 7, 2006 12:12 PM
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