One of my good friends has been in need of a PC for a while, and I myself have been dying to build one for a while. I also had a small collection of spare parts (a case being one of them), and I had access to a full-blown machine shop at my university. Given all this, I decided to try my hand at case modding, and boy, I could not be happier with the results.
The first mod was the side panel window. For this, I used a 400W laser cutter at our machine shop to cut the metal. This resulted in a clean, precise cut with no finishing work needed. A local plastic shop supplied a cut-to-size piece of acrylic with a 3M abrasion resistant coating on one side, which I manually drilled holes for and fastened with #8-32 screws and lock nuts.
The front panel was a combination of quite a few techniques. Quite a large amount of material had to be removed to make room for the three LED fans, and I ended up ditching the old I-O. The USB 2 headers were pretty loose after a few years of use, and I never could get the e-SATA port to work, either. For $15, I ordered I-O from one of Corsair's new cases, and I 3D printed an angled mounting piece that fit existing holes in the chassis. For the fans, I recycled the scrap side panel metal and laser cut some brackets, which I bent on a sheet metal brake. I finished off the bracket with some scrap matte gray vinyl I had, since there was a gap of about a centimeter on either side of the fan. To complete the front panel, the remaining plastic was sanded and spray painted with Rust-Oleum Painter's Touch 2X flat black paint, and a few strips of 3M Matte Red vinyl added some nice accents.
The internal modifications were fairly straightforward. I removed the front riveted drive cage fairly early in the build, and the hard drive wall ended up being the last mod that I finished. The 16.5" tall 3D printed part was designed to fit using old holes from the riveted drive cage, and it supports one SSD (secured with double sided tape) and the 1TB mechanical drive (secured with #6-32 x 3/8" screws from behind). Cable management was a nightmare, and I had to remove some material on the back of the case to make room for cables to fit. I went as far as to remove the sleeving from the semi-modular power supply to get the cables flat enough to close the side panel with minimal force. Speaking of sleeving, I used Teleios sleeving from Mainframe customs to create extensions for the 24-pin and 8-pin non-modular cables, and I scratch-built the PCI-E and SATA power cables. A 16" length of cool white LEDs completed the build, and I spliced power for those from the SATA power cable.
Overall, this build was a blast, and it served as a wonderful learning experience. The new owner is quite happy with the result, and I'm now itching to build another one. Maybe it's time I learn to watercool. ;)
EDIT: Decided to add a short blurb about the pictures, thought some of you might be interested! They were taken by a local photographer and a good friend of mine, Ben Dominguez. The cars aren't mine (unfortunately), but they're from a local exotics shop, 503 Motoring. During the pictures, my car (not pictured) provided the PC with power from an inverter and a really long extension cord, but I didn't get to adjust the Aura lighting profile after setting it up (the motherboard will reset the lighting profile if the power supply is turned off/unplugged). A couple of the photos were shot on my LG G4 phone, hence the slightly poorer quality on those.
3D Mark Time Spy: 3582
3D Mark Firestrike: 9212
3D Mark Sky Diver: 20882