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  • How to cut a backplane in a project box.

    OK, I have aluminium project box I'm planning on using for a case.
    Thing is, how the hell do you ensure that you mark out the correct place for the backplane for ports and for the slots?

    this is probably a dumb question and someone will come straight back with a simple answer.

    thing is, I can't drill the final hole until I have the motherboad positioned, but I can't accuratly position the board until the ports stick through the box.

    I'm thinking maybe I should make small cutout so the ports can poke through, and then use that to measure the backplane up.

    Do you think that might actually work?
    4x4 in a turbo stylee.

  • #2
    edit: i think i might have misunderstood your post. you don't need to position the motherboard for standoffs, but for the backplate.

    in that case you could align the motherboard with the side of teh case so that the connectors are touching the side, and trace them out. then align the backplate with the markings and you'll know where to cut..
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    • #3
      are you looking to just cut holes for the connectors themselves or one big rectangular hole for that tin/aluminum backing plate? Individual holes would look nicer, IMO but using the backplate that comes with the mobo is a way easier solution

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      • #4
        well, if your cutting the individual holes, couldnt you just use the original backplane as your template. Cut out the holes with a dremal, or similar tool, but start smaller. And Slowly increase the size until its fits.
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        • #5
          My thinking is, I need to work in 3D for either solution (backplane or individual holes. I need to mark the standoff position as well, otherwise I won't have the height right at the time.

          And the way the box is shaped it might be difficult get the dremel inside to cut individual ports.
          4x4 in a turbo stylee.

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          • #6
            couldnt you measure the height of the standoff + thickness of mobo, and place the backplane backwards on the ouside of the case......and then just trace the inside of each hole with a marker
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            • #7
              Then you have to hope (I don't have a micrometer/calipers/vernier gauge) that I have guestimated the thickness of the base correctly to work out the difference between inner and outer height of the mobo.

              As you can see, I may have been thinking about this just a little too long.
              I should probably just lay everything out, and see how it goes. Not having a proper work bench + a GF who is a tidy freak, and UK rain most of the time doesn't help.
              4x4 in a turbo stylee.

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              • #8
                i'd cut the hole first using an educated guess (approx height and distance from the sides based on your measurements. then mount the plate in the hole. then place the mobo so it is aligned with the holes in the plate and mark where your standoffs need to be. drill and mount :-)
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Skraggy_uk
                  Then you have to hope (I don't have a micrometer/calipers/vernier gauge) that I have guestimated the thickness of the base correctly to work out the difference between inner and outer height of the mobo.
                  you could goto RadioShack and get a Machinists Scale/Depth Gauge to measure with.
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                  • #10
                    I had the same problem with my case, an alloy box custom made by a local workshop.

                    It's not complicated, but you have to do a lot of small measurements so a caliper like this will help. Failing that a steel engineer's rule, both available from B&Q /Home Depot etc.




                    Assemble at least three standoffs on your motherboard.
                    Pop the rectangular backing plate onto the ports.
                    Stand the motherboard on a flat surface.
                    Measure the distance between the surface and the inner ledge of the backing plate.
                    Subtract the thread length from the standoffs!!
                    Don't forget to add on for the thickness of the bottom of the case.

                    If you prefer to do individual holes for each port, use the same method but measure each port. Allow a 1mm or 1/16th clearance.

                    This only gives us the bottom position. The horizontal can be established by measuring from the edge of the motherboard and the nearest edge of the backplate/port. Again, allow some clearance between the box and motherboard, say 5mm or 3/8th

                    It's much easier to measure from just two edges for all sizes.
                    It might be easier to mark out the sizes on paper and tape it to the case for cutting.

                    I bought a sexy rechargeable dremel + alloy bits and plunge adaptor especially for this... 2 hrs later it was back at B&Q, overheated.
                    I went back to drilling a pilot hole and using my 15 year old Bosch jigsaw.

                    Good luck, and take some pics. I wish I did now.
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                    • #11
                      Thanks all who replied.
                      I think I will use the full back plane and do some very careful measuring.
                      4x4 in a turbo stylee.

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                      • #12
                        When I built a back plate for the Mac Mini, I stood it on its back on a scanner and got this:


                        I printed it out and cut the holes using an X-acto hobby knife, then used a Sharpie to trace the locations onto the back plate and then cut it out.

                        Even though you're working in 3d, some of the elements that are right against the scanner can serve as measuring points.
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                        • #13
                          Hmm, good Idea. I've already scanned the motherboard so I can mark where to drill the standoff holes, but that is great.
                          4x4 in a turbo stylee.

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                          • #14
                            Why not just make it simple. Assuming you are using light gauge alliminum for the case, then trace the plate on the inside. Then punch some reference holes from the inside, or just cut out one or 2 of the holes with the dremel. Transfer the backing plate to the outside, allign with the reference holes and trace the rest of the holes.

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                            • #15
                              the standoff thing could work if you just flip the stanoffs upsidedown, and let the threads go through the mobo holes.....then you dont have to worry about re adjusting
                              PC Components:
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