Modding the Pop Air to fit an EATX board

So, I recently bought a Pop Air, then due to some circumstances, I had to buy another board, and the board I ended up buying is EATX. Today I looked at my case, and I don’t think it would fit in it. I’ll have to see when it arrives, but if I have to mod my case, is there anything I should know? I have a dremel, and my plan is to mark where I need to cut, cut, then sand the edges. (This will be my first time using a dremel, so I don’t even know if it works)

Some quick thoughts, until more experienced folks come along:

Given what you’ll have to cut to expand the width available for a board, I would be concerned about structural rigidity. The mounting tray for the board is likely to get a lot more flexible, and if the board is wide enough to have another set of mounting holes, you wouldn’t have any surface to brace those against with self-stick standoffs.

PPE. You know those generic construction scenes with sparks flying? That’s what happens when you use a cutting disc on steel, and the sparks are joyfully ballistic tiny glowing shards of metallic evil.

ANSI Z87 or local equivalent eyewear, goggle-style full coverage because lightweight tiny things tend to ricochet. Solid gloves, face mask rated for dust, long sleeves – tightly woven or solid-coated fabric, not mesh. Fire-resistant work area. If it’s a contained space and you don’t have the ability to wash it down later, a shop vac attached to a small makeshift exhaust hood can at least reduce the cleanup. All of this is to avoid dealing with steel slivers, which are not fun.

Remember to cut against the rotation: when it catches, you want it to jump back and out of the cut, not forward and continue to cut into things you aren’t ready to.


Like @Quension said: Wear PPE
I prefer those safety goggles with a strap holding them firmly in place over the “regular glasses”.

Ear-Protection is also strongly recommended. Steel and high RPMs are just asking for interesting resonances.




From what I can tell it looks to be about an inch or an inch and a half past normal ATX, no extra mounting holes.

I have goggles somewhere, not sure what they’re rated for, but they should be at least decent. I have solid gloves and a face mask. For long sleeves, would something like a coat work? I don’t think I have a shop vac, but I think I could give it a rinse in the tub.

I’m guessing I can tell when it catches, or will it just jump back out automatically?

If not mistaken, doesn’t the Pop Air series, contain an E-ATX friendly variant?

Well, yeah, but I kinda already bought the regular one.

Yeah a coat is fine. The sparks on bare skin are annoying, but the real issue is that you can’t brush off the metal shards without them sticking in your skin, so you just want a solid guard against that. And something you can easily clean.

You’ll feel it; this is just the typical physics of a power tool that wants to move on its own, in contact with a surface providing lots of friction. You’ll have to put some effort into keeping it on track.

To expand on direction a bit more, imagine you’re standing on a roadway and about to cut a nice vertical slit in it, extending straight ahead. You’ll be pushing a very large spinning disc in front of you to make the cut. You want it spinning like a car in reverse, so that when the edge catches on a bump in the road, it will kick back towards you.

This sounds dangerous, but it’s actually easier to control because you’re already pushing on it, so your muscles will absorb the kick. What you don’t want is for it to be pulling you forward, because when a bump happens it would be much more likely to get away from you and keep cutting on its own.

Of course with a real Dremel you’re holding it to the side of the cut direction, but you get the idea; it’s about the most effective way to physically control it.

That should work fine for the chassis. The other concern is the work area — despite your best efforts, these tiny metal shards will fly everywhere and be hostile to bare skin afterward, so you’ll either want an area that doesn’t matter or a good way to clean it up.

On a tool tangent, a “shop vac” is also known as a wet/dry vacuum. I’ve personally found a Milwaukee M12 Fuel 1.6 gallon to be one of the best tool purchases I’ve made. It’s small and the runtime on the XC6 batteries I have is only minutes, but it’s powerful, portable, and perfect for cleaning up the same kinds of small projects I use a rotary tool on. Or a drill. Or a reciprocating saw. Or a shattered glass of food in the kitchen.

There are other models, other brands, and of course mains-powered instead of battery-powered ones, but this category of tool is amazingly useful.

So I kinda forgot about the thread, I know a friend that has the tools and experience to do this kind of thing so I just had him do it instead.

This is what the area currently looks like

There are definitely some improvements that could be made, my initial markings for cutting weren’t very straight. I could’ve shrunk the cut for the 24 pin and SATA since most of that would be blocked by the HDD bracket anyways, but maybe the extra space the HDD bracket gave helped. I also should have made more room for the first 19 pin USB 3, I had to route the 24 pin below the USB 3 because the USB 3 cable wanted to wedge up from the board, and this way the 24 pin cable pushes it down. I also probably should have had the second 19 pin cut instead of using a 90 degree adapter. Although it currently works good enough, and I don’t feel like stripping the case again and then waiting, so I’ll just leave it.

Ah cool, that’s less of a cutout than I was anticipating, I imagine the tray as a whole is still pretty rigid? Seems solid for making effective use of what you had :+1:

Yeah, it’s still pretty solid.

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