Modding & Cutting with Tin Snips

Enclosures and acoustic damping to help quiet them.

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miTchy
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Post by miTchy » Thu Jan 27, 2005 5:13 pm

which tin snips do people recommend to me, i want to cut out 120 fan grill at the back of my case similar to the antec 3700 but a little taller, willing to spend about £20
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pitch
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Post by pitch » Fri Jan 28, 2005 2:05 am

miTchy wrote:which tin snips do people recommend to me, i want to cut out 120 fan grill at the back of my case similar to the antec 3700 but a little taller, willing to spend about £20
Already mentioned in this post the Wiss ones, should only need the red pair as they worked fine on mine, and no effort at all, top class tool imho.

mark...............

indie!!!!
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Post by indie!!!! » Mon Aug 29, 2005 12:20 pm

Cutting off a fan punchout on a case is what I want to do. Is the tin snip the only tool required for this? It seems like you need some kind of slit to actualy get the tool in for cutting. Or do you just jam the snips in the punchout as much as you can and try to start the first cut? As much of a scissor jamming fan I am, this doesn't seem like the right way.
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Post by Wedge » Mon Aug 29, 2005 1:03 pm

indie!!!! wrote:Cutting off a fan punchout on a case is what I want to do. Is the tin snip the only tool required for this? It seems like you need some kind of slit to actualy get the tool in for cutting. Or do you just jam the snips in the punchout as much as you can and try to start the first cut? As much of a scissor jamming fan I am, this doesn't seem like the right way.

indie
, for fan holes that are already in place (i.e., cutting out the fan grill on a case), I used the Wiss tin snips and had to proceed cautiously. Cut a few notched then carefully roll the cut peice back/away and even cut it off if you must. Don't use your finger to roll it away either. Use a pair of needle-nose plyers. This is very easy; it just requires patience.

After that, all you need is some C-strip molding to buffer the freshly cut edges. No dremel tool needed - i can guarantee you that.

I had pics to show as i was working on mine. But I am sorry i do not (at least, i don't remember taking snapshots of that part of the assembly of my PC).
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Post by sthayashi » Mon Aug 29, 2005 2:08 pm

indie!!!! wrote:Or do you just jam the snips in the punchout as much as you can and try to start the first cut? As much of a scissor jamming fan I am, this doesn't seem like the right way.
That's pretty much what I did, though I DID have enough room to put in the tip and take small snips at first. If you don't have enough room to do that, I suggest getting/borrowing a drill to make a hole large enough to insert a tip.
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indie!!!!
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Post by indie!!!! » Mon Aug 29, 2005 3:49 pm

Ok guys thanks for the replies - I'll check the fan punchout and see if I want to go pick up a red wiss and maybe file if I'm not feeling cheap. There's an ace hardware nearby. I've done a few mods to a steel case before (big side panel window with a fan hole on the window and some other fan holes) but that was with a dremel. On that, I also used some chrome trim I picked up from pep boys for the edges.

Dremel does take a while and is a bit of a mess, I don't think my neighbors would appreciate the noise either.

Great guide by the way...
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BrianE
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Post by BrianE » Mon Aug 29, 2005 4:56 pm

What about just sticking a hacksaw in one of the slots? Maybe one of those open framed (one handed) ones. Cutting through steel doesn't take as long as you would think with long, even strokes and it's a lot cheaper than a pair of high quality tin snips.

I haven't tried this myself, but I was just thinking back to when I had to cut an iron hand railing in half....

The only negative is that it tends to create metal filings everywhere, which isn't a problem if you have an empty case I suppose.

grand106
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Post by grand106 » Sat Sep 17, 2005 7:02 am

just to provide some additional help to those who want to cut their case for installing a bigger 120 mm fan . i couldn t find the wiss tin snips so i bought a Stanley red tin snip (cost around 17 euros). it worked great.

mtx
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Post by mtx » Tue Oct 04, 2005 6:58 pm

so this tool can cut perfect 120mm holes for the side, cut fan grills in the front and back of the slk3700?

anyone got pics?

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Post by Straker » Sun Oct 16, 2005 5:01 pm

mtx wrote:so this tool can cut perfect 120mm holes for the side...of the slk3700?
with experience, sure, same as trying to cut fan holes with a Dremel, but at least if you screw up with a Dremel you won't have accidentally bent anything.

this may well be mentioned in this thread but I'm already replying so not going to bother looking, if you want to cut a fan hole with snips, drill a big hole in the center and cut your way out in a spiral. not really possible to just cut out a circle-shaped piece of metal without bending/gouging the crap out of the case. also, if the SLK3700's steel is as thick as their "normal" cases (their generic towers based on the SX/BX1000 or whatever from way back), that may not be such a hot idea on the exterior panels.

I've cut out tons of grills and openings and made lots of brackets and such with snips, but still use a jigsaw for entirely new holes if the case is thick.

Marrs
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Post by Marrs » Thu Jan 19, 2006 12:44 am

After reading this thread I went out a picked up a pair of Wiss M1R tin snips at Lowes ($12.95) and wow, they cut through aluminum like butter. I love these things and less work for the Dremel too!

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Post by dhanson865 » Wed May 03, 2006 8:51 pm

chylld wrote:
sclawson wrote:One question. I already own Wiss M-6R and M-7R "Metalmaster Snips." How do these differ from the M-1R and M-2R you recommended, and are they equally suitable? It looks like the shape of the head is somewhat different, but it's not clear to me what this means in terms of usage.
Can anyone answer this question? I want to know too.
I've never used snips before but from checking www.cooperhandtools.com I see that the M-1 cuts tighter curves and the M6 is more in the middle between cutting curves and straight.

I can't begin to tell you which is better for cutting a fan grill.
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aztec
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Post by aztec » Wed Nov 21, 2007 4:23 am

completely new to this...but great post!

I just had a quick question.

for simply filing the snips made on a case's punch outs, wouldn't a round file like this work better (easier)?

Thanks!

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Post by Bluefront » Wed Nov 21, 2007 5:42 am

Couple of issues here......a file is not easier. The snips are much faster. And...with files, small metal filings fly everywhere. With snips you can cut holes/enlarge holes with the MB installed, without much danger of shorting something. Just use care.....
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Post by EvilNick » Tue Jun 24, 2008 6:53 pm

OK so to revive an old thread.

I want to cut some holes in the mobo tray and the upper section of my Lian Li PC-60 for cable routing purposes. I'm thinking round holes are easier to cut with tin snips than square holes, but i want them to be small, probably about 40-50mm diameter. Is this going to be possible as the blades on the snips are fairly big? I would not want to bend/mangle my mobo tray either for sure. :D
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Post by MikeC » Tue Jun 24, 2008 8:02 pm

EvilNick wrote:OK so to revive an old thread.

I want to cut some holes in the mobo tray and the upper section of my Lian Li PC-60 for cable routing purposes. I'm thinking round holes are easier to cut with tin snips than square holes, but i want them to be small, probably about 40-50mm diameter. Is this going to be possible as the blades on the snips are fairly big? I would not want to bend/mangle my mobo tray either for sure. :D
No, in snips are not the right tool for a small hole like that. You should use a drill press with a hole cutting attachment... if the tray if removable. If not, then you're stuck with a hand held drill, which is fine if you know how to handle it.
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Post by EvilNick » Wed Jun 25, 2008 5:50 pm

Ah ok, are you referring to using a hole saw? Unfortunately I do not have a hole saw and the price of a good hole saw for cutting metal is far too prohibitive for a one-off job like this. The cheaper hole saws I've seen are meant for plastic/wood and the man at the shop said it would not be able to cut aluminum.

So I can't use tin snips for small-ish 40-50mm diameter holes, any other tools I can use short of drilling it out slowly with the biggest drill I can find? I've seen some small keyhole saws that are made for cutting round holes and irregular shapes, but I'm not sure how clean a cut their metal saws will provide.
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Post by Cistron » Wed Jun 25, 2008 11:54 pm

Try a Nibbler tool and clean up with a round-file and sandpaper.

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Post by EvilNick » Thu Jun 26, 2008 6:26 am

Ah the nibbler was actually my first choice of tool. But I couldn't for the life of me find one in any of the hardware shops I went to. :(
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Small holes are not too hard either.

Post by crisspy » Tue Jul 01, 2008 12:55 pm

Depending on the thickness of the aluminum (or steel), I would have to say no problem on cutting 1.5" - 2" (40mm-50mm) holes with tin snips.

I always start with maybe a 3/8" (10mm) hole (easy to drill), at the middle of the target. Then cut out a skinny spiral from there. If you are really worried about the finish near the end, then stop about 1/16" (1-2mm) shy of the edge, and file out the last bit. If you scribed the exact hole you want (around the inside of a circle, or other template), then you can very cleanly file right up to that line. Also you can flatten it back out with a hammer or pliers if it gets a bit bent, especially with nice soft with aluminum.

Finally, as long as a hole saw looks like a round tube with teeth on the end, I have never seen a steel hole saw that won't cut aluminum, no matter how scaredypants the salesman is. There are some wierd adjustable hole saws for wood where two "blades" slide out sideways to however big, but we'll just ignore those. Steel (even crappy stuff) is WAY harder than aluminum. Maybe it has an over agressive cut with big teeth best suited to wood (go slow). Maybe it won't last as long. Maybe you want to make sure you don't over heat a cheap blade as badly as a really good one. But you will still get through enough holes in an aluminum case to make swiss cheese, should that be your desire. And you will still make enough mess to need to file it afterwards, so be forewarned. You might as well use tinsnips unless it's really thick metal.

And practice. Enough metal scrap to practice on is cheap or free, so track some down, make sure it's about the same as your case, and practice. You will get comfortable when you find out how easy it really is.

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Post by MikeC » Tue Jul 01, 2008 1:06 pm

welcome back, crisspy!

I do believe this is your first post at SPCR in 4 years!
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LuckyNV
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Post by LuckyNV » Mon Jul 14, 2008 2:23 pm

Hello, just wanting some help with purchasing good snips, I just want to remove some fan grills and cut a hole in metal mesh

Are these the Wiss snips mentioned in this thread?
http://www.dm-tools.co.uk/brand.php/show/Wiss

I'm aware there is a post for a UK shop in the first page but they no longer stock anything by Wiss.

Any help is appreciated, thanks :)

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Post by zoatebix » Mon Jul 14, 2008 3:20 pm

Yes. The £19.95 ones.

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Post by LuckyNV » Tue Jul 15, 2008 2:49 am

Ok thanks, next question

Which one?

I read the initial post, straight cut isn't recommended much?

So its either right or left cut, I'm right handed so right cut is most recommended?

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Post by zoatebix » Tue Jul 15, 2008 6:38 am

I only bought the right-cutting (red) ones.

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Post by LuckyNV » Tue Jul 15, 2008 8:10 am

zoatebix wrote:I only bought the right-cutting (red) ones.
ok thanks, 1 final question,

I notice the initial post

right hand = red
left hand = green

but in my link its clearly the other way around
right hand = green
left hand = red

could you please check out the pictures and confirm that Right hand = green is correct, thanks for all your help :)

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Post by drees » Fri Jul 18, 2008 11:44 am

Red handle cuts to the left, green handle cuts to the right.

You can use either one in either hand depending on the type of cut you are making.

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Post by zoatebix » Fri Jul 18, 2008 12:02 pm

LuckyNV wrote:
zoatebix wrote:I only bought the right-cutting (red) ones.
...could you please check out the pictures and confirm that Right hand = green is correct, thanks for all your help :)
I am so sorry! The red ones cut to the left.

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Post by LuckyNV » Wed Jul 23, 2008 4:07 am

Ok thanks

If any UK person is interested, I found another stockist for Wiss snips
http://www.itslondon.co.uk

my previous link is more expensive and they wanted £9 del... :roll:

ITSLondon stock the snips cheaper and less shipping, win. :)

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Left (green) vs. Right (red)

Post by crisspy » Sun Aug 24, 2008 2:54 pm

Hi all, sorry to be so scarce these years. Any last confusion as to left vs right:

RED = RIGHT, best for right handed people
GREEN = LEFT, best for left handed people


Wish now that you were truly ambidextrous.

In an ideal world you always want to buy both Left and Right snips. Tin bashers always need to have both snips because they are very often forced to cut in akward places or on difficult parts of metal things. This can often happen in modding too, if you have to cut into corners or near bent parts. Parts of a case can get in the way so that you can't freely choose which side you want to cut from. Typically you use the snip of your handedness whenever you can, but switch to the other-handed one where you have to.

For all of these left/right handed snips, the idea is that the handles of the snips stay well above and clear of the metal as you cut along. This is accomplished by having the handles tilted up behind the blades. This allows you to cut curves, because the handles don't run into the metal on either side of the cut. On STRAIGHT snips, the handles are straight out behind the blades, and you can't cut curves easily at all (they suck).

One blade, we'll call it the TOP blade, stays above the metal cut, with it's edge approximately laying flat on the metal you want to keep. The BOTTOM blade meanwhile comes up from below as you squeeze the handles, and cuts upwards, bending and curling the offcut upwards and away. The idea here is that the TOP blade, which you can always see and keep aligned with the cut, stays fairly still. The metal under the TOP blade stays flat and undamaged while cutting, it's your keeper side.

The reason for the handedness preference can be explianed like this: Put your dominant hand / arm straight out in front of you, and pretend to hold some snips. Now turn your wrist around, as if to point the snips back towards yourself. You can turn either hand inwards until the snips point all the way back at yourself, about 180°, but only turn them at most 90° outwards.

Red Right snips cut a curve from the right towards the left.
Green Left snips cut a curve from the left towards the right.

Applied for a right hander: with Red Right snips held in the right hand, they can cut a leftward heading curve all the way back around towards you, 180°, without having to dance your body around the cut. But holding Green Left snips in your right hand, you can only go 90° outwards at most, and even then at an uncomfortable angle.

The other factor is about the force that it takes to bend the offcut upwards and away. Your wrist has to keep the snips vertical to the cut, so that you get a nice square edge. Using other-handed snips in your strong hand, that force wants to bend your wrist, and you have to twist as if lifting up with your wrists, which is much weaker than twisting as if pushing down. This makes it much harder to hold the snips square to the cut. Added to that, you can usually help bend the offcut upwards and away using your free hand, which further reduces the cutting and holding force required. But your spare hand is on the keeper side of the cut, so it's double tricky to reach across the cut to help tho offcut bend away.

Finally, If you want to be brave, try to do the switcheroo and drive with your weak hand. Practice on some metal you don't value too much. To compound the difficulty, you will be distacting a weak hand's tricky job by giving the strong hand anything to do at all, and it will steal back all that difficult attention that your weak hand needs to even work at all. In practice, on a few lucky folks in my old shop could ever do it well. So don't be disappointed in yourself if it's just not worth your time.

Cheers all, and happy modding.

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