Before anyone starts a modding project there are a number of basic things that need to be done to make sure that the mod is a success. These include: planning, a basic set of tools, and safety precautions.
Every mod starts as an idea, and it is always best to figure out the entire mod ahead of time so that you know in what order things should be done. Naturally, a mod evolves as you’re working on it because even the best laid plans can’t anticipate everything. However, having a solid plan ahead of time avoids wasteful gaps in production as you try to remember what exactly you were thinking when you cut apart the 5.25” optical drive cage.
Typically, I sketch out my ideas on paper in my sketchbook in very general terms and make notes to myself. However, some pieces of the mod can be very complicated, and detailed drawings are needed. It helps to have a solid plan to start with and an inventory of materials and tools in advance. In this way you can hopefully avoid the inevitable experience of forgetting to drill the blowhole in the chassis before it comes back from being painted or anodized.
While some people can get away with “winging it,” it’s always beneficial to develop a workable plan in advance.
There a number of tools that have come in handy over the years that every first time modder should have on his workbench. Most are basic tools that can be easily found around the house, others are a little more specialized. Basic tools include:
Drill (corded or cordless) and drill bits The basic drill is your most commonly used tool. The drill, either cordless or AC powered, helps you make small, precise holes in virtually any material that you may be using in your modding project. In addition to be able to drill holes most hand drills can accommodate a variety of accessories like buffing and grinding tools and polishing heads.
Sanders (electric and hand) It is best to have both an electric sander and a hand sander available for use. An electric sander is the fastest way to sand through the baked on factory coating on most cases, and for prepping an area for paint. When looking to purchase an electric sander, look for a variable speed random orbit sander. The random orbit sander allows you to sand in irregular patterns for a more uniform sanding on the surface without deep scratches or gouges in the metal that a reciprocating sander can cause.
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