Top ten PC Modders Tools
In the last year or so I’ve been working on case mods and even my first scratch-built case too. I’ve been dealing with metals, acrylic and all manner of adhesives and of course many different tools to get the jobs I needed done. I actually thought I had most of the tools required, and the knowledge too, but as it turns out, I needed to do plenty more research and acquire several new tools, particularly when it came to building my own case.
While we love modding on a budget, doing things properly does require certain tools. Below is our list that makes up an awesome modder’s toolbox for less than £100.
Our £100 modder's toolset
- Cable braiding kit - £5
- Dremel - £30
- Drill - £15
- Finger files – £5
- Heat gun - £15
- Jigsaw - £20
- Mini blow torch – £5
- Rivet gun - £5
If you’re thinking about getting into modding, or even making the move from case modding to scratchbuilding, here are some of my favourites and most useful tools that I’ve found invaluable, or desire to own.
Mini blow torch
This is probably the most unlikely tool I thought I’d own but it’s come in handy for so many things. My scratchbuild is made almost entirely using acrylic, and this can look quite messy once it’s been cut. I saw on bit-tech’s forum a while back that the key to obtaining clean polished edges again is all to do with what’s called flame polishing. Making sure the edges are flat first, you essentially melt the acrylic by quickly working the blow torch over the surface. Unfortunately, some of the acrylic I’d used didn’t take to well to this method, but the rest resulted in an almost religious experience, watching the rough, matte surface vanish and become a clean glossy edge.
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The blow torch can also be used for heating and bending small sections of acrylic if you don’t have a heat gun, but is also great for dealing with heat shrink wrapping on a low setting. The heat is more intense and can be applied more accurately than a lighter and you stand less of a chance of burning your fingers too.
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For acrylic lovers out there, a heat gun opens up a whole new world of possibilities. You’re able to heat acrylic up and bend it to pretty much any shape you like, and they cost a fraction of the asking price of a dedicated acrylic bender. As most sheet plastics return to their original shape once heated again, a heat gun is a tool you can practice with while not chewing through mounds of expensive materials. If the bend isn’t quite right, just heat it up and try again.
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It’s difficult to talk about Dremel’s rotary tool (often referred to now as just a Dremel) without going all mushy. Yes, they haven’t lasted well in the past, but recent models are far more enduring. With that out of the way, you simply can’t match this jack of all trades when it comes to flexibility. Some have made entire cases using just a Dremel and a select few attachments.
Our favourite attachments are the cutting disc (invaluable for cutting short to medium lengths of thin material), engraving and routing tips (great for engraving and cutting inset sections in soft materials), along with grinding and sanding tips (awesome at sanding down the edges of newly-cut metal and plastics).