• Welcome to TechPowerUp Forums, Guest! Please check out our forum guidelines for info related to our community.

DIY PC Mod Guide: Installing Cooling fan hole in PC panel

Aug 1, 2015
170 (0.10/day)
Mpls, MN
Hi Everybody! I mentioned I would share some of my DIY PC & Case Modding guides. This guide takes you through the steps for installing PC cooling fan as top exhaust in your case. I'm also offering a discount to all TechPowerUp members for PC & Case modding supplies HERE

Suggested Supplies & Tools

*Measuring Square or Ruler.
*Small Flat head screw driver.
*Phillips screw driver.
*120mm wire fan grill for tracing (Or download printable template below)
*Center Punch.
*Paint Pen or Marker.
*Drill press (or Hand Power Drill)
*Arbor for 4.5" Hole Saw Attachment to Drill Press or Hand Power drill
*4.5" Bi-Metal hole saw attachment.
*Two Large C-clamps (if you're using Drill press.
*Block of wood, to fit under the top panel.
*Hand punch as shown here for making the screw mounting holes, or you can use a power drill.

If you don't have access to a Drill press, you can use Hand Power Drill. Minimum volts for Cordless Power Drill is 18V, but 24v would be ideal for cutting into most PC cases.

Download Fan Grill Hole Templates PDF File, http://www.mnpctech.3dpixelnet.com/picture_library/mnpctech.com_80_92_120_140_fan_grill_templates_rv2.pdf

Before printing, you must select "None" for page scaling in your print dialogue box!

We're using Lian Li PC7-plus mid tower case for this tutorial.

Using Measuring Square to determine center location of the fan hole.

Draw outline around the 120mm wire fan grill

Now you have the exact location outlined for the Hole Saw guide bit.

Unscrew and remove the top panel.

Bi-metal hole saws are specialized attachments that allow you to drill large diameter holes. You need an Arbor (sold separately) that fits your drill in order to use a hole saw attachment. Here are the conversions for using a hole saw for the most popular PC cooling fans. For this guide, we're using 4.5-inch hole saw for 120mm cooling fan.

80mm = 3-inch hole saw
92mm = 3.5-inch hole saw
120mm = 4.5-inch hole saw
140mm = 5.5-inch hole saw

If you don't have access to a Drill press (pictured below), you can use hand power drill or a cordless drill. Minimum recommended volts for cordless power drill is 18V, but 24v would be more ideal for cutting into most PC cases.

In this guide I'll be using my bench top drill press. Before making our 120mm hole, You'll want to find a piece of wood to place your panel upon, before using the hole saw. This will help prevent the top panel from bending and drilling into your work surface.

I've placed pieces of acrylic material under the C-clamps, to prevent the panel from getting scratched or damaged. You can use scraps of thin wood or thick cardboard. *Tip: Apply Cutting Oil or WD40 to the edges of the Hole saw, to help prevent heat build up as it cuts the aluminum.

Next step is making the fan mounting hole. Take your time.

You will need to drill the fan screw mounting holes next. I prefer using 1/4" size drill bit.

Use Round side hand file to debur the edges of the opening

You can use sandpaper as alternative to hand file.

Peel off tape and inspect work. You may want to use Medium grit sandpaper to give the edges a once over...

Install your PC cooling fan and grill. Stand back and admire your work!


PC Gaming Enthusiast
Jul 25, 2008
12,889 (3.02/day)
Louisiana -Laissez les bons temps rouler!
System Name Bayou Phantom
Processor Core i7-8700k 4.4Ghz @ 1.18v
Motherboard ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming 6
Cooling All air: 2x140mm Fractal exhaust; 3x 140mm Cougar Intake; Enermax T40F Black CPU cooler
Memory 2x 8GB Mushkin Redline DDR-4 3200
Video Card(s) MSI GTX 1080Ti Gaming X
Storage 1x 500 MX500 SSD; 1x 2TB WD Black; 2x 4TB WD Black; 1x400GB VelRptr; 1x 3TB WD Blue storage (eSATA)
Display(s) HP 27q 27" IPS @ 2560 x 1440
Case Fractal Design Define R4 Black w/Titanium front -windowed
Audio Device(s) Soundblaster Z
Power Supply Seasonic X-850
Mouse Coolermaster Sentinel III (large palm grip!)
Keyboard Logitech G610 Orion mechanical (Cherry Brown switches)
Software Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (Start10 & Fences 3.0 installed)
Very nice guide!
Feb 20, 2015
38 (0.02/day)
System Name custom
Processor i5 3570K @4.2ghz
Motherboard ASROCK z77 extreme 4
Cooling aircooled
Memory 16gb corsair vengeance ddr3 1600
Video Card(s) MSI GTX 780 reference
Storage 2tb Seagate, 256gb sandisk SSD
Power Supply 850W Antec HCG-M
Thank you! This will come in handy on my buddies power mac g4 mod
Jan 27, 2008
468 (0.11/day)
The Lowcountry
System Name Daily Driver / Mobile Gamer
Processor R7-2700x / R7-3700x
Motherboard ASRock Taichi x470 / ASRock x370 Gaming ITX
Cooling EK monoblock - dual 360 rads / NH-U9S
Memory G.Skill 16GB 3466c14 / Crucial 32GB 3733c16
Video Card(s) TITAN / GTX 1070ti
Storage WD BLACK 500GB SSD / 1TB M.2, 1TB 850 EVO
Display(s) LG 27EA83R / TeamViewer
Case Dimastech Easy V3 / DA-2
Audio Device(s) HT E-Claro -> Yamaha Receiver - Polk CS1, 2x Polk OWM3 or DT-990 Pro
Power Supply SeaSonic X-850 / SSR-650SGX
Mouse Mionix NAOS 7000
Keyboard Drevo GRAMR tkl
Software Linux & Win10 Pro
Thanks! Guides like this could be very useful to members here.
Sep 17, 2014
11,446 (5.66/day)
Processor i7 8700k 4.7Ghz @ 1.26v
Motherboard AsRock Fatal1ty K6 Z370
Cooling beQuiet! Dark Rock Pro 3
Memory 16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 3200/C16
Video Card(s) MSI GTX 1080 Gaming X @ 2100/5500
Storage Samsung 850 EVO 1TB + Samsung 830 256GB + Crucial BX100 250GB + Toshiba 1TB HDD
Display(s) Eizo Foris FG2421
Case Fractal Design Define C TG
Power Supply EVGA G2 750w
Mouse Logitech G502 Protheus Spectrum
Keyboard Sharkoon MK80 (Brown)
Software W10 x64
Nice & complete guide. Something pretty simple but oh so useful to have served up like this, I bet, for many people.

Also holy necro :D But that's fine.
Nov 5, 2019
68 (0.46/day)
An Island
System Name ashpc-3950x
Processor Ryzen 9 3950X 16-core @ 105W ppt
Motherboard Asrock X570M Pro4
Cooling Be Quiet Shadow Rock TF2
Memory 32 GB (4x8) 3600 MHz 16-16-16-36
Video Card(s) ASUS RTX 2070 Dual EVO
Storage Aorus 1TB NVMe Gen4, Corsair MP510 480GB NVMe, 2x SATA HDD, 2x SATA SSD
Display(s) Acer ED242QR-A 24" 144Hz 1920x1080
Case Silverstone RedLine RL08 (red) Micro ATX
Audio Device(s) Onboard + Creative T40 V2
Power Supply Seasonic Focus+ 850W Gold
Mouse Sharkoon Fireglider
Keyboard Logitech G413 Carbon
Software Windows 10 Pro
Benchmark Scores idc
Nice & complete guide. Something pretty simple but oh so useful to have served up like this, I bet, for many people.

Also holy necro :D But that's fine.
If not for this necro I wouldn't have seen this, this is actually something I've wanted to do in a couple of my cases for a while, since the fans can blow air down on the VRM- useful for keeping the caps cool for 24/7 work. :)

Will definitely take a look at the guide.