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How to add fan mounts to your PC case

We take you through the art of creating an extra fan blowhole in your PC case, enabling you to build a gaming PC with improved cooling.

Do you need to make an extra fan mount in your PC case? Then you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we’ll show you how to create your own fan mount, by cutting a fan blowhole and then equipping your new fan mount with a grille or dust filter. You’ll then be able to bolster your PC’s cooling in a variety of locations.

With the coolers on the best graphics cards sporting ever-weirder airflow systems, and elaborate water cooling loops becoming more popular, even some of the best PC cases just aren’t flexible enough to point airflow in the right direction for everyone’s chosen setup. Budget PC cases in particular can often benefit from a few extra fans, and they often lack fan mounts in otherwise common locations.

1. Find best location for your fan mount

There are plenty of locations where you can add fan mounts to your case, but they’re most easily created on flat metal panels, such as rooves or bases. Mounting extra fans in these areas can also benefit graphics card and CPU cooling.

How to add fan mounts to your PC case: Find best location

2. Check clearance

Before cutting your blowhole, check for clearance on the inside of your PC, to make sure your fan won’t clash. Check for motherboard heatsinks in the area, as well as reinforcement beams inside your case, which you’ll want to avoid cutting if possible.

How to add fan mounts to your PC case: Check clearance

3. 120mm vs 140mm fans

If you have the space, you don’t need to stick to 120mm fans and can consider 140mm fans instead, which usually offer lower noise levels and higher airflow than their 120mm counterparts. They’re the same thickness as 120mm fans but are wider and longer, so check you have enough room.

How to add fan mounts to your PC case: 120mm vs 140mm fans

4. Types of grilles

If your fan is exhausting air from your case then you don’t need to worry about filters. However, it’s always a good idea to protect yourself and others from fan blades using a grille. These are cheap, and you can opt for fancy designs or even 3D-print your own ones.

How to add fan mounts to your PC case: Metal fan grille

5. Choose dust filters

If your fan will be acting as an intake (pulling air into your case), then you need to use a dust filter. There are a few options here, and the easiest is using an off-the-shelf filter that fixes between the fan and mount, or you can use a magnetic filter that attaches to the outside. You can even make a dust filter with pantyhose.

How to add fan mounts to your PC case: Dust filters

6. Mark up for cutting

Use masking tape to draw your blowhole position. This tape will also protect the case if your saw blade slips. Mark the spot for a pilot drill in the center of your fan mount. We’ll be using a 4.5-inch/114mm hole saw to create our fan blowhole, with a pilot drill mandrel. In case you’re not familiar with this tool, a hole saw basically attaches to your drill, and enables you to cut large, circular holes.

How to add fan mounts to your PC case: Mark up for cutting

7. Drill pilot hole

If you’re using a hole saw with a pilot drill mandel, first make sure that your hole saw is rated as able to cut sheet metal, then start by allowing the pilot drill to create its guide hole. Do this gently, as it’s easy for it to slip at first, which will result in your hole being off-center. Once it’s passed through the panel, lift the holesaw away and check that the pilot hole is lined up for the holesaw to make its cut in the right place.

How to add fan mounts to your PC case: Drill pilot hole

8. Cut the case with your hole saw

The hole saw will cut a single large chunk out of your case, but it can be tough to cut through steel cases, so take your time. Apply medium pressure with the saw but, when you’re nearing the end, back off the pressure and allow the weight of the drill to do the work.

How to add fan mounts to your PC case: Cut with hole saw

9. Option 2: Use a Dremel

If you don’t have a drill or hole saw, you can mark out a circle for your fan blowhole and gradually work a Dremel with a reinforced cutting disc around the hole to cut it out. This will take much longer than a holesaw, and will need more finishing work, but will save on the cost of extra tools. Make sure you use a mask and eye protection.

How to add fan mounts to your PC case: Cut with Dremel

10. File edges

Use a rounded metal file to get rid of sharp edges around the hole, and continue filing until the edges are smooth. Alternatively, you can also use a Dremel and sanding attachment.

How to add fan mounts to your PC case: File edges

11. Color the edges

If you have a black case, you can use a permanent marker pen to color the bare metal. This will make your cutting work look far less obvious than with the bare silver metal on show from its meeting with the saw.

How to add fan mounts to your PC case: Color edges

12. Mark up drill holes

With your hole cut, line up your fan and use it as a template to drill your fan-mounting holes. The screws just need to pass through the panel, so use a drill bit that’s slightly larger than the screws included with your fan.

How to add fan mounts to your PC case: Mark up drill holes

13. Drill screw holes

Go ahead and drill the mounting holes into your case, checking the alignment of each one first to ensure that they all line up. If one hole ends up being slightly amiss, you can use a small metal file to open it in the desired direction and the screw head will usually cover the oversized hole.

How to add fan mounts to your PC case: Drill screw holes

14. Install filter or grille

Now go ahead and install your filter or fan grille, ensuring it’s the right way around. Grilles usually sit on the outside of the case, while some filters are best placed between the fan and your case’s panel.

How to add fan mounts to your PC case: Install grille or dust filter

15. Install fan

If you’re installing the fan in the base of the case, flip it upside down to make the installation process easier. Hold the fan in place from underneath, then insert the mounting screws. Don’t tighten one fully, but instead move around and tighten each screw a few rotations in turn.

How to add fan mounts to your PC case: Install fan

Whichever method you’ve used to cut out your new fan mount, you’ll now have a cooler-running PC with your fan in exactly the place you want it – well done! Plus it always feels good to get your hands dirty with proper cutting tools.

For more case customization ideas, check out our guide on how to paint your case. If you’re planning a new build, then you’ll also want to read our full guide on how to build a gaming PC, which covers every step of the process.