Checking for Cut Corners

Computer cases vary substantially in price. In their most basic form, cases are metal boxes with some shaped metal parts to hold hard disks and other computer components. Therefore, one of the ways manufacturers sometimes reduce costs is to perform less complete finishing on the metal edges of the case. Unfortunately, this cost-cutting measure can cut other things as well, such as your fingers. The best cases fold the edges of metal components, particularly along the edges of case lids, as shown in Figure 4.8. A less expensive safety measure is to sand metallic edges until they're smooth—or at least less rough than they are when first cut. Some 4

cases employ both techniques, generally reserving the folded-edge technique for removable lids and panels, and sanding interior edges smooth. All other things being equal, a case that makes heavy use of folded edges is preferable. U >

Most cases have one or more weak links—components that are unusually cheap and subject to breakage. For example, Figure 4.9 shows a broken plastic hinge on the front panel of one W

m tower case. The hinge was designed to allow the front panel to swing away and then detach from the bulk of the case. The problem is that it had a tendency to scrape and catch against the metal components with which it was mated. The end result was severe wear along the top edge (to the left in Figure 4.8) and a complete break along the bottom edge (to the right in Figure 4.8). You should examine case parts, and particularly plastic parts that are involved in any movement, for signs that they might break prematurely or stop doing whatever they're designed to do.

Figure 4.8

The folded edges of this case panel won't cut your fingers.

Figure 4.8

The folded edges of this case panel won't cut your fingers.

Figure 4.9

A plastic latch or hinge is likely to break.

Figure 4.9

A plastic latch or hinge is likely to break.

Chapter 4

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