Apex MI-008 CD/DVD/5.25″ Bezel Mod part 1

This post we will be modifying the CD/DVD/5.25″ bezel opening. Currently it is setup to accommodate a DVD, which has a shorter length and height disk opening.  We need to modify two parts. We’ll start with the back since it will be the easiest.

A word of caution and setup. I would detach the front bezel part at the led.  You can peel away the shrink wrap from the leads or clip them.  Mine came apart after numerous twisting and bending anyway.  It definitely makes it easier to grind and file the drive bay opening.  Next I would position a 5.25″ drive in the drive bay case and secure it with a screw.  It’s not necessary for it to be at a perfect extension as we are only going to be using it to size the opening.

5.25 Floppy drive screwed into the drive bay
Go ahead and screw in the 5.25″ drive mech to the case drive bay.

Inside view of 5.25" drive bay removal area
Right above the 3.5″ drive bay opening is a thin horizontal frame line, above it is the part we will be removing.  At one end is the white button and a section that is detached from the bezel.  As you go further to the right the plastic becomes joined with the main rear bezel until it stops flush with the right edge of the current opening.  This is the part we will be removing.

Marked tab removal area
This tab sits between the cd eject button and the front bezel part. We have no need for it, so out it comes.

Methods may vary and you may have a better way to do it than I do.  I will be using a combination of a Dremel tool and a fine file.   It will get messy, be tedious and generally nerve wracking to maintain just the right amount of pressure, but not too much that we break the thin horizontal frame line above the 3.5″ drive bay.  I will be drilling through the plastic at the point just above the frame line.   Then once the major part of the button mech is removed, I’ll begin filing down to flush with the frame line from the inside of the bezel.

Image of the button tab removed

Image of horizontal bar that needs to be smoothed out.

Now comes the really tedious part.  We have to grind down the edges left by the coarse drilling to a relatively smooth line before we can do our first fit test of the rear bezel.   It doesn’t have to be perfect yet.  🙂  Go slow, take breaks often.  There’s no hurry.

Image of the initial cuts to the drive bay opening.
We’ve filed and drilled away most of the plastic we need to.

Now we are ready for the initial fit test.  This should tell us how much more needs to be trimmed to allow the XF551 face plate to fit the rear part of the bezel.  Rarely is it a fit the first time.

Image of first fit test for the bezel opening.

As I suspected, the opening is still a little to small.  Based on the fit test we need to shave a little off of all four sides.  Possibly eliminating the thin horizontal strip we tried so hard not to lose.  But first I’ll shave the top and both sides.  Then do another fit test.  You will need to do this repeatedly.  It’s better to trim not enough and have to redo, than trim too much and have to repair or have a much larger hole than necessary.


Finished inside bezel 5.25" bay cut
Rear bezel is snapped into the case frame and clears the outline of the 5.25 drive faceplate.

I know I said this part would be easy.  Trust me it is.  Compared to the front bezel part.  I went at this slow and easy. Never testing myself and still came out with uneven lines that I’m going to have to smooth out.  But at least no major blunders and most of the unevenness will be hidden.  Still with significantly more plastic to remove and much more visible cuts on the front bezel plate I’ve decided to use a different tool, a sacrificial soldering iron.

Stay tuned to part 2.