A while ago now some bright spark came up with the idea of hiding the fronts
of their CD drives by using the blanking plates that came with their case,
it didnt take long for the idea to catch and now it seems like a case mod
isnt complete without having stealthed drives ...
The basic premise to achieve this is incredibly simple; essentially you take
a case fascia, remove the part that would normally attach it to the case and
proceed to fix it to the tray of the CD drive. That said there are a number
of things to be aware of when carrying this out which I'll do my best to cover
In the pictures below you can see basically what we're trying to achieve,
both the finihed DVD drive and below it the CD-RW waiting to be tackled. The
first step is to remove any existing front to the drive that might get in
the way, in my case the Ricoh CD-RW had a drop down flap in front of the tray
so I ended up having to remove the entire fascia. In the case of the DVD however
the tray was showing from the outside so I could simply stick the case fascia
straight on to it. Basically how you handle this stage depends very much on
the make of drive but what youre looking for is a flat(ish), unrestricted
surface. If you do have to remove the fascia however its often a case of simply
loosening a couple of tabs around the front and pulling it off .. theres no
need to get involved with the insides of the drive.
Once the drive itself is ready its time to look at a couple of important
features, firstly the eject button. In order that we can still open the drive
when not in windows we'll be attaching something to the inside of the fascia
to press the button so its important to know how big it needs to be and where
to place it. Similarly its a good idea to get a rough estimate of how far
the drive is from the front of the case to see how far forward the fascia
will need to sit or whether the drive itself will need recessing. Below you
can see the button at the bottom right of the drive slot and also the metal
corner braces which I'll be making use of later.
On to the fascia itself and you can see the original (right) and cut-down
version (left) to get an idea of what needs to be done. Using a simple hacksaw
blade its insanely easy to hack through the side part that would normally
fix it to an empty drive bay, for neatness I cut it to leave the sides a uniform
height all the way around.
Now comes the only tricky bit of the project, preparing the fascia to fit
the drive. As most cases and drives will differ I'm just going to describe
what I did for mine but the principles are the same regardless. The first
problem is making sure it will sit at the right distance from the drive so
as to be level with the front of the case, for this I simply used some cardboard
and attached it the inside with masking tape. This wasnt ideal but was sufficient
to generate the height and was the only thing I had available so it had to
do!! Next up came the actual fixing for which I used blu-tak as it was non-permanent,
flexible yet still more than strong enough to support the weight of the fascia,
the only thing to pay attention to here is to make sure you prepare these
to be at the right height to fix to the drive. The last stage before sticking
it on is to attach something to hover over or rest on the eject button of
the tray so that when you tap that area on the outside the drive will open.
This is where the flexibility of the blu-tak and the cardboard actually came
into their own as they allowed a certain amount of leeway so the blank cantridge
(below) rests on the button without actually pressing it. The thumbscrew is
there to support the other side of the fascia at the bottom and rests on the
corner brace mentioned above. While not strickly neccessary it does however
prevent the front pivoting around its fixing and helps keep it flush with
Here you can see the tray has two raised parts on the front which I made
sure the blu-tak would be in-line with.
Finally its simply a case of pressuring the fascia on to the drive, this
best done with the drive closed so as to get it in the right place. Like me
you'll probably need to make a few small adjustments to stop the drive catching
on the surround on its way in and out and is certainly where the blu-tak has
an advantage over a more permanent method.
All being well a little tap at the bottom right corner (above) and voila...
The finished article ... totally undecernable from the outside and best of
all - NO MORE BEIGE !!!
Thats really all there is to it, you wont need a lot of money or skill to
be able to carry this out and nearly every case will reap the benefits. Good
Don't forget to check out the forums!!