Having decided on an Alien vs Predator theme, I needed to find some suitable photos to provide some specific direction for the design. Lots of Googling later, I had a good collection of imagery from the two films.
Click for larger versions. Copyright original artists.
Having found some good source artwork, it was time to prepare the case for engraving
Transferring the artwork to the case:
There are several different methods to achieve the same result, so I went with the technique that I feel most comfortable with. This involves printing out the design on paper, taping it to the case and then simply engraving through the paper.
This method has its drawbacks: if you aren't careful, the paper can move as you engrave. It can also be difficult sometimes to see what you are doing as you work through the paper. Despite all this, I prefer to work this way.
Here you can see the first panel to be engraved - the top of the case. Don't stick the tape down too fimly until you are 100% satisfied with the placement on your stencil - it will be your only guide once you begin engraving. If you need to, peel it back and place it again until you are happy. Use the edges of the panels to make sure everything is square.
The key to success with engraving, as it is for all modding, is to stay calm and don't panic. Take your time, and make sure your chair is a comfortable one as you'll be spending a lot of time in it. If you're a coffee addict like me, a steady flow of the black stuff will guarantee a good work rate.