I got really bored when I was in my first semester of college (in Gainesville, FL) and decided to stay busy by doing projects like this. For this one, I wanted to make my X360 cooler looking and plexiglass windows+lighting were my first thought. Later, I thought the DVD drive was taking up half of the viewable area, and incorporated one of the only moving parts in the whole chassis (the optical disc)... so I should definitely cut a hole in that too. So below is the rundown of the build.
First, I measured and drew the design I wanted on some masking tape (wanted to keep the Xbox logo on the side panel to retain the OEM/official look), and used a Dremel to cut it out. I used a single sheet of plexiglass cut to the length of the Xbox and hot-glued it in after I shaved and smoothed the edges of the chassis.
Then I took apart the DVD drive, measured with masking tape again, and made the cuts. I tried to retain the same style of bevels in the DVD window as I used in the side panel so the aesthetic worked. The top of the case had a weighted disc holder to keep the disc steady in any position when it was being read, so I couldn't just cut a huge DVD-sized hole and call it a day.
After that, I realized a bare metal DVD drive top looked really ugly in there against the rest of the components, so I decided to get some paint to make it match whatever other primary color I could find among the components. The CPU fan baffling was white, so I decided "perfect, white it is" and went to work.
Finally, the lighting. The cold cathodes (lights) were the hardest part of the job since I had to rig them to power on and off with the system, and obviously the Xbox doesn't have some nice plug-and-play Molex connectors built in for a job like that. I got a 2x 6" kit for a standard PC and tried to work with what I had. I believe I ended up splicing them into the main motherboard power connector and wrapping the splice with electrical tape (I don't remember having a soldering iron at that point in college). When I put power to the Xbox and they lit up the first time, that was hands down the crowning accomplishment to the whole project.
On a side note, this project never got an ounce of notice from any buddy I ever brought over, but I still loved seeing it when I walked in from school every day to a glowing black box in the livingroom. College in Florida SUCKED, my roommates were stoners but not the kind that liked videogames or watching TV (both of which I had set up in the living room with a legit Logitech Z5500 surround system I'd had and used everywhere I lived since highschool), they were the type that liked to go to their rooms and sit silently 18hrs a day in before they went back to school. But in my experience, cool hobbies like this are rarely ever fully taken advantage of or acknowledged by others, So I've learned to just take pride in what I do regardless of if anyone even bothers with a simple "woah that's neat!". Eventually you meet people that appreciate it, and sometimes you even meet other people that are just as into something as you.
From idea, to reality.