Case mod

From Hot to Not, in 3 (or more) easy steps!

Another new toy!!

Well, sort of…my PC was running way too hot, at 65 celcius the CPU wasn’t going to last for long (although, it can be argued that it would probably last long enough for it to become obsolete, but anyway, blah!!)

So, I decided my PC was running too hot..and it needed some work..so, I spent far too much money, and this is the result!

The BEFORE picture, one of the other goals of this whole deal was to tidy up the internals of the case..unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures of the insides before I gutted it, so you’ll have to imagine a plate of spagetti covered in dust, with a slight heat haze coming off it.

Another goal, was of course, to make the thing too cool, pun intended! So, I painted the entire internal chassis too (it used to be the boring standard primercoated grey of most cases).

Cut a long story kinda shorter…this was the internals of the chassis with the motherboard and cabling in-place, it was at this stage that I decided I’d need a new power supply to be able to cope with the extra fans (the old one was only 250w, and wasn’t black – very important!).

The new power supply, in place…what a pain it was, beleive it or not, it had TOO MANY cables, and the power cable was about 14 times longer than it needed to be….

I sent the top and side panel to a metal shop to be professionally cut, I lack the tools and skill to do it properly myself, so I decided it’s better to let someone who has a clue do it (for a price! – $40)

Painting the external panels, each panel, including the front bezel had 3 coats of grey primer and about 5 coats of satin black..I wasn’t 100% happy with some of the painting, but I was using $3 cans of paint, so it can’t possibly be perfect!

3 red LED Fans later (one sucking in the front, and 2 blowholes at the top) and here’s the result..the side window panel is not in place yet, but this shows the internals pretty well.

Stories of the strange but true, the top LED fans and the black fan grills make the PC look like some kinda portable stove, tea anyone?

It’s really hard to get a good picture of the lights inside and stuff through the window, but here’s a poor attempt anyway!

Using a flash is cheating, but it’s the best way to get a decent shot of the finished product!

Call me crazy, the total cost of this entire mod was about $500 (and 3 weeks work)…but keep in mind that only about $100 of that was devoted entirely to the modding of the case (cutting the holes, painting, sanding etc) the rest was fans, new power supply, round cables, looming etc…so none of that is wasted, and can all be re-used in a new case, if I ever get one..not that I’d want to, this one’s just too cool (my opinion!! 🙂

The end result, is the box you see here..and a MUCH cooler CPU and case, the CPU rarely goes above 40 celcius and the case under 30, depending on outside temps of course. Any questions, commments? etc, use the mail link in the menu to the left….

So, my current specs are:

  • Athlon 1.1ghz (running at 1.33)
  • 768mb PC133 SDRAM
  • GForce 4 ti4200 128mb (running at 300/560)
  • Round IDE/Floppy Cables, Wire Loom, 3 Antec red LED 80mm fans, 2 standard 80mm Fans, Wire loom, window kit, Volcano 7+ CPU Cooler, Topower 370w PSU, Gold Thumbscrews, Chrome Fan Grills (some painted satin black) etc etc

Adendum: I had an email from someone who saw my case on a casemod site, he asked me for some advice on how to strip down and paint the case/chassis…I am, by no stretch of the imagination, an expert..I’m a lucky amateur at best, but rather than just send this to one person and have it lost forever, I decided to dump it here 😉 .. Also, this advice only applies to painting a satin or matt colour, I don’t dare attempt a high gloss finish, it’s just too hard without the proper equipment (I used cheap spraycans, not an air compressor etc..)..if you want a high gloss finish, I recommend taking it to an auto shop and getting a quote on a professional two pack paintjob.

Painting your Chassis/Case panels

It’s really quite simple…

NOTE: Whenever I say “sand”, I mean very lightly rub the surface with a 1200 (or finer) gauge wet&dry sandpaper (that’s the very fine black stuff you can get at any hardware store)

Stripping down:

I just removed all the external panels and all the internal components (including the power supply), that left me with just the internal chassis skeleton, I didn’t sand down the chassis at all, since most of it wont be seen anyway, I only painted it becuase I hate that grey colour 🙂

Painting-primer/undercoat:

  1. Sand down all the surfaces of your case, then make sure they’re clean..any kind of kitchen surface cleaner will do, or just soap and water.
  2. Lightly coat with a metal primer (I used a cheap grey can)
  3. Lightly sand again
  4. Repeat 2
  5. Lightly sand
  6. Repeat 2 if you want to, you don’t need to primer again if the surface is totally covered and there are no metal bits exposed.

Painting-overcoat, main colour:

  1. VERY LIGHTLY sand the primer coat and clean off the surfaces
  2. All coats of overcoat should be very light, after the first and second coats you should still be able to see the primer colour underneath…the thinner the coats you apply the more smooth the final surface will be (and the less chance of drips etc..)
  3. Apply as many coats of overcoat as is required to 1. get an even smooth finish and 2. not be able to see the undercoat
  4. Stop sanding the coats 2 coats before your final one, unless you’re very good or lucky you’ll get tiny scratches showing up that will be hidden by 2 coats of paint, but any less and they’re a little obvious.
  5. The final coat should be a little thicker than the others, but never thick enough to risk a drip.

That’s it..I hope this helped, and that I didn’t forget anything obvious..any questions..use the email link in the menu to the left./browse