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Topic Review (Newest First)
10-08-2003 08:26 PM
Grump Thanks, hopper, that's alot of good stuff. I appreciate it. I'm a member of Bit-Tech. Great bunch and some very talented people.

10-07-2003 06:46 AM
Grashopr I run a small local custom paint shop that specializes in pinstriping and airbrush work on Harleys and Streetrods, but a couple of years ago, I began painting odd-ball stuff just for 'cool' points and because I was ending up with a little bit of this color and a little bit of that color. I would spray bowling pins, machined aluminum panels, golf-balls, whatever I had lying around just to show colors and to have a background to do murals on. I was at a show in Topeka when a young man asked me about doing some custom work on a desktop computer case. I didn't know about it at the time, but he turned me on to where I saw the obvious artwork that was going on melded together with some serious (at the time) electronics engineering. I took my own computer case apart before starting on his to see just what it would take to get a quality finish on one, and although I haven't done any for customers since (haven't really been approached by it), I have done a few for friends and family since then. Here is how I prep and spray the boxes:

Some of the cases have logos or lettering that sticks up and will need to be removed. I use a pocketknife to get underneath of them and pry them up. Try to not scar the surface of hte case when prying. If you scar the surface, you'll have more bodywork to do. After the logo comes up, I use 3M Liquid Adhesive Remover from the auto-parts store. Just use the brush that comes with the adhesive remover can to soak whatever adhesive is left behind, then wipe it off with a paper towel.

I used a Scotchbrite wheel to remove the factory finish. I'm not sure exactly what the material is, but it seems harder than paint, or it may possibly be baked on enamel. Anyways, the Scotchbrite wheels look like two peices of the scrubber material that your wife uses to clean the dishes mashed together with an arbor that fits a regular cordless drill chuck coming out the end. You can pick them up at any automotive store that carries sandpaper for about $8. I strippped everything that is metal or delicate. I don't strip the drive faces or any buttons/lights with the cordless drill.

I then take another peice of scotchbrite that isn't attached to an arbor and I lightly scuff the faces of the drive bays and the buttons with this. I pay particular attention to not scar the plastic faces of any lights.

Some cases come with a flat-steel face. Some cases come with a factory 'texture' in the steel/aluminum. Most of the ones that I've done have been flat, but I found 2 that had textures. If you wanted to, you could use autobody techniques to fill and sand the texture to create a flat surface, but I just left the texture and it looked REALLY good with a light-colored pearl or metallic.

After all the lettering and items are removed, and the surface is scuffed, I use 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper to sand the large open areas by hand to get them uniformly smooth. The scotchbrite on a wheel sometimes puts 'cuts' and 'grooves' in the aluminum cases that can show up in your final paint. Keep the sandpaper wet and just sand until the surface looks uniform.

I then spray the case white. It doesn't matter if my final color is going to be black, I always put down a basecoat of white. It helps any colors that I'm going to use besides black look brighter and brings the color out more. I use automotive urethane paint out of an automotive detail gun (it's like a full-sized gun that you shoot a car with, but it's about 1/3 the size for shooting fenders/doors or just for touch-up work). I spray a basecolor, then a mid-coat "Kandy" color, then whatever artwork I'm putting on (pinstriping/airbrush murals) then my top "Clear Coat".

If you want to, or you dont have the tools to spray multi-coat systems, you can achive very nice results using spray-cans with enamel finishes. Gloss Enamels don't require a mid coat or a clear coat. They dry with a glossy finish.

After your topcoat of clear or your last coat of enamel has dries completely, you can sand the surface smooth and buff just like automotive bodywork, or you can just leave it alone.

Hopefully you can use some of this.

The 'hopper
10-07-2003 01:01 AM
computer case

sand, primer, sand, paint.
hell its a damn computer; its not going to have to put up with weather conditions. use the rattle can type and just paint the damn thing.
yes you can use this in any mag you want, hell maybe i'll get rich.

10-07-2003 12:04 AM
milo Disclaimer, anyone can use anything I say for any reason anytime anywhere

10-07-2003 12:00 AM
Grump Thanks Larry. Yes, I am aware of the FAQ and the search feature too. The problem with that for me is that it would be taking quotes that weren't solicited by me for this article. Kinda like stealing.

It's good for my own information and I have access to a wealth of it. It's really a gold mine. However, I want every piece of information I use in the article to come from people that know and approve of it. The easiest way to do that is to do it the way I have. I want to be up front about what I'm looking for and how I'll use it. In addition, I will ask each person individually if I can use the material in their post (if I didn't ask you, I won't use it) -- and they can decline. I won't use words or information I'm not entitled to.

10-06-2003 10:35 PM
crazy larry
Welcome to

its livelier at times...... but then, oh nevermind.....
myself, i'm not a paint pro or even a paint nothing... i'm working on my first paint job now..... but anywhoo, what i wanted to say was, in the Knowledge Base there are some great paint tips and instruction from some who are in the know. But Jon will have to say as far as the rest.

that puter looks like it'll run 6's.... is it on juice?
10-06-2003 10:07 PM
Grump Thanks, pzatchok, glad you like it.

Milo, I appreciate your reply; very insightful and entertaining. Just the kinda stuff I'm looking for.

I was talking to Eric Collins of Final Finish in Reno today and he told me a few things that surprised me. I had thought sanding between coats of paint was just about mandatory (except with metallics and metal flakes, of course). Eric says no. Sanding between acrylic enamels and urethanes is not suggested because the finish is too soft or gummy. He did say if there was a flaw that had to be removed, it could be taken out with sandpaper and recoated, but sanding was not necessary until the finish clear coat (1000 - 1500 grit, then rubbing, then polishing).

I hope some of you have comments about this -- and more too. Is it usually quiet around here, or is this thread not a good idea. I would like to hear any opinions.


10-06-2003 03:12 PM
pzatchok I REALLY like the desk.
10-06-2003 03:16 AM
"I'd like you to meet my little friend Mister Paint."

Grump, awsome paint job! I also like painting the last thing people would think of painting sometimes. When you look around you almost everything IS painted. The thing about Mr Paint is he's our friend in a can and wants us to like him. He wants us to like him so much that he will never let us down. He's loyal and will do his job no matter what he's asked to color. When paint is sprayed as in most case's discussed here, we squeeze it through a tiny opening with air about the size of a toothpick end and expect it to spread out and cover something the size of a car or truck or even a Boeing 747 airplane and it does. It does this perfectly every time.
Failed paint projects can not be blamed on Mr Paint ever! When paint peels from the edge of a fender or from around a door handle, it's not the paints fault. You see Mr Paint thinks or rather knows that you didn't want him to stay on that edge or around that door handle because it was left unsanded or unclean as if you didn't want him there very long. If we want Mr Paint to stick, he wants something from us. He wants us to give him something to hold on to. Not much, but a little traction will go a long way. If we want Mr Paint to bond with us, we have to please him as well. We can't trick him or hope he'll break a rule even once. As paint flies out of the gun and onto the surface and finds dirt it thinks we want a little bump there. If further down that fender or whatever there's a little tiny winy speck of oil/wax/water Mr Paint will go around it at first to get away from it and it's later that we say he has eyes. Fisheyes is what there called by some. These are little imperfections to us but Mr Paint he could care less. He did just what we asked him to when we left these things in the way. When a sand scratch appears it's because Mr Paint went down one side of the scratch and up the other. Basically , Mr Paint doesn't get along with 4 kinds of things. #1 oils/waxes #2dirt/dust #3 water/moisture #4 slippery places. In the air or on the surface Mr. Paint ain't happy when they are around. Get these 4 out of the picture first then give Mister Paint a chance to do his dance.

Hope to have helped,
10-05-2003 11:05 PM
Painting a computer case?

Hi all,

I'm a first time poster here at . I would like to consider myself a hot rodder, but many people think I might just be a wannabe. My rides are meager as far as hot rods go, but they are mine.

But my most proud hot rod really isn't an auto, but it has similar bling:

I was recently priviledged to have that computer featured in CPU Magazine (Oct. issue, page 96). I have been asked to write an article for Sandhills Publishing, to be included in a special edition in a few months. The article is on basic computer modifying (we call it "modding") -- cutting the metal case for a side window and maybe a blow hole (for a fan) and painting it. The painting part is why I came here.

Part of the article includes a side bar on painting preparation and tips. Although I am familiar with painting and think I've done an acceptable job, I am not a pro. I know that some of you are, or at least are much more experienced than I. My thought is that it would be interesting and even entertaining to have people like you offer those tips.

The article, which revolves around me modifying a case, step by step, has a deadline of early November. If I can have your permission to use some of your quotes, in the form of tips, etc. for the side bar, I will mention Hotrodders Bulletin Board and attribute each quote to your screen name. I will not use your quote without your permission or the permission of the site administrator (moderator: please forward this as a request to the site admin).

Thank you for indulging me. I am sure the readers of Computer Power User (CPU) Magazine, Smart Computing and Sandhills Publishing will appreciate your insight. You can contact me via PM or email (, but your tips and comments will be most helpful right here on the forum.

Thank you,


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