Good job with the paint.
And about the desktops being easier to disassemble than laptops, you're certainly right. When disconnecting the keyboard on a laptop, you run the risk of ruining the connection and if you don't disconnect it, it tends to get in the way. With desktops you don't have that problem, and you also don't have 3 or more different screw sizes, you only have 2.
The discussions about wiring seems a bit unclear to me, so I'll also add how I did it: PSU -> fan controller (through the front panel's molex connector) -> fans (through the 3 pin fan power and 2 pin led cables). I removed the molex to 3 pin fan converter(s). You also don't have to connect the x-bay unless you want to use it.
Yeah my first laptop was a Gateway P7805-u and the first time I went to upgrade anything I realized you couldn't touch shi!t in there due to soldered GPU and crap. So I sold that and bought a used m17xR2 from a friend and modded the hell out of that with heatsink mods and upgraded the GPU twice after the two years of owning it. Eventually sold that because the CPU was getting outdated (920xm) and bought a used m18xR2 with 7970 crossfire, Going nVidia with my desktop build because i HATE CROSSFIRE WITH A PASSION NOW. lmao.
As for the connectors I think I understand, my motherboard should be here when I get home from work today so I'll let you all know if I need a hand, if not I'll have some pictures up of the fully functional system (fingers crossed)