I wanted to make my MSI Z87 xPower motherboard look a bit better by making a shroud to go on top of the i/o because of that glossy metal look. I kind of like the way it turned out, so I thought i'd share it with this community; maybe someone else will be inspired by this
Measure every part of the motherboard i/o, from the start of the PCB (so not where the actual connectors start, because you have to keep in mind that there will be an i/o shield to push up against the connector inlets!). Also take account for the mounting points. I personally used the ones right next to and right under the i/o (NOTE: the holes for the mounting should be 4mm wide). Measurements are diffrent for every motherboard, so I can't help you with that. Just take your time and make sure to also measure clearence for any parts that stick out on the PCB. In my case i had a wifi module with 2 capacators right next to it, so i also measured those in. A good reference point for the maximum hight of the shroud would be the same hight as the motherboard i/o shield (because any higher will cause the shroud to conflict with the rear exhaust fan in the case!)
Take your measurements and make a 3D design of your shroud. This is the moment to personalize it to your wishes! I personally used the program Tinkercad (which is a REALLY easy 3D program for starters). While designing your shroud, make sure you also account for the thickness of the outer walls (in my case I used 2mm thick walls). Once you finish your basic design, it's time to spice it up to your likings!
NOTE: the openings in the back of my design are for the wifi-module and some components sticking out of the motherboard!
When you have your final design, it's time to think about how you are going to mount it to the motherboard eventually. What I did was designing some simple 1,5mm flat, rounded off mounts (8mm wide) with the mentioned earlier 4mm screw hole. I used the method of designing these seperate, so I could cut them to size and fit them later on and glue them on to the rest of the shroud with some superglue.
If you are satisfied with your design and 'grouped' it together into one solid piece, save it as a 3D print-file. Once done, contact a local 3D printing company (or if you have a printer yourself, you can do it yourself) and ask them to print the shroud and mounts for you. I personally had it printed with the standard material,
I think it's called PLA. Once your print is done, it's time to test-fit the shroud on the motherboard!
If everything fits, and you are satisfied, you might notice that the print finish isnt that great looking with all the striations and blemishes (around the 'OC' logo). With that said it's time to take out the sanding paper. I have to warn you with this one: TAKE YOUR TIME! It will cost you several hours to sand it perfectly smooth! Take some 200-250ish grid sandpaper and go to town with it.
Once you finished sanding it with the 200-250 grid, it's time to smoothen it all out. Take some 100-120 grid sandpaper and once again go to town and 'feel' how smooth the surface is to the touch. Once again take your time; it will be worth it in the end.
If you have finished sanding, it should look something like this:
Take your mounts and measure where they eventually have to go. If you have to shorten them, just use scissors, they will cut right through. Use fine sandpaper to flatten the back of the mount out in order to sit properly to the shroud. Use some superglue to mount it to the shroud like this
Clean the whole thing off before priming it. This is to make sure any dust, greace or other filth get cleaned off and make for a better paint finish. Let it fully dry after cleaning! Once dry, take some plastic primer and apply two very thin coats. After that grab some plastic paint in any color you want and also apply in 2 coats (or more if needed). Once painted it should eventually look something like this (already a MAJOR difference!):
Once fully satisfied with the result and paint job, it's time to mount it to the motherboard! The way I did it was to place a stainless steel washer in between of the motherboard and the mount of the shroud itself in order to still ground the screw to the stand-off and case. I used these washers:
The mounting would end up something like this:
NOTE: The motherboard PCB will sit in between of the washer and the stand-off!
Enjoy your end result!
I hope you guys like this semi-DIY motherboard 'mod' and hope I did inspire some of you guys!
Sorry for the bad picture quality, I took those with my phone!