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Difficulty is HIGH on this project. It also is time consuming. It can take anywhere from 2 days to a month or more

Spooky's Computer painting guide!!


That's my reflection in the paint!!!


Materials needed:
  • Paint
  • Primer
  • Paint thinner/stripper
  • Tack cloth or denatured alcohol with terry cloth or ripped up old cotton t-shirt
  • Terry cloth or old shirt
  • Wet sanding Sandpaper 240/600/800/1000/1500grit
  • Masking tape
  • soap
  • water
  • bucket or tub
  • Tools required for disassembly
  • Good weather
  • Clean dust free environment
Optional:
  • Rubbing compound [3m brand works well]
  • Spray paint pistol grip
  • Paint cleaner
  • Wax
  • Small bucket of hot hot water
Overview: I created this guide in the hopes that it will better educate our members allowing them to create awesome paint jobs at a budget price. I think that most people don't feel that spray paint can create a professional looking paint job. As you will later see it is definitely possible. Of course you can do a better job with airbrush, but one was not available to me so those instructions will not be included. If you would like to advise me with steps on how to do this with an airbrush I will add it to this guide and give you credit for your help. I used a lot of the procedures from how cars are painted. I also added some tips that I have picked up here and there. I cannot stress the importance of taking your time and doing this right. It is easy to ruin your case by making some easily avoidable mistakes. So lets move on to the warnings.
Warnings:
  • DO! Be careful sanding sand too hard and you will ruin your case and the final results.
  • DO! Follow the instructions on the paint that you are using.
  • DO! Make sure you get plenty of paint if you run out mid case your paint will never look right.
  • DO! Work in a well ventilated area and wear a respirator and eye protection.
  • DO! Work in an area where you don't mind it getting some paint on it.
  • DO NOT! Work in your good clothes, they will get paint on them.
  • DO! Let your paint dry completely before switching between colors.
  • DO NOT! Paint the case with the components in it.
  • DO! Expect your computer to be out of service for the full duration of the project. Clear coat can take several months to dry completely. If you paint a laptop do not put it in its case for several months. My paint job was ruined and I waited 3 weeks for it to dry. It has the pattern carying case on it.
  • DO! Test your primers paints and clear coats together to make sure they will not react with one another. Using same brands usually will take care of this.
  • DONOT! Paint any connections that might be on your case [USB, Headphone jacks, Led, etc.
Before picture


As you can see by my picture my laptop is going to get painted. You might also notice that it is textured. This will mean more sanding to get it smooth enough for getting that glossy reflective surface. I will be painting mine with a color shifting Red to blue. The brand I used was Dupli-color. The exact model was called Mirage. It is a three part painting system that has a base coat a color coat and a clear coat, and dries relatively fast.

Step One: Sanding/Stripping
Stripping: Depending on your case you are going to start with paint thinner to strip the paint off of the case. Place your panels in a large tub in ventilated area and let it sit for a few hours then come back and using a brillo pad scrape the paint off.
Sanding: Using the heaviest grit you bought start sanding using even pressure in a circular motion. If the surface that you are working on is completely flat use the sanding block.. It will help keep you from gouging into the case. If you have an orbital sander you can use this to cut the time. Friends work also. If your case is plastic do not use the orbital sander. It will definitely ruin it. Below I will show the results of some of the different grits I used.

240 grit
make sure you get into the groves or you will have rough spots.


240 from a distance
Notice the left groove. I sanded it to show you the difference.


800 grit
It is starting to look smooth.



1000grit
You still see the scratches, but it felt as smooth as a silk.




After sanding



After sanding take your case and clean it with soap and water. And then do the final cleaning with your tack cloth, or denatured alcohol and rags.
Other steps for after sanding:
If you are painting only part of the case use masking tape to block off the parts you don't want painted. Also make sure that you reapply the tape after each coat of paint.

Step Two: Priming the case



This is optional, but it helps the paint flow better. Heat up some water as hot as you can get it. This will cause the paint molecules to atomize as they come out the can creating a much finer spray and more even coat. It also helps prevent pooling of paint.

Spray pain Pistol grip



This thing makes life easy. It is accurate and keeps your finger clean.I think this is standard issue counter strike spray grip. When spraying keep the can about a 8-10inches [20-25cm] away from the case. At that distance move from left to right, then right to left at a steady pace. Make sure to overlap the paint above by about one third. You will also want to make sure that you do not stop on the edges go completely off the case and then back on. I recommend that you don't even stop spraying. On my first coat I went slower than my others to fill any imperfections that my sanding missed.


Spooky's Luxurious Painting booth





Make sure that if you choose this method that you tell everyone not to mess with it. My girlfriend grabbed mine and the case fell on the gravel. Allow it to dry for 5 hours for the first coat of primer. Other coats I let it sit for an hour. I did a total of 6 coats of primer before I was happy with it. Remember that my case was textured from the start though.

Results before sanding


Notice the bumps? This only happened with the primer. I am not sure why. Picture taken at 2 inches away.

Wet Sanding 600grit



Get your tub or bucket ready fill with warm water and use a mild dish soap to get your suds. get your Sandpaper wet and begin to sand . Again make sure to use even pressure and go in a circular motion. Try not to go to deep with it. Just try to get it smooth. After you are happy with your results let it dry and then wipe it with tack cloth again.

First coat results



Still a little rough. Repeat as many times as necessary to get the desired smoothness that you want. Picture taken at 2 inches away.

Final primer results



Repeat the above with both 800 and 1000grit sand papers
For chameleon paint you might want to leave it a little rougher for a better color shift .Let your case dry for a whole day before continuing to your base coat. Picture taken at 2 inches away.

Step Three: Base coat
I was loosing light so I started taking pictures inside. I apologize for the bad lighting.
After you are happy with your priming job, it will be time to move on to the base coat/coats. Again make sure to clean off the case with soap and water. Use the tack cloth when it has completely dried. Again I heated up my can before starting. This is such a good idea for your actual paint coats as it helps prevent pooling. For the base coat I allowed the paint to dry for 2 hours in between coats.

This is the paint that I used



First coat of the base


I forgot to take a picture before I sanded it. This is 800grit it Looks kind of scratchy, but it wasn't the tack cloth leaves a film on it I think. It is also slightly sticky. Next time I will use Denatured alcohol and white T-shirts.


Feels really smooth at 1000grit.

Close up of base coat final


Still looks scratchy, but the end results did not reflect the scratches. Let your case dry a full coat before moving onto your color coats. For the base I did 8 coats.

Step Four: Color Coat
This is the most important coat Do the best you can on this and the results will truely blow your mind.
After the base coat dries over night clean it again with soap and water, and then the tack cloth again. For this coat I used a very light coat to make sure there would be no pooling or imperfections.


First Color coat




My case has a small chip in it that I did not try to fill. You should be able to fill it with bondo if you have a gash like that.
I only sanded if it was necessary. If you do have to use 1500 grit and apply very little pressure. In between coats let it dry for 2 hours. The next pictures shoe the coats as they progress

First color coat


At two inches you can kinda see the flakes and a gold and red color from this angle. I did a total of 12 coats of the color. The more you do the more shift you will get.


Third Color Coat


Doesn't look very reflective yet. It will eventually.

Fifth color coat

Puss n' Reboots


Final Color Coat pics

Final Color reflecting me



Step Five: Clear coat
You can't afford to make mistakes here DO NOT SAND AT ALL!
I did a few Light coats allowing it to dry after about an hour for each coat. I think I did a total of 4 coats of cleat coat. You can do more, but the risks are high that something could go wrong. It is too close to being finished to start over.


Clear Coat one


Clear Coat two


Clear coat Three

Clear Coat Four



Final notes:
For the time and effort put into this mod I would say the results are worth it. You are no longer stuck with what ever color you purchased your case with.
All in all. I would have to say it took me about a month to complete it. The hardest part was disassembling my laptop.
Mine is a Dell so I went to their website and searched for Service manual. They had a very nice manual there. Here is a small list of locations to find service manuals.

Dell's Service manuals
I found this site after the fact. It has tons of service manuals

Here are some disassembled laptop pictures for your enjoyment

If you are doing a Laptop make sure to organize your screws and bolts. Also this would be a good time to clean your fan and apply AS5 to your CPU and GPU!



If anyone has any questions or comments feel free to ask them. Any suggestions would be good as well.

If you paint your computer feel free to send me the pics and I will add them here

Here is FoRmEd's Painting project. More tips and trick in there check it
 

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Awesome job! Very thorough and informative,also. I semi recently painted my 21" Trinitron and the inside of my computer case...I wish this was around earlier
Reps for a job well done!
 

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Sweet guide man, that really does like professional!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank Bro. It took a long time to finish it. The routine was paint play BF2
Sand it down, wash it Let it dry. Paint it again. In a loop for several weeks.

I think you could get clost to the results with a couple of days and some luck though.
 

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I wanna see some after pics. I just painted my bumper on my car the same way (big scratch). Never thought about painting a case though. Great job.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by cdub998
I wanna see some after pics. I just painted my bumper on my car the same way (big scratch). Never thought about painting a case though. Great job.
After pics??? What do you mean? The last pics are after. It is sitting at work and the paint got messed up because I didnt let it dry fully. I only did the top of it though.

What kinda car do you have?
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by SpookedJunglist
After pics??? What do you mean? The last pics are after. It is sitting at work and the paint got messed up because I didnt let it dry fully. I only did the top of it though.

What kinda car do you have?
I meant like a pic where it is all done and sitting so I can see the color shift.

I have a 00 miata and I shut the garage door on the bumper. So I put some epoxy on it and wet sanded it. Then sprayed some base and clear and feathered it out real nice. I am still working on it though. Getting good with the spray can!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by cdub998
I meant like a pic where it is all done and sitting so I can see the color shift.

I have a 00 miata and I shut the garage door on the bumper. So I put some epoxy on it and wet sanded it. Then sprayed some base and clear and feathered it out real nice. I am still working on it though. Getting good with the spray can!
I dont think you will be able to see the color shift because its not moving.
This might work a little bit better. My laptop is at work so I will have to take pictures later.
 

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yeah thats what I was looking for. Now after 6 months get some good Megs gold class polish and some nice carnuba wax and she will be SHINY!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The following is Soem questions that 3xtr3m3 asked me via PM. I wanted to have the questions and answers available here so I am posting it here in the forum. If you have any questions please ask them here because it will benifit the forum to have all questions here.
Thanks
Spooked

Quote:

Originally Posted by 3xtr3m3
hey spooky i.ve read your case painting guide and have some questions...
Thanks for checking out my Guide. Hope i give you the answers you want to hear


Quote:
1- would any krylon primer work for plastic metarial jobs or is there a specific primer for that. If yes whats it called ?
I have never had a problem using any primer on plastic. If the surface is roughed up enough before hand it should hold just fine. Several coats will guarantee that it holds. A heavy first coat will help hide any imperfections in you case. Your primer has to be wet sandable is the most important thing to look for.

Quote:
2-Do u use a normal sandpaper for wet-sanding or are there sandpapers just for wet-sanding
The sand paper also needs to be for wet/dry sanding. It will say so on the package.

Quote:
3-Did u wet-sand between the base coats ? Or was it dry ?
On my paint I did sand in between the base coat and the top coat. You will only have a top coat. So do this...
Paint then look for blemishes and then sand the whole thing lightly with very high grit 1200+.
You just want to make sure that the surface is flat for the next coat. Your final coat needs to be perfect. If your final coat is not perfect Paint it again untill you get that perfect top coat.

Quote:
4-What brand should i use if i dont want color shift in my work (I want only black). Are base coat and clear coat used only in color shift jobs or any job?
If you are going for a jet black case and want the mirror finish go for the clear coat. The end result of the clear coat is awesome. Once again only sand your clear coat if there are any blemishes.
If you want another example of clear coat check out FoRmEd's Lappy paint overhaul here . At about post 80 he starts his clear coating.

I hope this answered your questions. I will be posting this in My thread for others to use this informnation. In the future I think i might update it to cover the things I missed.

Your pal
Spooked
 

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Thats one of the best paint jobs on a lappy or a ferrari iv,e seen..nice job mate ..And a very good and informative faq ...Please list yur address so i can send you my lappy..lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by Chosen
The same steps obviously apply for a normal comp case correct

BTW nice job! good tutorial
Yes sir. Exept for taking apart something with 50,000 tiny screws. that only fit in one specific hole
 

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I wish I could figure out how to take apart my laptop
 
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