Case Modding Newbie Needs Suggestions

racketboy

Established Member
I have this old Compaq that I found in a dumpster (yes that one again).

As you may know, I'm using it as a MP3/File Server and it sits with my entertainment center.

Here 's a pic of what the case originally looked like.

But it had already been painted black when I found it.

I was hoping to be able to get some suggestions and tips on how to make it look cool.

I need to give it a new shiny black paintjob.

What kinds of paint would be best?

I'm also thinking it would be cool if I could change the power button to something cooler like this or these

Also wondering if there is a way to make it so the CD Drive doesn't show. There is no actual drive -- it's just the cover.

Any other suggestions to give it a sleek HTPC look on a budget? Nothing tacky or crazy
 

Jaded God

Established Member
Krylon Fusion
wink.gif


Few thin coats of the black...

Then a clear coat or two.

*Fusion claims you don't have to prime or sand, but I always do*
 

Scared0o0Rabbit

Established Member
It should be possible to use those buttons, however it might not look so good cause of the fact that the normal power button will either be removed or there, and that would leave a hole... or a useless button. you can pretty easily add LEDs to cases which is something that can look really nice, however, I think with a nice black paintjob with the proper masking, and some highlights of another color, that thing will look pretty good. Adding a bunch of stuff just makes it look more complicated and that doesn't necessarily mean cooler
happy.gif
.
 

Scared0o0Rabbit

Established Member
Is this thing going to be in a cabinet or just sitting on top of the tv or something? If it's not going to be surrounded by stuff, so you'll get a good view, another thing that looks cool is if you get some cold cathode tubes in whatever color your highlights are and put them inside near the vents... so you get get light shining through
happy.gif
.

edit:

Another cool mod idea might be to put one of those acrylic windows..... on the top of the case
happy.gif
; then maybe toss a cold cathode in there (again of the same highlighting color).
 

racketboy

Established Member
no windows or anything -- want it fairly simple.

my concern about the button is the current one is an oval -- not a circle

also remember there are no standard drive bays (other than the HD)
 

Scared0o0Rabbit

Established Member
Actually I'd be willing to bet that the floppy is a standard bay just with the faceplate of the floppy not being on the drive itself, I see cases like that all the time. So yeah, I'd suggest just a simple 1 color or 2 color scheme (where the 2nd color gets very little usage), and if youa re feeling adventurous put some cold cathodes in. To use those round buttons will prolly be fairly difficult

because if they are smaller than the diameter of the largest part of the oval then you're going to have to patch it up somehow, if they are large you're going to have to cut the case up (well you'll have to do cutting in either case). Another option might be if you were to try and build a custom faceplate for the entire front getting rid of that plastic one, though that sounds like a lot of work.
 

racketboy

Established Member
I think you're right about the floppy, but the faceplace it built into the case

also the top and the front of the case are all one part

I doubt you can find a replacement other than from another Compaq
 

Scared0o0Rabbit

Established Member
If you look I imagine you'd find the top is metal and the front is plastic, as such there is a way to seperate them. What you can do with this case pretty much determined just by how much time you want to put into it.

Edit: and I meant build a new front piece once you remove the old one, not just replace it, which would mean either working with metal, wood, or plastic. Which can cost a lot of you dunno what you are doing. Though it'd be pretty snazzy to have a wood front cpu that matched your entertainment center stuff if that used wod
happy.gif
.
 

racketboy

Established Member
Originally posted by Scared0o0Rabbit@Jul 17, 2003 @ 11:26 PM

If you look I imagine you'd find the top is metal and the front is plastic, as such there is a way to seperate them. What you can do with this case pretty much determined just by how much time you want to put into it.

Edit: and I meant build a new front piece once you remove the old one, not just replace it, which would mean either working with metal, wood, or plastic. Which can cost a lot of you dunno what you are doing. Though it'd be pretty snazzy to have a wood front cpu that matched your entertainment center stuff if that used wod
happy.gif
.

well I'm not looking to do THAT much work
smile.gif


epecially considering this is a cheapo computer
 

Scared0o0Rabbit

Established Member
On another note, I love the way older pc's look on the inside... I've got a full server tower for my pc, and it's full... like so full that there'd be no point to having a window in it lol, cause you would just see a ton of wires mostly

that sort of stuff.... older pc's are so much more uncramped... (unless you are like my family where you cram as much into a computer to get it to do as much as possible (we once used packaging tape to add another hdd to our 486 cause there wasn't a slot for it, and we did the same thing with our pentium 1 233 lol.

edit: looking at that sentence, it was like 1 huge runon. I used only 1 period except for the elipses...
 

Curtis

Established Member
You can use automotive touchup paint available in spray canisters for a good result. This might be easier to find than whatever it was that Jaded suggested.

There are a number of things you can do to make the finish better too.

First up: Sanding. You get really good results using 1200 grit wet and dry (wet), but you need to make sure you get the surface smooth The smoothness of the initial surface will affect how well it finishes. A good idea to make sure the surface is completely smooth is to use something called "spray putty". This stuff basically fills all the tiny gaps that make a finish look rough. Some primers also double as putty.

Painting: Prime first - several times if you want. Get a nice thick coverage with the colour you choose (but not so that it runs) with each coat. This'll help with an even finish. You may need to sand the colour and redo it if it appears a bit patchy at the end. You can sand and repaint as often as you like. Always you at least 1200 grit wet and dry and be careful at the edges of what ever it is you are sanding - you'll go though the paint really quick here. You can use lighter paper (I have used 2000 grit wet and dry in some places), but it takes longer. Always use wet and dry wet. One thing to be aware of is room temperature. If the room you are painting in is too cold, it can dry with a sort of misty finish that frankly looks crap. Usually there are directions on the can that indicate suitable drying temperature. Follow them.

Top coat/clear coat: This is essential for a mirror like finish. get the same brand as your colour coat and use plenty of it. Again, you may need to spray, sand and respray this stuff for the best results.

The above is what I learned from my own little case modding exercise, unfortunately it was often after I had done the work. If I find a camera, I'll try to get a few pictures of how mine turned out. Cold Cathodes look cool too, and are fairly easy to install.
 

Jaded God

Established Member
I don't know what your talking about Curtis, Krylon Fusion is available at all major retail stores.

It is Krylon Spraypaint X_x
 

racketboy

Established Member
Originally posted by Jaded God@Jul 18, 2003 @ 05:51 AM

I don't know what your talking about Curtis, Krylon Fusion is available at all major retail stores.

It is Krylon Spraypaint X_x

For those who don't know -- it's paint to be used for plastic.

I might end up using that on the front of the case and regualr paint on the metal. (?)
 

racketboy

Established Member
I probably can't afford to put in a good LCD where the floppy is.

But is there a way to fill in the floppy drive and the space around the CD slot?

Putty or something?

It would be cool if I could just have a flat (curved actually) front with a nice paint job
 

Curtis

Established Member
You can use automotive primer quite happily on plastics as well as metal. Once it is primed, any paint will do the job. Some manufacturers make a special plastic primer too, but a good general purpose primer is as good.
 

racketboy

Established Member
I'm using some auto putty to fill the drives in.

I have to do it in layers to get it to "dry" well.

I'll post some pictures when I can
 
As Curtis mentioned Automotic Primer and paint works great for painting cases. At some Walmarts you can find automotive paint in a spray can. Thats what I would go with for quality, avoid regular plastic/wood spray paints.
 
Top