Suggestions for painting a cheap ATX case

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TheeMacGuy's picture
Last seen: 5 years 8 months ago
Joined: Mar 3 2014 - 23:48
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Suggestions for painting a cheap ATX case

Hey guys,

I'm thinking of getting a cheap ATX case on Amazon for $19, however it's black. It looks really cool, however I want it to match my Macs, and thus I want to paint it a glossy white with spray paint. I've tried painting other cases before, some came out well some did not. For those who have more skill with this, what kind of sandpaper should I get and how should I properly go about removing the old paint? I believe the sides of this case are metal, and the front is plastic, like most. I'm not the best at hand sanding, but I have a dremel with the pad attachment if I need to go that route, and a power hand sander for regular sandpaper.

Any suggestions will help!

Here2Learn's picture
Last seen: 4 months 1 week ago
Joined: May 22 2013 - 20:37
Posts: 165
Re: Suggestions for painting a cheap ATX case

Look at Aircraft paint stripper or some such instead of abrasive media (chemically strip it).

Not sure how much of a budget you have on a $19 case, but for me, I would try a chemical stripper, primer then paint.

Prep work is the main thing on painting.

AND DON't buy the cheapest paint you can find. Smile

Eudimorphodon's picture
Last seen: 5 months 1 week ago
Joined: Dec 21 2003 - 14:14
Posts: 1204
Re: Suggestions for painting a cheap ATX case

The last sub-$50 case I bought (and that was years ago) was excruciatingly awful; it was basically made of pop-can grade sheet metal which dented and flexed at the slightest provocation. (When the top of the case was removed the whole tower wobbled; it basically had to be completely buttoned up to have any strength at all.) I'm sure it could have been painted via whatever standard sand/spray method you want to use, but if the quality of said case is as bad as the $19 implies it's almost certainly going to be an exercise in frustration. If at all possible you may want to just bite the bullet and get a less awful Antec or similar.

eeun's picture
Last seen: 2 weeks 5 days ago
Joined: Dec 19 2003 - 17:34
Posts: 1892
Re: Suggestions for painting a cheap ATX case

You shouldn't need to remove the existing case paint (and most paint removers will damage plastic parts).
Foam-backed sanding pads are great for scuffing the case prior to painting.
You don't need to remove the existing paint, just sand it enough to give it a tooth for the new paint to stick to.
Give the case a good wash with detergent afterwards to remove any oils and dust that will prevent the paint from sticking.

Most spray can paints should be fine, just read labels. Some need primer, some don't. Some primers have more solvent and are 'hotter' than others and may melt or texture plastic. Again, read labels.

Dupli-color make some nice metallic car paints, but their primer is a bit hotter, so test it on the back of some case plastic first.

Use the same brand primer as paint. Some don't get along well.

I quite like Rustoleum paints. The '2x coverage' rated paints are good enough that I decant them and use them with an airbrush on my model kits. The primer is plastic-friendly.

Or, given that you might shell out as much for paint and primer as you will for the $19 case, just getting a better case as eudi suggests is worth considering.;)

gsmcten's picture
Last seen: 2 years 1 month ago
Joined: Oct 4 2005 - 18:52
Posts: 2631
Re: Suggestions for painting a cheap ATX case


You did not say what kind of Mac you had.
Are you talking early AIO Mac's, or later Mac's?

Makes all the difference. Smile


Last seen: 6 months 6 days ago
Joined: May 27 2013 - 13:01
Posts: 817
Re: Suggestions for painting a cheap ATX case

I am not very good at painting large parts, especially cases. When I get a big job like that, I simply go to an auto body shop, and have it done there. The paint used on cars is superior to any other kind of spray paint. It is much more work to remove a bad paint job than to do a good one without making mistakes.

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