Introduction: Computer Case Engraving

Picture of Computer Case Engraving

An old-School approach to customizing a computer paintjob. I originally posted this on PCAPEX but I decided to post it here cuz it was my first mod.

First of all, my first mod I plan on using my old alienware and beefing up its appearance alittle by etching an alien in the side of it..

Things you will need:

1) Paint(if you want your engraving surace to be a different color)
I chose Mirage paint from Duplicolor (chameleon)
2) An engraver, I chose a dremel cuz there is no substitute.
3) Masking tape
4) Chalk (I used a very soft art chalk)

Step 1: The Plan

Picture of The Plan

I decided to draw my plan on a piece of paper pror to actually drawing it on the surface..

Step 2: Masking

Picture of Masking

Mask the areas that are not going to be painted.

Step 3: Painting

Picture of Painting

I painted the thing with Duplicolor Mirage paint, found at your local auto parts store. The only thing i did different here was when painting the black base coat, I was alittle farther back then usual to create a nice texture. I actually wanted black as my color but i had some Mirage paint left over so i ended up with that... Kind of a green and black appearance... cant really tell in the pic

FYI: Its about 5 layers of paint and lots of sanding..
I ran out of the base color black for the mirage paint so... the paint I used for the later layers was a cheap 99 cent paint that you should never use because no matter how much i sanded i never got a flat surface.... but this little error actually ended up being ok... cuz it gave a nice textured surface... :)

Step 4: Chalking

Picture of Chalking

After a few days and peeling off the tape on the delicate cheap paint job that alienware provided... I began on the middle section...

I used prisma chalk (a soft art chalk) to mark all the designs on the flat paint before i started to etch...

At first I used a dry erase marker but the marker wouldn't erase. The only way to remove it was to use a small amount of thinner which smeared the red paint. DONT USE DRY ERASE****

Step 5: Etching

Picture of Etching

Engrave the outline you made in chalk. To make it easier, I used blue chalk to draw over what i still needed to engrave, because white chalk was confusing. I also washed the area with windex and a towel that I already etched.

Step 6: Chalking Again

Picture of Chalking Again

Fill in the rest of the image details with chalk as before.

Step 7: Engraving and Finishing Up..

Picture of Engraving and Finishing Up..

Engrave the remaining detailed areas and clear coat the whole thing.

(I went over the bigger areas with some sandpaper about 220 grit to soften up the engraving lines)


--scare-- (author)2009-10-13

i have a problem with my dremel... :( 
it has an auto-speed-adjuster chip, or sensor, or both, witch makes the dremel speeds up when it senses a strain caused by friction...
witch translates to me going bonkers over the damn thing flying out of my hands!!! lol YOU my friend, did an awesome job!!! except for the dry erase part...

i think i'm gonna break open the damn thing to gut out that awefull setting...
even if it means losing the led display... i'll put a rotary pot straight on the motor power instead of going trough that chip or thigny... (have not  actually opened it yet...)

your project was nice to start with but how it came out looks REALLY nice from here... especially with the big patch, meaning the alien head... looks flawless

ionix (author)--scare--2009-10-22

Thanks! I actually went over the head part just a bit with some sandpaper to smooth it out slightly. Not too much though cuz I did still want it to have that engraved look.

I haven't been on instructables in almost a year. perhaps I will begin a new project. So thanks --scare-- for bringing me back.

ionix (author)ionix2009-10-22

And dry erase is not my friend.

N1CK4ND0 (author)2009-03-14

Thought I already commented this, but I geuss not. This is a GREAT project if you want to build your own case for your computer. I'm building my own case out of all plexiglass. Then I will most likely spray paint it black, then engrave it. Also I will but LED/neon lights in there so it will shine through the engraved areas. Your instructable gave me the alien idea, so I may do something like that and put green LED/neon inside.

Arbitror (author)N1CK4ND02009-07-20

I think the alien is meant to be the Alienware logo...

ionix (author)N1CK4ND02009-03-16

sounds cool... go for it... great idea... send me a link when done.. i am excited to see how it turns out...

Sgt.Waffles (author)2007-04-05

Great Job! And i agree, there is NO substitute for a dremel! +

Yerboogieman (author)Sgt.Waffles2009-01-11

Black and decker make great 3 speed ones, mine FLYS!

nguyen_a (author)2008-06-19

What kind of dremel tip did you use? P.S. your design was awesome!

Pie_eata (author)2008-02-14

pretty tight dude

thunder7 (author)2007-07-23

I have a massive full tower. I want to do some Modds to.

(1.) There is this big 'blue light' on the front that I would like to replace with a digital display. (The big blue light is in fact just that a light!!.)

(2.) And as you did I would love to dress it up with some graphics.

Here is a link to my PC in day and in the night PC Day and Night

ionix (author)thunder72007-08-31

thats a pretty stock pc with much potential... as for the lcd you have quite a bit of options... heres my opinion...

Option 1 (fan controller)

Option 2
go to <insert local game supply store here> and buy yourself a mini lcd for the xbox/ps2/ps3/gamecube ect..that they sell for travel and usually goes right on top of the system.... and mod it into your 5 1/2 bays...

either way its gunna be some work...

dinsterzz (author)2007-04-14

what dremel bit did u used?

ionix (author)dinsterzz2007-05-10

105 and 107

Ciwan (author)ionix2007-08-30

When you say clear coat the whole thing, what do you exactley mean ? sorry I'm a newbie. do you mean you apply some sort of liquid on top ? Thanks

ionix (author)Ciwan2007-08-31

yes... you can actually buy spray on clear coat... its the same if not similar to the clearcoat on automobiles... it protects the paint you can get it at any hardware or automobile parts supply store... usually

Gnaw (author)2007-07-28

-Very cool, another great addition to the 'inspirational-laptop-collection'... I weep whenever I get a chip on mine. - Next build, I plan to use a vinyl-dye. - Let me know if you find a way to protect the finish.

BlueFusion (author)2007-05-30

dude. you have modded alienware. where do you live, 1337 boy? ;) it's not so much envy, as "ok God. I'll give you a year's supply of free crack if you let me be him.")

ionix (author)BlueFusion2007-06-20

haha... thanks man...

thematthatter (author)2007-05-17

how did you transfer the design to the case, or did you just draw freehand with the chalk?

ionix (author)thematthatter2007-05-22

freehanded it...

ionix (author)2007-04-08

thanks everyone.. BTW the dremel bits I used were a 105 and 107... which seemed pretty easy to keep in a strait line...

phoenix124 (author)2007-04-07

Hey very nice!!! i tried engraving aluminum and i couldn't get a streight line to save my life lol. great job!
u definatly belong in my group:
happy modding

tech-king (author)2007-04-06

cool!!! i'm a case modder. generally, i engrave the plexi though. the metal can send the tool spinning wildly off the lines

LasVegas (author)2007-04-05

Very nice job. Good work!

ionix (author)2007-04-05

First instructable (how many have said that before me)

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