One of the most important aspects of your computer is it's case: your case not only holds everything together it also protects the delicate hardware inside from electrical and physical interference. Your PC's case can be small or big, strictly functional or extravagant.
I'm writing this Instructable for anyone who wants to make their PC look better for only a few dollars and without spending an entire week doing so.
If you find this Instructable educational, amusing, or interesting please feel free to vote for it in the Epilog Contest.
*Note this isn't the best way to paint your case, it works, and works well but the paint isn't quite as durable as other methods*
-Epilog Laser Contest Stuff- (feel free to skip this part if you want)
What would I do with the laser cutter/engraver if I won?
Initially I imagine I would probably cut out many paper shapes and just experiment with settings (laser power, cutting speed, all that fun stuff). In all seriousness though I would love to win an Epilog Laser cutter/engraver. It would have been immensely helpful with this Instructable alone (cut out stickers and use them to add images to the case like using painters tape for panel borders). Additionally I think I could put the laser cutter to great use making mechanical components, electrical enclosures, and other cool projects (If you thought the raspberry pi ARM water cooler was cool, you wouldn't believe the full-board water block I want to make).
Step 1: Gather Materials & Setup Your Workspace
As with any project safety is important, and part of safety is having the appropriate materials and work-space.
*Disclaimer! This takes a fair bit of patients and skill, I am NOT responsible if you or your beloved PC's case end up looking like a tie dye shirt.*
Ugly case (image one)
Spray paint (make sure it is for the material(s) you case is made up of, sort of pictured in image two)
Blue painters tape or some other comparable substitute (duct tape is not comparable, image one)
Make sure to work in a well ventilated area if indoors or go outdoors. So long as you take all the precautions that are on the can of spray paint you should be fine.
***Also make sure all of the case's parts are clean and dry before painting***
Step 2: Base Frame
*Make sure you've decided on a color scheme before beginning to paint*
The case I'm painting has a main frame that then had panels mounted to it on the top and sides. If your case is similar to the one I'm painting you don't have to paint it but make sure to use your best judgement, if you think it'll look better with the main frame painted then paint it, it's not much work and could pay off handsomely.
Make sure to hold the spray paint canister 6-12 inches away from what you're painting and that you keep moving. It's much better to have to do another couple passes over an area then have to deal with dripping paint.
Step 3: Side Panels Part 1
This particular case has two side panels (original color is picture one). I've decided to repaint the black border and then make the silver into a bright red. To start I will paint the border black on one panel (image 2), then repeat for the second border. After letting both dry (image 3) proceed onto the next step.
Step 4: Side Panels Part 2
After allowing the black paint (or whatever color your using) to dry completely apply painters tape to the border that you want to keep (image 1). This will protect it from the paint you are about to apply. Next apply more paint to the exposed surface of the panel. While painting make sure you hold the paint can far enough away to prevent drips from forming. Once you have applied the second paint color both panels will look similar to image 2. Once the second layer of paint has dried feel free to remove the tape (image 3) and bask in the beauty of what you have just created.
Step 5: Top Panel
Painting the top panel is very similar to the side panels so I will compress the process into one step.
1.) Paint the fan grill/any patterns you want to be a different color than the rest of the panel. (image 1)
2.) After the paint has dried apply painters tape to the parts that you want to keep a separate color
3.) Paint the rest of the panel (image 2)
4.) After the second color has dried completely remove the painters tape to reveal your pattern
Step 6: Other Miscellaneous Parts
Now that you've finished painting the main parts of your PC case simply paint any remaining parts.
1.) Paint front panel, I messed this up a bit, make sure you remove the front panel connector pcb before painting (image 1)
2.) Take the expansion slot drop in things and lay them out, paint them, if you'd like you can paint them different colors for a cool contrast effect (images 2 and 3)
3.) Paint the 5.25 inch bay(s) the case I'm using has only one but if yours has more then consider using different colors for different patterns and effects (image 4)
Step 7: Reassemble Your Case!
Now all you have to do is reassemble your case and bask in its glory! See image 1 for a rebuilt case and image two for a comparison!