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Is a Wooden Enclosure for Electronics a Good Idea? Answered

I am in the process of converting my ATX power supply into a bench power supply. My PSU's standard case is made from 1mm steel with various ventilation holes, there is also a 120*120mm fan. 
However, the circuit board is strangely positioned within the case and there isn't enough space for what I want to add.  
I would like to take all of the electronics and rehouse them in a home-made wooden case. My question is; Is this a sensible thing to do?
I plan to use 5mm pine stripwood to remake the box, but slightly bigger and better arranged. I would still fit the fan and drill plenty of ventilation holes. 
Do I need to take any extra precautions if using wood, or is it just a really bad idea.

Thanks in advance. 



Best Answer 8 years ago

It is  fine to do that.  Keep all of the mains power away from the wood.  It is best if you can keep all of the power lugs insulated from the wood.  Wood is a good insulator but is not perfect.  It absorbs moisture from the air and at times may present a high resistance short.  It should not be a problem

A note:  Most of the original radios were built using wood for a chassis.

....and TVs and recordplayers, and all manner of scientific instruments.

Based on your background information for the question and the question itself....

For modern, high-power, EM radiative equipment? In my opinion, it's not a "good" idea even if you can get away with it. Steel has a nice thermal conductivity, wood does not. Steel provides a loverly magnetic shield (basically an extension of the faraday shield, although not perfect), wood does not. Steel will burn, but not at the moderately low temperatures available from a failed homebrew circuit board or accidental short circuit. The same cannot be said with any credulity regarding wood.

BTW, a 1930s radio operating at several hundred kilohertz doesn't even come close to comparing with a modern computer or its switching power supply in power, in spectral content, or in transmissive properties.

There's a reason beyond mfging that steel cases are the norm for desktops, and that relatively low power, mobile-based, battery operated laptops are well shielded.

Bottom line is, as cool as modern electronics are, they are the E-M equivalent of connecting everyone's raw sewage pipes directly into streams and rivers.

I would advise you to reconfigure your wood case to house the power supply as it stands, then apply the additional circuit board outside the PSU, but within your wood case to reduce the "system's" transmission of radio noise retaining the ventilation holes you indicated.


8 years ago

Wood can made into an excellent PC case. I have seen some custom wooden cases that were furniture quality pieces.  The only suggestion I have is to allow plenty of room inside the case for air circulation. The wood acts as a thermal insulator and you'll will need plenty of air volume to keep things inside cool.

.  If you get RF interference from the unit (very possible with a switching power supply), shielding the inside of the box with metal (Aluminum foil, sheet metal, &c) and grounding the shielding will help.