[SOLVED] Custom case motherboard shorting question

Mar 6, 2021
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I was thinking of making a custom case sometime over the summer with copper plating and was wondering if there are any risks of me shorting out my motherboard with a poorly designed conductive metal case. I'll probably use metal (maybe brass) standoff screws to support the motherboard but I was wondering if anyone else has had experience and they could leave some pointers so I don't brick my pc in the future.
-Thanks!
 

Karadjgne

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The motherboard is attached to metal standoffs, which are attached to a metal motherboard tray, which is structurally attached to the metal frame, which is grounded through contact with the psu mounting screws.

That's in a standard aftermarket case. No plastic involved, all metal of some sort, usually steel or aluminium.

Copper plate isn't going to make anything more of a shorting hazard unless you bypass the motherboard standoffs part.

The only thing plastic in my case is the power button mechanism, otherwise it's fully steel and aluminium construction. Just be careful of wiring and sharp edges, and use standard motherboard mounting standoffs.
 

Lutfij

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Welcome to the forums, newcomer!

Copper plating? That will be very heavy and expensive. Regardless, you should make sure your tolerances are very small/minute(mi-newt) since any measurements that will be off will result in components conflicting with each other or warping.
 

Karadjgne

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The motherboard is attached to metal standoffs, which are attached to a metal motherboard tray, which is structurally attached to the metal frame, which is grounded through contact with the psu mounting screws.

That's in a standard aftermarket case. No plastic involved, all metal of some sort, usually steel or aluminium.

Copper plate isn't going to make anything more of a shorting hazard unless you bypass the motherboard standoffs part.

The only thing plastic in my case is the power button mechanism, otherwise it's fully steel and aluminium construction. Just be careful of wiring and sharp edges, and use standard motherboard mounting standoffs.
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
Mixing metals.

Do not forget "galvanic corrosion".

Depending on what actual metal combinations are involved and in contact there could be problems.

Many factors involved overall. However, an all copper case could set up something unexpected....
 
Mar 6, 2021
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Thanks for all the feedback! I'm probably going to 3d print in pla so I can get some interesting shapes then paint over it with a conductive zinc paint and electroplate the copper on (I"M SO EXCITED FOR SCHOOL TO BE OVER SO I CAN TAKE A CRACK AT THIS).
 

Karadjgne

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Check for rigidity and structural integrity. If you look at any of the Dell plastic cases, they aren't flat panel, the insides are are covered with support beams perpendicular to the panel itself. A copper/zinc paint job isn't going to provide any support, so unless you plan on using those panels attached to a copper plated steel frame you'll end up with a structurally un-sound box.
 

RAIDGoblin

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Jan 10, 2021
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I think what @Peppy Dryskull meant is that the surface need's to be electrically conductive for electroplating to work, painting plastic with zinc paint is just a way to make surfaces conductive so they'll take to to copper plate
 

Karadjgne

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I get that. Doesn't make them strong enough to support weight, like a motherboard with giant aircooler etc. I guess what's unclear is the level of customization. Is this just an existing case that's going to get a copper paint job? or a custom built case from scratch etc.
 

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