posted May 21, 2012, 11:01 PM by Andrew Stock   [ updated May 21, 2012, 11:01 PM ]
Time for an update! Finally, a few consecutive hours to play around with stuff this past weekend, so I spent some time gathering parts, planning, and disassembling/cleaning my case. Most of the pictures I took just so I could remind myself what was riveted to what, and where... :P But, I figured you all would enjoy a few pictures anyway. Here you go!

First, here's a dramatic concept shot of what I want to do with my reservoir... looks a little better than it did in MS paint, and I think it will look a lot better when it's actually done up the way I want it:

Now, for some parts!

Also spent a few hours at Home Depot, collecting up tools! >=) Before you ask, the compressor was something I had been meaning to get for a while, mostly for cleaning cases, inflating tires, and other misc stuff like nail guns and painting. Probably won't have a major role in this project, but whatev! :P

Now, for some random dis-assembly photos:

(cleaned up, but pretty badly scuffed/scratched. Definitely painting this midplate, and maybe replacing it outright. I don't like the holes, and don't have a good idea for plugging them quite yet that would end up looking nice. )

Rivet removal. SO MUCH rivet removal. I swear, this case had no less than 50 rivets I had to drill out before all was said and done:

So many tiny pieces too... Not even sure what purpose this piece served, but I am sure it was there for a reason... :P

Finally breaking the Rubik's Cube that is this case. There are rivets hidden under other pieces of metal that are riveted to yet other pieces. Definitely going to be a puzzle to put back together:

Finally got it all apart and sorted!

Now that dis-assembly is done, time to practice some painting! This is the first time I've attempted painting any kind of metal, let alone aluminum (which I've heard is particularly picky - any pointers appreciated!) I spent a good amount of time reading guides online, and so far, I think the process looks like this:

-material preparation-

80 grit sanding / 200 grit / 350 grit (wet)
denatured alcohol/tack cloth


SEM Self etching primer in short bands, north/south
wait an hour
450 grit sanding (wet)
SEM self etching primter in short bands, east/west
450 grit sanding (wet)


Initial color coat (light north/south)
wait a day
1000 grit sanding (wet) (north/south)
second color coat (light east/west)
wait a day
Evaluate finish, repeat last 3 steps if more needed, alternating directions, otherwise proceed


1000 grit sanding (wet) (north/south)
1500 grit sanding (wet) (north/south)
2000 grit sanding (wet) (north/south)
clean with soft cloth and water
clean with cloth and rubbing compound
polish with soft cloth using polishing paste

Anyway, here's the first few prep steps I completed... mostly sanding and making a cheap/easy painting box using an old cardboard box I had laying around and a wire hanger. Cheap can be just as effective!

I got some aluminum strips from the previously mentioned aircraft manufacturing facility that fairly closely matched the finish and such of my case. I took a strip and sanded it down as per above:

Then sanded it again, with a finer grit:

Then into the box for priming!

Next time: The results of priming and initial coats of painting!

Also, lots of hardware showing up this week! Radiators, fittings, sleeving... exciting times!