Categorized | How To Articles

How To: Paint an Aluminum Case

Posted on 30 July 2004 by

An easy guide to painting your aluminum case, using spraypaint and primer, and miscellany that you should have in your garage for about $10-$20 and probably about a day or less worth of work.

Read more! ( thanks to thylacine222 for submitting the article… you too can submit news tidbits or howto’s )

note–> update–> added some pics of the case

Supplies needed:

  • An aluminum case
  • High density polyurethane sponge with a green scrub pad (A lot like high-quality carpet padding)
  • Lysol, or other all purpose cleaner.
  • Self-etch primer (example SEM self etch primer )
  • Spraypaint (I used Painter’s Touch from Rustoleum.)
  • Wet-sandable 250 grit sandpaper (silicon carbide works well)

If your case is painted or anodized, you will also need:

  • A power sander (8″)
  • 80 grit sandpaper
  • 150 grit sand paper

optional if you are going top use mettalic paint:

  • 250 grit sand paper
  • 350 grit sand paper

If you have an anodized case, read on, if you have a bare case click here.

Anodized Cases

First, clean the case with the green scrub pad and Lysol.
Second, sand with the power sander using the 80 grit sand paper. After a while you should see the bare metal.
Next, use the 150 grit sandpaper (This is required)
You should have a nice finish about now.
But, when you need a very smooth surface for metallic paints, use the 250 grit and 350 grit sandpaper.

Priming the Case

First, clean the case with a green scrub pad (even if you already did it before) and dry it.
Then, get the primer and put on the first coat. ONLY prime one side at a time and let dry. If you do not do it one side at a time, you will get primer dripping down the side and make droplet shaped bumps. This also applies for spraypainting.

Also, you must use primer, don’t be lazy and don’t or else there will be bubbles in the paint and it will look extremely bad. Be sure to read the tips for how to properly apply the primer, as well as the spraypaint.

Only spray a light coat, then spray about every 5 minutes about 3 times. After priming let the primer dry for about 30 minutes EVERY time you do a side.

Wet Sanding

Now, it is time for you to wet sand. This allows you to make your case as textured or smooth as you want.
After the primer is done drying, fill a bucket with water.
Then, wrap the silicon carbide sandpaper around the polyurethane sponge.
Next, Submerge the sponge and sandpaper in water and remove, then squeeze to stop the sponge from dripping.
Then, start sanding the case, using the sponge to contour to the shape.
Often clean and re-wet the sand paper by dipping it again in the water.
Keep sanding until the case is the desired texture.
Wipe off all dust and dry off. Leave to dry for another 10 minutes (Rampy suggestion: get some “tact” or “tack” cloth. It’s great at picking up dust from sanding)

Time to Paint!!!

Make sure your case is dry and dust free, then whip out the spraypaint.
Spray along the same guidelines as the primer, 4 light coats, 5 minutes apart, spraying and drying each side seperately, and leaving to dry. For more information, read the tips below.


1. Spray light coats, not heavy coats, as heavy coats will result in puddling.
2. Do on side at a time. Though it will take a lot longer, it will give you a professional look.
3. Spray about a foot away from the case, and spray in a place out of the wind. Even the slightest breeze will blow away the paint, causing you to spray closer, causing the paint to puddle.
4. YOU MUST USE PRIMER!!! I cannot stress this enough. Without it, your case will be ugly!

Related Link
Pimp Rig