Styrofoam safe for a motherboard?

Discussion in 'PC Hardware, Software and Displays' started by Nick Spolec, Nov 1, 2004.

  1. Nick Spolec

    Newcomer

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2004
    Messages:
    199
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm looking tp build a small/slim/lightweight computer that I can easily take with me anywhere, and after looking at different material's I could use to build a case (cardboard, sheet metal), probably the best material I could think of would be styrofoam (due to cheapness, extremely light, and easy to cut and shape).

    But, would styrofoam be safe to use as a housing for PCBs? Does styrofoam attract more static? If so, could I do anything to alleviate the problem (maybe using a metal grounding plate)?
     
  2. Simon F

    Simon F Tea maker
    Moderator Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2002
    Messages:
    4,560
    Likes Received:
    157
    Location:
    In the Island of Sodor, where the steam trains lie
    Sounds to me like you are going to end up building a giant capacitor... perfect for building up a nice big charge....

    Seriously though, although you can get conductive foam (chips sometimes are shipped in it), wouldn't its thermal insulation properties be a concern?
     
  3. Nick Spolec

    Newcomer

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2004
    Messages:
    199
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well, it's not like you might imagine.

    I'm not talking about the huge, thick stryofoam. I was thinking of using styrofoam that is only about 1/2 inch thick, also put in multiple fans, and the system components wouldn't be big heat producers.
     
  4. digitalwanderer

    digitalwanderer Dangerously Mirthful
    Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2002
    Messages:
    18,490
    Likes Received:
    3,043
    Location:
    Winfield, IN USA
    You still would have the capacitor effect to deal with. :?

    How about some heavy-weight cardboard?
     
  5. Nick Spolec

    Newcomer

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2004
    Messages:
    199
    Likes Received:
    0
    I was thinking that too.
     
  6. Tim

    Tim
    Regular

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2003
    Messages:
    875
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Denmark
    Heat is not the problem, the problem is static electricity, moving a lot of air over Styrofoam can actually produce enough static electricity to generate sparks. If you want to use Styrofoam you need to cover the inside with some kind of anti static material.

    Edit:
    Another thing is that since Styrofoam tend to become negatively charged and human skin tends to become positively charged, you risk getting small shocks (perfectly safe but slightly painful).
     
  7. Guden Oden

    Guden Oden Senior Member
    Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2003
    Messages:
    6,201
    Likes Received:
    91
    Shocking oneself with the casing of a computer (and a styrofoam computer especially I would think) can have odd sideeffects, such as causing instant reboots etc. Even if the computer is grounded.

    Doesn't sound like a very good idea to me. :)
     
  8. Nick Spolec

    Newcomer

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2004
    Messages:
    199
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks all, especially..

    Just what I wanted to know.

    I don't know much about how electricity works, other then common knowledge (don't blow dry your hair in the 'tub).

    So, What about card board (some heavy duty stuff)? Could that be used?
     
  9. digitalwanderer

    digitalwanderer Dangerously Mirthful
    Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2002
    Messages:
    18,490
    Likes Received:
    3,043
    Location:
    Winfield, IN USA
    You might want to google "pizza box computer", there have been a number of PC's built out of pizza boxes.

    If I were doing it I'd probably be a bit chickenshit and would line the cardboard with some cut open anti-static bags for luck.
     
  10. Tim Murray

    Tim Murray the Windom Earle of mobile SOCs
    Veteran

    Joined:
    May 25, 2003
    Messages:
    3,278
    Likes Received:
    66
    Location:
    Mountain View, CA
    it seems to me that it'd be simpler just to buy a cheapo laptop for $600 and not have to worry about X Y or Z exploding/shocking you/causing a fire/whatever. or hell, why not an SFF case? dunno, just seems to me that with building anything like this you're going to run the risk of overheating or static or a lack of durability...

    this was what I thought of first, but like they say, there's absolutely no way to do it with modern parts because of the heat.
     
  11. Guden Oden

    Guden Oden Senior Member
    Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2003
    Messages:
    6,201
    Likes Received:
    91
    Antistatic bags are made of metallized plastic, ie, conductive. You could short out your mobo/add-in cards doing that...
     
  12. 3dilettante

    Legend Alpha

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2003
    Messages:
    8,579
    Likes Received:
    4,799
    Location:
    Well within 3d
    How much interference can get through a non-metallic case? It's possible that it could interfere with a CRT if placed nearby.
     
  13. DeathKnight

    Regular

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2002
    Messages:
    744
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Cincinnati, OH
    Styrofoam? Not a wise idea. It can build up an electric charge very easily.
     
  14. 3dilettante

    Legend Alpha

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2003
    Messages:
    8,579
    Likes Received:
    4,799
    Location:
    Well within 3d
    What if he cut out the paneling, then lined it with a metal mesh? Perhaps wrapping every non-metalic panel in a metal covering could help ground the surfaces.

    Aside from static, sytrofoam's attributes of easy cutting and shaping also mean that it's easy to break or dent it. Since it's going to be moved a lot, I don't think it'd take punishment very well.

    I think he's already opted out of styrofoam already, though.
     
Loading...

Share This Page

  • About Us

    Beyond3D has been around for over a decade and prides itself on being the best place on the web for in-depth, technically-driven discussion and analysis of 3D graphics hardware. If you love pixels and transistors, you've come to the right place!

    Beyond3D is proudly published by GPU Tools Ltd.
Loading...