In addition to its rugged good looks and charm, the Cooler Master HAF XB case supports a full ATX motherboard, ample room for components and cabling, hot swap drive bays, and easy in/out access. Although the XB was designed as a test bench case for frequent part swapping. I really just liked it’s overall form factor and carrying handles.
My goal for the paint treatment: create an “offroad” theme punctuated by motorcycle tire tracks across the case. I’ll be using Krylon spray paint with adhesive promoter on the base, and use blue painters tape for masking off patterns and holes.
First: Remove and seal off any air gaps so that the paint would not get into the case and inhibit the future build process. The “HAF” part of the case name stands for “high air flow”, which means a lot of holes to seal. Remove the top, front, and two side panels. Blocked off all the vents from the inside, as well as the entire back panel from the outside. Then I put all the panels back on the case, as I would be spraying the entire unit together. I also masked off the On/Off and Reset buttons, so that paint wouldn’t get into the ignition switches.
In my favorite clean and well lit place (AKA the garage bay opening), I sprayed the case with adhesive promoter, and then a base layer of brown, which would be the layer for the tread marks.
Apply painters tape as the tire tracks. The tread pattern comes from a TKC80 tire, which I carved out with a xacto blade and placed on the case with the right sizing. I specifically kept some edges of the tape off the case to create an organic pattern so that the paint would not create a crisp edge, just as a real tire would do in mud.
After the tire tracks were done, I incrementally applied different mask layers for rocks and color to build up the all terrain feel.
For the finishing touches, I sprayed different colors onto a paint brush, and use the ‘splatter’ technique to give the case organic texture and depth. The technique is to simply snap a brush at the base while the brushes are full of paint, creating splash effect on the case. When everything dried, I sprayed clear coat around the base to protect the exterior from the sun and random scratches.
I let everything dry for 24 hours before starting the build process. Typically, it takes 2-3 hours for paint to dry before you can touch it, but it really takes 4-5 days for the paint to fully cure.