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BarneyP

Using alcohol inks directly on motherboard - is this idea insane?

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Alcohol inks are not paints, they're very strong dyes dissolved in alcohol, and work even on bare metal (in fact they're primarily designed for bare metal, but work on pretty much anything). Most of them are also non-acidic.

 

So, if I wanted to airbrush them onto a motherboard, including electronics, what could go wrong, right? ;)

 

Looking to get an aged copper sort of look for a steampunk mod.

 

 

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Cool, do you have any pictures of coppery builds?

 

Also finding it very hard to find large copper heatsinks/coolers for either CPU or GPU (they're just not popular any more, nearly all discontinued). So many great copper coolers on Google images, but all the links are to end-of-life stuff. Know of any?

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29 minutes ago, BarneyP said:

Cool, do you have any pictures of coppery builds?

 

Also finding it very hard to find large copper heatsinks/coolers for either CPU or GPU (they're just not popular any more, nearly all discontinued). So many great copper coolers on Google images, but all the links are to end-of-life stuff. Know of any?

The only graphics card I know of with a copper heat sink is the EVGA GTX 1080Ti Kingpin, but it's super expensive...


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2 hours ago, BarneyP said:

Alcohol inks are not paints, they're very strong dyes dissolved in alcohol, and work even on bare metal (in fact they're primarily designed for bare metal, but work on pretty much anything). Most of them are also non-acidic.

 

So, if I wanted to airbrush them onto a motherboard, including electronics, what could go wrong, right? ;)

 

Looking to get an aged copper sort of look for a steampunk mod.

 

 

I used Dixie Belle's Patina kit to get an aged metal look on a build I recently finished. What you see is actual corroded metal finish (iron, bronze and copper). Even if you use the protective primer, I would NOT recommend using the method I used on a bare PCB. I wouldn't recommend using the alcohol inks directly on PCB/motherboard either. If there is any electrical conductivity in it at all, it can cause a short and damage the board. 

 

Here's the build I did. https://ca.pcpartpicker.com/b/YB9J7P

 

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Wow! Much, much more extreme than anything I'm going to be attempting (this is my first "non-vanilla" build).

 

But the patination looks absolutely stunning - I guess because it's real patination. I might well try something similar with my fans.

 

TBH, I'm not sure I'm really going to attempt any painting/inking on the actual mobo - if I did I'd certainly have to test it on some old worthless mobo first - but still curious as to whether it can be done safely. I suppose I could actually test the ink for conductivity with electrodes/ammeter/battery.

 

By the way, what got me interested in the alcohol inks is a few things I saw while browsing for metal finishing techniques e.g. here, here, pretty stunning fake patination/aging I thought.

 

Thanks

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14 hours ago, thegreengamers said:

The only graphics card I know of with a copper heat sink is the EVGA GTX 1080Ti Kingpin, but it's super expensive...

GTX1070 Katana. Also expensive, and toasty to boot!

As for painting the motherboard, If you test the paints for conductivity and you're good, you might want to consider how well the paint will react to temperatures. will it blister, flake, etc? 

Being a somewhat unorthodox way of colouring, I don't really know anything about alcohol inks.



 

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Trying to do a bit more research on it myself. Every query I try just gives me loads of tips about using them, but no no "scientific" analysis (fair enough, why would I expect otherwise?).

 

Did find the full product sheet for one manufacturer's inks which gave a breakdown: alcohol (fine, widely known to be safe on electronics); 2-propoxyethanol (a form of anti-freeze, conductivity < 1e-6 mhos, which I think makes it an insulator to all intents and purposes); "polymers" (sic), which I assume are like any other plastics very good insulators, and (1-2%) "pigments" (sic).

 

Obviously the alcohol will evaporate almost instantly. My gut feeling is that there wouldn't be enough of the other ingredients there to worry about blistering or flaking, but only testing could verify that. I imagine the biggest concern is whether the pigments might be conductive.

 

I'm going to be buying some alcohol inks in any case (to see whether I can stain an aluminium heatsink/cooler to look reasonably like weathered copper)

and I have an old and useless graphics card on which I can test the direct application of alcohol inks on a PCB.

 

If I get round to trying this, I promise to report back here.

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