Those who value the appearance of their built-in system can sometimes be bothered by the little things. I didn’t like the fact that the Corsair HD120 fans in the Corsair Crystal 570X RGB White are clearly visible through the black frame. Since the housing parts of the fan only seemed to be clipped on, I dared to get to the bottom of the structure. Ultimately, I didn’t want to withhold from you how you can customize the fans of the Corsair HD series by changing them with paint.
You like the RGB lighting of the Corsair HD fans, but the black frames in the white housing are eye-catching? It was the same for me. At the time of implementation, the Corsair LL120 White was (unfortunately) not yet known or public. So we started looking for a solution. In the following tutorial, I will show you how to dismantle the fans and how best to clad them in new paint. Of course, white doesn’t have to remain the color of choice. All work is of course done at your own risk. We assume no liability for property damage or personal injury.
At this point, we would like to refer again to the separate test report of the fans adapted here. There you can find all information, further pictures and practical assessments of the fans.
The first step is to remove the rubber anti-vibration pads. The glue actually holds quite well, but you can still pull it off with your fingers. If you have problems, you can get help from your better half with long nails if necessary. Keep the pads well, because of course, you will need them again later.
Why the whole thing? There are holes under the pads through which the locking mechanism of the plastic frame is released. I use a 3mm drill for this. With this, you press in a nipple inside. If you push too hard, it will burst; if you push too little, the frame will not come loose. So it means finding the middle ground. These nipples must be pressed in at all corners from both sides. Then it goes on outside.
The frame consists of a total of four parts, which are inserted into one another. To loosen the connection, I ground a spatula out of 2mm aluminum. This is led into the gap and the long end is levered up a little. You press the gap together. With practice, the nose should pop out of the opening. I wouldn’t start at the point where the cables come out, because the verb thing is a bit tricky there.
You can now begin to pull out the corners a little. But you don’t get far because the fan motor cable should be in the way. You can of course break other links, but the last part of the frame is still stuck. So an intermediate step is needed here.
First I remove the cable ties from the two cable strands. Then you can push the corresponding cable back a little and then detach it from the guide. Now the frame can be further dismantled.
Once you have removed the frame from the fan, you can loosen the remaining connections. Whether you bend the nipples back or do them before reassembly is up to you.
Before you really start, you should do some preliminary work. For one thing, I always roughen the surface first. Here I use 600 wet sandpaper. Normally you could also use 400, but here I don’t want to provide the surface with grooves because the paint application should remain thin, so I don’t want to apply a lot of filler. Instead of the sandpaper, you can also use sanding wool, which would be appropriate with the given components (but I did not have it on hand). You must deburr the edges a little. Otherwise, the paint will not adhere, which will later become apparent in the paintwork.
Step 1 of the preparation is now complete. The next step is to remove dust and grease from the component. I use brake cleaner here because I usually have it standing around. There are also special dust cloths and you can remove the grease with nitro, but neither is a must here. Then it’s about hanging up the parts and putting them down. With parts that are so light, I use simple wire and hang up the opposite strands. So I can turn it in at will and also get stuck in some positions.
There are of course two points to consider: To paint you need a certain temperature and, on the other hand, you should only work with enough fresh air. If the temperature is too low, various negative effects can occur. The paint could be too thick and just spill out of the can. Besides, the paint won’t pick up when it’s too cold. You would see both in the result. Ventilation is of course important for health reasons. Even if you don’t release the same vapors when painting with the can as with the gun, you shouldn’t be careless here. A respirator is always mandatory. Once the preparations have been made, it is time to apply the paint. I used canned filler. This already contains a plastic primer, which makes the bond with plastic stable. Without a filler or primer, the paint applied directly to the plastic might simply peel off. But there is also another benefit.
If you give the frame parts enough thickness, you can then wet-sand them again. Of course, only when the filler has hardened properly. I used 1200 grit sandpaper, although 800 grit would be enough. The surface can be made significantly smoother by sanding. Since the frame parts were previously slightly roughened, a positive effect. You should be careful not to drag through so often. If that happens too easily, you should increase the layer thickness a little or sand more carefully.
Once the hardened filler has been finely sanded, the painting can actually continue. The procedure is actually the same as for filling. Remove grease and dust from the surfaces and you’re good to go. Less is often more here. In general, it is advisable to always apply several thin layers of lacquer rather than one thick layer. You shouldn’t be impatient here either that the first spray may not yet cover. The risk of getting runners is particularly high with such small components. The following is the result of my first attempt at these fans. I am not really satisfied, but unfortunately, a better result could not be achieved at these temperatures. The color is semi-matt white, as this corresponds most closely to the lacquer on the case. You can of course choose any other color you like. But you should make sure that the paint is compatible with the filler.
Once the parts have hardened or dried out, you can start again with the assembly. Before attaching the frame parts, you should carefully bend back the small, previously pressed-in bars, at the latest now. Then it is best to start with the part that contains the cable gland. Then I connected this part to a second one on the fan and put the remaining two together outside. As a unit, this can then be pushed onto the fan. The layer of paint makes it snap into place a little, so there is still room for improvement here.
Since it was only an attempt on my part, there is definitely one or the other point where one could have proceeded more carefully. In the end, I think the result is ok. I will only take a closer look at the black corners. So far I haven’t found a way to remove them without leaving a trace. Suggestions are of course welcome.