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What Are the Best Tips for Making DIY Computers?

By Alex Newth
Updated May 16, 2024
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When building do-it-yourself (DIY) computers, there are many opportunities for builders to either accidentally destroy the computers or decrease their lifespan, but some tips can help make sure DIY computers are long-lasting. If hardware for DIY computers is exposed to static, then it will short out, so keeping the pieces from experiencing static is a priority. Some parts require glue or adhesive, but using too much glue on DIY computers can cause the insides to burn during operation. Computers have many different screws, and mixing them up can make building very difficult. Parts also should not be crowded, if possible, because this can lead to excess heat.

Hardware parts are needed for DIY computers and, while these parts are rather sturdy once inside the computer, they are sensitive to static electricity when outside the main structure. If any static touches these pieces, then there is a good chance that they will not work; for hardware such as the motherboard, to which every other piece is added, this can be a major problem. Anti-static bags should be used to avoid this problem, and computers should be built on surfaces such as wood or plastic that do not have static.

Some chips, heatsinks and other parts in DIY computers require glue for proper installation. Builders should only add a minimal amount of glue to keep the parts together. Unlike art and craft projects, on which it may just look bad, excess glue presents a functional problem in computers. The heat from computers will cause the excess glue to burn, which will release toxins that may damage computers. If glue is running off the sides of parts, builders should quickly wipe it up before it hardens.

Screws often are needed to hold hardware pieces in their frames, such as the hard drive and motherboard. There typically are four types of screws, and builders should keep these screws organized and separate when making DIY computers. This is because the screws usually cannot be interchanged, and losing some screws may keep a part from being properly installed. Two ways to help organize screws are placing the screws into small groups or into separate plastic bags.

Crowding hardware in DIY computers may allow builders to add more pieces or make smaller computers, but it also may present a functional problem. When computers run, the parts begin generating heat from electricity and data movement. If the parts are properly separated, then the heat should not affect nearby parts. Parts that are crowded will build up extra heat, which can cause hardware to short out prematurely.

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