Tech : Wood Types for Project


Morning.
Im in the process of designing an electronics system that is to be housed inside a wooden box. Its a fairly big system and Im looking for advise on which would be the best wood to use. Th requirements are as follows:
Must be firm wood, not easily dented or chipped. As much as possible, it mustnt retain heat or insultate well. Must be able to be stained a nice dark red wood color.
Also, is there any such varnish that would be suitable to use on the inside in order to help stop the wood insulating the heat ?
Thank you for your time.
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Nullcode
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Nullcode wrote:

Wood of any kind is a relatively poor conductor so that wish is a no-starter. There isn't appreciable difference between any suitable cabinet wood or plywood.
Any cabinet-grade plywood will work structurally. The appearance is your (or your client's) choice. Oak is typically more pronounced grain, cherry much more subdued. Only intended visual impression can help determine such a question.
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Duane Bozarth wrote:

Oh, regarding heat...I suppose one could line an interior w/ reflective material as radiative insulator that would help slightly, perhaps.
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Duane Bozarth wrote:

Ok thats great, I guess it comes down to cost now ;) How about heat reflective varnish or any other ideas on deinsulating heat from the wood? thx
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Nullcode wrote:

See my followup of my prevous post...as Edwind notes, how much heat load? If of any size you'll almost certainly have to have some provision for air flow--whether you can get by w/ passive will depend on ambient conditions, your load, how much temperature rise your equipment can tolerate, and cabinet design. You probably should prototype a box first...
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Are you trying to keep the electronics cool, or protect the wood? Reflecting heat back will help keep the wood cool and your equipment hot. I suspect that is not what you're after.
If you want to keep the equipment cool, your best bet is design in some air flow that will allow passive convection to work in your favor. That is, vents both low and high with a channel in between, with the equipment in the middle of that air flow.
Steve
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if the electronics generate heat you'll have to ventilate. that's what muffin fans were invented for.
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How much heat are you talking about? While wood is not considered a good insulator, it will block heat and if not vented properly cause quite a buildup. More of a design consideration that a material choice.
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Nullcode wrote:

Its actually going to house a PC. The design currently has 2 intake fans on the side, 2 outs on th other side and a blow hole on the top. DVD etc drives will be mounted externally. The primary objective is to keep the cpu cool, I figured if I could prevent the wood from retaining heat that would help drop the inside temperature. Using persex in the same configuration, the internal temp is about 31c, the cpu temp 47-55c. With the new setup I want to reduce the cpu temperature to below 45c.
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A fellow on tv last evening was building a PC to go into a Hummer. He had vibration to deal with, but also a big heat load, since his customer lives in the desert of the western US. He was using a heat transfer system with a radiator not unlike an air conditioning system would use.
PC gamers are always looking for ways to make their systems run faster, cooler and more reliably. Since they often bump the clock rates for additional performance, they follow the latest cooling techniques. Check out some of the web sites catering to their needs, and see if you can find some ideas there.
The choice of wood is the least of your problems. I'd use walnut, because I like the way it looks, and I have a bunch of it.
Patriarch
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Patriarch wrote:

For those are really worried about CPU heat, for get fans. I suggest liquid cooling. Anyone with a spare $5150 for a computer might try the Voodoo f:5 Rage: http://www.windowsmarketplace.com/Specs.aspx?itemId 52358
No fans at all. I have no idea how it would deal with vibration, but I'd bet the company would work something out.
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Charlie Self wrote:

Water cooling is a little too expensive really, it wouldbe nice, But I dont want to rely on it. If the pump should fail, not only do you have fried componants, but the heat increase would likely cause the water to expand and leak from the pipes resulting in some nasty electrical stuffs ;P
Ill be using 5 case fans with automatic controlling units and advanced cpu heatsinks, ram/chip coolers etc etc, but I wanted to make sure I covered everything :P
I have plans to build a mockup and chuck a smoke bomb in to check the thermodynamics. I was just concerned incase the wood insulated the heat and increase the internal temperature. The reason I ask about woods, is that I would assume softwood, being less dense, would insult the heat better than hardwood, and you, being the woodworking people ;), are the best people to ask :D
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Nullcode wrote:

Wood never insulted nobody... :)
There's virtually no difference in heat transfer characteristics by species, and certainly not enough in the type of application you're looking at to be worth worrying about.
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Duane Bozarth wrote:

Thats certainly good to know :D
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Nullcode wrote:

I don't think Voodoo uses water. And I haven't heard any rumors about pump failure or other problems. They don't even use CPU fans. But, you're right, it is pricey as all get out.

I don't know if a smoke bomb would check thermodynamics, but you should get a good idea of air flow that way. I'd try that, and I'd see about getting a small electric heater inside the mock-up (outdoors, of course) to raise the temperature a bit. Find an old metal case to check. Then check the wood case mock up. With good air flow and a potful of fans, you should be OK.
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I'm sure that the difference of heat transmission between wood species is measureable, for someone with some fancy equipment. for practical purposes, consider all wood to be an insulator. as long as you get good airflow through the case you should be fine.
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In the olds days(1950,s and early 60's ) the high-end hi fi makers used cherry,my dad still has one in his living room (a 245watt amp and turner). just make sure you put in ventilation and a brushless fan.
len
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clearly wrote:

I can advise you or give you advice. Which would you prefer? ;)

ALL wood insulates well. The fix is to add acouplethree 2" diameter holes in the back of the unit both top and bottom. This lets hot air out the top and cool air in the bottom, cooling the unit. Most entertainment centers have this.

Don't stain it. Use red wood, like padauk, purpleheart or jarrah. All are fairly hard and dense. Use www.woodfinder.com to search for these woods in your area.

All finish will add some insulative properties but finishes both inside and out are a necessity. With the air holes, you're covered.
G'luck!
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Larry Jaques wrote:

Thank you for your advice ;)
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