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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
No fans at all. I have no idea how it would deal with vibration, but
I'd bet the company would work something out.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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