The following is an Xbox how to painting article submitted by The_Wulf
Ok Folks I've been promising this for some time now... This is my tutorial on how to paint your Xbox. Please note the phrasing of that last sentence (My Tutorial). This is my work if you would like to use it or any of the pictures please ask me for permission first. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your request and after a review of your site I will grant or deny permission.
Permission has been granted to the following site(s) for use of this tutorial:
Llamma's Xbox repair
This is a step by step walk through on how to paint your Xbox. Please note that by opening your Xbox you will be voiding your warranty. First things first crack open your Xbox and take everything out of it and I do mean EVERYTHING! (for this I recommend using the tutorial at www.llamma.com/xbox/repairs/crack_open_that_xbox.htm ) Next remove the front bezel for the DVD drive as you will be painting this to match your box. This is the time to do any cutting or modding to the case so you don't damage the paint. (I find that little scratches from cutting are easily hidden by a bit of sanding and paint) You may also want to do a quick sketch with color just so you remember where you wanted what color to go while painting.
As seen here I have made all my cuts before any of the paint has been started.
Once the case is disassembled and any alterations have been made (i.e... removing the jewel, cutting holes and so on) you need to clean the Xbox with a mild soap and water mix to remove all surface dirt. Remember to get in between the fins, cracks and channels as the paint you put on the Xbox will bond to the dirt and not the plastic of your Xbox case. Allow your Xbox case to dry completely before you move on. (I let my Xbox case dry over night)
this is what the case looks like completely disassembled
This is the first stage of your paint job for the Xbox. As I was painting the entire case I did not need to mask off (masking off: masking off is a painting term for covering parts that you do not want paint to stick to this is most commonly done with paper and masking tape) much for this stage. The parts I did mask off were the tabs to hold the plastic components together as I was unsure if the paint would make the fit too snug to get all the parts back together. I also used a tooth pick to plug the eject hole.
masking on bezel and Xbox logo and tooth pick plug
Please, if you want to keep the original black on some of the parts mask them off before you start to prime. Once you have whatever masking you need for your project done you will begin to prime the case. the primer will need to be done in light coats to ensure even coverage and good bonding. Take your time with this stage as it is the one responsible for holding your paint to your Xbox. A good safe bet is 3-5 coats of primer.
In my case I only needed 3 coats of primer for an even finish (I have been doing paint for years... you may want or need more) that I could lightly wet-sand. (wet sanding: using moistened wet/dry sandpaper you smooth out the imperfections and rough finish on paint also known as orange peal as it closely resembles the rind of citrus fruit) By wet sanding you are making a smother layer for your color coat to bond to witch will make for a smoother finish in the end. Read the directions on the primer you used for the dry and cure times. Do Not start a following layer of primer until the first is dry. Do Not Mask off for the next stage until your parts are cured.
This is the coat that is typically thought of as paint. This layer is where the color of your Xbox will come from. In my case I was doing a two color case and one color was darker than the other so I only had to do a highly detailed mask for the second color. I always start with the lighter color first. Just like with the primer you will need to paint 3-5 layers of the color to cover completely. Do Not try to do it all in one coat as you will get runs in your paint.
color coat 1
Now that you have finished your color coats for one part of the Xbox and it has cured you can pull off the masking. Take your time as some paint may want to pull off along with masking tape.
this is what my box looked like with just one color and the primer
With all the effort you have put into this project so far you will have to pay special attention to the masking for the second color. Mask off all parts you don't want paint on. For larger areas use paper (news paper, note book paper, inkjet paper, brown paper bag) to fill the space. Do Not Use Color News Print! The color ink used in Sunday papers Will stick to new paint or could even be absorbed into the color coat making you have to paint over. Once masked off apply your second color. This color will also need 3-5 light coats of paint to cover fully.
masked for second color
Once you have an even layer (3-5 light coats) of paint and it has cured remove the masking.
Now that you have the color done on your Xbox you want to have the best finish possible. To do this you will want to wet sand the entire case. When wet sanding use light even pressure and remember that your goal is not to take the paint off but to take down the orange peel so you have a nice smooth finish. I personally would recommend a 2000 grit paper for this step as well as water with just a bit of dish soap (stay away from ivory as it won't rinse clean) to help save time washing the Xbox before the clear coat.
This step is optional. I personally recommend clearing the case to protect the paint you spent so much time putting on your Xbox. The clear coat will also give you that high gloss finish you want from your paint. As with the color coats you will want to put on 3-5 layers of clear so you have some room to buff out the case for a high shine. In this case you do not need to mask any of the parts off as you want to cover all the surface.
my clear coat
Once the clear is cured to get the best shine out of your case you will want to again knock down any orange peel with 2000 grit wet/dry sand paper as you did with the last layer. Now that this is done you will want to use buffing compound with water to remove any of the microscopic scratches left behind by the wet sanding. Rinse the Xbox clean and let dry before assembly.
My finished Xbox!!
I found out the hard way that Krylon Blue will check if applied over Rustolium Plastic primer
any other paint interactions you may find please post at the Llamma forums in case painting subject Painting Blues
Note: Always read the directions on the paint you use and work in a well ventilated space.