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I'm building a DIY power supply using 6 server power supplies. I've been looking for a case/enclosure to hold them and the necessary wiring and came across a styrofoam cooler that's the perfect size called the Chill Chest (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07874GXQ5/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_xnK4CbE96SDPC). Is this okay to use for this project or is static electricity a problem even if there's nothing constantly physically rubbing to generate it? If the latter, to eliminate static electricity can I cover the interior with a none conductive material like rubber (maybe spray it with a spray rubber like Plasti Dip?)?

P.S. - Of course I would cut holes for fans and ventilation.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I like it when people think outside the box. But, there are two issues that I would worry about more than static electricity. 1) anything powered by mains should use flame retardant plastic. 2) cutting holes for ventilation may greatly weaken the structural integrity. \$\endgroup\$ – Mattman944 May 20 at 6:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Mattman944 He's thinking inside the box :-). Whether the box he's thinking inside is suitable is tbd. \$\endgroup\$ – Russell McMahon May 20 at 7:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ In a project where the two biggest issues are heat removal and EMC, why on earth would you consider using an insulated, non-conductive enclosure? \$\endgroup\$ – Dave Tweed May 20 at 11:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DaveTweed Because I'm learning. \$\endgroup\$ – crashintoty May 20 at 20:44
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That box is conceivably suitable - but much less so than many alternatives.

  • The box is collapsible and not liable to be very strong mechanically. The power supplies are 'not light' and it would require some sort of internal frame to add strength and rigidity

  • Cooling with power supplies is liable to be a significant issue. If both inlet and exhaust airflow is not impeded in any way it may be OK but mechanically you are starting to get a pincushion', and any cooling from radiation or convection from the cases would be lost due to the insulation.

  • Static electricity generation is a potential issue - probably OK, but not certainly so. SE generation would be more likely to occur from rubbing contact with the case exterior. Having to coat or otherwise treat the exterior is not attractive.
    You can buy conductive nickel spray intended for screening purposes. I use a very light "whiff" of this on interior surfaces of plastic containers for antistatic purposes. But, on the outsides, it's not pretty.

I'd personally look for something that was mechanically stronger, and ideally somewhat conductive.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Good point about strength and rigidity. I've been looking for days for a better option but this is the best I can find so far. Any links to better cases, boxes or enclosures or suggestions on the keywords or materials I should be targeting? \$\endgroup\$ – crashintoty May 20 at 8:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @crashintoty There are many housings on the market. You can make quite good looking custom ones reasonable easily using eg Al square section extrusions plus panels of choice. Panels could be Al sheet or steel or even wood / customwood . Wood or other materials painted look essentially the same as painted metal. Rectangular/square extrusion frame parts cut to length and tapped and drilled with bolts or even use countersunk head bolts (heads on outside) and nuts inside. | BUT many available housings are liable to be easier. \$\endgroup\$ – Russell McMahon May 20 at 11:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ This ebay search gives many leads. | or [Electrical under $NZ50 or electrical enclosure or these or ... | \$\endgroup\$ – Russell McMahon May 20 at 11:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ ... or these or these or these \$\endgroup\$ – Russell McMahon May 20 at 11:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for all the links. I did find those options, but they were mainly on the small side (need roughly 20" long and 14" wide). The enclosure in this video is what would be perfect: youtube.com/watch?v=Va0ydJwWrMs Any idea where I can find that or at least what it's called? \$\endgroup\$ – crashintoty May 20 at 20:51

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