Creating a custom back plate for a graphics card is something a lot of online stores have done for a while but the cost of buying one compared to making one yourself is crazy so the first thing first.
What you need:
Masking tape or vinyl cut in a desired design
Craft or precision knife
3M adhesive magnets
One of the best things to do for the acrylic sheet is get a sheet either a lot bigger than you need (easiest to get) or a sheet that will fit perfectly. This is so if you are having to cut the acrylic if it goes wrong you still have some left now even though you’re buying more than you need this still works out a lot cheaper than most custom back plate websites!
With all that done the first step is to measure the graphics cards PCB (the side that were covering with the back plate) if the card is in a PC its on the top so this is the side that shows in most cases. Mine worked out at 24 cm x 13 cm once this is measured drawing it out on the acrylic sheets protective layer is best (remember you want to keep this on to avoid any scratching or splitting of the material) one thing to note that is if you draw it out on the edge of the sheet so 2 sides of the back plate will be the professionally cut sides as dependent on the results it can be quite jagged. This wants to be on both sides of the acrylic for reference if you have to turn it over you’re going to need to know where the back plate will be.
Once this is drawn, score the lines into the acrylic on both sides multiple times so you have deep grooves in both sides and it also helps to go along the thin side of the sheet where the lines on either side meet for ease later.
Now to separate the back plate from the rest of the acrylic is the hard part. To get this done it’s best to have the acrylic in a form of clamps, now i don’t have any clamps to hand so i used the next best thing which nearly every household does which was drawers simply slide the acrylic into a gap in the drawers to exactly the line you scored earlier and just bend it down until it snaps, this needs to be a quick motion to avoid any warping of the sheet. Once this is done you want to repeat on the other side(s) until the back plate is fully detached from the rest of the sheet. If you do have clamps to hand you want to clamp the acrylic to a desk exactly where the scored lines are with the ruler in the clamps on top of the acrylic exactly on the line with the edge of the ruler, this makes for a strong clamp all the way along the scored line, and just bend it down until it snaps, this needs to be a quick motion to avoid any warping of the acrylic, repeat this step until all scored lines have being clamped and snapped.
Now you have the base of the custom graphics card back plate, it’s time to design it a little, this is where the masking tape and spray paint comes into play. The design you want is now up to you (if you want the back plate in the color you got the acrylic you can skip this step)
Starting with a base color of the acrylic i wanted mine white first a fine layer of spray paint to cover the whole back plate waiting patiently for the first layer to set is vital and i would advise reading the directions on the can to know how long to wait as different brands have different times.
After the first layer has set another slightly thicker layer of spray paint should now be evenly applied, again waiting for this to set.
Once this has dried I would advise a third layer be sprayed on finely again as the second layer should have covered most. This layer is just to get to those places it may have not gone on evenly. If you find that that spray paint you used hasn’t got as good coverage it’s recommended to repeat these three stages until happy with the results.
Now waiting for the paint to completely dry is a must before masking the desired design or placing the vinyl and spraying the back plate in a different color. again a specified amount of time to wait for the paint to dry should be on the can. This will also be a case of waiting for the different layers of paint to dry before spraying again. Once completely satisfied with the spray leave to dry completely.
Once dried it’s time to peel that masking tape/vinyl off revealing that design you made and it’s ready to be placed on the GPU. To mount the back plate on the graphics card you will want to place the 3M magnets on the bottom side of the back plate in areas where the card has sticking out screws like on the image below (Note: be careful the magnets have clearance away from any solder or components on your card to avoid any shorting)
When the 3M adhesive has settled on the back plate this will then make the back plate stick to the card but will be also easy to remove
As you can see i left mine in a glossy white to reflect all the RGB LED’s this is a miles better look than just black/brown PCB like this if you’re going for a certain color scheme with a PC