How to build your own personal computer - Kitchen Table Computers
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Tools You Need to Build Your Own Computer


You don't need an expensive toolkit to build your own computer, but there are a few simple electronics tools that you absolutely must have. All of these can be easily obtained at almost any computer store or online. You may already have some of them. If not, then the easiest way to get the tools you need is to purchase a computer repair tool kit that contains all the tools you need, as well as a handy carrying case to keep them organized.

As with all tools, you should buy the best quality computer tools that you can afford. Good tools last longer and make the job easier. If you plan to become a professional computer technician, you should consider buying a professional tool kit from a company like Tecra Tools.

All computer tools should be non-magnetized.

You will need, at a minimum, the following simple tools:


Screwdrivers and nut drivers.

You should have available, at a minimum, small- and medium-sized Phillips and flat screwdrivers and a 1/4" nut driver.


Needle-Nosed Pliers

Very small needle-nosed pliers are very handy for removing and inserting jumpers on motherboards and hard drives. (A pair of tweezers or surgical forceps also works well for this purpose.)


Cable Ties

Plastic cable ties are useful for neatly bundling wires and cables away from fans and other components inside the computer. If you can't find them, electrical tape is an acceptable substitute.


Anti-Static Wrist Strap

This is a little elastic strap connected to a wire with an alligator clip on the other end. The alligator clip is attached to a metal part of the computer chassis, and the elastic band slipped around your wrist. Better-quality anti-static kits also include a rubberized mat that connects to the wire and is placed under the computer being worked on. This provides extra static protection, and also protects your tabletop from scratches. Click here for more information about anti-static precautions.


Heat Sink Compound

This is usually included with processor fans, but may be purchased separately. It is applied neatly to the area where the processor contacts the heat sink to improve cooling efficiency. (Some heat sinks have the compound "built-in" behind a little peel-off label.) I like Arctic Silver.


Canned Air or Canless Air

Compressed air is used to blow dust out of the nooks and crannies of your computer. Never blow into a computer with your lips to remove dust. Your breath contains too much moisture (and maybe other things depending on what you ate for dinner). Use canned air instead. Or better yet, check out the O2 Hurricane by Canless Air Systems and never buy canned air again.


Pill Bottle

You'll need a pill bottle or other small container to hold the various screws, jumpers, and other small parts used to assemble and configure a homebuilt computer.


Getting Started


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