I'm wondering about making a case out of wood for my new build. Does a computer case have to be a conductive material like metal?
Nope.Metal is usually used because it is sturdy,durable and can act like a big heatsink,but a wooden case is also a possibility.I've even seen a case made out of a shoe box
The most important factors you have to consider when making it are sufficient space and airflow.
A computer does not have to be made of conductive material. In fact, wood is a very good surface on which to assemble a computer temporarily to see if all the components work, a.k.a. breadboarding.
I am doing the same thing. It started when I had to tear up my kitchen after a leak destroyed the flooring. I just couldn't throw the good stuff away. Thought I would make some poster frames from it, and one thing led to another.
I was a little worried about heat, and possibly catching on fire, but a CPU is designed to shut off before it gets to hot, and there certainly is enough plastic every computer to start not only a fire, but a poisoness one as well.
There was some talk of shielding against electromagnetic frequency, but mo one seems to be having trouble with the plexiglass cases being sold, so I figrue no problem.
I think the best thing about wood is that you're free to experiment. A well-designed wooden case could be cheaper, cooler, quieter and custom-made to fit snugly into whatever space you have available. It doesn't have to be difficult to build either if you're not too bothered about jointing and finishes.
The only problem will be how to incorporate the power/reset buttons but I'm sure I can figure that out.