Electronic Enclosures

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Wendy, Nov 27, 2009.

  1. Wendy

    Thread Starter Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    Not quite electronics, but close.

    I think the really old school guys had the right idea. Boxes are outrageous. I don't blame the retailers, they have to make a profit, but $48-$90 for a large box is pretty high.

    So I'm thinking of a do it yourself. I've done some small scale break and shear work (my old job had full size professional machines). Anyone else fight this battle?
     
  2. BMorse

    Senior Member

    Sep 26, 2009
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    Yeah, same here, I get frustrated sometimes with the cost for enclosures nowadays, So lately I have been resorting to using the old Box and Pan break to make may own enclosures..... I am currently working on a regulated power supply (based on an ATX PSU), and I ended up making the enclosure myself out of 18 gauge galvanized sheet metal (only spent less than $1.00 on the metal!!!) and also I have access to a CNC Plasma cutter :D:D, so all the more reason to make my own enclosures :rolleyes:....

    check out the pics of the progress so far.... still need to wire up all the LED indicators and power switches.....
     
  3. Wendy

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    Mar 24, 2008
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    Funny you should mention that, my project is also a power supply.

    I'm toying with the idea of a wood/metal hybrid. Wood for the base, metal for the sides, maybe either for the top.

    Wood is wonderful stuff, cheap, easy to shape, but it is a lousy thermal conductor.

    I'm not there anymore, but it was nice having machine shop tools. I really liked that break, followed by the shear.

    Of course the lathe, drill press, and milling machine weren't bad either.


    Speaking of which, any ever seen a corner connector commercially?

    It might look something like this, though I don't care if it isn't exact. I've been looking for something like it for years.

    [​IMG]


    My home setup is a small band saw, drill press, and a dremel.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2009
  4. BMorse

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    Sep 26, 2009
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    I have been using ATX PSU's for regulated power sources for a while now, and I was just getting tired of having to make connectors to mate with the molex connectors on the PSU to tie into my bread boards..... plus this will make my work bench a little neater... this will actually mount into a wooden enclosure in my work bench at home, and it will be finished off on the front with some etched plexiglass....
     
  5. Wendy

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    I'd like to see it when you're finished. Warts and all. :)
     
  6. BMorse

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    I have seen similar ones as PCB standoffs ( I believe they are 4-40 tapped though), not sure about the 2 holes on each side though (see pic)... do you need some? what is the over all dimension?

    Sounds like my setup at home, although, I still need a band saw and I also have a Homemade CNC mill/Drill and General Engraver (Usefull for making face plates for enclosures :D!!) Dremmels are like my best friend ;), I have just about every model....
     
  7. Wendy

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    Mar 24, 2008
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    It doesn't have to look like that, but I want to connect 2 pieces of sheet metal 90° together. It is a good alternate to folding metal. My work has some in our fixtures, but I suspect they machined them in house. A guy once told me he'd seen where to buy them, but then didn't remember where. Cold, very cold.

    Last I checked, I had 3 different types of Dremel. 2 batteries, one old AC model.
     
  8. ShockBoy

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    Oct 27, 2009
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  9. jpanhalt

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    Jan 18, 2008
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    You might look under "aluminum extrusion" on that auction site. 8020 and similar stuff in small sizes is usually available there. I have not used it yet for an enclosure, but it does present possibilities. Then, all you need is a shear. I bough one used 25 years ago. Don't use it every day, but when you need it, it will save you an tremendous amount of time compared to the alternatives. Getting good and accurate bends with a bake can take practice. I don't see a box brake as quite as useful as a shear.

    For projects, I scan "project boxes" on the auction site and buy when I see a bargain... It's like a capital investment. Costs less then gold and never goes down in value. :D

    Obviously, there is a lot of junk and over-priced stuff there too. As an example of the "bargains," my spot welder project box cost <$20 new with wrapping. List price is $$$.

    John
     
  10. Wendy

    Thread Starter Moderator

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    When you talking about aluminum extrusion, you're talking squares of metal, untapped, correct? Just making sure.
     
  11. jpanhalt

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    Not really squares of aluminum. They are often square in cross-section and are used for making all kinds of stuff.

    [​IMG]

    They are connected using T-nuts.

    John

    Oops: Here's the link to the 8020 site. There are other vendors. http://www.8020.net/new_products.asp
     
  12. BMorse

    Senior Member

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    couldn't you just use these types Bill? (maybe you are already....)

    [​IMG]
     
  13. SgtWookie

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    You might consider just using some 1/2" x 1/2" aluminum angle, and drilling a row of holes in it. Pretty inexpensive at Big Orange and Big Blue hardware stores.

    You can then use screws & nuts or Pop-rivets to hold the sheet metal to it. Countersunk Phillips-head screws would be neater than Pop-rivets, but more labor intensive. A bit of threadlocker blue would keep the nuts from backing off until you were ready to do so yourself.
     
  14. someonesdad

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    Jul 7, 2009
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    Also don't be afraid to do some simple metalwork. Those corner connectors could be straightforwardly made with simple hand tools. If you need a bunch of them, you'd make up a simple drilling jig so that the holes are consistent. Just buy some rectangular aluminum bar stock, cut off with a hack saw and file to length. Drill the holes and hand tap.

    The only tools really needed are: a good rule, tap, tap tee wrench, scribe, center punch, hack saw, a couple of mill bastard files, a vise, a workbench, and a drill and drill bits. A drill press and a drill press vise makes things easier though -- and if you wanted a bunch of them, it would pay to make a drilling fixture.

    You can also cobble together an effective sheet metal brake (it's spelled "brake", not "break") from simple cold rolled steel parts. Look for a book on sheet metal work by Dave Gingery for ideas on what to make. Other sheet metal books will have similar ideas.

    Now, note I said "straightforwardly" made. You will have to spend some time doing this and acquiring the skills. Today I've been building a knife sharpening fixture and fabricating the metal parts from 3/4" square aluminum bar stock by hand (hacksaw and files). I find it interesting to do the work by hand (even though I have machines to do the hard work) because it improves my skills.
     
  15. Wendy

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    Mar 24, 2008
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    I've done my share of metal work, you don't do combat robotics without doing some of it (see my profile), spelling errors not with standing. Since any project will need lots of those, and I'm convinced they exist somewhere out there I'd like to find a source. It is a lot easier than making up a batch every time.

    They have to be tapped, it does no good to just have holes. When you're putting the last panel in, it has to be tapped or it would require something like tinnerman nuts. I'd rather have something tapped.

    There is probably a name for what I'm looking for.
     
  16. BMorse

    Senior Member

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    what sizes are these pieces you are looking for? (1/2" in length, 1/4" square, etc.) How far apart are the spacing between hole centers? What material (i.e. Nylon, aluminum, steel, etc.)?
     
  17. SgtWookie

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    You could always use pop-rivets for the last side. No threads required. You'd need a drill to get them out, though. Spinning pop-rivets are tons o'fun. :rolleyes:

    The Aviation community has come up with a bewildering array of fasteners out of necessity. They aren't cheap, but they're available.

    Aircraft Spruce carries a small assortment.
    Link: http://www.aircraftspruce.com/menus/ha/nut.html
    Clip nuts, instrument mounting nuts, corner nuts, anchor nuts. Tinnerman nuts are probably one of their least expensive items.

    Sometimes, Skycraft Parts & Surplus gets in a load of anchor nuts attached to a C-channel or the like. Those would sort of come close to what you're looking for - even then, you'd need an "L" bend inside or have to attach an aluminum angle to mount the anchor nut channel to.
     
  18. SgtWookie

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    I like the stuff on the right end:

    [​IMG]

    I'd use a table saw, band saw, or even a hand circular saw, and rip it lengthwise into four pieces.
     
  19. Wendy

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    Mar 24, 2008
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    Notice those clip nuts on the page, second down at the end? Those are tinnerman, aka speed, nuts.

    Dagnabit, I'm going to make over 10 of these parts, then find I could have bought them for 50¢ each after I made them.
     
  20. spinnaker

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    Oct 29, 2009
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    Can you cut sheet metal with a table saw? I would assume you need a special blade for cutting sheet metal.

    I never owned one and I am trying to justify buying one. I put a wood laminate floor in my living room and kitchen and wished I had it then. But after that, I am not sure what I would use it for but when you need one you sure wish you had one. :)

    If I start making projects, it sure could come in handy.
     
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