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Want a custom enclosure ... need some advice


#1

I’m a total noob when it comes to enclosures. I’ve got a FEZ Spider Starter Kit + WiFi RS21 Module. I only want a few of the starter kit modules to be int he enclosure (usb power, display, mainboard). What’s the best way to go about designing an enclosure? Is there someone I could pay to take care of this for me? If so, how much would that cost?

Any advice/suggestions are much appreciated.

Thanks!


#2

I’ve used a combination of Front Panel Express (www.schaeffer-ag.de) to make the panels and for the walls of the box I used Shapeways to print the 3D model. The plastic walls allow the wireless to work :slight_smile:

If you can drive CAD software you can have a go yourself with their free software (FPE) and for Shapeways, the new free 3D software from Designspark will led you model it all. It may even allow you to load the 3D models from GHI so that you can check all the bits fit and make sure cutouts are accurate but I am not sure what features it has.


#3

Thanks, Dave. I appreciate the leads. So you used Front Panel Express to make one side of your enclosure for your ports, then used Shapeways for the rest of the sides. I guess this makes sense. I was hoping for a more singular approach.

I also saw that GHI offers laser cutting if you upload SVGs. I was thinking about going that road as I’m really not an experience CAD user. Who knows, maybe I’ll dive into the CAD world because I think that opens my options.

Thanks!


#4

As far as I am aware, the laser cutting service is currently suspended but I have seen this service available from others.

For my designs, I used FPE for both front and rear and then used Shapeways to make the walls. :slight_smile:


#5

Ah, I see it now. Looks like it’s back on again. :slight_smile:


#6

You can also look out for a local hackerspace, who often have access to a laser cutter. You can do some things yourself in relatively simple tools, and you’ll get pretty decent results. And there’s simple starting points for finger-box designs like http://boxmaker.rahulbotics.com/ that will just give you a generic box with properly spaced finger joints that you can turn into an SVG and laser into acrylic or bamboo or plywood etc…

There are probably a lot of injection moulded cases of different shapes and sizes that would suit your need but will take work to find one that’s appropriate. A long time ago there was a discussion here about the cases that were used for the original Cobra, that might be worth your time looking for as from memory that supplier had many other size and shape options.


#7

How you go about this depends upon the particular requirements if your project. Some options could include:-

Whatever you have hanging around. Empty ice cream tub etc.

Ready made enclosure. Hammond , Boss etc avail from digikey, mouser, rs, farnell or others.

Sick of beige laser cut acrylic.

Custom laser cut plastic.

Low quality 3d print. Makerbot etc.

High quality 3d print. Shapeways etc.

Home made milled from solid. If you have access to a mill.

Low volume CNC milled from solid. Protolabs firstcut or others.

Low volume injection mould. Protolabs protomould or others.

There are also lots of services for front panels etc. Many people use PCB for this.

I’ve also seen lots of professional products use Peli cases or similar with custom panels cut to fit. You can even buy mounting packs to go inside.


#8

I second the boxmaker site. I’ve pulled files from there, added to them and run the layouts on my laser cutter.

Also don’t forget about local hobby/craft shops. I’ve used a project enclosure and storage boxes and cut out holes with a dremel tool and drill.