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The box?

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Oznog

Active Member
Down to the least hi-tech part of a project, but perhaps the hardest to pull off.

I'd like a small production run, like 100 cases. It'd need a cutout or two and some holes drilled. It'd be nice to look at options like using membrane buttons on front with a printed surface.

I have made prototypes based on bare boxes out of Hammond, Serpak, etc. But I have no idea where to start with getting a custom job done. What are my options?
 

Optikon

New Member
Oznog said:
Down to the least hi-tech part of a project, but perhaps the hardest to pull off.

I'd like a small production run, like 100 cases. It'd need a cutout or two and some holes drilled. It'd be nice to look at options like using membrane buttons on front with a printed surface.

I have made prototypes based on bare boxes out of Hammond, Serpak, etc. But I have no idea where to start with getting a custom job done. What are my options?
I don't know about custome printing on membrane buttons etc.. but for custom boxes, you might consider emachineshop.com

D/L the CAD software (free and VERY easy to use) upload the order, pay for it and you'll get delivery in a few weeks. Thought I would mention it since you have to many to do by hand. They are a little pricey but I overlooked that for my one-off projects because it was just so damned easy & convenient to use.
 

zevon8

New Member
FiBox ww.fibox.com makes loads of different cases from NEMA styles to more like project cases. They have a huge range of combinations of lid to base, either clear or solid, etc

They will do machining work on their boxes for you, I don't know if their is a minimum QTY, but 100 would probably qualify.

I have used some of their boxes that have a slight recess in the lid that is made to allow a membrane panel or label fit into flushly.

There is a company in Quebec that does custom membrane switches
(Their business card is a functionsl 3 switch , 3window panel complete with flex strip cable LOL, I used it in a project )


Serico, Inc.
4587-T Boul. Allard
Drummondville, QC J2A 1R9
Canada

Telephone: + 1 (819) 477-1919
Fax: + 1 (819) 477-1858


I have no association with either company, other than I have used their products, BTW
 

Oznog

Active Member
I've seen eMachineShop.com. Neat that they have software, but the software seemed pretty buggy to me and the prices didn't seem great. Do they actually machine a box though??

I'm checking out FiBox. They look promising!

Somebody just clued me in to the idea of plastics welding with Lexan rectangles. Not exactly practical for 100 cases, but it'd be quite helpful for a prototype case when the std enclosures aren't in the ballpark dimensionally. I've run into just that case with a project using the 240x64 T6963C graphics display. It's fairly long and narrow, but flat. Digikey carries nothing even close. Any case long enough is many times too large in the other 2 dimensions.
 

Optikon

New Member
Oznog said:
I've seen eMachineShop.com. Neat that they have software, but the software seemed pretty buggy to me and the prices didn't seem great. Do they actually machine a box though??

I'm checking out FiBox. They look promising!

Somebody just clued me in to the idea of plastics welding with Lexan rectangles. Not exactly practical for 100 cases, but it'd be quite helpful for a prototype case when the std enclosures aren't in the ballpark dimensionally. I've run into just that case with a project using the 240x64 T6963C graphics display. It's fairly long and narrow, but flat. Digikey carries nothing even close. Any case long enough is many times too large in the other 2 dimensions.
Fibox does look good indeed. They look very high quality and professional. I am curious about their pricing, my first feeling was that they might be expensive. For most hobby type work, one doesn't need UL & other NEMA certifications.. (which I suspect you somehow pay for in the end product)

Also, plastic welding with Lexan? I've not heard of this before, has anyone done this with some experience to share? What kind of tools / skill is involved? how "clean" looking will the joints be? I'm very curious.
 

zevon8

New Member
If you want to bond Lexan ( polycarbonate ) you can solvent weld it, achieving a clear "one-peice" joint with Methylene Chloride, but good luck finding it. It is generally considered a "professional only" product, but you may be able to get some from a sign maker shop that does outdoor signs. They use it alot, especially for hanging strips. Mention hanging strip glue if you go there, maybe they will sell you some, :D It's not good for you, so its hard to find as joe Public. Some better R/C model shops carry good Lexan solvents, another option.

The other easier choice is IPS Weld-on #3 or some others they make : http://www.ipscorp.com/ind_html/selectind.html It's thinner than water, and applied with a syringe or bottle with needle, capilliary action draws it into the joint. Don't do it on a really humid day though, it'll make the joint hazy or frostly looking.

You do have to make sure what material you use though... Lexan is GE Plastics tradename for polycarbonate, Arcylic is Polyacrylate, and uses a different solvent or "glue" IPS Weldon #4 is OK for acylics.


If you are really desparate to frustrate yourself, you can "weld" plastic with a hot air tool, and plastic filler rod. This is usually only done with things like ABS. It is something that you will try once and proclaim is for masochists. It involves a jet of low speed very hot air, a small filler rod, and is sort of like brazing. Damn hard to make look nice though.

Fibox makes very nice stuff, and the prices are about 1/3 as much more than the similar items you see at DigiKey made by Bud industries. Fibox has a bigger selection, and way more options though. I have used Bud cases, they are pretty good too. One more maker is Rolec Technocase, carried by Hammond in Canada, but alot of the sizes are hard to get. Hammond is now in the process of producing their own line of Rolec style cases, not sure how big the selection will be though.
 
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