So about a year ago I decided that I wanted to get into AVR microcontrollers. After ordering an AVR pocket programmer from Sparkfun , I soon realized that it was too delicate to be sitting on a workbench full of wire clippings. I knew I needed a small enclosure to put it in, but couldn't find anything I really liked. My final decision was to make my own.

This instructable will explain the steps necessary to construct a "Lexan" shell for an arduino UNO (or other arduino). Of course these steps can be adapted to almost anything.

I don't remember where I learned this method, but it was definitely from another Instructable. Here are some with similar methods:

- https://www.instructables.com/id/LCD-Cover/

- https://www.instructables.com/id/CULTRIVOR-Custom-30-Knife-Block/

- https://www.instructables.com/id/Motorcycle-Hand-Wind-Deflectors-version-21/

Step 1: Tools/Materials

Use whatever tools you like, these are what I used:
- Ruler/Square combo
- Table Saw
- Jig Saw
- Pencil torch
- Lathe
- Drill press
- Fine sandpaper
- Small file set
- Dremel

- Lexan polycarbonate (1/10" thickness is usually carried by home improvement stores)
- Chunk of 2X4 wood
- Masking tape
- 4 nice screws with matching nuts (~18mm length)
- 2 - 1" Nylon spacers (must fit over screws)
I am planning on building a polycarbonate case for a raspberry pi, but what I want it know is its scratch resistantance with everyday wear, carrying in pocket, ect. how well have yours held up?
if you used counter-sunk bolts to hold your lexan enclosure together, you could reduce the risk of shorting pins on your shields. you could also give a thin coat of acrylic resin to fill and seal the bolt heads. you could still disassemble it by removing the nuts from the bottom, but you'd make your enclosure more functional
I never even considered the shields when I was building this project, your absolutley right. It would probably also work if the top of the enclosure was tapped with a coarse thread and the screws were inserted from the bottom.
First of all, great instructable!<br>I have a question about labeling/marking polycarbonate box. If you had to have some writings on the outside (i.e. show volume dial) how would you go about it? Engrave and paint or print adhesive labels?
Great question! Not to put down this method of enclosure fabrication (which is wonderful and a great method to learn), there are ways to 3D print your own enclosures, and build labels into them. These cost substantially more than the method in this instructable, but can be good for late prototypes and final projects. <br> <br>Engraving is an option, too. Dremel's can work wonders here, if you have a steady hand (or can make a stencil to work within). If you have access to a laser cutter, they can also engrave Plexi/Lexan/acrylic (cork/wood/paper/cardboard/leaves...). Those can often be found at hackerspaces (Club Workshop in Denver, for instance), or you might be able to look online and find someone near you willing to engrave for you. <br> <br>Stick-on labels are great, too! <br> <br>I have access to the laser cutter option, but if you don't, I'd stick to stickers (hehehe) or mechanical engraving (don't drink espresso before doing this). Either of these methods will work with painting. <br> <br>Whatever you choose to do, keep making stuff!
On the avr programmer in the picture I used an adhesive label, but if I had the technology to engrave I probably would have used it.
nice &amp; good jop O_o
We used to bend small pieces of plexi ( I know, it's not the same ) for ducting in computers.<br><br>We used a stripped toaster oven to heat a strip by holding the plexi just above one of the heating elements. It would make extremely nice bends. Albeit slightly less repeatable than with a jig. ;)<br>
I'm somewhat confused about the Arduino enclosure. In step 3 you say you need 5/8&quot; for the short sides of the enclosure, but in step 5 you use the 1/2&quot; depth. Could you clarify which one is correct, please?
I can see what you mean. The half inch written on the wood indicates the depth of the cut, not the height of the lip it will create. When you heat the Lexan in the jig it almost always bends 1/8&quot; above the wood. To achieve 5/8&quot; high sides I used the 1/2&quot; deep cut. 1/2&quot; + 1/8&quot; = 5/8&quot;. Hope this helps.
Thank you, I see it now. Great Instructable, I gave it 5 stars.
The trick is onto to heat all the way to the ends or at least not to heat them as much. The ends don't have as much material around them to absorb the heat so it's easier to get them hot, a the same time, most of the strength resisting you bending it is in the middle, not the ends. Along those same lines, have you ever noticed that thicker, professionally bent pieces have a slightly larger radius near the edges? That's because they weren't heated as much and if they were they would have overheated before you got a clean bend.<br><br>As far as a heat gun goes, it can be done, but it's harder to get a nice bend with it/direct the heat where you really need it. Most people that do have some luck with it bend against something metal that absorbs the heat faster than the plastic which kind of localizes where the plastic gets the hottest.
I work in a plastics shop, we use a heated filament to evenly heat the plastic along the bend line.
nice !! :)) i'll try to use it on every project i will make.. !! :)) <br><br>this would help me a lot..<br><br>cause enclosures for my pojects really gives me head aches.. haha
that is too cool!!!<br>what about a heat gun???
I tried once and found it difficult to pinpoint where the heat was going. I also tried a propane torch and had the same problem, in addition to setting the wood on fire.
Heat guns don't work on Lexan. I use it a lot in the aviation industry and you can just bend it on a pan break or other similar folding device.
There are also &quot;flexible strip heaters&quot; available fairly cheap, made specifically for (somewhat-precisely) heat-bending (most) sheet plastics... <br>Of course, actually BUYING a tool to use for an 'ible is dangerously close to &quot;cheating&quot;...
I have used a heat gun for bending plastic for some time. You need one of the 300W craft guns: the paint stripping types are miles too powerful. I usually mask the plastic with pieces of sheet aluminium, held on with bulldog clips, to localise the heated area. <br>My heat gun was &pound;3 on Ebay, and has a temp of 350C. It's also very good at soldering and desoldering large ICs.
Fine craftsmanship!
Nicely done man! I'm a prefectionist when it comes to stuff like this, and that arduino case is perfect lol.<br><br>I've been looking for something like lexan to make cases for projects.
Nice job!<br><br>I wonder if a heat gun (the kind that looks like a hair dryer, used to peel paint, etc) would be easier to control? I've seen professional jobs where the edges of the lexan were polished (I was told) with a heat gun.
Really cool idea. I'll try this on my next project.
I feel so stupid. We used to do similar process when I was a machinist. I didn't even think to do this for small projects. <br> <br> Thanks for the reminder
Great instructable! FWIW, step drills work brilliantly for drilling holes in Lexan!
I keep a small bowl of water and a washcloth handy to cool the bends. <br><br>Ever try the hotwire method to make your bends?
You could just stick the Scotch Tape on the plastic film. It will then peel off easily with the film. You get the added benefit of more protective layers, and less chance of scratching the work piece.
I like your bending jig and design. Much easier than cutting and gluing pieces together to make boxes.<br><br>Also, acrylic sheet is a bit cheaper than polycarbonate, and working with it is very similar. Its not as impact resistant as the polycarbonate, but it is still fine for these types of projects.
Did you make that lathe? It's so tiny and ingenious!
I wish I had that kind of skill, it was a Christmas present; it works awesome. http://www.sherline.com/
Nice job. Very well done and put together. Very clean and professional looking. I need to do something like this for my UNO. Thanks for the idea!
Very good project, just wish I had a torch :) Gotta get some butane for that puppy. And learn how to not burn myself. Anyway I have some plexi/acrylic leftover :) Good project!
very nice write-up. for a polished look to the cut edges without a ton of time spent sanding &amp; polishing, you can &quot;flame polish&quot; the edge with the previously mentioned torch. google will give you more information about this, but the same care should be taken as with bending (i.e. too much heat will cause bubbling). disclaimer, i've not attempted this myself, so I can't comment on the amount of time required, but have seen the results on numerous projects and it is quite impressive.
Awesome !
. Excellent
Wonderfully done, this is somthing right up my alley in electronics. I am always hacking apart things and making my own individualized covers for them. This is a method i will soon try. Very clearly explained with detailed instructins and pictures. Keep up the good work! 5*
Beautiful project, and very clearly explained! The look of well-built electronics exposed to everyone's view is outstanding.

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