Introduction: Creating a Case for a CNC Controller

If your building your own CNC mill or upgrading one you have you'll have to deal with some sort of CNC controller.  This instructable is on the CNC controller I ordered and the case I needed for it.  I designed this case and laser cut it ( I made it at TechShop - Check them out at http://www.techshop.ws ) you could also CNC mill it (of course).  I'll take you through this step by step with links for box files, box creation website and photos.

Step 1: The Controller

I have a Taig mill converted to a CNC mill.  The controller that came with it was underpowered and eventually burnt out so I ordered a new one.  The controller I ordered from eBay was a TB6560 4axis/5 axis controller.  This controller comes as just a bare PCB board which I'm sure if I left laying around would get shavings and burn out.  The controller board itself is roughly 6"x5" (this doesn't include end connector overhang.  Because I wanted to go with a semi-snug fitting box I decided to go with 6.5"x6.5" box and use 1/4 MDF as the material to work with.

Step 2: Box Designing

One of the first things your going to want to do is design your box.  I like to go to one of the laser cutting / box designing websites.  One of my favorites is BoxMaker at http://boxmaker.rahulbotics.com/ .  The program is simple to use and could even compensate for the tooling if your going to cut it on a CNC Mill as opposed to the laser cutter.  **Remember to include the thickness of the material in what ever box you layout.  Mine is a little snug but gets the job done.  I have included my Corel Draw files for the box parts if your going to cut it on the laser cutter at TechShop.  You will also need to add the rectangular cutouts for the connectors and the screw holes in your design if you don't use my layout.  I used 4.25" long by .75" high for the cutouts.  For the holes I used .25" holes (I'll explain why in a following step).  The holes are 4 5/8" apart on the connector side and 5.5" long wise.

Step 3: Cutting the Box / Placing Stand-offs

Okay you box is laser cut and ready to go.  I like to lay the box out first before gluing that way I know which way the pieces go.  If you notice, I've purposely left the top out of the picture.  When I was laser cutting I decided to do the top in plexi-glass.  My controller has a series of led's on it that blink when the different steppers are being activated so I thought it would be cool to be able to see them.  The holes I laser cut were 1/2".  I did that so I could hammer the standoffs into the bottom of the box.  You could always bolt from the bottom but I didn't want to have bolt (or screw) heads on the bottom of the box.  I used 3/4" standoffs.

Step 4: Attaching Controller and Gluing the Box

At this time, I attached my controller into the case.  I did this now due to the tight fitting nature of my box.  I don't plan on removing it later.  After attaching the controller, I glued the sides of the box into place.  I like to use tacky glue when I work with MDF because it has a little more gel consistency to it which allows you to work with parts your attaching easier.  They have a tendency to stay together better.

Step 5: Finishing Up - Final Thoughts

The following is the completed box.  I let it dry a couple of hours before using.  I also did not attach the plexi top.  I was thinking that I might add a small fan to the inside of the box or possibly on the lid.  Leave me some ideas on boxes you've created for your controllers or projects.

Comments

author
helivander (author)2017-02-22

Hi friend, I'm doing a CNC, and I wanted to know which laser model to buy, what power specification did you use to cut this part?

author
rborsuk (author)helivander2017-02-22

Hi,
At the time I was using an Epilog 60-Watt laser Cutter. If you were to do the case out of just acrylic, then a 40Watt laser would be fine. I currently use one of the Chinese 40Watt ones now and it works great.

Thanks,
Rob

author
helivander (author)rborsuk2017-02-23
Thank you very much for the clarification, I really enjoyed the Project.
author
HalmyS (author)2015-06-15

SANKUO

author
dillonxti (author)2014-03-21

how mutch was the cost of the board and machine

author
Mindmapper1 (author)2013-10-11

Hi I make loads of boxes like this for controllers. At the moment I am making some for PID controllers for my smoker and for my wine making heater. They are great fun to design and make. On the type of controller you are using you will be best adding a fan as the heat sink will get warm. You could also add some holes for improved air flow over the sink.
Easy access to the board is also essential, so some form of catch of screw/bolt will be required.
Another tip is I make all my boxes on a slope so that it is harder to get things resting on the top of them!

author
rborsuk (author)Mindmapper12013-10-16

Thanks Mindmapper1, you have some good suggestions. I would love to see some of your examples. It's fun to learn from seeing how others do it.

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