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.