Step 4: Making the Case

So how's it made? I used Adobe Illustrator to edit and design the case. I then converted it to the necessary format (I've done this already for you and included it at the bottom) and sent it to Ponoko to be lasercut. Unlike many lasercut cases, I decided not to use the typical tabbed edge design. Instead I used multiple layers of frames with the middle sections removed and just four simple holes in the corners for screws. This method creates more excess scrap when finished, but I find it more attractive than the tabs. I included images of what the various layers and side panels look like, but the real files look much more plain.

Back Plate Design:

The LCD mounts into back plate flush as it too (from the top of it's PCB) is only 1/8" thick. The sides also have very long slots into which the side panels mount.

Middle Plate Design:

The middle plate serves as a retaining frame for the polycarbonate sheet along it's edges, and also provides the sides slots for the panels as well.

Cover Plate Design:
Just to make everything more aesthetically pleasing, I wanted the cover plate to look nice. Its functional purpose is  to retain the polycarbonate sheet in place and provide holes for the knobs to attach to. The inner hols for the screen and speaker are wider than the heads of the screws themselves, so the screws will appear to be "counter-sunk" into the case. Nothin' much else to say, the speaker cover is a tiny little Vault-Tec logo and there are a few symbols etched near the rotary encoders to mark their future purpose as input knobs.

If you're going to use Ponoko to make your case you'll first need to make an account. Once you've properly registered, log into your account and go to My Designs. Upload the files I've provided. The project uses a single sheet of P3 (15"x30") 3mm glossy hardboard. You can use whatever material you like so long as it's 1/8" thick, but I preferred the hardboard as it's the cheapest option :P

If you received your case from Ponoko, you'll first have to remove the adhesive paper that covers both sides. The cardboard flap that the board is shipped in makes a wonderful spray painting surface, so that's what I used.

Front and back plate construction:

1. Sand until the hardboard is no longer glossy. Wipe off excess dust.
2. Take the boards to a well ventilated area for painting.
3. Spray a nice even layer of primer. Allow to set according to the instructions on the can.
4. Spray the first coat of regular paint. Allow to set
5. Spray three more additional coats from alternating directions each time. (top->bottom, right->left etc.)
6. Allow to dry.

I don't have any shots of the final painted plain sheets, but just feel free to paint until you achieve the desired color.