Introduction: Simple Project Enclosure for Circuits
Creating a proper enclosure for an electronics product can be a pain in the neck sometimes. The box isn't big enough. Or your buttons and connectors don't fit. You can't get to the battery after you put it all together. There is always something.
Well, if you have access to a laser cutter, I've found the following technique quick and painless.
Technically, it is not exactly a full enclosure, just a top and bottom panel attached to each other using standoffs, but it is very versatile and easy to work with.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
Acrylic, I used 1/8" thick
Circuit Board, I used this one from Radio Shack
Standoffs, you can find these all over the place, I used McMaster-Carr
Nuts and screws that fit the standoffs, again I used McMaster
You will also need some sort of vector graphics program to create/edit the panels, I used Adobe Illustrator. Below are the files I used for this project.
The most important thing is that your panels have mounting holes in the same position as the circuit board you're using.
I've also found it very helpful to laser etch the name of the circuit into the top panel and the actual circuit diagram on the bottom panel.
Step 2: Putting It All Together
When your are done building your circuit board and laser cutting your acrylic panels, you will need to determine how much clearance you need between the board and the top panel (don't forget to include the battery in these measurements). This will determine what size of standoff you require.
Using the standoffs and nuts (or screws if you got standoffs with two female ends), mount the bottom panel to the circuit board. Use a wrench to tighten.
If you need to mount switches, controls, or connectors to the top panel, now is the time to do it. Then place the panel over the standoffs and screw down the top panel.
I've used this technique on a bunch of circuits and have found it very useful. Hope it works out for you as well.