I've always been told to use protection to avoid "accidents". And when you're working on projects that involve electronics accidents are never any fun. Particularly those dumb ones, like knocking over that glass of soda or pulling on a wire and watching as your Arduino heads off the edge of the bench towards the cement floor.
I've seen a couple different Arduino cases you can use for protection and one just happened to find its way to me, so naturally I had to write it up.
It's official name is "Universal Acrylic Protective Shell For Arduino MEGA2560 R3", I just call it "the case" for short. This particular one is from ICStation (part #7564) and for less than five bucks it doesn't break the bank.
Notice the name does say it is for the Arduino MEGA2560 R3, which I'm sure it fits. But I don't have a MEGA anything, just my little UNO - but it works with one minor tweak.
Step 1: What You Recieve
The case arrived nicely packaged to avoid damage during shipment. And upon opening the package I found that the individual pieces of acrylic were also protected with a peel off covering on the front and back of each piece. And it wasn't even the kind of "peel off" covering that you have to burn off, it came off cleanly.
There's also plenty of hardware (nuts,bolts,etc...) included, which is good cause those little nuts like to jump right out of your hand. Try finding one after it hits the floor, I hope your eyes are younger than mine!
Step 2: Tweek for Uno
The only issue I had was the top of the case not wanting to fit correctly because it was hitting the top of the controller chip on my UNO. To gain that little extra space I needed I trimmed down the large connectors for the power jack on the back of my board and no more issue.
Step 3: Putting It Together
The included instructions are pretty basic, but then so is putting this together. I'm going to throw in a couple of tips anyways.
Mount your board to the bottom piece of the box first, but DO NOT tighten it up yet. Oh, and watch those pre-drilled holes, with the correct side up (on the bottom piece) all four lined up perfectly with my UNO. One more thing, when mounting your Arduino put the bolts in from the outside bottom of the case. That way you don't have the nuts and bolts sticking out of the bottom of the box when you're done.
Now, you didn't tighten it up yet because you are going to slip the front piece of acrylic into place before you do that (see pic). Tighten things up after that's in place and the rest is fairly simple.
Add the two side pieces and the back piece and let the fun begin. Put the top on! You'll probably want some tweezers or something on hand to help with that top. It is laser cut and it fits great, almost too good because lining up the notches on the sides and end piece with the top, while you are making sure the slots for the headers on your Arduino also line up can be .... interesting. Yeah, we'll just call it interesting.
You can try what I did, get one side lined up and put a nut and bolt in one corner on that side. Now get the other side to behave and bolt it down when it does.
Step 4: All Done
Not only does the case look good but it will definitely offer some badly needed protection for your board.
No, it's not spill proof, but it will keep stuff that's not dumped directly on top of the case away from your board.
It will also provide damage control for those times when your board just jumps off of the workbench for no good reason.
And (I like this one) you don't have to worry about shorting out your board when you sit it down on something you shouldn't have.
My overall opinion: nice case, worth the money, always use protection!