Intro: A Simple But Strong Plastic Box
I am going to explain how to build a simple box using styrene plastic sheets (also known as Plasticard).
The boxes use sheets of plastic with 'L' shaped Plastruct to brace the corners.
I make myself quite a few of these boxes for things like holding my walkbout controllers for my model railways, they are quite cheap to make and if, like me, you are a bit clumsy and break one, they can be easily repaired too.
This Instructable will explain this simpler aspects of making a box.
The photos show two such boxes I have made, one type to hold model railway controlers and the other for a special project involving a Raspberry Pi.
Step 1: What You Will Need
Here is the list of what I used for my example:
1. A4 sized Plasticard/styrene sheet (suggested thickness 2mm).
2. Polystyrene angle (such as this: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/PLASTRUCT-ANGLES-Range-... I use the AFS-10P type - Plastruct 90507)
3. Some glue suitable for Styrene - I use super glue, but you can use PolyWeld or similar
4. A sharp knife such as Stanley Knife
5. Metal Ruler - I use Safety Rulers
Step 2: Cutting the Plastic Sheets
This step shows the very simplest construction creating three sides of a
box, once you have done this, it's a simple case of repeating it to add the fourth side.
Cutting the plastic sheets is very easy, even at 2mm thickness.
WARNING: Younger people should get an adult to do this for them as using sharp blades can be very dangerous!
You need to use a metal ruler, a plastic ruler simply won't be good enough as you could cut into it.
Measure the position carefully and mark it. Then measure again and make sure you got the marks in the right places!
- Hint: measure twice and cut once!
Put the ruler against the mark you've made and hold it down.
- Hint: I always use safety rulers of this so my fingers don't need to go anywhere near where the blade will be!
Using a sharp knife, such as a Stanley or similar, using a small amount of force, carefully and gently run the knife along the ruler.
- Hint: Do not try to cut through the plastic sheet in one go.
A few careful runs of the blade is better and leads to higher accuracy. After a few runs of the blade, you should be able to simply bend the plastic sheet along the cut line and snap the plastic sheet in two.
Now you can cut the Plastruct to length too. I find side cutters are handy of this, cutting the two sides of the 'L' separately as this avoids 'squishing' the plastic.
For my project I cut the sheet into the following sizesa.
1 piece 90mm * 180mm for the face
2 pieces 30mm * 180mm for the sides
Step 3: Putting It Together
Using a strong cyanoacrylate glue (super glue) run a bead down one edge of one of the 'L' shapes you have cut to size, then position this right up to the edge of one of the side pieces and hold for a few seconds while the glue goes off. It has to be right at the very edge. The first photo here shows this.
Repeat for the other side piece.
Now, run a bead of glue along the other side of the 'L' (the one not already glued of course) of one side. Now stuck this to face side of the box. The second photo shows how they should align.
Repeat with the other side.
If you cut another face to create a four sided box, you can repeat all the above to attach that face now.
If your box needs a base, this is also attached in the same way. Remember that the plastruct needs to be slightly shorter for such an end piece, as shown in the third photo.
Some Example Boxes I have created.
A two faced clock
A holster for a NCE Powercab wired model railway controller
Various pictures of simpler boxes for Digitrax controllers, both wired and wireless