Cases/Enclosures for electronics project are often a bit of a pain. They cost too much, it is hard to find the right size, and after one is in hand it can be quite a bit of work to finish off all the holes, mounting bits and so on. Perhaps 3D printing can come to the rescue. I looked around for what are called parametric models of cases -- I did not find any that were quite what I had in mind so I designed my own. For this case you basically enterer the height, width and depth in a spreadsheet, then print the case. In the next steps I will fill out a few details I have skipped in this introduction.
Step 1: Getting Ready
I am a big believer in open source, so my tools tend to be open source as well. So you will need:
- 3D Printer, mine is a Prusa, I have both a cheaper clone and the real thing. Any printer should do. One detail, the case can only be as big as the objects you can print.
- FreeCad an open source 3D CAD program. ( with Python, also open source ), and a personal computer ( most OS's are supported ) to run it.
- Misc. tools and hardware for final assembly.
Get FreeCad from FreeCad Download Install as directed at download site....
My design is up at GitHub, get it at: Parametric Case Enclosure download an unzip if necessary.
Step 2: Customize Your Case
Open the downloaded file. It is called Case.FCStd. The opening view of this should look like the picture above. On the left of the screen is a "Model" which list the parts of the model. Double click on: CaseSS ( picture 2 above ). This will open the spreadsheet ( picture 3 above ). The final picture above shows where you can enter the height, width and depth of the case you want. The model is then complete. You can switch back to the Case: 1 tab ( at the bottom of the FreeCad model ) and see your resized model So now just print it!
Step 3: Hold Up
You could just print your case but there are a few things to consider first:
- Print what? There are 6 sides to the case, do you want to print all 6 individually? Probably you want to group them and print the groups. You can do that. The picture above shows on possible choice, print it and you can use sheet stock or printed parts for the top and bottom.
When you have a blank case from a vendor you usually have to drill and punch the case. We 3D printing we can skip this by printing the openings. For this case each side has a sketch that will do this for the corresponding side. You probably want to update these sketches.
- Do the openings.
FreeCad files are not directly printable but stl files are so:
- Convert to stl files.
There is a bit of effort here, you will have to learn a bit of FreeCad and the details of the steps above. You can find these at: Detailed Directions There are also some additional pictures at: More pictures
Step 4: Done
This is an example of a tiny case for a power supply regulator. I will add more as I print them.