After a year, I am back with another Instructable on creating custom enclosures for electronic projects and Arduino. In this tutorial I will be using a freeware CAD software called FreeCAD. The download link is here.
Download Link: https://www.freecadweb.org/wiki/Download
In this tutorial I gonna teach you the basic procedures and tools used to make a custom enclosure.
Enclosures make the projects attractive and beautiful as well as protect them.
Here, I am going to design a basic enclosure for my Arduino Nano.
Let's Get Started.
Step 1: Measurement
The most basic and important step is gather the correct and precise measurements of the project and features.
So, I got the measurements of my Arduino Nano using a ruler.
Caution: You may get inaccurate measurements with ruler. So, use Calipers for precise measurements.
Data Based on my measurement:
Length : 43 mm OR 4.3 cm
Width : 17 mm OR 1.7 cm
Height : 8 mm OR 0.8 cm
The next step is to sketch a design on paper based on these measurements.
Step 2: Designing a Basic Sketch for the Enclosure
This is a very important step and many of us usually skip this step. But even professionals never skip this step.
So, get a pen and paper and start sketching a basic design with measurements to prevent any glitch during design process.
For mine I used the Blue Print of Arduino Nano on Arduino Site.
The next step is getting hands on CAD software and designing the 3d model.
Step 3: Getting Hands on FreeCAD
Download and Install FreeCAD on your PC. If you have installed it already then start the FreeCAD and create a new Part using the icon.
After the document is created, save it with a suitable name.
Now enter the SKETCHER workbench for the Workbench drop - down menu.
In the next step we will create a sketch in the workbench.
Step 4: Sketching and Creating the Side Walls
First create a new Sketch on XY- Plane. Now select the rectangle tool and create a rectangle with measurements of the outer wall of the enclosure ( Not the Nano). Then create another rectangle with dimensions of the inner wall of the enclosure. Add constraints to the sides of the rectangle and then exit the Sketcher workbench. The Constraints are the limitations or the dimension of the selected side.
Switch to the Part workbench ( Not the PART DESIGN WORKBENCH). In this workbench we will be creating a solid out of the sketch. For this select the Sketch and click on Extrude icon. A dialog box will pop up in the left side of the window.
In the dialog box, there would be lot of options. But we will focus on a few. First of all under Direction, select Along Normal Option. Then under length, enter the height of the box in the Along option. Check the Symmetric option and create solid option. Hit the enter button. This will create the walls of the enclosure.
In the next step will create a hole for the USB port.
TIP: USE SPACE BAR TO HIDE/ UNHIDE THE SOLIDS. SELECT THE SOLID AND USE SPACE BAR.
Step 5: Creating Hole for the USB Port
In this step we will create hole for the USB port.
First of all we will create a virtual Nano (Not exact just a base model). Create a Cube with the dimensions of the Arduino Nano. Now create another Cube with the dimensions of the USB port. Place the USB port to its correct and precise position. Now we have created a Virtual NANO.
We will now the USB Port out of the Enclosure. For this we will use Boolean Cut Function. First select the enclosure and then select the USB port simultaneously ( Pressing CTRL key). Now click on the Boolean Cut Option and BOOM ! the hole is created.
In the next step we will create similar Holes for the Header pins.
Step 6: Creating Holes for the Header Pins
In this step like the previous one, we will create holes for the header pins of the Arduino Nano.
The process is same. Create boxes with dimensions of the header pins and align these boxes in their correct place with respect to the Virtual Arduino Nano.
Then cut these boxes from the Enclosure and we are almost done. The rough model of the enclosure is obtained.
In the next step we will finish the design process.
Step 7: Finishing the Design Process
This the last step of this tutorial. We will Connect or Join all the surfaces together using the Connectfunction.
This will result in a connected one whole solid.
Yes ! Now we are Done.
But there is lot to add and improve. This is up to one's requirement and choice. So be creative and add more features to it.
After it the design is completed one can 3D print the model. The link will help you in the 3D printing process of the model.
Hope so you enjoyed the Tutorial. Thank you for reading the article and stay tuned for more tutorials related to Arduino and electronics.