About a year ago I found myself in possession of this LED Matrix from Adafruit. It's a cool toy to play with, if difficult, but it isn't very pretty just sitting on a surface with the circuit board and wires exposed. For that reason I decided to make myself a little box made especially to fit this particular matrix for the sake of presentation when working on future projects.
I made this project over at TechShop (http://techshop.ws/).
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Step 1: Materials & Tools
CorelDRAW or Adobe Illustrator (trials available)
1 3/8" 18 x 12" sheet of plywood
Step 2: Designing the Box
The first step is to take the measurements of the matrix. The actual matrix itself is 4.5 x 3 inches, while the circuit board extends out a little more. With that in mind, as well as the fact that I know I'll be housing the cables and Arduino inside, I decided to make the box 5.25 x 4.25 x 6.5 inches. I used this online utility to generate the box pattern.
Open the pattern in Illustrator and select one of the pieces to make the front of the box. On that pice add a 4.5 x 3 inch rectangle where the matrix will stick out (it's going to be a snug fit). I also added two smaller rectangles, as you can see in the picture; I decided to add those to affix to the top and bottom of the interior to hold and support the matrix firmly in place.
Step 3: Cut Out the Box!
Not much to be said here! Use a laser to cut out the box, everything will fit on a 18 x 12 inch piece of plywood. If you don't have access to a laser cutter then you could always go to town with a saw and a drill and plenty of spare time.
(Ignore the extra cuts in the picture, I was being frugal and working on multiple projects.)
Step 4: Put It Together and You're Done!
Now that everything's cut it's time to put it all together, which is made easy by the fact that each piece cleanly interlocks with the next. But first, look at my pictures: you'll see that I didn't make the hole in the back large enough to fit a USB cable through. I ended up cutting/tearing enough wood out to make it work but I corrected this in the pattern I uploaded. Also you'll see what I meant when I added the two small rectangles to the design; positioned and glued correctly they'll keep the matrix in place when it's pushed in with the front piece of the box.
After that, just figure out which piece goes where and start gluing, making sure that you don't glue the front piece where the matrix will be so that we can easily remove it and any other electronics inside. And that's it! If you need a refresher on wiring your matrix then consult the Adafruit guide.