In this Instructable I share with you a simple method of constructing DIY Electronic Enclosures based on a technique devised by my dad and me over 30 years ago.
This method is based on fastening the front and rear panels of the enclosure to four rectangular members at the four corners using machine screws.
In addition to drilling and cutting used with metallic enclosures this method involves the additional operation of tapping drilled holes.
The front and rear panels along with the four rectangular members forms the primary structure onto which other components can be fixed. We can choose the materials based on the size of the enclosure and the corresponding strength requirements. Larger enclosures with increased strength requirements would need additional horizontal members both front-to-back and side-to-side.
Essentially this method is scale-able and lends itself to use of different types of materials which is a great advantage to DIY enthusiasts.
To illustrate the flexibility of this technique, the final box built and a few earlier units are shown for completeness.
In the next steps I illustrate the Design, Fabrication and Assembly methodology leading to the completed electronics enclosed in this DIY enclosure.
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Step 1: Design of the Enclosure
Use 'Google Sketchup'
I carried out the design of the electronic enclosure using 'Google Sketchup'.
I found that this design tool was very easy to use and provided me with views of the dimensioned components.
I am attaching the 'Sketchup' files for the full assembly and exploded view. From the 'Sketchup' drawings I have extracted views of:
The final Assembly
The exploded View
The dimensioned front panels
The dimensioned rear panel
The dimensioned bottom plate
The dimensioned view of the 4 horizontal members
and the dimensioned top cover
I then used these views for fabricating the individual parts.
Step 2: Fabrication of the Enclosure
These were the fabrication steps:
Cut two pieces of perspex sheet 3 mm thick to a size 140 mm X 75 mm.
Cut four pieces of 10 mm X 10 mm aluminium rectangular rod to 75 mm + margin.
File the four pieces of aluminium rod to exactly 75 mm.
For using 4-BA taps use drill size 33 to drill holes at the ends of the aluminium rods to a depth of 20 mm.
Tap these Holes using 4-BA taps (3 in sequence from initial tap to final tap).
Drill 4-BA clear holes at he four corners of the front and rear panels as per Sketchup view.
Carry out a trial assembly of the font and rear panels.
Cut 3 mm thick perspex for the bottom plate as per dimension.
Drill the holes for the fitting the legs to the bottom.
Tap the leg holes 4 BA and fix with 4 screws.
Drill and tap the holes for fixing the bottom and fix bottom with legs.
Make the required cut-outs in the front and rear panels.
Fix back along with the bottom plate.
Identify material for the top cover.
I chose a thick cardboard container (thickness ~0.8 mm). Cut the cover to size as per the 'Sketchup' dimensions. Drill and tap the holes for fixing the top cover.
Then we have the fully assembled Enclosure
Step 3: Final Assembly of the Electronics
The thumb-wheel switch, jacks and other switches are fixed to the front panel.
While doing this a sheet of glossy paper with the legends printed on it interspersed behind the perspex front.
For this project the Arduino Uno along with an add-on card is fixed to the bottom plate.
The thumb-wheel switch and upper switches are wired.
The lower jacks are wired and the electronic assembly is complete
The electronic project enclosed in this DIY enclosure is now ready for use.