Intro to Fabrication – Enclosures

For this weeks enclosures class I wanted to redo the case of my PComp midterm. When presenting this project a few weeks back I was happy with the project, the enclosure however was absolutely horrific. At that point, I remember wishing I had taken this class earlier as people who had worked with this brought some amazing products. This is what my cardboard case looked like (I convinced myself that I was saving the planet by not using acrylic).

That thing could win ugly of the year award. Anyways, this week a went to canal plastic and realized how many different colors the eye can see. After that I went to the container store had a similar experience – this time with boxes. I bought a standard bamboo box with some doubt as I had to drill some holes into the box – and since the boxes seem a little fragile I didn’t know if that would be possible. I needed to make a hole on the side for an ultrasonic distance sensor which was the first thing I started working on.

I got a quick tip from Ben. He told me to use a Spade-bit? One of these round bits to create big circular holes. Also, I thought it would be a good idea to clamp some wood to either side of the box to avoid the bamboo from splintering.

This worked a lot better than I had expected and the two holes separated by an inch fit well with the ultrasonic sensor.

Next, I had to create an Illustrator sketch to use with the lasercutter for the acrylic top of the box. I made room for a switch and a light – just like the original box. In order to do this I had to measure the individual parts which was done using last weeks “tool of the week”: the caliber (or the “Fancy scale” – as I like to call it).

Also I had to create another spacing for an ultrasonic sensor pointing up. During Pcom midterms one of the things pointed out when presenting my project was instructions. My previous box didn’t really provide any instructions except for a couple arrows. I was considering this when making this design – trying to come up with a way to illustrate the gestures that were intended for this project.

Before making the actual cut in acrylic I made a test sample in cardboard. This was useful as I needed to correct the holes for the ultrasonic sensor a bit. After that I cut the actual thing in Acrylic.

I cut the acrylic 3-4 times. A big mistake I made was only to etch once. It looked great through the glass in the actual machine. However, I later realized that the etching was very hard to see. For that reason the instruction images didn’t really come through – I tried using a sharpie to color. That helped a little – but still not to a degree that I’m happy with. So I will give it another go this weekend.

The image shows my final enclosure. I mounted a toggle switch and a light which provided a good finish. Aside from the ecthing error I think it looks good – especially, considering the first prototype.

One thought on “Intro to Fabrication – Enclosures

  1. Nice work, glad you used panel mount components. Does the acrylic panel just sit inside? Is it mounted in anyway?

    It’s possible to make the hand icons clearer. You can recut a new piece of acrylic, I would leave the paper on the top, etch off the hand icons and then spray paint the panel, then pull off the paper. You should have very clean icons. You could also cut vinyl decals on the vinyl cutter.

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