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Electronics Enclosures

  1. Dec 26, 2009 #1
    Hi All,

    I've been looking around for a nice hand-held box for some of my various projects to go into. I usually find what I want through Digikey/Mouser/Jameco but thought I would ask you all if you know of any other good companies out there that specialize in interesting enclosures that can be used for holding PCBs/ batteries etc. My apologies in advance if the subject is inappropriate (related to advertising or something).

    Thanks,
    Jason O
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 26, 2009 #2
    Do a Web search for suppliers relevant to where you live.
     
  4. Dec 26, 2009 #3
    I've had a hard time finding good enclosures as well. I usually like to work with aluminum extruded enclosures from Hammond, but they can be tough to work with if you don't have a mill.

    You also might want to try looking at Newark.com as well. Their selection isn't much better than mouser's but they have some pretty good prices on most things.
     
  5. Dec 26, 2009 #4

    dlgoff

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    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I had almost forgotten http://www.budind.com/" [Broken].
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  6. Dec 26, 2009 #5

    berkeman

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    Staff: Mentor

    No problem with the post, Jason. Finding good project boxes is a good thing to bring up.

    I've had very good luck with Pactec boxes:

    http://www.pactecenclosures.com/

    They have a great assortment, and especially for hand-held devices, they have a line that even includes a 9V battery compartment. I've put some pretty cool stuff into these boxes.

    They also offer a semi-custom design service, I belive, where they will tool up to cut holes and such in one of their standard boxes if you want to use it for medium-volume production.
     
  7. Dec 30, 2009 #6
    Hi Everyone,

    Thank you all for the great links, I have heard of Bud Industries before and have even used on of their boxes for a prototype I made before. But now I have another question for you all related to boxes.

    Does anyone know if there are any good tutorials out there that talk about some different techniques for mounting PCBs, buttons, knobs, LEDs and LCDs etc to boxes. I've seen many different techniques used depending on the situation but I all seems like black magic to me sometimes figuring out how to mount things securely and make them look nice too. Of particular interest to me is understanding how people mount buttons, LEDs and LCD screens to the covers of boxes.

    Thanks,
    Jason O
     
  8. Jan 1, 2010 #7
    Hello Jason and welcome to the new year,

    I'll tell you of an inexpensive technique that's worked out for me. I can't take credit for it as our designers were the one's that worked out the specifics.

    Basically, you start with the height of your connectors. Most DB connectors are just shy of 1/4" from face to PCB. This establishes the spacing between your board and case. To further stabilize the board, use a few 1/4", 4-40 spacers to mount the board to the case

    Use surface mount LEDS and round light pipes to convey the light to the surface of the case. The light pipes are round, and or either pressed in a slightly undersized hole, or held by an application specific o-ring.

    As to switches, surface mount tact switches are available at a variety of heights. You can pick switches that come even with the case for zero and reset functions, or use slightly taller tact switches for regular functions.

    For irregular connectors and toggle switches, you can place them along a common edge of the board and rotating the board during placement. This type of assembly has issues including the need for machining the additional surface.

    After meeting the basic requirements for connections, indicators, and buttons, the design can be made attractive and more user friendly with the addition of a label that covers the top of the case. If the screws between the case and board are flathead and properly countersunk, the label will cover them.

    Oh, one other thing. Displays are available with screw mounts, but they may not be correct height. In these cases, headers come in handy, along with Insulation Displacement Connectors and cabling.

    These construction techniques are great for small runs while containing costs.

    - Mike
     
  9. Jan 5, 2010 #8
    If you have a budget of about $100 or more you can get a customized enclosure with all the cutouts you need for connectors, switches, displays, and add color and silkscreen.

    Aluminum and stainless steel - http://www.protocase.com/index.php [Broken]
    "30 different materials including ABS, Nylon, PC,
    Delrin, PEEK, ULTEM, and aluminum" http://www.firstcut.com/
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  10. Jan 5, 2010 #9
    Hello Everyone,

    Thank you all for the great tips and suggestions! I especially like the prototyping website link. I'll keep them in mind when I'm ready to do some very professional work for finished prototypes. I'll pop back into this thread again some other time if I get stuck on something but it looks like you have all given me a great start here :smile:

    Thanks,
    Jason O
     
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