Tips on picking the right case


Finding the right enclosure to house your latest project can be tricky, so Sparkfun wrote up some handy tips on the how to pick the right one.

The most important tip is to have your components measured before acquiring a case; even being a few milimeters too small can put you back at square one. To do this right, it’s useful to look at the dimensional drawings of prospective cases to get a sense for the size. These typically include recommended shapes for PCBs too.

You may find a case that meets your dimensional needs but doesn’t have the appropriate mounting bosses. To get the placement right, screw some plastic standoffs to the PCB, then use super glue to attach them firmly to the case.

Tips on button choices, hole drilling, and other typical issues with case modification can also be found in this guide. If this is something that’s been stumping you, give it a look.

Comments

  1. BigD145 says:

    I recommend needle files for cleaning up holes. It takes time, but looks nice.

  2. thegimpster says:

    I didn’t read the article yet, but I like to lay out my hole patterns on the computer including cross hairs for the center marks, and print them out on sticky paper. Then i position it onto my box and drill them out or cut them out with a much greater accuracy.

  3. Pedro Molinar says:

    i use a PVC sheet to build my own cases. it always get the size i want.

  4. sly says:

    I prefer plastiweld epoxy to superglue. Of course I also subscribe to the belief that if it’s not overdone, it’s not done right (like using 12 gauge wire where 24 would suffice or having the power handling for 2 amps when only half an amp is needed).

  5. nightwing says:

    Want somethign different? Want a spiffy case? Try it in wood! Did that for a recently completed project. Came out very nice! Yes the whole thing was in wood. Case, support, counterweight even the shipping container.

    Add in blue masking tape to protect/hold and make it easy to mark without marking it up.

    One other material easy is that foam core paper board. Cheep for the amount. Strong. And can cut it with a knife.

    Last can mock up a case using heavy weight paper.

  6. nahtical says:

    “I prefer plastiweld epoxy to superglue.” I would agree if you really needed a good hold, but for most things I can think of superglue works well enough (as in if you’re applying enough force to break the glue you probably have something else broken too), and it is a bit easier/cleaner to work with imo.
    I don’t mean you sly, but in general it seems like a lot of people absolutely hate using superglue, almost a “my projects are too good for superglue” thing. Never figured that one out o_O.

  7. ed says:

    i wish they would have gone into detail about how they created the slot for the sd card. i’m going to be needing to do exactly this type of enclosure modification in the future for my traxmod project.

  8. BigD145 says:

    If your case is fully enclosed, you don’t even need to glue down anything. Just put your spacers in the right places and it’ll keep itself together when the lid is tight. If you do it that way you can build in a more modular fashion and be able to make adjustments on both sides of a board without having to unscrew anything.

  9. curiously strongh says:

    .:.Altoids box.:., “Of course I also subscribe to the belief that if it’s not overdone, it’s not done right “

    I also would say:
    If it doesnt fit on an Altoids box, it’s not done right

  10. Colin says:

    A spring-loaded center punch is great for making sure that your drill bit stays in the center of your marked hole.

    Glue the standoffs to the case _after_ you drill the holes for any board-mounted components. This gives you a little more leeway in case things don’t line up. You can use a longer (or shorter) standoff, or slide the board sideways inside the case if needed.

    For cutting a slot for the SD card, drill the ends first, and then use a sharp knife and a steel straightedge to cut the slot. Many passes are better than a few deep cuts.

    Bevel the edges after the slot is cut and lines up to hide any imperfections, and to make it easier to insert your SD card.

  11. ed says:

    thanks colin, that sounds like a good idea. i wish they made heated cutting knives. seems like the cutting might go faster if you could be melting the plastic at the same time.

  12. Muruli says:

    im a poor boy i want a free internet connection to my laptop whether it is wireless or wired one. So plz help me out from this because i studied only 12passed out i want learn more things using internet plz help me ……………..

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