One method of fabricating translucent faceplates


Enclosures are the bane of electronics engineers (or so says [Dave Jones] of the EEVblog and The Amp Hour). But fabricating a case that looks great has been getting easier lately. [Eric Forkosh] produced this professional-looking translucent face plate with a minimum of effort. He found a way to use a laser cutter to etch icons in acrylic.

Admittedly, this is not very involved. But just look at the quality he achieved. The secret to his success (aside from having a quality laser cutter on hand) is to use high-temperature spray paint. The acrylic is coated in paint and allowed to dry before heading to the laser cutter. By using the rasterize setting under low power he kills two birds with one stone; the paint is etched away while the acrylic is left a little bit rough to act as a diffuser for LEDs behind the panel. [Eric] cautions against using regular spray paint. In his write up he shows off the unsightly results of doing so.

This makes a great addition to some of the case options out there. One that we have been keeping our eye on is the Sick of Beige initiative being spearheaded by [Ian Lesnet].

Adventures in mold making and making your own enclosures


The folks at SC-3000 survivors have been working on a cartridge capable of storing dozens of games for the ancient Sega SC-3000 computer. The PCB works beautifully, but making a case for their cartridge left them with few options. They could use a 3D printer or simply collect a whole bunch of used cartridge cases, but making their own mold for a cartridge case was the best solution.

To create the mold for their multicart enclosure, the SC-3000 survivors first took an old, used case and made a silicone mold. While the first attempt at mold making was encouraging, several problems began to crop up due to the lack of vent holes and wiggling the mold before the resin had set. Before long, a proper technique to make resin casts was developed: use lots of resin, and don’t apply pressure or rubber bands to a curing mold.

We’re always impressed by what can be done with a few sheets of plastic, some Bondo, and the inordinate amounts of patience and sandpaper we see with other case mods and enclosure builds. the SC-3000 survivors put together an enclosure that rivals any Bondo build, and we’re happy they put out this tutorial.

Tutorial designs 3D printed cases for your projects


[Landon Cox] recently finished up a 3-part tutorial on designing project enclosures for 3D printing. The series is great if you have not yet tried your hand at this realm of the 3D printing universe, but there’s a lot to take away about design and modeling even if you don’t plan to print your creations.

He starts off part one of the tutorial by explaining the need for 3D printed cases. He believes it’s the natural progression after you’ve made it far enough to have your own PCB manufactured. Why not add a well designed and fabricated case to compliment your meticulously laid out circuitry? In part two he gets the design ball rolling by modeling the top and bottom portions of the case seen above in blue. The final step is to design a face plate that matches the needs of your circuit; in this case it’s DB9 and RJ45 connectors.

It’s not all smooth sailing along the way. [Landon] does actually print the case and the faceplate is just a bit too big for the the rest of the enclosure. But better too big than too small as shaving away a bit of the edges fixes it right up.

[via Adafruit]

Building a Raspi case in true Hackaday fashion

[Ben] needed a case for his Raspberry Pi. Instead of going the usual laser-cut plastic or 3D printed route, he took a path far more familiar to us here at Hackaday. His case is built out of aluminum found in his basement, providing a neat reuse for some old aluminum extrusion he had lying around.

Part one of [Ben]‘s thoroughly documented build goes over the process of acquiring some of this very handy aluminum extrusion. Part two covers a very neat feature of [Ben]‘s scrap of aluminum: because of a pair of internal chamfers, [Ben] was able to mount his Raspi and USB hub to a separate piece of PVC and slide the whole assembly in.

The final assembly included dremeling a piece of aluminum plate for the Raspi and USB hub ports and wiring the whole thing together.

Right now the newly enclosed Raspi is working happily as [Ben]‘s home server. Not exactly the use case a rugged aluminum case would see the best use from, but it looks great all the same.

This diy fume extractor will be a showpiece for your workbench

We have no idea how well this diy fume extractor works, but it sure does look great! We’ve been thinking that it’s time to stop trying to blow away the solder fumes while working on project and this might be just the kind of motivation we need. The 6″ cube doesn’t get in the way of your work, and since it includes a carbon filter it should keep the smell of burning flux to a minimum.

[Jeff's] project basically brings together a 120mm PC cooling fan with a power source. The fan mounts inside of a steel enclosure he picked up from Digikey. The face plates that come with it were modified to accept the fan, as well as the grill hardware that goes with it. Before assembling he painted the box with some Rustoleum “Hammered” black spray paint. This gives it a texture that will hide any imperfections in your application.

We’re a bit hazy on how this is being powered. It sounds like he’s plugging the cord into mains but we don’t see any type of regulator to feed what must be a 12V DC fan. There are build instruction available but they didn’t clear up our confusion.

Summer vacation home for the indoor cats

Throw your indoor cat a bone (or a tuna steak as it were) this year by building them a summer vacation spot. Since [Travis Brown] lives on a busy street he worries that his cat would get hit by a car if allowed to roam outside. He and a friend found a suitable alternative with this outdoor cat enclosure.

The centerpiece of the build is a platform that overlooks the back yard. It’s got a couple of different levels which lets the cat see over the deck railing, and provides a bit of shade from the sun during the day. Chicken wire encloses the entire structure to make sure our feline friends don’t go off on their own, but the gang-plank that connects the platform to the house lets them decide when to go outside or come back in. The entrance to the house is an open window covered with plywood and fitted with a cat door. This is a nice touch since the cat door can be locked to keep them in a night.

Between this for summer and the heated bed for winter you’re going to have the most spoiled cat on the block.

Raspberry Pi Case Roundup


If you haven’t heard of it yet, the [Raspberry Pi] is all the rage on [HAD] these days, so why not a round up of some of the excellent cases available?

[Nhslzt] wrote in to tell us about his laser cut Bramble Pi finger jointed case.  These are available for only 12 Euros, or roughly $14.95 in the US. Sure, the exchange rate may not be in America’s favor these days, but it’s cheaper than a trip to Dresden, Germany where some of the profits from this are to go towards setting up a makerspace there!

If you’re feeling more into the additive 3D printing DIY process, why not just download one and make it on your printer? [Thingiverse] has an excellent selection of cases many featuring, as you may have guessed, a picture of a Raspberry on the top!  (Here’s the printed case pictured).

Finally for something more colorful (see the pic after the break), you can’t get much better than the [Pibow]. If you’re looking for something colorful, and very solid (as described) this may be the case for you! You can order one here or use the unique design to inspire your own case (Thx Brian!).

As for stuff that we’ve already written about at HAD, this case looks quite slick made out of black acrylic, as does this one, combining the use of a laser cutter and 3D printer. Of course, if you’re going for the strictly utilitarian model, you can always go with one held together with rubber bands and tape!

[Read more...]