Project Cases and compatible boards

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ChrisBob#
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Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2014 9:40 am

Project Cases and compatible boards

Post by ChrisBob# » Tue Apr 08, 2014 10:18 am

There are currently few options for finishing a quick project in a nice enclosure. I suggest you:
  • 1) Sell stock enclosures, and include a 1/8" thick plastic insert that fits the case perfectly, and can be drilled (and maybe tapped) for Hackers to mount their own PCB with hand tools. This would be easy, flexible, and simple to offer. Only the stamped insert is required if you use commercially available cases.

    2) Design more of your PCBs in a standard footprint for a project box. I know that the breakout boards are all optimized for each application, but I would happily pay a little more for one that is easy to mount with consistent hole placement. A pair of holes 1" apart on every board would make them much easier to mount with standoffs.

    3) Make the redboard conform to a nice rectangular hole layout (like this one http://www.serpac.com/userprints/330-430-cbg.pdf). This would be a huge advantage for builders, and would make it much more than an Arduino clone while still keeping it shield compatible. I can't believe the Arduino has that funky board outline, and everyone copies it!
I love putting electronics projects together, but I always get stuck at the step where I have a mess of wires and a circuit board or two sitting on my desk. I have made projects that fit in a case from Serpac (http://www.serpac.com/s-series.aspx), but either I make a custom PCB, or it still ends up being a mess, just now no one can see it. Selling plastic boxes alone is not enough because then the options for mounting are glue, a custom board, or drill holes in the enclosure. Please provide a better option for finishing that last step.


As a bonus, if you offer a nice way to put projects in enclosures I am much more likely to buy more parts for my future projects instead of scavenging from old ones.

lyndon
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Re: Project Cases and compatible boards

Post by lyndon » Wed Apr 09, 2014 5:12 am

Suggestions:
a) I'm sure you're aware that many (most?) enclosure manufacturers already have inserts for many of their enclosures.
b) A $4.95 12"x12" sheet of polycarbonate from Home Depot (in the window repair section) can be cut to fit many cases and it drills easily. It's big enough to make inserts for multiple boxes. It's what I use when have a PC board that is much smaller than the enclosure it's in.

ChrisBob#
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2014 9:40 am

Re: Project Cases and compatible boards

Post by ChrisBob# » Wed Apr 09, 2014 9:24 am

Polycarbonate isn't ideal, but it is nice that it is readily available. That idea is close to what I am suggesting.

Maybe I am bad at searching for enclosures. I have found a few with perf-board inserts, but no good options with a plastic insert that would be ideal for mounting boards using screws or standoffs. If you have some good suggestions then maybe Sparkfun could just stock those.

[update] I did find some good options from Polycase.com, but all with aluminum inserts that cost just as much as the case. It seems like there should still be a better option.

lyndon
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Re: Project Cases and compatible boards

Post by lyndon » Sat Apr 12, 2014 5:28 pm

Polycase is one of the companies I really like. Been buying their enclosures since the mid 90's: http://www.polycase.com/yh-series-panels-accessories

Hammond makes a variety of metal and plastic enclosures and lots of them have internal panels.

Also DIN rail fits many enclosures (and can be drilled to fit the ones it doesn't.

In general, the enclosures most likely to have internal panels available are the ones that are NEMA4/IP66 rated since you can't have any openings in the case.
ChrisBob# wrote:Polycarbonate isn't ideal, but it is nice that it is readily available. That idea is close to what I am suggesting.

Maybe I am bad at searching for enclosures. I have found a few with perf-board inserts, but no good options with a plastic insert that would be ideal for mounting boards using screws or standoffs. If you have some good suggestions then maybe Sparkfun could just stock those.

[update] I did find some good options from Polycase.com, but all with aluminum inserts that cost just as much as the case. It seems like there should still be a better option.
Well, that shouldn't be surprising. For the most part, these enclosures are designed for industrial use where performance matters more than price. Also, you would probably only use those inserts if you were buying a small volume. At qty > 5, I've found that I can order aluminum panels cut to my specification at less than half of the off the shelf insert.

If you're looking for hobbyist friendly pricing, the Home Depot solution is the best. I don't know why you don't like polycarbonate: it's what the better enclosures are made from.

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