Building a Snazzy Case

Hey Gang I bought a couple cases for my first 5 prototypes and I struggled horribly with putting in attractive openings for my low voltage and line voltage relay connections. Using a dremel I was still not able to make it look ‘really good’.

Does anyone have suggestions on how to make good looking connections to a pre-built case? Any ‘finishing tips’ to make it look a bit more pro?

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They make really tiny routers I believe. You can get some really nice finishes with routers/mills.

Other suggestions would be to use panel mount connectors. Threaded components which are built to be inserted into a panel. The hole they go into can be pretty ragged and you’ll never see it

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Thanks for the suggestion on connectors. Can you link me an example? Keeping in mind very small plastic box. Looks awesome just has my hideous openings lol

Hi @Herner

Lots of folks are 3D printing prototype enclosures these days–if you search the forum a number of folks have done that for Spark projects.

For prototype plastic boxes, I have used an exacto knife blade bolted a soldering iron as a hot knife to cut openings in plastic cases–it leaves a cleaner but sometimes rolled up edge. You have to experiment to find the right speed to melt through.

For small scale production, I have used a local machinist and got him to mill them on a milling maching. Later I bought a milling machine and have done it myself. You have to experiment a bit since the plastic wants to weld itself to the cutter if you go too fast. Sometimes using a special bit with different cutting angle designed for plastic works better. I got my tabletop milling machine from Little Machine Shop but there are lots of suppliers including old machinery.

Last time I had to do a production runs of a few thousand plastic boxes, I got the box maker to machine them for me. I also got them nickel sprayed on the inside for RFI shielding but it depends on your antenna configuration.