I’m curious what folks here are doing for custom cases in the gap between “take your Dremel to an off-the-shelf project box” and “have an overseas manufacturer churn out 100K units.” Basically I’d like something customized to the specific needs of my project (needing more than just the Photon board inside the case), to look reasonably professional, and I don’t want to build or modify it by hand. But to start out I probably need a dozen or less, and I don’t want to invest a huge amount of money in what is still an experimental project. Even if I were to decide to commercialize it, the niche is fairly small, so my production is never going to be at a massive scale.
Companies like Ponoko seem to have some potential, but I’d like to hear what people have been successful and happy with in similar situations.
Companies that sell plastic project boxes can usually do custom machining and printing on their cases for an extremely reasonable fee. These cases can look very professional, especially for lower-volume products. It’s also super-easy to transition from a dremeled project box to one of these nicer looking cases. I like http://www.polycase.com/, but there are tons of companies that do this sort of work.
You can also get full-custom metal cases pretty reasonably from companies like http://www.protocase.com/ (Protocase makes all the cases for Backblaze, btw). These are surprisingly affordable, but geometries can be pretty limited.
You can also get reasonably priced cases from http://www.toollessplasticenclosures.com/. They do good work, and they support more creative geometries than either of the above two options. It’ll be more expensive than customizing an off-the-shelf case, but less expensive (depending on size and volume, of course) than 3D printing or short-run injection molding.