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PICList Thread
'[OT]: homemade plastic case'
2002\01\08@194018 by Vitaliy Maksimov

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Hi List,

Does anyone has experience making their own plastic cases.  Something relatively small (2x5 inches), with a couple of openings for the 7-seg display, three or four buttons, and a LED.  And, how difficult is it to modify an existing case - I suppose I could drill the round holes, but what about the square/triangle openings for the display and the buttons?  If the effort isn't worth it, how much should I expect to pay to have 100-200 of those cases made by someone who has the right equipment?
Thank you in advance for your suggestions,

Vitaliy

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2002\01\08@195109 by Sean Alcorn - Avion Sydney

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on 9/1/02 11:36 AM, Vitaliy Maksimov at spam_OUTpiclist2001TakeThisOuTspamHOTMAIL.COM wrote:

Hi Vitaliy,

> Does anyone has experience making their own plastic cases.  Something
> relatively small (2x5 inches), with a couple of openings for the 7-seg
> display, three or four buttons, and a LED.  And, how difficult is it to modify
> an existing case - I suppose I could drill the round holes, but what about the
> square/triangle openings for the display and the buttons?  If the effort isn't
> worth it, how much should I expect to pay to have 100-200 of those cases made
> by someone who has the right equipment?

I have a factory in Taiwan, and I design all our plastic cases. Do you think
you will ever need more than 200 of these? If yes, it might be worth tooling
up for your own case.

What is your budget for the 200 cases?

Regards,

Sean

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2002\01\08@200833 by Aaron Blohowiak

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What are the NRE of "tooling up" to produce cases? How much is it on a
per-case basis (like it is a 500 dollar flat fee with $1.50 per case, with
accomidations for complex cases?) It the real expense in the tooling and
production or the palstic?

Thanks!

Aaron
> I have a factory in Taiwan, and I design all our plastic cases. Do you
think
> you will ever need more than 200 of these? If yes, it might be worth
tooling
> up for your own case.
>
> What is your budget for the 200 cases?
>
> Regards,
>
> Sean

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2002\01\08@200848 by Mitch Miller

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Sean,

Do y'all have a website we can see some of your handy work, with example
pricing maybe?  Does it only take 200 to make tooling worth while?

-- Mitch

On Wed, 9 Jan 2002, Sean Alcorn - Avion Sydney wrote:

{Quote hidden}

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2002\01\08@201234 by Chris Eddy

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I have a Shurline mill that I converted with steppers and a piece of
purchased software (flashcut) that I cut this sort of stuff on. It is a
big learning curve, and not cheap, but worth the effort in the end. I
cut lots of stuff, from enclosures to mounting pieces to one of test
jigs.

Chris~

Vitaliy Maksimov wrote:
>
> Does anyone has experience making their own plastic cases.  Something relatively small (2x5 inches), with a couple of openings for the 7-seg display, three or four buttons, and a LED.  And, how difficult is it to modify an existing case - I suppose I could drill the round holes, but what about the square/triangle openings for the display and the buttons?  If the effort isn't worth it, how much should I expect to pay to have 100-200 of those cases made by someone who has the right equipment?
>

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2002\01\08@202521 by Sean Alcorn - Avion Sydney

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on 9/1/02 12:03 PM, Chris Eddy at ceddyspamKILLspamNB.NET wrote:

Chris,

> I have a Shurline mill that I converted with steppers and a piece of
> purchased software (flashcut) that I cut this sort of stuff on. It is a
> big learning curve, and not cheap, but worth the effort in the end. I
> cut lots of stuff, from enclosures to mounting pieces to one of test
> jigs.

Sounds like a neat machine. How much did it cost you all up and how large
jobs can you do?

Regards,

Sean

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2002\01\08@203000 by Sean Alcorn - Avion Sydney

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on 9/1/02 12:06 PM, Aaron Blohowiak at .....ellipsisKILLspamspam.....HOME.COM wrote:

> What are the NRE of "tooling up" to produce cases? How much is it on a
> per-case basis (like it is a 500 dollar flat fee with $1.50 per case, with
> accomidations for complex cases?) It the real expense in the tooling and
> production or the palstic?

Aaron,

There is no easy answer to this. There are many, many factors - including
the size of your design, complexity, number of 'slides' required.

We only use top quality tool makers, and finest quality Japanese tool steel
- the breakdown is about 50% steel 50% labour (approximate, 'rule of thumb'
only). You can add a zero to your guess for the tool (as a starting point)
and the actual boxes could quite possibly be cheaper.

Don't forget though, that we have to get them to you and it is not often
ecconomical to ship empty plastic boxes of air around the world.

The tools can be made out of aluminium for short runs. We have looked at it,
and it is not viable (see labour/material breakdown above) - at least not in
Taiwan anyway.

But with all this info, let's say you had a project that needed that
'finished' look and you wanted to make 500 of them and we did an accurate
quote on the tool and it came up say $4500 and each item was $1 each. You'd
be up for $10 each + freight and you would still own the tool.

Maybe the project would justify it maybe not.

The trick is coming up with a generic case that you can use over and over
again. And the thing is, you can put as many 'holes' - round, square - you
name it - as you like during the initial design and we simply 'block' out
the unwanted ones during the moulding process.

Regards,

Sean

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2002\01\08@203829 by Chris Eddy

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It was about $4k all told, and it can fit about 6" by 9" by 2" (piece
must fit under the end of the Z axis beam). It sticks on the X axis on
the far right side for the last inch, so I can do about 6x8 until I get
off my ass and fix the sticking spot.

FlashCut actually sells completed systems.

I typically take some MDF board and fit it to the work surface, and then
mill a groove or recession to hold the piece.

Chris~

Sean Alcorn - Avion Sydney wrote:
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2002\01\08@204057 by dave vanhorn

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At 08:03 PM 1/8/2002 -0500, Chris Eddy wrote:
>I have a Shurline mill that I converted with steppers and a piece of
>purchased software (flashcut) that I cut this sort of stuff on. It is a
>big learning curve, and not cheap, but worth the effort in the end. I
>cut lots of stuff, from enclosures to mounting pieces to one of test
>jigs.

Just how big a project is this?
(Sherline mill gathering dust in basement.)

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2002\01\08@204700 by David P. Harris

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Yeah, check them out at: http://www.flashcutcnc.com/html/machines.html
The Sherline 5400 complete: $2695
David

Chris Eddy wrote:

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2002\01\08@205128 by Chris Eddy

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Shurline makes a set of cups that adapt the stepper to the machine. (X,
Y, and Z axis).
Take off the handles and add steppers.
I made a kit out of Nuts and Volts to drive the steppers with regular
L273 drivers.
Add an off shore 12VDC power supply with >= 10A.
I bought a program from Flashcut that comes with an interface box.
Made a cable from the interface box to the stepper driver board.
Added fans to the stepper driver board when it got toasty.
I make my cut path in my PCB software, and export in DXF.
I import into Flashcut and define depth and speed parameters, et cetera.
I sit and watch it cut since I can't believe it actually works.

PS when Ebay exists, there is just no good excuse for stuff gathering
dust.

dave vanhorn wrote:
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2002\01\08@211928 by Brian Kraut

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I do a lot of cases in small to medium size quanties.  I use ready made
cases and cut the holes with a milling machine.  I square the corners of
the holes with a file.  On holes that need to have square corners and
fairly accurate dimensions I make metal templates that I pop into the
enclosure to use as a guide for the file.

I have just converted one of my milling machines to a CNC so I can get
faster and more accurate results.  I was planning on offering small run
service to other list members once I have it completely set up.  Contact
me off list if you are interrested.  I, or another machinist, can also
make you a steel punch for an arbor press so you can pop all the holes
in one stroke.  That is a good alternative if you will need other small
runs of the same box in the future.  For not a big investment you can
sit it in the corner of your shop and pop out a box every 10 seconds
whenever you need a few.

Vitaliy Maksimov wrote:

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2002\01\08@212129 by Brian Kraut

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Also check out Microkinetics at http://www.microkinetics.com.  I got some of my
parts there after doing a lot of research.

David P. Harris wrote:

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2002\01\08@212940 by Sean Alcorn - Avion Sydney

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on 8/1/02 4:23 PM, Brian Kraut at KILLspamengaltKILLspamspamEARTHLINK.NET wrote:

Hi Brian,

> I, or another machinist, can also
> make you a steel punch for an arbor press so you can pop all the holes
> in one stroke.  That is a good alternative if you will need other small
> runs of the same box in the future.  For not a big investment you can
> sit it in the corner of your shop and pop out a box every 10 seconds
> whenever you need a few.

What sort of money is something like this worth?

Regards,

Sean

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2002\01\08@213335 by Brian Kraut

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Oh, also don't forget to check the enclosure manufacturers and their
distributors.  Most of them offer customization of their enclosures.
Some will give you decent prices for machining holes in small
quantities if you are buying the enclosure from them also.  Electronic
Precepts is a distributor for Pac-Tec enclosures and they gave me a good
price for cutting holes in a few hundred boxes once.  Don't ask me how
much, that was years ago.  I seem to remember it being under five bucks
a piece for a few hundred.  Also check Simco, http://www.simcobox.com, for the
enclosures.  I have used them for years.  Never asked if they can
machine them though.

Brian Kraut wrote:

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2002\01\09@024221 by Larry Williams

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> Just how big a project is this?
> (Sherline mill gathering dust in basement.)
>

Annnddddd, how much is the whole set up worth to you or is this an offer
to cut boxes??

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2002\01\09@091913 by Max Toole

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In a message dated 1/8/02 9:23:19 PM Eastern Standard Time,
RemoveMEengaltTakeThisOuTspamEARTHLINK.NET writes:

> Also check out Microkinetics at http://www.microkinetics.com.  I got some of my
>  parts there after doing a lot of research.
>
>  David P. Harris wrote:
>
>  >Yeah, check them out at: http://www.flashcutcnc.com/html/machines.html
>  >The Sherline 5400 complete: $2695
>  >David
I went to Microkinetics a couple of years ago for a demo.  The demo wasn't
good because one of the linkages to the stepper motor was loose.  Later, I
couldn't get anyone to return my calls so I gave up on them.  I then bought a
lathe and milling machine with digital readouts from Sherline.
Max

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2002\01\09@101413 by Lawrence Lile

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Pro Plastic Designs
toll free 1-877-742-5773
http://www.proplasticdesigns.com

Does plastic enclosures by CNC routing with no tooling cost whatsoever.
Best for prototypes and short production runs, for large runs it is cheaper
to buy tooling.  This might be exactly what is needed.

--Lawrence Lile

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