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PICList Thread
'[OT] Cutouts for LCD Displays'
2002\12\12@142803 by Larry Bradley

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What tricks to you folks use to make rectangular cutouts in plastic boxes
for mounting LCD displays?

I'd like my latest project to look nice - I can make round holes real easy!
But rectangular ones are hard to do. It wouldn't be so bad if I could get a
bezel for the display, but I never have found a source for them, especially
for the "surplus" displays.

Larry



Larry Bradley
Orleans (Ottawa), Ontario, CANADA

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2002\12\12@143233 by smerchock, Steve

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Larry,
Check out http://www.frontpanelexpress.com . I have
never used them but they might do what you want.
Kin of reminds me of Express PCB, free software and
all.

Steve

Steven Kosmerchock
Radio Frequency Systems
Phoenix,  Arizona  USA
(WORK) http://www.rfsworld.com

http://www.geocities.com/researchtriangle/lab/6584

"Great spirits have always encountered violent
oppposition from mediocre minds."--A.Einstein

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2002\12\12@143746 by G.Smith

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On 12 Dec 2002, at 14:27, Larry Bradley wrote:

>  It wouldn't be so bad if I could get a
> bezel for the display, but I never have found a source for them, especially
> for the "surplus" displays.
Page 17 of this pdf has some
http://engelking.de/bulgin/PDFs/Indicators.pdf
available from Farnell at high cost...

George Smith

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2002\12\12@144008 by Martin Baker

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Dear Larry;

FWIW, I use a dremel tool in a router base, with a bit that I have had for
a while. I cannot remeber where I got it, but it looks like a spiral side
cutting router bit with  colored collar like commercial PCB drill bits.

I also have used a coping saw, but it is tedious and you have to go real slow..

Good luck and please share whatever you find works best.

Martin

At 02:27 PM 12/12/02 -0500, you wrote:
{Quote hidden}

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2002\12\12@150050 by John Hansen

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At 02:27 PM 12/12/02 -0500, Larry Bradley wrote:
>What tricks to you folks use to make rectangular cutouts in plastic boxes
>for mounting LCD displays?

I have mounted a piece of wood on the bed of my table top drill press.  I
use a 1/8" router bit in the drill press.  Then I constructed a frame on
the piece of wood such that when I run the plastic box around the inside of
the frame, the router bit cuts a hole of the right size in the plastic
box.  My need for this is to produce cut outs for 16 key keypads, but I
expect the same process would work with LCD displays as well.  The biggest
problem was getting the frame to be the right size and right location.  I
ruined a number boxes until I got it right, but the set up has saved me
quite a bit of money.

I use the Serpac 031 box, which, when bought in qty 100 are just over $3
each.  Serpac would do all the plastic work for me (you might want to get a
quote from them) for about $8 per box.  My boxes have to have the PC
standoffs drilled out, the square hole cut, and 2 other round holes
punched.  I can do about 15 of these an hour on my drill press, so that's a
savings of around $75  per hour.  I don't enjoy it, and the little plastic
shavings make quite a mess, but it is cheap.

BTW, I would be curious in hearing the opinions of people on the list on
the subject of low quantity contract manufacturers.  Has anyone found this
to be practical in quantities of 100-300 for devices that sell for around
$60-90 each?  I'm currently manufacturing in my basement.

John Hansen

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2002\12\12@152134 by Jinx

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part 1 1636 bytes content-type:text/plain; (decoded 7bit)

This method is a little work but looks better than just a hole

Forget about a neat cut-out and put the efffort into the protective
cover. The thing with alpha-numeric LCDs is that the display area
is ridiculously small compared to the overall size of the PCB. The
unit this LCD is in has only a power switch and a serial connector,
so the display looks a bit lonely. Picture doesn't look too flash but
it's been broken up a bit getting the file size down. IRL it's fine

To make a roughly rectangular hole in plastic a modelling knife is
OK. A few repetitive cuts is all it takes. If the plastic is too hard
or it's metal, drill either a series of holes and snip the bridges
with a nipper or drill a hole in each corner and use a hacksaw /
coping saw to join them. Finish off with a file

Get a piece of acrylic sheet and glue four mounting bolts to it. I
recess the heads half-way into the plastic so there's more grip
for epoxy. Mask the display area with tape, then spray it black
or whatever. How you mount the LCD is up to you. Silicone, tape
or bolt it to the case/acrylic. Works either way. Doesn't have to
be painted. It could be part of a label or cover sheet with writing
or design to break up the plain areas

> bezel for the display, but I never have found a source for them,
> especially for the "surplus" displays.

I've never found one either. Asked and looked around but I don't
think they exist. You an get them for LEDs, but the size is always
wrong for LCDs

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part 2 5458 bytes content-type:image/gif; (decode)


part 3 2 bytes
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2002\12\12@152138 by Larry Bradley

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I like this idea, except that I have a router and router table, so I can
use it rather than a drill press.

At 02:56 PM 12/12/2002 -0500, you wrote:
{Quote hidden}

Larry Bradley
Orleans (Ottawa), Ontario, CANADA

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2002\12\12@152752 by Spehro Pefhany

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At 02:56 PM 12/12/02 -0500, you wrote:
>I have mounted a piece of wood on the bed of my table top drill press.  I
>use a 1/8" router bit in the drill press.

<rest of good stuff snipped>

If you do this, be careful as some drill presses have the chuck held
in place by a taper- just friction- and side loads can make it come
loose, with undesirable consequences.

Best regards,

Spehro Pefhany --"it's the network..."            "The Journey is the reward"
spamBeGonespeffspamBeGonespaminterlog.com             Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com
Embedded software/hardware/analog  Info for designers:  http://www.speff.com

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2002\12\12@153409 by Jinx

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> What tricks to you folks use to make rectangular cutouts in plastic
> boxes for mounting LCD displays?

Put you slightly wrong with previous post.The diagram I sent was
for two 1mm sheets. The top one is painted to hide the bolt heads.
If you use a single piece you'll have to stick it or attach it to the LCD

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2002\12\12@153824 by John Hansen

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>If you do this, be careful as some drill presses have the chuck held
>in place by a taper- just friction- and side loads can make it come
>loose, with undesirable consequences.

Mine is mounted that way, and twice it has fallen out... but never when I
was actually cutting a box.   Though I did jam it in there pretty solidly....


John Hansen

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2002\12\12@154041 by Jinx

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> Then I constructed a frame on the piece of wood such that
> when I run the plastic box around the inside of the frame,
> the router bit cuts a hole of the right size in the plastic box

I have something similar for the router when mounting LCDs
(the large 4- and 6-digit type) in wooden cases. Makes a nice
hole from the front and also a rebate can be made at the back
take the acrylic cover. With a little care the edges of the acrylic
can be stepped to fit the rebate. The result is a flush front

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2002\12\12@154416 by Spehro Pefhany

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At 03:33 PM 12/12/02 -0500, you wrote:
>>If you do this, be careful as some drill presses have the chuck held
>>in place by a taper- just friction- and side loads can make it come
>>loose, with undesirable consequences.
>
>Mine is mounted that way, and twice it has fallen out... but never when I
>was actually cutting a box.   Though I did jam it in there pretty solidly....

A little dab of Loctite can make sure, but then the opposite problem
could occur. ;-)

Best regards,

Spehro Pefhany --"it's the network..."            "The Journey is the reward"
RemoveMEspeffEraseMEspamEraseMEinterlog.com             Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com
Embedded software/hardware/analog  Info for designers:  http://www.speff.com

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2002\12\12@155904 by Jinx

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> I have something similar for the router when mounting LCDs
> (the large 4- and 6-digit type) in wooden cases

I forgot I have a web page showing this

http://home.clear.net.nz/pages/joecolquitt/0panel.html

A clock built into a red pine bed post

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2002\12\12@172325 by Lee Jones

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>> What tricks to you folks use to make rectangular cutouts in plastic
>> boxes for mounting LCD displays?

> FWIW, I use a dremel tool in a router base, with a bit that I
> have had for a while. I cannot remeber where I got it, but it
> looks like a spiral side cutting router bit with colored collar
> like commercial PCB drill bits.

Sounds like a Rotozip Spiral Saw (http://www.rotozip.com) bit.  Sears
sells tool as a Craftsman All-In-One Cutting Tool; US $60.  It's
like a beefed up Dremel Mototool designed to take high side loads.
Originally for drywall people.  Start a hole by plunge cutting
then move the tool sideways so bit's flute edges cut opening.

See bits at http://www.rotozip.com/accessories/zipbits.phtml.

Don't know about the colored collar.
                                               Lee Jones

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2002\12\12@185418 by Mike Harrison

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I've found the neatest way to do rectangular holes is to use a jigsaw
attatchment for a Dremel type drill. Cover the surface with parcel tape to avoid scratching. Cut to within
abouut 1-2mm of the outline, then file to size. For filing, I use a flat file, about 3/4 inch wide, and to avoid
damaging corners I ground off the serrations on the edges with a stone
bit in a power drill. After some practice you can cut very close with
the jigsaw, so not much filing is needed. A foot-pedal on-off control
for the dremel helps a lot.

Another really good way is to use a fretsaw - (may be called something
else outside the UK - I think I've seen it called a coping saw or
scroll saw, although I think coping saws have thicker blades) .
It's a hand saw with a very deep rectangular 'C' frame, and uses very
thin (2mm x 1mm section) blades, held under tension. Works a treat on
Aluminimum and plastic, although for ali you need a lot of tension and
a few spare blades. As the blade has a small section, it turns very
easily on corners.
You can see one of these at rshttp://www.com - search for order code
575-661

They're also really handy for doing cutouts and profiles on PCBs

On Thu, 12 Dec 2002 14:27:37 -0500, you wrote:

{Quote hidden}

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2002\12\12@192704 by Rich

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I believe that Digikey has Bezels.  There are some square punches and a
nibbling tool.  I have resorted to a file.  Someone I know said they use a
drummel tool.  Unless you have a set of punches, you may just have to tape
over the area with masking tape for protection, layout you dimensional cut
lines, drill many small holes and file it to the exact size.  Good luck,
Rich
{Original Message removed}

2002\12\12@200623 by Sean Alcorn - PIC Stuff

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> For filing, I use a flat file, about 3/4 inch wide, and to avoid
> damaging corners I ground off the serrations on the edges with a stone
> bit in a power drill.

Can't you just buy files with 'safe' edges - I think they were called
something like that.

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<excerpt><fixed>For filing, I use a flat file, about 3/4 inch wide,
and to avoid

damaging corners I ground off the serrations on the edges with a stone

bit in a power drill.

</fixed></excerpt>

Can't you just buy files with 'safe' edges - I think they were called
something like that.


--Apple-Mail-6--842748188--

2002\12\13@031702 by Brad Lewis

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If you want box cut out of clear or colored acrylic. Contact this fella
http://www.filener.com You can send him a .dxf file and he will mail you the box.
You just glue it together. Accuracy is about 2 thousandths of an inch. Great
prices too


{Original Message removed}

2002\12\14@055124 by Peter L. Peres

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For ones I use a drill to do the corners and then a fret saw (which we
call jeweller's saw) with said thin blades. The blades are threaded
through the first hole then fastened in the handle. I do not use a file
but sandpaper wrapped on a round dowel. Also I pass a high temperature hot
air tool over the freshly machined plastic edges. This locally melts it
and causes the white disturbed surface to return to the normal color of
the the material. Painting the edges on the inside would also be an
option.

For several I use the hot stencil method, with a custom made steel stencil
on a thermostated heater. I do not use this method much.

Peter

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