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'[OT] plastic box mfgs'
2010\01\12@183126 by alan smith

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anyone have a compiled list of plastic box vendors.  I know pactec and bud, but others?


     

2010\01\12@183344 by Chris Smolinski

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I use Serpac stuff a bit. There's also Hammond.

>anyone have a compiled list of plastic box vendors.  I know pactec
>and bud, but others?
>


--

---
Chris Smolinski
Black Cat Systems
http://www.blackcatsystems.com

2010\01\12@184357 by Matt Pobursky

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I've used all the others mentioned, plus TEKO and OKW.

Matt Pobursky
Maximum Performance Systems

On Tue, 12 Jan 2010 18:33:06 -0500, Chris Smolinski wrote:
{Quote hidden}

2010\01\12@190035 by Philip Pemberton

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alan smith wrote:
> anyone have a compiled list of plastic box vendors.  I know pactec and bud, but others?

Hammond (who also make some pretty sweet looking aluminium cases)
Vero
Boss Industrial Mouldings (BIMBOX series -- do they still make those?)
Teko

... and now my mind is drawing blanks. A bit of Google-Fu should help
you find more names -- try "plastic equipment box" or "plastic
enclosures" for starters.

--
Phil.
spam_OUTpiclistTakeThisOuTspamphilpem.me.uk
http://www.philpem.me.uk/

2010\01\12@190455 by Dave Tweed

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alan smith wrote:
> anyone have a compiled list of plastic box vendors.
> I know pactec and bud, but others?

Polycase

-- Dave Tweed

2010\01\13@082418 by M.L.

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-Polycase: Inexpensive, quality seems a little lower than others but
I'm sure it's good enough.
-OKW: Their minitec cases are very nice in quality and variety of
sizes and colors
-Pactec: I have a couple pactec FXT series cases here, they seem to
have nice features and are very rugged.
-Serpac: Only sell in low quantity through Digikey (thus pricey) but
they are the only Mfg. I've found with an integrated "AA" battery
holder. (P/N H-65,AA)

I look forward to hearing others' experiences as well. It's not easy
evaluating enclosures.

--
Martin K.

2010\01\13@124702 by Chris Smolinski

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>-Serpac: Only sell in low quantity through Digikey (thus pricey) but
>they are the only Mfg. I've found with an integrated "AA" battery
>holder. (P/N H-65,AA)

They sell through Mouser also - prices generally less than DigiKey
(but then Mouser is almost always less than DigiKey)

--

---
Chris Smolinski
Black Cat Systems
http://www.blackcatsystems.com

2010\01\14@140140 by M. Adam Davis

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My list is here:

http://delicious.com/stienman/enclosure+supplier

Although I'll need to go through this thread and add everyone else's
suggestions now...

-Adam

On Tue, Jan 12, 2010 at 6:30 PM, alan smith <.....micro_eng2KILLspamspam@spam@yahoo.com> wrote:
> anyone have a compiled list of plastic box vendors.  I know pactec and bud, but others?
>
>
>
>

2010\01\14@191846 by Funny NYPD

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Good job. Thanks for your time and contribution.
By the way, anyone know a good low cost plastic box mfgs who delievers molded (special made) enclosure (starting qty 1k) in North American. So far, all suppliers I found are from Far East.

Funny N.
Au Group Electronics, http://www.AuElectronics.com
http://www.AuElectronics.com/products
http://augroups.blogspot.com/




________________________________
From: M. Adam Davis <stienmanspamKILLspamgmail.com>
To: Microcontroller discussion list - Public. <.....piclistKILLspamspam.....mit.edu>
Sent: Thu, January 14, 2010 2:01:14 PM
Subject: Re: [OT] plastic box mfgs

My list is here:

http://delicious.com/stienman/enclosure+supplier

Although I'll need to go through this thread and add everyone else's
suggestions now...

-Adam

On Tue, Jan 12, 2010 at 6:30 PM, alan smith <EraseMEmicro_eng2spam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTyahoo.com> wrote:
> anyone have a compiled list of plastic box vendors.  I know pactec and bud, but others?
>
>
>
> -

2010\01\14@204744 by M.L.

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Any medium size city has a plastics house near it. Universal Plastics
in Holyoke, MA does thermoforming which is cheaper in tooling than
injection molding but limited to certain styles - and higher in unit
cost.

Almost all of the plastic cases you see are injection molded where the
tooling starts at around $10k and goes astronomically upward from
there. This is why you see most people struggling to find an
off-the-shelf case that will work for their application.

Even spending $10 to have a case machined is going to be a better deal
(up to a point...) than paying a mech. e. to design your case and then
spend $25k for the injection tooling.

I know a guy in upstate NY who owns an injection molding place if
you're interested.
-
Martin K

On Thu, Jan 14, 2010 at 7:18 PM, Funny NYPD <funnynypdspamspam_OUTyahoo.com> wrote:
> Good job. Thanks for your time and contribution.
> By the way, anyone know a good low cost plastic box mfgs who delievers molded (special made) enclosure (starting qty 1k) in North American. So far, all suppliers I found are from Far East.
>

2010\01\14@214052 by Funny NYPD

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The price is a killer.
If my memory wasn't wrong, I am curious how far-east factory can make it so fast, so cheap but with a decent quality.

Here is what I have learned from one of my clients in CT:
A custom made mold and sample in own factory at CT USA: time: 7 weeks after CAD drawing is done. All in-house. Internal cost/quote: US$7K-15K;
>From a Factory in Guangdong China: time: quoted 7 days after CAD drawing send out via email, samples were actually delivered in the 5th business day to CT USA. cost: <US$3K; Quality are good. volume is about 1K/first year, 3~5K/2nd year, 30K maximum. Unit price (including shipping) after model cost is about 1/10 of in-house made price. And that quantity doesn't sounds a lot to me.

I met the gentleman from New York city, who cooperates my clients and the factory in China. He visited the factory who made the mold and enclosures. and I was told all he saw were modern equipment, nice building, well-trained staff.

Is outsource the only way to get custom designed enclosure/box done in a reasonable price?
Can Mexico be a good alternative instead of sending orders out of this continent?

Funny N.
Au Group Electronics, http://www.AuElectronics.com
http://www.AuElectronics.com/products
http://augroups.blogspot.com/




________________________________
From: M.L. <@spam@mKILLspamspamlkeng.net>
To: Microcontroller discussion list - Public. <KILLspampiclistKILLspamspammit.edu>
Sent: Thu, January 14, 2010 8:46:59 PM
Subject: Re: [OT] plastic box mfgs

Any medium size city has a plastics house near it. Universal Plastics
in Holyoke, MA does thermoforming which is cheaper in tooling than
injection molding but limited to certain styles - and higher in unit
cost.

Almost all of the plastic cases you see are injection molded where the
tooling starts at around $10k and goes astronomically upward from
there. This is why you see most people struggling to find an
off-the-shelf case that will work for their application.

Even spending $10 to have a case machined is going to be a better deal
(up to a point...) than paying a mech. e. to design your case and then
spend $25k for the injection tooling.

I know a guy in upstate NY who owns an injection molding place if
you're interested.
-
Martin K

On Thu, Jan 14, 2010 at 7:18 PM, Funny NYPD <RemoveMEfunnynypdTakeThisOuTspamyahoo.com> wrote:
> Good job. Thanks for your time and contribution.
> By the way, anyone know a good low cost plastic box mfgs who delievers molded (special made) enclosure (starting qty 1k) in North American. So far, all suppliers I found are from Far East.
>

2010\01\15@103901 by M. Adam Davis

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On Thu, Jan 14, 2010 at 9:40 PM, Funny NYPD <spamBeGonefunnynypdspamBeGonespamyahoo.com> wrote:
> Is outsource the only way to get custom designed enclosure/box done in a reasonable price?

For some values of "reasonable"  :-D

Molding is a labor intensive process, so it's going to be cheapest
wherever labor is cheaper.

You might check with http://protomold.com - they specialize in low
quantity, low cost, quick turn injection molding, and for simple
pieces start out at around $1,500.  They also are associated with (or
related to?) another company that does quick turn plastic cnc
machining for very low quantities.

But if that's not a "reasonable price" then it's unlikely that you'll
find a reasonable price in the US, and possibly not even in Mexico.

-Adam

2010\01\15@105635 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>-Serpac: Only sell in low quantity through Digikey
>(thus pricey) but they are the only Mfg. I've found
>with an integrated "AA" battery holder. (P/N H-65,AA)

Not sure where you are looking, but OKW in the UK do ones with battery
compartments that will take a pair of AA or a PP3. See
http://www.okw.co.uk/enclosures/handheld_enclosures.htm and look for the
ones that include 'battery compartment' in the title.

There some nicely shaped enclosures in this range.

2010\01\15@122404 by Vitaliy

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Funny NYPD wrote:
{Quote hidden}

If you can get a quick turnaround at a decent price, who cares whether you
buy the enclosures in China or in the US?

I believe the way they can achieve quick turnarounds is by building a
prototype mold out of aluminum. Its lifetime is limited, but it's much
faster to build than a hardened steel mold.

Often times for shorter runs they would then go to soft steel, and then
finally to hard steel.

Vitaliy

2010\01\15@232019 by PICdude

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Quoting Vitaliy <TakeThisOuTpiclistEraseMEspamspam_OUTmaksimov.org>:

> ...
> I believe the way they can achieve quick turnarounds is by building a
> prototype mold out of aluminum. Its lifetime is limited, but it's much
> faster to build than a hardened steel mold.
> ...


There are apparently epoxy molds also at an even lower cost.

I've missed a bunch of this thread, but it seems that the box-sourcing  
adventure turned into a custom-box requirememt.  If so, don't forget  
that for short runs many plastics can be CNC machined (I do that), and  
then there's also 3D printing.

Cheers,
-Neil.


2010\01\15@234631 by Vitaliy

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PICdude wrote:
> There are apparently epoxy molds also at an even lower cost.

Really? How is that even possible?


2010\01\15@235627 by PICdude

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Quoting Vitaliy <RemoveMEpiclistspamTakeThisOuTmaksimov.org>:

> PICdude wrote:
>> There are apparently epoxy molds also at an even lower cost.
>
> Really? How is that even possible?
>
>
> -

2010\01\16@020135 by Jonathan Hallameyer

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On Fri, Jan 15, 2010 at 11:44 PM, Vitaliy <piclistEraseMEspam.....maksimov.org> wrote:

> PICdude wrote:
> > There are apparently epoxy molds also at an even lower cost.
>
> Really? How is that even possible?
>
>
> -

2010\01\16@050849 by Ruben Jönsson

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> Not sure where you are looking, but OKW in the UK do ones with battery
> compartments that will take a pair of AA or a PP3. See
> http://www.okw.co.uk/enclosures/handheld_enclosures.htm and look for the
> ones that include 'battery compartment' in the title.
>
> There some nicely shaped enclosures in this range.
>

I have used a DATEC-CONTROL type with a battery compartment for 2 AA batteries
in one of our products.

<http://www.liroselectronic.com/gw/grainwatch_eng.html>

Scroll down to Hand-Held instrument.

/Ruben
==============================
Ruben Jönsson
AB Liros Electronic
Box 9124, 200 39 Malmö, Sweden
TEL INT +46 40142078
FAX INT +46 40947388
EraseMErubenspampp.sbbs.se
==============================

2010\01\16@094156 by Richard Pytelewski

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A number of short run vacuum formed molds are made of wood and the plastic
is "sucked into" the cavity or form of softened plastic sheet.....

Rich

-----Original Message-----
From: RemoveMEpiclist-bouncesEraseMEspamEraseMEmit.edu [RemoveMEpiclist-bouncesspam_OUTspamKILLspammit.edu] On Behalf Of
Vitaliy
Sent: Friday, January 15, 2010 11:45 PM
To: Microcontroller discussion list - Public.
Subject: Re: [OT] plastic box mfgs

PICdude wrote:
> There are apparently epoxy molds also at an even lower cost.

Really? How is that even possible?


2010\01\16@100331 by M.L.

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On Fri, Jan 15, 2010 at 11:44 PM, Vitaliy <RemoveMEpiclistTakeThisOuTspamspammaksimov.org> wrote:
> PICdude wrote:
>> There are apparently epoxy molds also at an even lower cost.
>
> Really? How is that even possible?
>
>

Use a 3D printer to make a positive.
Use the positive to make a silicone (or latex?) negative.
Poor epoxy into the negative.

That's the basic idea as I understand it.

--
Martin K.

2010\01\16@100546 by M.L.

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On Fri, Jan 15, 2010 at 12:22 PM, Vitaliy <EraseMEpiclistspamspamspamBeGonemaksimov.org> wrote:

> I believe the way they can achieve quick turnarounds is by building a
> prototype mold out of aluminum. Its lifetime is limited, but it's much
> faster to build than a hardened steel mold.
>
> Often times for shorter runs they would then go to soft steel, and then
> finally to hard steel.
>


An aluminum mold is still in the very expensive category, where steel
is in the extremely expensive category. An aluminum mold should still
be able to do many thousand injections.


--
Martin K.

2010\01\16@120253 by William Bross

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Vitaliy wrote:

>PICdude wrote:
>  
>
>>There are apparently epoxy molds also at an even lower cost.
>>    
>>
>
>Really? How is that even possible?
>
>  
>
Here's a hobbyist link to the process.

<http://www.injectionmolder.net/epoxy%20molds-step_%20by_%20step.htm>

I've used professional injection mold houses for quantities in the hundreds using epoxy molds for short run stuff.

Bill

2010\01\17@020042 by Vitaliy

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M.L. wrote:
> An aluminum mold is still in the very expensive category

What makes you say so? We didn't make aluminum molds, but we had a local
machine shop fabricate a custom piece made out of aluminum, which had many
of the features you would find in a mold. It only cost a coupld of hundred
bucks

Vitaliy

2010\01\17@020414 by Vitaliy

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William Bross wrote:
>>>There are apparently epoxy molds also at an even lower cost.
>>>
>>>
>>
>>Really? How is that even possible?
>>
>>
>>
> Here's a hobbyist link to the process.
>
> <http://www.injectionmolder.net/epoxy%20molds-step_%20by_%20step.htm>
>
> I've used professional injection mold houses for quantities in the
> hundreds using epoxy molds for short run stuff.

VERY cool!

Vitaliy

2010\01\17@100244 by M.L.

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On Sun, Jan 17, 2010 at 1:59 AM, Vitaliy <RemoveMEpiclistKILLspamspammaksimov.org> wrote:
> M.L. wrote:
>> An aluminum mold is still in the very expensive category
>
> What makes you say so? We didn't make aluminum molds, but we had a local
> machine shop fabricate a custom piece made out of aluminum, which had many
> of the features you would find in a mold. It only cost a coupld of hundred
> bucks
>
> Vitaliy
>

I've been through the process of getting a plastic enclosure made. We
wanted to do an injection molded part but the tooling was going to be
expensive, even with a cheaper aluminum mold. It depends on the size
of the object, but it was going to be many thousand. Maybe you can get
tooling made by a third party but I doubt most plastics places would
be willing to use third-party tools. They don't make much money off of
the impressions.


--
Martin K.

2010\01\17@102603 by PICdude

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Quoting "M.L." <mSTOPspamspamspam_OUTlkeng.net>:

> I've been through the process of getting a plastic enclosure made. We
> wanted to do an injection molded part but the tooling was going to be
> expensive, even with a cheaper aluminum mold. It depends on the size
> of the object, but it was going to be many thousand. Maybe you can get
> tooling made by a third party but I doubt most plastics places would
> be willing to use third-party tools. They don't make much money off of
> the impressions.
>
>
> --
> Martin K.
> --


Mold prices will depend heavily on the shape of the part you want to  
make.  The lowest cost will be a part that can be made with no  
machining on one half of the mold.  Complex parts will need to have  
both sides machined and other inserts (from the sides, etc).  
Sometimes the parts may need to be made in a few molds and joined  
afterwards.  Allowable draft angles make a big difference too.

FWIW, last year I had found an injection-molding company who said they  
have generic "blanks" (2-pc mold blocks) made cheaply in China, but  
then they just machine the part features here in the U.S.,  
significantly reducing the mold cost.  Wish I could remember who that  
was though.

Cheers,
-Neil.




2010\01\17@103229 by PICdude

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Quoting William Bross <spamBeGonewbrossSTOPspamspamEraseMEcinci.rr.com>:
> Here's a hobbyist link to the process.
>
> <http://www.injectionmolder.net/epoxy%20molds-step_%20by_%20step.htm>
>
> I've used professional injection mold houses for quantities in the  
> hundreds using epoxy molds for short run stuff.
>
> Bill
>


Wow, that's pretty straightforward.  For having this done  
commercially, I wonder how the cost and lifespan compares to aluminum,  
as I may need to have some parts molded in the near future.

Cheers,
-Neil.


2010\01\17@145840 by Spehro Pefhany

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At 10:25 AM 1/17/2010, you wrote:
{Quote hidden}

Usually, for something that's a commercial volume product, we're
looking at a set of molds. Typically the molds will include many
moving parts (slides and other 'side actions'). All these features
are important if you want to have anything much beyond a cup topology
with holes perpendicular to the parting line. If the part is at all
deep you need cooling features within the male part of the mold or
the part will take very long cycle times (a sort of water fountain
up inside the male bit). Snaps, unscrewing etc. adds mechanical
complexity and moving parts so that the molded part can be
removed from the mold (slides, collapsing cores etc.).

Here's a link to a relatively simple single-cavity mold which I
designed for 10K-100K part quantity:

http://www.trexon.com/spehro_pefhany_housing_mold.jpg

It's roughly a 10" cube (designed to fit between the
tie bars on a Battenfeld BA200 molding machine, but any larger
machine should be able to run it). The actual cavity is inside
the two facing green/grey disk-shaped inserts- the part is only about
2-1/2" in
diameter and < 1" deep, with a few hollow posts and some snaps.
You can see alignment and O-ring features (water flows all
through each half of the mold- on three plates) on each part.
The male 'core' part has three flexible sliding/bending parts to avoid having
radial side action. You can see the three adjustments down
near the ejector plate. Half of the snap profile is machined
into the ends. Since it's a low quantity mold, it has just a single
cavity and I've designed in a hot sprue bushing (the blue part
just below the red locating ring), which is a single cavity
version of a hot runner subsystem (the electrical connector is
for the thermocouple and heater). I've used tubular dowels to
keep the size down. You can see the leader pins and return pins.
There are two tapered interlocks to provide fine alignment (the
slop in the leader pins is too big relative to the wall thickness
that crosses the parting line to be able to do without). There are
three parallel-fed "bubblers" to provide cooling in the male part
of the mold, as well as a concentric cooling ring. Vents are
machined into the cavity surface to allow air to escape, as well
as through the ejector pins. This design requires no air or hydraulics
hookups to the mold, just cooling lines and electrical connection to the
"A" side.

Not bad for an EE, eh?  Actually, mold design is a bit like PCB
layout, sort of 2-1/2 D layout. Some of the air/water lines to
multi-cavities can get a bit hairy. Eg. this 8-cavity mold
plate, which has (IIRC) 4 'layers' of horizontally drilled holes
so they can cross each other, be drilled from the sides, and miss
the holes for the cavity inserts.

http://www.trexon.com/lines.jpg

It's impossible come up with a well-designed plastic part unless
you understand a bit about polymer rheology and mold design. That's
why I got a postgraduate mold design certificate. ;-) Somehow managed
to get the President's letter (for highest marks) every term too.
There are some rules one can follow for part design- wall
thickness, minimum draft angle, part finish and such like. I can
recommend: _Plastic Part Design for Injection Molding_ as a good
introduction for the tyro part designer. Hanser Gardner has a bunch of
other good books too.

http://tinyurl.com/ycmoa63 (kickback if ordered from here)

>FWIW, last year I had found an injection-molding company who said they
>have generic "blanks" (2-pc mold blocks) made cheaply in China, but
>then they just machine the part features here in the U.S.,
>significantly reducing the mold cost.  Wish I could remember who that
>was though.

Yeah, mold bases are a lot cheaper overseas. They don't even have
to be all that good. The hardened parts are in the inserts unless
you have the cavities machined directly into the mold plates, which
is rare. So even if they're soft, have inclusions in the steel or are
otherwise marginal, it won't make so much difference. It's not uncommon
for overseas *molds* to require expensive rework though. Lots of horror
stories...

Best regards,

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



2010\01\18@082907 by alan smith

picon face
Wow..I was traveling for a few days and didnt see the responses but the list came thru again!  I found one from OKW that appears to be workable, for now.

Again, thanks for all the replies!


     

2010\01\18@091526 by PICdude

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Quoting alan smith <@spam@micro_eng2@spam@spamspam_OUTyahoo.com>:

> Wow..I was traveling for a few days and didnt see the responses but  
> the list came thru again!  I found one from OKW that appears to be  
> workable, for now.
>
> Again, thanks for all the replies!
>

I missed some of this thread, but it seems that it went from searching  
for a COTS box to having something custom-made.  I should add (for  
anyone else) that there are solutions between those two options, as  
(a) many of the enclosure manufacturers will custom-machine features  
for you, and (b) you can always have some small pieces molded/machined  
to add onto existing boxes as necessary.

Cheers,
-Neil.


2010\01\18@093004 by alan smith

picon face
I ended up with a COTS for now, with some holes drilled in it.  Its hard when the board is done and then you have to fit in an enclosure...it should be the other way around

--- On Mon, 1/18/10, PICdude <spamBeGonepicdude3spamKILLspamnarwani.org> wrote:

{Quote hidden}

> -

2010\01\18@104151 by Matt Pobursky

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Indeed. If you are going to do something low volume and want to use a COTS
enclosure, you have to co-design the mechanicals along with the
electronics. Doing the packaging after the electronics always looks like a
hobbyist project someone did it in their basement.

I just finished a design that will build maybe 150 units/yr. and will go
into an aluminum extruded case from Lansing. I spent 2x the hours working
out the mechanicals/component selection and packaging vs. the electronic
design itself. It looks like a finished product though and the customer is
quite happy with it.

Matt Pobursky
Maximum Performance Systems

On Mon, 18 Jan 2010 06:29:34 -0800 (PST), alan smith wrote:
{Quote hidden}

2010\01\19@194321 by Forrest W Christian

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Just to add my experiences to the thread:

I buy enclosures from two sources..

The enclosures shown at http://www.packetflux.com/images/revcsi.jpg come
from Envision Plastics at http://www.envplastics.com/ .   This is a
*seriously* cool technology.  Basically they are able to do custom
enclosures without molds or tooling.   Essentially they apply
sheet-metal like processes to plastics.   Make sure you look at their
sample enclosures on the website.  In qty 250 these are costing me less
than $10 each.

I also have quite a few products which I use a polycase enclosure for.  
If you can find a polycase enclosure which you can make your product fit
in, the customization for their products are dirt-cheap.

Generally I use polycase for those I can find a suitable enclosure for,
and envision plastics for everything else.

-forrest


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