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PICList Thread
'Openings in Project boxes [OT]'
2000\05\12@235722 by Bill Pierce

picon face
<x-flowed>I just wanted to say first that this is a great list. Everything is
informative or interesting. Anyway on to my question.

I have a product that goes into a Serpac box. I have a few round holes for
switches that are easy to drill. I also have two rectangular openings for
the 9V power supply and for a terminal block..

I am cutting the openings with a Dremel tool now but it doesn't look real
good and I can't seem to get any accuracy. What is everyone else doing to
make openings in off the shelf enclosures.

Thanks for any advice

Bill
________________________________________________________________________
Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at http://www.hotmail.com

</x-flowed>

2000\05\13@002632 by Mark Willis

flavicon
face
"C'Mon, Bill.  Get a PIC-based CNC X-Y table going, mount the mototool
above it, and move the case piece under PIC control to precisely route
the desired hole."  <VBG>

Well, manually...

A nibbler is a good tool for rectangular openings.  You do have to pay a
little attention (the "Bite" it takes isn't square - more dovetail
shaped - Works though.)  It'll happily chew on YOU, though, so watch the
sharp edges.  Radio Shack has 'em for ~ $10.00.

Another way to cut holes to shape is to use a hot knife (Suggestion:
Use a nice vacuum cleaner or air pump to suck the fumes generated, and
direct 'em OUTSIDE.  Your nose will appreciate your consideration!)
Braze or silver solder an Exacto knife blade onto a cheap Radio Shack
soldering iron's tip, and you can cut & cauterize easily - Good idea to
have a safe place to set this!  Also can set a crummy old paring knife
on a burner, let it get hot, use it to cut (turn the kitchen vent fan on
- Hope it vents outdoors!)

You can make a rectangular shaped blade, heat it, and cut the entire
hole at once.

(Do usually need to clean up with a small file or emery board or sharp
knife, after hot knifing.  So cut the hole a little small, then scrape
or sand of file to fit.)

Another:  Cannot remember the name of the tool, basically you drag a
little "planer" blade (quite narrow and very sharp!) along where you
want to cut into the plastic.  Could also use a "gouge" but those tend
to be dangerous <G>  A "drag planer" (?) dragged alongside a metal ruler
(for the first cut or two), can do a pretty good job of cutting a narrow
slot.  The tool I'm talking about looks just sorta like a 1/32" wide
curled-up planer blade.  There are dental picks that are similar.

Another tool that does a similar job - there's a little file that's just
sharp on the edge of a little piece of itself (Clipping a little piece
off the edge of a hacksaw blade and brazing/silver soldering/spot
welding it to a handle could work fairly well, use a fine-toothed blade
though.)  Sorta saw down into the piece, one slice at a time.  Use a
metal ruler again, for the first few cuts at least.

"Riffle Files" are a GOOD tool for this sort of thing.  Boeing Surplus
is a good place to look for these, if you're in the Seattle area.  Many
good supply places (Enco, Small Tools, ...) out there on the Web.

 Mark

Bill Pierce wrote:
{Quote hidden}

2000\05\13@111907 by Brian Kraut

picon face
If you need to chunk them out a lot at a time real fast you can make a custom
punch and set it up in an arbor press.  For my app it's not a real big deal to
take 15 minutes with my nibbler and template method.

Bill Pierce wrote:

{Quote hidden}

2000\05\13@111911 by Brian Kraut

picon face
I use a milling machine when I can.  I have one project that uses a small
square hole that needs sharp corners.  I made a template out of 1/8: aluminum
that fits into the inner recess of the enclosure.  I press it in, drill a 3/8"
hole in the center of the square hole, cut to the aluminum template with a
nibbler(available at Radio Shack for about $10.00), and do a little finish
work with a needle file if needed.

Bill Pierce wrote:

{Quote hidden}

2000\05\13@115713 by Max Toole

picon face
In a message dated 5/12/00 11:57:22 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
spam_OUTamberscreamsTakeThisOuTspamHOTMAIL.COM writes:

<< I just wanted to say first that this is a great list. Everything is
informative or interesting. Anyway on to my question.

I have a product that goes into a Serpac box. I have a few round holes for
switches that are easy to drill. I also have two rectangular openings for
the 9V power supply and for a terminal block..

I am cutting the openings with a Dremel tool now but it doesn't look real
good and I can't seem to get any accuracy. What is everyone else doing to
make openings in off the shelf enclosures.

Thanks for any advice

Bill >>
We use a small milling machine from Sherline.  You can see them at
http://www.sherline.com.  Works well.

Max

2000\05\13@185159 by Peter L. Peres

picon face
Hi,

If you need to make 10-20 then you can work by hand. For larger numbers,
contact a machine shop to make a break-out stencil for all non-round holes
(2-piece with screw).  For really large numbers a machine+jig will be used
(with stencils). Depending on the plastic used and shape of the hole, it
is possible to use a 'hot' stencil. This 'stinks' but is is less expensive
than the real mechanical stencil. Holes made with hot stencils may need
deburring. There is also a way to make a partial hot stencil and then
break out the outlined port. This requires a two-sided jig for the stencil
and at least a hand press, but it is easy to set up (low tooling cost).
The greatest advantage is that the part to be removed does not clog the
machine so productivity is high. Stencils for most standard connectors are
available ready made, f.ex. from Allied and Mouser I think. Figure $80 per
ready made stencil (not including the press). Stencils with simple shapes
(square, rectangle) are relatively cheap from a machine shop.

For handwork in ones, a drill and a jeweller's saw is all you really need.
For more gross work you can use needle files to work the round holes into
required shapes.  Just practice until you get good (perhaps using scrap
boxes). I use the hand drill and jeweller's saw for ones. The jeweller's
saw cuts so accurately and finely in plastic and aluminium that you can't
really tell whether the part is coming from a factory CNC line or from a
prototype lab. It helps to span the blade short for precision work.

There is an accessory for the Dremel tool that allows you to do some more
accurate work. It uses a manual XY table under a standard drill press
holding the tool. You will need to make a wooden jig to hold the box in
the xy table. If you already have the drill press, look for the *matching*
(beware !) XY table in a Dremel catalog.

hope this helps,

Peter

{Quote hidden}

2000\05\13@211340 by Max Toole

picon face
In a message dated 5/13/00 6:52:04 PM Eastern Daylight Time, .....plpKILLspamspam@spam@ACTCOM.CO.IL
writes:

<< Hi,

If you need to make 10-20 then you can work by hand. For larger numbers,
contact a machine shop to make a break-out stencil for all non-round holes
(2-piece with screw).  For really large numbers a machine+jig will be used
(with stencils). Depending on the plastic used and shape of the hole, it
is possible to use a 'hot' stencil. This 'stinks' but is is less expensive
than the real mechanical stencil. Holes made with hot stencils may need
deburring. There is also a way to make a partial hot stencil and then
break out the outlined port. This requires a two-sided jig for the stencil
and at least a hand press, but it is easy to set up (low tooling cost).
The greatest advantage is that the part to be removed does not clog the
machine so productivity is high. Stencils for most standard connectors are
available ready made, f.ex. from Allied and Mouser I think. Figure $80 per
ready made stencil (not including the press). Stencils with simple shapes
(square, rectangle) are relatively cheap from a machine shop.

For handwork in ones, a drill and a jeweller's saw is all you really need.
For more gross work you can use needle files to work the round holes into
required shapes.  Just practice until you get good (perhaps using scrap
boxes). I use the hand drill and jeweller's saw for ones. The jeweller's
saw cuts so accurately and finely in plastic and aluminium that you can't
really tell whether the part is coming from a factory CNC line or from a
prototype lab. It helps to span the blade short for precision work.

There is an accessory for the Dremel tool that allows you to do some more
accurate work. It uses a manual XY table under a standard drill press
holding the tool. You will need to make a wooden jig to hold the box in
the xy table. If you already have the drill press, look for the *matching*
(beware !) XY table in a Dremel catalog.

hope this helps,

Peter

>I just wanted to say first that this is a great list. Everything is
>informative or interesting. Anyway on to my question.
>
>I have a product that goes into a Serpac box. I have a few round holes for
>switches that are easy to drill. I also have two rectangular openings for
>the 9V power supply and for a terminal block..
>
>I am cutting the openings with a Dremel tool now but it doesn't look real
>good and I can't seem to get any accuracy. What is everyone else doing to
>make openings in off the shelf enclosures.
>
>Thanks for any advice
>
>Bill

 >>
Thanks Peter,
I learned a good bit from what you said here.  I would like to mention,
however, that he may also want to consider having Serpac mill the cutouts.  I
have 100 of their A-27 cases on order where they are milling the cutouts and
they are quite reasonable and, typically, have about 3 week turnaround time.

Maybe Bill needs to tell us what kind of quantity he is talking about.

Hope this helps and thanks for all the info.

Max

2000\05\14@074607 by Arthur

flavicon
face
Did you see my post about this X,Y table controlled by printer port.

URL http://freeandeasy.sourceforge.net/

What this school project does fits the bill for this type of job.
They also control a lathe seen a TV showing the Table as it was Impressive.

Regards Art

{Original Message removed}

2000\05\14@114636 by Mark Willis

flavicon
face
I was going to say.  When I try to load that web page, get just one line
"Project hosting kindly provided by " and a blank box atop the screen -
Rest of page is blank white.  Not too usable, philspamKILLspamdialsolutions.co.uk
has been sent mail (Can see the page SOURCE, just not a rendition on
screen!)

 Mark

Arthur wrote:
> Did you see my post about this X,Y table controlled by printer port.
>
> URL http://freeandeasy.sourceforge.net/
>
> What this school project does fits the bill for this type of job.
> They also control a lathe seen a TV showing the Table as it was Impressive.
>
> Regards Art
>
> {Original Message removed}

2000\05\14@115714 by Alan B Pearce

face picon face
> URL http://freeandeasy.sourceforge.net/
>
>I was going to say.  When I try to load that web page, get just one line
>"Project hosting kindly provided by " and a blank box atop the screen -

the page does have an unusual font on it. this could be the source of your
trouble if you do not have a font mapping available.

2000\05\14@121716 by Jon Hylands

flavicon
face
On Sun, 14 May 2000 08:45:45 -0700, Mark Willis <.....mwillisKILLspamspam.....FOXINTERNET.NET>
wrote:

> I was going to say.  When I try to load that web page, get just one line
> "Project hosting kindly provided by " and a blank box atop the screen -
> Rest of page is blank white.  Not too usable, EraseMEphilspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTdialsolutions.co.uk
> has been sent mail (Can see the page SOURCE, just not a rendition on
> screen!)

Use Internet Exploder, works okay with that. Netscape doesn't like it for
some reason...

Later,
Jon

--------------------------------------------------------------
  Jon Hylands      Jonspamspam_OUThuv.com      http://www.huv.com/jon

 Project: Micro Seeker (Micro Autonomous Underwater Vehicle)
          http://www.huv.com

2000\05\14@124046 by Thomas McGahee

flavicon
face
If you are REALLY interested in a great way to drill your own
PCBs and fabricate holes and slots and any shape desired in
panels and cases, you should take a few minutes and check out:
http://www.sherline.com
In particular, take a look at the Sherline vertical mill:
#5000-CNC (inch version):
Standard vertical mill w/ 10" base plus 3 stepper motor mounts
(Metric P/N 5100-CNC)
$750.00

This has the stepper motor mountings so you can put three
stepper motors on and have yourself a PIC numerically controlled
drill press/milling machine. A quick excerpt from the data available
at the website:

****************** Beginning of Sherline text.

The main difference between a lathe and a mill is that on a lathe, the work
turns and the cutting tool is stationary, while on a mill, the tool turns and
the work is stationary. Because of the tremendous number of operations that can
be performed on a vertical mill, it is commonly regarded as the most important
machine in the modern machine shop... the work horse of the industry. At first
glance a vertical mill looks similar to a drill press, but there are some
important differences, such as a spindle that can take side-loads as well as end
loads and an accurate method of moving the work in relation to the spindle on
all three axes. The SHERLINE MILLING MACHINES can perform all of the tasks and
operations that a large commercial machine can perform. Operations such as
milling, fly cutting, precision drilling, and boring are all routine tasks for
the SHERLINE. Because the tool turns rather than the work, much larger parts may
be worked on in a mill (these parts need not be round). The work is securely
held, thus extremely accurate hole patterns can be drilled or bored using the
SHERLINE vertical mill. The longer "X-axis" throw also increases the machine's
versatility over that of the Lathe with the vertical milling column attachment.
It is an extremely rigid, accurate tool which accomplishes tough machining jobs
with ease.

Model 5000 (5100)
The Model 5000 (5100 metric) features a solid 10" (254mm) aluminum base,
precision machined dovetailed slides with adjustable gibs, permanently
lubricated spindle bearings, adjustable pre-load anti-backlash feed screws on
"X" and "Y" axes, two 1-5/8" (41mm) laser engraved aluminum handwheels, one
2-1/2" (63mm) laser engraved handwheel with thrust bearings, and many other
features found only on the best commercial machines. This machine along with a
SHERLINE LATHE will enable you to complete almost any job in your own machine
shop.

*************** end of Sherline text

These can be controlled both manually and by stepper motor.
For a one-off you would use manual control. If you have a lot of identical
pieces to be done, then you make up a jig to hold the case/panel in place and
produce a control file that tells the CNC machine how to make the shapes you
want cut. You get identical results each time.

Fr. Tom McGahee

{Original Message removed}

2000\05\14@174147 by Brent Brown

picon face
Hi all,

To add my two cents worth to the discussion, I use the following
method extensively for small quantities:-

- Draw a template for your box cutouts and holes etc on your PC.
- Save it to disk!
- Print it out on paper, one copy for each box you are making.
- Glue it to your plastic box using a glue stick. This template
negates the need to measure and mark out anything!
- Use drill bits with the cutting edge ground back to vertical to drill
all your round holes - works great.
- For square holes (eg LCD windows) I use about a 4mm drill in a
drill press and use it like a router bit. With a bit of practice you can
do this amazingly fast and still keep well within the lines printed on
your template.
- Finish off the square holes by filing to the edge of the lines on
your template. A clever design makes sure that a label covers all
your not so perfect handwork.
- Put the box in warm water with a little detergent to remove the
paper template and glue.



Brent Brown
Electronic Design Solutions
16 English Street
Hamilton, New Zealand
Ph/fax: +64 7 849 0069
Mobile: 025 334 069
eMail:  @spam@brent.brownKILLspamspamclear.net.nz

2000\05\14@220621 by Brian Kraut

picon face
I have one and I use it more than my 30" table Rockwell Mill.

Thomas McGahee wrote:

{Quote hidden}

> {Original Message removed}

2000\05\14@232651 by rad0

picon face
can these Shermin machines be hooked up
so a computer and move the base of
the milling machine??

which model??


----- Original Message -----
From: "Brian Kraut" <KILLspamengaltKILLspamspamEARTHLINK.NET>
To: <RemoveMEPICLISTTakeThisOuTspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Sent: Thursday, May 04, 2000 9:09 PM
Subject: Re: Openings in Project boxes [OT]


{Quote hidden}

work
> > turns and the cutting tool is stationary, while on a mill, the tool
turns and
> > the work is stationary. Because of the tremendous number of operations
that can
> > be performed on a vertical mill, it is commonly regarded as the most
important
> > machine in the modern machine shop... the work horse of the industry. At
first
> > glance a vertical mill looks similar to a drill press, but there are
some
> > important differences, such as a spindle that can take side-loads as
well as end
> > loads and an accurate method of moving the work in relation to the
spindle on
> > all three axes. The SHERLINE MILLING MACHINES can perform all of the
tasks and
> > operations that a large commercial machine can perform. Operations such
as
> > milling, fly cutting, precision drilling, and boring are all routine
tasks for
> > the SHERLINE. Because the tool turns rather than the work, much larger
parts may
> > be worked on in a mill (these parts need not be round). The work is
securely
> > held, thus extremely accurate hole patterns can be drilled or bored
using the
> > SHERLINE vertical mill. The longer "X-axis" throw also increases the
machine's
> > versatility over that of the Lathe with the vertical milling column
attachment.
> > It is an extremely rigid, accurate tool which accomplishes tough
machining jobs
> > with ease.
> >
> > Model 5000 (5100)
> > The Model 5000 (5100 metric) features a solid 10" (254mm) aluminum base,
> > precision machined dovetailed slides with adjustable gibs, permanently
> > lubricated spindle bearings, adjustable pre-load anti-backlash feed
screws on
> > "X" and "Y" axes, two 1-5/8" (41mm) laser engraved aluminum handwheels,
one
> > 2-1/2" (63mm) laser engraved handwheel with thrust bearings, and many
other
> > features found only on the best commercial machines. This machine along
with a
> > SHERLINE LATHE will enable you to complete almost any job in your own
machine
> > shop.
> >
> > *************** end of Sherline text
> >
> > These can be controlled both manually and by stepper motor.
> > For a one-off you would use manual control. If you have a lot of
identical
> > pieces to be done, then you make up a jig to hold the case/panel in
place and
> > produce a control file that tells the CNC machine how to make the shapes
you
> > want cut. You get identical results each time.
> >
> > Fr. Tom McGahee
> >
> > {Original Message removed}

2000\05\15@094414 by Thomas McGahee

flavicon
face
Yes! The models referred to below (5000/5100) both have the necessary mounts to
allow you to attach stepper motors to all three axis. It is not at all
difficult to control these things. There are even commercial software
packages available that will give you all the control you need.

I have done work on a unit that uses a Motorola 68HC11 to provide
intelligent control of all three axis using a single high speed serial
connection to a PC running Windows95/98. It is even EASIER to do the
control using a PC running good old DOS!!!

BUT!!! For the kind of simple control that you would need to route
holes and rectangular cutouts and the like, you can easily do all
the math stuff on the PC side. As to controlling the steppers, that is
a piece of cake. I have done all of the following:

1) Use one parallel port. This has 12 latched outputs and 5 real-time
  inputs. 4 bits can directly control a stepper motor. You need to
  have the parallel port outputs drive transistors or FETs so you
  have sufficient drive current for the stepper motors.

  Use some of the inputs to provide limits switch information and
  homing information. You need homing information for each axis.
  You can leave out limit switch info if you want. If you DO
  implement limit switches they can all share a single input.

2) Use a single serial port. This requires a PIC or some other controller
  connected to the PC. The PIC must receive the serial data and then
  control each of the three axis stepper motors appropriately.

  It is useful to either use xon/xoff protocol or hardware handshaking
  to control the flow of data. The PIC UART transmitter should be
  used to inform the PC that the requested action has been performed.
  (Like an ACKnowledge).

  If limit switch info indicates that a limit has been reached, the
  PIC makes sure that appropriate action is taken, including informing
  the PC.

3) Use a commercially available multi-i/o board. You can get a cheap one
  for about $100. You can get them with many different configurations,
  but something like the 32 bit model, which is 4 8 bit ports is best.

4) Roll your own. Not all that hard. A few 8 bit latches, some glue
  logic, a simple address/port decoder and you are in business.

*************

I cannot go into great detail about the hardware/software right now, but
suffice it to say that a PIC 16C74 is more than sufficient to provide the
necessary i/o and "intelligence".

Fr. Tom McGahee

{Original Message removed}

2000\05\18@210229 by rad0

picon face
which stepper motor would you use for the sherline
mill or lathe??  Do stepper motors come set up to
step in different increments or is this what you are
doing when you build your pic controller??

Thanks in advance...

If you have a specific stepper motor that you have used
on these particular machines, let me know.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Brian Kraut" <spamBeGoneengaltspamBeGonespamEARTHLINK.NET>
To: <TakeThisOuTPICLISTEraseMEspamspam_OUTMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Sent: Thursday, May 04, 2000 9:09 PM
Subject: Re: Openings in Project boxes [OT]


{Quote hidden}

work
> > turns and the cutting tool is stationary, while on a mill, the tool
turns and
> > the work is stationary. Because of the tremendous number of operations
that can
> > be performed on a vertical mill, it is commonly regarded as the most
important
> > machine in the modern machine shop... the work horse of the industry. At
first
> > glance a vertical mill looks similar to a drill press, but there are
some
> > important differences, such as a spindle that can take side-loads as
well as end
> > loads and an accurate method of moving the work in relation to the
spindle on
> > all three axes. The SHERLINE MILLING MACHINES can perform all of the
tasks and
> > operations that a large commercial machine can perform. Operations such
as
> > milling, fly cutting, precision drilling, and boring are all routine
tasks for
> > the SHERLINE. Because the tool turns rather than the work, much larger
parts may
> > be worked on in a mill (these parts need not be round). The work is
securely
> > held, thus extremely accurate hole patterns can be drilled or bored
using the
> > SHERLINE vertical mill. The longer "X-axis" throw also increases the
machine's
> > versatility over that of the Lathe with the vertical milling column
attachment.
> > It is an extremely rigid, accurate tool which accomplishes tough
machining jobs
> > with ease.
> >
> > Model 5000 (5100)
> > The Model 5000 (5100 metric) features a solid 10" (254mm) aluminum base,
> > precision machined dovetailed slides with adjustable gibs, permanently
> > lubricated spindle bearings, adjustable pre-load anti-backlash feed
screws on
> > "X" and "Y" axes, two 1-5/8" (41mm) laser engraved aluminum handwheels,
one
> > 2-1/2" (63mm) laser engraved handwheel with thrust bearings, and many
other
> > features found only on the best commercial machines. This machine along
with a
> > SHERLINE LATHE will enable you to complete almost any job in your own
machine
> > shop.
> >
> > *************** end of Sherline text
> >
> > These can be controlled both manually and by stepper motor.
> > For a one-off you would use manual control. If you have a lot of
identical
> > pieces to be done, then you make up a jig to hold the case/panel in
place and
> > produce a control file that tells the CNC machine how to make the shapes
you
> > want cut. You get identical results each time.
> >
> > Fr. Tom McGahee
> >
> > {Original Message removed}

2000\05\20@111348 by Thomas McGahee

flavicon
face
The stepper motor mount provided by Sherline will
accomodate ANY type 23 stepper motor. Type 23 refers to the
mounting arrangement only (mounting hole pattern and size,
diameter of shaft). You are free to use whatever type of
stepping motor as long as it uses a type 23 mounting arrangement.

You are free to use single stepping, half stepping, microstepping,
or any other drive style you want. The torque does not have to be
all that high, since the screw drive of the xyz axis effectively
"gears down" the velocity and increases the mechanical force. If
you will be working metal, it is best to get a robust stepper.
For working plastic you can get away with very lightweight steppers.

It is best to get steppers that have the shaft coming out both
ends, so that you can also affix the manual rotary handles supplied
with the machine.

Fr. Tom McGahee

{Original Message removed}

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