EEVblog Electronics Community Forum

Electronics => Manufacturing & Assembly => Topic started by: e100 on November 20, 2020, 07:59:02 am

Title: How do you house larger than average home projects?
Post by: e100 on November 20, 2020, 07:59:02 am
As in something the size of a small microwave oven or a desktop computer case, say 30x30x30cm where you have a number of power supplies, a bunch of cables and a few circuit boards and you are forever tinkering so you need easy access.

Do you end up buying a cupboard from Ikea, or a metal filing cabinet and fixing stuff to a sheet of FR4 which just lays down horizontally?
Title: Re: How do you house larger than average home projects?
Post by: Kean on November 20, 2020, 02:04:39 pm
I've built things into Pelican cases a number of times.  Can be a bit expensive, but great for portability.
Title: Re: How do you house larger than average home projects?
Post by: ogden on November 20, 2020, 02:36:17 pm
Desktop PC case, with ATX PSU if needed.
Title: Re: How do you house larger than average home projects?
Post by: DonKu on November 20, 2020, 02:40:59 pm
Although a metal file cabinet certainly works, there's both a 42U and an 8U rack available to me. So my own oversized projects end up in an appropriate  rack mountable chassis from my bone pile. If need be, for instance, a broken network switch from the bone pile can be hacked into a shelf with a metal saw. And a front panel fashioned out of a another piece of sheet metal.

PCBs are typically laid horizontally.  And anchored into place with small screws countersunk into the bottom.
Title: Re: How do you house larger than average home projects?
Post by: phil from seattle on November 21, 2020, 04:40:45 am
Depends on where it is going to go (living space, equipment closet, garage, ...) but, for large projects, there are lots of choices. I've got my eye on this one for a largish CNC router I'm building - https://www.discount-low-voltage.com/Data-Enclosures-Racks-Shelves/Small-Equipment-Enclosures/SNB-3746 (https://www.discount-low-voltage.com/Data-Enclosures-Racks-Shelves/Small-Equipment-Enclosures/SNB-3746).
Title: Re: How do you house larger than average home projects?
Post by: e100 on November 21, 2020, 07:03:44 am
I was looking at the Ikea Hallan locker which is about USD 50.

https://youtu.be/wFwW5e4bmu0?t=427 (https://youtu.be/wFwW5e4bmu0?t=427)
Title: Re: How do you house larger than average home projects?
Post by: fourtytwo42 on November 21, 2020, 09:15:36 am
IMOP large cases have priced themselves out of use.

Instead I build wooden cases because
Wood is easily available at moderate prices
It is workable with simple cheap hand tools

Aluminum sheets are difficult to get hold of at a reasonable price and much harder to work with IMOP
 
Title: Re: How do you house larger than average home projects?
Post by: phil from seattle on November 21, 2020, 05:16:39 pm
IMOP large cases have priced themselves out of use.

Instead I build wooden cases because
Wood is easily available at moderate prices
It is workable with simple cheap hand tools

Aluminum sheets are difficult to get hold of at a reasonable price and much harder to work with IMOP

It really depends on the application, including aesthetics. Sometimes wood just doesn't cut it. I love wood and occasionally use it for cases but if you need a faraday cage (like my CNC machine above), there is no substitute for metal. I don't know about metal availability where you are but there are plenty of sources for me locally and via the internet.

But metal working aside, I see a huge number of case offerings that run a wide range of price, materials, quality and application - available on the internet. Since the final look is important to many people, spending money on that makes sense, to me anyway.
Title: Re: How do you house larger than average home projects?
Post by: WillTurner on December 02, 2020, 08:36:05 am
... my own oversized projects end up in an appropriate  rack mountable chassis from my bone pile ... broken network switch ... can be hacked ... front panel fashioned out of a another piece of sheet metal.
:
:
PCBs are typically laid horizontally.  And anchored into place with small screws countersunk into the bottom.

I mostly agree  :). My preferred solution is recycled 1U full width Netgear rack mount boxes.

After stripping out the guts, there are three pieces - the base, top cover, and a front panel. Top cover holes are patched when shielding is important. The PCB standoffs in the base generally get in the way, and are pressed into the box. So using a drill stand, and a large diameter bit I drill them off reasonably flush, then remove the remaining metal using a 6mm end milling bit with the drill press running as fast as possible. The steel base is then painted with an enamel paint for corrosion protection.

The front panel is a separate piece that can be patched with Aluminium bar, or steel plate from another box. Holes can be enlarged with a nibbling tool.

Depending on what I'm trying to achieve, I will attach plates inside or outside with
I do have a 300mm guillotine which helps a lot in making cover plates.

I have tried a few different methods to fit PCBs and components into the box. Generally, whatever is attached to the base is fixed with rivets to keep the base as flush as possible (projecting screw heads would interfere with other boxes in the rack). So if PCB standoffs are called for, they can be tapped into a 3mm Aluminium plate which is then riveted to the base.

My preferred solution to mounting PCBs is to make up a couple of angle brackets with card guides on them. They are spaced 108mm apart, and a 100 x 100mm PCB slips into the case from the front, with switches etc along the front edge, and power to the rear. Dimensions are fixed by JLCPCB cheap deals. (I started designing 50 x 50mm boards fitted into "margerine" boxes. When the larger sized board became the standard cheap deal, I was lost in the woods. With the rack mounting scheme, I'll just move the card guide brackets :). )

Lately, I've been experimenting with 4S LiIon packs. I did play with 18650 cells mounted on tagstrip, but now I look for laptop battery packs. I do enough disassembly to get to the charging PCB, and solder directly onto the cell weld contact points with wiring to my preferred charging/discharging solution. I remove as little insulation etc as possible. Two packs can fit into a full width case. They could be stacked, but if possible, the original mounting holes are used to rivet to the base.   

The finished result is generally "prototype" neat, but I'm not aiming for production quality.