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Anyone using this service for custom circuit board enlosures? [message #16264] Tue, 17 August 2010 13:06 UTC Go to next message
avatar hchahine  is currently offline hchahine
Messages: 6
Registered: August 2010
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Junior Member
Hi all,

I'm an electronics engineer and I regularly design and produce circuit boards and usually, during the protoyping stage, house them in off-the self plastic enclosures. Generally under 100mm x 80mm x 20mm in size. This works well but could be better.

I have been looking for a cheap way to add some impact/professionalism to my work especially during the proof of concept phase.

Has anyone else used this service for that purpose?

Are the materials (eg. White and Strong or ABS) suitable? Is the result good enough, for example, to screw into if I were to make 4 screw posts or would the plastic just crumble?

Also, with regards to uploading If I have two parts to the enclosure - i.e. a base and a lid, do I need to upload each seperately as seperate file or can I upload the full model and still get the two parts? I ask because I was able to upload a model with a hollow box and lid in one file and it accepted it but the lid was just kinda suspended in mid air in the model.

Thanks in advance,
Hani
Re: Anyone using this service for custom circuit board enlosures? [message #16272 is a reply to message #16264 ] Tue, 17 August 2010 13:45 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Tommy_2Tall  is currently offline Tommy_2Tall
Messages: 113
Registered: August 2009
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Hi!

WSF (or any of the died versions) should be OK for your purposes.

Just do a quick search in the gallery for "arduino" (e.g.) and you should see a couple of examples of what other people have done.

I'm not sure if Alumide is suitable though, since it has aluminium dust embedded all over.
It could be conductive under certain circumstances.
It's also a lot more fragile than plain WSF.

As for the box + lid situation; it's OK to upload them as one model/piece but make sure that the parts are separated in 3D space so that they don't fuse together in the printing process.

If I recall correctly the currently recommended clearance to avoid fusing is somewhere around 0.6mm.

Screwing into WSF is a bit of trial and error:
If the walls in the "screw-posts" are too thin it might crack.
The threads on the screw might tear up the internal surface of the tube/post if screwed in too tight.
etc etc..
There are quite a few people here that design action figures/dolls/whatever-you-want-me-to-call-them and some of them use threaded brass inserts when they need to screw something in place.
A small (metal) nut and some superglue would probably work just as well.

WSF is porous and sucks up superglue quite well so if it sticks to the nut it shouldn't be a problem.

In my experience a wall thickness of 2mm gives WSF some flexibility, kind of the same feeling as those cheaper metal wallets/cardholders that bend if you sit on them, but it should still be enough for a circuit inclosure unless it's going on a mountainbike or something like that.

Go for it! Very Happy
Re: Anyone using this service for custom circuit board enlosures? [message #16275 is a reply to message #16272 ] Tue, 17 August 2010 13:54 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar hchahine  is currently offline hchahine
Messages: 6
Registered: August 2010
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Junior Member
Wow... Thanks for the quick and concise reply to my queries.

I honestly think that is the best (read: useful) reply I've ever gotten from an online forum for a query. You 3D guys are alright...Razz

Re: Anyone using this service for custom circuit board enlosures? [message #16279 is a reply to message #16275 ] Tue, 17 August 2010 14:58 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar stonysmith  is currently offline stonysmith
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Check this post:
http://www.shapeways.com/blog/archives/384-A-new-3D-printing -material-Alumide.html#c2152

Alumide is a mix of WSF (nylon) and aluminum powder. The 'binder' in this case is the WSF, so it would act as an isolator over reasonable distances.

It is possible to imagine that random circumstances could align enough of the aluminum "balls" end-to-end such that they would all connect and conduct, but I doubt it would ever be over 2mm long.

In practice however, the alumide is a very even mix of WSF/aluminum, so I doubt that it would ever actually happen.

I have a model in my hands that is 17cm long and it is non-conductive anywhere along it. http://www.shapeways.com/model/96457/curved_bridge___220mm__ _zscale.html



Patience, Persistance, Politeness - the 3Ps will help us get us to Perfect Printed Products
Re: Anyone using this service for custom circuit board enlosures? [message #16284 is a reply to message #16279 ] Tue, 17 August 2010 17:14 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar Tommy_2Tall  is currently offline Tommy_2Tall
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Thanks for that info Very Happy
I have several alumide objects here but unfortunately no multimeter so I haven't been able to test it myself Smile
Re: Anyone using this service for custom circuit board enlosures? [message #16413 is a reply to message #16264 ] Thu, 19 August 2010 15:34 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar iguffick  is currently offline iguffick
Messages: 74
Registered: April 2009
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Member
Hi Hani,

I do exactly what you describe.
I use WSF and give it a coat of acrylic paint. For screws I use threaded inserts that are pressed or hammered into a plain hole.

Have a look at this thread :-

http://www.shapeways.com/forum/index.php?t=msg&goto=9585 &S=4827f29d515181bf6b9e0bcd2ad3923e&srch=bezel#msg_9 585

For more info on screwing into plastic, see this thread:-

http://www.shapeways.com/forum/index.php?t=msg&goto=9702 &S=f20dab32474a2bfa40c702d6ecf7ac85#msg_9702

Regards,
Ian

[Updated on: Thu, 19 August 2010 15:37 UTC]

Re: Anyone using this service for custom circuit board enlosures? [message #16415 is a reply to message #16264 ] Thu, 19 August 2010 15:55 UTC Go to previous messageGo to next message
avatar TomZ  is currently offline TomZ
Messages: 178
Registered: August 2008
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Senior Member
You don't really need to use threaded inserts or anything fancy. A 2.75mm hole in WSF accepts M3 screws quite readily. It gives a perfect, nice and tight fit and I've never had any problems with the thread stripping.

You can get away with the screw posts being 5mm in diameter. I've never had any cracking problems.
Re: Anyone using this service for custom circuit board enlosures? [message #16417 is a reply to message #16415 ] Thu, 19 August 2010 16:07 UTC Go to previous message
avatar hchahine  is currently offline hchahine
Messages: 6
Registered: August 2010
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Junior Member
Great thanks for the tips guys!

 
   
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