How to Design a Microcontroller Enclosure
No matter what kind of hardware you need to protect, there are a few things you want to remember during your shell making journey.
This manual will cover the general steps required to design and build a custom housing.
When designing, you will find that skills and key points to think about will help.
We will mention different materials, but the focus is on 3D printing and laser cutting.
The final steps of this Instructure include two designs for you to download and build for Edison. A snap-lock, laser-
Cut case and weldable case for all wearable technology items!
Intel\'s Edison board is used in the project example.
Edison is a Linux embedded micro-controller with Wifi and Bluetooth features, all of which have the size of two stampsto-end.
* Special thanks to Jon-A-
TRON worked with me and showed his 3D modeling magic on a sealed shell!
His skills are also shown as the main image of this guidance.
Take the time to think about how and where to use this shell.
Defining the context and answering some questions will help to make choices on material and design.
The enclosure can be designed for exhibitions, protection during prototyping, demonstration projects at Maker Faire, wearables, etc.
Material and design decisions will be in place when the context is defined.
Here are some questions that will help you get started: Is aesthetics important?
If not, it doesn\'t take much time in the design or manufacturing process.
On the other hand, if priority is given to creating an attractive and functional enclosure, options can still be made, such as 3D printing at a lower resolution or using hybrid printing
It will reduce the matching wood fragments of time and money.
What is your time limit?
Choosing a more or less complex design and taking into account any material that needs to be ordered will depend on your time.
What are your skills?
In many technologies, the shell can be made of anything.
In this note, there are two examples, one using a laser cutter and the other using a 3D printer.
Use the materials and skills you have to create your unique design.
Let\'s review two common ways to create a shell, for links to specific materials, check the case examples and resource steps.
The laser cutting shell is fast and can be made a lot at a time, and the material is relatively cheap.
The laser cutting machine is one of the most useful tools in a modern shop or fast prototype lab.
The laser cutting machine works by pointing the laser to a specific focus, pointing to the material, or cutting or etching the material precisely.
Move the position of the cutting head using CNC (
Computer numerical control)
Start with CAD (Computer-aided Design)
Files, usually made in Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw.
Some materials of the material will produce harmful gases, not only harmful to human beings, but also harmful to machines, such as PVC.
Always find SDS (
Safety data sheet)
The material to see if the laser is safe.
Common materials that can be cut are plastic, wood, paper and fabric.
Acrylic and plywood are ideal for prototyping as they are rich and cheap.
They also made good materials for the finished housing design.
There are multiple colors of acrylic, and even various colors of mirror or shiny.
Plywood can be dyed and easy to use.
Using the living hinge design can even make rounded corners and flex.
3D printing 3D printers squeeze melted plastic on the platform along the x-axis and y-axis, creating 3D objects layer by layer along the z-axis.
There are many different types, the cheapest and easiest to approach in terms of setup and materials is the desktop printer, which is what we will focus on in this regard.
Printing requires not only materials, but also time and patience.
When iterating, use the lowest resolution and just print what you need to see if the shell fits together.
The materials have a wide range of materials that you can use for 3D printing.
ABS, PLA and Ninjaflex are the most common, but Wood, nylon, soluble and even glowing-in-the-
Darkness can also be found.
Check which filament materials are supported by the specific printer you can use. Other. . .
Use your skills and imagination to create your shell using any material or method you like!
Take a look at this amazing Lego case made by a teenager, this circuit does not require a case as it is wrapped in resin and beautiful walnut case.
When making a decision on the material and how to use it, it\'s time to grab the calipers and start the measurement.
When adjusting the part up to mm, it is accurate and easy to use the digital calipers.
A decent calipers can be found online for about $40 and it will come in handy so I suggest you pick up one.
When making measurements, outline the circuit boards and other components roughly, and write them down when making measurements.
Use it to draw and build, add fill and room around each part.
If 3D modeling software is used, make models of boards and any other excellent components, such as ports, top components, and batteries, for use when modeling the enclosure itself.
Add enough space around the port so that the cable head can pass through the wall of the housing.
If you are interested in creating an extension or turning it on for access, mark the location of the reset or power button.
I found it helpful to hand sketch design ideas on paper and test different aesthetics.
Work in any medium that is comfortable for you.
So far, you can only not touch the material itself.
Once you start making up, you will learn something unknown, but a lot can be solved with a pencil in your hand.
Keep all measurements you can easily record and sketch each layer, panel or side during the necessary measurement.
Keep the calipers around and they are useful to observe the space around the board.
Don\'t forget to include any mounting holes, hardware or space inside the liner or battery.
Decide how to combine it.
Comb is usually used for laser cutting panels (
Aka box or finger)
Joint, fixed square nut joint or flexibility to use the material combine the slot and the snap ring together. McMaster-
Parts included, Carl is great.
For example, Fusion 360 can import parts according to the part number, which increases the convenience of ordering and designing accuracy.
Think about which ports to access, or even how often.
For example, for the laser cutting design shown here, the housing is used to protect the circuit board when programming and prototype circuits.
GPIO pin works under flip
When prototyping and two USB ports are available to power and program the board, the top cover is accessible easily.
3D printing design gives you a lot of flexibility in design.
They can be layers of boxes, super crazy sculpture elements, and so on.
Your design is interesting because the laser cut housing will live on my table with me