[Fab Week4] Enclosure

To say the conclusion first, I failed to make the enclosure as previously planned, although I went through several trials and errors. Precise measuring and assessing the property of materials were big challenges.

I attempted to make a fine enclosure for the physical computing final project, digital graffiti wall, so a sort of paint spray can-ish device was needed.

ITP’s shop is always great to find some materials for fast prototyping! I gathered some of the junk shelves and just sacrificed my pen lid.

I also cut aluminum can by the rectangular shape and covered around the cylinder-shaped tea box.

It worked fine as a functioning device, but every component was cluttered inside. So I needed an improved version of the enclosure which has better design, functionality, durability.

The first concept design sketch ( the first one ever looks simple )

I decided to use acrylic tube and sheet for this to keep portable weight and regular durability as well.

Measuring twice, cut once.

Calipers were easy to use especially for cylinder and it provided accurate measurement result value. I spent a bunch of time for measuring, I didn’t want to make a computational error.

Cut and polished main parts.

Prototyping complex parts by using cardboard before actual laser cutting production.

I liked this looks of the device: radiating faint light and the texture.

Based on the design plan and several trials, I made multiple parts with a laser cutter.

Every part seemed to fit in very well at the time, and the size of the embodied enclosure was adequate.

For the next step, I tried to build a trigger mechanism for the nozzle button. I used clear acrylic rod so that IR LED could be implanted inside of the rod. And the idea was that I designed this whole button part as a detachable lid case of the device. I thought that it can be fixed firmly by screws from the side, and I glued a couple of acrylic parts to get enough thickness to stand that penetration. However, it was the beginning of a tragedy.

In fact, I could make a button part easier than I expected although its quality wasn’t good enough.

The biggest vital problem just appeared before the final goal. The acrylic sheets that have been glued together in one part were shattered into pieces since it couldn’t tolerate the drilling force. I’ve missed having trials in this part and I have not taken this seriously.

After this failure, I started to design more simple and durable again regarding on the property of materials and meaningful repetitions.

Work in progress…

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  1. Nice work, I like the design you are going for. The initial mockup is a great place to start.

    Making your own button can be a challenge. I curious, why is the “quality not good enough”?

    Acrylic is a tricky material to drill and cut (as you found out). If the enclosure doesn’t need to be clear or translucent, you could try PVC pipe. That drills and cuts very well.

    If you like working with round cylindrical shapes, you should consider learning the lathe and 4 axis CNC. Those tools are designed to create shapes like this.

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