Ponoko enclosure design

So I’d like to make a design for a ponoko laser cut/engraved enclosure. Any suggestions? As of right now I’m thinking bamboo because it really works well with the engraving, is durable, and looks fucking sweet.

Right now I’m thinking it would be pretty close to the SammichSid with toothed-edges, and bolts going through the bottom and the top. Additionally bolts and whatever spacers are needed would affix the front/bottom PCB’s to the box. Holes would be made for the jacks, buttons, etc. With the “natural” bamboo (.197") I’ve found that not all jacks can go through and have enough space to thread the nut on them… Not sure how durable the “blonde” bamboo would be at .12".

anyone have any designs they could share with me? don’t know if I can use FPE files, but PDF, SVG, or EPS would work well…

so here’s where I’m at with the design in sketchup.

I’ve got the two PCB’s modelled. Holes for mounting the main board and holes for MIDI, audio, and power jacks. For the control board, I’ve got holes for the LEDs, pots and square buttons. Note that the elevation of the pots and the buttons is based on the top of the body of the pots/tact switches, not the bottom of the PCB.

I’ve got a number of questions though, that I’ll probably have to wait until I receive my package to answer.

Dont forget the volume, input pots and the switch which are not mounted on the PCBs. Post your progress in something that everyone can read easily (EPS or PDF)

Oh, I know. It’s very much a work in progress. I don’t have a real design yet, just some models of the PCB for making said design…

So, has there been any progress on this, smrl? I’m excited to see your design.

Yeah, working on it today. I should have something to show later tonight, hopefully…

After reviewing Wilba’s midibox thread on his SammichSid case, I am totally in love with the red translucent acrylic:

Certainly, a blue acrylic would look great with the Shruti’s LCD colors, as well.

Hmm, I like how that looks. Unfortunately, at the moment my case design is centered around .197" bamboo. It wouldn’t be too much extra effort for me to redesign for other dimensions, but I don’t really see any incentive for me just yet. But just so you can see where I’m at, here’s a sketch… What do you think?

Yeah, I dig it. Having an angled faceplate is good; too much gear has me looking down at the display, causing my neck undue strain.

So, will the whole thing be done at Ponoko, in bamboo, or just the faceplate/backplate?

FYI, Wilba has just uploaded his .svg files from the SammichSID. Here’s the post, if you’re interested: http://midibox.org/forums/index.php?/topic/13161-sammichsid-prototype/page_viewfindpostp_126619
I have never done any of this modelling stuff before, so if you could share your .svg when you’re finished, that would help a great deal.


Niiiiiiiice, thank you! that’s super helpful…

And yeah, to answer your question, the whole thing would be from ponoko… Currently my design isn’t going to be perfect straight from Ponoko. I’m going to use holes through the top and bottom to attach the PCB’s. These probably need to use countersunk holes if you don’t want the screws to pop above the surface. So a countersinking bit would be required. Also, the front and back of the top panel will overhang the front and back of the box by a little bit. So this means some sanding/machining if you want them flush. Right now I’m thinking that the back is probably fine for me, but the front I’ll try to round off. Maybe sand down the corners as well to give rounded edges…

Any files I generate in the process I’ll post to help anyone else’s build…

Getting closer… My dimensions were way off before.

some design quirks of doing the angled top:

Think I’m about wrapped up in the 3d arena…

moving on to inkscape now.

Looks good. You might want to think about just leaving the top edges flat like the bottom…

Btw, what 3d software is that?

Great work! Two questions :

  • What are the 3 holes on the back for (a 3rd assignable knob?)
  • What do you think of this?

I find this shape a bit less “aggressive”. The controls on the back would be more accessible, and since there’s more space below the control panel at the bottom, you can probably move the controls down

altitude: It’s google sketchup. With a plugin which I mentioned in an earlier thread, you can export SVG’s of sketchup model faces directly into inkscape as a “flattened” design. So far it seems to work really well. We’ll see though.

Pichenettes: The 3 holes in the back are 1/4" CV ins. I’d like to put some sort of input protection circuit in there somewhere as well, since I’ve got some modular gear I’d rather not accidentally fry this guy with. Building a 0v clamp shouldn’t be too hard because of the negative rail but I’m not sure how I can get a +5v clamp (can you safely overload rail-to-rail opamps?) just yet. I could simply use a diode but then my max voltage in will be one drop below the rail.

Yeah, I agree, and like that shape. However, there are a few problems I see with it at the moment.

1, it increases the number of interlocking boards from 3 to 5. While my sketch may look super complicated, I’m actually trying to get by with as simple of a design as I can… The way the boards are being cut, I’m sharing cuts between multiple pieces (i.e., as the laser cuts the board it’s making the edge of two sides at once) and I’m a little concerned about how tightly it will interlock. Certainly adding more pieces will complicate assembly. And more angled pieces means more wonky intersections. Like the one at the top of the box.

2. It increases the cost. You pay primarily for machine time. I’ve actually submitted a simple design, without any text, and it came out to be $20.50 ($8 for the bamboo, the rest for machining). In fact, there’s enough bamboo to fit two shruti’s in a single sheet right now. Not sure if that would be the case if I added more panels. Possibly, I guess it all depends on how it’s laid out. Right now, I’m really happy with where it’s at price-wise though. I’m adding text to the LED indicators and jacks, a logo…

I’m still not quite sure how I’m going to secure the two halves. The main PCB will be affixed to the bottom piece, the display and interface pcb will be affixed to the top piece, and it seems like the most obvious way to do it is to have the top remove from the sides and bottom. That way the jacks, power switch and everything don’t need header pins and/or I don’t end up with a ratsnest when I open it… Glue or epoxy will probably be used for permanently affixing the sides to the top or bottom…

I should also note I’m in the middle of a few “projects” of my own… Not keeping anything a secret but haven’t done much broadcasting on the internets. So i’m basically cutting my teeth on cheap, to-order small-scale manufacturing of the kinds of enclosures I’d like to possibly use for my own designs. This being my first foray into 3d design with bamboo, and my 2nd time submitting stuff to ponoko, I think I’m already probably setting the bar a little too high for myself. I’d say at this point I’m abt. 95% sure this design is going to fail first time around anyway.

@smrl: I perfectly understand your points… At the moment I’m really tempted to fire up sketchup and tweak it myself to see how it goes - but I won’t because I have some work for the next project to do… Though this is definitely something I want to learn to do!

Could you point us to the plug-in you used for exporting to SVG?

Just a couple minor things that may save a few pennies:

  1. Instead of cutting individual rectangles for the buttons, you could have two long rectangles (for the two sets of buttons: 5/2).
  2. Perhaps you could limit the number of notches on the panel(s) that you’re going to glue.

Also, I’m not too sure of this, but couldn’t you just put a 100k resistor on the CV inputs? Would that serve as ample protection? I did this after modding my MC-202 back in the day and I never had an issue. (I installed PWM IN, CV/Gate IN, VCF/VCA IN, MOD IN, etc.)
I found the information on the web, way back when, so I just did it. Not sure if it actually did anything though!

Glitched brings up a good point. I was tinkering around with doing one of these for another project and came to the conclusion that depending on how you plan on keeping it together, you may just need two notches for alignment and nothing more. Wood glue is very strong and if using acrylic, the glue for that stuff is even stronger (and hermetic)