It is not possible to forever keep a board in the package’s box! Dust will accumulate. Here is Arduino UNO Box or Enclosure Buying Guide. There are some ready to buy solutions, as well as you can cut the raw materials and join or even 3D print the things and join. Only you need to keep some factors in mind.
Arduino UNO Box : Enclosure Buying Guide Factors
For storage purpose only, a simple box will work. An ideal Arduino box should have :
- Openings for all the pins, USB and connector ports
- Rubber or similar material protection of the holes, otherwise the holes will accumulate dust
- Some sort of basic cooling
- The material should be time standing
- The material should not be fragile
- There should be opening to view the LED lights or may be transparent
Sadly, in almost all the ready to use boxes, you’ll never get all the features. Among points, the cooling probably needs a bit explanation. If the body is made of metal and optionally has an exhaust fan, usually which are used for computer peripherals, that should be enough.
The best choice would be :
- Aluminum with radiator like fins touching the board but not any contact point as base and side
- Wood for the top with cut outs
- Aluminum made protectors for the openings for the ports with hinge action
- Glass in the cut out part at the LED lamps
it would be the best.
There are powder coated aluminum boxes in the market, wooden box needed to be custom created. Teak wood is the best wood, we are dealing with teak wood supply from Burma and India for the past few centuries. I can play with a piece of Teak and have some carpenters to do the work, but it is impractical for the other end users. I will use an old block of seasoned teak, but if you try to buy, you may get fooled with bad quality. So, aluminum box is better for the users. Aluminum will ensure cooling to some extent – but there will air in-between aluminum and the board, aluminum can attribute to short circuit etc.
Except wood, next good material will be very good quality plastic.
Arduino UNO Box : Enclosure Buying Guide
All are too much higher priced with compromise quality and features. There is aluminum box at spark fun at around 5 USD. There is question of good features. We can not recommend anything to buy specific for Arduino. Best you can do is – concealed wiring in home uses a box. It is metal box. They are die-cast and very hard but can be cut by hammering with a chisel. Box for concealed wiring switches are covered with either ready to use panel or a board – switch socket panel. Clean way to cut any metal is to cover the areas not to be cut with wax and expose the area to be cut with acid. No, you are not going to do it as well.
We found a design of the cut outs from a shop on Ebay selling a box at $4 :
It is not scaled image but you can easily make it a real design. You can use aluminum sheet (1.5mm, 2mm, 4mm are sold) or aluminum plate and hack saw, chisel etc to fully hand design or use wax-acid treatment. You may draw the design on Adobe Photoshop and print it on a paper, trace it on the plate and get a person who will cut it. The wiring selling shops have cutters to cut rightly. They will not cut aluminum, but wooden board, acrylic boards. Hardly except manpower cost, it will cost $2.00. When you are creating the design, build another design without holes or make a hinge system. There is a type of screw named as “hexagonal threaded standoffs”. Search the web with the phrase “hexagonal threaded standoffs”, you will get the idea. You need 4-40 hexagonal threaded standoffs. These are costly, they can cost $2.50 for 4 such. Lower part of the board will stand on them.
All acid etches aluminum. You need to carefully clean out all acid with huge amount of water. Then do a bit filing. You can find a cnc machining service and go for the cutting part. That is called cnc plate cutting. You can use A366/1008 mild steel if you are using cnc machining service. You will show this post, the cnc machining service will understand what to do! Not all services can bend the plates at 90 degree – then you need a different design. You should ask the service what the specs they can cut, then buy plate.
There is ready to use Arduino box named TuxCase. You will find CAD files for 3D printing.
Actually, if the sides are cut from a single thick aluminum block, it becomes very steady – that is what is called “chassis design” – that is frame. Which you know as “unibody” will have cutting from one side from a block, only top will remain open for applying the screw. If you need 2″ depth, you have to cut from a 2″ thick aluminum block. It is only possible to do with very good block/plate cutting service. That is why we wrote – teak wood block, switch socket panel etc. Also, you can search with 4.5″ aluminum box, 4.5″ steel box, 4.5″ plastic box etc. terms. You need to knock out the top from hinges and then cut out. To hinge it, use bicycle’s spoke. If there are two hinges, use one spoke, do not cut in to two pieces. Hammer the ends to seal. You’ll hammer it keeping on metal.
We gave all types of options but remaining with aluminum plate. So, finally we are using –
- The design stolen from Ebay and shown above, you need to measure and create
- 4-40 hexagonal threaded standoffs
- Aluminum plates for 4 sides
- Optional – transparent acrylic for the top and sides in drawer like arrangement. When you are not using, they will cover the holes. Definitely you understood this optional idea. You have to give a slit to allow the transparent plate to become a drawer or slider. Add small screws inside to support the “drawer” system. Cut off the head of the screws and make them wearing a rubber pipe for smooth sliding.
Total cost – $2.50 for screw, $11-$14 for steel sheet, $2-$4 for aluminum. That box costs $40 if you use steel, which is named duinoCases. It looks bad too even after paying $40. They will not cost more than $5.00; but except plastic, it can be difficult to cut out. Try first with plain card board.
I will suggest to read Orthopedics to do electronics DIY works! We cut human bones, sometimes part of metals, we use highest quality materials!
Why we cutting, working so much? Because if you make the board working with a display or 3G SIM, you will need bigger box. Use chisel for thin sheet, acid or cnc for thick sheet. Again, teak wood is best but you may be short in manpower and resource. Bad woods are best food and home of some pests. Acrylic may be not fragile, can absorb shock. Wood is not fragile, can absorb shock. Metals are not fragile but may not absorb shock as good as wood. Metals can create short circuit, acrylic, plastic, wood – all are good non-conductor.
Last is “radiator like fin”. Search with “aluminum alloy fin” or “aluminum fin”. If you need more cooling (we think you’ll never need), then add “processor water cooling” system. It is too costly but best.
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