Quick SummaryIn less than a month, at a total cost of less than $200, Polycase modified ten small enclosures to our specs. We now have a custom part number, and can reorder the customized box in any quantity at a sliding price scale; the sweet spot being 100 pieces at $3.09 each. Here's how it went:
Front Panel Express, and really liked the "flush mount" design that put the protective display window (BEZ-216) in a shallow recess in the test panel. Their Front Panel Designer software can export designs in DXF and SVG file formats, so we moved the flush-mount design into Inkscape to prepare a drawing for Polycase. The cutout, recess and screw holes were assigned to their own layers and placed over a sketch of the desired enclosure (TS-1741F) copied from the Polycase PDF specs.
In addition to the 2D outlines of the cutout, recess and screw holes, we figured Polycase engineers would need to know the depth of the recess (0.65mm to match the thickness of the BEZ-216 polycarbonate faceplate) and specs of the screw holes (82° countersunk with a generous 4.5mm surface opening to ensure that the screw heads would be flat/below the surface).
Polycase Quote Process
- A "surface" is one face of the box: top, bottom, sides; inside and out.
- A "feature" is a discrete cutting operation, like drilling a hole or cutting an outline.
We filled in the form and got an instant quote:
- One-time Machining Charge: $100.00
- 10 Enclosures at 9.66 each = $96.60
- Lead Time: 3 weeks
Placing the OrderHere's the chronology of the ordering process:
- 7 November, end of day: Submitted purchase order and drawings (in SVG and PDF; they used PDF).
- 9 November: Polycase sales rep called for credit-card number.
- 13 November: Polycase engineering emailed a detailed PDF drawing of their design for approval. Reviewed it carefully and found no errors; emailed approval.
- 5 December: Received completed order via UPS Ground.
Checking the Results
GLO-216Y; could have used a garden-variety 2x16 LCD, but where's the fun in that?). The process was the same as for the Front Panel Express test-drive, and went perfectly.
Then a digital caliper was applied to the cuts, which turned out to be exactly to spec. All of the boxes were clean, shiny, and free of tool marks, blemishes or defects.
All enclosure manufacturers offer custom machining, but most require submitting specs to an applications engineer before you can get even a ballpark estimate. Polycase's online-quote system, low setup charge, and streamlined process remove the barriers to creating a custom enclosure for even short-run products. We were highly impressed and would not hesitate to recommend Polycase to our customers.