🟧 Using Plexiglass (acrylic) for electronics housing (case)
In the many simple electronics devices the problem is housing. In our days it's not a big problem, because of 3D printing with plastic technology available, but it's relatively expensive (when ordering from the factory or small companies) with an even small wholesale (5-10PCS). And when you have own 3D printer it's also not cheap, very long, it could be a defective part (which need to be reprinted with loss of time and plastic) and not good for 5-10 or more pieces of the cases.
The good and simple way to make your device non-DIY appearance is to use top (face) panel, that could be made by the PCB manufacturing technology and assembled with using standoffs (spacers).
But if you want transparent cover plane or with high height (1.6mm+), the FR-4 is not appropriate.
Acrylic (plexiglass) It's now widespread material, that often used in stores, advertisements, DIY projects. There are many small companies, that can easily cut acrylic with using high-power laser cut machine.
How to prepare files to laser cut?
Some firms could have special requirements, but most of all accept vector files in different formats:
I recommend you to use .pdf, because when I exported in other formats from Inkspace (free and good vector editor) the dimensions was wrong.
I panelized all parts, like PCBs, so here some finished samples:
The manufacturing precision and cutting quality is very good:
You can make parts from several parts without waste:
Here is holes for M3 screws (D=3.2mm) and switcher (rectangular hole):
You can easily export your PCB as .step file and then use it do create drawing based on the boards sizes:
That allow you to get extremely precise parts, that excellently correlate with the board:
Using laser cutting for acrylic very similar (and even simpler in comparison to PCB manufacturing) and could be used for creation good-quality case with different thickness:
- 1.0 mm
- 1.5 mm
- 2.0 mm
- 2.5 mm
- 3.0 mm (most popular)
- 3.5 mm...
And different color (can be painted by hand):
- Transparent (most popular)