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Thread: What experience can anyone share in building a case for your computer

  1. #21
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    The 1980s China/Taiwan tools were a mixed blessing. Sometimes the iron was too soft and tapped holes would strip out. I guess that doesn't mean everything. Japanese exports were often awful from the getgo. Now Japanese stuff is crazy good.

    HF charges as much as your brand named chinese export. And speaking generally about their tools, I'll pass. I've bought cheapo wrench sets 10-15 years ago to keep in the car for an emergency say. But then they were cheap. I've bought (I think) Indian made dollar store wrenches and had them around for years. But my tools get used 3x a year. You can luck out. I bought a Husky wrench set, 44 pieces, and some big sizes recently. Made in India. I decided that since I've gotten by w/o those big sizes into my 53 year, I likely will never use them. So I got my 50$ back. Love Husky

    If you're options are very limited you can make do with a Horror Freight lathe or mill. Plan on spending a week or weeks dismantling and cleaning it. Oi vay.

  2. #22
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    I still have a set of "Flying Swallow" brand metric offset wrenches from the early 80s. I think my bench vise came from then also. Taiwanese (I don't think we had trade with PRC back then) gray iron machine tools used lots of putty in the castings, but weren't awful.

    My opinion of HF tools dates back at least 10 years. I haven't bought anything recently from them, save for a wood spiltter, which works quite well for the money. Sure, a lot of what they offer is pure junk. but they're slowly improving--but that's true of Chineesium in general, save for the budget stuff. My English Wheel, for example, is from HF, and, while it took a fair amount of polishing and tweaking, still was a bargain at $100 and does the job well.

    On a lark, I recently purchased a $29.95 impact driver through Banggood. I'm a Makita cordless user, so I've got plenty of batteries and charger. The durned thing is actually quite decent and a heckuva deal.

    So every once in awhile you get lucky. But it's a game of roulette.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck(G) View Post
    . . . I'm a Makita cordless user, so I've got plenty of batteries and charger. The durned thing is actually quite decent and a heckuva deal.
    I've had a Makita cordless drill set (12v) for over 20 years and it's on it 2nd set of batteries. Kicked, dropped, left in the rain, and otherwise abused - it still keeps on going like that TV bunny ad. at least +1 for Makita.
    Surely not everyone was Kung-fu fighting

  4. #24
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    (grabs steering wheel and wrenches (no pun intended) thread back to the OP's situation)

    Lathes, mills, spanners, castings are all fine in their own right but the OP's question was about building cases, with a folded sheetmetal one being posited.

    Much as a lathe is 'the king of machine tools' (I have 5) it isn't really going to be useful for making a keyboard enclosure, perhaps maybe for producing threaded standoffs.
    A mill, likewise, unless the table XY travel is long enough to mill the sides or the keyboard area.

    Other types of sheetmetal tools that could contribute to your case build are hole punches, for cable outlets. This example is a round one:
    https://www.carbuilder.com/images/th...punch_510.jpeg

    Guillotine. One this size has enough depth to trim the length of a keyboard enclosure:
    http://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/215..._1024x1024.jpg

    Fretsaw or bandsaw. With a guide fence they will cut a good enough edge on sheetmetal that can then be dressed with a file. A bandsaw will only be good for the outer edges obviously.
    A jigsaw with fine tooth blade may work, have the outrigger guide set to run along a piece of wood as a straight-edge. When cutting thin metal with reciprocating tools, clamping down is essential.

    Get a laser cutting or water-jet cutting shop to knock out your design. For the sheet metal laser cutting I've had done, I just supplied a basic (the more basic the better) DXF file, I had to replace splines with arcs before they accepted it for cutting (this was some years ago now). Any reasonable CAD program saves or exports DXFs.

    Tin snips were mentioned. Using tin snips instead of a guillotine, pressbrake or nibbler is like choosing to put insulation onto wiring using electrical tape instead of heatshrink tubing.
    Tin snips are good for cutting ...tins.

  5. #25
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    You forgot a sheet-metal brake. There are plenty of DIY plans for those--they're not hard to use and make nice crisp bends in sheet metal.

    If all of this is overwhelming, consider wood. Much easier to work with simple tools and can be made to look exquisite . After all, they used to make radio and TV cabinets of the stuff.

  6. #26
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    Sheet metal brake was discussed earlier in this thread. You can make your own (also discussed) but as the Old Engineer said the the Young Engineer "Why make what you can buy?".
    We live in an age of cheap CHEAP tools with a quality trade-off acceptable to the low-use home consumer.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck(G) View Post
    Believe that I mentioned that at #3.

    The trouble with doing milling with a drill press is that the quill and bearings aren't engineered for substantial side loads, which puts a limit on what these can do. Of course a real vertical mill can do both drilling and milling, but that's what it's engineered to do. If you're willing to do a fair amount of "tweaking", the small lathes and mills from Harbor Freight can be good deals--there's plenty on the web about this.
    Chuck, I saw your post, but wanted to add the link. I would only use my drill press to punch corner holes and then use a metal saw to cut the rest of the outline and finish with files. If a bit of extra metal needed to be removed in places I have a nibbling tool that I've owned for 40+ years. I'm luckier than most and have a small metal brake plus a mill and 7x16 lathe in my shop, but hand tools plus a Dremel could do the job as long as one takes their time to do the work. Measure 3 times and cut once. (I'm famous for needing extra measuring. )
    Crazy old guy with a basement full of Pentium 1 laptops and parts

  8. #28
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    If you use tin snips you're cutting a lot of times.

    The op has vanished, apparently we done chased him off.

  9. #29
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    I have been working on an adaptable wood case design for single-board computers. Here's the link to some photos of a prototype.

    For simplicity, this design doesn't have a flat place on top to rest a monitor. That way, the case can have a nice finish without worry about the monitor scratching it. Instead, I have a little glass stand for the monitor that fits over the case (as shown).

    I have the design in Vcarve format. It's directly CNC-able, if you have access to a CNC. Otherwise, the pieces can be traced onto plywood and cut. I would like to prove out the current revision before posting to GitHub, but I'm happy to share it with anyone interested.

    Dave

  10. #30

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    Some of the Chinese mini-mills can be made good. The key is to get one with a solid column (the tilt head inexpensive mills will chatter, but the solid column prevents it), and you'll probably have to adjust the gibs yourself, as it often isn't done well at the factory (this is a routine maintenance item anyway).

    Little Machine Shop sells a very good chinese mill, built to their specs, at a fair price. It's not $300, but it's a good hobbyist tool. https://littlemachineshop.com/produc...ProductID=4962
    -- Lee
    If you get super-bored, try muh crappy YouTube channel: Old Computer Fun!
    Looking to Buy/Trade For (non-working is fine): TRS-80 Model II,12,16,6000, Mac IIci hard drive sled and one bottom rubber foot, Hercules card + mono monitor (preferably IBM 5151), Multisync VGA CRTs, 040 or 601 card for Mac IIci, Decent NuBus video card, Commodore PC(286+), PC-era Tandy stuff, Aesthetic Old Serial Terminals, Amiga 2000 or 3000UX

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