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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Pete Juliano's Enclosures

I'm sure many of you are, like me, impressed with the enclosures that Pete Juliano has been using with his rigs.   Here's an e-mail that he sent yesterday to Bert. 

Hi Bert,
You have a ready source of material right there in Seattle and they will cut it to size. Check out On-Line Metals. The transceiver project has a 4 x 8 inch base plate I bought from them and the front and back are pieces of single sided copper PC Board. The support material is 1/2 inch aluminum angle stock (Home Depot). Interesting use of round aluminum pillars. The front and back are stabilized using 1/4 inch threaded aluminum spacers that were fitted inside of small diameter hollow aluminum tube I bought in a hobby shop. A dab of Gorilla Glue holds the spacers inside the tubing and it forms a rigid support structure.
The subject of mechanical construction is a good one and perhaps Bill would like to cover that in a future podcast. That said I do have a bench top 3 axis manual milling machine and a 3 axis CNC milling machine (that one cost me about $250K). The cost was not in the machine but the cost of sending my youngest son to WSU where he got an ME degree. He designed and built the machine for me.
Boeing Surplus (now gone) in Kent used to sell aluminum plate by the pound and a lot of my stock (now all gone) came from there. As a retired Boeing employee I used to get a discount.

And here is a slide show illustrating Pete's technique:


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  1. I have a 7 call (from Arizona) but live in Virginia.
    Yeah I'd very much like more discussion on enclosures and mechanical aspects of homebrew. Of course most of us don't have milling machines and even if we did wouldn't know how to use them probably. I've been wanting to look for a metal working class somewhere and a local "maker space" environment so that I could at least use drill presses and the like and do rudimentary tasks. I don't even have a benchtop vice (or a benchtop that would support a vice) right now.

  2. Also Bill, Pete has a nice website with some tutorials on what he's done: http://www.jessystems.com/

    - Bert WF7I

  3. It seems to have dried up, but for while I was finding all kinds of electronics in metal boxes, and while the electronics offered some parts, the cases were often more interesting. You may have to cover the front and back panels so you can have holes where you want. Sometimes some 9f the work is already done, an on/off switch in place, the ac cord already going through the panel (or a place for the cord to plug in). Sometimes the power supply is on a separate board, just waiting to be reused. I think a lot of these were satellite boxes from small companies, but some DVD players and the like have reasonable (albeit short) metal cabinets, so long as you have some new panel to mount on the front.

    Computer power supplies offer up a nice smallish box. I've used those for power supplies, ironically building linear supplies inside (the transformers from some other electronic scrap), since I didn't need the current capacity or the switching supply noise. Again, copper circuit board on the front and back cover the holes, these can be used for small projects.

    I once found some square metal duct in short pieces on the sidewalk, clearly left over from some work. I brought some home, never used them, but they struck me as useful for chassis.

    Some of the problem is that for small projects, you need a case to protect them, but the case can be as expensive as the parts for the project. Small cans work for that (just like the Tuna Tin 2). I've never done it, but if you had lots of small things like test equipment, put each in a larger can, and use a larger panel in front for the extra controls, making a sort of rack for them on the bench.Tin cans are a great source for small well shielded boxes, but don't offer much space for the front panel.

    When taking things apart, watch for things that can be reused for housing. Old tv tuners might offer small boxes for little things, shielded sections might also be of use, that flimsy tin with the top and bottom mounted via finger stock. IF transformers from the tube days might provide useful small casing for solid state stages, though at this point, they may have become too valuable as replacement? I've found relays in metal boxes, the boxes more useful than the relays. CDrom drives are common, and they offer a reasonable size metal case, once you add a front panel.

    Michael VE2BVW


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