There’s a gaping hole in the electronic enclosures market which is between the one-size-fits all approach of a Hammond or Polycase, the jack-o-lantern-dremel specials like RadioShack project boxes, and a full-blown custom injection molded or sheet metal custom enclosure.
I want something that is a custom enclosure, but I don’t want to pay injection molding or sheet metal prices – for many things I simply don’t have the volume to justify the manufacturing expense. It doesn’t have to look like a design gallery piece or iPhone, but I don’t want it to look like I hacked up something and wedged it in, either.
I suspect many DIY’rs have similar needs – they don’t need an enclosure to gleam but don’t want it to look like road-kill either.
Even though I recognize the need for more electronic enclosures for DIY’rs, and I have existing products on the market, and I have the design and manufacturing path to get to sheet metal enclosures, I still find myself wanting and needing very small quantities of custom enclosures.
A 3D printer is the first device available to make a single unit, custom electronic enclosure without breaking the bank. Even now, you don’t have to look far to get access to a 3D printer. High schools and hackerspaces have them. They’re becoming affordable in the same way that the first laser printers became affordable for home use. Places like Club Workshop in Denver where you can pay a day fee will get you started. Finally, you can always ship your designs off to Shapeways and have them printed and sent to you.
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has thrilled us at Adafruit with its passion and dedication to making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed that our community integrating electronics projects into 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you take considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless EL Wire and LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects!
The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! If you have a cool project you’ve made that joins the traditions of 3D printing and electronics, be sure to send it in to be featured here!