squarewave

Small Clam-Shell Enclosures
« on: September 23, 2020, 01:08:11 PM »
Is there a source for the small steel two-piece clam-shell enclosures that a lot of companies like Radial, Whirlwind and countless others use? Specifically, I'm looking for enclosures like this:

  https://www.thomannmusic.com/the_sssnake_cat_snake_3mc.htm

I could have them made. It's just two pieces with a few bends and eMachineShop can do bends. But I assume it would be expensive when it seems like there should be these small clam-shell enclosures available for very cheap.

I would hack the sssnake ones since it's already 90% of what I need and pretty cheap but they're just not quite big enough (I want to make a custom 1/4" to RJ-45 dual 9V powered DI for my new keyboard rig and I just can't find a decent small enclosure. They're all cheap thin or clumsy die cast aluminum boxes).


abbey road d enfer

Re: Small Clam-Shell Enclosures
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2020, 03:11:56 AM »
clumsy die cast aluminum boxes).
What's wrong with them? they're available in many sizes.
Who's right or wrong is irrelevant. What matters is what's right or wrong.
Star ground is for electricians.

squarewave

Re: Small Clam-Shell Enclosures
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2020, 09:24:35 AM »
What's wrong with them? they're available in many sizes.
Die cast are ok. They do the job. But they're not great for machining. The inside clearance is awkward with the mounting screw holes in the corners and the sides are usually not perfectly parallel so mounting a PCB to the side causes the PCB to be at a slight angle. And the appearance isn't as "professional" IMO. It just looks like a guitar pedal. Obviously manufactures feel the same way because pretty much everyone is using the new style. Also, with two U shaped pieces that cup together you can make one a lot larger than the other and then it doubles as a switch / knob / connector guard. It's just more elegant in general.

Also, another thing I like about the design is that you have one face for connectors on one end (in my case I'm thinking about standardizing on audio over RJ45 with Radial Catapult pinout) and then you just have a catch-all cord grip at the other end. So you have connector(s) at one and and cables sticking out the other. That's usually just about right for a small single-purpose gizmo like a DI. It covers a lot of possibilities without drilling any more holes. But if I want switches and knobs and lights I can drill holes in the top.

As usual, I think I'm going to just throw time and money at the problem and make some. A simple clone of the Thomann enclosure without any holes looks like it's about $13 USD each @ 10 + $150 setup. So it will end up being something like $40 bucks each. Not horrible.

jazzcrisis

Re: Small Clam-Shell Enclosures
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2020, 09:28:53 AM »
ProSpeakerParts.com has really, really sturdy steel and aluminum project boxes--many of which are pre-punched with various connector holes. They're excellent.

squarewave

Re: Small Clam-Shell Enclosures
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2020, 10:02:37 AM »

JohnRoberts

Re: Small Clam-Shell Enclosures
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2020, 12:03:50 PM »
Is there a source for the small steel two-piece clam-shell enclosures that a lot of companies like Radial, Whirlwind and countless others use? Specifically, I'm looking for enclosures like this:

  https://www.thomannmusic.com/the_sssnake_cat_snake_3mc.htm

I could have them made. It's just two pieces with a few bends and eMachineShop can do bends. But I assume it would be expensive when it seems like there should be these small clam-shell enclosures available for very cheap.

I would hack the sssnake ones since it's already 90% of what I need and pretty cheap but they're just not quite big enough (I want to make a custom 1/4" to RJ-45 dual 9V powered DI for my new keyboard rig and I just can't find a decent small enclosure. They're all cheap thin or clumsy die cast aluminum boxes).
One of my more successful small package designs used a U shaped aluminum extrusion for the bottom half of a clamshell, and bent steel for the top half. The top metal is punched flat and then bent, screw bosses in the aluminum extrusion accept thread cutting screws. The aluminum extrusion can be cut to different lengths to support different packages.

Making your own extrusion is not crazy expensive but the last one I did required a minimum 500# aluminum order.  There are lots of standard extrusion shapes out there, but I am not aware of this one.

JR   
It's nice to be nice....

Ricardus

Re: Small Clam-Shell Enclosures
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2020, 05:48:37 PM »
I used to work for a local snake/cabling manufacturer, and our DI boxes were this clamshell design as you call it. We had them made locally by a fabricating company, but I have never seen "project boxes" of that type for sale anywhere that I recall.

If you find any let us know.
Audio mastering for hire..

gyraf

Re: Small Clam-Shell Enclosures
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2020, 10:58:48 AM »
..note to self: don't let Harman run your company..

squarewave

Re: Small Clam-Shell Enclosures
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2020, 07:59:17 PM »
Well instead of the "clam-shell" style, I ended up buying three different extruded aluminum enclosures on Amazon of all places. They actually have a decent selection:



but the build quality can be a little wonky. The end panels of the one on the left actually don't fit really at all. However, the smallest one is very nice, has excellent fitment and it came neatly packed in small box:
 
  JIUWU Surface Drawing Split Aluminum Enclosure Project Box
  Electronic Enclosure Case for PCB Board DIY, 88x38x100mm (WHL)
  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07HBWLZDQ/

This has good clearance and the dimensions are accurate. Two 9V batteries stacked on their sides fit nicely.

Another surprising Amazon find was cable gland kits. I got a pack of 25 of various PG sizes for like $9 USD and they're actually nice:

  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08GHB2P4X

So for small projects like DIs I'm really digging this sort of small enclosure / cable gland build style as opposed to having a panel made with various holes for different sockets that reduces internal clearance. With this design, you can just put some connectors on smallish balanced cable like Redco TGS-01 which has a pretty small overall diameter:

  https://www.redco.com/Redco-TGS-01-Single-Channel-Low-Profile-Balanced-Cable.html

and just plug in directly to whatever gear without extra cables.

Finally, I'm going to use the Molex PicoBlade connectors:

 https://www.molex.com/molex/products/family/picoblade

which are so tiny they're like the SMD equivalent of connectors but with the right crimp tool (haven't tried this yet but it looks like the IWISS IWS-2820M is good for the micro U-barrel terminals):

  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B078WNZ9FW/

they're perfectly doable and widely stocked. There are good videos on youtube of RC helicopter people crimping the tiny terminals - there's a very specific procedure and technique to it. I'm starting to think scaling things down is the future. PicoBlade has both plugs and receptacles. Meaning you can make butt connections without headers on a PCB. I wager 5-6 could pass through the right size cable gland (if you feed them through one at a time of course) which means the cables / plugs of the device could be changed from XLR, TRS, TS, RCA, ...

abbey road d enfer

Who's right or wrong is irrelevant. What matters is what's right or wrong.
Star ground is for electricians.


squarewave

Re: Small Clam-Shell Enclosures
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2020, 10:10:55 AM »
In Europe, teh cost of these box via Amazon is prohibitive; shipment + tax is more than teh product price.
However they are available from Ali Express, at teh same price than Amazon, but with free shipping.
Browsing, I found this other source;
<snip>
Prices are excellent. Shipping costs are a bit dteerrent, though.
That's actually not the same enclosure of course.

This is the same exact one as the "very nice" one from Amazon:

   https://fr.aliexpress.com/item/32764144816.html?spm=a2g0o.store_home.productList_10335322.pic_1

To fit two 9V batteries nicely (an important scenario for an audio device), you need about 24mm if they're stacked or 27mm on their ends internally + ~6 to get to external dim which is 30 to 33 mm external height.


 

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