Customizing Sick of Beige cases for laser cutting

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(Download and install the SVG export plugin)
(Download the case template)
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We'll use Seeed Studio's laser cutting service, they take SVG formatted files. Grab the [http://code.google.com/p/sketchup-svg-outline-plugin/wiki/InstallPlugin SVG plugin for SketchUp] to save in this format. Put it in the SketchUp plugins directory.
We'll use Seeed Studio's laser cutting service, they take SVG formatted files. Grab the [http://code.google.com/p/sketchup-svg-outline-plugin/wiki/InstallPlugin SVG plugin for SketchUp] to save in this format. Put it in the SketchUp plugins directory.
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==Download the case template==
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===Download the case template===
[http://dangerous-prototypes-open-hardware.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/Sick_of_Beige/SU%20Templates/ Download the SketchUp files] that fit the standard size board you used.
[http://dangerous-prototypes-open-hardware.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/Sick_of_Beige/SU%20Templates/ Download the SketchUp files] that fit the standard size board you used.

Revision as of 16:46, 30 July 2012

Contents

Overview

SoB LC OverviewTUT.jpg

Laser cut acrylic cases are super popular because they look cool, they're easy to customize, and cheap to make. Not everyone has a laser cutter, but there's cheap online services and your local hackerspace might have one.

This tutorial shows how customize our simple Sick of Beige cases to fit your own project. If you start with our standard PCB templates you can get your project into a case with minimal hassle.

Before you start

You'll need to have Google SketchUp installed. See our introduction to SketchUp.

Download and install the SVG export plugin

We'll use Seeed Studio's laser cutting service, they take SVG formatted files. Grab the SVG plugin for SketchUp to save in this format. Put it in the SketchUp plugins directory.

Download the case template

Download the SketchUp files that fit the standard size board you used.

You didn't use a [standard PCB template? It's gonna be a little more work, but you can still follow along.

Open your project and the template

Open the PCB design file of your project, and the SketchUp template design. This tutorial uses Cadsoft Eagle for the PCB design, as it's the tool we use for our PCBs, and we have standard size PCB library for it.

Match the PCB coordinate center on the template coordinate center

SoB LC TUT coorC.jpg

Our templates are positioned so the bottom-right corner of where the PCB is positioned inside the case (standard size PCB relative center in Eagle) is at the SketchUp coordinate center. So if in your PCB design files the standard size PCB's relative coordinate center is at the Eagle coordinate center coordinate in Eagle will mirror in SketchUp.

Adding hole shapes for extruding parts

Find the relative center of the component in your PCB design file

SoB LC TUT grid.jpg

First change the grid in Eagle to millimeters, found in the 'View/Grid' menu.

SoB LC TUT relcc.jpg

Next right click on the component and select 'properties'. The 'Position' attribute is the coordinate center of the component relative to the Eagle's coordinate center, which should be the same for the SU. The left panel is the X-axis, while the right is the Y-axis.

Using guide lines in SketchUp

Once you have the location of the component draw guide lines in SU.

SoB LC TUT guidce21.jpg

For X-axis click on the 'Tape Measure tool', then click on the any point on the 'Green' coordinate line and drag the guideline to any point on the template. now left click on that point.

SoB LC TUT guide2.jpg

Right after you click on that point, type in the numbers of the X coordinate. For example, if the location is 51.5mm from the coordinate center in the X axis, just type in '51.5' and hit 'Enter'. The guideline will be positioned at exactly 51.5mm.

SoB LC TUT guide3.jpg

Repeat the above for the Y-axis only now using a point on the 'RED' axis line as the starting point. Now you have guidelines pinpointing the exact location of the components center on the template.

Draw the hole shape for the part

SoB LC TUT hole.jpg

Once you have the coordinate center point location on your template, simply draw the outline of the hole you want to cut out, using the component's datasheet, and additional guidelines. Leave 0.5-1m of clearance for manufacturing defects.

Repeat for all extruding parts

Repeat the above for all the holes you'd like to cut out on your case. Keep in mind that the Guidelines are your friend, and pretty much any shape can be made with their help. They are really easy to use, and after a couple of minutes you'll get the hang of them. Here is a manual to the 'Tape Measure tool'.

Export the shape to the SVG file

SoB LC TUT expSVG1.jpg

Simply double click on the template. All the lines on the template, and the face surface should be highlighted. Now right click on any highlighted area, and select 'Export to SVG file'.

SoB LC TUT expSVG3.jpg

The Export Plugin menu will open up. Fill it in as shown above, with the exception of the Output file pane, where you should enter the filename you want it to export to.

Once you've set all the options up, simply click 'Ok'. The plugin will let you know the file has been exported and you are finished.

Send for Laser Cutting at Seeed

The SVG files are used as a standard for laser cutting, so any laser cutting service should work with them without problems. Here we will describe how we send our designs to Seeed's cheap Laser cutting service. You can find frther instuctions at Seeed's laser cutting service page.

  • Select the quantity, material, and the dimension options, based on your project.
  • For job difficulty, you need to estimate the overall length of the laser cutting lines. These include the template lines, as well as the hole lines. You can get specific parameters from SketchUp by double clicking on the model, and then holding down shift, and clicking once over the highlighted area to deselect it, while keeping all the lines selected. Now right-click on any highlighted line and select 'Entity info'. Under 'Length' is the over all laser cutting line. Of it's below 600mm your job difficulty is Easy, if it's between 600mm and 1800mm it's Normal, and anything over 1800mm is Hard.
  • Once you selected all the options as per your specifications, buy the service. Once you do, you will receive a order number. Now compress your SVG file into an archive called L<order number>.rar, L123456.rar, for an order number 123456 for example.
  • Now simply send an email to Laser(at)seeedstudio.com with the file attached.

Example mail:

Subject: Files for order# 123456

Text:

Hi,

Please find attached files for order# 123456

Feel free to ask for help

If you get stuck on something feel free to ask us via the forum, or the contact form. Well be happy to help in any way we can.

Share your designs

Our PCB files, and Laser cutting templates are open source and licensed under CC-0, meaning they are free for you to use in any way you like including commercial projects.

If you feel like it share your designs with us, in the forum, or the contact form. It will be greatly appreciated, and it will help us design even better cases, with your consent.