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Old 06-29-2009, 09:11 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Best way to cut an enclosure?

I have a fairly thick plastic enclosure, but I need to cut out the space for the LCD. I'm trying to make this look as not-junky as possible. My tests with a Dremel were far less than good (melted plastic.) What do you guys recommend to make nice clean cuts in plastic? Just a fine hacksaw blade maybe?


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Old 06-29-2009, 09:23 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Yep , a fine hacksaw will do the job.
Two tips:
1) Reinforce the back of the area to be cut to make sure your cuts come out straight. Clamp it to a solid backing piece if you can. Cut slowly and stop often to clear the blade.
Make the cut smaller than you need and finish up with some fine sand paper.

2) If you are unsure about this find a model maker and get them to do it. Most will probably do it for no costs and enjoy the challenge. Any decent size model club will have a list of willing and enthusiastic volunteers. Check your local phone book or a local hobby store for contacts.

Good luck , Pete.
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Old 06-29-2009, 10:32 PM   #3 (permalink)
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When the plastic melts from a Dremel cut, the melted part can usually be knocked off pretty easily, just push it, and it should chip away. Then, you can clean it up with sandpaper, or sandpaper-ish bit for the dremel.
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Old 06-30-2009, 07:56 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Dremel tool works well for me. Nothing else I can think of that works better. I use the thinnest wheel and low speeds to keep it from melting very much. Feed the wheel in light, short pulses. Don't push hard or for too long or you'll start to melt it. Then as McTimson said, the little bit that melts on the downstream side of the cut can be just pushed away once it hardens after 10 seconds or so.

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Old 06-30-2009, 09:10 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Soldering Iron, with blade attachment. The "blade" is actually an x-acto blade. Most soldering irons with screw-in tips will accept the screw piece from the good x-acto knives, so you can use a razor blade with a soldering iron, and make thin, shallow cuts until you get through it all the way.

Also, you can just use a fine hand file. Drill a hole to start from, then file your way around the thing. Fine metal hacksaw, wire rope, coping saw, etc.

You can also use a "hot wire" as well, but it will take some time, and you'll need air circulation depending on what type of plastic it is.
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Old 06-30-2009, 09:55 PM   #6 (permalink)
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You need a slower speed, try a jig saw, or circlar saw get as close to the edge as possible then file file file.

Get a variable speed controller for the dremel.

To bend use the wifes Iron (depends on the thickness of the plastic/perspex) with a damp cloth on top (low temp to start with) do this slowly. Or the oven with a curved mould.
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Old 07-01-2009, 03:01 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Here's what I did:

Measure out the hole for the LCD (and ports), use masking tape to define the boundries. Use the Dremel to cut almost to the size of the desired hole (say about 1mm away from the desired size), then, use fine and medium files to work the hole to the desired shape, carefully sizing and refining as you go. I also rounded off the edges with the fine file. Use a light touch with the fine file at the end to smooth out the edges.

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