ARTICLES RELATING TO CAD/CAM
Article 3: Why would you Machine your Enclosure?
If you are in need of an enclosure for your electronics and debating the pro’s and con’s of what to do, then here are some points for you to consider based on the latest machining techniques that may provide you with a better solution for no extra cost.
- What do you do when you need something more than a customised off the shelf enclosure?
- Have you considered a bespoke enclosure manufactured to your exact requirements?
- Do you know that Casting and Moulding are not the only options for a bespoke enclosure?
- Have you considered utilising the latest machining techniques to manufacture an enclosure for your electronics?
Why should you choose CNC machining for your electronics enclosure?
The latest CAD CAM systems and machining technologies have revolutionised what can be achieved cost effectively by the machining process and this has allowed companies to reap the benefits of the process at a cost that many would have thought impossible only a few years ago. Here are some of the advantages of the process.
Unique and Stylish Design
Modern machines can produce any shape even 3-Dimensional forms quickly and easily, so no longer do machined parts need to be angular and simplistic. Complex shapes can now be machined as cheaply as very simple profiles.
Reduced Capital Expenditure
Casting and moulding techniques require expensive up front tooling. The machining process requires a much lower initial set up cost.
When using the machining process for your components there is a negligible cost implication when making design changes as your product matures. Even significant changes at the design and prototyping stage can usually be accommodated with minimal cost or lead time.
A machined enclosure can satisfy all your thermal requirements. Complex heatsinking and cooling features can be designed in with the minimum of thermal interfaces.
Particularly if an enclosure is machined from solid the enclosure will have excellent EMC performance simply by reducing the number of interfaces. Depending on your requirements a variety of concepts can be used from simple metal to metal contact to a sophisticated tongue and groove solution which takes advantage of the accuracy which can be achieved by the machining process even on very complex profiles.
If a component is machined in one piece it significantly reduces the potential for leakage and sealing features such as o ring grooves can be accurately added.
No Additional Processes
Unlike the casting process machined components are completed in one hit. There are no expensive extra processes required to ensure accuracy or sealing integrity.
The Machining process can easily and without any additional cost achieve accuracy of important features which could never be achieved by casting or moulding. Typically an overall tolerance of +/- 0.2mm can be achieved with ease over the entire volume of the part
And finally some myths expelled
“Machining from solid is very wasteful of material”
Machining a box from solid does require significant material to be cut from a single block, however the difference between this and machining individual panels is usually less than you would first imagine. Also the cut material is recycled so nothing is actually wasted.
“Material Removal is slow and costly”
Using modern machines and tooling machining of aluminium and plastics can take place at previously unimaginable speed. This is just one of the advances which has made this into a viable process for production enclosures.
“Programming the machines is very time consuming so only viable for large volumes”
CAD CAM has revolutionised this process. The same 3D models used in the design process are used to create the tool paths for the machine. There is no time consuming manual programming of machines followed by a slow step by step proving of the program. Tool paths are created off line, simulated on the computer and then electronically downloaded to the machine.