uBITx panels for EF01 Excellway case

Bought the Banggood case?   Want some 3D printed drop in front and back panels so you don’t need to cut out the hole for the display and controls?


Gary AG5TX says:

“I bet some find it hard to stomach buying $27 plastic panels for a $10 plastic case when debating a few bucks differences in micro-controllers.
That said, my building brother, I too get anxious on cutting holes.  We don’t know what tools you have, and given the question, assume not a mill or a drill press.

“What I would do is cover the front side of the plastic panel with blue 3M painters tape. Scribe the centerline for the holes directly on the ‘inside the box’ portion of the plastic where it won’t be seen. I use center drills to start the holes (they are cheap), if you don’t have center drills, use a small drill bit.  Once the initial undersized holes are cut, flip the piece over and drill from the ‘outside the box’ side so if you get a chip out it won’t be seen. Best to start small and step up to one drill bit less than size. When drilling, secure the plastic panel over a scrap piece of softwood, and make this a “pine board project.”  With thin plastic and drilling with hand tools, I find that the final drill bit size is best done by hand. I have an old pcb hand nibbler tool ($10?)  for cutting somewhat square holes with patience.    Just slightly undercut the rectangle for the LCD with the nibbler, remove the tape and finish out with a bastard file and sand paper.  If all goes wrong, you can still try 2 more cases or spend the $27.  Also search this forum for good ideas on printing a full face ‘label’ which might cover up the sins of a nonperfect cut. Stain grade or paint grade? My wood working Grandfather taught me very early in life that a coat of paint covers a multitude of sins. Nothing ventured, nothing learned. Maybe someone else has some tips.”

Michael VE3WMB comments:

“I have now used three of the Excelway EF01 cases for rigs with 16 X 2 displays with good success.   The ABS enclosure panels are quite easy to work with.

“Just to add a couple of comments to Gary’s suggestions. I have found that drilling corner holes and using a coping saw to cut out the “window” for the display works quite well. As Gary suggests you want to make it undersized by a couple of millimetres.   With patience and a nibbler or even an exacto knife and a file you can make a decent looking opening. In all three cases I made
the “window” just large enough to friction fit the display without resorting to using screws to hold it in place and this works fine.

“One other point; I suggest that you mark the position of where you are going to drill holes and then make a small divot (a nail and hammer works fine for this) so that the drill doesn’t wander. Also starting with a small sized drill bit first helps. For larger holes (i.e. for BNC etc) I swear by a stepped drill bit to get the hole  to the proper size.

“The key to getting a good result is to plan and carefully mark everything in advance on the back of the panels and then take your time. Remember if an opening is too small you can enlarge it, if it is too big there is not a lot you can do so, measure twice and cut once.”

MVS Sarma says, “For cutting rectangular windows in plastic, I resort to a lamination cutter sold in India at just fraction of a $. I keep the tool drawing across the 4 lines of the rectangle (the lcd mounting window in this case on the µBITx).  After a while you can push out the small window from the plastic.

This is what a laminate cutter looks like.