Ever since Eddie Serratos shared his full step-by-step instructions on how to make an Overdrive Guitar Effects Pedal using the Bantam Tools Desktop PCB Milling Machine, we've been wowed by the variety of boxes he creates, as seen on his Instagram page. Not only do these boxes serve their functions well, they're also great examples of CNC eye candy due to the beautiful engravings he adds to them. We reached out to Eddie to find out how he does it, and he said that the single most important step is accurately measuring the box. Here he shares his tips with us.
Properly Measure Enclosures for Drilling and Engraving
Without further ado, here are the measuring tips Eddie shared with us:
For starters, you'll need to use the Precision Fixturing and Toe Clamp Set.
Enclosure dimensions vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, so be sure that you get the dimensions of your enclosure when you purchase it.
This enclosure I use is a 1590b purchased from Tayra Electronics, and the measurements are advertised as 112mm X 60mm. This measurement, however, applies to the base of the enclosure. We’ll need to measure in order to get the surface measurements.
If we place the enclosure on its side, we notice that there's a slight inward taper toward the top of the enclosure. Before we can mill anything, we’ll need to figure out the approximate dimensions of the surface.
You can see in the image below that there is a considerable difference between the base and the surface of the enclosure.
Here we have a pair of helping hands holding up a ruler at 90° that is positioned against the base of the enclosure (112mm). This will be our reference point. Another ruler is used to measure the approximate distance in between. We can see in the image below that the distance between the ruler and the edge of the enclosure surface is around 1mm.
Using the image below, we can also see that the enclosure is approximately 58mm wide. Subtract 1mm that is not lined up to the enclosure surface, and that gives us 57mm. We’ll use that as our base number for the enclosure width.
Repeat the process to get the dimensions for the longer side of the enclosure. This one came out to be around 109mm. However, after a few tests, the final number was 108.65mm. Next, measure the height of the enclosure. A good rule of thumb when measure for the height is to take multiple measurements. I typically do all four corners and take the average height. These enclosure are not perfectly leveled.
Once you have the final dimensions, the enclosure can be secured in the mill using the Precision Fixturing and Toe Clamp Set.
In the Material section of the software, enter the dimensions of your enclosure. They should be like this:
I then create a grid using the X and Y dimensions of the enclosure and mill it onto the enclosure to see how far off center I am. I repeat this process until I’ve reached the correct numbers to input into the Placement section of the software.
The placement is to account for the taper of the enclosure.
This method has worked for me, though there may be more practical ways of doing it.
Thanks, Eddie! We appreciate you sharing your knowledge and builds with us!
Do you have a neat technique or project you want to share? We'd love to hear from you! Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or tag us on your social media posts with #bantamtools.