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PVC eurorack cases???
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Music Tech DIY  
Author PVC eurorack cases???
EATyourGUITAR
I have access to a thermwood CNC and large quantities of scrap PVC sheet. All of this is big enough to build 6U 84HP eurorack cases fully automated including drill holes and recessed pockets. The plastic welding for the assembly is pretty labor intensive. Has this ever been done before? Is there any interest in flat packed kits? I was thinking of buying the special equipment for cutting aluminum mounting rails. Therefore I would ship theses international flat pack with all hardware included. You can assemble them with bolts but you need to drill and tap plastic.

Let me know if this has been done before. Tell me if you think that people want plastic diy cases.
mskala
Tapping PVC doesn't sound like something I'd want to do. I'd be worried that the threads would strip. Is it possible to come up with a design that does not require tapped holes in the plastic?
EATyourGUITAR
Tapping PVC works great if you don't go too tight on the bolts and you are going into the end grain. There is no grain on PVC but that is the best way I can describe it. On wood the opposite is true. On wood you lose some holding power putting screws into the end grain. A 6U case 7 inches deep outside dimension would be super strong with 3/4 inch PVC sheet and 4 bolts per corner in imperial 10-24 size bolts. I have not and will not test or make claims about metric screw sizes since I already have a huge amount of data on imperial screws and failure modes of PVC. If you strip the threads while tapping or installing bolts you can just throw it away or maybe drill some more holes. I should probably include an extra piece of scrap so everyone can practice stripping threads during the installation of bolts. That is the only way you will know how to tighten bolts properly. The failure is extremely consistent from piece to piece. It is not like wood where you get variations in lumber crop or genetics. 20ft pounds of torque to failure will always be 20ft pounds of failure.
devinw1
Just off the top of my head, an 84HP case constructed of 3/4" sheet PVC bolted together with 10-24 (or M5?) bolts sounds like it's going to be pretty bulky, heavy, and expensive, no? Maybe just 3/4" material for the ends and play with lighter weight materials to tie the structure together and form the case back and top?

I'm not sure what the split is, but I'm sure some people move their cases a lot and some leave them sitting in a studio. I have a 84HP RackBrute case that is pretty sweet in that it is very light as the body is made out of a big C-shape aluminum extrusion.
EATyourGUITAR
yes 3/4 inch PVC is very heavy. I only offered it because someone raised a concern about bolts stripping. you can put a 10-24 into 1/2 inch but you need to be precise with your drilling. I could offer it with 3/4 inch end caps and bent steel sheet for the rest. I have a 12ft industrial bending brake for steel. I don't get steel for free so that is getting into something else. the PVC is %100 free if I take it out of the garbage. I can only get enough to make one or two cases per week. the good thing about the CNC is that it will cut curves and pockets. it will cut the power entry fuse switch block. I can also buy wood and cut it on the CNC. I was really close to just buying a sheet of appleply or europly in 1inch thickness. if I make a wood case for myself, I will end up making 3 cases from the sheet of wood that I buy. I can't think of anything else to make to use up all the plywood.
Phitar
I've seen acrylic cases for sale (MatrixSynth) but never anything in PVC.
Don't think I've ever even seen sheet PVC.... Is it white like the plumbing pipe?

Have any sketches of what the final product would look like or idea of costs?
EATyourGUITAR
I need to build a few prototypes first. My only cost is metal rails, my time, shipping. I get the PVC for free. I am ordering vector rails in bulk. I will post pics when I'm ready. I can do any design.
EATyourGUITAR
6U - 84HP cases with vector TS600 rails and tapped M2.5 schroff nut strips
my cost for rails and nut strips is about $50 before shipping.

then I need to make the end brackets out of aluminum. I need to make the cases or at least the end cheeks. I need to purchase special hardware for the brackets. I will probably make 3 or 4 prototypes all different designs. I will have some with sheetmetal top back bottom side with PVC end cheeks. some will be all PVC assembled with drill and tap screws into plastic. some will be without brackets or pocketed brackets. I will experiment with bolting through the end cheeks directly into the rails.

tell me now if you want 3U or 6U. 84HP, 104HP, 168HP

I am leaning toward probably 2 cases 84HP with all the rest cut at 104HP. this leaves 1.2 inches as metal cutoff waste from cutting vector rails. maybe the 104HP does not sell well? speak now. cutting when stuff arrives. I am ready to make some cases!
mskala
EATyourGUITAR wrote:
6U - 84HP cases with vector TS600 rails and tapped M2.5 schroff nut strips


I hope you'll consider using M3 threaded strips. M2.5 is not Eurorack standard and would make using the cases really annoying.
EATyourGUITAR
mskala wrote:
EATyourGUITAR wrote:
6U - 84HP cases with vector TS600 rails and tapped M2.5 schroff nut strips


I hope you'll consider using M3 threaded strips. M2.5 is not Eurorack standard and would make using the cases really annoying.


I already ordered 16 M2.5 nut strips. I am fully stocked. if someone wants M3 nut strips they can buy it or I can buy it and cut it. as long as I break even for my cost I am ok with buying M3 strips. I would advise people to consider investing in M2.5 screws with the hex head preferably in stainless. also get the washers. this leaves more room on the panel to read the writing. it matters for cases with a lot of 2HP modules.
mskala
EATyourGUITAR wrote:
I already ordered 16 M2.5 nut strips. I am fully stocked.


I think it is inadvisable to buy a stock of parts for manufacturing something before you do the market research to determine that your proposed product is actually the right one for the market. Nonstandard case screws are a big disadvantage that really will cost you potential sales as well as creating tension with customers who do buy it without reading the small print and then are upset when they discover they can't use standard screws. Pittsburgh Modular learned that the hard way when they tried to sell cases with American #4 sliding nuts instead of M3; and at least they shipped the matching screws with the cases so that customers wouldn't be stuck sourcing screws independently. It sounds like you don't even plan to include your nonstandard screws with the cases - instead telling customers they have to buy those themselves - so you can realistically expect anger from customers over it.

But, ultimately, we all have to make our own decisions on these things and learn from experience. I hope that the hit you will take when you eventually scrap the nonstandard parts and buy proper ones, will not be so big as to kill your business.
EATyourGUITAR
mskala wrote:
EATyourGUITAR wrote:
I already ordered 16 M2.5 nut strips. I am fully stocked.


I think it is inadvisable to buy a stock of parts for manufacturing something before you do the market research to determine that your proposed product is actually the right one for the market. Nonstandard case screws are a big disadvantage that really will cost you potential sales as well as creating tension with customers who do buy it without reading the small print and then are upset when they discover they can't use standard screws. Pittsburgh Modular learned that the hard way when they tried to sell cases with American #4 sliding nuts instead of M3; and at least they shipped the matching screws with the cases so that customers wouldn't be stuck sourcing screws independently. It sounds like you don't even plan to include your nonstandard screws with the cases - instead telling customers they have to buy those themselves - so you can realistically expect anger from customers over it.

But, ultimately, we all have to make our own decisions on these things and learn from experience. I hope that the hit you will take when you eventually scrap the nonstandard parts and buy proper ones, will not be so big as to kill your business.


I am including the screws. I have samples ordered from 5 different vendors. I also ordered nylon washers direct from china from 1 vendor. right now I am going to try 8mm length screws with washers on doepfer blank panels. most of what I ordered is stainless steel. I also ordered M2.5 thumb screws in 8mm. what could be better than stainless steel (no rust), nylon washers to protect your modules, no tools needed to install module, more of the writing on the panel visible. I want to make the best design that I can make. I think that good design is about details.

I can supply M3 nut strips no problem. I just need to order the nut strips. or if people want the rails with no nut strips they can order sliding nuts or M3 nut strips or anything else they want.

I have five questions. do people prefer thumb screw, philips head or allen key or torx drivers? should I include the tool for the screws? do people prefer sliding nuts or nut strips? do people want M2.5 or M3? do you want me to supply the nut strips or nuts with the rail and bracket?
NS4W
PVC fumes are very toxic! Be careful!!
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