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making rectangular holes in aluminium case
making rectangular holes in aluminium case
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Old 8th November 2006, 01:05 PM   #1
AdamZuf is offline AdamZuf  United Kingdom
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Question making rectangular holes in aluminium case

I need to mount the power switch and I don't know its name in english...power outlet?

How should I do that?

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Old 8th November 2006, 11:10 PM   #2
Ron E is offline Ron E  United States
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What tools do you have?

Probably the least tool-intensive would be to drill a few holes, then use a file. Next step up from a file is a "dremel" tool.
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Old 9th November 2006, 12:38 AM   #3
Sonusthree is offline Sonusthree  United Kingdom
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I haven't tried one of these yet but they look pretty simple and cheap too. It even has a cute name ......

"Nibbling Cutter
Cuts up to 18 gauge (.046) steel, 1/16 (1.5mm) copper, aluminium, plastic and other unhardened metals

Instructions for use

Simply drill 3/8 (9.5mm) hole, insert cutting head and compress handles.
Gives you the ability to make square holes for fuse holders, special connections, displays and etc. "

+ + =
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Old 9th November 2006, 01:10 AM   #4
SteveA is online now SteveA  United States
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I've used a combination of the recommendations from the two previous posts. First drilling holes along the perimeter of the square or rectangle, using a nibbler (bought mine at Radio Shack) and finishing the hole with a file.

If I don't try to hurry the process, it has worked quite well for me.
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Old 10th November 2006, 01:25 AM   #5
dangus is offline dangus  Canada
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making rectangular holes in aluminium case
What they said.

A saber saw (handheld jigsaw) is pretty good at cutting sheet metal.

Lay the opening out accurately first: put some masking tape down on the panel where the opening will be, then draw the exact dimensions on the tape. This will also protect the surface of the aluminum from extra scratches when a tool slips. Use a "combination square" to get the lines at right angles to the edge. Vernier calipers are helpful if you don't have accurate dimensions for the switch hole to go by.

Combination Square at Popular Mechanics

Sometimes it's better to protect the front side of the panel with masking tape, and do the layout on the rear, scribing the lines directly onto the metal.

Then drill a starting hole or holes, then file or nibble or saw towards the edges. Then finish by filing up to the edges of the opening. A rattail file is good for chewing out material quickly, then triangular and flat files let you work into the corners.

Skim through a textbook on basic shop practices from the library; I learned some useful stuff (like the fact that files only cut in one direction, so you should lift them up when drawing the file back towards you).
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Old 23rd November 2006, 01:22 PM   #6
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I use a bridgeport mill to make all of my enclosure cut-outs
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Old 23rd November 2006, 01:51 PM   #7
DigitalJunkie is offline DigitalJunkie  United States
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So far,a Dremel with a cut-off wheel (the fiber kind,they're stronger and last longer,the other 'plain' ones tend to wear down,and break quickly.)
And/or a file for smoothing the edges.. but the Dremel can make quick work of that too,with it's nifty grinding/sanding wheels,etc.
Mine is only two speed (one of the first models) but it's lasted me for years so far,taken alot of abuse,and is generally a pretty handy tool.
Lots of nifty bits/attachments,etc. available for them also.
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Old 23rd November 2006, 03:39 PM   #8
jackinnj is offline jackinnj  United States
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making rectangular holes in aluminium case
the nibbler works very well -- particularly if you hold it in a fashion such that you can see the cutting edge --

for switches you often have a "key" which will keep the switch from rotating -- make sure to include it and you will save headaches later on.

with a fuse you may need a double-D cutout --

If you use a dremel, make sure to wear a pair of safety glasses -- same with the mill -- fwiw -- i just love my new carbide cutter.
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