planning production, how to find chassis manufacturer?

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Im planning to start producing audio equipment. Have most parts sorted out but i dont know how to find a manufacture for the chassi. Im thinking half size 1u rack. i need screw point so i can fix the pcb. holes need to be drilled. And then i need to put some text on the front / back plate. Where and how to find a manufacture? I will of course do a prototype myself but then i need someone to do a small run, 100-1000 units probably.
 
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I suggest you consult your local business directories (web-based or otherwise) under "sheet metal fabrication". Many small-to-medium sized sheet metal fabricators also offer painting and/or powder coating services and silkscreening to give you a complete, finished product. A detailed drawing of your proposed product will help to get you a price quote. If you ask them to reverse engineer a design from a prototype they will likely charge you for that service. Good luck!
 
I will of course do a prototype myself but then i need someone to do a small run, 100-1000 units probably.

Good for a few proto units: https://www.frontpanelexpress.com/ Local is best, though.
I urge you to do a pilot run of 10 units first, and give them to people you trust for evaluation.
Then, maybe an initial run of 100 pieces. You will be making numerous changes in the product
before full production.
 
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Good for a few proto units: https://www.frontpanelexpress.com/ Local is best, though.
I urge you to do a pilot run of 10 units first, and give them to people you trust for evaluation.
Then, maybe an initial run of 100 pieces. You will be making numerous changes in the product
before full production.

SilverSweden - I think Ray is giving you excellent advice.
Do the small group try out first. The last thing you want is to be stuck
for 1000 units that have a problem and have to pay to fix or have
the whole batch redone.
 
Thanks for the kind advice :)

I was thinking about producing the first run completely myself to test the market and se what people think about the product. As you said maybe start doing 10 pieces and then maybe 100.

Its really the mechanical stuff that bothers me, PCBs i will order ready made and then solder myself.

Maybe i can order pre made black painted chassis and drill holes myself for switched and knobs. But if i do so, how am i gonna fix the pcbs inside the box?

Not sure what its called, the spacers where you screw the pcbs into. Self adhesive stuff can work for diy, but this i want done properly.

Is there a way to do this using basic tools? Don't want any screw heads sticking out of the chassi, this is rack mounted stuff so that would not work.

If i look at "pro" gear it looks like welding involved, maybe there is a way to countersink the screws but i don't think thats easy to get right.

Have been researching CE marking as needed in Europe, would be really helpful if someone having experience in this field can give me advice.

There is a need for EMC testing and i have found a company here in Sweden, from what i read it will cost about $2500 to do such a test.

But if i do some minor changes then to PCB, or use another transformer or something like that, will i need a new EMC test then?

Its so much to think about as soon as it gets more serious, diy is fun but this is a completely new level and i don't have experience in producing consumer gear.

Maybe its wise to consult someone and pay him to evaluate the design and give me advice on the legal side of it.
 
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i can order pre made black painted chassis and drill holes myself for switched and knobs. But if i do so,
how am i gonna fix the pcbs inside the box? Not sure what its called, the spacers where you screw the pcbs into.
Self adhesive stuff can work for diy, but this i want done properly. Is there a way to do this using basic tools?
Don't want any screw heads sticking out of the chassi, this is rack mounted stuff so that would not work.
If i look at "pro" gear it looks like welding involved, maybe there is a way to countersink the screws.

Holes must be drilled and deburred before painting. Often flat head recessed screws can be used
when they will be visible externally. Adhesive parts are not a good idea for other than prototype use.
Check out PEM fasteners for an alternative. PEM Fasteners | Penn Engineering
 
You're jumping in at the deep end if you have no background in manufacturing. You're also talking quite large numbers for a start up. Do you know you have a market for your product? Have you properly costed it and determined that you can sell it at sufficient profit to make it worthwhile? You need to partner with a contract assembly house to build your boards. You need to hire someone with manufacturing knowledge and cad skills to get the mechanical side right.

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk
 
Thanks for the kind advice :)

Have been researching CE marking as needed in Europe, would be really helpful if someone having experience in this field can give me advice.

There is a need for EMC testing and i have found a company here in Sweden, from what i read it will cost about $2500 to do such a test.

But if i do some minor changes then to PCB, or use another transformer or something like that, will i need a new EMC test then?

CE marking is mandatory if you want to sell to anywhere in the EU. It is good that you have found someone to do the EMC testing, if you stick to analogue circuitry it is generally fairly benign, but it will also involve immunity testing so any sensitive circuitry will possibly require some protection filtering. My advice is to get your equipment tested to the new EN55032 standard which replaces EN55013 to give you better future-proofing.

What you must also consider is the requirements of the Low Voltage Directive for electrical safety, it is one thing if your product causes interference but much more serious if it causes injury!

With regards to your question on changing components later which may necessitate retesting - in general for EMC if the changes are minor then it may not be necessary, but be careful about changing product safety critical parts like mains transformers for electrical safety.

One last thing to consider is RoHS, which is mandatory and now falls under CE marking.
 
Agree and add: for a test run of up to 10 units, which is reasonable, to start get a commercial (meaning store bought) chassis/cabinet the size you will use, try to use all round holes which can be easily made on an inexpensive hobbyist drill press; 1.5mm to 13mm means simply buying the proper diameter drill , cheap and easy.

If later you require rectangular holes for switches, slits for slider pots, etc. they will have to be punched with proper dies, using a puncher machine which is large, heavy and expensive, so for now forget it, leave that for properly equipped workshops.

You will need a punch for the IEC power connector, you can buy:
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How to use it:
Karillon Sound & Light or Backline.tk: 5150 / 6505 IEC Installation

As for screw heads, **for a prototype** do not worry about them, let them over the surface, you are testing a concept here, basically the circuit and layout, mounted in a close to final one cabinet instead of a Protoboard.

In such cases (even in short run commercial products) I use "truss head" screws which is the "flattened" version of standard round head ... works fine most of the time.
An externally hosted image should be here but it was not working when we last tested it.


As of PCB fasteners, there's tons of them available.

One suggestion: do not make all first 10 prototypes in a single run, all the same: any error will be repeated 10 times ;)
Make one, test it, notice what you don't like, build a second one with corrections, and so on, until happy with results.

Only then you can order a starting run of 100, which is very reasonable. and *then* you order counterscung screw heads, real silkscreening, etc.

Nowadays CNC allows for small production runs.

For prototypes writing on a black front panel with silver ink markers is acceptable.

A big error is to straight order 100 of anything, fully finished with all bells and whistles, and then because of an unexpected error end with 100 paperweights or door stoppers :(
 
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