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Cutting windows in project enclosures

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by Thot, May 18, 2005.

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  1. Thot

    Thot Guest

    Sorry for the trivial question:

    What is the simplest, cleaniest way to cut windows in a plastic project
    enclosure box?
    I need to place a DB 25 on one of its walls.


  2. Dave

    Dave Guest

    What is the simplest,
    Dremmel Tool
    Not clean but really simple.

  3. Chris

    Chris Guest

    Hi, Luca. The simplest and easiest way is (of course) the most
    expensive. Mouser has Deltron rear and front mounting DB-25 D-Sub
    connector punches available as their P/N 38DM941 (rear) and 38DM943
    (front). These are available for the miracle low price of $247.51 USD
    ea., and they're worth every penny if you're cutting a lot of holes.

    For a "onesie" or hobbyist application, pick a thermoplastic or easily
    machineable plastic enclosure. Using the D-sub connector as a
    template, trace the outline of the connector on the plastic. Use a
    calipers to get any offset between front and back of the connector,
    then trace the real hole with a straightedge. Then use a Dremel tool
    (preferred) or a starter drill and a sharp knife to trim out the hole.
    After you're done, front-mount the connector to hide any goobs or small
    irregularities. ;-)

    Good luck
  4. tlbs

    tlbs Guest

    The absolute "cleanest" way would be to use a cutting die specifically
    made for DB25 connectors (available from larger electronic parts
    distributors). This is also one of the simplest ways. Unfortunately
    it is also one of the most expensive ways.

    I have used a "nibbling" tool to cut holes in metal chassis to specific
    shapes. The same tool would also work for plasic, so long as the
    thickness of the plasic is not greater than the maw-width of the
    "nibbler" tool. Even RadioShack sells "nibbler" tools.
  5. That's what bezels are made for. Cut the hole, then put something that
    isn't clear around the edges of the clear pastic covering this window (such
    as paint), so the choppy cutting can't be seen.

  6. colin

    colin Guest

    If its plastic I wonder if you could use a scrap metal DB25 shell and heat
    it up so it melts itself a hole through the plastic. it might just work, or
    it might go horibly wrong and u end up with a big blob of molten plastic on
    the bench ....

    Colin =^.^=
  7. Rich Webb

    Rich Webb Guest

    In addition to the other good ideas already posted, here are a some from
    the wood shop.

    If you don't already have it, look for a project box that has a
    removable front panel which sits in recessed grooves between upper and
    lower clamshells. Makes life much easier to be able to work on it as a
    flat surface.

    If you can get hold of a drill press, use a bit just smaller than the ID
    of the void to cut a series of slightly overlapping holes down the
    centerline of the void area. Gives you less to nibble away with the
    Dremel when it's time to cut to the final outline.

    This also works if the DB25 hole needs to be on the side of a
    rectangular box. Support the innards with scrap wood and drill from the
    outside. Requires two people or creative bracing. Do not try to hold it
    standing on end with one hand and operate the drill press with the other

    Even better is an ordinary scroll saw. Drill one pilot hole nearly
    tangent to the outline and then a single cut with the scroll saw should
    be all you need. With a little care (and practice and a bit of deburring
    (no pun intended)) this can give excellent results.
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