Go Down

Topic: Cutting rectangles in plastic enclosures; which tools to diy? (Read 5674 times) previous topic - next topic


What tools could one use to cut clean rectangular segments out of a plastic enclosure? (roughly as clean as drilled holes)

thanks :)


dremel and some sand paper thats what i normaly use though you have to be careful with the speed to melt the plastic as little as possible and then sand it to even and smooth it all out use a level to make sure its nice a squared out , well that is what i do so i dont know someone else might enlighten you better
I could print the Arduino logo on a box of cereal and sell it as "Arduin-O's"


Hi ericneilj,
where are you based, which country.
If you are in the UK i may have a few old cnc projects lying around which may be of interest.
you could then use an Arduino to control them.


I'm based in the US California west coast. (just updated my profile)

@JT007: thanks for the offer! unfortunately I'm not in the area and don't have shipping cash to have things sent my way. boy-o-boy the rabbit hole is deeper than I thought :) This is a great community; the only other forum I'm active on is the Renoise (hexadecimal music tracker/DAW) board.

@eddiea6987: I'll look into acquiring a proper dremel, and have a go on some test enclosures. thanks!


What you can do is drill a series of small holes next to each other, then clean up the edges with a utility knife or similar.
Really depends on how hard the plastic is. Maybe even a wood file (flat, round, half round) to clean the edges & corners up nice.
Designing & building electrical circuits for over 25 years.  Screw Shield for Mega/Due/Uno,  Bobuino with ATMega1284P, & other '328P & '1284P creations & offerings at  my website.


Hi ericneilj,
this is what's on offer all be it my old one http://www.milinst.co.uk/       - 3 axis machine, goto their store it has a better description in there
I also have a 3 axis sampling rig out of a laboratory which i got off ebay.  I was planning to build a PCB milling machine, but etching is so much easier these days especially when you use caustic soda instead of developer.
if you feel you can find reasonable postage costs then get back to me.
One day i will get sick of the sight of them and they will end up in landfill.


Oct 27, 2011, 09:01 pm Last Edit: Oct 29, 2011, 06:13 pm by kkman20xx Reason: 1
Diamond Cutting Disc like this is very handy, they are inexpensive can be use on rotary tool or drill. I use them to cut stripboards also.



I use a scribe to mark out and then continously score out triangles (four for a rectanular shape) using a scalpel which gives a fantastically smooth finish for the effort and is really clean and spot on accurate.

If I am being more rough I use a drill to bulk drill a several large holes the diameter of the smallest dimension and then depending on the size of the hole being made may use a smaller bit before fiinishing with flat needle files, sandpaper and then lightly melting the plastic with a torch.

Using a rotary tool can be very quick but it easy to over cut and is a pain for holes smaller than a the cutting wheel (usually a metal blade (i.e made of metal not for cutting metal)) but if using in plastic use a really high speed (as it will melt the plastic a little and give a really smooth finish), and a flexible head will give you far more contol than that holding dremel (the smaller dremel/ rotary tools tend to break or burn out far to easily but for the occassional LIGHT use should be more than fine).


You may also want to look at a nibbler. You drill a hole, then it takes square chunks out. They have hand powered ones, you may not want to go so far with a pneumatic one.


I have a Klein Tools hand nibbler (online order from  Home Depot), it doesn't work that good with the plastic I have tried (reallyusefulboxes.com). Have to make a pretty hole to get the cutting head thru. I was making DB9 size holes, was easier to drill a bunch of 1/16", 3/32", holes and then connect the holes with utility knife cuts, and then trim the edges where I was off a little bit.
Designing & building electrical circuits for over 25 years.  Screw Shield for Mega/Due/Uno,  Bobuino with ATMega1284P, & other '328P & '1284P creations & offerings at  my website.

Go Up