Quality custom enclosure?

Thinking about creating a commercial product from my Arduino prototype. But where do I get a custom enclosure for my product, I mean commercial quality one?

Just about any enclosure you part with money for can be classified as "commercial".

Do you have a better specification?

Unless you have very large quantities, or very unusual requirements, most projects will be designed to fit an off the shelf enclosure, not the other way around.

When I go hunting, I usually start with these guys. Excellent quality and service and good prices.

Not really, most stuff off Amazon or eBay is for DIY projects, primitive looking boxes.
I'm taking about commercial mass products, like those you see from Apple, Microsoft, Honeywell etc.

Maybe ask Jonathan Ive if he moonlights.

AS they say, "metal or plastic"? Oh, it is paper or plastic.
You will first have to develop a quantity you need. If metal and say, perhaps, 50, then find a local sheet metal shop that will produce them for a one-time charge. Be sure you have good and correct mechanical drawings.
For plastic, there are likely no injection molding companies left, except in China. They have reps in other countries that can help. But again proper mechanical drawings and a minimum quantity for your order are needed. Then there are the one-time costs that are pretty high. If you only want 1 enclosure or 1,000, the cost for the mold will be the same.
In the mean time, consider having a standard enclosure machined to your specifications. The specs will likely change several times as you try to minimize the assembly costs.
Good luck,

For a few units, Amazon has a reasonable selection.

If you have access to a CNC (slow process) you can make your own bezels.


DIY Bezel

For "smallish quantities" you can modify an off-the-shelf enclosure. You can do it yourself or there are machine shops and sheet metal shops that can do higher-quantities with better precision. You can also have it painted and/or silkscreened. Sometimes the metal shop will sub-contract that.

There are set-up costs for any kind of contracted shop work so as a general rule it's not economical for quantities less than 100.

Custom metal boxes can also be fabricated. This also probably starts to become economical at about 100 pieces, and the more you buy the lower the per-unit cost.

Where I work we buy a pre-made 4-sided metal enclosure that's sent-out to a machine shop to have 4 holes drilled in the bottom. It's about the size of a disc drive for a tower computer. The front & back panels are "extra" custom flat sheet metal parts from a sheet metal shop. The back panel is silkscreened. There is a stick-on front panel overlay with graphics which is basically a thick plastic label custom made by a label company. We buy these in quantities of about 100 or more and I think the whole "set" costs about $50 ea.

We have another custom plastic enclosure that's about 4"x2"x1". I'm not sure exactly how it's made, but it's "formed" from a flat piece of plastic and then there is some machining. We also buy it in lots of around 100 and it costs about $20 each. Oh, it also has a custom "thick plastic" label so that adds a couple more dollars.

The cost of the enclosure, connectors, switches & controls, and power supply is usually more than that "basic internal electronics", and that's before considering "overhead" costs.

You said:

after I said

Those sound awfully similar don't they?

Anyway, if you decide to go with PolyCase, you'll find that they can do all the things that DVDdoug and LarryD mentioned, and their setup fees are quite reasonable.

Otherwise, Paul_KD7HB gave a pretty good answer if you really do want a fully custom enclosure. I'd add one thing: have it designed by a mechanical engineer who knows how to design enclosures for mass production. It makes a huge difference in the manufacturing costs.

And I would add one more caveat! If your enclosure has to "look nice" for general sale to the public, include a commercial artist in the design process.

Its not the type of box that makes a product look good, but the way it is presented.

As @LarryD has suggested, a bezel can make the product.
At my work place we goto an engraver who has CNC gear to make front panels, either inscribed metal or multilayer plastic.
Also check out the sticker/advertising people for adhesive labels or complete front panels.
It is amazing what they can cover, most commercial vans are wrapped in their livery these days, the signwriter is now a vinyl sign maker.

Tom... :grinning: :+1: :coffee: :australia:

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