Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Apollo 13: The Case

Thank you Home Depot for this lovely sheet metal.

After figuring out the faceplate and all the parts I was going to use, I feel as though I very jokingly said "Well this should be easy NOW." But much like the faceplate, cutting it, designing it, and doing everything required to make it come into being - I found myself in a similar position with the box.

The Maven has an inherit tilt to (genius might I add) and it's all covered by those two fancy aesthetic choices preventing a clear view of how it possible assembles on the sides. When I first approached the problem of box design the problem that kept going through my head was "Either it's cut from a single peice and folded in such a way that it perfectly closes OR I cut it from three separate pieces." I'm sure the first choice is valid but I went with the second one for a few reasons.

1. I don't have access to a machine brake, I'm going to have to hand bend. That is going to be rough for my girl scout figure.

2. I don't nearly trust my measuring enough to accommodate for error with my hand bend of the metal.

3. I need something that is technically the easiest thing to re-produce if I wanted other people to do this. Even if it involved someone just hanging metal on a ledge and pounding it down with a hammer.

I purchased I believe a 24" by 24" sheet of 16 gauge steel from Home Depot. It comes coated in a layer of oil to prevent rust (this wasn't stainless steel) and has a decent thickness and weight to it. Perfect for adding some weight to this device. But walking out of the store with this giant sheet of metal in my hands, grinning with what was eventually going to happen I still arrived back at - "Well...how do I cut this stuff?"

Angle grinder! Perfect! That's what I'll use! Right?

Yeah...no that didn't work out so well. I don't know what I'm doing. All I know is this 2 inch cut took me like 30 minutes to do. It looks jacked up and oh right I've never used an angle grinder before. Better start over with some mineral oil, and a bandsaw.

Talk about an infinitely cleaner cut. Minus the damage on the right hand side. I guess I'll use the angle grinder to smooth that out? I have no idea, but I do know this flat sheet of metal is getting slide into this bending brake and getting bent.

If you are looking closely at the last picture here, you maybe wondering "Uhh, that doesn't fit. Sure you could bend the top and bottom but the width it's all off." To that I remind you, it was a 24" by 24" sheet.

Since I had never done anything like this before, I made my measurements for the 1/8" plastic faceplate and used the excess as my test bends/cuts/excess. Which is to say there is an extra shell/box/case for the board laying around. Just not as wide.

If you look closely at the above picture, you'll see the "mini" version of the box/case/shell resting inside the actual size one here. Additionally, the faceplate is going to have to rest/mount on something. Thus, i got some really thin sheet metal (still steel) to clamp down into a vice and hammer into right angles with.

Blue line is as you may have guessed, where the bend was made in the vice. However since this much thinner than 16ga steel, my bend could be far more perfect than the box used with the hand bending brake.

Above you can see the bent steel just resting between the top edge of the box and the faceplate. Eventually, i drilled into both of these parts and fastened them together.

Faceplate length + bend length 
total length of box.
I don't want to neglect the measurements on this post. The faceplate length (which is 17")  plus the bottom lip of the case (1.25") and top of the case (4") make up where to make the bends. Obviously, this part is open to interpretation and your own work. To me this just looked like the right degree of bend/tilt to the original Maven. Something tells me I'm probably 1" off when it comes to the back of the mixer. But i rather error on the positive side. After all I plan what if I want to build this thing out more? I mean the original Maven has some serious analog power.

Using a drill press I drilled two holes into the back of this (MIDI IN and MIDI OUT), since it was already bent, it was somewhat awkwardly positioned on the bench. I went with the closest diameter I could find to the plugs and filed what I needed too by hand.

Continuing on my drill press spree (I've never used one, wow are these things great) I began mounting the front and back lips to the case. This is what the faceplate will rest on and screw into eventually. The other thing I did between the original bend and more work, is scratch the absolute hell out of the case intentionally. Using a steel wool pad, I brushed all over this thing to remove whatever rust was starting to form and more importantly give the primer something to stick too. The primer I used was Flat Gray Rustoleum. Three coats over three days.

 I can not convey the level of excitement I felt when I put this on top of the box and it rested in place.

The Sides.
Since I decided not to build a box that would fold into itself, I'd cut the sides separately. This was done by simply laying the case on it's side against excess 16 gauge sheet metal and tracing it. Yeah. Tracing it. I error on the side of caution make sure that when I cut I'd have plenty of excess to cut and angle grind down. Even still, I'll need more steel right angles to hold the case together. Fortunately, those are insanely easy to make with the vice and a hammer.

After I made them, I drilled four holes into them and firmly pressed the case/sides together and with a marker dotted the holes. Walked over to the drill press, hoped for the best and drilled into the sides but more importantly - my completely so far good looking case. Fortunately - SUCCESS!

Is there an engineer crying yet?

Hiatus is over and the writing continues at...

This wraps another post...
As always I welcome comments, emails, instant messages, skype calls, tweets, facebook requests...and whatever means of communication you prefer. The goal again is to make this easy for anyone of any skill level to understand and replicate. Thank you once again and as always for reading, I look forward to the next post to continue to discuss this more in depth.

1 comment:

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