The Mole: Enclosure Prep

March 6th, 2010 Posted in The Mole

I placed my latest parts order, and promptly began working on the enclosure I purchased.  It’s a Hammond 1590B, which is about the same size as a traditional guitar stompbox.  I knew the board was small, so fitting that in would be easy, however, all of the jacks, sensors, switches and pots I was tossing into this made it a logistical nightmare.

I got to work in photoshop, lining up parts and seeing what would fit, how they would fit and if they would clear the edges sides and “screw holes” on the box. I would make one layout and then within an hour or two, I’d find a flaw in the placement of one of the components.

This went on for days. I eventually decided I would make a mock up, using some hardboard that I had laying around in the garage.  The only problem with that is the hardboard is much thicker than the aluminum enclosure, so I wasn’t able to fasten the parts onto the board.

I then figured I would just pick-up some joiner plates (typically used in house framing).  Even though they had holes in them for nails, they’re cheap enough where I could test several layout ideas, to both check if the parts all fit, and to see if they are laid out in a manner that made it easy to use the device.

I finally came to a conclusion on how I was going to lay things out, so I printed out a template on my printer, and used glue sticks (the kind kids or crafters might use) to adhere the template to the enclosure.

(Click image for larger view)

I then used a center punch to mark the centers of the holes so my drill bit wouldn’t wander. Using a step drill bit, I carefully began to drill the holes.  The first thing I noticed was how much softer the aluminum case was compared to the steel joiner plates. I ended up over-drilling one of the holes, but luckily that was a hole that was a little tight anyway, and the mounting bolts would cover the gap.

I just had to put the thing together and see how it looked/felt, and honestly, it was awesome.

Next step is finishing the enclosure.

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