The right tools for the right job.

Making anything is easier if you have the right tools for the right job. Even building something as simple as a wooden rectangle requires the right power tools. For my Micro Modular enclosure I wanted to have a simple 2 faceplace rectangle. I used cheap pine as my wood of choice, however it is very important to pick out the right piece without too many knots or any bends what so ever. The length should be picked out according to the number of modules that the case is planned to house. This is where the size of your blank face plates matters.

Mine were aluminum stock about 9.75″ by 4.5″. Finding the right material can be tricky but luckily I found an old paper sorting shelf with these pieces as individual inserts. They were all about the same dimension and right thickness. Metal does not have to be the only choice for faceplates, as seen on PulseEmitter’s modular, Plexiglas makes modules quite sexy looking, however then you have to worry about the mess of wires inside. Plexiglas is pretty easy to break to the desired size with minimum of tools. Drilling however does require some skill and a drill press is a must when trying to make consistent, professional looking holes in any material, be it plastic, wood, or metal. Mine was $70 new and I love it to death.

The design consists of 2 wood cut sets of equal length. The only thing you have to make sure are the dimensions so test everything and measure out carefully cause you only cut once. To cut the wood the best power tool is a Compound Slide Miter Saw, its very safe and easy to use. Granted not everyone has one of those in their workshop so try and find someone who does, it would save a lot of time, materials, and frustration resulting from uneven wood cuts. After everything is cut, arrange pieces on a flat surface and make sure everything fits well.

The bottom and top pieces of this design are squeezed by the side pieces. The bottom piece is set in about .5″ to create an appearance of little feet giving room for cables running underneath if needed.

The holes for the screws are then drilled with a smaller drill bit through the side pieces parallel to the top/bottom. This predrilling helps to prevent the wood from splitting and also from having it poke through the sides. Counter sink or larger sized bits must also be used to create room for the screwcap when it gets driven in all the way in. After the holes are made an electric screwdriver or a handdrill with a right bit is the best bet for driving them in. Hand screwdriver will take forever and may not have the power to penetrate the wood and create a tight fit.

The back for the synth enclosure was made from Pegboard. Its is cheap, easy to cut, has holes for ventilation, and for additional jacks or switches. Perfect! Cutting it is tricky, it tends to shred easy so power jigsaw is a must.

When all said and done the box looked pretty awesome. Strait angles, perfect cuts and a snug fit. Only thing left was to sand and apply the wood finish. The finish comes in many types and shades. I picked a darker more prominent but that was just a personal preference at the time. One word of caution, DO NOT USE SPRAY PAINT ON WOOD. Especially if it is not meant for wood. It will stink for days and never dry making the fact that the box is made from wood pretty much pointless.

The finished product turned out great now it is a matter of designing more circuits to fit inside. Additional pictures of construction can be seen in here.