Getting Started - Measuring
For this project, I wanted to create an enclosure for my final PComp project (yet again). So I started with measuring my components first before purchasing any material.
I sketched some plans of how I would want these components to be housed, but I knew that I had to somewhat play by ear for this, because of the materials requirement.
Having said that, I also knew that going to The Container Store would be a great idea (since they have everything). Having the measurements at hand was also really helpful.
Lo and behold, I found some very useful loots:
1) Bathroom Kit Case (Transparent Plastic)
I found this plastic transparent case and I was like, "EUREKA!" no more rigid boxes.
2) Duster Head Refills (Fabric)
Also a eureka moment. Cheaper than faux fur!
3) Take Out Carton (Vinyl)
Honestly I bought this because of the vinyl. I knew I would need one and the plastic store was closed on Sunday.
After making sure that all the components could fit into the case, I drew the layout of the components in Illustrator and print it out. There were 2 sides, front (sensors & actuators) and back (Arduino and breadboard).
On the printed layout, I marked drilling hole locations for the screws.
I then pasted the layout onto the plastic case and drilled some holes according to the guide.
Mounting Cat Ears
Next step was cat ears. After some testing with paper, I cut a panel out of the take out box (wasteful, I know) and cut some ear shapes using scissors.
I folded the ears and drilled a hole onto them and the case, and screw them together.
I tried two methods. First is using 3M double-sided mounting tape (extra strong).
But for the back side, I could only stick a very thin layer of fur. So I sprayed the first layer with adhesive spray and threw some more fur on it.
Still working on the LCD screen, hence the cutout of the face. Front side is not covered with fur yet because I still need to debug things.
Learnings & What I Would Do Differently
Always check which days the material store is closed on.
I really enjoy working with softer material, especially moderately bendable and thick plastic. It is flexible and gives room for mistakes in measurement, yet sturdy enough to hold the screws and components' weight.
I could also cut a slit on the material using a knife, instead of drilling, to accommodate smaller components like FSR.
Zipper is awesome too.
Working with transparent material made wiring and placement so much easier.
Having said that softer material is great, working with fabric is another beast to tame since I have nil sewing skills. Probably should have bought fur that comes with attached to a sheet of fabric that I could cut and sew into the case.
I totally agree with the quote "screws, not glue". Having to mount/unmount and move wiring around while I was debugging, I would have been screwed if I had glued the components instead. And I'm stuck with the duster furring forever.