Sensor Boxes and Controller Box

Here’s a few photos of a project I recently worked on for Stamm Media and No Small Magic. These are sensor boxes that were used for a tradeshow. I don’t know how much I can say about the tech inside them, but this is what they look like.

I designed, laser cut, and assembled all the boxes. They are partially glued together but the back covers are held on with screws so as to be accessible for adjustment purposes.

This is the final product from last month’s blog post Enclosure Prototyping. Since I finished this piece first I actually added a bit of shellac to it, which makes it just a bit nicer than raw wood. (I ended up making two of these.)

The sensor boxes connect to the control box using Cat5 cable and the RJ45 Adapter Boards I developed last year. This allows for the sensors to be easily placed quite a distance from the control box by just using an existing Cat5 cable instead of needing a custom cable/connector.


Makin’ Boxes!


A few years ago I mentioned Rahulbotics’ BoxMaker, and I’ve used it plenty over the years when I needed to laser cut an enclosure, but when someone has a good idea, eventually someone else decides to implement their own version. (This is good!)

One of the other box making sites I’ve used recently is MakerCase, which has a few more features than Rahulbotics does, including a choice of edge joints, specifically t-slot, which lets you create cases that can be assembled with nuts and bolts, though the choice of nut & bolt sizes are a bit limiting. Still, it’s a good effort, and I use MakerCase quite often.

make-a-box is another one I’ve taken for a spin. It didn’t offer much in the way of special features, except for the fact that all the Ruby code is in github ready to be forked. (Of course if you prefer Java, look at Rahulbotics’ BoxMaker code instead. Or, check some of the other boxmaker code.)

If you’re looking for non-web-based solutions, supposedly 123D Make has a beta out with finger joints. But it’s been nearly a year and I still don’t see that option in the software. I’ve also tried this BoxMaker for Inkscape, but it just gives me errors and fails to work.

I’ve long wanted a box maker for OpenSCAD, and I did find Parametric box maker for lasercut on Thingiverse, and it’s definitely something worth playing with, though on my creaky old laptop it’s not speed demon. Still, I really like the idea of code I can download and run rather than relying on a web site to generate a box.

I’ll continue to explore box making options that work well with laser cutter and other CNC machines, but if I’ve missed an option you know about, please let me know!