I recently acquired the Software Defined Radio receiver card SDR-IQ and wondered how to house it safely. I had a quick browse in my local Maplin store and spotted an aluminium box that looked as if it was just wide enough and somewhat too long. Its spec. is: Aluminium Instrument Enclosure, clear anodised finish, PCB extruded slots, dimensions 160 x 103 x 43 mm, aluminium ends, manufacturer Hammond, description Alu. Box 1455N1601. Code N85AL, UK price £10.67.
The SDR-IQ will just squeeze past the internal PCB slots, so to mount it securely I cut a sheet of aluminum to just fit the width of the slots. I mounted the card onto the aluminum sheet using four motherboard pillars. The length of the aluminium sheet determines the required length of the box. A fine-toothed hack saw was used to cut off the excess box length. With the mounted card assembly slid into the box (with the ends detached), I measured just where the three slots needed to be cut for the connectors and where the three holes were needed for the LEDs. The slots were cut out by drilling 3mm holes around the outline, cutting between the holes with a chisel and finally filing the outline with a triangular file. The various stages are recorded in the pictures below. Click on any picture to get a full sized image. Use your browser's Back button to return to this page.
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Post-script. I don't recommend the use of brass pillars on aluminium. The electrolytic effect of dissimilar metals will provoke metal rot. I will replace these as soon as I find some suitably plated items.