Author Topic: Make my own enclosures from aluminium sheets?  (Read 779 times)

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Ripthorn

Re: Make my own enclosures from aluminium sheets?
« Reply #20 on: December 05, 2017, 10:46:27 PM »
I've been doing a fair bit of metal work the last couple years, mostly making the hardware for custom guitars, but here are a few thoughts in no particular order:

 - 6061 T6 is one of the most common aluminum grades available in plate; it's everywhere.  However, it has a brittle grain structure and doesn't take to bending well.  5052 will bend much more easily, but is gummier to work with
 - Bending nice clean sides is a lot harder than it looks, especially without a brake.
 - For cutting, it will work with a hack saw, table saw, band saw, jigsaw turned upside down and mounted (done this one before, ghetto, but it worked), angle grinder with cutting wheel: basically anything that spins or cuts can do the trick. Make sure you deburr the edges nicely so you don't cut yourself
 - Don't use regular twist bits for drilling, get a step bit from someplace like Harbor Freight. They are made for sheet metal work and remove a lot of the danger from drilling sheet material.
 - Sure you can bend it all up, but what about the nice rounded corners on a Hammond enclosure?  There is no good way to make a nice corner joint on a piece folded up from sheet material as aluminum doesn't weld (at least not in the way that a non-hardcore welder could do). Getting those corners bent closely enough together that it doesn't look terrible is also very hard, even with a good pan brake, shear, and notcher.  Ask me how I know.
 - Once you factor in the material for the boxes, the brake, your cutting apparatus, etc. you will find that you could have bought a good lot of boxes, saved hours and hours of time, and had a better end result. However, if you are really interested in doing it and not just saving money, have at it.  I have spent gobs of time and more money than I should have to build guitar hardware that simply wasn't available and I don't regret it.
Exact science is not an exact science

slashandburn

Re: Make my own enclosures from aluminium sheets?
« Reply #21 on: Today at 01:27:00 PM »
Wow! Thanks for the overwhelming response, that's a lot or really good information. Please excuse my delayed response, I completely forgot I had posted this.

Sounds like there will be a far higher learning curve than I had anticipated so I think this idea might need to go on hold for a while. Also being a guitar player (of sorts) I am fairly fond of my fingers and ideally would like to keep them all. Given my tendency for injurying myself through forgetful carelessness this might be an altogether terrible idea for something to involved in.

At least for the time being I'll likely stick to the Hammond style boxes. Im just the type of short sighted idiot that likes to give himself a few weeks worth of extra work to save himself 2. I don't have any issues with the Hammond boxes, I just wish they were cheaper.  Thanks for all the replies and advice though. Much appreciated. I'll likely come back to this when Im feeling like sacrificing a few fingers for the sake of saving a or two per box!