A laser-cut acrylic situation for my web server power supply controller

Published on Apr 1, 2017 in room, equipment, laser cutting, power

In my last short article I developed a controller board around the Artesyn NXA66 web server power supply component that I grabbed extremely inexpensively on ebay.com. This board offered me the capability to regulate the crucial features of the component as well as developed the basis for an instead wonderful, high present desktop computer PSU for voltages of 3.3 or 5V with the capability to change out the component for a 3.3 V/2.5 V component if I so preferred.

To round off the task I made a decision to make a situation for the controller board with standard switchgear as well as outlets for the front as well as back panels. This is the writeup for that task as well as there’s an involved YouTube Video Clip that you can view too.


Prior to I can make anything I require to recognize what it is that I’m mosting likely to make so these are the standard requirements for the situation that I’ll be constructing.

  • 4mm front panel jack outlets for power result.
  • Front switches over for output-enable as well as degree option.
  • Front rotating encoder for choices option.
  • Back 2.1 mm input for 12 V supply.
  • Back on/off button.
  • Back DB9 adapter for RS232 information logging result.
  • Back 4mm jack outlets for lots voltage feeling inputs.
  • Side install 40 mm air conditioning follower beside NXA66 component.

Keeping that in mind it’s time to choose the product that I’ll make use of.


The evident option for an enthusiast such as myself that does not (yet) possess his very own CNC equipment is laser-cut acrylic due to the convenience with which it can be reduced for me by an on the internet solution. I additionally require a minimum of some component of my situation to be clear to ensure that the big LED shows placed on the PCB show up from the exterior.

So acrylic it is. It’s a product I have actually made use of prior to when creating the situation for my reflow controller so I contend the very least a bare minimum of experience with the product.

This time around I have actually made a decision to choose a clear neutral grey colour since I remember that throughout the Youtube video clip for the controller I made use of a tiny item of clear grey perspex to filter the LED shows to ensure that they appeared on the video camera It looked truly wonderful as well as clear so I have actually made a decision to go on as well as utilize it for the entire situation.

The last choice to make is the density. The on-line solutions use 3mm as well as 5mm. I picked to make use of 5mm for the reflow stove situation since it was rather big as well as I intended to lower the possibility of it flexing. You need to take care when picking thicker panel products since the shafts of a lot of the buttons as well as especially cable television glands (if you’re utilizing them) might not have an enough time string to undergo the panel as well as leave sufficient string extending to affix the securing nut.

This time around my situation is smaller sized in dimension than I made prior to so I have actually chosen the 3mm density. Allow’s wish it exercises positively.

Trimming solution

The solution that I make use of to obtain the products reduced should be chosen prior to I begin creating since there will certainly be some restrictions I need to follow, as an example:

  • The theme dimension. They will certainly be acquiring in sheets of raw acrylic as well as I’ll require to fit my layout within the dimension that they use, possibly also on a theme data I can download and install
  • The laser kerf dimension. They’ll inform me the size of the laser beam of light that does the cutting as well as I’ll require to utilize this to determine offsets from the perfect settings of components of the situation that are meant to fit well with each other. This is extremely vital.
  • The colours as well as sizes of lines in the layout that I need to make use of to show locations that must be reduced as well as locations that must be inscribed.

Last time around I made use of RazorLab in the UK for the reducing solution. It functioned well therefore I’ll be utilizing them once more. I downloaded their ‘P2’ theme as well as got going with the layout in Inkscape.

Inkscape layout

Inkscape is a free software attracting program that I made use of last time. It has a rather cumbersome UI, it’s absolutely no Illustrator or Corel Attract, however I require just a tiny part of the performance to develop a situation layout as well as it’s not tough to find out. It does not hold me up or create me to curse the display so I have actually no worry suggesting it for this function.

Creating the tabs made use of for the situation closure is a tiresome as well as repeated job so to obtain me off to a headstart I made use of the MakerCase web site to create the preliminary rundown. I make use of the T-slot alternative to develop a layout that consists of restricted screws to hold the situation with each other.

The finger joints hold the panels in the appropriate setting about each various other as well as the restricted screws in the T-slots draw them with each other so they do not break down.

When you conserve a layout from the Web site it asks you for the laser kerf size. It will certainly make use of that size to shrink the cut lines with the assumption that the size of the laser will certainly overflow from the facility line completely to make a tight fit.

Last time I made use of a setup of 0.2 mm as well as, while I might obtain my situation with each other, it was extremely tough as well as I needed to use silicone oil to obtain the finger joints ahead with each other. This time around I have actually lowered the kerf to 0.1 mm to permit even more beam of light overflow as well as ideally a simpler fit that’s not as well loosened. This is the example that you can just pick up from experience.

Currently with the standard situation panels developed I require to include the intermediaries as well as inscriptions.


All the little bits as well as items I require have actually been bought from ebay.com so it’s simply an issue of obtaining the calipers out as well as determining the dimensions of the openings that I require and after that placing those openings equally at the most effective put on each panel.

I do not always adhere to a clinical approach of doing this. I take a finest rate where I believe the openings are mosting likely to need to be and after that I’ll publish out the layout 1:1 on a paper as well as usage scissors to remove the panels. After that by providing the controller board to the simulated panels I can properly gauge exactly how away I am where I believed I would certainly be as well as make the needed modifications prior to doing an additional round of hard copies.

Click to download and install initial SVG. There’s a 2nd layout for an additional, unconnected situation on top of this visuals.

Lastly I prepare to post. The cost billed is based upon a level price for the item of acrylic and after that a variable fee for the quantity of laser time that will certainly be made use of to do the cutting. You can post as well as evaluate your layout at Razorlab’s website as typically as you such as to see just how much it’s mosting likely to set you back prior to you send it for making. Remember that the price priced quote is prior to shipment as well as 20% BARREL.

The level price for the polymer is relatively reduced as well as I’ll consume the majority of my price on the reducing time so it pays to optimize that as high as I can. Finger joints as well as T-slots need rather a great deal of reducing so the MakerCase website does attempt to optimize by positioning panels back-to-back where similar cuts can be combined right into one.

I can optimize a little myself by decreasing the variety of finger joints to the minimum called for as well as, because I have an additional PCB for a various layout that requires a situation, I will certainly include it in the extra area. It’s a harmonizing act in between the dealt with price of the acrylic as well as the extra price of costs laser time on consuming extra area.

It’s shown up

Razorlab were extremely fast this time around as well as I obtained my little bits back within a week at a complete price of regarding ₤40 consisting of BARREL as well as shipment. It’s rather costly about the price of having actually 10 PCBs made in China however still a lot less than anywhere else I have actually seen.

Every one of the items are looking truly wonderful as well as a fast check discloses that my option of the grey clear polymer is a great one since LEDs reveal via conveniently.

A few of the components had littles the safety movie missing out on however I enjoy to state that there were no scrapes, simply a couple of locations with some adhesive deposit that was conveniently eliminated with some white spirit.

Setting Up

The initial point I examined was that the finger joints would certainly port with each other. Keeping in mind the issues I had last time, I was truly wishing the lowered 0.1 mm kerf setup would certainly repair it. I enjoy to state that it did. The panels port with each other wonderful as well as simple with no side dip into all. 0.1 mm is the appropriate setup for kerf at Razorlab.

Successive is to ensure that the switchgear suit the openings as well as this is where I struck 2 grabs, both of my very own production. To start with the Power Button does not rather in shape along the lengthy side.

It’s truly extremely, extremely close; a lot less than a millimeter as well as I have actually no suggestion exactly how it occurred. I gauged it with calipers as well as I make certain I included a little for security however I think not. The laser reduced opening suits my layout so it’s all my mistake without a doubt.

The various other trouble is the anti-twist notch on the rotating encoder. It’s meant to mate with a tiny opening on the situation to stop the encoder from turning around the situation.

The situation opening for the notch is as well little. Once more it’s a little distinction as well as this time around I’m scraping my head regarding exactly how it occurred since I did a copy-and-paste from my reflow stove layout on this set as well as someplace along the road the opening obtained smaller sized. The only point I can consider is that I should have had the opening unintentionally chosen in Inkscape when I used a makeover or pushed a vital mix that did a resize rather than an action. Once more, customer mistake.

Both of these mistakes might have been detected with a much more rigourous QA check prior to publishing which’s something I’ll be carrying out in the future. Anyhow, in the meantime I can repair these issues rather conveniently.

I repaired the button trouble by utilizing a dremel over rate to extremely delicately cut the situation opening a little bigger. In the Video Clip that accompanies this short article I recommend that I may cut the button rather however I attempted that as well as the plastic appeared to be the kind that prefer to thaw than cut so I surrendered as well as gingerly took on the situation rather as well as it exercised penalty.

The encoder notch was conveniently dealt with by utilizing a dremel to cut the notch to ensure that it’s a little slimmer. It’s made from some affordable as well as soft base steel that conveniently paved the way to the dremel.

Lastly I can currently construct it.

It took the most effective component of a mid-day which was a little bit longer than I believed it would certainly. It would certainly have been much easier if I got rid of the PCB terminal obstructs as well as soldered straight to the board however I chose to leave them in situation I ever before intended to raise the board back out from the situation.

Fat 2.5 mm cables are made use of to link up the inbound source of power. Strong core connection cables are made use of to link the lots feeling inputs. The UART links most likely to an inexpensive UART-to-RS232 board that I jumped on ebay.com. This came as a set of components that I needed to put together.

The front panel has a wonderful well balanced look with the encoder handle in the facility, the power outcomes left wing as well as the buttons to the right. I currently had clear acrylic screws offered so I made use of those for the situation attachments. First qualms regarding the constrasting colour of the screws were lost since I believe it looks truly wonderful like that.

The women DB9 adapter for the RS232 result screws right into the situation leaving sufficient area for the shadow of the cable television to port in as well as totally companion with the pins. I had some problems regarding the closeness of the screw openings to the adapter opening however it does appear to be ALRIGHT.

The follower opening is developed to be appropriate by the power MOSFET on the component which should be the major resource of warm. It’s a Gelid Quiet 4 that looks wonderful in white. For uniformity I made use of the exact same clear acrylic screws as almost everywhere else as well as ran the adapter under the board as well as back over the entrusted to maintain it clean.

A collection of 4 3M Bump-ons finish the situation. If you never ever made use of these points prior to after that I very suggest them. The rubber substance that they make use of is exceptionally ugly, conveniently stopping the situation from moving over your work space when you run the controls.


I maintained evaluating it throughout the setting up. There’s little factor in totally constructing it just to become aware that something does not function that would certainly need it to be all required to little bits once more. When I ultimately pertained to shut the cover I was certain that it would certainly function.

Below’s a picture of it running. The result of the clear grey situation is to undermine the glow from the LEDs to ensure that the numbers end up being extremely clear to check out as well as you can not see the inter-segment components in any way. If you have actually ever before made use of these seven-segment LEDs prior to after that you’ll recognize what I suggest regarding the readability as well as over-visibility of the product made use of to divide the sections. I very suggest this product as a filter for seven-segment LEDs.

The back power button has an integrated 12 V eco-friendly LED that looks wonderful radiant at the rear of the situation.

Last words

In spite of a number of entirely preventable driver mistakes I did take pleasure in investing a mid-day placing this situation with each other as well as the outcome is that I have actually a finished task that I can as well as will certainly make use of in future.

I fired a rather brief Video Clip of the setting up procedure. If you wish to view it after that click below, or much better still open it on the YouTube website to see it in better top quality.

Please do not hesitate to leave a remark listed below or if you wish to ask a much more comprehensive concern as well as begin a conversation after that do please sign up with the online forum string.

You May Also Like