Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Every Christmas break is another opportunity to go down to Adafruit Industries in NY, NY and (in addition to having a good time) exercise my nascent industrial design impulses. The new tradition is to knock out a kit enclosure. Adafruit's design constraints were as follows:

1. The enclosure needed to be made out of 1/8" acrylic.

2. It would preferably be completely enclosed.
3. She didn't want "just a box."
4. It should have a variable tilt angle to accommodate the viewing angle of the LCD screen.

Until I get a copy of my notes back (which show my entire thought process, including doodles and the Bad Ideas Club) - these photos will have to suffice. I designed everything to slot together because I really like slotted flat-designs (go read Nomadic Furniture 1 & Nomadic Furniture 2 for more fun flat designs and examples of things Frank Gehry was actually good at designing -- PROTIP: It's not buildings)!

Fig 1. Notes 1

Fig 2. Notes 2

Fig 3. Notes 3

Fig 4. My draft enclosure in clear acrylic.

There were a couple of things about my prototype that I knew Adafruit didn't like. I had an asymmetric profile shape - chosen because I based the design off of an isosceles triangle, and a truncated triangular side profile meant I could slot the top piece in for ultimate interlocking action. I also really enjoyed the idea of having a low, flat very Byzantine/monolithic/robots-will-eat-you shape, which made the enclosure larger
than Adafruit's prefs. She ended up removing the top and changing it out to match the tab-locking bottom piece, while retaining the slot-locking sides and front piece, which allowed her to shrink the front piece down and make the area surrounding the LCD symmetric. The final case retains a lot of the details I enjoyed making while matching Adafruit's own preferences. The following pictures show what the final production design will look like.

Fig 5. Back in Black

Fig 6. Symmetric Side Profile

Fig 7. Rear View

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