It Works I Guess: Making an Enclosure

Written 2018-10-05
Edited 2018-11-23

The first day I went to test the electric longboard, it rained for a week. My solution is the enclosure I’ve made. It’s very “rough”, but it works pretty well, so here it is - the parts list is at the bottom.

Material

The first enclosure I made was out of acrylic. Whenever I dropped it, it would break, so I switched to using ABS, which has served me much better. I’ve seen enclosures made out of wood, too - but it’s important to make sure the material used is tough.

Dimensions

The first step is measuring how big the enclosure has to be. Mine needed to be 5 centimeters high, so I planned for a 6 centimeters high enclosure. Note that the enclosure might have to get taller or shorter towards one end of the board, as most longboards aren’t of uniform width.

I didn’t measure how long my enclosure had to be, so it’s a lot longer than necessary.

Construction

Thermoforming is generally when this happens. I don’t have a vacuum former, so I went at my sheet of ABS with a heat gun. First I put a block of wood atop the ABS, 6 centimeters from the edge (this will correspond to how high the enclosure should be). Since most longboards aren’t of uniform width, the wood might have to be slightly angled.

ABS diagram

Next, I heated up the corner between the block of wood and the ABS, moving the heat gun all along the corner.

ABS diagram

As I heated up the corner, I applied force to the block of wood as I pulled up at the plastic, creating a 90 degree angle.

ABS diagram

I repeated the same process for the other side, so that I had a long U shaped container:

ABS diagram

Next I cut all the way through the two walls of the U shapped container. I made the cut about 6 centimeters from the edge of the container:

ABS diagram

Next I used the heat gun to bend the two flaps I’d created inward. Then I bent the whole cut out area up at a 90 degree angle. Here’s what the finished end looks like, with the cutout bend up at a 90 degree angle (there was room for improvement):

ABS diagram

I did the same with the other side, and the enclosure was mostly done. Next I added hinges that attached to the light fixtures so that the enclosure opened on one side. Note that the hinge screws point out of the enclosure; if the screws point into the enclosure, they may damage whatever is inside of the enclosure:

ABS diagram

Lastly, I screwed L brackets into the other side of the enclosure, and mounted slide bolts on the light fixtures, like so:

ABS diagram
ABS diagram

The enclosure I made is rough - it doesn’t look particularly good, so I’ll probably upgrade it in the future. But for now, it protects the electronics from rain and from dropping out.

Parts

Parts Total: ~27

Tools

Tools Total: ~28

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