This week’s homework was to build an enclosure. I’ve been already drafting some ideas in the class last week and decided to stick with one of them: Stress Relief Cube. In other words: cube that has a button on each of its walls.

Interaction with it is quite simple: all you have to do it push buttons and hopefully let your stress go (class saw how obsessed I was with one of the enclosures that had bunch of pushbuttons). So it can work either if you’re stress, or if you simply like buttons.

To build the enclosure I needed two things:

  • to build a box
  • to enclose push buttons in each of the walls

For the box I found some unlabelled plywood in the shop:

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And for pushbuttons I ordered a bunch from Amazon:

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First I had to cut the box form with laser. I know we were not supposed to use finger joint templates, but that’s exactly what I did because I wanted to see how it works and if I actually can make it. I used MakerCase to get the AI file for the box.

The dimensions are 2.5×2.5×2.5 inch (outside dimensions). As I already mentioned I chose finger edge joints for the box, and 1/8 material thickness.

Then I cut the plywood with the laser (30/80/500 for the settings).

Lesson 1: don’t move the piece before being sure you’re done. I ran the same job twice and then checked if it’s enough: it wasn’t and when I put the piece back in the laser, third time wasn’t accurate at all.

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Lesson2: cut the wood three times, two times is not enough.

I tried working with this piece but the plywood broke in some places and it didn’t look nice:

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Then I took another piece of plywood (by the way, cut by the bandsaw from the bigger piece) and ran the job three times:

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This is how it looks when done right:

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And put together:

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Time to make holes for the pushbuttons. First what I did was marking the center on each piece to know where to drill:

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Then drilled a small hole in each piece:

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After I had to make enough space to mount the pushbutton (~15mm). I first thought of using forstner bit:

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But ended up using spade bit. I tested on a scrap wood to see if 3/4 spade bit works:

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I’d say it could be ok, but not exactly: pushbutton didn’t fall through the wood but if it was a bit wider, it would have done just that. I tested one more with a 5/8 spade bit and it appeared to be just right:

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Lesson3: screw the bit strong enough, so it doesn’t stop while drilling the piece.

I drilled all the 6 pieces and mounted the pushbuttons on each of them:

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And then put the box together:

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All pieces came together nicely, but I will have to also glue them together, to stick 100%.

Also, even though it’s fun to play with buttons, the box seems to be a bit too big to fully enjoy it. I may have to redo with a smaller size, but am not sure how to then fit all the buttons as 2.5inch is the size I chose for the buttons not to touch each other. Any ideas welcome.


2 thoughts on “[fabrication] week4: enclosures”

  1. Nice work.

    Why didn’t you cut the button holes with the laser as well? You wouldn’t have had to worry about drilling.

    If you want to make the overall box a bit smaller, you’ll need to know a few things. How long does the button protrude below the surface of the wood? You can measure that, double it, and add just a little bit more, that can be your new dimension. Can you fold back or clip off the leads of the buttons? That can give you a little more room.

    1. I know about the laser cutting the button holes. But once I realized, half of the job was already done and I was afraid I wouldn’t cut the exact centre I need.

      Thanks for the tip, I thought about it and will remake!

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