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Plexi Box Build

Nime Instrument Sketch Box Design

This week’s box building material is… acrylic, a.k.a plexiglass. My box design is simple enough (three sides with a few holes — an enclosure for a NIME instrument sketch), but plastic is pretty foul to work with, particularly with the usual spread of ITP shop tools.

The band saw’s fence guide is far from square, and it’s set up with a wood-cutting blade that tends to shred and melt plexi. For lack of alternatives, I ended up using a plexiglass scoring tool which worked remarkably well. The key is clamping the work evenly to a bench with a scrap 2x4, and then applying pressure on the portion that needs to be snapped off with another 2x4 to distribute pressure evenly and avoid sharding near the ends of the score line.

The holes were located by attaching a 1:1 scale print-out from the plans to the face of the plexi with transfer tape. Regular all-purpose bits were used, albeit very slowly and carefully to avoid shattering.

A few photos of the process…

Drilling and scoring:
DrillingScored and ready to snap

Test fitting:
The pieceMaking sure the stepper fitsThis was supposed to be a three inch squareChecking alignment

Finally, clamping and gluing, then the finished box:
Clamping and gluingFinished box

October 5 2010 at 6 PM