Actobotics for a custom case - yay or nay?

Colinreay

Cable-Tie Ninja
Original poster
Aug 28, 2016
198
490
Hey guys, hope this is the right place to put this, I really want to jump into more involved and more complex pc modding, and hope to make a small portable custom lan box, similar to the DR Zaber Case, or even the S4 Mini, but with a Flex ATX,or SFX PSU inside, and a nice sturdy handle, something along the lines of Bill Owen's custom billet handles.

So, I was at my neighbor/uncles house yesterday, and found he has a huge stash of Actobotics gear, for his various engineering/robotics projects. Seeing those channels got me thinking, they have tons of 6-32 through holes, and are amazingly sturdy, made out of aluminum. Here is the link to servo city, where I was looking at the different options.

Now, they aren't cheap, but I figure I might be able to use some of my uncles, and even if I buy some of my own, I can always reuse it (big plus - getting a custom made case is a little out of both my skill and comfort zone, plus +++++++ $$$). Panels would be laser cut with my school's laser cutter, something similar to the laser cut pc case mods I did for a build for my school's computer club, or Parvum systems, or even a lot of the really cool looking laser cut paneled pc cases around here.

I'd also probably cut one of the vertical peices off the channels, to turn them into essentially a 90 degree aluminum extrusion, with tons of super percise, laser cut through holes for the frame.

Anyways, just curious to see what other people think of using this, and if anyone has done it.
 

Kmpkt

Innovation through Miniaturization
KMPKT
Feb 1, 2016
3,380
5,918
I've played around with the 1cm extrusion they have on there as a part of another set (Makerbeam I think) and it works reasonably well. I wouldn't really consider using it as a final case solution, but instead I use it to play with component layouts in real space.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Colinreay

EdZ

Virtual Realist
Gold Supporter
May 11, 2015
1,578
2,107
The 'big brother' of Makerbeam (generally referred to as '80/20' or T-slot) is intended for making larger cases for industrial/scientific equipment, so Makerbeam is a great tool for making small cases for PCs. You won;t be able to hit the volume efficiency of completely bespoke designs, but for one-offs and short runs it;s going to be far cheaper than folded metal, and easier to design and iterate than 3D printed brackets (like @K888D's LZ7).
 

Colinreay

Cable-Tie Ninja
Original poster
Aug 28, 2016
198
490
The 'big brother' of Makerbeam (generally referred to as '80/20' or T-slot) is intended for making larger cases for industrial/scientific equipment, so Makerbeam is a great tool for making small cases for PCs. You won;t be able to hit the volume efficiency of completely bespoke designs, but for one-offs and short runs it;s going to be far cheaper than folded metal, and easier to design and iterate than 3D printed brackets (like @K888D's LZ7).

Thanks! Yeah, 80-20 looks like a beast, but a little too big for the small form factor I'm trying to get here. I probably am going to use 3D printed parts in the case, maybe not on the exterior, but I see it as one of the best ways to make a gpu bracket + bracing, and a flex atx mount. I haven't read through K888D's full log, and will do so soon, but I'm just worried of the strength on it, even though I'll try to print it at 100% infill if that is needed.
 
  • Like
Reactions: K888D

Josh | NFC

Not From Concentrate
NFC Systems
Jun 12, 2015
1,868
4,456
www.nfc-systems.com
Paper cups, gummy bears, actobotics...I say make a case out of whatever you feel compelled to make a case out of.

My second mod was made out of a Little Debbie's Moon Pies box stash at a friends house on a late Saturday.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Colinreay

Colinreay

Cable-Tie Ninja
Original poster
Aug 28, 2016
198
490
Paper cups, gummy bears, actobotics...I say make a case out of whatever you feel compelled to make a case out of.

My second mod was made out of a Little Debbie's Moon Pies box stash at a friends house on a late Saturday.

Haha, thanks man, great to hear someone as talented and experienced as you saying this! I think making a case out of a moon pie container would make me too hungry to complete it though...
 

CC Ricers

Shrink Way Wielder
Bronze Supporter
Nov 1, 2015
2,137
2,381
The 'big brother' of Makerbeam (generally referred to as '80/20' or T-slot) is intended for making larger cases for industrial/scientific equipment, so Makerbeam is a great tool for making small cases for PCs. You won;t be able to hit the volume efficiency of completely bespoke designs, but for one-offs and short runs it;s going to be far cheaper than folded metal, and easier to design and iterate than 3D printed brackets (like @K888D's LZ7).

And if you want to see an example of 80/20 T-slot extrusions (20mm square profile) being used in some production cases, you can take a look at this store on Taobao that creates custom SFF cases made to order. Nearly all of the cases in that store use some combination of aluminum panels joined together with 20mm extrusion beams.

I too was thinking of using them for a custom case but I found that they'd take up too much room for the small volume I was going for (<4L).
 
  • Like
Reactions: Colinreay

Colinreay

Cable-Tie Ninja
Original poster
Aug 28, 2016
198
490
And if you want to see an example of 80/20 T-slot extrusions (20mm square profile) being used in some production cases, you can take a look at this store on Taobao that creates custom SFF cases made to order.

Ooh, thanks for the link! They certainly look amazing, it's really neat how they have such a clean execution throughout, even with the thick 80-20 beams. I saw some of these a while ago, but couldn't out how to find them again.

I too was thinking of using them for a custom case but I found that they'd take up too much room for the small volume I was going for (<4L).

My thoughts exactly. I downloaded the .STEP files, and quickly realized that they are really big. Now I'm leaning more towards simple aluminum angle extrusions for strength, and 3d printed corner brackets, similar to what K888D has done with his builds.
 

CC Ricers

Shrink Way Wielder
Bronze Supporter
Nov 1, 2015
2,137
2,381
Yeah, I'd still consider using those 80/20 beams for a larger SFF case with a more traditional layout. Something that resembles a NCASE M1 inside. Right now I'm also using aluminum angles and it will require a LOT of fasteners (takes up more time than expected) but when space saving is concerned and you can't go to a pro shop to have the parts cut, this is one way to go.
 

Rusty McFot

Trash Compacter
Jan 4, 2017
48
79
That makerbeam case looks amazing!

My company uses all different profiles of proprietary aluminium extrusions for our linear control and automation machines. As well as specialised joining hardware.

In wonder if I can get some offcuts!