Cutting nice holes in rack enclosures

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I've bought a Jaycar 2U metal rack enclosure for an amplifier project I'm
building. What's the best way to cut nice clean holes in it for the
switches and sockets that are going on it? Also I need to cut some
ventilation slots front and rear, any suggestions? Thanks,

David

Re: Cutting nice holes in rack enclosures



hi,  i f   the  switches are small, use a drill.
if they are bigger  u can use a hole saw cutter.
or use a   sheet metal nibbler.: altronics : Sheetmetal Nibbling Tool
T2355 $22.95

mark

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Re: Cutting nice holes in rack enclosures


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Drill hole(s) and file them out square, for neat round holes, you can
drill the hole slightly smaller than needed and then ream it out to
size.

Or you can use the nibbler tool as suggested
by mark.  Be careful with nibblers on steel that is thicker than
specified, they break very easily.

You can also buy "chassis punch sets" that are used to make holes up
to about 32mm in steel. aluminium etc. DSE  USED to sell these years
ago, and they worked well.


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If you want to do vent slots in ALUMINIUM, a router can be used, be
very careful and take it slowly, you will be surprised at how well it
cuts. It will be very messy though, you will end up with little thin
aluminium flakes everywhere.
(A laminex trimmer with a suitable blade may work too - but I havent
tried this)

If you have a triton bench with the router table attatchment, you have
it made !

You can sand/file down any sharp edges afterwards.

Make practice cuts on scrap material first.
Use on aluminium only.
Due to the fact that thin metal can cut into you much easier than wood
if it goes flying, use safety gear, clamp everything down well,  and
don't try this unless you are already experienced with using routers.


If you are happy with a round ventilation hole for (say) a fan, you
can use a hole saw at a slow speed, or a jig-saw with a suitable metal
cutting blade.

Re: Cutting nice holes in rack enclosures


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If you're loaded (with money) square drills can be had

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yeah, tungsten carbide woodworking tools cut aluminium really well,
the aluminium is soft and conducts heat well enough that the tool doesn't
overheat. tends to get noisy though.

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hole saws tend to slop when used on sheetmetal and you get a knife-edge.
A drill-press or backing block attached to the work could help.

offset aviation snips are great for round holes in thin-enough sheet down
to about 75mm diameter, but a cheap jigsaw will cost less (noisy though).

power-nibblers can be had too, either self-contasined or as a drill
attachment.

Re: Cutting nice holes in rack enclosures



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Obviously drill small holes, up to 6 mm diameter or so.  I've found step
drills to be excellent for enlarging holes in sheet metal, up to 30 mm or
so - cleaner result than a hole-saw and far more controllable than larger
twist drills or cone cutters.

Probably the only way to get really clean slots is using an end mill and
some purchase those Chinese-made table-top milling machines to this end, but
it can get expensive.  There are companies that advertise online their
services for manufacturing pierced panels in one-off and larger quantities.
Otherwise, fabricate a template for the slot from four straight-edged pieces
of sheet steel and countersunk screws or rivets, clamp that to the work
piece and then drill/saw/file away until the slot matches the template.

If you want louvres, buy a fly press and a louvre punch, or find a friendly
workshop with this equipment.

Chris



Re: Cutting nice holes in rack enclosures




David Findlay wrote:

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Punch and die is the best way.

Graham

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