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Thread: Cutting rectangles in plastic, but small ones!

  1. #1
    Vendor - Qube colin's Avatar
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    Cutting rectangles in plastic, but small ones!

    Ive read a few threads about cutting in plastic and its always blah blah about drilling and using a jigsaw.

    I want to put a set of buttons beside my screen sort of like this:


    I want the buttons to be lit with LEDs so I think these would work best:


    Except, how do I cut those small little rectangle openings into my bezel (the picture is someone else's bezel with a screen in it):

  2. #2
    Vendor - Qube colin's Avatar
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    Or another example, how do you cut the rectangles for the USB ports in this picture:

  3. #3
    FLAC djmickyg's Avatar
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    drill a small hole then open it up with a square needle file

  4. #4
    Newbie
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    1. drill a hole and adjust the shape with a file
    2. precision punch like these: http://www.precisionpunch.com/webpage.cfm?page_id=7

  5. #5
    Fusion Brain Creator 2k1Toaster's Avatar
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    Better yet, use a laser cutter. Most people that have them wont mind doing it. Some will make you pay a few bucks, but it is exact and fast. And it is a laser so the overall cool/geek factor goes sky-high.

    On a side note, where did you source those button thingamagiggs that go over the pushbutton knob?
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  6. #6
    Sheepdog rdholtz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by colin View Post
    Or another example, how do you cut the rectangles for the USB ports in this picture:
    From the clean cutting and the USB logo in the middle, that one looks like a laser cut. That's the best system -- if you have access to a laser cutter.

    If you don't have that access, some very careful -- very, very careful -- cutting with a simple X-Acto knife and a steel straightedge can get you there. If you have a template, it's easier, but you really can cut straight lines in plastic. Cut a fine, shallow line to mark the shape, and then deepen the cuts slowly and gently.

    This is slow, precise work, and it takes attention to detail. Practice on scrap, and then go for it. The keys are to go slowly, keep all your cuts gentle, and use good, sharp blades. Cut less than you want each stroke. You can do it.
    .
    If just enough is really good, then too much ought to be perfect.

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  7. #7
    Vendor - Qube colin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2k1Toaster View Post
    On a side note, where did you source those button thingamagiggs that go over the pushbutton knob?
    I was searching for rotary encoders and I went to a place that I was sure would have them (they didnt): SparkFun. If you haven't heard of them, theyre like a general hobby electronics place with a very easy to use catalog and very interesting front page posts. The product is called the IceCube Light Pipe Switch

    Quote Originally Posted by rdholtz View Post
    From the clean cutting and the USB logo in the middle, that one looks like a laser cut. That's the best system -- if you have access to a laser cutter.

    If you don't have that access, some very careful -- very, very careful -- cutting with a simple X-Acto knife and a steel straightedge can get you there. If you have a template, it's easier, but you really can cut straight lines in plastic. Cut a fine, shallow line to mark the shape, and then deepen the cuts slowly and gently.

    This is slow, precise work, and it takes attention to detail. Practice on scrap, and then go for it. The keys are to go slowly, keep all your cuts gentle, and use good, sharp blades. Cut less than you want each stroke. You can do it.
    That's the process Ive used all my life, except it does not ever produce good results when I do it. It takes hundreds of swipes to go through a decent sized piece of plastic, that's why I'm inquiring about this

    Guess I just have to buy really, really small files or find a local laser cutter.

  8. #8
    FLAC WuNgUn's Avatar
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    CNC mill...I've had intricate acrylic machined perfectly for my needs. Not the cheapest solution, but you draft it up in CAD and you get exactly what you asked for.

  9. #9
    Vendor - Qube colin's Avatar
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    Cheap is the top priority. Its like 6 or 7 holes, dont wanna spend too much money on it.

  10. #10
    Constant Bitrate
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    how bout a dremel tool?

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