FAQs about Custom Plastic Enclosures
Why is custom enclosure manufacturing cheaper than injection moulding?
Custom enclosure manufacturing does not need to use moulds or tools and this means that there are no moulds to produce, or dies to cut. Thus, enclosure modifications are easier, faster and cost less to implement. With our custom plastic manufacturing method, we can create plastic enclosures that look and feel similar to injection moulded ones, with the same function and complexity, at a much lower cost, with less initial investment and no minimum order quantities.
This also makes custom enclosures more cost effective for prototype development and affordable for start-ups to test their market.
It is worth noting that custom enclosure manufacturing becomes less cost effective when the order quantity exceeds 10,000.
Can you create an enclosure with coloured plexiglass sheets?
Yes, we do, depending on the size and construction method.
Do you manufacture electrical cabinet enclosures in the UK?
Yes, we have a factory in Brackley between Oxford and Cambridge that manufactures custom electrical cabinet enclosures for a range of sectors across the UK and Europe.
What types of plastics do you use for your bespoke enclosures?
We stock a wide range of plastic materials including ABS, HIPS, Polycarbonates, Acrylics, and Carbon Fibre effect. To find out what plastic would best suit your next custom plastic enclosure project please contact us.
Do you supply standard off-the-shelf plastic casings or enclosures?
Yes, we can make standard plastic cases with a minimum order quantity of 10.
What is the minimum order quantities for custom designed plastic casings or enclosures?
There are no minimum order quantities for our custom enclosures. We can do production runs as low as 1 all the way to the 10,000s.
What is the maximum order quantity you can produce?
This is usually dictated by price. The tipping point at which injection moulding becomes a viable, more cost-effective alternative to custom designed enclosures depends on a variety of factors including design, materials used and size – as a rough guide orders above 10,000 tend to be more suitable to injection moulding manufacturing.
Do you supply IP rated (water resistant) enclosures?
Yes, we offer a range of water resistant enclosures and work closely with our clients to ensure our enclosures are suitably weatherproof or waterproof for their requirement. We produce outdoor enclosures that can withstand the harshest of environments. Our custom designed enclosures are used for everything from mesh networks, to oils rigs and even underwater cameras.
What is the smallest / largest box you can make?
The smallest enclosures we make are about the size of a USB stick. The largest plastic enclosure is approximately the size of a roadside cabinet.
Can CDT machine holes in my standard pre-purchased boxes?
Yes, we would be happy to quote to do this, please contact us with the dimensions, and quantities involved.
Do you make custom designed enclosures in metal?
No, we only use plastic but do offer a popular range of metal look alike plastics which are lighter, more durable and more cost effective than metal alternatives. For more information about using plastic versus metal for enclosures click here.
How soon can you deliver a prototype or initial production run?
As a general rule of thumb, we can produce an enclosure prototype in one to two weeks from order. Production can then take 4 to 6 weeks depending on complexity, additional processes and the quality required. We can accommodate rush jobs depending on the requirements. Do contact us to discuss this further.
What are the tooling or set up costs?
Our set up charge covers the initial design and subsequent CAD-CAM programming of the box. Minor changes to the design in the future will not attract an additional charge. Our set up charges range in price depending on the complexity of the project ranging from a few hundred pounds to a few thousand pounds for a very complex design.
FYI there is no tooling costs because no tooling is necessary.
What design features have the greatest impact on the box price?
The main factors that affect the cost of the plastic box or enclosure (apart from paint, RFI and screen printing) are elements like a large label recess which will increase the cost of machining the part because of the time involved for the cutter to mill it out. Similarly, if a part needs machining on both sides this means twice as much CNC time is needed.
Also, if a box needs pillars for PCB mounting, or other manual operations like fitting metal inserts, clear windows and bonding of assemblies – these labour-intensive activities will push up the price.
How long does a quote for enclosure take?
We try to turn quotes around within 48 hours, although special consideration is given to urgent requests. Quote turnaround times do depend on the complexity of the project.
How can I mount my printed circuit board (PCB) in the box?
Simplest way to mount a PCB is in 2 parallel machined slots. They are square in profile and are perfect for a standard thickness PCB. Alternatively, and at extra cost, pillars can be specified. These are useful in situations where assembly is awkward and the PCB needs to drop in, or if the PCB is populated right up to the edges and therefore allows no margin to engage in slots. For specialist requirements, we can custom design special clamping strips secured by metal inserts; useful for touch screens and keyboard PCBs which are likely to be subjected to abusive downward pressure.
Can you provide a clear window to protect my screen?
Yes, clear windows can be provided. These can be set back to allow an attractive bevelled edge to the cutout, or they can be machined in a ‘top hat’ profile and recessed in, so that the window is flush with the outside face.
Do you produce din-rail mounted boxes?
Yes, we produce boxes which are to be mounted on a din rail. We do not produce the moulded clip which attaches the box to the rail. Our boxes could be used in conjunction with a standard clip, and we would ask you to send us a sample of the clip you intend to use so we can devise its attachment to the box.
Can the plastic box be held together by screws?
Screw fixings can be provided to hold a box together. On a simpler box, screw fixings are in addition to the clip together arrangements, where metal threaded fixings are used. On more complicated boxes, a complete frame is sometimes included, containing metal inserts onto which panels would be secured.
Can you provide a battery compartment?
Yes, we simply supply a bulkhead in the box to separate the battery area from the PCB. We can supply a friction fit slide out battery cover or a screw-on cover if preferred.
Do you do potting boxes?
Yes, we can supply these, minimum wall thickness is 2mm but we can locally machine to create thinner sections.
Can you produce curves and large corner radii?
Some curving of plastic is possible, but compound angles are very difficult and compound curves not possible. We often mix technologies to create product where limits are reached. For example, we can blend vacuum forming with our fabrication technique. Please contact us for more details.
What tolerance do you work to?
The general tolerance that we work to is to plus/minus 0.25mm. We would endeavour to work to a tighter tolerance when specifically requested with relation to selected dimensions.
Can you produce my label / membrane keypad?
If you cannot find the answer to your question in our FAQs please call us on 01280 845530 – we are happy to help.