Home > DIY Bench Supply > Aluminium case finishing

Aluminium case finishing

November 10, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

The power supply is coming along nicely. The case is built but needs some improvements and finishing touches. I plan on using this supply for some time and so want it to look as tidy as possible. I finished the case by routing the cables and putting labels in appropriate places.

Parts Used:

  • Dry transfer lettering (Letraset)
  • Permanent marker (Sharpie)
  • Clear Coat spray

Tools Used:

  • Pillar drill
  • 4mm drill bit
  • 8mm drill bit
  • 12mm drill bit
  • G-clamp
  • Ruler
  • Disposable gloves
  • PCB cleaner (citrus degreaser)
  • Craft knife

Since i want this to look like a complete unit, i don’t want cables running outside the case. I measured and marked up four holes next to the fan of the power supply and then drilled pilot holes with a 4mm drill bit. I used the pilot holes to mark matching holes in the aluminium case then used an 8mm drill bit to make the holes larger before finishing with a 12mm drill bit. Its important to work up in bit sizes when drilling large holes in sheet metal (especially steel) as the drill bits can blunt and catch on the metal sheet otherwise. These holes allow me to route cables inside the supply. Unfortunately i forgot to take photos of this but the holes should be clear in future posts.

This supply will have many functions and provide multiple voltage outputs so to avoid confusion i need to label these. I wanted to have nice smart labels so I’m using permanent marker and letraset to avoid the labels having a white background as they would if they were printed. First the case is cleaned using a degreaser, in this case a pcb cleaner, then the symbols and lines are carefully drawn on in permanent marker. It took me a few attempts to get this right but the degreaser can clean off mistakes so i was able to take my time and get it right. I wore gloves so as not to get fingerprints on the case

Next i cut out and applied the letraset using a craft knife. This letraset was bought as part of a large pack, 2nd hand on ebay but its also available in stationary stores and online. The letraset is easy to apply, simply place it where you want it then rub the back of the paper to transfer the lettering.

Once all the lettering was placed i double checked everything was correct and gave the whole case a few coats of clear coat as the letraset is quite delicate. Clear coat is a clear spray paint used to give a hard wearing finish and protect what’s underneath.

Unfortunately, when the case was clear coated, the permanent marker bled. There’s little i can do about this now so I’ll have to live with it. If anyone knows how to avoid this then please let me know.

The case is pretty much finished now. I have some other improvements planned but these can wait, next up the wiring.

  1. November 11, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    just try to accomplish it & give a final touch to this case finishing . .

  2. August 25, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    one of those environmentally conscious water-based clear coats shouldn’t bleed a waterproof marker. There are alot of marking pens out there with chemistries that resist solvents too, just need compatible marker and paint. heating the marked piece before painting can help too, but not too much unless you like the colour of oxides.

  1. November 10, 2010 at 11:16 am
  2. November 26, 2010 at 2:04 pm

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