Project housing ideas

The Dot Matrix Display (DMD) is a 32x16 array of high-brightness LEDs for visually striking effects. [Product Page]
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Brissieboy
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Joined: Fri Sep 20, 2013 7:25 am

Project housing ideas

Post by Brissieboy » Sun Jan 12, 2014 3:47 am

I am at the stage in my project where I need to think seriously about how I am going to house and mount my project.

I have 2 DMDs side-by-side with an Arduino and some miscellaneous bits to mount, and I need to have a rugged, weatherproof, outdoor housing suitable for vehicle roof-top mounting.

I am leaning towards fibreglass at the moment but would like to hear if anyone else has had any success making either prototype housings or small production runs anything like this?

Of course, costs are very important.

Are there people out there somewhere who can help in this area? Where do you start?

Brissieboy

bwooce
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Re: Project housing ideas

Post by bwooce » Mon Jan 13, 2014 1:27 am

Yes it's a challenge, re-purpose an existing enclosure if at all possible.

My soccer scoreboard uses 50x25mm rectangular Alu tubing (from Bunnings) as border/framing, with plywood on the back and perspex on the front and bolts through the framing to secure the sandwich together. The perspex pops off (after unbolting) for maintenance.

With a bit more flashing on the top of the perspex/ALU boundary it'd be totally weatherpoof, so a similar solution could work. It's not particularly light though :-)

Brissieboy
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Re: Project housing ideas

Post by Brissieboy » Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:10 am

Thanks for the reply bwooce.
I'm afraid the suggestion is not satisfactory for my application - it needs to be very rugged and fully waterproof for permanent mounting on top of a vehicle in all weather and harsh environments.
I was hoping someone might have been through a similar exercise.
Almost anything moulded is prohibitively expensive unless done in very large quantities. I can see no practical alternative to fibreglass at the moment, except maybe fabricating an aluminium case.

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stryker
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Re: Project housing ideas

Post by stryker » Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:43 am

What about embedding the whole DMD module in a clear resin of some sort? Just have the connecting wire & ribbon tails out. I've done that will less complex circuits before, using the Diggers brand moulding resin from Bunnings (presuming by your nick you're in Brisvegas too). It's available in a can - add a hardener and sit back for an hour while it cures clear.

The result in the few times I've done this so far has been pretty decent, though any solder resin residue manages to discolour the resin around where it is, so in future was going to be more thorough in my cleaning.

I've not done this to a DMD though - just putting it out there as it could be an option.

Geoff

Brissieboy
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Re: Project housing ideas

Post by Brissieboy » Fri Jan 17, 2014 11:19 am

Thanks for the idea stryker. Certainly worth further consideration. Somewhat limits any future mods or maintenance though. I think I might have a play with the concept before going all the way.

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stryker
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Re: Project housing ideas

Post by stryker » Fri Jan 17, 2014 12:00 pm

It might be quite challenging to get all the air bubbles out of the LED side of the DMD. I have a red DMD we've killed I'd be happy to donate to your build test.

Electrically it's a paperweight so the test would be just physical with it.

Brissieboy
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Re: Project housing ideas

Post by Brissieboy » Sat Jan 18, 2014 2:28 am

stryker,
Wow, that's great. I have sent you a PM.

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stryker
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Re: Project housing ideas

Post by stryker » Thu Jul 24, 2014 1:00 pm

How well did you succeed in keeping the weather out of your vehicle-mounted DMDs ? Any chance you have photos/details of your build to share if it worked out well?

Brissieboy
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Re: Project housing ideas

Post by Brissieboy » Thu Jul 24, 2014 11:10 pm

I had a play with the 'potting' concept but that didn't really work out well, and I still had to come up with a overall container of some sort.

I have had one less than perfect attempt at fibreglass, but although it ended up in the bin, I still think that this is best the way to go. Unfortunately, these are prohibitively expensive to have professionally produced in very small quantities. I need someone with fibreglass expertise to assist, or somewhere where I can learn. Is there a hackerspace equivalent for fibreglass???

I am using a basic timber box with a red perspex screen at the moment which is suitable for proof-of-concept and demo purposes, but not for weather exposure.

The electronics and software are pretty-much completed - except for the mandatory 'feature-creep'.

Unfortunately life keeps getting in the way and progress has been slow.

Not really happy to publish details until I am fully satisfied with it myself.

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stryker
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Re: Project housing ideas

Post by stryker » Fri Jul 25, 2014 5:34 am

I hear you on not wanting to publish something imperfect. Someone who makes canoes or ute canopies might be able to assist with a short run fibreglass enclosure for you - if not make it entirely?

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