So far, I’m very happy with it. It consists of 5 lightweight panels, and can be assembled or disassembled in about 5 minutes. I’ve deviated from the original design by making the door opening wider, and one of the doors smaller (so it doesn’t swing into my control console area too much). It appears as though it will do a good job of blocking chips and coolant, although it’s not quite done, so I can’t be 100% sure just yet. I’ve got a good feeling about it though 😉
One of the biggest challenges was making something on a budget that would hold up to the moisture of my chosen method of coolant, the FogBuster. I decided to make it out of 1/4" Baltic Birch Plywood, and the windows/doors out of Polycarbonate. I coated the wooden panels with MAS Penetrating Epoxy, then Rust-Oleum Topside Primer, and finally Rust-Oleum Topside Paint. I think the Topside will hold up pretty well, but only time will tell. I’ve also considered adding adhesive backed sheets of PVC film, available for cheap from McMaster Carr. My thinking is that the PVC sheets would give the "blasts zones" a little more protection. It should take the chips a little longer to eat through a PVC sheet. When it does, I can replace the sheet, lengthening the lifespan of the Topside paint.
So in terms of budget, I think I’m coming in at right around $300. The most expensive items so far have been the MAS Epoxy and the Polycarbonate windows/doors. I could have spent less by buying a large sheet from McMaster Carr, but decided to just go with pre-cut sheets that were close to the right size (from Home Depot). The Epoxy was about $80 (from Rockler), and the Polycarbonate was about $84. The Topside Paint & Primer together were about $45, and then there were consumables (brushes, drop-cloths, etc.). The plywood used is probably around $50 worth. Lastly is hardware…probably $20 or so.
I’m also very thankful to the community here for all the information that has been shared. I’m along time reader, and have only recently started to post. My last post was a request for help, and the community came through in excellent fashion. That said, I really wanted to share the info on my enclosure here, hoping that it helps somebody else out along the way. I’ll provide dimensions and am happy to answer questions.
The process went something like this:
Day 1: Design the enclosure to be made from plastic panels. Took about 8 hrs. Then, scrap the entire design and start over with plywood. Took another 40 mins…haha.
Day 2: Finish the plywood design, took about 3 hours.
Day 2 (continued): Cut and assemble the panels, took about 5 hours. It’s important to note here that my goal was to see how fast I could build this thing. I figured if saving money was one of the main motivations, then building it slow would defeat the purpose. I made almost all my cuts freehand with a circular saw and jig saw. I have a tendency to build things "perfectly", and this project was a deviation from my norm. Again, the goal was to blast through it as fast as possible. So my lines aren’t exactly the straightest on this build 😉
Day 3: Add hardware and make adjustments to the enclosure as necessary. This means cutting notches, finding out where tubing will fit, making sure everything that needs to fit will, even when the machine is moving through X, Y, & Z. Took all day.
Day 4: Add Epoxy. Took about an hour. Let it cure overnight
Day 5: Sand, add primer. Took about 2 hours. Let it cure overnight.
Day 6: Sand, add Topside. Took about 2 hours. Let it cure for 2 days.
Day 7/8:….Well, that’s where I’m at now. I’m debating on adding another coat of Topside, but honestly, it looks pretty good as it is, and is getting nice and hard. I’m thinking I might just add some color to the outside so it’s not so stark white and call it good. Especially if I’m going to protect the inside with PVC anyway.
You’ll notice in the pics that I glued strips of polycarbonate to create the overlapping "door flaps". For this, I just used superglue and butterfly clamps. You’ll also notice a shot of the bottom edge of the door opening. That is there to show that I planed and sanded that edge to slope downward into the enclosure. This should help to prevent chips from building up on that edge.
What do you guys think? What color should the outside be? I’ve thought about painting the outside gray to match the new "MX" versions that Tormach is making. Thoughts?
Here are some pics: