Extruded aluminum enclosure - raw stock source?

Asking for advice (again). For small production runs, I’ve been buying extruded aluminum enclosures from ebay or aliexpress. Does anyone know of a source of the 6ft lengths of raw extrusion in the US? I’ve found finished box sellers, but would like to buy the raw extrusions as I have a local who will cut them to my specs.

Thanks (again)

PS: should we (the community) be both identifying sources or things like this or taking other actions to support each other? If nothing else, we could make a small database of our respective skills and capabilities. I just bought a sheet metal notcher for making metal boxes and now working a design for a punch & die for a rectangular hole for the 2.4" LCD. Maybe this should be a separate topic…

Totally hijacking this thread (sorry!) - is this fairly low-cost item I assume that makes that method workwhile?

If not the cost of customized enclosures is pretty minimal. I use Hammond Enclosures extensively as I was shocked about prices. To give you some examples (all price CAD, use appropriate conversion to FreedomDollars, they are in Canada so hopefully you include NAFTA in your US-only requirement):

Qty 100 of 1455J1202 Extrudued Aluminum with Plastic end panels, machining on end panels + front plate:
Raw box is $18.60 @ Digikey, from Hammond is $23.99 Customized

Qty 25 of 1593LTBU Plastic (used in https://www.crowdsupply.com/newae/phywhisperer-usb):
Row box is $7.91 @ Digikey, from Hammond is $11.77 Customized

All orders are Qty 25 minimum, there is a NRE fee (it was low, like $150, might be slightly more now). But it tends to be only about $4-10 more for full CNC customization.

But - to provide any remotely useful input, they may also sell the raw extrusion too. We’ve got customization like being sold only parts of boxes (because we had custom plates instead of end caps etc). I doubt it’s that worthwhile for them though so probably not a deal compared to elsewhere.

Hi @coflynn: Joulescope uses a customized Hammond 1455J1201. The custom item omits the screws, end plates, and plastic shipping pins. I also asked for bulk packaging (each subpart comes in its own box/bag), which makes a lot more sense for manufacturing. With these changes, I get them for $6.14 USD each @ 1k. The minimum order is 25, which is $12.11 each. Allyn Weilacher is my internal Hammond rep.

I priced out Hammond’s printing, and they are expensive. I get UV cured, color printing from a local firm, Prestige Screen Printing, for about $1.75 each + $45 setup, but I do have to manage the extra step. I also print on the “belly plate”, which is up for Joulescope, since that is easier for them than the body extrusion.

Does anybody use that thing the “right way around”? We also have it up!

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I like the local screen printing option @mliberty. I started to look for some in my area after you mentioned this but they all seem to do t-shirts and hats only… Colin also convinced me to go Hammond. I don’t think he can help rep’ing fellow Canadian suppliers. :stuck_out_tongue:

What I like about the belly-plate being a top-plate (belly-up plate?), is that I remove it, keep the end panels on and then can get to the internals. Colin uses the belly-up plate to mount a display which I thought was pretty clever as well.

Prestige is a pretty high-end shop. They really do everything, including silk screen, overlays, CNC and laser cutting. For Joulescope, they use a huge inkjet printer that does many Joulescope covers at once. The advantage is that it only takes one print, where silkscreening would take 3 (the cover has 3 colors). I am not sure how much luck you are going to have just looking for “normal” silkscreen printers.

I agree that being able to remove the belly-up plate (good name :stuck_out_tongue: ) is good for debug and development.

The extrusions are probably custom made for the vendor. The only source for that exact extrusion is likely the vendor.

What quantities are you looking for?

I’ve done a few custom extrusions.

An extrusion die for a typical enclosure is likely in the $2-3k range. They’ll usually push ~500lb billets through the die at about the bulk price of aluminum per pound. Some shops may charge a bit extra if it’s just one or two billets, because of the time lost changing out the die on the press.

In the case of the extrusions I did, we only had one billet run through each die. That stock took a few years to use. The cross sectional area is in range with what I would expect for an extruded enclosure. Including the cost of the die, the surcharge for the single billet, the extrusions cost about $1-2 per inch in total.