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Folding eurorack case (15U, 104HP)

15 Oct 2023 . Category . Comments #hardware #diy #eurorack #music

I decided to build my own eurorack case.

My final design folds into standard US carry-on dimensions and holds 15U.

My process was:

  • Design a case in Fusion360 (it took me 3 attempts actually because I was learning Fusion)
  • Laser cut 5mm birch ($50 a sheet)
  • Test assemble
  • Redesign the hinge and back enclosure (reinforced hinge and enclosed back)
  • Glue up
  • Stain using General Finishes gel stain (because the ply was blotchy with water based stains)
  • Shellac using a combination of brush and french polish technique, about 12 coats
  • Add in rails and power hardware
  • Add in the back cable support (for bowing)

It worked pretty well and is very solid in use. Things I would fix on a redesign or are just a little wonky:

  • Something went wrong in my parametric design, so changing the thickness of the wood currently crashes Fusion (UPDATE: apparently I was inconsistent in the direction of extrusion, i.e. growing out vs. growing in)
  • My redesign meant I used scrap pieces and was no longer matching grain well. I initially did a great job of matching grain almost by accident. The mismatching is only visible from behind or when folded.
  • Mirroring in 360 sometimes meant installing hardware in reverse orientation. This was harmless but less aesthethically pleasing for the bus boards and power inlets.
  • The wood is so thin that the hardware screws need to go all the way through. The solid stain created a wood filler that somewhat masks this.
  • The full enclosure looks great folded but is challenging when using the m15 Trogotronic power supply. Threading the cables is very fiddly and makes it much harder to unfold and set up. A redesign that makes inserting the power cables easier is a good idea.
  • Looser tolerances would have helped with folding. The wood had some curve to it and the finish added some thickness. An extra millimeter would have made it easier to open the case. Right now it takes sustained gentle pressure and some patience, which is fine for moving house but less good for gigging. Maybe a hard wax would be a better finish for a folding wood case.

Photo Album

The photo album documents the process from start to finish.