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Plastic Enclosure Design - Choosing A Texture

enclosure plastic texture

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#1 MGPL

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 09:22 AM

Hello everyone,

I'm a newbie designer in China and am producing some of my first plastic enclosures. As I've learnt from my previous enclosure project, in China, you need to be concise and leave no spaces undiscussed. I want my enclosure to have a texture although I don't know how to express my vision/specs to the manufacturer in words. I'm going for a normal noise-like texture which serves to cover up any tooling lines left around the ports, and it should not be glossy as i wouldn't want it to distract whoever's using it. The texture has to be ample to prevent greasy finger prints.

houses a display and electronics
Color: black
QTY: 1000PCEs to begin
Plastic: ABS (no idea, seemed like a safe choice)
Method: Injection molding
market: medium sized companies. Medical, technical, industrial, home

So, given all that. How do I express my needs to the manufacturer? Something like stipple texture of a depth of 0.127mm (0.005")?
What's commonly used for enclosures? What about the texture depth of the white and black parts on an Xbox controller?

ThanksPosted Image

#2 Cyberdemon

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 04:41 PM

Textures are standardized because there are typically only a few places that do texturing, though there are several different processes. Mold-Tech is typically the global standard and they have the 11000 series of textures which is fairly common, but they have a whole range from very faint to very coarse. These textures are applied after the tooling is cut, typically by an acid etching process.

There are also a series of VDI textures which are actually done by modifying the EDM which is used to cut your tool, but those textures have some unique complexity which may or may not make them appropriate for use. (If a modification needs to be done after your initial tool is cut, the texture will not match properly).

I would speak to your tooling vendor, ask them to find out who their preferred texture vendor is, and see if they can provide you with sample plaques (these are standard, but sometimes hard to get a hold of). But if you are in China, it may be as easy as taking a trip to the factory that will do the tooling.
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#3 MGPL

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Posted 16 January 2012 - 10:27 AM

Thanks for the reply Cyberdemon.I looked in to Mold-Tech and they have a factory near us, which is nice as a last resort ( drinking Baijiu isn't fun ). As for our tooling vendor, if I must, I will ask them, but the less I need to ask them for things, the better (they only play nice with big buyers).

I couldn't find a proper explanation for VDI, what does it stand for?
And for those of you who don't know.

EDM = Electrical discharge machining (aka: spark machining, spark eroding, burning, die sinking or wire erosion) a manufacturing process for applying a desired shape or texture to hard metals. - Wikipedia



#4 Cyberdemon

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 03:56 AM

If your tooling vendor isn't willing to give you the most basic information (like where they plan on shipping your tool for texture) that's a problem - even if you're doing a small run. Most places use Mold tech standards even if they aren't mold tech.

VDI (and I had to google this because I did not know) stands for Verein Deutscher Ingenieure which is just German for German Association of Engineers, who apparently invented the standard. But it is a different process compared to Moldtech or similar acid etched texures.

MT11005-MT11010 are probably in the range of what you want but they are actually created using different processes. You can try to reach out to mold tech directly, if they have a factory near you it's worth a trip to understand better and try to pick a proper texture plaque.

#5 MGPL

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 10:36 AM

Awesome, thanks alot for the help. We just received the lot of enclosures. Things just became even more nightmarish, they managed to screw up the entire lot with these strange parallel cuts near each corner of the display area, and they seem to have applied their own very very light texture which they call identical to the sample we sent them. It's unlikely that they sent the mold somewhere to have it done. What a mess, you're lucky you're in New York. Anyways...

A trip to Mold-Tech would definetely be great, I'll see if I can make it happen. Is there an online library of textures that you would know of for the Mold-Tech textures? I found one so far with a few pics as seen below from bbs.icax.org[img]http://www.google.com.hk/url?source=imglanding&ct=img&q=http://att.icax.org/forum/2009/03/02/iCAx.cn_c29fdf240509f9f0940761733cPM5S4z.jpg&sa=X&ei=WEEVT9DbKofBiQeKkPFD&ved=0CAsQ8wc&usg=AFQjCNFqqN07Qgc2HUK59tX9VwqPfa8h_A[/img]

Thanks :D

#6 Cyberdemon

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Posted 17 January 2012 - 04:36 PM

The thing is you really can't get a very good understanding of the texture without seeing a physical sample. That picture is of the sample plaque I am talking about. You may be able to get one for free (it is just a big 8x11 sheet of plastic) but you have to ask.

Without seeing them in person it'll be very hard to really understand the differences between the texture ranges and how big the texture actually is. I think the 11005-11010 range is where you want to be, but like I mentioned they are actually created with different processes (media blasting vs acid etching) so the end result and longterm tool durability is different.

#7 MGPL

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 02:39 AM

Very well. I've convinced the boss to go on ahead and start negociations with Mold-Tech. We hope to send our mold to Mold-Tech, have them deburr out some parting lines, and I'll ask them what else they can do about the ruined texture (4 parallel scratches on the surface), I know they have a texture repair service, then we will send the mold to another plastic molding company to continue the job. Hopefully, that all works out. I will also ask them for the sample plaques, that should be the easy part. If you have any further opinions or advice about this, please let me know.

Thanks

#8 Cyberdemon

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 08:34 PM

Polishing out scratches in the tool should not be a big deal - and if the tool is damaged, that should fall on the responsibility of the tool maker. If they screwed it up they need to fix it.

Generally the tool is cleaned up after it is cut and prior to texturing.

#9 BBrandDesign

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 06:57 AM

Very helpful information.





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