Anyone who follows my posts knows that I like to prototype circuits in small metal chassis and boxes.
Now several years ago I got a great deal on a stack of Pomona 4903 powder coated, die cast aluminum boxes which I've been using happily for the last several years. Like for this prototype driver stage.
Pomona 4903 Box.jpg
These little boxes are exactly 3" x 6" and about 1.6" deep. They are great for small circuits for testing. However, I ran into a problem last fall. I used my last one. So I went out looking for more. The problem is that these little boxes are about $36 USD a piece now. That's definitely too pricey for simple prototype stuff. But I think I've found a replacement.
Bud Industries makes a series of what they call "Econoboxes". These are bare finish die cast aluminum boxes in various sizes. They have a CU-476 that is almost the exact same size as the Pomona 4903s I've been using. And here's the best part, in bulk they are about $11/each delivered to my door. This is more like the price I want to pay. Here's what they look like.
These are nicely made, stout little boxes that look like they can take a beating.
The only question is how are they with which to work? Well, I'm glad to report that these are just about the easiest boxes with which I've ever worked!
Bits went through the material generating small uniform chips with no galling or bit walking. It was the easiest chassis drilling I've ever done. Take a look.
Bud Box Drilled.jpg
Those holes are just as they came off the drill press with no chamfering or cleanup. the edges are sharp and square. And look at the back.
Bud Box Drilled back.jpg
There is no push out or rough edges. This is far better that anything I've ever achieved from sheet stock aluminum unless using a milling machine. This was all just done on a drill press in my garage. The large hole was done with a typical step drill and it performed just as well as the twist drills.
So I think I'll be ordering a stack of these for my parts stash. I highly recommend these for small projects or prototyping. They tool really well, are very sturdy, and are available form a large variety of sellers.