When I first found out about Protocase from a Midi Workstation project listed on Hack A Day I couldn’t wait to design something to take advantage of their service.
The Protocase website has a template generator that will create a complete assembly for use in your CAD program so you can get started right away. I chose Solidworks since that’s the software I’ve been using.
Engineers at Protocase were very helpful and were able to use the 3d Solids directly which was great.
|Original assembly from Protocase|
With the Protocase assembly generator I was able to start with a model that was 90% complete.
I attempted to import my VRML 3d PCB model directly from Kicad. Unfortunately, I never quite got that working so I ended up making a simple model of the board outline and mounting holes in Solidworks.
From the various manufacturer’s websites I was able to find 3d models for the PSU, IDC Connector, and the RJ45 pass-through jack. This not only saved time but also gave me confidence in the design. I couldn’t find any model for the NEMA 5-15 outlets so I made one using the suggested panel cutout drawing.
|Completed Assembly Isometric|
When I designed the board I included 8 relays, however when it came to designing the case it became obvious that 8 switchable outlets can’t fit on the back. I thought about making the front outlets switchable, but it didn’t really fit any of my use cases.
In the future I will need to spend more time on a top-down design of the project before jumping into the sub-assemblies like the electronics.