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I'm building a small project and have some electronic (IC) boards I would like to pack in a nice enclosure.

I made an enclosure from PMMA (Acrylic) that looks nice but someone told me that it is not good practice as PMMA is like a 'magnet' to static electricity. I then dug some more and found out there are anti-static PMMA boards for this application. Just when I wanted to order someone told me to use poly-carbonate instead (which is much more expensive).

What would be the right material for building an enclosure? The project should be used inside an office so environment isn't hazardous in any mean.

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    \$\begingroup\$ PC is also harder to process than PMMA. You can use antistatic spray to coat the PMMA enclosure with. \$\endgroup\$ – stevenvh Aug 20 '12 at 7:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ditto - unless enclosure transparency is a design requirement, you can coat the internal surface with an electronically conductive paint. There are plenty of brands out there that works for plastics. \$\endgroup\$ – shimofuri Aug 20 '12 at 9:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ I use Nickel spray which is intended for EMI shielding. It produces a nicely conductive layer. The merest wisp on a surface should be enough to make it unattractive (pun noticed) to electrostatic charge. \$\endgroup\$ – Russell McMahon Aug 20 '12 at 12:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Russel, can you recommend on a spray/brand? \$\endgroup\$ – Gilad Aug 23 '12 at 15:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ Commercial electronic products use ABS with no special additives for electronics all the time. I doubt acrylic is much worse. Observe anti-static procedures during PCB assembly and installation into the enclosure then don't worry about it. \$\endgroup\$ – mkeith May 14 '18 at 18:22
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I would also choose Aluminum or zinc diecast.

If you want to make your own panel without much design knowledge, theres a company called Front Panel Express that will do custom jobs, you can download their custom design software for free, and design your own enclosure, you can even order it via the software itself, it will take more time than buying a pre-made enclosure and sending it over to Front Panel Express, since you will have to design each panel of your enclosure.

Heres the link to Front Panel Express: http://www.frontpanelexpress.com/

However, my advice is to get a pre-made enclosure, you can buy several of them online, one example is Hammond Manufacturing, here's the list of the enclosures : http://www.hammondmfg.com/scpg.htm

My advice is to pick an enclosure that fits your needs, and if you want extra features or engravings, send it to a CNC service provider to be engraved or machined.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Hammond themselves provide a milling service. Polycase is another option and they also provide milling and silkscreening. \$\endgroup\$ – BrianV Sep 4 '12 at 19:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for that, the only thing that I never knew, is if they provide that service even for 1 item, or if they only do large scale. \$\endgroup\$ – S.s. Sep 4 '12 at 20:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hammond has some minimums (maybe 100-500 pieces). I blieve Polycase just charges a setup fee and charges per-part based on the qty ordered. \$\endgroup\$ – BrianV Sep 5 '12 at 12:22
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"What would be the right material for building an enclosure [with antistatic properties]?"

Aliminium. Sheet or extruded.

Tell us a little more about your instrument. What does it do (if it's not a secret)? How big does the enclosure need to be? Is it one-off or mass production? Picture of your instrument in the existing PMMA enclosure would help too. May be, you could buys an commercial off-the-shelf enclosure and make your electronics fit in it.

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