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Mounting Connectors

Discussion in 'Homebrew and Kit Projects' started by W6OGC, Apr 2, 2012.

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  1. W6OGC

    W6OGC Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am making a small device to activate the tune function with an AH-4 autotuner and a non-Icom rig. The Icom uses a 4 wire Molex connector. I need to mount the receptable in a small box. The drawing calls for a rectangular hole 1.038" by .312" +/- .005 for mounting.

    I have a small aluminum box LNB type. What is the best way, short of having one's own machine shop, of cutting this hole? I have only common hand tools available, Dremel, etc.
  2. KB4QAA

    KB4QAA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Draw out your rectangle, drill holes near the corners. From there several ways to attack it:

    1. Use the ceramic cutoff wheels on your dremel and cut along, and just inside the lines. Finish with grinding disks and small files.
    1.5 You could also continue to drill holes to 'hog out' the majority of the area then use files, and or nibbler tool to clean up.
    2. Get a "nibbler tool" for about $15 bucks at Radio Shack and use it to cut it out. (once you try it you'll wonder how you lived without it.)
  3. N8WWM

    N8WWM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I second the motion for a nibbler. Absolutely great tool.
  4. KO6WB

    KO6WB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I just bore a hole in the aluminum chassis and then use a small file to make the opening you need. It doesn't take very long and you can get it just about perfect by checking the size of the opening you are making. Just put the connector into the hole and if it fits you're done, if not, then just file a little bit more until it does. I've had the nibbler and it does work well but sometimes it just misses where I want to cut. Guess that is mostly my own fault but I have never had any problem with the file the hole larger method.
    Hope this helps
  5. K8ERV

    K8ERV Ham Member QRZ Page

    If your panel is flat and small enuff to fit in a big vise, draw extended lines and match one to the top edge of the vise and file down to that point.

    I couldn't live without my four Adel nibblers.

    Here is a hint if any hole gets too big. You can sometimes make the hole a bit "smaller" by hitting a center punch near the edge. It will
    expand a bit of the metal outwards into the hole. Good for making press fits.

    TOM K8ERV Montrose Colo
  6. K9STH

    K9STH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Nibblers are available from Harbor Freight, Radio Shack, and several other sources. The Adel ones are the best, but the ones from Harbor Freight and Radio Shack work very well. My particular Adel nibbler is right at 50-years old and is still going strong. About a year, or so, ago I saw an advertisement from Harbor Freight for a very reasonably priced nibbler, so, I got one just to have as a "backup" for my Adel nibbler.

    Nibblers (example ), hand seamers (examples and ), are very inexpensive sheet metal tools that make working with sheet metal very easy.

    Glen, K9STH
  7. K8ERV

    K8ERV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Jaw.JPG Nibbler.JPG Here is a bench nibbler I bet you have never seen. Not good for internal holes, but does a great job of nibbling benches.

  8. K8ERV

    K8ERV Ham Member QRZ Page

    I just found a nibbler on Ebay even better than the Adel. Ordered two.

    . niblr.jpg
  9. W6OGC

    W6OGC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks, men (and women, maybe). I never have heard of anything like that nibbler tool. I'll have to check it out.

    Do you have to get the two week school in Chicago to learn how to use it? Or is it so easy, even a lawyer can do it?

    Here is the project I am building: What would you mount this project in? Any ideas besides a small aluminum box? It is just a switch, LED and connector, and I'm trying to figure out how to mount it so it is easy to use, stable, sits next to the radio, or paddles etc.
  10. K8ERV

    K8ERV Ham Member QRZ Page

    The nibbler is easy. Drill a hole large enuff to insert the cutting head. Then when you squeeze the handle a notch in the tool cuts out (nibbles) a small piece of metal. You just keep walking it along cutting a path. It may take a lotta squeezes, can be a bit tiring.

    Hope the hole is not bigger than your final slot. There is a limit on the metal thickness and hardness. I usually only work with aluminum.

    Like Glen mentioned for drilling, it may help to drill large holes in each corner so you can turn the the tool. You may end up wanting to file the edges smooth.

    There is another way to cut slots I don't think anyone mentioned. You can cut a small hole and feed a jigsaw blade thru it and saw away.
    Or a narrow hacksaw blade.

    As a last ditch stand, sometimes I cut into the slot area with a saw from the outside. This leaves an access slot that you may be able to cover up with a bezel, tape, etc if you don't like the appearance. Or learn to like slots.

    Lotta ways to skin the old cat.

    TOM K8ERV Montrose Colo
  11. KO6WB

    KO6WB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Your project box can be an aluminum one if you want. Or it could also be a small plastic box. These are even easier to work on. You can get these at Radio Shack. It doesn't look like the circuits are going to be overly sensitive to RF. Good luck with your project.
  12. AF6LJ

    AF6LJ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    You can also use a coal chisel to make that hole.
    You will need to have a peace of metal to work against but it's possible to get a hole you won't have to file to clean up.
  13. K8ERV

    K8ERV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Them coal chisels are sure hard to find. And they break easily.

    TOM K8ERV Montrose Colo
  14. KO6WB

    KO6WB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page could just use the proper end of a flat bladed screwdriver and smack it like a chisel. That would make quite an impression on an aluminum box. You would still have to use something on the back side that is hard and stable (boy, did I leave an opening there?).
  15. K8ERV

    K8ERV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Most screwdrivers have a plastic or wood handle that may not take kindly to being smitten.

    Neither coal nor cold chisels have handles.

    TOM K8ERV Montrose Colo
  16. AF6LJ

    AF6LJ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks for the correction Tom

    Cold Chisel it is :D
  17. K8ERV

    K8ERV Ham Member QRZ Page

    We must be korrect.

    TOM K8ERV Montrose Colo
  18. AF6LJ

    AF6LJ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    You are quite Wright.
  19. WA7PRC

    WA7PRC Ham Member QRZ Page

    FWIW, McMaster-Carr stocks the original Adel nibbler (#3623A14). It's not cheap but good tools seldom are inexpensive.
  20. K8ERV

    K8ERV Ham Member QRZ Page

    That's it, but I saw it someplace for $25. I've had my first one for MANY years, not worn out yet.

    More than I can say for some things.

    TOM K8ERV Montrose Colo
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