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Downloading a 3D CAD enclosure template is the best way to specify a customised metal enclosure for your electronics. It’s the smartest way to detail precisely how you want your standard case to be customised with CNC machining, fixings and inserts before finishing and the installation of PCBs.

You can see exactly how your components will look inside your finished housing. You can spot any potential pitfalls before they turn into missed opportunities or expensive errors. In short, it’s a no-brainer: why wouldn’t you download a free CAD template/model/drawing? It saves time, money and hassle. But there’s a little more to it than that – it’s still possible to take a wrong turn on the road to specifying your perfect product housing…

How Good Is The Standard Metal Enclosure You’re Customising?

It seems an obvious question to ask but that’s because it’s all too easy to mistake the customising process for a magic wand. Do not assume that quick bit of CNC machining and some fancy finishing will magically transform a sow’s ear into a silk purse. It won’t…

Start with a less-than-ideal standard housing and at best you’ll have to do much more customisation; at worst you’ll have spent considerable time, effort and money on an enclosure that won’t live up to expectations because it is incapable of fulfilling the potential that – in reality – it never had in the first place.

Is the supplier that you’re planning to use an absolute specialist in metal electronic enclosures (like METCASE)? Or are they simply a sheet metal fabricator with ambitions that exceed their technical expertise and experience? Sorry if that sounds a little harsh but a simple two-piece U-shaped or L-shaped sheet metal case is not going to cut it when you’re creating a precision instrument enclosure. Very basic two-piece cases lack the technical finesse, the attention to detail and the aesthetic poise required for a ‘state-of-the-science’ product that will be gracing an end user’s desktop, tabletop or laboratory bench.

Some people think this is less of an issue when the enclosure in question is a 19” rack case hidden away in a cabinet. After all, aside from the front panel, everything else is out of sight so who’s to know? The end users – that’s who! They won’t thank you when it’s time to pull the case from the rack for inspection, servicing and maintenance (and pull it they will, far more often than you realise). That’s why we (and our customers) obsess about quality cases with decent rack handles.

So no, you can’t turn a Fiat into a Ferrari by painting it red and sticking a prancing horse logo on the bonnet. And you can’t get the perfect customised enclosure by starting with a poorly designed standard case.

So What Should I Do Before Downloading 3D Drawings/Files?

Always start with the best possible standard enclosure for your application. Take time to make absolutely sure that you fully understand all the technical benefits of a particular case compared with another model. Check out these resources to help you compare 19” rack cases and desktop instrument enclosures.

Time invested in searching for the right standard case to customise is time well spent. That’s because the choice of standard metal cases is so wide now that – at first glance – it can be bewildering. But this is a wonderful problem to have because it means that you can get very close to what you want purely with a standard case – meaning that very little customisation may be needed.

If you can’t see what you want immediately, phone and ask the engineers. That highly specialised enclosure that you seek may not be immediately apparent to you (no matter how easy we make the website) but you can bet that it’s there. “What’s that…you’d like us to create a 1U 19” rack case with all the versatility of COMBIMET but the smooth aesthetics of VERSAMET?” If only such a case existed as standard…actually, it does.

Downloading 3D CAD Files Of Enclosures

We make a point of offering plenty of technical information on our website – and at the point you most need it; on the enclosure model and size that you’re looking at. All the specs are either on the product page or on readily available downloads that you can access from the page. Click on any METCASE enclosure and you’ll find links to 2D drawing pdf files.

To access 3D CAD files you need to:

  • select your preferred enclosure model and scroll down the page
  • select your preferred size by clicking the link through to the product page for that size (the page will have a product number at the top)
  • scroll down to the foot of the product page and click the grey tabs marked Drawings/Info
  • choose your preferred 3D model file type (x_t, stp or sat) and click on the link you will be taken to the METCASE VIP Lounge page –
  • Either log in (if you’re an existing customer) or register as a new user by clicking the button marked Go To Registration >>
  • Register to receive 3D CAD files.

Choosing The Right Enclosures Partner

If you’re a regular reader of these blog posts you’ll know that it’s always better to specify aluminium enclosures from a manufacturer than a distributor: you can get expert technical advice from specialist engineers.

You’ll also know from everything you’ve read above that it’s far better to go to a specialist metal enclosures manufacturer than a generalist. Choose an enclosures manufacturer with years of experience in pushing the boundaries of case design. Choose a manufacturer who creates smart technical features that offer faster installation times and enhance the products they house – adding aesthetics, ergonomics and value to your electronics and kudos to your brand.

Here’s a simple rule-of-thumb test: if the idea of a supposedly simple metal box having smart technical design features sounds odd to you then you haven’t been speaking with the right manufacturer. You don’t need a basic sheet metal fabrications firm – you need a proper enclosures partner who can help you early in the design process. The sooner you get us involved in the evolution of your product, the sooner we can achieve a transformational effect for you.