The Prototype Development Process for Electronic Enclosures

Electronic device with plastic enclosure

All electronics have one thing in common — they are vulnerable to the elements. Moisture, dust and any other debris can quickly turn a useful product into a useless paperweight. Your customers understand the fragility of any electronic product and will naturally prefer items that are well-built, sturdy and attractive. It takes a solid enclosure to ensure predictable functionality along with eye-catching visual appeal for your product.

Even if your circuit board is working without failure during development, real-world scenarios quickly take a toll on any electronic device. Our team can work with you to bring your vision to life and create a product casing that stands up to regular wear and tear. Our engineers are experienced in product design and will help you create a visually-appealing casing that catches the attention of potential customers. Wondering what goes into that process? Our prototype development process couldn’t be easier, so read on to see how it all works.

Assess Prototyping Stage

The price of your project largely depends on the type of process we use to assemble your prototype. From the very beginning, we take your unique budget needs into account to move forward with the most practical prototype we can create. Our goal is to meet your needs while never overcharging for any of our services.

A prototyping budget typically varies by stage. In the first stages of prototyping, you’re not going to want to invest too much money into prototypes that may or may not lead to the final product design. Your electronics concept may make sense on paper, but creating effective electronics housing sometimes takes a trial-and-error approach. 3D printing is ideal in these scenarios, as it is a low-cost and rapid form of prototyping.

On the other hand, if you’re further along in your prototyping, with several iterations already completed and tested, it may be time to move to a process more closely resembling the final product. A service such as injection molding creates prototypes with the functionality and aesthetics that closely match your vision for the consumer-ready version.

Choose a Material

The material you choose to build a prototype with is as important as the shape of the prototype. For that reason, it’s essential to consider the exact properties you expect out of your product type, as well as the final design. Are you looking for moisture resistance? How about a translucent material? These are the questions any product designer should ask themselves before moving onto prototyping. The Schmit team can provide you with the materials it takes to create a product with the exact characteristics you have in mind.

Think about the types of priorities that matter most for your product:

Desired CharacteristicsSuitable Materials
Speed & Cost-EffectivenessABS & PLA
Accuracy in DesignNylon, standard resin, metals
Moisture ResistanceASA
Temperature ResistanceAluminum, high-temperature resins
Flexible MaterialNylon, TPU
Smooth FinishSLA, material jetting
TransparencyTransparent resins, transparent polycarbonate

Some electronics enclosures require a combination of characteristics, so it can be difficult to know the exact material your product needs. Our prototyping experts are available to provide guidance no matter what stage you are at in your prototyping process.

Consider Smaller Details

If your electronics enclosure features multiple or connected parts, it’s going to take additional fasteners, brackets, hinges or another type of accessory to bring it all together. At Schmit Prototypes, we can provide you with the features it takes to create the functionality you envision.

For example, our 3D printing services are ideal for manufacturing threaded fasteners, snap-fits, interlocking joints and threaded fasteners. If your prototype requires CNC machining, a press fit may be a better option. You can rely on our expertise when you need guidance on design details that are easy to overlook.

Get Prototyping

Ready to get one step closer to your final electronics product? We are here to help. If you have any questions about how we work or the services we can provide, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. We look forward to providing the enclosure solutions you’re looking for in your prototypes!

 

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