How to Use Altoid Tins As Cases for Electronics

Altoid tins make great cases and chassis for electronics and ham radio projects but they are hard to cut as the metal tends to tear easily. A simple way is to freeze water in the tin, and then do the cutting. The ice supports the metal resulting in perfect cuts.

Steps

  1. Image titled Use Altoid Tins As Cases for Electronics Step 1
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    Clean an Altoids or similar tin can. Fill it completely with water and place right side up (lid on the top) in the freezer. Leave overnight.
  2. Image titled Use Altoid Tins As Cases for Electronics Step 2
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    Next day you will have a tin with solidly frozen ice. Moisten your cutting pattern (printed or hand-drawn paper) and place it on the bottom of the can. The paper will instantly stick to the can!
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    Use the paper pattern to cut the metal with a chisel or to drill holes with a drill. The ice will support the thin metal and prevent it from buckling or bending. If necessary place the can in the freezer again if the ice starts melting. The ice block in the can be seen in the image on the right through the rectangular cut.
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    Once you have all the holes cut, place the can in warm water to melt and remove the ice. File any rough edges.
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    Cut pieces of hardboard or thin plywood that are slightly larger than the can. Glue these two pieces to the front and back of the tin with polyurethane glue (Gorilla or equivalent). Clamp the wood panels and the tin as shown. Let dry overnight.
  6. 6
    Use the pattern and cut through the wood (chisel, knife, and/or drills).
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    Trim the wood around the edges with a file or sanding paper.
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    Start attaching the hardware on to the case. Then stuff the insides with electronics. When everything is done paint or varnish the outside with polyurethane.

Article Info

Categories: Hardware