New E-Panel -- Acrylic w/ ACJr Integration

MinibowMatt

New member
I finally got around to starting my new Electric panel. I am moving from a huge board with a ton of house receptacles on it, to a compact design with panel mount sockets.
I made the case from 3/16" Acrylic I had green around, so I used it. I cut the holes on a manual vertical mill, it was way easier than my small CNC or a scroll saw etc...

The design:
The top 8 switches will give me manual control of my NeptuneJr controlled equipment. On each side of the panel is an IEC (computer power) socket which will come from the DC8, then to the switch, then back to the receptacle next to the IEC socket. This will allow me to manually switch that piece of equipment off without going into the computer or ACJr. The panel also has 6 'always on' sockets, and 2 more manually switched sockets.

Believe it or not, thats all I need! I have a couple extra receptacles in the tank area should I need one, but this is all my major equipment.

Front view:
front.jpg

Side view (same on both sides):
right.jpg

Inside, before wiring:
inside.jpg
 

dzeadow

Premium Member
dude, where'd you get all the pieces for that? besides the acrylic I mean... that thing's sweet! I'd like to make one myself and get rid of like 3 power centers.
 

dzeadow

Premium Member
are you going to solder it all? is it ok if I were to crimp wire connectors on and do it that way? This is going to be a cool project, I look forward to seeing it complete
 

MinibowMatt

New member
Either 12 or 14 guage. I am not sure.. Im sure 14 will be fine, but I may go for 12 just to be safe.. I will look and see whats around the shop.

As for solder vs. crimp, I am going to use a combo of both probably. I need about 100 terminals, and I dont think I have enough on hand. The sockets have a little piece that allows the use of straight wire, and it pinches/cuts it into the terminal- so between those, and a little soldering I should be good to go.
 

dzeadow

Premium Member
do you know if they make a project box that could hold 8 outlets and 1 power-in socket plus the 8 switches? it seemed that they all appeared to be small... I don't want to use acrylic so I may just end up using 1/4" mdf or something.
 

MinibowMatt

New member
I would not use MDF or wood. MDF will be a sponge around the tank, and for fire resistance, I wouldnt use any wood product.

Look for a NEMA enclosure on Ebay...
Why not use acrylic? Strong, limited flammability, and electrically non-conductive.
 

dzeadow

Premium Member
I guess I could... I just didn't want to have to fool w/ tapping thumb screws on it so I could take it apart if anything ever happened.
 

alpine

New member
So are you going to take some pics and show how you wire it all up?Really cool project by the way.
 

DMBillies

New member
I've been planning a box and this looks like an awesome way to get done what I need to do in a lot less space then what I was initially planning. I have and/or can get acrylic, but I think my problem is going to be cutting out all of the holes. I don't have a vertical mill or CNC and I tend to do my DIYing on a kitchen table with hand tools. I'm wondering if a dremel with a cutting bit on it would get the job done? The problem always seems to be with melting the acrylic. I'm no expert working with the stuff, but it seems like you know what you're doing. Any ideas?

The electrical is the easy part for me...
 

MinibowMatt

New member
Cutting it out with a dremel could be problematic, only because of the melting. You could easily do it with a scroll saw, or even by hand with a jewelers/coping saw or a hack saw... all depends on how much work you want to do or what tools you want to buy.

I wired it this morning. I still need to install the ground and the neutral bus bars, and it will be ready to go! It is actually very roomy in there. I went with 14g wire, solid core. The problem I discovered, is I should not have used 3/16" acrylic, as it is too thick for the 'hold downs' on the receptacles and switches to do there job. Once the wire tension was applied, some switches and receptacles started to pop out... nothing a little super glue wont fix though!
I will take pics this afternoon.
 

Pbrown3701

New member
another idea for the enclosure is using a LARGE "J" box that they sell at lowes. I saw one the other day about the same size as this one Matt made. It's also abs, so a little easier to cut probablly.

Nice work by the way. Looks sharp.
 

dzeadow

Premium Member
is the large J box in the electrical condiut section or something?

Also, Matt, is there a way, or should I say an easy way, to make 1 box that has all the plugs and power supply in, and then a seperate box w/ the switches connected by 1 wire w/ multiple internal wires or is that just a mess waiting to happen? I just think in my case it'd be easier to have a box in the back of the stand that I can plug all my pumps and stuff into and then the switch box up front for easy operation... it'd keep it all cleaner too.
 

MinibowMatt

New member
those boxes will be near all the breakers and conduit. They get pricey 'off the shelf' though.. watch ebay.. there out there-- cheap.

to answer your question, yes. They can easily be separated and connected by a piece of flex conduit. You can run the switching wire bundle through the conduit between the boxes. The only issue, is you will need to take care and mark the wires, so you'll know which one is which...
 
Top