Cutouts in Large Enclosure

I’ve got a large steel enclosure (16x16x8) and need to create some round and rectangular cutouts in it. The rectangular cutouts can have a small radius in the corners if need be.

The largest of the round cutouts will be about 4.5" diameter but the that’s just one and the rest will be significantly smaller (<1").

Have we got what it takes to work on a piece that size?

Probably. Its all about location, and burn marks.

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Ok, thanks! Once I have the enclosure and the holes laid out I’ll pong machine shop again.

The height is going to be an issue. If that top can come off it can probably be done evasion the Haas or plasma cutter

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Yeah all the cutouts are on the sides - meaning a surface 16" off the table / bed.

Maybe I’ll be better off just laying out the lines with a laser-cut template and then sneaking up on them with a Demel and grinding bit. Any imperfections will be covered by connector bezels anyway.

I don’t know if Metal Shop has a nibbler, if so, that may be faster and cleaner after just touch up with Dremel or other handheld grinder,

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Depending on the thickness of your metal, you may be able to do the smaller openings w/ a Greenlee punch.

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We have had, but I don’t know if we have a working one right now. If this will work, drill powered ones aren’t all THAT expensive

But I’d imagine the handheld plasma and a template would be the way to go…


The circular holes <1” can be done with a step drill and the larger ones with hole saws.
Greenlee punches are expensive.


They’re expensive, but their performance is a real knockout.


I have a whole assortment of Greenlee punches, even some square ones for those square tube sockets, er…I mean those old square RF transformer cans. They are only good for sheet metal thickness.

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Step drill is a good idea. I have several. This might be thick enough that I can rough-jigsaw the rectangles and then grind to the line.

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I’ve machined an ammo can on the Bridgeport. In hindsight, more bracing would have been good. And taping down all the fasteners.

Probably not worth the time it would take to make a sufficient brace to work something as tall as 18".

Dremel with a cut-off tool would work, or the bigger pneumatic one that Harbor freight has for cheap.

Go slow and sneak up on it. Easy to go too far.

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