Part 5: Build the enclosure


When drilling holes I found a template made of wood helps to ensure button alignment is correct and ensures that the drill bit doesn’t skip around when starting to drill holes in the stainless steel. From the image below you can see I created a lip on the end that would stick out over the edge of the stainless steel wine cooler to ensure there was no vertical movement.

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Additionally, I used two zip ties around the wood and the stainless steel wine cooler tube to ensure that the template didn’t move around from side to side.

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In my case, I used a cheap drill press from harbor freight tools, but I’m not sure it’s necessary. I also placed a 2×4 inside the stainless steel wine cooler tube, when I was drilling, to prevent the tube from becoming out of round. I drilled the first hole and placed a nail in it to prevent the wood from moving around and did the same for the last hole I drilled. This kept everything in alignment so all my drill holes were straight.

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Lastly to remove any small scratches from the stainless steel wine cooler tube, I buffed them out with an abrasive scotch pad.

For an internal DC power brick drill holes in or around the stainless steel wine cooler top to allow excess heat to escape(not shown). If you keep the DC power supply brick external then the extra holes to allow heat to escape may not be necessary.

If I had this to do over again, I would place the power cord and USB WiFi on the other side of the stainless steel wine cooler tube. Initially, my intent was to hide everything in the back of the Alert Tube, but since the buttons are handy to use and I don’t mind the look of them I would keep them in the front next time. For the record, I think I’m going to redo the enclosure with those modifications in mind.

For the top of the Alert Tube, I used the top of the Silver Round Tin with Window. I drilled a couple of holes in the top to allow heat to escape and to enable me to remove the top of the unit for servicing by sticking in a hook and pulling. I lightly sanded the top of the Silver Round Tin plastic window to make it diffuse the light from the RGB LEDs. From there I wrapped some electrical tape along the outside edge of the top to make it a bit bigger and provide a snug fit inside the stainless steel wine cooler tube.

Once you have all the electronics working gently stuff it in the stainless steel wine cooler tube. I started with the speaker first, screwed it to the bottom, then I screwed in the USB extension cable followed by the push buttons/LED and screwed them in too. Afterwards I placed the amplifier inside, followed by the AC-DC power adaptor then the Raspberry Pi. By this point things are started getting pretty tight inside, so I didn’t need to screw anything else in. Friction fitting seemed to be fine in this case. now at the top, I placed a diffuser over the RGBs inside the enclosure(sanded plexiglass, halved ping pong ball or milk jug plastic). I found that it’s best to keep the RGB LEDs with diffuser an inch away, or more, from the top of the Silver Round Tin with Window to help diffract the light properly. If all goes well then you should have a functioning Alert Tube on your hands that’s ready for action.

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