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Suggestions on sourcing custom length enclosure tubes?

Hi everyone,

My lab designs and builds these robots:

We did a redesign last year to move from a single shell body to a series of tubes (sort of like the BlueROV). A few of them were the custom length acrylic tubes:

Since the option to order custom length from BlueRobotics will be gone in the near future, I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions on where to source these. This is a question for the future, but I was also wondering if I could get them to be compatible with the new locking design once they come out? Any suggestions are welcome!

Hi @roboFisherman,

Nice robots! :smiley:

Do you know what lengths you’d be interested in, or is the “custom” part essential? As I understand it the incoming locking tubes will be in a range of lengths that will hopefully support the majority of use-cases, and if there’s significant demand for a length we don’t stock initially then I expect we should be able to add it.

That said, if you expect you’ll require custom lengths there are various plastics manufacturers that can provide you with customisation options. If they’re not able to provide the same thicknesses then you may wish to use Under Pressure to ensure design viability for the depth you’re operating to.

As with our existing 2" Locking Tubes we’ll be providing 3D (CAD) models and 2D drawings, so if you’re able to access sufficiently precise machining tools (either directly or via a machine shop/similar) then it should be possible to make custom enclosure tubes fit our locking end-caps and flanges by replicating our tube ends :slight_smile:

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Thanks for the compliment and quick reply @EliotBR.

Do you know what lengths you’d be interested in, or is the “custom” part essential? As I understand it the incoming locking tubes will be in a range of lengths that will hopefully support the majority of use-cases, and if there’s significant demand for a length we don’t stock initially then I expect we should be able to add it.

The custom parts aren’t essential if a long enough length is available. I would need 4 inch tubes around 490 mm and 3 inch tubes no shorter than 317 mm.

That said, if you expect you’ll require custom lengths there are various plastics manufacturers that can provide you with customisation options. If they’re not able to provide the same thicknesses then you may wish to use Under Pressure to ensure design viability for the depth you’re operating to.

Great! Any ones that come highly recommended or will they all have similar quality? Also the Under Pressure software will be really useful!

As with our existing 2" Locking Tubes we’ll be providing 3D (CAD) models and 2D drawings, so if you’re able to access sufficiently precise machining tools (either directly or via a machine shop/similar) then it should be possible to make custom enclosure tubes fit our locking end-caps and flanges by replicating our tube ends :slight_smile:

I figured as much, but was hoping we could avoid the extra step. Even thought about possibly doing metal enclosures, but the acrylic is much better for prototyping. And it has been really convenient to get everything from you guys, so I’ve been slightly spoiled :sweat_smile:.

The 3" ones should be fine, but 4" may be a problem (I don’t believe the current planned lineup gets that long). I’ve asked internally about the reasoning behind the planned lengths, but I assume that will be based on purchase statistics from the existing customisable tubes.

Out of interest, do you have something that’s 490mm long that needs to fit in a single tube, or is that length determined by the volume of electronics that need to fit in it, or perhaps some external shape requirement? :slight_smile:

That’s outside my expertise I’m afraid - I haven’t had to order custom tubes before, and the best available option likely depends somewhat on quantities and location.

EDIT: I’ve just seen that our 6" enclosures specify that custom lengths can be bought from eplastics.com, so I suppose that’s our recommended alternative custom length source, at least for the acrylic enclosures :slight_smile:

Haha, fair enough :slight_smile:

As with the 2" Locking Tubes, the current plan is for the lengths we offer for 3" and 4" to be available in both acrylic and aluminium, so it would at least be an easy switch if you decide to change to metal at some point (for the extra cooling and depth rating), but understandably that may not be super helpful if you need custom lengths.

We have a linear actuator (and control electronics for it) that actually extends pass that length when fully extended. The actuator is used to draw in water to control the buoyancy of the robot. So the volume isn’t needed as much as the length, but the volume does help so that we don’t compress the air so much that the endcaps pop off when we pull in water. We could make it slightly shorter by maybe 2 to 3 inches, but I would rather not at the moment.

Fair enough.

I suppose the entire thing could be redesigned to be smaller if absolutely necessary, but on the flip-side it’s likely easier to just get some custom tubes manufactured. I’ll get back to you when I’ve got a response from the design engineers on the reasoning behind our current planned lengths :slight_smile:

Thanks! What are the planned lengths by the way?

Following up on this,

so it’s indeed just based on sales statistics :slight_smile:

  • 150, 240, 300, 400mm for the 3" enclosures, and
  • 200, 300, 400mm for the 4" enclosures

I would’ve shared them earlier, but needed to confirm given they haven’t been officially released yet :slight_smile:

2 posts were split to a new topic: Upcoming 3"/4" Locking Enclosures Info Request