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Aluminum Panel Assembly (Breadboard Sold Separately)
Plexiglass Panel Assembly with Sliding Doors
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Custom enclosures can be built using our 25 mm rails and accessories above. The enclosure shown was constructed entirely from stock items.
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Flip the Assembled Enclosure Upside Down to Install the Appropriate Breadboard
Thorlabs' optical enclosures provide a protected space for instruments that are sensitive to light and acoustic vibrations. Our enclosures are made from our 25 mm rails and feature panels made of black hardboard, anodized aluminum, or plexiglass, which are held in place by the rail channels. Each is designed with an internal height of 12" (300 mm), and is available in lengths and widths ranging from 9" to 21" (225 mm to 525 mm). They ship partially assembled and can be fully assembled in less than 10 minutes using a 1/8" (4 mm) balldriver or hex key (not included). Like any assembly based on 25 mm rails, our enclosures are completely customizable using the parts shown in the Construction Rail Accessories table to the right. For more information on how to build your own enclosure, please see the Custom Enclosures tab.
Sliding Door Option
Thorlabs' accessories for assemblies made of 25 mm rails include corner cubes and brackets, T-Nuts, low-profile channel screws, breadboard mounting accessories, and rail joiners. In addition, we offer enclosure accessories, and "do-it-yourself" tools like taps, tap guides, and drill guides for home-built XE25-based constructions.
For Details on Our Custom Enclosure Capabilities, Please Contact Technical Support.
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Home-Built 90° Corner
XE25 Construction Techniques
Thorlabs' XE25 rails and components are the building blocks for many types of modular systems, including custom enclosures. For the most demanding applications, Thorlabs recommends the "direct connection" technique for forming right angles with rails, detailed here.
Step 1: Drill Side Holes
A Ø4.6 mm hole in the end of one rail, as shown in the picture to the right, is needed to provide access for a 1/8" (4 mm) balldriver.
The XE25DG drill guide is secured to the rail using the locking screw on top. A guide hole for the drill bit will be located 12.5 mm from the end of the rail. Now a hole can be drilled into the rail as shown in the figure to the left.
If your application requires a "three-way corner," such as that shown at the top of the page, you will have to drill a second hole in the rail at a 90° angle relative to the first hole.
Step 2: Tap the Center Hole, If Necessary
All stock and custom-length anodized XE25 rails have a 1/4"-20 (M6) tapped hole in the end of the rail. If you have cut a standard XE25 rail, or are using the XE25RL2 Raw Extrusion, you will need to tap a hole into the end of the rail.
Fix the tap inside the tap wrench. Place the tap guide block over the end of the rail. The hole in the top of the guide will keep the tap square with the hole and minimize the chance of misthreading. Turn the tap to thread the hole.
Step 3: Attach Low-Profile Channel Screw
Insert the screw into the threaded hole in the end of the rail, and tighten down partway with the balldriver. If you are making a three-way connection, you will need to thread another channel screw into the end of a second rail.
Step 4: Join the Rails
Slide the head of the channel screw into the channel of the rail with the drilled holes, so that the hex head lines up with the hole. Insert the balldriver into the hole, and tighten the channel screw. If making a three-way connection, repeat this process with the third rail, as shown in the figure to the right.
For increased stability, the corners may be reinforced with the XE25A90 Right-Angle Bracket.
This video provides step-by-step instructions on how to assemble a two-door, 1200 mm x 600 mm x
525 mm (L x W x H) enclosure with black hardboard panels. The parts needed for this custom enclosure are provided in the tables below.
Design a Custom Enclosure Using Thorlabs Components
Any side or dimension of the enclosure can be modified to suit the requirements of your application. The black hardboard enclosure panels can be cut to the appropriate size or drilled to accommodate integrating optomechanical components, like lens tubes. Alternatively, black-anodized aluminum panels are available with pre-drilled slots, for fiber and electrical panels, and an SM1-threaded (1.035"-40) through hole.
Should you choose not to build your own DIY enclosure, we welcome the opportunity to work with you to provide a custom enclosure that meets your specific requirements. Customizable options include enclosure dimensions, like panel sizes and optical rails; panel material, like black hardboard or black-anodized aluminum; and number and configuration of doors. We will ensure the proper fit and function of the customized components. Once the custom enclosure meets specification, we will ship the components for customer assembly. Please note that aluminum breadboards are not included with our custom enclosures and that enclosures will need to be assembled by the customer.
If you would like consultation regarding whether to place a custom order or which components you need to purchase in order to assemble your own DIY optical enclosure, please contact Tech Support.
Custom Enclosure Example
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Custom enclosures can be built using our 25 mm rails and accessories. This two-door enclosure was constructed entirely from stock items. The video above provides step-by-step instructions on how to assemble this enclosure.
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Two TB4 hardboards (cut to the required height) can be taped together using T743-2.0 Black Masking Tape to form the back panel of the enclosure.
This enclosure was assembled on a 600 mm x 1200 mm aluminum breadboard (24" x 48" for imperial components), though other breadboard sizes are possible. The left and right doors are 500 mm and 600 mm (20" and 24") wide, respectively. Each door can be opened separately, allowing access to the breadboard inside the enclosure. We recommend building the doors and frame of the enclosure separately and then assembling them to complete the enclosure. The rails used in the doors and frame are connected via construction cubes with slotted corners, which help to prevent light leakage at the corners of the enclosure, and are secured using low-profile channel screws. Alternatively, for a faster solution, our quick corner cubes can be used. Our TB4 hardboard, which constitute the panels of the enclosure, can be cut to size using a utility knife; these pieces fit directly into the slots of the 25 mm rails and the counterbores of the cubes. The back panel is formed using two pieces of hardboard cut to the desired length and height and taped together using T743-2.0 Black Masking Tape (see the image to the right). Note that, for the imperial enclosure, black masking tape will also be needed to connect the 24" x 24" panels together along the sides and back of the enclosure.
A 25 mm rail is installed along the top of the enclosure to mount the doors and door hinges. This rail is attached by drilling through the top two frame rails; see the video above for details. For details on drilling and tapping a hole into the top frame rails for precise placement of the support rail, see the Construction Methods tab above.
The height of the enclosure can easily be customized to fit any application. For best results when adding doors to your enclosure, the total door height with connection cubes should match the enclosure height minus the bottom rails; otherwise, the door will overlap with the bottom rail. We recommend using 500 mm (20") and 525 mm (21") long rails for the door and enclosure, respectively.
For applications requiring a light-tight enclosure, our BFP1 black flocked self-adhesive paper can be used to seal gaps in the hinges of the enclosure.
Our black hardboard enclosures are constructed from our TB4 enclosure panels to block stray light. All our stock enclosures are designed at an internal height of 12" (300 mm). The L x W x H dimensions given in the product descriptions below are specified for the enclosure interior. The roof is shipped preassembled; a 1/8" (4 mm) balldriver or hex key (not included) is required to complete the construction.
The corners of our stock enclosures are positioned such that the 1/4"-20 (M6) tapped holes in the rail ends align with the counterbores in our Aluminum Breadboards (sold separately). Please consult the Suggested Breadboards table to the right to ensure the proper match.
Our transparent plexiglass enclosure is suited to applications that are not light sensitive. The enclosure is designed at an internal height of 12" (300 mm). The L x W x H dimensions given in the product descriptions below are specified for the enclosure interior. The roof is shipped preassembled; a 1/8" (4 mm) balldriver or hex key (not included) is required to complete the construction.
The corners of our stock enclosure is positioned such that the 1/4"-20 (M6) tapped holes in the rail ends align with the counterbores in our Aluminum Breadboards (sold separately). Please consult the Suggested Breadboards table to the right to ensure the proper match.
The side panels on this enclosure can be replaced with our aluminum enclosure panels.
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Side view of XE25C11 and AEPU1 enclosure utility panel.
Our black-anodized aluminum enclosure is a sturdier alternative to the enclosures sold above and is preferred for applications involving higher powered lasers over plexiglass or hardboard enclosures. However, these enclosures should not be used as permanent beam dumps. If your setup requires a beam dump, see our selection of beam traps and beam blocks.
The enclosure is designed at an internal height of 12" (300 mm). The L x W x H dimensions given in the product descriptions below are specified for the enclosure interior. The roof is shipped preassembled; a 1/8" (4 mm) balldriver or hex key (not included) is required to complete the construction. Rubber anti-vibration dampeners surround each enclosure panel to increase durability and stability, eliminating rattling when the enclosure is moved.
The enclosure includes one AEPU1(AEPU1/M) enclosure utility panel that features four RBX-BLK1F blank connection panels and one SM1-threaded (1.035"-40) through hole covered by a removable SM1CP2M end cap. The blank connection panels can be removed for easy installation of our fiber or electrical connection panels (see the image to the right). The SM1-threaded hole allows for a range of SM1-compatible components, like our lens tubes, to be installed.
The corners of the enclosure are positioned such that the 1/4"-20 (M6) tapped holes in the rail ends align with the counterbores in our Aluminum Breadboards (sold separately). Please consult the Suggested Breadboards table above and to the right to ensure the proper match.
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The doors on the XE25C9D(/M) enclosure have engraved dots to indicate the widened channels.
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Enclosures with doors feature
sliding tracks that attach
directly to the breadboard. The XE25C10D enclosure is shown.
Our enclosures with door assemblies feature black hardboard or plexiglass panels and a sliding door assembly on one side. This assembly consists of two overlapping doors with plastic handles that slide along the channel of the rail above and the track bolted to the breadboard underneath. Please note the doors in the XE25C9D(/M) enclosure include a widened channel, indicated by engraved dots, to allow for each panel to slide over the other; see the image to the far right.
These enclosures come complete will all the enclosure components necessary for construction (please note that the breadboard is not included). The roof is shipped preassembled, but note that a 1/8" (4 mm) balldriver or hex key (not included) is required to complete construction of the enclosure, and a 9/64" balldriver or hex key (not included) will be needed to attach the handles to the doors.
The corners of our stock enclosures are positioned such that the 1/4"-20 (M6) tapped holes in the rail ends align with the counterbores in our aluminum breadboards (sold separately). Please consult the Suggested Breadboards table to the right to ensure the proper match.