The cover provides a unique customization opportunity as well, it allows a wide variety of different materials to be applied to its upper surface. These can be anything from carbon fiber to wood veneers.
We have previously shown how the cover can have it's upper surface customized. Another aspect of the design of the system is that thin overlays can also be applied over the top of the cover and the upper edge of the box flange. In this section we will perform a simple walk through of the process of making a veneer overlay.
Step by step guide
Start with the standard ABS plastic cover, that comes with every box. These covers can be ordered loose so they can be modified. We also recommend using GREY covers as this allows them to blend in better with the box.
The upper surface of the cover is sanded lightly to remove the shiny surface. After sanding clean off any burrs on the edges, in particular along the outside edge.
Place a piece of veneer face down on some tempered glass. Make sure the veneer is large enough to allow the outside to fully cover the perimeter of the box's flange. Apply glue (we use SuperGlue) to the upper surface of the cover and place it top down onto the back of the veneer. Place a piece of wood on top of the cover and apply a couple of clamps, clamping the whole assembly to the glass. Wipe off any excess glue, paying particular attention to the outside perimeter as we don't want any glue on this part of the veneer.
Once the glue has dried remove the clamps and trim off the excess veneer on the inside with a box cutter. Use a Dremel tool with a 3/8” sanding drum to sand the veneer flush to the inner shape of the cover. Us a piece of 220 grit sandpaper to clean up any burring on the inner edges of the veneer. Leave any excess veneer on the outside as this will be trimmed off after the next step.
NOTE: the cover has an 8º slope to the outer and inner edges, be sure to sand at this angle to get the best possible fit in the box.
Once the cover is finished it should be glued into the box with SuperGlue, this eliminates any problems that might arise if the cover is not laying flat in the collar. It only takes a small amount to glue a cover into the box, four little drops of glue in the ends and sides of the collar. Plus run a bead of glue around the entire outside perimeter of the cover. This will ensure the veneer is glued to the collar's flange.
Apply small spring clamps around the perimeter of the flange to clamp the cover and veneer to the box. Leave clamped for a couple of hours.
Once the glue has cured, remove the clamps and cut off any excess veneer on the outside with a pair of scissors. Next use a sanding block to sand the veneer flush with the outside surface of the flange. NOTE: there is a slight angle to this outside of the flange, try to match this angle when sanding. Try not to sand off too much of the plastic. The goal is to simply flush the veneer to the outside surface of the box.
WARNING: when installing a box that has been overlaid, it is critical that the depth of the router bit be adjusted to accommodate the extra thickness of the overlaid material. As before the goal is to have the finished upper surface of the box be slightly below the upper surface of the blank.
This drawing shows the placement of the glue dots on the inner surface of the flange. The best glue to use to glue the cover to the box is some form of cyanoacrylate glue (commonly referred to as SuperGlue®). We use DAP RAPIDFUSE® for all of our cover gluing as it sticks well to polycarbonates.
Example of a custom overlay using abalone.}}