Box/tray design terminology

Hello all,
I have two projects that are loosely related. One requires a tray that is almost certainly a "build" and the other needs a box of specific
dimensions, and is a "build or buy" depending on what sizes are available commercially.
Let's start with the tray. We have steel slotted angle on hand, and I propose to use it to create an L-shaped structure that has some adapters to support a printer, connecting to existing tapped holes to one side and "reaching down" to another shelf on the other end. That shelf is plastic-laminated particle board, so a couple of wood screws will make a good connection.
Are there metal analogs to wood joinery techniques? I am learning how to assemble pieces of wood with little more than clever cutting and glue (see keywords such as mortise, tenon, rabbet, dado). Given the right keywords, I am happy to read how do similar "correct" work with metal.
As an example, what would be the best way to joing the slotted angle pieces at a corners of the tray? They can simply sit one on top of other. I could miter them at 45 degrees and add something, or create something like a wood lap joint (mill each to half thickness and then bolt them in a couple of spots??). The simple overlap would work well for the tray because the uneven surface that results will not be a problem: the printer will be held by "feet" on rails or something. Better ideas are most welcome.
Now for the box. If I can buy one of the correct size, then great. Otherwise, I start thinking of aluminum, with mitered (at the corners) extruded pieces along the edges and at strategic places along the length of the edges (for holding the junk inside the box), with sheet metal walls that carry the shear ("stiffen" the box).
Comments or better ideas? I want it simple, strong, easy to build, cheap of course<g>, and it potentially needs to be a certain size. The size will hopefully be worked out shortly. I am starting to make full scale models of the important pieces (single board computer, power supply, safety equipment, etc.) and will look at various ways to package them. The stuff needs to fit in the box, and the box needs to fit in a space with fixed dimensions; hopefully it will end up being quite forgiving. If all goes well, I will end up merely adding an externally accessible bay to a commercially made box.
Bill
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Tue, 18 Oct 2005 13:54:15 -0500, Bill Schwab

New keyword: " weld". There is no analog in woodworking. "Glue" works by adhesion, a weld works by fusing the metal into one piece in the weld region.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Don

Fair enough, but welding metal seems analogous (in situations such as mine) to using nails to join wood: it works, but there must be a better way.
I mention woodworking because there is a lot written on designing good joints. In some sense, these books (whether the authors realize it or not) show how to build joints that are balanced in the sense that they have parts that fail at around the same load.
I am looking for insights into what makes a good metal joint. If by some miracle I have an idea of the loads it will carry, then I will have an excuse to go back to strength of materials and/or elasticity books. For now, I am building things that are much stronger than they need to be (put another way rigidity is more important than ultimate strength).
If there are books that will do as much for my metal designs as reading about joinery has done for my wood construction, I stand ready for a reading list. I prefer not to weld if I can avoid it.
For the project of immediate interest, there is a good chance that a commercially made box will suffice for the tricky part. We are leaning toward assembling it from two or three small boxes vs. trying to jam everything into one box that would be a tight fit in the space allowed. I am making models of the various components and will start trial fittings as soon as they are ready. I just hope the final product looks as good as the picture in my head :)
Thanks!
Bill
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Bill Schwab wrote:

...
...
Ordinary wood screws don't work well in particle board; instead use "Euro screws" like at http://cabinetmart.com/69-63xxx.html to spread out the holding force and to avoid the wedging action of a wood screw.
I don't understand your description of the tray or its environment. Also, roughly how many mm or yards long will the tray be, and how many grams or tons does it need to support?
-jiw
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
James,

Thanks!
I suppose if I could describe it well, I wouldn't need to ask the question :) The tray is about 12x15 inches; the load is a small laser printer. Steel slotted angle should do it. The question is how to join it at the edges. Normally one simply overlaps and uses 5/16th (???) bolts. I can do that because there will need to be some type of shaped rails to "hook into" the printer, so I can hold the printer above the bolt heads. I'm simply wondering if there is a better way.
Some time ago, I bought a copy of (don't laugh<g>) The Robot Builder's Bonanza, mostly for the electronics (originally for tilt sensors and the parallel port interface was helpful too). I just hit me that it might be of some value for metal construction, and sure enough the chapter on a six legged walking robot includes a box frame: mitered extruded angle with angle irons, overlapped (single shear), then bolted. He goes on to square up with bolts and then one by one replace them with rivets (probably overkill for me).
I guess I am looking for a survey of joint designs.
Bill
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Polytechforum.com is a website by engineers for engineers. It is not affiliated with any of manufacturers or vendors discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.