16 September, 2012

Altoids Projects

Press image for magnification
I like to build small electronics projects and like many others I have found the small Altoids tins to be excellent enclosures. 

These tins are inexpensive, well shielded, easy to work with, and least but not least they enable you to make experimental circuits that are sturdy enough that they can be reused later.

Pictured here is a collection of projects I have built over the years with the hope that  they may inspire others.

To the left:
In the middle:
To the right:
Press image for magnification
In the next picture there are some more projects:
  • SM6LKM’s 4053 HCMOS converter from 137 kHz to 20 meter band.
  • A 50 MHz test oscillator for testing 6 m receivers
  • A switch mode power supply that converts 15 Volts into 4.5 and 30 Volts for a WWII miniature Sweetheart shortwave receiver. Design inspired by SM0VPO/G4VVJ's practical voltage converter.
Here are some resources with tips:
Added 17. September: Several of the comments on the page at Dangerous Prototypes are concerned with the difficulty of finding Altoids tins in many places of the world. That goes for Norway also. I have been lucky enough to have a job that allows me to travel to the US from time to time and then I have bought some. Ideas for local alternatives are needed!


  1. As the Altoids tins are not so widely available either
    here in Finland, I have used Fisherman's Friend boxes
    instead. They are exactly the same size and their availability
    might be better.

    Here's my RockMite in a Fisherman's Friend box

    Few months ago my local supermarket had several flavours of Altoids available in their U.S. groceries department, but it was seemingly just one batch.

    73 de Ari OH3KAV / OH7KA

  2. Hi Ari. Thanks a lot for the input, I'll certainly look for Fisherman's Friend here as well. Here is a clickable link to your nice RockMite

  3. Hi Sverre,
    I actually came across your blog when searching suitable Altoids box layouts for a Pixie-2. Yous seem to have found quite a compact solution.

    Penguin Mints have also same size tin. Seems to be available from some other webstores slightly cheaper.

    73 de Ari OH3KAV / OH7KA

  4. My Pixie-2 was originally in an Altoids tin but I found that it was too cramped so I repackaged it into a larger tin after a while as you can see in my Pixie-2 write-up. I plan to show more projects on the blog that I have in these clear top tins in a while.

  5. Unless you really want those curiously strong mints, adafruit make the tins and sell them for $2.50 each.

  6. That's nice. They are even bare metal without the Altoids decoration. Here's a clickable link to Adafruit

  7. @la3za My Altoids projects featured here: RT @adafruit Altoids tin projects http://t.co/y6XHkWIG

  8. Anyone have any ideas as to how to cut proper holes in Altoids and similar tins? I have a DSTAR GMSK modem with DB9 and USB receptacles that must be readily accessable. It occurs to me that conventional methods of cutting or drilling, although effective, would make for some ugly aesthetically-displeasing holes. How does one make neat/professional style holes of various sizes in these tins without specialized/expensive tools?

    Best regards,

    Gary, K7EK

  9. I have used a hand drill with larger and larger bits. However, the holes don't always become round in this way. I always use a wooden block inside the Altoids in order not to dent the tin too much.

    However, I have heard of others who have used a Dremel, punches, and nibbling tools ...

  10. An Ebay search today Aug 24, 2014 turned up 422 results for ''Altoids Tin"
    Here is the link http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=Altoids+tins&_armrs=1&_from=&_ipg=

    love the site.
    Adrian KF7DYU