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Wall Plate Cutout Dimensions

Postby kornphlake » Mon Sep 15, 2008 12:45 pm

I'm finally getting to putting together my 55g stand after nearly a year of not being able to for various reasons. This weekend I wired up some electrical boxes so I can switch the outlets on and off for lights, filters, heaters etc. I put a GFCI in then branched off that so that the entire circuit will be protected. What I ended up with was 2 gang boxes, the three gang box has a GFCI a toggle switch and a standard duplex outlet, the other box is a four gang box that has a toggle switch, a duplex outlet, a toggle switch and a duplex outlet. I need some wall plates to cover the boxes but the configuration is not common. I have tools in my garage to cut out the necessary holes from a blank wall plate, I can measure the box and come up with dimensions for the cutouts but it would save me a few minutes if anybody knows where I can find the standard cutout dimensions for decora, toggle switches and duplex outlets as well as the standard spacing between the slots in a gang box.

If I can't get a response by this evening I'll go ahead and take my own measurements and post the results. I thought it would be easy to find the dimensions on line, but google didn't help me out very much.
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Postby Mcdaphnia » Mon Sep 15, 2008 5:05 pm

To get the right measurements, I would get some single switch plates with what you need to copy on them. I'd line the singles up one at a time, make my marks, and Dremel them out. I would probably pick up a couple extra blank plates in case my first tries don't line up perfectly. Any single plates you don't damage might well be returnable. Don't forget to match up some screw holes too since the ones in the blank plate will be blocked by screws holding switches in the box. You can cut off a couple screw heads and glue them in to the unusable holes, or get one of the screwless snap-on blank plates. I don't think the final result will look as finished as standard plates, even if you are a Dremel ace. I would be inclined to back everything in the project up to the point I could use my approach. My approach is to get the switch plates that have the items I need and then install the boxes and switches to match what I could get. Not really planning ahead any better, just sometimes avoiding getting into a fix.
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Postby kornphlake » Mon Sep 15, 2008 6:59 pm

I could get a bunch of single plates and trim the edges on a table saw to make them sit flush with each other when installed in the box. I've seen that done before but it never looks very finished. I've got access to a laser cutter I may design the plates and laser cut them out of thin gage stainless steel, not because that would be any better but because I can. The idea I had was to cut out the holes on my scroll saw, I can be pretty precise that way I could even use some scraps of 1/4" plywood instead of purchasing blank wall plates.
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Postby Subic76 » Mon Sep 15, 2008 8:43 pm

Plates can be bought that can be ganged together for any devices.
They are plastic, mostly, and sometimes hard to find.
Most electrical wholesales will have or can get.
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Postby kornphlake » Mon Sep 15, 2008 10:32 pm

I found some plates that were really intended for home theater applications, none were useful to me. One place had a utility to configure custom plates, the minimum cost was like $30 per plate though, I can do the same thing much cheaper. It now occurs to me that if I used all decora switches and outlets I could use a 3 or 4 gang decora plate and it wouldn't matter if I had a switch, outlet or GFCI in any of the slots. The cost of decora switches and outlets is significantly higher than the cost of the economy devices though, to me it's a wash, for someone who doesn't have the ability to cut their own plates, decora devices would be the easiest and cleanest solution.

For those interested:

Decora cutout:

Rectangle 1.312"W x 2.390"H .078" radius in corners

Screw holes spaced 3.812" apart about the horizontal and vertical centerlines of the cutout

Toggle switch:

Rectangle .406"W x .397"H

Screw holes spaced 2.390" about the horizontal and vertical centerlines of the cutout

Duplex Outlet:

Cutout is a Dia 1.344" with horizontal flats spaced 1.125" apart
Centers of the cutouts are spaced leaving .390" between the two cutouts
Screw hole is located in the vertical and horizontal center of the cutout

All screw holes are dia .187"

Spacing between cutouts on wall plate is 1.843" from the center to center of each cutout.
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Postby CITADELGRAD87 » Mon Feb 13, 2012 2:29 pm

You can also get combo decora and conventional plates, I used this to cover a switched outlet and a GFI outlet, because the GFI I has was decora style.

Lasrge home centers have partial plates that can be slotted together as well.
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Re: Wall Plate Cutout Dimensions

Postby esmphoto » Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:15 am

(Sorry Sorry Sorry for bringing a post back from the dead)

I Made an account here just to thank you for those measurements, Google was giving me no help until I stumbled across you here.
Thanks a ton for saving me a trip to the shop for calipers

For anyone who needs them and didn't want to make the conversions here are his numbers in metric.

Corners-1.981mm radius
Screws on 96.825mm centers

Screws on 60.706mm centers

Two 34.138mm holes, with two indents spaced 28.575mm on center, both on a 9.906mm center
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