electro-music.com   Dedicated to experimental electro-acoustic
and electronic music
 
    Front Page  |  Articles  |  Radio
 |  Media  |  Forum  |  Wiki  |  Links  |  Store
Forum with support of Syndicator RSS
 FAQFAQ   CalendarCalendar   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   LinksLinks
 RegisterRegister   ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in  Chat RoomChat Room 
 Forum index » DIY Hardware and Software » Developers' Corner
Modular panels - basics
Post new topic   Reply to topic Moderators: DrJustice
Page 1 of 1 [10 Posts]
View unread posts
View new posts in the last week
Mark the topic unread :: View previous topic :: View next topic
Author Message
Antimon



Joined: Jan 18, 2005
Posts: 3683
Location: Sweden
Audio files: 266
G2 patch files: 96

PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 4:39 am    Post subject: Modular panels - basics Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

So I'm getting the modular bug (thanks Jyoti Wink ), and have been looking at some way to get a nice first system to try out. Having recently managed to get a fully working MFOS SoundLab, I thought it would be nice to get a kit and have some fun assembling stuff while shaving down the price a bit.

Curetronic caught my attention - short transportation from Germany to here (nice to the environment), VAT aligned (I think) and available as kits. I sent an email asking about their systems and a potential setup, and got a nice answer from Matthias. The crux is that the kits are actually prepopulated boards with panels and knobs missing (you can also by empty PCBs). Knobs I can get hold of, but panels...

So I've been searching around here and other places, and I gather that the most common material is aluminium, anodized (to make it black) and then etched with chemicals by use of some drawing application run on a computer. I am very hesitant getting into this stuff - I don't mind if the modules don't have the standard black appearance, or if text is not etched or a bit wobbly.

My first question: is plastic out of the question? I have an old broken TV with a plastic chassis in the basement that I could cut panels out of.

Second: I'm thinking it could be possible to use nice looking stickers/dekals instead of etching. Either individual text labels wherever applicable, or something covering the entire panel, like DSI do on their desktop Evolvers. Is this difficult to do? Can you print out decals with an Inkjet printer and stick them on a modular without risk of smearing the paint after a while? Could you protect them with something?

Third: If I should decide to go the aluminium route - I've seen loads of comments regarding finding and drilling, but how do you cut the stuff? Do you need some special saw, or do you need to find someone to do it for you?

Fourth: Am I stupid for going through all this trouble for just the panels and knobs (I won't even hardly get to do any soldering, which I had planned to be the fun part)? It's more than half the price of each module - the C100 VCO costs €210 complete, €59 without panel and knobs.

Confused

/Stefan

_________________
Antimon's Window
@soundcloud @Flattr home - you can't explain music
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
DrJustice



Joined: Sep 13, 2004
Posts: 2039
Location: Morokulien
Audio files: 3

PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 7:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

1. If you're cool with it, there's no reason to not use plastic for the panels. It could possibly be a bit floppy, flexing as you work the controls(?). If nothing else it's easy to cut and drill.

2. If you use inkjet printed decals, I'd think that a coat of clear laquer will be good protection.

3. A hacksaw and a file, or an electric saw of some kind with the correct blade works fine for cutting aluminium.

4. Have you checked out Schaeffer? Very popular in DIY circles for all kinds of alu panels.

DJ
--
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Antimon



Joined: Jan 18, 2005
Posts: 3683
Location: Sweden
Audio files: 266
G2 patch files: 96

PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Thanks for your input - that makes me a little more assured that I might be able to pull this of somehow. Smile

/Stefan

_________________
Antimon's Window
@soundcloud @Flattr home - you can't explain music
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
jksuperstar



Joined: Aug 20, 2004
Posts: 2483
Location: Denver
Audio files: 1
G2 patch files: 18

PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

What are you mounting this into (in the long run)? I am in the midst of making a 19" rack compatible system, using horizontal (2 or 3 unit height) standard steel panels, that then house several modules each. I had an advantage, in that I bought several PCBs at once, somewhat planning out the system. Now I can just think through a grouping of modules, and drill & mount. No cutting needed. I haven't quite worked out the labels yet. Either etch off the paint on the steel, or stickers. I want to develop a system of symbols, rather than words for it. Numbers, only where appropriate and accurate.

However, Aluminum is fairly soft, and if the teeth aren't too large, a regular wood saw blade would do (At least, it has worked for me in the past!). It will be louder than a cat in heat when it's being cut, so wear ear protection!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Antimon



Joined: Jan 18, 2005
Posts: 3683
Location: Sweden
Audio files: 266
G2 patch files: 96

PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I was thinking about buying one of Curetronic's finished cabinets. One big panel sounds like an interestig idea, but I think I'm going to stay on the safe route for this my first system.

Is it possible to put a coat of paint on aluminium without anodizing first?

/Stefan

_________________
Antimon's Window
@soundcloud @Flattr home - you can't explain music
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
jksuperstar



Joined: Aug 20, 2004
Posts: 2483
Location: Denver
Audio files: 1
G2 patch files: 18

PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hmmm, my guess would depend on the paint used. Good enamel would probably work better than others. And it might not hurt to rough up the surface with some very fine sand paper first. Otherwise, it would most likely chip or scratch very easily.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
RF



Joined: Mar 23, 2007
Posts: 1493
Location: Northern Minnesota, USA
Audio files: 28

PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2009 5:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Stefan
I like using 1/8 inch aluminum. Inexpensive, nice feel and zero flex - also pretty easy to work with basic tools. Also - everything is grounded to the panel.

I used to cut the panels myself, but it can be pretty dangerous if you are not careful. I used a good table saw and went slow. After about 20 panels I just started to have a local shop cut the panels to size for me. They cut them from 'drops' from other work they had, and I was paying about $1 each.

I bought an inexpensive drill press for under $100 and that really made cutting holes easy and much more accurate.

I use a handheld sander to dress the edges and rough up the face of the panel - it gives the panel a kind of rough 'matte' finish.

I use clear Dymo with black print for my labels - it's not the prettiest but its very functional and holds up real well.

Pics of the work at my sdiy web site listed below, so you can get an idea.
Good luck - and welcome to the modular diy addicttion.

bruce


Synth4.jpg
 Description:
 Filesize:  119.18 KB
 Viewed:  94 Time(s)
This image has been reduced to fit the page. Click on it to enlarge.

Synth4.jpg



_________________
www.sdiy.org/rfeng

"I want to make these sounds that go wooo-wooo-ah-woo-woo.”
(Herb Deutsch to Bob Moog ~1963)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
wmonk



Joined: Sep 15, 2008
Posts: 485
Location: Enschede, the Netherlands
Audio files: 13

PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2009 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

RF wrote:

I like using 1/8 inch aluminum. Inexpensive, nice feel and zero flex - also pretty easy to work with basic tools. Also - everything is grounded to the panel.

I've a question because I want to do my panels myself. Would 2mm (~ 1/12") thick aluminium be ok for MOTM sized panels?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Antimon



Joined: Jan 18, 2005
Posts: 3683
Location: Sweden
Audio files: 266
G2 patch files: 96

PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2009 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Thanks for you answers, guys! I'm starting to think I'll go the aluminium route anyway.

@RF: I like your panels - if I can do as good as that I'll be very pleased.

/Stefan

_________________
Antimon's Window
@soundcloud @Flattr home - you can't explain music
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
jochem



Joined: Aug 10, 2008
Posts: 56
Location: groningen

PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 1:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

wmonk wrote:
I've a question because I want to do my panels myself. Would 2mm (~ 1/12") thick aluminium be ok for MOTM sized panels?


2mm is fine. I wouldn't go any thicker because of the lenght of thread on pots etc.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic Moderators: DrJustice
Page 1 of 1 [10 Posts]
View unread posts
View new posts in the last week
Mark the topic unread :: View previous topic :: View next topic
 Forum index » DIY Hardware and Software » Developers' Corner
Jump to:  

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum
e-m mkii

Please support our site. If you click through and buy from
our affiliate partners, we earn a small commission.


Forum with support of Syndicator RSS
Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group
Copyright © 2003 through 2009 by electro-music.com - Conditions Of Use