Saturday, 30 September 2017

Panel technique

Concerning the module panels, I use Ray Wilson's techniques.

Working on the random module panel.
I decided to order two Doepfer 42HP (about 21 cm) blank panels.  They are not very expensive and they are the right height and the right thickness (2 mm).
One panel is dedicated to the DIY synth.  I should be able fit it on that size.
I cut the second blank panel with a good metal saw to have 3 panels of the desired sizes for my first modules.

It's doable but it's a pain.  And it's not easy to get them straight.
I'll try to stick to 4 or 8HP blank panels next time.   Using the large panel and my saw for larger sizes.

I use Inkscape to draw the panels.  It's open source.  A bit rough around the edge but overall quite powerful.  I print at least one intermediate version to test and two final versions : one with the indication for the holes and one with the final markings.

Locating holes

Holes are located thanks to a specific version of the panel drawing (in fact one of the drawing's layer), a punch and a hammer.
I then pierce them : 6-mm hole for jacks and LEDs, 8-mm hole for a potentiometer.  I use a 2-mm larger drill lightly to smooth the edges but you can use a step drill and insist a little.

Temporary annotated panel

I then try with the temporary paper version and I annotate all modifications.   This is my way to detect and correct the small imperfections.

Finally, when I'm happy with the final design, I laminate the paper template and I glue it on the aluminum panel.

I let some space outside the panel to be able to slide it to place.  Moreover I don't trust my ability with scissors.

Once dried up, I cut the excess with a sharp blade, using the edges of the panel as a ruler, and I start punching the holes with an precision knife.

Cutting holes
Removing excess of the laminated paper panel

Finally, it's time to put everything back into place.  Nuts and knobs gently hide the imperfections of the holes.


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