Front panels

Nice front panels is a must in the modular system, however it can be rather expensive. This is how I do it. I use transparent self-adhesive paper for laser printer, and the front panel layouts are made in Adobe Illustrator. First I do the layout with fake buttons, knobs, and jacks. Then I replace all of the components that are supposed to be mounted on the front panel with small drill markings (sometimes I also need to remove some graphics to make the drill markin clear and easy to see), then I do another version with all of the text and all graphics. So, for each front panel there are two layouts that I print out on the transparent paper.

  1. Some tools that might be useful.

  2. Usually I cheat a bit and use prefabricated blank panels.

  3. Mount the panel (here you can see the attached drill markings) on some wooden board. This will make it easier to hold the panel while drilling as well as allowing the drill to go clean through the front panel.

  4. I always start with the smallest drill, 3mm (for the smaller LEDs), and I drill all holes with this. Aim carefully, and just dip the drill to the front panel, leaving a small mark on the paper. Check the mark, readjust if needed, and then drill.

  5. Continue drilling moving up one size of the drill at a time. This will be the jacks, 6 mm.

  6. And finish up the drilling. 7mm, potentiometers.

  7. Use a tool to remove the burrs, either something like this (I don't even know what it's called in Swedish) or a countersink.

  8. Do it on both sides, there's no need to remove the paper yet. Keep it on as long as possible to avoid scratches on the panel.

  9. When everything is drilled and the surface nice and smooth remove the paper with the drill markings on, and clean the surface thoroughly with White Benzine.

  10. Apply the transparent paper with the panel layout, text and graphics.

  11. Use a small knife to clean out the holes.

  12. Mount the electronics.

That's it! Have fun and make beautiful modules!

/Niklas

Updated - 2014-01-28 06:09
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