Monday, 1 October 2007

Front Panel Engraving

After quite a time of experimentation, my cnc-engraved front panels are starting to work out really well.

The last few days I've been trying to clear some of the backlog of pcb projects picked up including:::
Fonik's SSM2044 LowPassFilter

Two Thomas Henry UD1 DrumSynths with PCBs from sMs Electronics

Thomas Henry Super Controller with PCB from Fonik
- this circuit comes from TH's Build a Better Music Synthesizer book (good book!)

PT2399 delay project - previous versions have had some niggling problems to iron out.

The technique is now relatively smooth though it still takes a while for the machining:
Front panels designed in FrontDesigner
Exported as .hpgl engraving files
Loaded into EasyCam to generate the machine files for Mach3 - set the engraving depth etc
Mach3 drives the CNC engraving. These are the first uses of custom blank panels I got made up locally (at about 1/4 of the cost of blanks from Paia!) - simple Frac sized black-anodized panels. The engraving cuts through the black surface to expose raw aluminium. The only tricky bit is to make sure you engrave deep enough, but not too deep (literally a difference of fractions of a mm)
Once engraved, the holes are drilled
..& the project is put together.

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