PCBs as Front Panels ?

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gbiz
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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by gbiz » Mon Dec 28, 2020 7:46 am

I probably should have added that I've never used Dirty PCBs for front panels. That comment was more about them being a general PCB fab that offers a cheap regular postage option. Given how much they charge, if i got front panels from there, i'd expect them to be scratched.

Those unused scratched panels, if they've got a copper pour, some scrap metal places will take them.

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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by Flounderguts » Mon Dec 28, 2020 11:16 am

This one came from JLCPCB.

They scratched 8 of them, found that in QA, notified me of delay, replaced the whole set, and sent me the non-scratched ones from the first batch for free.
20201113_152133.jpg
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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by joeSeggiola » Mon Dec 28, 2020 12:49 pm

Flounderguts wrote:
Mon Dec 28, 2020 11:16 am
This one came from JLCPCB. They scratched 8 of them, found that in QA, notified me of delay, replaced the whole set, and sent me the non-scratched ones from the first batch for free.
Wow, that's huge! Anyway, nice to hear that. Did you left some notes to make them care about scratches, etc? Or they just figured out themselves looking at the layout? Also, did you select the option to put a sheet of paper between each panel? ...And, off-topic, what I have to search for to get a set of those plastic nut drivers I see on the table? I'm searching for them from a while, but I'm probably using the wrong words, I dunno...

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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by soup » Mon Dec 28, 2020 1:33 pm

joeSeggiola wrote:
Mon Dec 28, 2020 12:49 pm
...And, off-topic, what I have to search for to get a set of those plastic nut drivers I see on the table? I'm searching for them from a while, but I'm probably using the wrong words, I dunno...
https://peperspedals.bigcartel.com/prod ... et-sockets

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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by Flounderguts » Mon Dec 28, 2020 2:23 pm

joeSeggiola wrote:
Mon Dec 28, 2020 12:49 pm
Flounderguts wrote:
Mon Dec 28, 2020 11:16 am
This one came from JLCPCB. They scratched 8 of them, found that in QA, notified me of delay, replaced the whole set, and sent me the non-scratched ones from the first batch for free.
Wow, that's huge! Anyway, nice to hear that. Did you left some notes to make them care about scratches, etc? Or they just figured out themselves looking at the layout? Also, did you select the option to put a sheet of paper between each panel? ...And, off-topic, what I have to search for to get a set of those plastic nut drivers I see on the table? I'm searching for them from a while, but I'm probably using the wrong words, I dunno...
I always leave notes for the manufacturer. Also, my company orders from them regularly, and we have a rep contact in Shenzhen with standing instructions regarding our orders. As I said, it is REALLY worth your time to communicate effectively.
Yes, I always opt for paper on bigger items, as they can shift a bit inside the very tight shrink wrapping they use. I don't bother with smaller items, but selecting the paper is a signal to them that you care how they look!

Also, as posted above, they are Rocket Sockets, but I ordered them from www.ilovemyswitches.com
I highly recommend them, especially if you have as many knobs and switches around as I do!
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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by joeSeggiola » Mon Dec 28, 2020 3:15 pm

Flounderguts wrote:
Mon Dec 28, 2020 2:23 pm
Also, as posted above, they are Rocket Sockets
Great, I see there's also an EU dealer. Is there something similar also for these other type of "nuts"? https://cpc.farnell.com/pro-signal/psg0 ... dp/AV15089

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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by elmegil » Mon Dec 28, 2020 3:56 pm

Exploding Shed has a tool for the knurled nuts.

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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by batchas » Mon Dec 28, 2020 4:26 pm

gbiz wrote:
Mon Dec 28, 2020 7:46 am
I probably should have added that I've never used Dirty PCBs for front panels. That comment was more about them being a general PCB fab that offers a cheap regular postage option. Given how much they charge, if i got front panels from there, i'd expect them to be scratched.
Oh I see :tu:
gbiz wrote:
Mon Dec 28, 2020 7:46 am
Those unused scratched panels, if they've got a copper pour, some scrap metal places will take them.
They have copper pour indeed. I'll check if I can find a scrap metal place nearby, good idea.
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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by indigoid » Mon Dec 28, 2020 9:54 pm

interesting, I don't think I've ever had scratched panel PCBs from Seeed.

What options are you folks selecting when ordering your panels? ENIG and 1oz copper?

What are you doing in design stage? Do you have full copper pours? Do you pull back the soldermask around drill holes for pots etc? What do you do on the bottom layer?

I'm wondering if the board design might affect the likelihood of scratching, if the scratching is happening after (or during?) the plastic-wrap process.

A full copper pour and ENIG finish should mean the board is very flat, so if two boards slide against each other a bit, there should be nothing sticking down from the bottom side of one board to dig into the top side of the next board...
Zap him again! ZAP THE SONOFABITCH AGAIN!

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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by KSS » Mon Dec 28, 2020 10:09 pm

One of the final operations of PCB fab is the final routing to shape and v-grooving. Both leave abrasive particles which easily find their way between PCBs.

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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by batchas » Tue Dec 29, 2020 2:27 am

indigoid wrote:
Mon Dec 28, 2020 9:54 pm
interesting, I don't think I've ever had scratched panel PCBs from Seeed.
That's great. I never tried Seeed.
I went PCBCart cause they had these 3mm thick PCBs. The others did it on demand for a supplement.
indigoid wrote:
Mon Dec 28, 2020 9:54 pm
What options are you folks selecting when ordering your panels? ENIG and 1oz copper?
1oz copper.
indigoid wrote:
Mon Dec 28, 2020 9:54 pm
What are you doing in design stage? Do you have full copper pours? Do you pull back the soldermask around drill holes for pots etc? What do you do on the bottom layer?
Full copper pour. Soldermask pulled back.
KSS wrote:
Mon Dec 28, 2020 10:09 pm
One of the final operations of PCB fab is the final routing to shape and v-grooving. Both leave abrasive particles which easily find their way between PCBs.
I always ordered the panel PCBs with a paper in between, so the marks on the surface do not seem related to having the PCBs on top of each other. I dunno. It has to happen during the fabrication process.

Shame is that they can do it well, but there’s something they don’t care while making the panels in despite of all recommendations and communication with someone who assures you that this time it will be fine.

PCBCart. I’m showing black panels cause it’s easier to catch the marks on photo than with the blue ones.
Photo 1
Photo 2
Photo 3

PCBWay
Photo 4
Photo 5
Photo 6
Photo 7

In blue. When the panel was not scratched, then it was something else, silkscreen or whatever.
Photo 8
Photo 9
Photo 10
etc etc
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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by gbiz » Tue Dec 29, 2020 6:12 am

indigoid wrote:
Mon Dec 28, 2020 9:54 pm
interesting, I don't think I've ever had scratched panel PCBs from Seeed.

What options are you folks selecting when ordering your panels? ENIG and 1oz copper?

What are you doing in design stage? Do you have full copper pours? Do you pull back the soldermask around drill holes for pots etc? What do you do on the bottom layer?

I'm wondering if the board design might affect the likelihood of scratching, if the scratching is happening after (or during?) the plastic-wrap process.

A full copper pour and ENIG finish should mean the board is very flat, so if two boards slide against each other a bit, there should be nothing sticking down from the bottom side of one board to dig into the top side of the next board...
2oz copper, usually 1.6mm FR4, no ENIG for me. Full copper pour. Panel hardware with threaded bushings that will have a nut above the panel (pots, jacks, toggle switches etc) have plated holes with small annular ring & minimal annular clearance. Devices with no threaded bushing (pushbutton caps, tall trimmers) the hole has no polygon clearance, it's a hole in the pour.

I'm sure it's down to the fabricator's process. I have had the same design at different fabs, where one the PCBs are scratched, the other they're not. It's not one type of scratch. Some are certainly during the drilling process, they're between adjacent holes, similar scratching in the same place on multiple boards. It made me wonder if it's down to how high they retract the drill bit between holes. Assuming they're using CNC drills, the further they withdraw the drill bit the longer it takes to drill consecutive holes, so each board takes longer to complete. But there's also scratches that are obviously just from handling, they're in random places with no adjacent holes etc.

I cant see how shipping causes these. The PCBs are held tightly enough in the vacuum pack that would prevent substantial movement. No way could 2 boards move to make a 30mm long scratch. I'm not sure paper between the boards for shipping actually helps much aside from preventing the odd mark.

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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by KSS » Tue Dec 29, 2020 8:29 pm

It's not the shipping. It's the handling prior to to shipping where scratches are caused. Have you ever been in a PCB factory? Things move from place to place, stacking and unstacking. Sometimes sliding on each other in automated movements.

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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by romain » Wed Dec 30, 2020 2:42 pm

Ordered several Erica synth panels from JLCPCB. Quite amazed by the quality. Looks like proper aluminium panels

I only know now that the next time, I have to remove number order from the front :doh: Such a waste...

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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by Flounderguts » Wed Dec 30, 2020 11:23 pm

romain wrote:
Wed Dec 30, 2020 2:42 pm
Ordered several Erica synth panels from JLCPCB. Quite amazed by the quality. Looks like proper aluminium panels

I only know now that the next time, I have to remove number order from the front :doh: Such a waste...
Yeah, or just put in the notes that you want the order number on the backside, and there's no extra charge. Or even just flip the panels in the gerber, so that the back is the front.

Having said that, go at the number very carefully with a razor blade under a magnifying glass. If you are careful, you can remove the silkscreen without damaging the soldermask. The sheen underneath will be slightly glossy, but perhaps not noticeable. I made the same mistake, once!! I find a drop of water helps to float the chips of silkscreen up...
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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by Altitude909 » Thu Dec 31, 2020 6:59 am

romain wrote:
Wed Dec 30, 2020 2:42 pm
Ordered several Erica synth panels from JLCPCB. Quite amazed by the quality. Looks like proper aluminium panels

I only know now that the next time, I have to remove number order from the front :doh: Such a waste...
There are specific instructions about that in the order instructions. You just put JLCJLCJLCJLC wherever you want them or pay extra to have them not add it

*edit.
4 times
Last edited by Altitude909 on Thu Dec 31, 2020 7:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by joeSeggiola » Thu Dec 31, 2020 7:03 am

Altitude909 wrote:
Thu Dec 31, 2020 6:59 am
You just put JLCJLCJLC wherever you want them or pay extra to have them not add it
Came to say that, anyway it's four times:
https://support.jlcpcb.com/article/28-h ... m-your-pcb

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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by Flounderguts » Thu Dec 31, 2020 10:34 am

huh. I've done something like 150 orders there, and I never knew that!

I always just put a comment in...
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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by romain » Fri Jan 01, 2021 8:56 am

I spent so much time realizing my first pcb design on easyeda that I was blind for this removing order number....
Having said that, go at the number very carefully with a razor blade under a magnifying glass. If you are careful, you can remove the silkscreen without damaging the soldermask. The sheen underneath will be slightly glossy, but perhaps not noticeable. I made the same mistake, once!! I find a drop of water helps to float the chips of silkscreen up..
.
Thanks I will try that

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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by KSS » Fri Jan 01, 2021 8:07 pm

Solvents -tested on rear silk first- are often another option.

Start with water, then hot water, then alcohol and move your way up the agressiveness scale.

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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by Flounderguts » Fri Jan 01, 2021 11:38 pm

KSS wrote:
Fri Jan 01, 2021 8:07 pm
the agressiveness scale.
Oooh! A "solvent aggressiveness scale" infographic poster is just what I need for my workplace! Or even a t shirt! Nice one :tu:
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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by romain » Sat Jan 02, 2021 7:00 am

Success removing order number with razor blade. Application with black felt on the remaining glossy stain and several varnish layers. Nice result !

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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by ericneilj » Sat Jan 02, 2021 11:45 pm

Question about plated holes for jacks/pots/etc, jlc’s listed capability for PTH Hole Size is “ Min. drill size is 0.20mm. Max. drill size is 6.30mm”

I’m sure I’ve seen larger plated holes on pcb panels. Does anyone know which fab houses do plated holes large than 6.30mm?

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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by joeSeggiola » Sun Jan 03, 2021 4:12 am

I made larger holes on JLCPCB (7.2mm), but they weren't plated. They came out fine.

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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by KSS » Sun Jan 03, 2021 5:07 am

ericneilj wrote:
Sat Jan 02, 2021 11:45 pm
Max. drill size is 6.30mm”

I’m sure I’ve seen larger plated holes on pcb panels.
The key to your answer is the added underline. Max drill and max hole are *not* the same thing. For larger holes or shapes a router bit is used and they are milled. Depending on your EDA S/W you will have a milling or other layer in which to put these large milled holes and shapes. Then you add a note to the fab to tell them which of these are desired to be plated through.

Different fabs will have different rules and procedures but this should be enough to help you asking the right questions to learn what you want to know from each PCB fab.. One important question is the size-diameter of their milling cutter as this will tell you the minimum internal radius that non-circular shapes will have in their 'corners'. For best results your inside radius's should all be at least a little bit larger than the cutter radius they use. The reason for this is to prevent loading up the cut on inside 'corners'.
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