PCBs as Front Panels ?

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joeSeggiola
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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by joeSeggiola » Sun Jan 03, 2021 5:27 am

KSS wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 5:07 am
ericneilj wrote:
Sat Jan 02, 2021 11:45 pm
Max. drill size is 6.30mm”
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.
Not OP, but that explains a lot, thanks. I was confused about max holes size too, but then I just sent the panel without thinking too much, seeing other people here having larger holes made by the same fab.

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romain
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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by romain » Sun Jan 03, 2021 6:53 am

My JLCPCB panels after manual removing of order number and few layers of varnish

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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by Tonescape » Sun Jan 03, 2021 7:23 am

That looks quite nice Romain! Which kind of varnish did you use, and how did you apply it? Thanks
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romain
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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by romain » Sun Jan 03, 2021 8:52 am

Thanks !
For those panels with a "granular" finish, I used Edding e5200 Spray (amazon) for the first layers and I finish with Altona anti reflection varnish.
I think that a spray varnish is the best choice to have a nice homogeneous render.

Edding Spray is supposed to be mat but still Altona is better for that.

If using only Altona, you get a very smooth surface which is also very nice.

I m almost out of stock of Altona and made a new order. I realized that the graphics are different. Hope they didn't change anything.

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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by Tonescape » Sun Jan 03, 2021 9:39 am

Nice. I really like the textured finish on the Erica synths examples.
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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by fitzgreyve » Tue Jan 19, 2021 5:45 am

Just received the following 3hp 1.6 mm aluminium panels from PCBway. Order to delivery (UK) was 10 days using Fed-Ex IP.

Panel layout created in FPD, SVG imported into MS Visio to add graphics, then SVG imported in Designspark PCB to create the gerbers (initially assigned to "front documentation" which was used to align holes (no plating) or reassigned to "front screenprint").

The fixing slots were imported into Designspark separately so that they could be assigned to the "board outline" layer. No issues at all from PCBway on these.

This has a full copper layer on the top surface under the black resist layer. I selected the "no manufacturing number" option, but was not charged for it.

Quality is acceptable for the price - no obvious marks on the panels (anything on the photo is dust).
P1080291.JPG
Under developement:
- Reich
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https://fitzgreyve2.blogspot.com/

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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by joeSeggiola » Tue Jan 19, 2021 6:40 am

fitzgreyve wrote:
Tue Jan 19, 2021 5:45 am
Just received the following 3hp 1.6 mm aluminium panels from PCBway.
Nice. I will probably built an "orthogonal" (how do you say that?) module next.
What are the plugs you used? They look different from the one I ordered:

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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by fitzgreyve » Tue Jan 19, 2021 7:42 am

joeSeggiola wrote:
Tue Jan 19, 2021 6:40 am
What are the plugs you used? They look different from the one I ordered:
PJ302M (from Thonk in the UK)
Under developement:
- Reich
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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by KSS » Tue Jan 19, 2021 9:36 am

joeSeggiola wrote:
Tue Jan 19, 2021 6:40 am
I will probably built an "orthogonal" (how do you say that?) module next.
Orthogonal is correct and accurate, but many or most native speakers would say "perpendicular" instead.

But usually they would add.. perpendicular to what?

I will probably build a module with a perpendicular PCB next.
I will probably build a module with an orthogonal PCB next.

The top one of the two would be most common.

EDIT: I will probably build a perpendicular PCB module next. <-- This would be another choice.
Leaving out "with a" creates an amibiguity between whether the perpendicularity refers to construction or function. But many would still understand the meaning given any context at all.
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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by indigoid » Sat Feb 13, 2021 2:17 am

fitzgreyve wrote:
Tue Jan 19, 2021 7:42 am
joeSeggiola wrote:
Tue Jan 19, 2021 6:40 am
What are the plugs you used? They look different from the one I ordered:
PJ302M (from Thonk in the UK)
beware that there are two very similar variants of this jack floating around

there's another type from Lumberg called 1503_12 which has the same footprint but has a shorter length of thread

fine with typical PCB/aluminium panels... but back then I was using lasercut 3mm acrylic and the thread was too short :-(

https://au.element14.com/lumberg/1503-1 ... dp/1340604
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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by Altitude909 » Sat Feb 13, 2021 7:25 am

..

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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by joeSeggiola » Sat Feb 13, 2021 9:28 am

I tried ordering black 2mm panels on JLCPCB again, but I find them pricier than expected. I have just 1 design per board instead of 5; last time was my first, so I made many variations to test manufacturing. I thought that would keep the price down, but it's still around 40 or 50 EUR for single layer PCBs. Am I doing something wrong? Or is it right? I checked a couple other manifaturers too (PCBway, for example), but they're pricier.

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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by Flounderguts » Sat Feb 13, 2021 11:15 am

joeSeggiola wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 9:28 am
I tried ordering black 2mm panels on JLCPCB again, but I find them pricier than expected. I have just 1 design per board instead of 5; last time was my first, so I made many variations to test manufacturing. I thought that would keep the price down, but it's still around 40 or 50 EUR for single layer PCBs. Am I doing something wrong? Or is it right? I checked a couple other manifaturers too (PCBway, for example), but they're pricier.
YES! you are doing something wrong. JLC keeps prices down by keeping things to certain processes, not by less material. Make a 2 LAYER pcb with soldermask and a few traces (or a ground pour) on the back.
Black is now same price as green, but single layer adds a $50 surcharge.
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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by joeSeggiola » Sat Feb 13, 2021 12:24 pm

Flounderguts wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 11:15 am
YES! you are doing something wrong. JLC keeps prices down by keeping things to certain processes, not by less material. Make a 2 LAYER pcb with soldermask and a few traces (or a ground pour) on the back. Black is now same price as green, but single layer adds a $50 surcharge.
Nice to hear that, but I'm pretty sure I tried the double layer also. In fact, my initial gerber had soldermask and ground pour on the back, and its price was even bigger. I made it single layer because of that. It's 2mm thick in black, with ENIG-RoHS finish. I still have to confirm the order, since they will start production on the 19th because of Chinese New Year holidays. I guess I should try switching options again...?

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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by Flounderguts » Sat Feb 13, 2021 2:35 pm

2mm is also expensive.

2 layer 1.6 mm black ENIG is the standard for me...and is generally same price as green, up to about 10 cm2
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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by bgreeves » Sat Feb 13, 2021 2:52 pm

2mm board + ENIG is a relatively uncommon combination for them so they'll charge you a bunch extra for it.

I've shopped around a bit, and JLC is probably still the best price you're gonna get for small batches.

If you're doing anything with some quantity to it, go look at PCBWay. The setup cost is higher but you can 2mm aluminum board (1 layer) for the same cost as getting 2mm FR4 board (2 layer) there. It's also a lot cheaper to combine your designs into one panel at PCBWay than it is at JLC.

If I assume your panels are 4HP eurorack and you have 5 different designs, here's the quote to get 5 of each panel (ENIG is selected, you just can't see it):

Screen Shot 2021-02-13 at 1.48.51 PM.png

$166 USD or just under $7 per panel. So like 5 EUR ea. Did I hear you correctly that when you last quoted from JLC each separate panel would be 30 or 40 EUR for 5 of them? So it looks like this might be cheaper, and you get aluminum!

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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by joeSeggiola » Sat Feb 13, 2021 3:42 pm

Flounderguts wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 2:35 pm
2mm is also expensive. 2 layer 1.6 mm black ENIG is the standard for me...
bgreeves wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 2:52 pm
2mm board + ENIG is a relatively uncommon combination for them so they'll charge you a bunch extra for it.
Uh, yes, looks like the thickness is a bigger discriminating factor than I thought! 1.6mm ENIG is cheaper with 2 layer (less than 20€), while 2mm ENIG is cheaper with 1 layer (about 40€). I'm not considering HASL because, correct me if I'm wrong, it's not great for front panel aesthetics... I considered 2mm an imperative to improve stiffness, but I guess I should also try 1.6mm with ground pour on the back layer... Latest project had very few jack connectors panel-mounted only, while the next will have lot of them soldered on the PCB too; I guess this should make the panel stiffness less crucial.

bgreeves wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 2:52 pm
I've shopped around a bit, and JLC is probably still the best price you're gonna get for small batches.
If you're doing anything with some quantity to it, go look at PCBWay.
I'm doing very small quantities (the minimum, really: 5) because they're just for myself. I think I'll keep ordering from JLCPCB.

bgreeves wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 2:52 pm
Did I hear you correctly that when you last quoted from JLC each separate panel would be 30 or 40 EUR for 5 of them? So it looks like this might be cheaper, and you get aluminum!
40€ total, I always reported total price for the minimum quantity, which is 5.

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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by bgreeves » Sat Feb 13, 2021 4:21 pm

joeSeggiola wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 3:42 pm
I'm not considering HASL because, correct me if I'm wrong, it's not great for front panel aesthetics...
You're not wrong at all. Looks abysmal from JLC for front panels, mostly because it scratches incredibly easily and is just not an even finish at all.
joeSeggiola wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 3:42 pm
40€ total, I always reported total price for the minimum quantity, which is 5.
Right, is that for each different panel, so 200€ total for your 5 designs?

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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by joeSeggiola » Sat Feb 13, 2021 4:26 pm

bgreeves wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 4:21 pm
Right, is that for each different panel, so 200€ total for your 5 designs?
No, no, if I have different designs, I panelize them myself, and the total price grows about 10€-15€ higher total. I was always talking total, the total cart price (except shipping ofc).

Thanks for your reply about finish, one option less to consider.

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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by boops » Sat Feb 13, 2021 4:54 pm

Hi
How do you remove the order number,ive forget to select remove the number in a small pcb order,thanks

Fyi,at jlc ,you can remove the number ,in the detail section and for big panel ,you can choose paper between each pcb
Attached my 208X projet ,prototype pcb panel varnished

1B377A1C-5CDD-4F6E-AEDE-F06DA3560B0B.jpeg
CB26FD7A-D683-4CE7-A6E8-C91A516D3D44.jpeg
A53E98AA-27EC-43C6-A28C-ECB20CB295CE.png
? Thanks
Fyi,at jlc ,you can remove the number ,it’s a details ,and for big panel ,you can choose paper between pcb
Attached my 208X projet pcb panel
options
romain wrote:
Sun Jan 03, 2021 6:53 am
My JLCPCB panels after manual removing of order number and few layers of varnish

Image
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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by MikeDB » Sat Feb 13, 2021 5:21 pm

joeSeggiola wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 3:42 pm
I'm not considering HASL because, correct me if I'm wrong, it's not great for front panel aesthetics... I considered 2mm an imperative to improve stiffness, but I guess I should also try 1.6mm with ground pour on the back layer..
Although I usually use metal, I do have a HASL front panel with 2oz copper in front of me I made as a trial and it's not that bad. For stiffness, and provided your connectors can accomodate it, two 1.6mm panels are cheaper than one 2mm panel, and a lot stiffer.

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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by bgreeves » Sat Feb 13, 2021 5:51 pm

MikeDB wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 5:21 pm
For stiffness, and provided your connectors can accomodate it, two 1.6mm panels are cheaper than one 2mm panel, and a lot stiffer.
Thonkiconns just barely fit through 2x1.6mm:

double 1.jpg
double 2.jpg
double 3.jpg
double 4.jpg

Also you can see what I'm talking about with the scratching on the HASL.

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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by elmegil » Sat Feb 13, 2021 7:03 pm

Why worry about HASL *or* ENIG, a panel doesn't require metallic highlights.

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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by bgreeves » Sat Feb 13, 2021 7:58 pm

elmegil wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 7:03 pm
a panel doesn't require metallic highlights.
And a gift doesn't require a bow. And a sundae doesn't require a cherry.

I mean, why would people want anything besides a square of aluminum with sharpie on it? All you need is labels after all.

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Re: PCBs as Front Panels ?

Post by MikeDB » Sat Feb 13, 2021 8:00 pm

bgreeves wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 5:51 pm

Thonkiconns just barely fit through 2x1.6mm:

Also you can see what I'm talking about with the scratching on the HASL.
Yes I said it depends on your connectors.

I can't see much scratching on the HASL which will be hidden by the connectors anyway. But agree the solder resist layer isn't the best.

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