now its time to figure out how to make the panels.
i am going to try lazertran on brushed aluminum.
i asked Peake about how to go about getting a nice result?
his reply was...
Hi, first go to
and study it.
There are several steps and using it is an art. Firstly, try using blank panels from the person in the UK who was recently selling them in the DIY forum; the metal they use is lighter than Bemi and other blanks and lazertran bakes to it far more successfully.
-I wash the panels with soapy water and rinse them very well before use.
-Dip the panel into the water where the lazertran is soaking and put it on the panel under water. It is easier to move into place when the panel is wet.
-When rubbing the bubbles out from between the panel and lazertran decal don't go too hard as the lazertran can stretch. Or break.
-Definitely make sure you've gotten out as many bubbles as is possible. Once the art is aligned on the panel, dry the back of the panel and then the decal. Make sure again to not stretch it or leave any fibres which will discolor when baking. Water on top of the decal will bake as a brown stain.
-I set the panels on the stovetop while it is coming to temperature so any excess water I've missed is evaporated.
-Place them upon tin foil. Metal oven bars will burn the back of the panel.
-Follow the clacktronics directions regarding increasing the temperature over a 2 1/2 hour period.
-Let them sit and cool in the oven a while before removing. The decal in its heated state easily collects fingerprints and smudges upon its gloss.
-Remove and let sit and cool where nothing will fall upon them such as cat hair which would stick.
I use one of these to do starter punches on the drill marks:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Brass-TEKTON-6 ... Punch-Dril
They're very loud so do it in a well-lit, open area perhaps with headphones or earplugs.
Use quality drill bits only. Have a set of different sizes.
Use 1/16" on each starter hole. If any go off center from the desired point, use a larger bit to open them out then a small circular file to center the guide hole.
You can go from there directly to the correct size bit per hole or do another step in between.
When starting from 1/16" directly to large bit sizes, drill a little and pull back, check the result to make sure it's centered.
Slower drill speeds are best.
Metal filings will blind you so use glasses or safety goggles.
Metal filings will get everywhere so have a trash can handy. Sometimes I can only do one hole before having to tilt the panel over the trash and brush it lightly off.
Some bits will catch the bits being removed and will swirl them in circles upon the lazertran, making things ugly if it's outside the area which would be covered by nuts or knobs. It's possible to drill from the back of the panel if this becomes a worry but of course have a piece of paper or paper towel between the artwork side and the table.
There is something called chamfering where a much larger bit is lightly used to angle the very top edge of both sides of holes with metal sticking up, removes the flash/excess and smooths it. Don't do that to anything which won't be covered by a nut on the art side, meaning if you use any plastic-shaft pots which are not secured to the panel you'd have an ugly surround so use another means to tidy it up.
Alpha pots apparently have a metric shaft diameter so don't be surprised if you end up with a little wiggle room for pots.
Also have a round, tapered file such as this to tidy any slightly ugly holes are holes which are just a touch too small for the desired component:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/New-KING-10-Sm ... ingle-Cut-
Do all touch-up work with things like that over or in a trash can in a place which can be cleaned. Tiny metal filings in your living area can end up in your eye.
Suffice to say there is an enormous amount of work involved and tools and etc. I didn't even mention getting the standoffs and PCB mounting started...I mount standoffs to the PCB, place the PCB behind the panel, and make marks around the standoffs, top first, then drill and make sure the top is right, then the bottom pair. For projects where you know the dimensions you can add them to the lazertran as dots for the starter punch, that is the easiest way.
amazing, thanks Peake!