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WIGGLING 'LITE' IN GUEST MODE

MU Panels Feeler
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> 5U Format Modules Goto page 1, 2  Next [all]
Author MU Panels Feeler
tardishead
I am tooling up to make my own mu panels
Wondered if there was any interest out there for MU panels
I can consider any idea. Blank raw metal panels, anodised blanks, complete custom panels, different colours, long flanges for PCB brackets etc.
I don't mean to compete with Ben at Resynthesis whose quality control is unbelievable - rather offer a more low key specific alternative for DIY community. They might have minor inconsistencies but with a price to match.
Here is an example of the raw metal work. This is just a feeler to figure out what you guys are wanting
josaka
its a lot about the quality vs price and location.. people are always wanting panels.. the factors above will determin whether you sell any..
ranix
I'm looking to buy some panels but will only deal with wigglers who follow the forum rules and don't try to sell things until they've made at least 100 on-topic posts
tardishead
Quote:
I'm looking to buy some panels but will only deal with wigglers who follow the forum rules and don't try to sell things until they've made at least 100 on-topic posts

no problem - I'm not selling anything yet anyway!
I just wanted to start a discussion about what people might want!
tardishead
In the meantime I will post updates in the development of my processes.
I am not selling anything yet.
This is just a discussion
tardishead
let me explain a bit about myself
Modular synthesisers are just one of my passions. Pro audio equipment, mics, valves, Ampex tape recorders, drums, Farfisa Compacts and carpentry are some others. I'm a recording engineer by trade.
I started building synths in the late 90s. Tom Gambles EFM, CGS, Haible and even some Modular moog and EMS clones. Built myself a big system but after I ran out of metal work and filled 4 rows of 16 u cabinets I lived with that system for nearly 15 years before I got the bug again recently and decided to build a load more. When I started building nobody was offering panels for the DIY market, I had to get a sheet metal worker to make up batches worth £100s to get the price low enough and that's pretty inconvenient for DIY. Trying to explain importance of the tolerances was hard when you're a bit inexperienced and you've got a pile of 50 modules infront of you which are 2mm too wide.
I've been a member here for a while but to be TBH I use it as an information resource to help troubleshoot electronics problems. 40 posts over 5 years jeez don't hold your breath - it might be 2025 before I get 100 posts.
I frequent Groupdiy.com more often where I've been a member for nearly 20 years. Here I have sold countless times. Lately I organised a run of Neumann transformer clones made to exact specs with the same alloys, handling £1000s of product and dispatching worldwide to fellow DIYers at basically cost price for zero profit.
I will be setting up a production thread at Group DIY in the next couple of weeks. Equipment panels, badges, dials not just moog panels. If you want to cross over to the dark side you can check my progress over there. Otherwise stay here and watch the painfully slow rites of passage of a pilgrim striving to achieve 100 posts before becoming a truly trustworthy member of humanity.
It's all good.
Dr Gris
I know you from GroupDIY.
I'm not into DIY anymore because lack of time and my eyesight is getting worse with age Mr. Green

I managed to get a lot of posts here in a short period of time.
Why? Probably due to my boring life hihi
After my divorce I live a life without TV. I know, I'm strange...
Modular is my latest hobby and visiting this forum is more interesting than TV anyway.

Best of luck!
//M
tardishead
Yep I got a pair of glasses this year.
It happens hey
Always got time for some DIY project though
Dr Gris
I wish I had more time.
Synth modules are a lot easier than some of the stuff I've built before.
Having a daytime work, playing gigs at nights/weekends and doing work in my studio takes all my time.
And my new modular gets way to little attention exept this weekend when I finally have no commitments w00t

//M
Rex Coil 7
Dr Gris wrote:
I know you from GroupDIY.
I'm not into DIY anymore because lack of time and my eyesight is getting worse with age Mr. Green

I managed to get a lot of posts here in a short period of time.
Why? Probably due to my boring life hihi
After my divorce I live a life without TV. I know, I'm strange...
Modular is my latest hobby and visiting this forum is more interesting than TV anyway.

Best of luck!
//M
You're not missing a thing.

TV is full of pretty much nothing but divisive stuff and identity clubs that put us all in to our little boxes and reminding people of specific backgrounds that they are victims of the universe, and it's all someone else's fault that their lives suck.

Pop culture has essentially sunken to absolute garbage with very little new and creative entertainment with few exceptions.

Even Adult Swim is becoming vile, with foul language, bad, lazy, violent humor.

And I wouldn't even DARE talk about what "information outlets" have turned into.

So don't even give it a millisecond of worry. The only thing I can find on TV that isn't toxic, lousy, divisive, or venomous is motor racing (motorcycles, outlaw street drag racing) and that's about it.

You're far better off spending your time at the workbench being productive and feeding your most creative self.

sad banana
Rex Coil 7
tardishead wrote:
.....Otherwise stay here and watch the painfully slow rites of passage of a pilgrim striving to achieve 100 posts before becoming a truly trustworthy member of humanity.
It's all good.
Now now ... we ALL had to go through the same process to achieve the minimums to qualify for selling things. So just continue to add to the community by doing as you've been doing of late (showing support, offering ideas, and being a Good Sam). I really don't think anyone here sees you as ~lesser than~ or untrustworthy.

The rules here are the rules here, we all must honor them before we can take advantage of the ability to reach almost 40,000 members with goods or services we wish to peddle. Personally, I think the panels you've displayed look to be a great effort. Discussing your new stuff is fine, taking orders and money is not. So just take care for now, and mind the music and the step.

On that note, I will say that (in the eyes of the administrators and mods) there is a difference between a new product announcement (or an interest test announcement) and attempting to ask for money. I actually got into a bit of a back-n-forth with one of the mods over this very issue when another sub-100 post member made a new product announcement and I bitched about it. It seems that doing new product announcements by sub-100 post members are permitted. I was told that there are many years of precedence of this activity here in Miffwugglers, and for the most part it is allowed.

So with that said, making an announcement is viewed differently than actually taking money for orders, which Tardishead has not done. A fine line ... yes ... but that is how the owners and the mods operate this forum. This being so, Tardishead appears to be inside of the rules (since there have been no mention of pricing or costs or asking for orders yet).

So far, based on how the rules were explained to me (not but just two weeks ago) Tardishead is not fouling them.

(JSYK, I'm not subbed to this thread .... if anyone wishes to speak to me or wants me to comment or reply to something ... please feel free to send me a PM ... I'll be glad to respond ... my subbed thread list is out of control so I'm trimming it down).

tardishead
Sorry I was being annoyingly sarcastic.
I totally get it
I could have been far more indirect about it but I wanted to come out honestly and say hey I'm thinking about making my services available to the community. But thats all it is - I'm thinking about it ATM. It might work out to nobody's benefit and not materialise at all
Rex Coil 7
tardishead wrote:
It might work out to nobody's benefit and not materialise at all
Now that would suck. You've done nothing outside of the rules (I hope you read my entire post about this).

They appear to be well done. If the production units are as nice as prototypes everyone in the UK/EU stands to gain from your efforts.

The only thing working against you for sales in the Americas is the exchange rate, and ~maybe~ the shipping. Although I just bought some power cables from Graham Hinton and the shipping wasn't very high at all ... the shipping weight was 2.2 pounds (1kg.) .... right around the same as a box with a half dozen or so panels in it. I've paid more for less on eBay coming from two states east of me. It's the currency exchange rate that hurts so much ... at present it costs those of us in the US about $1.40 dollars to buy $1.00 Pound Sterling. The 40% premium can sting depending on the item and the price. A $500.00 Dollar sale will cost $700.00 US bucks at the present exchange rate, for example.

Synthesizers.Com sells 1MU blanks for $12.00 plus shipping. 2MU blanks are $17.00 plus s/h. They are utterly blank (no branding on them) but they are painted, and nicely so. Just as a comparative example.

And btw, I edited my post to use the correct name of the member announcing the panels .... I had the member's names mixed up (which is exactly what I get for posting so late at night!). Woops!
tardishead
Quote:
Synthesizers.Com sells 1MU blanks for $12.00 plus shipping. 2MU blanks are $17.00 plus s/h. They are utterly blank (no branding on them) but they are painted, and nicely so. Just as a comparative example.

Yeh thats very cheap. I'd have to make big runs to get it down to that price. But my panels will be anodised not painted. I personally much prefer it but that depends on your taste. Anodise is pretty much unscratchable!
There are a couple of new carriers established now which offer shipping to US. Asendia being one of them. They can be very cheap but take a bit more time than the usual Fedex, UPS etc. Its a good option though.
I'm always envious you guys in the US. Everything is much cheaper over there. Equipment, parts, pretty much everything.
tardishead
Quote:
Now that would suck. You've done nothing outside of the rules (I hope you read my entire post about this).

Yeh I did no think so. I wanted to open a discussion about it. If I had come across this when I was starting to build stuff in mu format I would have jumped on it. Most DIYers get put off by the 5u format because of the metalwork. Not many suppliers and expensive. How many of you 5MU guys diy stuff?
I'm just going to carry on and make panels for myself and see what transpires.
Thalassa
tardishead wrote:
Most DIYers get put off by the 5u format because of the metalwork. Not many suppliers and expensive. How many of you 5MU guys diy stuff?


You are right, when I started making modules the hardest thing to find was a front panel manufacturer. Any metal workshop could make Eurorack front panels but the bended sides of the MU format is a challenge and not all manufacturers have the machines to do it.
It would be great to have more options for DIY modules, I mean you can have custom panels made by Ben but it would be great to have more PCB+Panels kits in shops. At this moment the only place to buy them is Synthcube in USA , and I don't know any in Europe. I think that this could help a lot to expand the MU format.
tardishead
Quote:
At this moment I the only place to buy them is Synthcube in USA , and I don't know any in Europe

Yeh and the price is crazy hey! You're selling complete modules for the same price as they are selling a DIY kit in may cases.
It is way cheaper to get pcbs, buy your own parts and get resynthesis to make you a panel. I guess its because they are giving royalties to the designers and marking up for their own profit too.
So thats it. Its a niche market and theres not enough competition to bring down the prices.
m0n0mania
Outside of the states, you can get blank panels from Moon too.
tardishead
Thats about 20US$ or approx £15. Significantly more expensive than Dotcom but cheaper than resynthesis.
Is it painted like Dotcom or anodised like Moog?
synthnut
Making blanks in anodised aluminium is exactly as expensive as making a standard panel as it has to go through all the same processes. With etching, it makes no difference how complex the graphic is and seeing as you have to etch the sides, and punch, notch and fold, that makes it cost the same you see. I sell mine slightly cheaper than the full panels, but that's not really through choice!
I can't remember what Moon sells there blanks for, but I know how much I charge to make them ;-)

Regarding competition pushing down prices, I'd say that's not really practical. These things are made in very small numbers when looking at commercial manufacturing, there's no particular economy of scale here! I know we all think our modular world as a big thing, but it's really not, especially outside of Euro.
If I had to charge less, I'd go bust, simple as that, you need to be resiliant to the ups and downs too.

Unlike many in the modular fraternity, this is my fulltime job, pays for the mortgage, wife who works too and three kids to keep. Some people can do a simple cost+ thing when doing them as a hobby, but there's no overheads taken into consideration ususually.
There's a lot more to producing panels than meets the eye, especially when you do the whole process. It can feel a little like being an artist and customers only wanting to pay you for the paint and canvas at times. It's very easy to say "it's just a piece of metal for goodness sake" but that's missing the bigger picture.
I dread to think how much I have had to invest in terms of time and money to get to the point I'm at now, it's proper scary, we're talking well plus on £100k. To give you and idea about costs, I had to buy a new flatbed printer the other day for one product line, price new, a snip and $25,000.00 plus shipping, duty and VAT. Thankfully I found one second hand at a mere £10,000.00.

If it wasn't for the love (and I do love it, when it's going well!), it wouldn't be for the money!
I do wish you the very best though in your endevours, I hope your road isn't as bumpy as mine's been ;-)

TTFN,
Ben
tardishead
Quote:
It's very easy to say "it's just a piece of metal for goodness sake" but that's missing the bigger picture.


First of all I think I made a mistake by posting this in 5u forum section I should have put it in the music tech DIY section. (Can this be organised somehow?) Because this is a DIY endeavour. If you read my first post I explain this and state that I cannot match your quality Ben. I started talking prices because I was wondering how much I should/might charge. I did not mean to insult you by discussing your prices.
Your product is worth every penny. Because I do know a bit about it I can say that your perfection is surreal and it totally makes sense when you say how much is invested in it. I know how it feels myself I've invested in music studios for 20 years and dropped similar amounts of £. (Silly because as long as I have been involved it's always been in decline.)
The 5u MU style modular system seems to me to be the rolls Royce of the modular world. There aren't a lot of DIYers compared to other systems and people who drop money on these systems want something of comparable quality - if they are going to custom make anything that will sit next to Moog, Moon, COTK, STG etc etc they will go to Re:synthesis. (And Ben makes panels for a lot of those companies anyway) I doubt there are many who want to make "dirty" artwork over Ben's blanks and why bother when you can get a whole design for not much more! Those kinds of punters are more likely going to look for the cheapest blanks they can get their hands on and cobble something together.
TBH I was looking to see if I could occupy a space more guerrilla DIY. Somebody knocking up a prototype. Something a bit different maybe. I'm not sure. This thread is a feeler. To see if there is any space for me to do something.
I know MU is a super niche market.
Also theres plenty of other avenues apart from synthesiser module metalwork that could work.
ranix
I'm blocked on panels for 2 diy 5u projects, I haven't gotten them yet from synthesizers.com because they are expensive. I would have completed these projects already if they were cheaper, and a lower quality panel would be suitable.
tardishead
ranix wrote:
I'm blocked on panels for 2 diy 5u projects, I haven't gotten them yet from synthesizers.com because they are expensive. I would have completed these projects already if they were cheaper, and a lower quality panel would be suitable.

Do you need blanks or graphics/legend?
Where about are you?
synthnut
Hi,

No offence taken! I totally understand that there's plenty of DIYers who need something cheaper than my offerings for sure. Like you say and also I mention to people who enquire about blanks, it doesn't make much sense to use my blanks for DIY modules in many cases. If you are goimg to spend the extra, then go the whole hog so to speak.
With my panels, the base metal is a large factor on cost too, it only comes from one supplier. This is partly because I need to keep the finish consistent, but also that I've tried loads and they didn't give the right results when etched in my experience.

Modular DIY is so great because you can choose to do things exactly however you want, it's all about personal choice when it comes down to it.

Keep wiggling!
TTFN,
Ben
tardishead
synthnut wrote:

With my panels, the base metal is a large factor on cost too, it only comes from one supplier. This is partly because I need to keep the finish consistent, but also that I've tried loads and they didn't give the right results when etched in my experience.


Ahhhh. I've noticed that the etched aluminium has a different sheen depending on the alloy/supplier. Is that what you mean? Sometimes its really silvery shiny other times it quite white matt.
Do you anodise in house Ben?
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