MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index
 FAQ & Terms of UseFAQ & Terms Of Use   Wiggler RadioMW Radio   Muff Wiggler TwitterTwitter   Support the site @ PatreonPatreon 
 SearchSearch   RegisterSign up   Log inLog in 
WIGGLING 'LITE' IN GUEST MODE

Giant Custom Faceplate
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion  
Author Giant Custom Faceplate
InsectInPixel
Hi folks,
Has anyone ever created a giant faceplate for a set of modules, took off the knobs, jack nuts and faceplates of existing modules and mounted them on the new giant faceplate? and created a case for it?
It would be cool if GrayScale did something like that. It would also however be quite a commitment, not being able to swap around/rearrange modules as desired.
-just a random thought hmmm.....
gonkulator
InsectInPixel wrote:
Hi folks,
Has anyone ever created a giant faceplate for a set of modules, took off the knobs, jack nuts and faceplates of existing modules and mounted them on the new giant faceplate? and created a case for it?
It would be cool if GrayScale did something like that. It would also however be quite a commitment, not being able to swap around/rearrange modules as desired.
-just a random thought hmmm.....


DSC has done something kind of like that.

https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=162579&highlight=
sduck
Like all those serge panels? Sure, it's been done, but is probably best done on a personal level, otherwise you're inflicting your own personal module choices on everyone else. Personally I think it kind of defeats the purpose of modular synths, but i guess I'm not the target market for this.
listentoaheartbeat
I am working on a toolbar panel for my case that unites ten modules. It's the first of two panels like this, the other one will hold sequencing utilities and a ribbon controller at the bottom of the case. The two panels share the space of one former 3U row.

Not only will this allow me to integrate the ribbon in my existing case, it also provides a much better arrangement of small modules that would otherwise be scattered around the case in a weird way. Additionally, I can add some neat normalizations.

The modules are: 2x Music Thing Spring with extras, Fonitronik Cascade, 2x Make Noise LxD, 2x Manhattan Mix and a VCA, Expert Sleepers ES-8, Macro Machines Storage Strip.

tardishead
Good if you want to build in a rack mount chassis especially
I can anodise etch panels
InsectInPixel
listentoaheartbeat wrote:
I am working on a toolbar panel for my case that unites ten modules. It's the first of two panels like this, the other one will hold sequencing utilities and a ribbon controller at the bottom of the case. The two panels share the space of one former 3U row.

Not only will this allow me to integrate the ribbon in my existing case, it also provides a much better arrangement of small modules that would otherwise be scattered around the case in a weird way. Additionally, I can add some neat normalizations.

The modules are: 2x Music Thing Spring with extras, Fonitronik Cascade, 2x Make Noise LxD, 2x Manhattan Mix and a VCA, Expert Sleepers ES-8, Macro Machines Storage Strip.


this is kind of what i had in mind. very cool. I think i see an Expert Sleepers product there on the right.
I would consider doing this if i had access to a CNC laser cutter hmmm.....
listentoaheartbeat
Front Panel Designer by Schaeffer (EU) / Front Panel Express (USA) let’s you design and order panels at reasonable rates. I use it for all my custom panels.
Rex Coil 7
I'm doing it, but not to the extent that I believe you're speaking of. If you do it carefully, and design things properly, you'll lose exactly none of the "modular synth" functionality while gaining other advantages. My efforts to that end are small compared to what you're speaking of. But, it's the same notion.

This is 4 Dot Com modules built into one dual VCO "voice" (there are two of the dual VCO panels in the top picture). It also has a waveform mixer and rotary switched waveform selector as separate outputs for each VCO. It's primarily designed for a normalizing project I've been working on for too long. Everything (all inputs, all outputs) are normalized to various sources (for the CV inputs) and to various destinations (for the waveform outputs). There is much more than that going on, but detailing it all isn't required for this reply. There are actually TWO of these dual VCO voice panels in my synth. I'm also doing a repanel to a pair of filters (a state variable filter and a variable slope transistor ladder filter). The blank 4space panel in the lower row is a placeholder for that dual VCF when it's completed.





One dual VCO panel is being tested in the picture above. It's not in the case it belongs in (that would be the top photo). This is a test setup in a small rack, just to verify functions and all of the changes that were made. The black 2sp panel on the right is also a repanel and redesign of a Dot Com mixer.

The point of my reply is that ~yes~ you can repanel pretty much anything that is a module, or modules. What you do with that freedom of design is totally up to you. For instance, I am currently designing a utility panel with various circuits taken from various modules. The panel will be 2U of rack space (19" wide by 2U tall). So there's yet another example of the design freedom available to you.

Front Panel Designer/Front Panel Express can pretty much do whatever you can dream up. That is what I have used to get where I'm at in the project.
BenA718
All of those custom panels look great!
wackelpeter
yes indeed they look cool and well designed... but when designing and Drilling such a big plate triple check if you have all in/outs and controls and not one forgotten...

Furthermore think of eventually troubleshooting that device... here the single module has the Advantage that you can pull them out individually... maybe some time you like to re-arrange some stuff or eventually must...

There are several pro's and but also a few con's

btw. i have also made one giant face plate out of a 2,5-3mm thick aluminium blind panel for server racks...

Those were nearly 100 holes for sockets, pots and LED's... drilled a few times wioth several drills... began small ended up with 10mm... all with a small hand held accu driven drill tool... you can'T figure out how glad i was when i was done... drilled nearly 4-500 times through this thick Aluminium plate...
Rex Coil 7
DESIGN TUTORIAL:

wackelpeter wrote:
yes indeed they look cool and well designed... but when designing and Drilling such a big plate triple check if you have all in/outs and controls and not one forgotten...


When using Front Panel Designer, you have the luxury of thinking things through and actually ~seeing~ your panel right in front of you while you work it out over time. If you need to add a hole, add a hole. All of this is done on a computer screen long before it is ordered. Holes may be moved, labeled, relabeled if need be, moved, resized ... all long before it's ever made. Yes, there is that chance that you will do something wrong. But that is true with anything.

wackelpeter wrote:
Furthermore think of eventually troubleshooting that device... here the single module has the Advantage that you can pull them out individually... maybe some time you like to re-arrange some stuff or eventually must...
If the person that started this thread wanted to move things, he'd never had even thought about this process in the first place. Regarding troubleshooting, it's not more difficult than troubleshooting a single module. You just remove the panel, and go about your work. It's not that the module has become one giant PCB ... it is still the individual PCBs behind the panel. In the case of using Synthesizers.Com modules, there isn't even any soldering involved with removing/replacing a circuit board since all of the jacks, pots, switches are connected to the boards using two and three pin headers. So you just *unplug* the circuit board, repair or replace that board, and reinstall the panel into the synth cab.

The major advantage is you may redesign a given module to add, reposition, and/or remove various components.

This is what the Dot Com Q113 mixer looks like, essentially ~stock, then the picture just beneath it is what I did to modify it to suit my needs (added four large toggles that allow switching individual channels on and off just like a Minimoog, as well as add feeback loops which create "overdrives" ... one for each of the two output busses, as well as a few other changes):

BEFORE:




AFTER:



wackelpeter wrote:
There are several pro's and but also a few con's
... as with all things. thumbs up

It's up to the individual to decide whether they believe the positives outweigh the negatives. In my situation, clearly I felt the positives and the ability to nearly totally redesign a few modules far outweighed the negatives.

As I previously stated, when designing (or redesigning) a given module using Front Panel Designer, you have the opportunity to see the entire module on a computer screen well before any metal is ever cut or drilled. You have the opportunity to make certain various components won't interfere with one another, as well as what it will look like from the front. You may even make certain that the knobs won't be too crowded or switch operation has space around it to function and be easily accessed by your fingers. Etc ... etc ...





And since the Dot Com PCBs simply "plug in", I may very easily rebuild the modules right back into stock configuration by removing the PCB from the new panel, and reinstalling it right back into the stock panel, along with the stock components ... recreating the stock module without ever turning on my soldering pen.

There's more about this I need to say, so ...

(continued next post) .............
Rex Coil 7
( .... continued from previous post above):

The method I have used to get started with designing an all new panel for "repaneling" existing modules involves the use of full size mockup panels. I use thick paper (sometimes called "construction paper", just like what people my age used in primary school/elementary school around age 5 or 6). I am 57 presently, btw.

I make a full size mockup of the proposed panel, as well as full sized mockups of the circuit boards ... all made from paper. I then begin shuffling things around, moving them until I get a basic idea of where to start when I switch the design process over to Front Panel Designer. I find using this method simpler and easier for getting started. I can see where the PCBs are in relation to the edges of the panel, as well as in relation to various components.

Here is what I started with when designing the "Dual VCO Voice panels". The large ~circle~ of paper beneath the giant chickenhead knobs represent those large knobs' "swings" so that I do not place anything in a spot that would interfere with those large knobs as they are turned. The rectangles of paper beneath some of the knobs/jacks represent the actual full size PCBs. This was an important step since the PCBs use long standoffs for mounting them to the panels. So there must be clearance at the corners of the PCBs to make space for the mounting standoffs. The only way to assure that clearance is to make paper full size PCBs.

I also use the *LARGEST* part for any given component for use on the paper mockup. So if the flat washer of a toggle switch is larger than the actual switch, I'll use the flat washer to represent the switch. This is another precaution used to make sure everything will work together and fit together without interfering with one another. If the knob is the largest thing, then I use the knob. If the lock washer underneath the switch/jack/pot is the largest single piece of a given part, then I'll use the lock washer to represent that part on the paper mockup. I do the exact same thing when the panel is "in the computer designer" for the exact same reasons. So whatever is the LARGEST thing is what I use to represent it. That is, unless it's the "DRILL HOLES" file.



The "paper phase" may take on several configurations before a more-or-less basic design is settled on.

Once chosen, the next phase is to take measurements of the component centers and take good notes of those measurements. They'll be needed for the next phase of design. Personally, I measure most things from a centerline of the panel, that just works for me.

I took these pictures of the paper mockup and uploaded them into the computer, so I had something to refer to as I sat at the computer and began the design process within the designing program ("Front Panel Designer"). So, I start with paper, then photograph that paper mockup ... then move into the digital world of the computer.

Here is one of the early renderings. I use very large "holes" that are the exact same size as the actual knobs (rather than the drilled holes) .... this presents the ability to see precisely how the knobs themselves will interact with other components.

WITH KNOBS:




WITHOUT KNOBS (holes are actual "drilled sizes") ... this is very easy to do, all that is required is to save the "with knobs" file to a "without knobs" filename (this creates an all new file), then set about resizing all of the knob-sized holes to the actual drill-sized holes. It is a simple process, this panel took me about fifteen minutes to resize every hole from "knob" to "drill":



Then, only after I am fairly satisfied with the layout (this can take several hours), I will add the lettering. I do it that way since ~moving~ knobs/jacks/switches is a pretty easily done thing without the lettering. Once the lettering is added it becomes more of a hassle to move various controls (since the controls AND the lettering must be moved).



I keep two copies of any given design ... one with large "knob sized" holes, and a second which has the actual holes that will be drilled. This makes it easier to make changes. I name the files something like "With Knobs" and "Drill Holes" to keep them straight in my head.

Even with all of the design methods and design stages used to create the panel, it can still change as I think of different problems and issues. Below is the finalized version of the dual VCO design ... note how it is very different from the initial designs seen above (several toggle switches have been added, a few things have been renamed or relocated or removed altogether, there are lettering changes, and so on). From the paper mockup to the actual final panel design took me about six to eight weeks. It took that long because I continued to think of different options, component placements, adding and removing various things. It also took that long since I had not ever used Front Panel Designer prior to using it for my project synth (I started as a complete gnoob with it just about two weeks before tackling the dual VCO thing, the repanel of the mixer in the previous post was the first thing I did).

That is what is SO NICE about this process ... you can see it in front of you, which provides the opportunity to see problems or needs for change long before any metalwork is done. You may leave it alone for a few days and then go back to it with fresh notes and a fresh perspective ... that is why it can take up to a few weeks to get it done .....





Here's another one from start to completion ... this is the dual VCF panel, first done on paper ....



Then moving on to the (first of many) computer design .....



(photo below) And how it has morphed into it's finalized design (this is what I have actually ordered)

This also took six to eight weeks. But again, it wasn't eight weeks of toiling over the design in the computer. There were a weeks that I didn't even think about this panel at all. I took breaks between design sessions, did other tasks on the project. That helped to create something very well thought out since as I did other things, I thought of changes that the panel needed, I also kept little notes to refer to when I would go back to the computer.

Also note that you can change the colors of the panel within Front Panel Designer so you can see representations of various aluminum anodizing colors and various lettering colors as you go along (red, green, black, blue, gold, natural, light beige ... they also offer plain or brushed surfaces, and even Perspex!). The two Dual VCOs are sliver anodized with black infilled lettering ..... but the Dual VCF panel is black anodized with "milled lettering" so the aluminum colored lettering can contrast with the black. You get to see all of these ideas actually on the screen so you may make informed choices BEFORE you hit the ~buy it~ button. You can also see the exact cost of the panel before you order it. This is a very handy feature of the Front Panel Designer program, since it allows you to see how different lettering and different options will change the price, before you actually submit the order.






You may also very easily convert the design in the FPD program so it displays the panel as "line art" (this is called "Outline Mode" in the program) .... this makes for a very handy printout so you can have different patches and settings recorded and placed in a binder ... just print out a line drawing of the panel, then write the settings inside of each knob (circle) to represent the actual position of switches and knobs. I use the analog clock analogy (a knob at "1 o'clock" will be written inside of the circle as "1", while 9 0'clock would be written as "9" ... and so on).



Also keep in mind that you may use this entire process to design a panel that you will use as a "template" to make your own DIY panel. Or, perhaps just use all of this just to see what a proposed panel may look like, before deciding to do it or not. There's zero commitment when using this process ... until you bang that BUY ME button!!

Why go to all of this trouble? Because my time is "free of charge" ... if I submit a thoughtless design and don't like it, I just wasted a bunch of money.

lol

And then, when it's all done, the order has been sent to Front Panel Express, the Paypal transfer is complete ..... it's time for a nap.



Fin~ cool
ersatzplanet
I have thought of this a few times with a subset of modules to basically remake the fun of playing the Synthi AKSs I used to own. Was going to use a compliment of similar modules, using the AS clone Synthi modules if possible for the main things, and remove all the jacks and wire to an active Matrix patchbay (buffered ins and outs) made out of 3.5mm jacks. That would be the main reason for me to do it. For me, there is no real reason to use a matrix patch bay unless there are dedicated ins and outs (otherwise you are just patching parch cords). Making a Arp2600 like pre-patched unit would be another reason to do it. Think of a 2600 with some really interesting modules in it already pre-patched in the most common setup but with patch points to break out of it.
dooj88
Rex Coil 7 applause applause applause Dead Banana

i don't have the discipline or time to execute something like that, but i love seeing when other people do it. great post.
Rex Coil 7
ersatzplanet wrote:
I have thought of this a few times with a subset of modules to basically remake the fun of playing the Synthi AKSs I used to own. Was going to use a compliment of similar modules, using the AS clone Synthi modules if possible for the main things, and remove all the jacks and wire to an active Matrix patchbay (buffered ins and outs) made out of 3.5mm jacks. That would be the main reason for me to do it. For me, there is no real reason to use a matrix patch bay unless there are dedicated ins and outs (otherwise you are just patching parch cords). Making a Arp2600 like pre-patched unit would be another reason to do it. Think of a 2600 with some really interesting modules in it already pre-patched in the most common setup but with patch points to break out of it.
(I highlighted the two sentences in ~blue~ in the above quote). That is exactly what my project synth is ... well, almost is ... it's not quite finished but I'm getting there!



(below) Function testing of the first of two dual VCO panels and the main 4ch VCO mixer ...



The circuits in the panels are all normalized together with toggle switches that connect/disconnect various CV inputs to interface panels in the back of the synth. Those interface panels (2 spaces worth) connect to a Euro cab that is loaded up with various modulators.



** Each silver predrilled panel in the picture houses two VCOs, two VCO waveform output mixers, two rotary switch waveform selectors .. so each panel is essentially dual VCO "voices".

** The VCO outputs are normalized to the black 4ch mixer in the center.

** The mixer is normalized to a VCF input distributor.

** The VCF panel houses two filters .. one is a state variable with a state output mixer normalized, the output of the SV filter is normalized to the input of a transistor ladder filter (which has front panel mounted slope jumpers which permit switching between 6db, 12db, 18db, and 24db slopes which is the panel with 6 jacks and 2 right angle plugs which are "jumpers". A toggle switch on the VCF panel can swap the order of the two filters when they are in series.

** The output of the VCF panel is normalized to a VCA input mixer.

** The VCA mixer is normalized to a VCA.

I can create 90% of the patches I use without one single patch cable. The normalized routings I've described don't cover half of what is normalized in this thing. And I have not given up one single modular function, since every single normalized connection may be defeated by inserting a patch cable.

Hit the link in my signature for TONS more details, along with absolute piles of photos.

thumbs up
InsectInPixel
These examples are amazing. If i only had a cnc laser cutter!
Rex Coil 7
Quite unwittingly, I seem to have dominated nearly the entire first page. That said, clearly it's time for me to step aside and hand someone else the mic.

My intention has simply been to share my efforts towards what the OP asked about. However it appears I've overdone it a bit.

In any case, thanks for the great acknowledgements and compliments. I hope that some of what I've shared will inspire others to move forward with what they see in their heads. Yes, it takes time. Yes, it requires patience. Yes, you will make some mistakes.

But I can assure anyone that takes on such projects ... the utter satisfaction of knowing that you've designed it, you've built it, without any doubt it is unique and unavailable from any store or online vendor, and to top it off the damned thing actually works! ... that it is well worth everything you've put into it.

Now ...
... get out that pencil and paper, sketch out those designs.
... then start cutting construction paper.
... dig up a few knobs to mock things up and take a few pictures.
... get some panels made.
... install the parts.
... solder up the wires.
... bolt it all together.
... and get that sucker built!

You will never regret it!

Carry on .... cool
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion  
Page 1 of 1
Powered by phpBB © phpBB Group