MU PCBs as Front Panels????

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dslocum
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MU PCBs as Front Panels????

Post by dslocum » Wed Apr 24, 2019 4:36 pm

I think I already know the answer, but here goes....

At SSL, we use a MetalPhoto process for our front panels. We are generally very happy with the results, however...

MetalPhoto aluminum MU style front panels, with the structural bends, etc are getting a good deal more expensive, unfortunately. This has a substantial effect on the price of our modules.

We could produce less expensive modules if we used PCB technology to emulate the look of traditional panels, and shore them up mechanically.

What are your thoughts about MU panels made with PCBs?
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Faustgeist
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Post by Faustgeist » Wed Apr 24, 2019 4:59 pm

Ive a few in Euro with PCB panels. That format lends to some whacky combinations... so sure, I am game. :tu:

I might be outnumbered tho, heh.
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Post by Dave Peck » Wed Apr 24, 2019 4:59 pm

I think it may depend a lot on what kind of finish would be applied to the panel.

Textured black paint, to match the paint of things like Dotcom modules?

If so, the appearance of the raw material would be irrelevant (except for the lack of bends) and you might be able to use something even less expensive that PCB FR-4 material.

JohnLRice

Post by JohnLRice » Wed Apr 24, 2019 5:02 pm

I'd say a big NOPE but . . I REALLY am trying to not buy any more modules ever again :roll: :hihi: so my opinion probably isn't a concern? :oops: I tend to avoid PCB panels with eurorack modules as they don't look or feel as nice to me as aluminum panels.

Have you considered doing more of a MOTM-ish panel that is just thicker flat aluminum with MU widths and mounting holes? Rob Hordijk does this for his modules. While likely not as inexpensive as PCB panels, maybe less expensive then standard thin 'n folded MU panels?

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Dave Peck
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Post by Dave Peck » Wed Apr 24, 2019 5:02 pm

.....or.... Maybe you just need help finding a better supplier for your metal panels. I may be able to help. This kind of thing is one aspect of my job. PM me if interested.

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Post by ranix » Wed Apr 24, 2019 6:16 pm

I'll buy any module that does what I need if no other module does it, but I would prefer a standard aluminum panel over a PCB panel even if the aluminum panel were unpainted with hand-drawn graphics and labels and hand-drilled holes.

I have absolutely nothing against PCB panels in eurorack though. Or dead-bug aluminum panels in 5U, I am actually also fine with this.

Like JLR I have also more or less completed my modular and am avoiding buying new modules.

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Post by synthetic » Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:50 pm

I wouldn't buy an MU module without the bent metal panel.

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Eric the Red
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Post by Eric the Red » Wed Apr 24, 2019 9:11 pm

At MU size would t these be rather flimsy? In euro land NLC uses PCBs as panels and Andrew does a love.y job designing them
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Sugarfree
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Post by Sugarfree » Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:37 pm

I can barely stand the all-blacks panels, without silver flanges, so no.
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Post by Mark11Audio » Thu Apr 25, 2019 10:55 am

I would rather pay the small upcharge to keep the panels the way they are. So my answer would also be, "no."
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Post by Rex Coil 7 » Thu Apr 25, 2019 12:41 pm

... not "no", but HELLS no, Bubba! ...
You mean this place has hot chicks, morning drinking, and free vomit? ... I'm all in!
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Rex Coil 7
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Post by Rex Coil 7 » Thu Apr 25, 2019 12:45 pm

JohnLRice wrote:I'd say a big NOPE but . . I REALLY am trying to not buy any more modules ever again :roll: :hihi: ....
ranix wrote: ... Like JLR I have also more or less completed my modular and am avoiding buying new modules.
Uh huh ... y'know ... if you guys repeat that enough times you might actually start to believe it.



:lol: :party: :hihi:



:help: :help: :help:
You mean this place has hot chicks, morning drinking, and free vomit? ... I'm all in!
5U PROJECT - (skip pages 4 through 6, boring junk) ... viewtopic.php?t=78836&highlight=
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Stereotactixxx
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Post by Stereotactixxx » Thu Apr 25, 2019 2:56 pm

That would VERY definitely be a deal breaker.
But then again, I'm not your biggest customer, owning only one SSL module so far.

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hsosdrum
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Post by hsosdrum » Thu Apr 25, 2019 3:47 pm

PCB front panels would be a 100% deal-breaker for me. A big part of why I fell in love with 5U is that a synthesizer assembled with modules from different manufacturers still looks like a single unified musical instrument. A front-panel in such a different design would prevent me from adding the module to my synthesizer, no matter how well the module performed or how good it sounded.

Although I can't speak for anyone else, if you offered 2 versions of the same exact module — one with a conventional 5U front panel and one with a PCB front panel for 25% less, I would spend the extra 25% every single time.

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Sugarfree
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Post by Sugarfree » Thu Apr 25, 2019 3:54 pm

to add to the discussion, for me it's not only about panels.
Undersized, non-standard (cheaper) knobs and unbalanced, overcrowded panels (3 jacks per row in 1U) are deal breakers as well.
Black Knobs are dead!

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synthetic
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Post by synthetic » Thu Apr 25, 2019 6:37 pm

Remember when STG made MOTM panels, but there were some jacks in the middle of the module instead of all on the bottom? There was a small riot.

5U guys are old and set in their ways. Sounds like something my grey skullet ponytail would get stuck on ;)

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Post by Voltage_Controller » Thu Apr 25, 2019 7:20 pm

I have a bugbrand synthvoice, and the pcb panel works great for banana frac. Actually better than great - its super great. Doesnt scratch, doesnt bend, looks cool.

I am not sure if it would scale up to MU size and maintain those qualities but its worth trying! Do a short run and let us know what you discover! Hopefully its not too bendy with the (sometimes) tight 1/4" jacks.
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Post by coyoteous » Thu Apr 25, 2019 7:27 pm

Sugarfree wrote:to add to the discussion, for me it's not only about panels.
Undersized, non-standard (cheaper) knobs and unbalanced, overcrowded panels (3 jacks per row in 1U) are deal breakers as well.
Agreed(-ish), but I'm OK with the latter because of this:

Image

I have three jacks across a single-space (not "U" or "hp," but whatever) MU/Moog-format modules from COTK, .COM, STG, Happy Nerding and S.S. Labs (looks a little "Nazi" like that... not intended, just like to differentiate with Solid State Logic... remember, it's Steam Synth too, right?).

Guess I wouldn't want all 1 mu modules to be like that... but some?

Sure.

I also have mixed feelings about FSFX "black flanges w/tabs" panels, but don't have any either.

Regardless, I wouldn't mind seeing what Doug is talking about... then rejecting.
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Re: MU PCBs as Front Panels????

Post by kindredlost » Thu Apr 25, 2019 7:36 pm

dslocum wrote:MetalPhoto aluminum MU style front panels, with the structural bends, etc are getting a good deal more expensive, unfortunately. This has a substantial effect on the price of our modules.
Charge for the inflated material cost. It's worth it.

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