HT Controller : Panels

So for my home theater controllers I needed front/back panels.  I knew I wanted to make these out of acrylic sheet, and that I wanted to use the CNC to cut them out.  One of my drivers was that in the past button layout was always a bit tricky, using the drill/dremel it was difficult to get everything lined up right.  So with that said, here is where I ended up:

Getting the actual panel cutout was pretty straighforward.  Measured the case, and setup the outside dimensions and then measured out where the controls would be.  The biggest challenge was the cutout for the outlet.  For that I traced an outlet cover plate, scanned it in, and imported the scan into my cad software.  This is the backplage all coutout.

This chassis has been used in previous projects.. so never mind all the fan cutouts!  Used to hold 4 500gb drives which was a HUGE storage array (in its time).  I didn’t quite get the speed/feed for cutting the acrylic down – so that is a continuing learning opportunity.

Same panel painted with spraypaint (on the inside):

and installed using clear silicone as an adhesive:

The front panel had some text v-carved around the buttons as labels.  This was done with a 60 degree v-carve bit, then filled in with white crayon.  Worked out quite well!  Again, the back is painted black and the text is engraved in the front.  Only the right button is crayoned at this point:

Only other task I had that was panel-related was to route a spacer out of 1/8″ hardboard for mounting the LCD panel.  This got sandwiched between the LCD and the front panel (with clear silicone) to make the LCD be flush with the front.

Primary lesson learned : When cutting thin 1/8″ material (acrylic in this instance) do NOT use an upcut bit.  It will pull the material up off the table and into the route.  This would be a use case for a downcut!

2 thoughts on “HT Controller : Panels

  1. Macka says:

    Could you please explain the process for infilling with crayon?
    Did you heat it? if so, how? and before or after cleaning off the excess?
    Did you need a solvent to remove the excess or just a soft cloth?

    Any extra info would be great,

    • widgetninja says:

      I just scrubbed the crayon on the surface and wiped off the excess with a paper towel. Nothing fancy at all. I have seen people do the same on guns, and they suggest heating up the metal with a heat gun – not sure if you get a better fill that way. I had good luck doing it cold.

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