Monday, February 2, 2015

Building an enclosure for Mutable Instruments Shruthi-1

About a year ago I ordered a Shruthi-1 PCB and a Four Pole Mission PCB from Mutable instruments. After sourcing the components, it was a quick and enjoyable build. The synth has, however, been sitting in my drawer for a long time waiting for an enclosure.

First, I thought of buying the metal enclosure from Mutable Instruments. Besides the fact that the metal enclosure costs ¢55 (not a bad price, but still), I had, due to financial reasons, used different buttons than those recommended my Mutable Instruments. Since I had no intention to change those, I had to make my own enclosure.

Before bragging about my design I have to inform you that there is an excellent downloadable enclosure out on Thingiverse:284637. I tried it, but I just could not get it to print nice on my small RepRap Huxley.

I used OpenSCAD since it is Open Source and pretty nerdy. The box is pretty simple (and boxy), but takes only a couple of hours to print and consists of only three parts.

I created small cylinders for the LEDs. In this way they are highly visible on the front panel although the PCB is about 10mm below the panel. The cylinders also ensures that there is no light leakage from one LED opening to the next.

The final case looks ok. However, the Shruthi is not the easiest synth to use, at least when none of the buttons are labeled in any way. Therefore, I waned to create a panel with labels on.

Using the command "projection(cut=false)", the 3D drawing of the front panel can be converted to 2D. Then it is possible to export a DXF-file which can be imported in Inkscape. I learned this technique from this blog.

Once imported in Inkscape, I can create some text and stuff on the front panel. I used the same approach as I did on my mixer, and printed the front panel on some piece of colored thick paper.

Before laminating the paper, I cut out the opening for the display with an exacto knife and punched 3mm holes for the LEDs with a drill bit.

I had to extend the buttons with some Sugru to make the hight appropriate for the front panel. Looks a bit strange, but it works surprisingly good.

This is the final unit. You can download the design files on thingiverse if you like, and hack the heck out of it. The OpenSCAD-file is parametrized and it should be fairly easy to alter the design for whatever buttons you might have.

Here goes some additional pictures.

The front panel is secured with the nuts on the five potmeters.

The back plate is secured with the plastic nuts on the audio jacks.

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