Custom Panels

Foxinabox10

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May 1, 2004
Location
Boston, MA
I'm making some custom panels and decided it would be much cheaper to punch them myself. I'm punching for a standard Neutrik D series connector and I will get a GreenLee Chassis Punch (15/16") for the job. My question is how to approach the screw holes for the connector. Also, what kind of screws do I need?

Thanks.
 

Van

CBMod
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What material ? Are these standard rack mount panels ? Standard Rackmount screw is a 5/8" - 3/4" 10-32 screw. I've seen everything from Modified truss-head, to Oval head with counter-sink washers, as far as style of screw goes.
Oh wait looking back at your post now. You mean the screws for mounting the connector itself. I've almost always used Rivets for mounting sockets like that. However there are drawbacks to using rivets, like having to drill them out to remove them. If you use rivets besure to get it perfect, as a half a--ed job of riveting will always bite you in the end. The "D" Series Connectors are tapped and counter sunk to accept a standard M3 Bolt which roughly translates to a #4 machine screw. Basically a 3 mm bolt with a counter sunk, or oval head. Here's a great link http://www.marfas.com/machinescrewtapping.shtml It has Tap, Drill, thread count etc. for most common American screws. For the Nuetrik you just need to translate the 3mm hole size, unfortunately it's like a #4.5.
If you don't have it yet here's a cut out and dimension diagram for the standard Nuetrik series. Print it and used it as a template.
(< who knew a Carp would know all this silly stuff about sound gear? > < Ok I used to build cases.) :mrgreen:
 
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Foxinabox10

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Boston, MA
I am mounting the connector in a connector dish (which is going in the side of the rack). Do I need to drill out the whole for the connector screws? If so, what size? Or, do I need to get self-tapping screws? Or, am I totally off?
 

Van

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I am mounting the connector in a connector dish (which is going in the side of the rack). Do I need to drill out the whole for the connector screws? If so, what size? Or, do I need to get self-tapping screws? Or, am I totally off?
I wouldn't recommend self tappers. They tend to loosen and fall out in thin sheet metal.
High end - use machine screws and nuts and lock washers, being sure to lock-tite the screws.
Low end pop rivets being sure to use backing washers.

Check that link I posted it will give you drill sizes for that hole, I beleive it's a #30 or #32 drill.
 

Foxinabox10

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Boston, MA
Revelation...so I just get a nut and washer for the back. Makes so much more sense now. Thanks.
 

Van

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One other thing. Just for procedures sake, and please dont' take offense if this sounds pedantic. Setup up your temeplate for the cut out, place the metal on a hard surface such as a scrap peice of plywood, and drill your small screw holes first. If your doing it on a drill press all the better. Without a backer piece of some sort your screw holes will have a tendency to "Pucker" towards the back or come out sort of concentric, if they dont punch through to the main mounting hole all together. That PDF I posted if printed out can be used as a template as it it full scale. Xerox and cut and paste together a template, use some "spray 77" or other favorite spray adhesive and mount the paper to the metal first. This will save you a ton of cussing later. Oh and be sure to use a center punch for centering the little screw holes. When delaing with tight tolerances it pays to prep well.
 

Van

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Oh yeah, just spray the back of the paper let it dry, it'll be tacky. set it in place. It will peel right off after your done working. If there is any residue left I suggest using WD-40 and a paper towel, it a lot less toxic than "Goof-off" Naptha lighter fluid work also, but be careful, it's flammable. :mrgreen:
 

BillESC

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Aug 29, 2005
Location
Kilmarnock, VA
All good suggestions so far.

We build a lot of custom panels for both our systems and to order. It really helps to have a digital router. :)

Here's a few examples:







It sure makes life easy.
 

Van

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Oh sure Bill ! but wheres the fun ! Where's the getting it almost right but not being able to get the little screw holes all lined up ? I laugh At your digital router ! Give a nibbler a set of needle files and two weeks ! Ha !:mrgreen:

BTW nice looking panels !
 
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Chris15

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Slight hijack. Bill, I'm interested as to why you choose to mount the connectors on the front of the panel rather than mounting from behind. I tend to think that back mounting them looks neater, but wondered if there was some sort of benefit I hadn't seen in front mounting them.
 

soundlight

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Oct 27, 2005
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NJ & NYC
We are currently making a crapload of lighting wall panels for our studio theater. We are using a CNC Milling machine. it is awesome. My friend set up the code, and it takes a blank sheet of metal, cuts it to size, bevels the edges, drills the center hole, drills the Neutrik mounting holes, and drills the holes to mount it in the wall box. We rear-mount the connectors for a neater look. Our wall panels are actually carrying two universes of DMX, RFU connector, ETCnet connector, and a Campus Network connector. Slightly different than the originals idea in this thread, but same general scheme.

If you can, have the machinists at a community college or other local facility with CNC machines do your job. It works like a charm.
 

BillESC

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Aug 29, 2005
Location
Kilmarnock, VA
Slight hijack. Bill, I'm interested as to why you choose to mount the connectors on the front of the panel rather than mounting from behind. I tend to think that back mounting them looks neater, but wondered if there was some sort of benefit I hadn't seen in front mounting them.
We build them both ways, all depends on the customers wishes.