Finally panel from Schaefer AG arrived. I really have to praise their excellent service. Nice and safe packing with pack of sweets inside as a bonus 🙂 … well at least for people with sweet tooth like me 🙂

Panel itself is vacuumed with sticky foil on hard card board. Looks pro in my opinion.

Looks great. Grey powder coated panel with engraved lettering filled with jet black color. 350x250x4mm weights approx 1 kg. Very precise cuts no errors anywhere.

Also grey powder coating from the back side.

Aluminium panel in comparison with my state of the art hardboard panel 🙂

And if you asking how much was a front panel?
199 Euro including delivery to the UK, made by Schaefer AG of Germany. Leading time about a week and couple of days for delivery. Front Panel Express in the US http://www.frontpanelexpress.com/
Cost would be the same if panel was even bigger. Maybe I should have it half inch wider on sides, but this is not rack mount. dunno. too late now innit? 🙂

Making of top cover

But before front panel is installed, top cover must be manufactured. This is my amateurish attempt to make one, so please bare with me. Work is done on 805 x 325 x 1.2 mm aluminium sheet custom cut from eBay seller. panel cost £8.50 including delivery.

Accurate measurement is taken. Tailored by side of the enclosure. Line with sharp blade and marker pen is made.

Clamped, Line in 1/2 thickness of material depth is filed by small files. You can use exacto knife or saw blade. This should achieve nice right angle bend.

Then clamp between metal (Al) L profile and piece of wood, bent with help of wooden block to right angle. Aluminium is quite soft at filed line.

Right angle is adjusted by hand outside da clamp

Thumbs up! I’ve done this first time in my life. It’s easier than you think!

Fits perfectly.

Working on second right angle edge. Exactly the same process as first edge.

Nice top cover with perfect right angle bend can be achieved at home!

Detail of bent edge

Fits snugly.

Brushed finish inside the enclosure is achieved by strokes of steel brush.

Apply force with even, vertical strokes

Drilling holes for M5 screws to the side. Stainles steel flat head screws will hold cover in place

Finished top cover with bend edges and drilled holes for holding screws.

Template for speaker grill holes / ventilation holes. Designed in the same program as front panel. Glued to surface by ordinary office paper glue to aluminium sheet and punched holes. It’s crucial to punch holes in even, accurate position otherwise finish will look very unprofessional.

Drilled 2mm pilot holes, then stepping up by 1 mm drills up to 6 mm (1/4″)

Speaker grill holes / ventilation holes drilled and chamfered and protecting plastic cover stripped off

Looks even better than I hoped for

Detailed picture of holes. This is going in a star pattern 360 degrees divided by 16 partitions.

Material is brushed inside, outside will be in black hammered paint finish. This have to be sanded and degreased prior to paint job.

Ready for paint job by Rust-Oleum Universal All-Surface Black Hammered Spray Paint – 400 ml. See those boxes of biscuits and Haribo bears? See! told ya I have a sweet tooth 🙂

Two coats of paint inside the cover to achieve uniform finish on edges and inside where cover overhangs

Four coats of Rust-Oleum Universal All-Surface Black Hammered Spray Paint on outer side. Let dry between coats and Final drying for 48 hours.

 
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