Synthesizer & Midi Controller – Enclosure

For my first enclosure project, I decided to house a synth and midi controller I designed.
Final shots first!

I started by ordering arcade buttons and laser cutting options for the front panel. I quickly realized that my buttons were really big… the finger spacing was tough.

So I tweaked and got them more reasonably spaced, trying a few more alternative layouts.

now I tried to work in a power switch and volume knob.

I still was torn over what form the enclosure should take, but after consulting with Ben, I realized a laser cut top on a wooden box from container store was my best bet.


My design was done, but I had to see how the acrylic would take to the buttons…. at first it did not go so well.

The holes were just a bit too tight and the acrylic cracked. But another pass through the laser cuter to make the holes 1.6% bigger.

Then I got to work on putting in the buttons, and I only made one small crack in the acrylic! Of course I forgot to check the size of the hole for my power switch, but luckily I was able to just thread it in.

Now I started setting up my wiring… this was really tedious.


that was still only halfway done. But after I finished getting the breadboards wired up, I faced my next challenge of placing my midi and usb connection. I knew the midi connection would be a challenge because I couldn’t get a panel mount connector, but the usb panel mount component was equally as difficult because I had to a account for the thickness of my enclosure. For each, I used a spade bit to drill a hole, then flattened out the inside part with a dremel. I also used the dremel to open up the holes some more.

the midi was perfectly flush buuuut….

buuut the inner thickness wouldn’t let the cable reach the connector.

(not shown – me hollowing out that inner wall for the midi to fit)

I started the usb mount by drilling a hole… but it was too tight. the dremel took care of it.

(not shown – me hollowing out that inner wall for the usb to fit)

after drilling holes for the panel mount usb, I still had problems lining everything up
a bit more work with the dremel and it was all done.

Now it was time to wire everything up

I struggled to get everything in – the panel still sits a bit away from the box… and it doesn’t work! But when it does, there’s functionality I’d love to add, and I’ve gained an appreciation for so many more details to consider when making an enclosure.

3 thoughts on “Synthesizer & Midi Controller – Enclosure

  1. Nice work. I really like that you used connectors for all of your buttons.
    You could clean up the midi and usb connectors by opening up the wood on the side some more and putting a laser cut acrylic plate in front of it. I would match the color of your control panel.
    How is the speaker attached to the control panel?

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