[Lab] Milling / lasering aluminum box

Stephane Arthur Kiss stephane.beauchampkiss at gmail.com
Fri Nov 27 16:17:11 EST 2015

Hi Sylvain,

Mechanical design engineer here and also a musician/producer who's built
guitar pedals, amps, etc. I play post rock and ambient music myself and
have a pedal board that has been called a "space ship" on more than on

A benchtop or mini/micro mill or lathe would be just perfect if you were
going into production. But they can be expensive. This is definitely a hand
operation if you want to crank out large numbers, IMHO no need for digital
control over the cuts required for your guitar pedals. Note that you could
also easily do chamfers or fillets around the outside edge of your pedals
for added details...

If you decide on a lathe you'll need something called a vertical slide....I
have one and have done slotting operations no problem on my Taig metal

A mill a good bet and I would encourage you to look into a used one if you
are serious about building pedals and are serious about sliders. The thing
about getting into machining like this is you're going to want a lathe
eventually. You can turn the most beautiful custom knobs no problem on a
nice lathe and its so enjoyable (no one seems to be doing custom knobs on
their pedals). And with a good vertical slide, small slotting operations
like you have in mind are absolutely no problem.

You can always explore laser or waterjet cutting, but in my experience
these operations end up costing more and being much more of a pain when
you're doing something that is a simple hand operation on the proper

On another note, if you want to really set yourself apart, have you
considered 3d printing custom enclosure designs? IMHO, the guitar pedal
market is totally saturated right now and you need to do everything you can
to get people's attention. If this is something you want to explore more,
get in touch and shoot me an email.



On Fri, Nov 27, 2015 at 3:44 PM, Sylvain Poitras <sylvain.trombone at gmail.com
> wrote:

> Hi,
> This is a general request for assistance with a project I'm working on.
> I started making my own guitar pedals a year ago and for my next project,
> I've decided that I'd like to use slide pots instead of the usual rotary
> potentiometers. One difficulty, is that while drilling holes to mount
> rotary pots is trivial, I have no idea how to cut the slots through which
> the faders will move.
> My first idea was to use a drill / file / jiggsaw combo, but there has to
> be a better way…
> This is the aluminum box in question:
> http://www.digikey.ca/product-search/en?vendor=0&keywords=1590xxb
> Would a laser cutter be a good option? Can I pay anyone to do this in
> town? What kind of file do I need to create to get this kind of work done?
> Any help would be appreciated,
> Thanks,
> Sylvain
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