Learning how to CNC

m finally settled a bit in MotionLab Berlin and am starting to learn how to use the CNC machine. My first project was a simple part for a drawer for our 1981 Hymer S550 campervan (a part that broke down).

CNC machine
My second attempt at cutting something with the CNC machine.

I was amazed that I already got the exact piece I wanted in the second try! Not bad for a rookie 😉

The drawer is working again!

Next step: the woodwork for the new KNTRL9

Now that I considered myself an expert on CNC milling (ok, I didn’t really), it was time to try out the real deal: The woodwork for the MIDI controller.

This part is a bit trickier: It’s smaller and the stock (the material I start with) is not much larger than the end product, leaving less space to attach it to the CNC machine. Because I was sure my first attempt wouldn’t work, I used cheap pine wood.

I tried to keep the material down using clams and some screws but unfortunately, this didn’t hold very well during the milling process :(. The end result is therefore not very satisfactory:

The first CNC test: Loads of things to improve.

So, I’m clearly not an expert yet. I have written down all mistakes I made and bought tape to hold the material down. I will give it another try this Friday when the CNC machine is available again. Luckily, I got some help from people here at MotionLab too.

Current status of the project

For those wondering how the overall progress is going, this is the current state of all parts:

  • Rotary knobs: produced and arrived!
  • Potentiometers: produced and arrived!
  • Slider knobs: currently awaiting new offers
  • PCB: testing, designing second revision
  • Software: Working pre-alpha version (needs some adaptation to the new PCB)
  • Top and bottom panel: currently in production
  • Woodwork: See above

Global shortage of raw materials

As you may know, there currently is a huge shortage on raw materials. This for example not only caused the price of the rotary knobs to almost double, I also noticed the wood prices to have gone up quite a bit since I last checked (I actually can’t compare it anymore because my original choice of wood is out of stock).

I was lucky enough to order the last 100 micro-controller chips (that will be the heart of the controller) directly from the manufacturer.

All in all, there’s a big chance that the controller will end up more expensive than I hoped for. Since I’m trying to get new offers for the faders (which, because of the materials they’re made of, make up for a relatively large part of the total cost), I can’t calculate the new price yet, but will hopefully soon be able to do so.

So conclusion: There might/will be more delays on top of the delays that already happened. I will try to keep the price as low as possible but it might end up being higher than anticipated. More on this later!