Elektor Vocoder, part 8

As the rails for the filter boards are in order, I finally got to focus on some bezels for these boards. Since I don’t have any mechanical drawings, all these bits need to be tackled on the fly and I couldn’t start with the bezels until I had the board/rail spacing figured out. Otherwise, I would’ve probably done all the mechanics much earlier, maybe whilst still looking for parts.

Material-wise I chose to go for aluminium as it’ll match the metal parts of the casing neatly. For mounting, I decided to try soldering L-brackets to the bezels (that is, no ugly screws on the front side) and these brackets are in turn fastened to the filter board. When a potentiometer is fastened to the bezel it will also support the overall structure a bit. Having done a bit of solder patching with the QuadSID I knew to expect that this would require extreme/crazy/insane heating, so I set up a heater gun at maximum setting right next to the bezel to provide additional heating from the opposite side.

Elektor Vocoder, bezel soldering jig

So, protective gloves on and give it a go..

Elektor Vocoder, 1st try at soldering the bezel

Crap results, yay! \:D/ .. Gotta admit, I was a bit hasty with the soldering so the whole thing got messy in no time. Sanding the solder joint clean, I was able to see that there was hardly any solder fusing to both surfaces, it was mostly either or.. Oh well, second try with a bit more patience and the results were instantly better. Though far from excellent, the joint seemed solid and withstood moderate handling so I decided to stick with the method. Here’s what the second attempt looked like after sanded clean:

Elektor Vocoder, 2nd try at bezel soldering

After these initial tests it took about an hour to complete the remaining bezels.

Elektor Vocoder, soldered bezels, rear view

Elektor Vocoder, soldered bezels, front view

Reckon I’ll clean up the solder sides and give them a layer of silver paint after I have all the potentiometer holes and such worked out.  It’ll make the internals a bit more pleasing to the eye. ;)

In case you’re wondering about soldering aluminium, a special kind of solder containing zinc and/or aluminium is called for. The bog-standard 60/40 tin/lead alloy just simply won’t fuse. In case you’re interested. There’s a good list of mixtures suitable for soldering aluminium here.

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