The new Bantam Tools Desktop CNC Milling Machine can be used to create all types of projects. One of which includes a synthesizer and sequencer based on an Adafruit Feather. This board can easily be updated and modified through the Arduino IDE. It could also serve as the basis for future music projects from phantom tools. This project demonstrates the capabilities of the CNC machine and the built-in SVG support that can be used to make the faceplate.
This project is a quite a process detailed out in the video below. It’s kind of cool that Bantam Tools showcases their milling machine with these sorts of projects.
Generally, the sequencer is comprised of three main parts. The base is machined out of walnut, but any hardwood can be used. Both the PCB breakout board and faceplate are milled from anodized aluminum. In the first operation, the stock is to be fixed with toe clamps, and the part needs to be roughed out. Next, the model is aligned to the top edge of the stock infusion. Then, machining takes place just below the model’s surface. The walls are cleaned up with contour passes, and tooling is swapped for a 16” end mill to make a few holes, allowing the PCB to fit into the corners.
The faceplate is the next component to be made. Rather than using fusion for the cutouts and engravings, the built-in SVG support in the Bantam Tools software should be used. Color encoding the file is always a good idea, so the software can read internal and external cutouts and engravings. The speeds and heads in the SVG files can also be adjusted in the tool library. Since the conductive probing is anodized, it won’t be possible to use it. Instead, the material can still be located by using the manual probing process. During this time, the mill pauses and prompts you to switch tools while moving from engravings to cutouts.
Finally, the last part is the PCB. Integration with Eagle is supported in the most recent software update. This will ensure milling doesn’t need an external cam processor. Instead, you can just upload the .BRD file and the software guides you through each of the top and bottom traces. This sort of step away from traditional CAM is refreshing to see. The board and bracket used for this project makes it easier to perform the milling process. All that’s left to do next is probe the bracket, align the PCB to the left for the bottom tracing. The enclosure for the synthesizer is complete in just under an hour of machining.