Introduction: Birth of Man Mixing Board

About: My name is Randy and I am a Community Manager in these here parts. In a previous life I had founded and run the Instructables Design Studio (RIP) @ Autodesk's Pier 9 Technology Center. I'm also the author of t…

Since the beginning of time, humankind has been seeking two things, the first being its place in the universe and the other being a simple audio mixing board that easily stirs up fat beats. The Birth of Man Mixing Board accomplishes both of these tasks. Not only does it mix up the super funky fresh beats, it also has the creation story painted carefully onto its surface. All the major players are there like Eve, Lenin, a happy Unicorn and monkey with a balloon (and they are traveling through a starry cosmos). As far as I'm concerned, it gives a pretty thorough explanation of human origins and history while all the while keeping the mix fresh. I'm not really sure what else I can say about this.

Step 1: Go Get Stuff

You will need:

- 12" x 16" sheet of solid white 1/8" acrylic
- An awesome 75W Epilog laser cutter
- A heat gun
- Scrap plywood
- Aluminum or heat resistant table
- Heat resistant work gloves
- Acrylic paint set
- Fine tip paint brush set
- White printer paper for mixing paint
- An exacto knife
- TL072 op amp
- 5 10K slide pots
- 1 10K log pot
- 8 10K resistors
- 3 100 ohm resistors
- 5 1uF capacitors
- 3 10uF capacitors
- 7 1/4" mono jacks
- 1 1/8" mono jack
- A dual power supply
- 5 slider knobs
- 1 turn pot knob
- A soldering setup
- Solid hookup wire
- Misc hardware (nuts and bolts)
- Screwdrivers, pliers, etc...

(If you don't have a laser cutter, you can have the files printed by a service such as Ponoko)

(Note that some of the links on this page are affiliate links. This does not change the cost of the item for you. I reinvest whatever proceeds I receive into making new projects. If you would like any suggestions for alternative suppliers, please let me know.)

Step 2: Laser Cut the Main Panel

Laser cut the main panel using the file below.

First, turn off all the cut outlines etch the image off the protective covering/surface plastic by doing a raster cut with the following settings:

Power: 100
Speed: 100
DPI: 600

Next, turn off the decorative image and all the cut lines. Use the following settings to make a vector cut:

Power: 100
Speed: 12
Frequency: 5000

Also cut out the spacers file with the same vector setting. You will use them later. You might want to cut this out twice as they are small and sometimes get lost.

Step 3: Paint the Outline

Paint in the outline with black paint. Don't worry about being too precise as the paint won't absorb through the protective covering you will peel off once the paint is dray.

So paint it, wait for it to dry and then peel off the cover. You may need to pick off the fine bits with your exacto knife.

Step 4: Color by Number

Using the digital reference image, paint in the outline. Be very careful to stay in the lines and lay down an even coat.

if You mess up and get a little on the lines, you can scrape it off with an exacto knife or wipe it off with a damp sponge. You can also use the exacto knife to carefully touch up the black lines. Simple dip the point of the blade in black paint and touch the spot you want to fix.

You can use a test piece of acrylic to judge what the paint will look like before you commit to putting it on the real thing.

Step 5: Bend

Now is the time to bend your case into shape. Put on your heat resistant work gloves (unlike unsafe me).

Lay your acrylic flat on your aluminum or heat resistant tabletop. Measure so that your acrylic is sticking 2 1/4" over the edge of the table and the two holes for the potentiometer and headphone jack are near you. Place a sheet of the paper over your painting (as to protect it), but make sure it will be out of the way of the heat gun (you will be heating the joint where the acrylic meets the edge of the table). Place the plywood over top of the acrylic and clamp it in place. Heat the acrylic along the join where it is clamped and once you see it start to droop a little, try bending it forward. If it is pliable, bend it to roughly 80 degrees and hold it in place until it starts to hold its own shape.

Next measure 5 1/8" and repeat the process. This time bend the acrylic a full 90 degrees.

Repeat it once more measuring only an inch and bend it away from you another 90 degrees.

Step 6: Hardware

Mount the slide potentiometers to the board (using 1/4" spacers on the underside) and put the slider knobs on.

Also install the 1/8" jack, main volume potentiometer and the volume knob on the front of the case.

Do not yet install the seven 1/4" jacks that go into the back.

Step 7: Cut More Acrylic

Cut the acrylic mounting bracket that gets attached to the underside of the slider pots.

This bracket will have your circuit built into it and also support the circuit board for the power supply.

You need to make one raster cut of the solid black field in the file) and so you should turn off all the outlines of all the other fields when you do this.

I made 5 passes with the following settings:
Speed: 100
Power: 100
DPI: 600

I then turned off the fill for the black square and turned the outline on for everything else (not including the black square). I think made one vector pass with the following settings:

Speed: 10
Power: 100
Frequency: 5000

Step 8: Build the Circuit

The circuit for this mixer is based almost entirely off an incredibly awesome schematic found here.

Build the circuit pictured below onto your mounting bracket.

Don't yet wire the audio jacks or any of the potentiometers. Add extra wires as necessary (such as for ground and audio in) keeping in mind that they will have to attach to components later.

Step 9: Prepare and Mount the Bracket

Bolt the dual supply power board to your bracket using the 1/4" spacers.

Place the bracket onto the tabs for the slide pots and bend the solder lugs slightly so that the mounting bracket is held firmly in place.

Step 10: Wire Up the Rest

Wire up the rest of the circuit such as the audio jacks, power plug and potentiometers and make sure everything is installed in the mixer.

I found it was easier to add wires to the audio jacks in the back of the case first and then install them (as opposed to the other way around).

Step 11: Rubber Feet

Stick rubber feet to the bottom of the back of the case to give it some traction.

Step 12: Enjoy

Mix it up. Keep it real.

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