a new idea has emerged to solve for the Colossus woes, make things cheaper, and negate the need for complicated countersinks.
the new idea is to take a "modular" approach to the control surfaces. in this spirit, i have designed 5 different 6"x9" plexi panels that combined in various quantities will still equal out to a large control surface, and i can choose any combination of them that i want.
additionally, with the smaller size, we can shrink the thickness of each panel because there will need to be a brace/support around the edges of each one. so, drop the thickness down to 1/8", and now we don't need countersinks.
the tradeoff of course is that if i want a large control area, i will have to build a very complicated latticework or matrix of wood or other type braces under the panels to support them. this also means that the interesting beauty of an all clear plexiglass enclosure is out of the question - it was exorbitantly expensive anyway (for what reason i could not determine frankly, but don't know enough to question the plastic fabrication folks).
a couple additional caveats: the buttons and controls need to be compressed inward a bit on each 6x9 panel, because we are assuming an inch around every edge on the underside to connect to the wood braces. that means that the extension of the pots, buttons, etc, cannot overlap with it on the underside. i will also lose another 2 channels to the space needed... and the number of UMC's needed for this one drops to 5 rather than 6. finally, if i want to do different colors (as below), i have to purchase a full 2'x4' panel for each color, so i might as well cut up panels enough to do two full boards.
After lining up different possibilities of the 6x9 panels, i come to a fairly interesting variation that is asymmetrical and also want to do a couple different colors.
thus, i give you Colossus version 3:
and sugegsted panel coloring:
of course this renders the likelihood of doing ethcing designs nearly impossible (sorry james), and also means there are new challenges with the rest of the box and frame to house the device.