the quote came back today for the entire plastic enclosure.... it was absolutely and totally ridiculous. i knew it would not be cheap, and was preparing a budget to handle it, but let's just say i could start building on that modular collection below for the price it came back as. its not even much of an option to go with just the front panel and do the wood enclosure myself. the etching is actually not the issue - its primarily the ability to counter-sink the holes.
so after all this goddamn wait and assurances that they could countersink pretty easily, the answer is no. GRRRRRR.
their only suggestion was to find a woodwork place that had a "CNC" router, and i have already tracked down one of those places. i am sending them some basic info on the panel only ASAP. the other option was to countersink holes on the panel just large enough to get the nut onto and then screw it tight. the knobs would continue to mount above the plexi panel, not sink down into it at all. that way the countersinks would not have to be so exact as to ensure that the turning of the knob was not off centered.
they are looking into this, but suffice to say this is no longer an all clear enclosure, and i am not so sure about the etching anymore either.