I have finished wiring and testing out two panels now - in the pic below you may be able to see the bottom row of green/red buttons lit up - they llok great. you can also see the clear difference between the first one i fucked up (on left) and the one i wired correctly (on right):
i am running both through a USB hub that will be velcroed into the bottom of the enclosure to grab data from all 6 devices in the end. its not visible in the pic above.
and i also solved the button issue mentioned below. I had a dip switch setting wrong that was interpreting two buttons as if they were analog pots. done deal. the LED issue remains, but on the second one that i wired up correctly and without the LEDs, everything is running perfectly. i may detach them from the first and just attach to power. they will be always on. interesting but not what i had hoped for.
In addition, the entire enclosure is done save for staining it, which i think we will do this weekend. and i have connected all buttons and pots, ready to be wired as soon as i can: