Barleycorn with lasercut plate (help)?

Hi KeebTallk,

I am new here as a member, but have been lurking and building for a while. Hi!

I want to build a custom case for a Barleycorn out of olivewood and I’m thinking of having a plate lasercut from LaserBoost (polished copper). My searching and asking them leads me to believe that this has never been done before and no file for or design for a Barleycorn plate exists. I don’t have the skills to design one myself and send them the relevant files, so I hope that someone somewhere has done this sort of thing or can give me advice. The Barleycorn is not negotiable, by the way. I really love that f-row-less layout and exposed diodes.

Fingers crossed and hi again!

MP

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Hello @MeesterPeach!

Here is what I do for my plate designs.

  1. Use keyboard layout editor to create the key layout.
    http://www.keyboard-layout-editor.com/
    Once done, copy and save the raw data to a file.

  2. Go to AI03 plate generator.
    https://kbplate.ai03.com/
    Copy your saved date from the keybaord layout generator.
    You can tune you raw data for special cases like stabilizers facing orientation for example.
    Generate the zipp file containing the dxf file.

  3. Final design modifications.
    You may go without this final step if the dxf file is to your liking.
    If not you can use a 2D vector drawing program (like InkScape).
    I personnaly use Fusion 360 cad software because I’m used to it and you can see the result in 3D.
    In Fusion 360 I import the DXF file and do the modifications I want, then export to dxf the result (there is a magic trick to do that very easily from the top plane of the 3D plate :wink: ).

  4. Go to LaserBoost, spend money, and voilà !

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This is wonderful advice, thank you Rico!

In the last step (3) how much can you do without risking messing everything up? Because I see myself wanting to put in leafsprings for gaskets and other fancy crap, if I get my hands on this. :smiley:

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Well, if you mess up you restart from AI03 generated design again :stuck_out_tongue:
This happened to me a lot, especially the first time I did it.

Then there is the dimensioning errors you may make … and that you will discover only after the plate is made.
For this case I take the time to carefully double/triple/quadruple check that everything looks good before pressing the ‘buy’ button.

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Indeed, I see a lot of room to get things wrong here before sending in the file to be cut. I am at the CAD stage right now and I feel like I am handling a chainsaw that I am too weak to handle. Will take my time with this and get better length measurement tools before pulling the trigger with LaserBoost.

In any case, thank you very much. Glad I joined the group.

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Second all Rico’s recommendations.

I know this is a bit old school but I started printing the dxf files to paper on a 1-1 ratio. This has caught a few mistakes and gives me a higher level of confidence things will work before sending to be cut. I did the same for pcbs on kicad with different layers turned on.

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Rico’s recommendations are all spot on. I would also add that it may help to post the .dxf, or a screenshot of it, before having it cut. In case there is an issue that someone more experienced might catch.

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Thank you everyone. I will definitely post the .dxf file. I guess here is enough, right? I have the basic .dxf for the plate as per Rico’s instructions and it looks good (did not print it out on paper yet), but I am now trying to add leafsprings for gaskets in CAD, which is proving more complicated and finicky than I can handle at the moment. So I will post both when finished. Now that I have the chainsaw in my hand I want to give the plate 3-8 leafsprings on top and bottom that will give some flex to the plate and do a top-bottom gasket mount to the case on the springs. My thinking here: super quiet, a bit of flex and bounce, but nice bottoming out on the copper plate (maybe steel would be better? No idea how copper would perform with this design).

Thanks again for all the advice.

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Can tell you that it will be probably stiff even with the leaf spring if you are not taking care of the thickness and lenght of the leaves. I previously made a leaf spring design for one of my boards in brass and it was stiffer than I thought…
But by having thinner leaves it may work, like 1.5mm (mine were 3mm thick) and decently long.

Copper is as stiff as brass and also less springy (it is a soft and dense material), so if you bend it too much it will not go back to its shape. If the leaves are long enough, you may expect around 1mm flex and not deform your plate permanantly.
Ideally making stress simulation in Fusion360 would give you the answer, but it is yet another thing to learn …