2mm thick panels on the Haas

For some upcoming projects I’d like to make faceplates for electronics modules ( Eurorack Synth modules specifically. )

These will typically have holes for various potentiometers, audio jacks, switches, and a couple of mounting screws. Hole sizes from 1/8 up to 3/4", ballpark.

I’m trying to think ahead on how to do this - beyond studying up and passing the test on the Hass.

So how do you mount a 2mm thick piece of Aluminium on the Hass and machine holes all the way thru ?

Thicker plate mounted to the table, machined flat, then covered with a sacrificial piece of acrylic with the actual work piece on top of that ?

Most use double sided tape for hold down on thin sheets. Do not know if they allow that on our HASS however.

No. The coolant would just blow that tape away and likely throw the part.
First off you need a sacrificial plate underneath and then holdowns are used. Depending on the complexity of it you might have to make a fixture plate and screw things down.

Now having said that- chatter on thin stock is a real bi•ch. resent work on thin aluminum backing plates required a LOT of deburring. We found the plasma cutter was a better solution. It was faster and gave some really clean cuts

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I second Nicks plasma cutter recommendation.

I’ve used the plasma cutter for similar projects.

Can the plasma cutter cut holes down to 1/8 inch diameter in aluminium ?

I haven’t worked wit the new machine yet. Class Sunday…

@hon1nbo will know for sure. I. Ant remember the hole sizes we had on the plates but they were for basic shop screws. It cut them quite nicely

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I haven’t tested how small of holes we can get on this machine. The old machine would do about .150” holes.

Depends on the material; aluminum and thin it will make holes that small, though expect to deburr them. If they need to be precise I would try and downsize it, make a pierce, and then drill them.

IIRC on the plates we did recently they were #10 screw holes on 1/8 aluminum and we just deburred the edge and it was good to go.


If your plates aren’t huge, and if you’re using aluminum (i.e, no cutting fluid), you could use double-sided tape on a sacrificial plate in the Shapeoko. While you couldn’t put a 3/4" drill bit in there, for instance, you can use a center-cutting endmill to mill a 3/4" circle. I seem to recall that the Shapeoko usable working area is roughly 12" squared - it might be slightly less. As an added benefit you could engrave text on there at the same time.

How precise does the location need to be?

Ideally, precise enough to mate with items mounted on a circuit board. Which is to say the holes could be made slightly oversized and work fine.

12"x12" would be fine for most of what I have in mind, and the engraving is a big plus.

Yet another tool to learn to use… :slight_smile:

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So it sounds like 0.010" wouldn’t be an issue … In which case, I’d darn sure try out the Shapeoko.

I’d use DS turner’s tape to hold down the aluminum - I’ve used that successfully on the Shapeoko. I think (but could be wrong) that milling the large holes with a small bit, instead of drilling them with a large bit, should generate less torque and be less likely to rip the plate off the tape.


Tape might work on the shapokey since the motor is not high torque. The haas would likely throw it. The issue with.010” is two fold. How is it held down when you cut thru? I hate tabs but they will work. I would prefer a web about 0.003” through out. This would be more feasible once we move and I can get a debur wheel.

Just a “for example”:

The panel linked is 6.8 inches wide and 3U ( ~5in ) high.

Being able to make repeatable rows is one of the big goals for me. One item I want to build is a slightly different form factor - 1.75 inches high by 12-15 inches long with holes for 16 switches, 16 LEDs, 16 potentiometers, all in sets. The outer perimeter I see no problem with having to debur. The holes themselves though I pretty much need clean. Might be able to do that with a conical deburring tool after machining too. Just not sure how well it would turn out.

Painters tape and super glue works great

And yes it works just fine with the coolant. Be sure to use a subplate so you don’t accidental damage the bed of the HAAS.

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I meant lateral positioning accuracy of the Shapeoko …


Panel thickness would be about 2mm. 1/8" or 3/32" in acutality, since those will be easier to obtain here.

Very nifty.

Looks like that would work well for what I have in mind.

Do we have an engraving tool for the Hass ?

This isn’t just a cheap workholding, this is one of the best chatter free methods that I have seen. You need to make sure the part is faced and flat unless you are not using coolant. Two faced flat parts can handle full coolant flood no problem.

My recommendation however, it to plasma cut the bulk of your part and then laser cut out 1/4" thick mdf jig that overlaps with your part and press bushings/drill guides into the mdf drill jig to quickly drill out your holes.

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That would kind of defeat the purpose of having an automated way to make panels.

2 separate machines with associated CAD tasks, THEN a manual process is not quite the direction I wanted to go.

Why do you recommend such a complex approach vs some process on a single machine ? I readily admit I may be missing something here.

Keep in mind that most of what I want to do will be very low quantity ( maybe even one offs ). I just want a way to make my DIY stuff look more professional.

Plasma and laser are both easy to learn 2D processes. Hass CNC programming is a whole nother level. If it’s low quantity, what’s the big deal with a little manual work?