The Alpha 9mm potentiometers
used in the x0xi0 kits do not come with a painted pointer, the whole shaft is
black. Custom parts can be ordered from Alpha or Alps with a painted white line
pointer but minimum order quantities are on the order of 5,000 pcs. I’m not
buying quite that many at this time so I have resorted to painting the pointers
myself. The first time I did this it was fairly tedious and took me about an
hour. After doing several at this point I can do a whole kit of them in less than
15 minutes. If you are skilled enough to build a x0xi0 kit then you can
certainly paint your position pointers without much trouble. Aside from looking
much better, painting the pointers obviously helps a lot in seeing knob
positions. I generally paint them white, although you can certainly paint them
some other color to suite personal taste.
The tools required are a #0 paint brush, acrylic paint, a lint-free rag,
a small dish for water, and a small dish for the paint. I choose to use acrylic
paint because it is water based and won’t be compromised by oily fingers. The
knobs on my first prototype were painted back in 2007 and are still working
Step 1. Preparing
paint and water dish
This is rather obvious but
it helps to put some paint into a small dish and have a second dish with water
for rinsing the brush and cleaning your fingers as you are wiping the pot
shafts to remove excess paint. If the paint seems a little thick sometimes I thin it out with a very little bit of water mixed in.
Place the potentiometers
The painting can really be
done at any time during the build. The easiest is to do it before you get
started stuffing the x0xi0 top PCB, as you can insert the potentiometers into
their places as a placeholder to hold them while painting.
Step 3. Painting
The pointers are fairly easy
to paint because there is a recessed groove for the paint to get into. If you
get excess paint outside of the groove you simply wipe it off with a finger.
I like to paint the top
surface of the pointer first and then go back and paint the side surface. I
usually paint each surface twice, so the whole pointer gets painted twice by
the time I’m done. If you use a lot of paint you can probably get a way with
painting only once.
- after painting the top surface of the pointer use your thumb or finger to wipe over the top of
the pot shaft to remove excess paint
- after painting the side
surface again use your thumb or finger to carefully wipe off any excess
paint off the shaft. The side surface is a little more difficult, more
care is need not to get paint into all the ribs in the pot shaft.