Overlays for Midi Controllers

1. Equipment

Midi Poti does not sell any equipment, but we may present affiliate links (they are mentionned as such). It may help maintain the website and producing more designs for all.  It is the best equipment for making boards and stickers of all kinds.

Equipment in a nutshell

– Cutting Machine: Silhouette Cameo 4

– Vynil sheets or A3 prints (to cut your shapes in it)

– A 3 laminating machine and matte pouches

– Cutting mat 12*24, blades, a couple of kraft tools (required for flawless cutting process)

– Graphic software (if you want to make your own designs).  

2. Which cutting machine ?

  • Recommended: Silhouette Cameo 3 or 4. Because of price (less than 300 €) and cutting dimensions (Cricut Maker will not allow to print and cut even small controllers!).
    • The Silhouette Cameo 4 will cut up 12 * 24 inches (30*60 cm) and supports A3 and A4.
    • The maximum “print & cut” area will be 26*39 by default, with is enough for most equipment, but you can change the position of the print marks. 
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    • For most audio equipment, you will need a 12*24 mat (30*60cm) and prints in A3 format. 
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You can find brand new Cameo 4 around 300 €

Affiliate link FR/EU –  help maintain the website

You may need to add a 12*24 mat

Affiliate link FR/EU –  help maintain the website

A3 lamination machine: 

Lamination make the board liquid-resistant, washable, flat and more durable because the inks or color pigments will be protected and “encapsulated”. Without lamination, paper quickly becomes unusable and the print fade or is damaged quickly. 

Glossy lamination is not usable: it reflects light too much (you cannot see what is on the board), and is not writable with Friction pens. Additionally, it will not allow detection of print & cut marks because it will reflect the sensor.   Matte lamination is twice the price, but works much better for music. 

1. How to Print and Cut ?

How is it done ?

The cut design and print contain “marks” which are recognized by optical sensors. Once the sensor finds all marks, it will cut the coresponding design with high precision.

There are several systems, such as “scan and cut”, and most machines have an “automatic” functions that finds contours automatically. But if you want to have good results, you must design your own shapes, which is done is various software.  The shapes is also about knowing your cutting machine and how the blades react. That way you wan make a design that works better even with older blades that don’t cut well. 

At MidiPoti, we do all shapes from scratch to create  smooth blade movements and cleaner cuts. 

3. Which Printer ?

If you have a print shop near you, that has A3 laser or led printers that can do 600*600 dpi or more,  it is the best and cheapest option. The only shortcoming is that it has to be open when you need it, may be expensive, and is not adapted to prototyping/testing because of the cost. But for printing the final product in good quality, a print shop is enough. It should be around 2 euros per side (4 € recto-verso).

Print shops may be able to laminate it for you but they usually use glossy lamination. Ask if you can bring you own matte pouches. You save the cost of a lamination machine. 

Printing good graphics require good printer and paper. They are generally an important investment because you need to print in A3 format. Inkjets and Laser printers are more expensive in A3 format. Cheap inkjet printers can do a fine job if you use high quality paper an inks.

Various print options

INKJET PRINTER A3

600*600 DPI or more

  • Cheapest option for low quantity/quality
  • Prints more easily on vinyl stickers and other materials
  • Ink can become costly (choose tank printers)
  • Quality Photo Paper is expensive
  • Not water resistant

LASER COLOR A3

600*600 DPI or more

  • Prints are water-resistant by nature.
  • Paper is much less expensive (super-white A3 / 90 g)
  • A3 Printers & Color Toner are very expensive for home users.
  • More difficult to find printable vinyls

PRINT SHOP A3

600*600 DPI or more

  • No need for expensive printers
  • High-Performance Laser/LED Printer
  • Good for final production
  • Expensive to make prototypes
  • May not exist near your place