How do I achieve that lovely matte finish on eurorack panels?

I’m in the early stages of planning an entirely DIY modular build and wondered if anyone has experience with finishing aluminium front panels, the monome modules have such an attractive looking finish, how might one achieve that matte finish?

It doesn’t look brushed to me, more like some kind of anodised or etched finish maybe?

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A common DIY technique is using scouring pads. Good rundown here:


yay for surface chemistry. thank you for sharing this…ironically this is highly relevant to a problem we’re having with our 3D printers right now.

I’ve done that, and it works okay, but unless you coat it, it will still scratch easily.

For recent builds, I’ve used clear anodized aluminium sheet (5005 alloy, H34 temper) I bought off ebay and it looks similar, but not identical, to the panel on my Ansible.

I can’t speak for Monome panels, but I run AI Synthesis, and have my euro panels made by the same place that makes 80% of the silver aluminum panels out there (at least in the US).
That process is called metalphoto, wherein the art is actually within the aluminum, so it can’t be scratched off.
It’s very good, and can achieve wonderful results when done well, but as far as I know, the manufacturer doesn’t do one offs. If you google “custom metalphoto” you should be able to find more information.


Thanks folks! this is a really interesting range of different options and approaches to look into.

looks stunning, what thickness was that?

1.6 mm (aka 1/16 inch, aka 0.0625 inch, aka 0.063 inch, aka 16 gauge… Between all these ways of measuring thickness, and the whole aluminium/aluminum thing, searching ebay gets a bit tedious.)

How are you planning on cutting your panels?

would you tell me where you make them ?

Responded to your email.

Metalphoto of Cincinnati

FWIW - i contacted them about small run and/or prototyping a few panels and they were very slow to respond and then did not contact me again after saying they’d get back to me.

My guess/takeaway is they’re busy enough to not want to deal with small (one-off) jobs.