Prototyping in Acrylic
First some good news: I got time with an oscilloscope to debug my problem from before and figured out what was going on. So I'm no longer roadblocked.
I went down to my local public workshop to make an acrylic faceplate to finish off the design. I laid out the faceplate in inkscape with cut lines that match the shape of the board with cutouts for bolts and room for the breakout headers that can be used for hacking.
Then I acquired some scrap 3/8" acrylic and went to Art Design Portland (ADX) in SE Portland to have them cut on their laser cutter.
I've never laser cut anything before. The people at ADX were very helpful in setting up the file for "printing" even let me make several test cuts to see how different settings affected the material. If you live in the Portland area I suggest checking them out!
The result, seen below, was really great! The circles line up perfectly over the LEDs and act as diffusers for the light.
I also wanted to make a back plate to finish off the casing. I made a very simple outline with bold holes and the website etched in the middle. This time I was able to use the laser at the brand new electronics prototyping lab at Portland State University. It also served as a nice test for their laser cutter.
I spent some time (too much time, actually) this week setting up some nice photos and putting together some video of the laser cutters in action.
Now that the hardware is built I will spend another couple of days making an "end to end" test of the prototype with a write up and possibly a video showing it in action. Then the only decision left will be whether or not to make one more test build with the minor changes mention last time, or to make the first production run!