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Monthly Archives: January 2015

  • Hawksley Workman - Ward-Beck Console #76042

    Gearing up for his 18th record, Hawksley Workman's studio is kept warm with his WBS 76042.

    Hawksley Workman at his Ward-Beck Systems 76042 console

    Originally commissioned for a mobile broadcast recording truck on the west coast, this console is getting another opportunity to record some great music.   He described it as "the console of his dreams".  Functionality flexible and a perfect form factor for his studio.  Being one of only a handful recording consoles built by Ward-Beck Systems, the is console powerful enough to incorporate multitrack routing and mixing.

    It's nice to see all the lights glowing again.

    Hawksley Workman - Ward-Beck Systems 76042 console 001

    There are some planned modifications,  but the console is in amazing condition functionally and cosmetically.  Considering the size of the loom of wire from the console to the patch bay, it traveled extremely well across the country.

    Hawksley Workman - Ward-Beck Systems 76042 console 002IMG_5181

    Most importantly: the artwork for the console is complete and well referenced.  2015-01-26 08.30.37

    We have been consulting on the console, and giving users like Hawksley tips and advice on keeping the race-car on the track through the support of the

  • 3D Design: Prototyping Speaker Box Enclosure Designs

    We are making our first serious forays into making 3D printing today, with testing out some speaker enclosure designs with our new 3D printer. Maybe they work, maybe they won't. But it is great being able to design and print out prototypes on the go! Our printer will be hard at work overnight printing our another speaker box design that our team will test on Monday.

    20150123_162803 20150123_162812 20150123_162834 20150123_162851

    Have a good weekend, everyone!

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  • Custom Project: Building customized control panels for a new client

    One of the projects we have been working on the past months is building a couple of custom control panels for a client that has a Yamaha DME64N Digital Mixing Engine that they would like to access and control remotely. They commissioned us to make two controls panels, which would allow the users to control the digital processor box from where the users were located, rather than walking over to the control panel every time something needed to be adjusted.

    Adam from our R&D team was mainly in charge of this project, although it of course involved much input from the metal shop, procurement and production departments. It all started out with sourcing out the appropriate raw materials needed in order to make the custom build. With the parts sourced, Dave from metal shop got to drawing up some possible designs and dimensions for the metal boxes housing the control.

    With the design of the control panels finalized, Dave worked his magic in the metal shop. This is a tricky part because even the slight error in bending the metal means the material has to be scrapped, new sheets of aluminum have to be ordered and brought in, and the whole has to be redone. Thankfully, Dave is a master and an old hand at this, so we did nothave to jump through all these hoops.

    A quick look at what processes the metal goes through in the metal shop is as follows. After we procure the sheet metal, it needs to be bent correctly with the bending machine, according to the specifications that Dave drew up. First, the bending angles are set and calibrated on scrap sheet metal, in order to make sure that the final bend will be perfect. When the bending is done, the sharp angles from the bending and cutting need to be smoothed out with a grinder, so that the end user will not cut their hands on anything. Next, the metal makes a stop at the washing station in order to clean the surface and edges, and give them a nice shine.

    After all this is done, along with in any holes and cutting out any opening that need to be made, you end up with some pretty neat looking metal boxes to house the final packaging in.

    The holes punched into the metal above indicate the places for the rear terminations, where the user can plug connections into the control panel.

    Now the R&D team can get to working on how to install the required controls into the box. Here they are installing the control buttons onto the front of panel before the metal can be sent for painting, in order to finalize the layout and make sure everything works.


    Here we can see the front and back of the front panel in progress, showing the wiring of all the buttons and the control panel. The wires are not laid out and tied up properly yet because this is just a test before the final painting of the metal.

    After the layout is finalized and known to be working, the metal can be sent for painting.

    After the metal is painted, here it is on the workbench with the buttons being put in and wiring being finalized. The wiring is being neatly tied up now, to prepare the final product. The two rear termination plugged into the wires will be slotted into the two holes pointed up above in the back panel.

    Here is one of the final stages in putting together the back panel. You can see the rear terminations slotted into the back panel openings. On the other end of the wires leading from the rear terminations, you will see the buttons which will be fitted into the front panel.

    Now the front and back panels can be fitted together and taken to the customer, ready for using!

    In this case, our R&D team actually went over to the client’s office to demonstrate the product and discuss more work that needs to be done, including building some custom cable to go with the panel. That is advantage of being a small manufacturing business with our own R&D and metal shop. If anyone needs a custom build, we have the in-house personnel and knowledge to quickly prototype and build it, and we’re always on hand to give speedy and in-person feedback.

    This is also why we are so excited to have our new 3D printer in our arsenal. With this, we can prototype any custom build easily by 3D printing it, before we give the go ahead to make a metal prototype, which will need more preparation, procurement and resource allocation.

    Got a custom project you want to get a move on? Give Ward-Beck a shout. We’re only a phonecall away!

  • Testing our new 3D printer - Video

    We have been busy this week building and testing our new 3D printer at Ward-Beck Systems. Adam from our R&D team assembled this printer from parts supplied by the manufacturer. It took a while to put the printer together, but it is worth it! We did some calibration testing with them, and it looks like the printer is ready to go. Below is a test of it building a small cube.


    We left it overnight to do a test build and here's what we came back to find:


    Not a small feat considering that our R&D team literally began with a pile of loose screws and parts with minimal instructions. Our first tests, seen below, might not be so impressive:

    3D Printer Prototype

    However, we believe this printer is a solid addition to the Ward-Beck R&D family. It gives us a chance to rapidly prototype new builds, rather than sorting out metalwork everytime we come up with a revision. We are hopeful that it will increase the efficiency of our R&D, and help us to come out with new products that serve our customers at a faster pace! Here is to a great new year!

  • Our new 3D printer is calibrated...

    ...and ready to go!

    3D Printer Prototype

  • Tool of the Day: Ribbon cables and ribbon cable cutters

    A lot of Ward-Beck’s rack-mounted metering and monitoring applications make use of ribbon cables, such as the 32ME-MADI pictured below. What is a ribbon cable? A ribbon cable is a cable made of many wires that run parallel to each other on a flat plane, reducing the risk of wiring error and malfunction due to the parallel configuration of the conductors.

    Ribbon cables come in many sizes and runs of conductors, a few of which can be seen below, and they have many advantages.

    Continue reading

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