I finally picked up an Akai APC40 to extend my Ableton setup. It's a great tool for recording or performing music without having to touch the computer. Everything is intuitively placed right at your fingertips so your hands can work their magic. The design is extremely powerful and even easier to use than I expected. Since I plan to be doing more performance outside of my studio, I was keen to remove the plastic wings on the side of the unit as they prevent the unit from fitting into my gig bag and take up valuable space on my table. I obviously wanted to make thick leather sides to give it a classy look. The unit came apart easily and went back together just as smooth. The only tricky part was realizing I'd have to take off ALL of the rear screws to get the side panels off.
( **Note this will certainly void your warranty ) 1. Remove ALL the screws on the back and then remove the back panel 2. Remove plastic wings by releasing the plastic tabs that hold them. 3. Heat a razor with a blowtorch and remove all of the plastic tabs on the side to ensure a good gluing surface between the leather and the body. 4. Reassemble to the unit. 5. Put the APC40 on it's side and trace it out on a piece of paper of thin cardboard. 6. Use the pattern to cut out your material. (Note: you'll need to make an interior spacer for your material to glue to which will be 1/8" smaller all around. I used a 8 oz piece of Veg tan leather identical to the outer piece. 7. Glue all of the pieces together. You make want to rough up all of the surface with sandpaper to get better adhesion. Use a contact cement or other similar glue. 8. Clamp the material to the unit using pipe clamps and two pieces of wood. If you don't have pipe clamps, put a 2x4" piece of wood on either side and tie them to each other with stretchy rope to provide some clamping action. Leave overnight to dry. I bevelled and polished the edged of the leather to finish it off a little . Now it's time to make some music!