Thank you for the write up!
You were right with the potentiometers. The older ones we used came in short supply for some reason, i couldn't find them anywhere. I moved to these new ones and you are correct the holes for the pins do not line up. You can either drill new holes, or just use some pliers and take the tab off. it comes off very easily. If they are tightened up properly they should stay in thier spot, a small glob of GOOP glue will eliminate any chance of them twisting.
that is a very fair review, and i appreciate you taking the time to write it up.
To address a couple points, you are correct, there is no mounting hole for the Display switch. When we first started this the displays we used could be connected while uploading code with no problems. Unfortunately that design was changed on us and they became very susceptible to being "bricked" if you did not remove the arduino, so we added a switch to the feed on our newer controllers. We had already moved away from the older box design, but it still fit well for DIY purposes. One could install a small rocket switch, or a normally ON pushbutton and just hold it in when uploading. I went ahead and set the new PCB up to force people to make a decision, either hard wire it, add a jumper, or add a switch.
The db9 connectors. I never really liked them. You cant get a decent connection without a screwdriver, but DB9 is very accessible for DIY and easy to use. Plus our instructions already had the DB-9 connector on it, and the box comes with the DB-9 hole.
The provided hex nuts should still allow good connection, we had to search quite a bit to find some as short as these. The first batch we found was perfect, but when those were out we were unable to find any more with such a low profile head. The ones we provide we have used on plenty of these enclosures and they SHOULD work just fine, but you do need to screw it in completely.
The puzzlebox chassis is all done by hand. I use a very thin hacksaw blade on a wooden handle. It took a couple tries to get it to fit right, but after you do 2-3 of them its easy to get that fit.
I am a fan of the Arduino shield design. The Arduino's really are genius, and so easy to use. It makes it possible to make very complicated DIY projects much easier. I have built about 20 or so of the old style controllers, i used the same instructions on the website, and it really was a pain in the ass. All those jumpers and solder connections just increase the likely hood of a failure. By designing a shield it really makes things easier, the labeling makes it a breese to know what connects where, and hopefully more people will be willing to try this as a DIY project.
By the way, I'm kidding no the puzzlebox. That is laser cut.