Monday, April 27, 2009

Second Attempt With Bondo

OK, after a somewhat long delay due to the weather, I was finally able to make a little more progress. I enlisted the help of my daughter who has really taken an interest in arcade machines (I think she just likes hanging out with her dad) and she inspected the side that I first filled and sanded. She noticed several imperfections by running her fingers over the surface which she circled with a pencil (thanks Bella!). Then I applied some additional bondo in those spots and sanded everything smooth.

I was pretty satisfied with the results so I did the exact same thing on the other side panel. As you can see in some of the pictures there were several spots along the back edge that needed to be filled in so I clamped a piece of scrap wood behind the panel in order to apply the bondo. Before applying the bondo I wrapped the scrap wood (which was actually fireplace kindling) in plastic so the bondo wouldn't stick to it.

It seems to have worked - I'm not sure how strong it will be but I don't envision that area taking a beating or anything so I think I'll be OK. The tricky part is getting a nice clean edge along the back - I think that would be noticeable if it wasn't exactly straight.

This part sure is taking forever. I still have to go over the entire cab one more time at least (probably 2) filling in the small imperfections with bondo and sanding it smooth. Once that is finished I'm going to go over everything with 220 grit sandpaper to get it ready for the primer. What a pain!

More later.

Friday, April 17, 2009


Damn. I have a whole new appreciation for people who take on these restoration projects. Getting the bondo just right is very difficult. I haven't even started painting yet and I've already put in about 5 times as much time as I thought this would take. The edges are especially tricky and smoothing out the rough spots sounds easy in theory but getting it *perfect* is not a quick job.

I've made some progress but it's more of the same (filling, sanding, filling, sanding, etc.) so I'm not sure pictures will make a difference...

More later.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

First Attempt With Bondo

Last Saturday I tried working outside like I had planned but it was really really windy out and it was also pretty cold (46 degrees). After about 30 minutes my hands started to go numb and I realized I wasn't having any fun (which is the whole point) so I decided to hold off until warmer weather. Of course on Sunday it was 65 degrees but I had other things to do...

Anyway, here are some pictures showing the small bit of progress I made. I laid the cab down on its side to make it easier to work on. I sanded the entire surface using 100 grit sandpaper just to rough it up so the bondo would have something to stick to. Then I started patching the holes and dings. I had to work fast because after mixing the hardener there's only about 4-5 minutes before it sets.

Here are a couple of close-ups so you can see how sloppy I was. The edges were a mess in some spots but I'll just sand it all smooth and no one will ever know.

I used this type of bondo (there are several differnet brands/types to choose from):

It was easy enough to work with - the real challenge in making it look nice will be in the sanding and painting.

I hope to get out this coming Saturday but it looks like it might rain.

More later.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Control Panel

I am finally in a position to start recreating the control panel! The weather is supposed to be nice this weekend and more importantly, I got my hands on an original control panel to copy - huge thanks to Bender over at BYOAC!!! He sent me his control panel all the way from Maine!

Here is what the top looks like:

As you can see, the top is actually laminated because the control panel overlay does not completely cover the plywood. You can see the outline of where the control panel overlay used to be. The two holes on the right and left sides in the middle hold the control panel strikes in place underneath (they allow the control panel to be locked into place). Someone also drilled an extra hole in this thing for god knows what.

Here are a couple of shots from underneath:

Nothing crazy here - the area by the joystick was routed out so the joystick mounting plate could sit flush with the top. I'll be recreating that as well.

I am actually quite surprised how well it has held up considering it is 25+ years old. The edges on all 4 sides are still very crisp and it should be easy to copy it with a pattern bit and my router. I'll also use it to place the 8 holes for the screws which hold down the overlay. Once that is in place I'll be able to exactly drill out the 3 button holes and the hole for the joystick.

I need to find a piece of black laminate or something to cover the plywood with too. Hopefully Home Depot has something I can use.

More later.