Thursday, June 18, 2009

Control Panel - Finished!

Well, here it is:

I know I said I probably wasn't going to finish this for a while but I couldn't resist. I applied the instruction card to the back of the plastic control panel overlay with some scotch tape. It was way easier than I thought because I was under the impression that the instruction card was actually a sticker. Oops.

I also peeled off the protective layer of plastic and it cleaned up really really nice. It is stunning in person and it looks like it came right out of the factory!

Next up - painting the cabinet. Ugh. I've kind of started this but the problem is finding a couple of days to devote to it.

More later.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Recreating The Control Panel: Part 8

Well, here it is. This took WAY longer than I thought it would (probably about 5 hours overall) but I am happy with the results. I still have to apply the instruction card and wire everything up but you can get the idea from the pictures. I won't be doing either of those things for a while though.

The instruction care obviously goes underneath the plastic control panel overlay but you get the idea from these pictures. There is also a thin layer of protective plastic over the... um, overlay which will look a lot crisper once it is removed.

Next up - priming and painting the exterior of the cabinet. What a pain.

More later.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Recreating The Control Panel: Part 7

The last thing I had to do regarding construction was drill the holes to mount the joystick. This was a bit tricky since I was only leaving about 3/8" of material to screw into. This joystick needs to be secure because I imagine it will take a lot of abuse over the years. I was in the local Home Depot looking for a solution and I came across these:

They are perfect. There is a post that gets installed from the top and then the screw fits into the post from underneath. It makes things very secure. The only problem was getting the head of the post to be flush with the top of my control panel.

I eyeballed the placement of the stick, marked out the holes with a pencil and drilled them out. Next, I used some masking tape to cover each hole:

Then I placed the post in the hole (through the tape) and used a razor to trace the top and score the ABS plastic. The idea was to leave a circle made out of masking tape so I would know where to cut with the router but it didn't work as well as I had hoped. The bit caught onto the tape and removed it so all I had to go by was the score marks left by the razor. I'm sure a permanent marker or something could have done the job but oh well. Then I just used my 1/4" straight bit and my router set at the depth of the thickness of the head of the post and carefully removed enough ABS plastic so the head of the post would be flush. Like this:

Any imperfections here are hidden by the plastic control panel overlay. It worked great and the joystick is VERY secure.

Next up - final pics! More later.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Recreating The Control Panel: Part 6

The next thing I did was route the slot for the t-molding. There is no magic here - I just used my router and 1/16" slot cutting bit. It slot is actually a little small but the t-molding fit in there nice and tight.

Here is a side profile of the t-molding as installed:

And here is what the finished edge looks like:

It looks nice! More later.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Recreating The Control Panel: Part 5

The next thing I did was route out some material on the bottom of the control panel in two places. First I cut the groove/slot for the metal plate/catch thing to sit in so the control panel can lie flush when installed.

It was pretty easy to do. I used a 1/4" straight cutting bit with my plunge router positioned against a straight edge. I marked off the end points and made the cut in two passes.

Here is the finished groove:

And this is what the setup looked like with the straight edge for the router to run along:

To set it up perfectly I just lowered the router to zero level and lined up the edge of the bit with my layout line. Then I just played with the straight edge and the clamps until I could run the router bit exactly along the layout line. Then I adjusted the depth of the bit and made the cut in one fairly smooth motion.

Next, I removed the material along the back edge so the control panel would fit in the cabinet properly. For whatever reason, the cabinet was designed so the back edge of the control panel sits in between the block of wood where the instruction card will eventually go and the control panel supports on the sides. I have no idea why they couldn't make this "slot" 9/16" and then not require the back edge of the control panel to be cut.

No big deal though. I set up the straight edge and router exactly the same way as when I cut the groove and just slowly removed the material working back towards the straight edge. I don't have any pictures of this part but here is the back edge of the original control panel so you can see what I'm talking about:

Next up - cutting the t-molding slot and installing everything.

More later.