Over the last two weeks, I’ve slowing started getting the control panels together. First up was getting them sized – I used the dimensions of the artwork as a starting point and cut up some MDF to match. Next was getting the button holes cut out, along with some small holes for the bolts.
Because both control panels are the same, it was easy to mark everything out on the first panel, clamp both together and then drill the guide holes. Once the was done, I could separate and work on each one individually.
After getting all the hole cut, I looked at the placement of the bolts for the joystick. Here is where I hit my first unexpected hurdle. With my previous machines, they have both used a metal control panel – which is thing. Here I have 18mm of MDF for the joystick to sit below – plus another 3.5mm acrylic to sit on top. It left about 2-3mm above the surface for the joystick ball. Not good. I got the router out, and set to work on halving the thickness of the MDF around the joystick area. It’s a pretty snug fit, with just a little room to rotate and adjust.
From there, it was a repeat job for the second control panel
All that remains for this pieces is a little trimming around each side to get the surface area down a fraction in size. This will mean I have to trim the artwork slightly, but there is plenty of excess room on each side to allow for some trimming. I will also need to fill two of the bolt holes on the first control panel, which were cut in the wrong spot. After some filler, and artwork on top, they will never be seen again.
While I have the router out, I will get the tmolding slot cut on the panels, and then turn my attention to doing the speak grills on the front and back panels (which I successfully avoided doing by working on the control panel :))