Saturday, November 29, 2008

More Work on Control Panel

Some major delays in getting my arcade finished, but I was able to get some work done over the Thanksgiving weekend. I finished drilling all the holes in the Lexan cover... then I had to route out some small square areas for the joystick and trackball brackets to fit in - they're now flush with the surface of the wood (sunk down about 1/16" to 1/8") - finally I drilled out the areas where the joy and trackball hardware will fit up under the control panel and connect to the brackets.

Up next, I need to paint the CP black, mount the CP overlay graphic, and then connect all the hardware. I'm close to having this thing done. The PC is ready and all the games are installed...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

T-Molding slot on CP and Chamfer Bit

Today I cut the slot around the Control Panel that the t-molding will fit into - because my CP is covered by 1/8" Lexan, I also chose to use a Chamfer bit with my router to shave a bit of wood off the bottom edge that is visible when the Lexan and t-molding are put on. The Chamfer bit cut the wood at a 45 degree angle. You can see in one of the photos here the slight edging done.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Cutting the Lexan and Drilling Button Holes

Got a lot done today. First, as someone who is NOT a woodworking expert, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by what I got done today. I've been dreading the control panel for some time, especially drilling the button holes and using a flush bit with my router to shape the Lexan.

Well, the LEXAN cut like butter - my feed speed was about 1" per second and there was no burn or melting. I used a double-flute flush bit with a pilot - I had ZERO clue what this pilot thing was until I just sat down and examined what I needed to do and how this bit would help me. I hope that one of my images here will help someone else in my shoes - it shows that the pilot (a little silver spinner at the end of the bit) is rolling against the 3/4" plywood and the blade is cutting the Lexan. I just had to figure out how to properly clamp the pieces and give myself a gap between the CP and the spare pieces of 3/4" I used to support the Lexan that would become waste.

I know a lot of people have said that using a portable-drill-press-plunger (the kind that attaches to your electric drill) isn't the best way to go, but it's all I actually own. I don't have room (yet) for a full size drill press, so I pulled out the device, attached my drill, put the Forstner 1-1/8" in the chuck and used my center marks on all the holes for accuracy. I had to put a little more energy into pushing down on the drill, but it worked and my holes came out great (I used a spare piece of plywood on the bottom to prevent splintering).

Tomorrow I'll use these holes as pilot holes to drill the Lexan button holes. I also drilled to holes that will hold the trackball plate in place (I'm going to route out the plate space so it is flush with the CP surface). I inserted the trackball plate just to make certain all my drill holes were dead-on and they were... so I know that using the trackball plate as a template for routing my trackball hole will be perfect with my CP overlay.

Had fun - the afternoon went too fast but I did a lot of "measure twice" type work and took my time. I should be able to do some more routing tomorrow - I'm anxious to get this CP done! I've got all my electronics now, so it's coming together...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Software for creating Control Panel

While creating my control panel, I wrote a small tutorial on how to use Inkscape, the free OpenSource graphics software I used. It's a 2MB color PDF file (zipped up) that can be downloaded here.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Control Panel Overlay

I got my control panel overlay (CPO) completed and ordered via - it looks great. It's on a heavy vinyl and the colors are nice and vivid. I also have my control panel template (CPT) printed that will help me with accurate drilling.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Slot cut and Chamfer for the Control Panel

I'm going to wrap a piece of green t-molding around the control panel and the Lexan protective cover. This will require me to shift the slot I cut into the side of the CP up 1/8" (to make up for the extra thickness of the 1/8" Lexan). Unfortunately, this will also leave a 1/8" wood gap below the t-molding. To hide this, I'll be using a Chamfer router bit to cut an angle into the wood (see image). Since the CP will be painted black, this should make the underside of the CP less visible.

The slot for the t-molding will also have to shift up 1/8" inch so it will now be cut 1/2" from the bottom of the wood using the 1/16" slot cutter bit.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Control Panel design

I'm finishing up the control panel which has been my biggest holdup on this project - it's got a lot of woodworking involved, including some special routing and drilling. Here's a draft image for the button layout and the joysticks.

Also, I'm posting two images for the control panel overlay - these aren't 100% and I'm not even sure one of them will be the final overlay graphic, but I think you'll get the idea. The green trackball will light up and will be inside the central saucer.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Back to work...

Today I purchased a sheet of 24" x 48" Lexan... this will sit over the control panel and (hopefully) protect the graphics underneath it. I'll have about 12" of width on the Lexan as waste, but I can use this to test my drilling skills through this material.

I was told that Lexan will get scratched over time - to prevent this, they add about a US$60 fee to make it "scratch resistant" - not buying it. It just makes it more difficult to scratch, but not scratch-proof. Considering this 24x48 piece cost me about $30 I can afford to buy 2 more pieces over the years if I have to and just redrill the holes.

I also bought a great little router bit that will help me cut out the recesses for the joysticks and trackball mount plate (so they mount flush with the wood). I'm hoping to get started on my control panel this weekend and get this project finished by end of summer. I got sidetracked by a little 1 year old boy who has been learning to crawl, then walk, and now talk - totally worth shelving this project for a few months or more. But ready to get back to it...

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Business was crazy for the start of the new year, so the month of January was a bust for getting anything done.
I was able to get the bezel template cut and then transferred it to a black 1/4" foam board. The foam board is from Elmer's (the glue people) and was 32" x 40" for only $5.50. Just cut it with a box cutter.

I've found a couple of glass shops nearby that have given me some nice quotes on tempered "smoke glass" - I'm going to run out this next week and check them out before purchasing, but I'm hoping to have the glass in my possession for insertion next weekend.

I took other people's advice and finished my cabinet BEFORE touching the Control Panel. Now the motivation to get the CP done is high and I'm ready to start.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Test Run

Hooked everything up for a test run... the marquee lights up, the Luminglas works, speakers crank out the sound, and the monitor is very bright. Now I've got to get the CP working.

While I'm preparing for the CP, I've taken measurements and am going to cut my own bezel to go in front of the monitor. I'm going to make it using black foam-board and then cover it with smoked glass which should reduce glare and make the games appear sharper.