Friday, October 16, 2015

Starting to build!

So the day has finally arrived that I start to actually put something together.  This build may not seem the most logical in terms of order, but I like to see physical progress, not just planning.  So I wanted to actually start the build - but I started simple.  I started sketching out the layouts of each panel.  While some are close to done, not all are.  What was easy, though, were the designs for the labels for the 30 mm square illuminated switches.  I didn't make any changes to Jeff's design here - I shamelessly copied it all.  The inside of each of the switches is about 0.86" x 0.86" (I apologize for switching systems of units, but my calipers are in imperial while most of the hardware for the build is in metric).  So a simple layout will suffice for these.

30 mm square illuminated push button labels

I printed these on a laserjet transparency and cut them out with a pen knife.  Then I had to get them into the button.  You could glue them to the surface, but getting them inside the button will protect the print from being worn down with play.  This is pretty straightforward to do, but here are the steps:

The button first needs to be disassembled.  If you gently twist the microswitch counterclockwise (looking from behind), you can remove the microswitch assembly from the rest of the button

At this point, you can remove the hold down nut and the rear trim piece around the button, but it is completely unnecessary: 
Now you'll need to remove the center assembly from the threaded black piece.  To do this, you need to pinch the white tabs at the rear of the assembly, but to do that, you'll first need to depress the spring to get it out of the way.  I just used a micro screwdriver:
Then squeeze the tabs together and push the assembly out the front of the black piece.
With the assembly, out, remove the spring:
And then use a micro screwdriver in a corner between the white and clear plastic pieces to slowly and carefully pry the clear faceplate off the rest of the assembly.  Do this carefully because you don't want to break anything.
With the switch disassembled, you now simply need to place the transparency piece into the clear faceplate between it and the white backing plate:
Then reassemble the switch, following the reverse of the disassembly procedure.  The only watchout is to be careful of the direction the tabs at the rear of the white assembly are pointing when you put it together with the faceplate.  I made sure they went parallel with the wording on the transparency -  this will ensure the microswitch goes left/right under the button when you assemble the panel, making it less likely to interfere with any of the wood structure under the panel.

When you get to putting the microswitch back in, you may choose to change the LED if you want.  This is pretty straightforward - pull the old LED out, unwrap the cathode and anode, pull the old LED from the bracket, and wrap one of your choice of colors in behind it.  I did this for the Master Alarm and Abort buttons, replacing them with a 5 mm diffused red LED at this point.  The others I'm not certain yet on what color or size I'm going to use, at least until the blue and green 5mm diffused LEDs I ordered come in.

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