Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Cutting out the panels

It's been a few days, but I've been slowly making progress.  I've been working on cutting out all the openings in each panel for the switches and readouts.  This is rather tedious work.  I've got a drill press, so all round holes were easy.  The rectangular ones are slow going, though - I don't have a scrollsaw (what did I say earlier about not being afraid to do this without the best tools?), but I do have an oscillating multitool and files.  The multitool is simply too large to use for anything but the largest cutouts (around the status lights, the LCD screen and the 7 segment displays), so for those it is a matter of using the drill press to open up a hole and then a square and flat file to finish the opening.  If you choose this method, be aware that the multitool (or scrollsaw, for that matter) are not precision tools.  You'll want to leave the line in the pattern and file down to it, test fitting your pieces as you go.

For the round openings, here are the best drill sizes I had to make things work and fit well:

Holes for the #6 mounting screws  - 9/64"

10 mm LED mounting clips - 9/16"

Square and round arcade push buttons - 1"

Potentiometers - 17/64" pilot hole for the shaft, then countersink the backside of the panel with a 3/4" bit - the shafts simply weren't long enough without that countersink.  You'll need to go about halfway through the panel on the countersink.  Be careful not to go too far.

Pyro switches and all SPST/SPDT toggle switches - 15/32"

headphone and mic jacks - 1/4" followed by a 17/64" countersink most of the way through the panel from the back (if you go too far, the only harm done is a little extra clearance around the jack, which might not even be noticeable after you glue it in)

Rotary switch - 3/8" with a 1" countersink on the backside of the panel, just like the pots.

5 mm LEDs - 11/64"

So far I've managed to finish a fair number of rectangular cutouts, but I have quite a few more to go.  It isn't speedy work, by any stretch of the imagination, and with other projects going on, I'm only getting 3-4 done per night.

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