I spent a good deal of time on Thursday and Friday working on the waferboard mock-up of the control panel. I printed out four sheets of paper, one for every station, and luckily this included the system buttons that arc around the center of the control panel. I then took the printouts and taped them to the waferboard.
I then went to town and started drilling. I quickly found out why waferboard was a poor choice. First off, even with a good bit and a steady hand, the hole saw wandered quite a bit while drilling through the irregular waferboard. After the first hole, I used a center punch to cut down on drifting, but even that was only partially effective. Secondly, drilling waferboard is messier than normal particle board, as the backside tends to “explode” as the hole saw pops through the backside of the board.
I went through it though, and tossed buttons onto one station and realized I had a few issues. Because of the wandering bit, some of the buttons were way too close to each other. This was going to be basically unusable as a template. Additionally, the seventh button (where the pinky would go) was way too high, leaving the feel of the layout uncomfortable. So I decided I was going to have to redo it, but this time I’d do it right.
I was sick over the weekend, but by Monday had felt good enough to get back to work. I went and picked up a 4’x4′ sheet of 1/4″ hardboard. This was still going to be messy, but the consistency would be much more desirable. Plus, with a 4×4 sheet, I had enough board to make 4 templates, if the next one didn’t satisfy me.
I laid out the updated control panel configuration, and started drilling. And drilling. And drilling. I seriously was drilling 1 1/8″ holes for what seemed like 2 hours. I think I need a better hole saw bit.
I also fastened a board near the bottom edge of the mock up, to add support, as well as to serve as an indicator on how close to the front of the cabinet the controls were coming (in case I felt like moving things around a bit). I then began to attach the controls I had recently received from Bob Roberts to the mock panel. This took much longer than I thought, partially because I put half of the buttons on backwards (so the switch connectors would face each other, making hook up a difficult proposition).
All in all, I’m happy with the layout, however after a bit of research, I might adjust the button layout on the red and green stations from an arced layout to an isosceles triangle formation, and move the blue and yellow stations down just a hair (to give a little more elbow space). I’m supposed to receive the rest of my parts (wiring and I-PAC) any day now, so I’ll hook stuff up and invite some folks over to test this layout out. In the meantime, here’s a picture of the CPO I received from Arcade Overlays: