Control Panel Fabrication

October 24, 2016

Before I started fabricating the control panels, I decided to deviate from the original cabinet. An original Track & Field cocktail control panel has only a few short inches of clearance between the bottom of the control panel and the drawer that the monitor sits in. This is because the original machine also has leaf switch operated buttons; there wasn’t much space required to operate the buttons. My buttons are leaf operated, but there are miniaturized leafs inside the buttons. This is convenient but makes the buttons deeper and require more vertical space to work with. The original control panels also had the added benefit of being made out of metal and mine are made out of quarter inch particle board.

Metal has the luxury of being bendable in ways that wood isn’t, so I started by taking two particle board pieces and joining them together with wood glue and some bracing. The bracing is just some scrap MDF pieces I had laying around.

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One of the problems with MDF is that if you screw in against the layers, you get splits. Despite pre-drilling the holes I ended up with some minor splitting, but it doesn’t need to be perfect, it just needs to hold the two pieces of wood together.

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After the glue dried, I rounded off the outside edge with my router so there will be a nice curve under the overlay instead of a sharp corner. I also had to route out a bit of the material at the leading edge of the control panel because this lip is what will hold the glass in place.

Routed edge sample and glass groove

There are two layers of particle board here. The top is the groove for the monitor glass. The buttom sheet was my test for my rounding off bit. Unfortunately, I didn't have any good pictures of just the rounded edge.

I had to lay the unfinished control panels into position to get an idea of how they’d look. It’s starting to really feel like a Track & Field Cocktail.

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I wasn’t planning on doing a post about it, but I just wanted to note that getting the length and angle cut correctly into the side pieces that hold up the control panel and glass were a tremendous pain. It took three or four different tries to get them usable. Yikes!

Stay tuned! There will be at least one more control panel post.