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Author Topic: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel  (Read 8095 times)

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Zebidee

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Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« on: March 26, 2022, 11:00:43 pm »
Mostly I see people doing arcade builds with wooden control panels. There is nothing at all wrong with that, but I have a preference for working with metal control panels. I like the look and feel of metal panels, they seem to add a level of professionalism. So I thought I'd do one.

I've never made a metal control panel from scratch before. However, I have restored many arcade cabs previously, and had to replace old panels with new, so I had a fair idea of what was needed.

This is the cab I am fitting the metal control panel to. This is an older pic, and you may have seen this cab in other posts where I've talked about mounting CRTs. This cab has been in-progress for over three years, but we'll get it done eventually.


 


One complication to my plans was that I required the CP to be hinged. With a hinge, it is easy to open the panel and access switches, wires for servicing.

So I sourced some piano hinges. These came in lengths of 2 metres each. Then I cut a piece to the required width (53.4cm) with an angle grinder. The thing to be aware of here is to cut the hinge so that one half comes to the outside at both ends. That keeps it together. Otherwise the hinge halves can tend to come apart. I don't know if that all makes sense, but I'm not sure how else to explain it.

Here is a pic of the uncut piano hinge. Unfortunately I didn't take any separate pics of the cut hinge.





I carefully drew up some plans (left), and I actually used this piece of cardboard to mock-up the shape of the panel in place (You can still see the fold lines). Eventually I was happy, and headed off to a local metal shop. The guy there then drew-up his own interpretation of my plan (right).


 


At the metal shop there are a few things to keep in mind. First is that they can cut and bend metal sheet, but they can't do anything terribly fancy like large radius bends. Nor can they do small fiddly stuff well, the machines are too large. So it has to be simple. My design involves just 2 bends, at 90 degrees and at 45 degrees. In addition to the panel itself, I also got a right-angle bracket made for attaching it to the cab. While I was at the metal shop, I also grabbed a offcut strip of metal about 1cm wide - this will be useful for making clips later. It all went well.

The metal used is 1.5mm thick steel.


NEXT: Putting it all together
« Last Edit: April 10, 2022, 01:03:36 am by Zebidee »
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Zebidee

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Re: Hinged metal control panel
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2022, 11:34:25 pm »
Putting it together

What I did first was to use gaffer tape (cloth tape) to temporarily connect the hinge onto the bottom of the panel and installed the right-angle bracket onto the cab. Then I was able to roughly put the CP into place, to see how it would sit.

I did a fair bit of trimming to size with my angle grinder, a file and some sandpaper. One thing to be aware of is sharp edges on freshly cut steel - so a good idea to grind them back too. Very easy to get a nasty cut otherwise.

Probably a good idea to wear proper shoes and eye protection when doing this, as it generates a lot of sparks. I wore safety goggles but was only wearing sandals, and a tiny piece of red-hot steel landed in between my toes. Not fun, very ouchie, but fortunately no permanent damage ;)

Interestingly I'd recently commented on another thread that I should probably wear better footwear in the workshop. Oh well.

I also cut the holes for joysticks and buttons because I wanted to work out where to put the clips (see below).

Eventually I was ready to go off to a local welder. I don't do welding, and I'm not about to learn. Very worthwhile getting someone who knows what they are doing for this part. I just explained what I wanted. The hinge metal is relatively thin and is easy to damage with improper welding technique. I went with my brother-in-law who knows more about welding than I do.

I got them to weld the hinge to a) the main CP and also b) to the right-angle bracket. Then asked them to cut 2 pieces about 5-6cm long each from the 1cm wide offcut (remember I collected this from the metal shop earlier?), and then bend those pieces into a "C" shape. Finally they weld those pieces onto the underside of the CP. These are clips that the clamps with grab onto when securing the CP.

Anyway, here are the results.











NEXT: Fitting the control panel
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Zebidee

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Re: Hinged metal control panel
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2022, 12:33:32 am »
Fitting the control panel


Fitting the right-angle bracket on was pretty straight-forward.

I needed to add an extra piece of plywood underneath the CP, so that I could mount the clamps below. This plywood also provided a flat solid surface to the CP to be clamped down to.

Now I realised I'd positioned the button holes maybe 10mm higher than I should have, because the plywood now partly occluded a couple of buttons and part of the joysticks. So I got busy with my hammer and chisel to make some more room.


 


And here is how it looks when it all comes together.

Those with keen eyes may notice that I made a mistake when drilling holes for mounting the right-angle bracket. I drilled 6 holes for mounting M5 bolts, but one hole was 10mm out (I must have slipped the ruler without noticing). So I'll have to get busy with some putty and sandpaper later. Eventually I will replace the hex-head bolts you see here with carriage bolts (smooth domed head), but I need to paint their heads black first!


 


In general I'm quite happy with the way it has all come together. I was worried about there being a gap between the wood and the hinge, but there is really no gap at all. I can barely get the tip of a fingernail in there.

BTW, the paper tape on the left side of the cab is there to protect the T-molding groove from my aforementioned brother-in-law's wandering hands. He had a habit of running his finger down the curve while walking past, which was making the wood start to flake away from the unprotected edge. So, tape.

The CP also feels very solid. I'm sure I could pick the whole cab up by the CP, if I was stong enough. The panel in recessed from the wood edge by at least several millimetres, and once the T-molding is applied it will be perfect.

Speaking of strength, I did the last parts of this (assembly and installation) with my left arm in constant pain, and only roughly 25-50% capacity, from cubital tunnel syndrome (Ulnar nerve entrapment, at the elbow). So it took a while. My arm still has the problem, but has improved somewhat since with massage/rest/exercises.

Obviously the cab still has quite a way to go, but this is an important milestone. Next I'd like to get some glass done, mount some speakers above the monitor, and make a front door with a recessed mini-control panel (for credits/pause/admin/volume etc). Then some finishing and some art.

Speaking of art, I need something to cover the control panel. Currently it is just bare metal! I was thinking about using some 6D carbon-graphene vynil used for automotive detailing. Or maybe just black paint. I don't want anything too fancy. Suggestions?






« Last Edit: March 27, 2022, 03:27:27 am by Zebidee »
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bobbyb13

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Re: Hinged metal control panel
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2022, 02:39:59 am »
Great to see you working on a cabinet!
Love the original template work
Simple and all that was needed obviously because the finished product turned out excellent.
Unfamiliar with those panel clamps though!
Never seen that style before.

I would hold off on what the control panel art should be until I had the rest (marquee, side and kick panels...) sorted myself.

Keep going!
Relax, all right? My old man is a television repairman, he's got this ultimate set of tools! I can fix it.

Zebidee

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Re: Hinged metal control panel
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2022, 03:18:31 am »
Great to see you working on a cabinet!
Love the original template work
Simple and all that was needed obviously because the finished product turned out excellent.
Unfamiliar with those panel clamps though!
Never seen that style before.

I would hold off on what the control panel art should be until I had the rest (marquee, side and kick panels...) sorted myself.

Keep going!

Thanks for the encouragement Bobby :cheers:

I think I know the kind of clamps you're probably more familiar with, common in arcades (with a slightly springy, slightly U shaped arm?), but I couldn't find any like that locally.

The clamps I used are manufactured by a local company and do the same thing. I had my doubts at first, but they are actually a bit easier to hook-in and lock down. They have a quite high load rating, though I can't remember exactly what it is off top of my head. Also, with that threaded arm they are very easy to adjust for the right tension.

Think I'll focus on getting it to "lockup stage" for now rather than worrying about art too much.

This project wasn't stupidly expensive either. The metal CP itself, cut and folded, only cost about $20, though I know steel prices have risen since then. The welding was another $15. But that was in Thailand. Probably at least 5 times that in US or Australia (OK, $175 for a CP would be starting to sound expensive). Can't recall how much the piano hinge and clamps were, bought them a while back, but it wasn't a huge amount.
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lomoverde

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Re: Hinged metal control panel
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2022, 05:11:20 pm »
I love the idea of making a metal CP for my next build.When I was serving my apptrenticeship many years ago,I spent a lot of hours in the fab shop,Id love the use of a decent brake and pedestal drill now for the job.

Yours looks excellent mate.

I actually should have bought your style of clamps for my current build,Similar to what my pool table uses:

https://www.arcadexpress.com/en/accesories/438-juego-cierre-abrazadera-panel-control-regulable-recreativa-bartop-.html


However I cheaped out and bought these:

https://www.arcadexpress.com/en/accesories/185-juegos-cierres-panel-de-control.html

Not real easy to position the clamp accurately,And found i had to bend the arm a bit more to get a real tight pull on it.They have an overall substandard feel to them.   :(

Zebidee

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Re: Hinged metal control panel
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2022, 12:19:21 am »
Thanks mate!

No fancy drills used for this project! Would love a good pedestal drill setup, but have to rely on a steady hand, :lol

Speaking of steady hands, the CP on this should be better for mine (issue noted above). With the slight angle and no prominent wood/T-molding at the front, I'm hoping for less aggravation of my condition.

So yeah, easier than you might think. I drilled the holes myself, but the steel cutting/bending/welding was all done at shops. So no special skills required to do it. Cutting the steel requires big machines you should keep your fingers away from. The welding needs some experience and skill as well as proper workshop gear. However, go and ask, you may find it cheaper than you think, especially if you have a solid plan (or sample piece) and the guys are otherwise just sitting around in the workshop (as I often find).

If you are impressed with their low price, you can buy a six-pack for them to enjoy at the end of the day. If the price is high, they can buy their own!

Every clamp has some kind of spring or adjustment mechanism, to give it some range. The clamps you used, which are good and I was originally looking for in fact, have that "spring" range built into the curved metal arm. The ones I used, like your pool table latches, are easy to adjust with the threaded arm. If a bit loose or tight, just give the arm a couple of turns and it will be alright. I find them easier to latch-on to the clip from underneath too.

I'm actually off to the metal shop again today, to get a few more pieces cut for this cab. I need some right angle-brackets and a fascia piece for the area above the monitor, where the speakers will go. Some of the angle brackets will be welded to a long piano hinge for use with the front door as well.

« Last Edit: April 02, 2022, 03:44:47 am by Zebidee »
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bobbyb13

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Re: Hinged metal control panel
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2022, 02:49:34 am »
Refreshments can go a long way!

Look forward to the next bit of progress.
Relax, all right? My old man is a television repairman, he's got this ultimate set of tools! I can fix it.

Zebidee

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2022, 12:55:21 am »
I've done a bit more work on the Aussie lowboy cab.

I went back to the metal shop and got a few more bits cut. Total of 12 pieces. This lot cost me the princely sum of 400 baht, around US$15. The manager remembered me and I indulged him by doing show-and-tell on my completed control panel (it was easy to take off cab and bring into the shop), and tipped them and extra 100 baht (enough for a bottle of local rice whiskey, enough for 2-4 people to get a bit pissed in the evening). Also included is a pic of my incredibly detailed hi-tec plans.

 


The largest flat pieces are covers to go above the monitor, where the speakers will be. The smaller flat pieces are for the kickboard (area at front, below where the door will go, where players will tend to kick the cab).

The right angle brackets will have various purposes. They are for control panel hinges, front door hinges, and for the marquee. Yes you read that right, I plan to use a piano hinge (larger one) for the front door as well, so will need right-angle brackets for that. I upgraded the size of the brackets from 2x2cm to 2x3cm, to give more room for supporting screws.

I can also use 2x3 metal brackets for securing the marquee at top.

Why so many pieces? I am already planning the cab I will build after this one. After that, I may churn out a few more, having established local capabilities. Planning for the future.

Here is how the cab looks with the metal piece for the speakers, above the monitor, trimmed and temporarily put in place. The speaker covers are just blu-tacked into place for the photo, I will measure it out properly and finish that off later, not important for now. What *is* important is that now I can secure that top piece, and I can get the glass guy to come over and cut a 6mm piece of glass to go over the monitor.

For reference, under the top piece above the monitor, I have put a piece of 8mm thick plywood. It is slightly shorter than the metal, by about 1cm. This means there is an overlap, which goes over the glass. There is a similar, though much smaller, blocking piece at the bottom. You cannot see it in the picture. That 8mm plywood brings the metal piece up, allowing room for the glass to slide underneath. I expect there to be be a small gap, at top and bottom of the glass, but this can be closed with a piece of rubber strip. Or maybe a glued strip of felt at top. More on that in next post.

   
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bobbyb13

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2022, 01:36:41 am »
I like your front glass capture plan.

Score on the local metalwork!
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Zebidee

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2022, 02:05:54 am »
I like your front glass capture plan.

Thanks Bobby.

My plan is to enable removal of glass by simply un-clipping the control panel. Which will be easy (so long as you have a key to get inside and undo the clips). Even so, glass will remain safely in place until you specifically choose to lift it out.

Quote
Score on the local metalwork!

I think most localities will have similar metal shops. You will just need to ask around. I'm sure a tradie like yourself would know a few contacts already. A bit of a smile and a chat, a thought-out plan, maybe some pics on the phone, and all should be fine. They are all looking for extra work if they can fit it in. Prices might be a little higher where you are, but hopefully not too much.
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Zebidee

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2022, 08:36:11 pm »
I've been doing some work on the sound system for this lowboy.

This cab will spend most of its time in the house, and my missus will mostly use it for playing music (and the occasional Tetris). So I decided to put a decent amp and speakers into it!

I found these 4" full-range 50W 8 ohm speakers. They were the best I could find locally. They were not cheap, but not super-expensive either (around US$50-60 for the pair). I matched the speakers with a board amp, ZX-502MT (< US$10) which is able to power 2x50W speakers.


 


I also sourced a 24v/200W/10A power supply for the amp. This is probably a bit of overkill (specs recommend at least 3A PSU), but it didn't cost much more and I'd prefer to have extra power available than not enough.

I then went and setup the system to give it a test. At first it sounded quite average. But then I put the speakers into some old cardboard boxes (for resonance) and they sounded a bit better.





Finally, I added Zobel terminations across the speaker terminals. This improved the sound quality considerably by reducing signal oscillations, adding warmth and tone while removing excess vibrations etc when music hit extremes. (Note there is no physical connection between the cap/resistor added and the copper braid speaker wires below, they are separated by nearly an inch, they just look connected due to 2D photo.)





This Zobel termination is simply a 0.1uF (104) 50v ceramic capacitor and a 33 ohm 3W metal film resistor connected, in series, between the positive and negative speaker terminals. I already had the capacitors (I have > 1000 104 caps!) and resistors on-hand, so this cost me nothing. Similar to video signal termination, it helps to remove stray signals and interference from speaker cables.

The Zobel termination made a big difference to the sound quality for about 2 cents worth of materials. Even if you don't know anything about your speaker/amp impedance characteristics, almost any speaker would benefit from a 104 ceramic cap + 10 ohm resistor (1W rating should be enough) Zobel. For more on Zobel terminations, please read articles by Rod Elliot: https://sound-au.com/cable-z.htm

Next post, I'll show you how I added the speakers to the cab (not easy!).





« Last Edit: June 15, 2022, 10:48:44 pm by Zebidee »
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bobbyb13

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2022, 10:46:50 pm »
Love this tip- thank you!
I have so much more to learn.

Those speakers look pretty fancy actually, what with that crazy cone on them.
Special material of some sort?

Glad to see you back at a project Andrew!
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Zebidee

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #13 on: June 15, 2022, 11:13:36 pm »
Love this tip- thank you!
I have so much more to learn.

Those speakers look pretty fancy actually, what with that crazy cone on them.
Special material of some sort?

Glad to see you back at a project Andrew!

Cheers Bobby! I've been plodding along with the project, just saving the posts until I have some decent pics to show ;)

Here is the link from where I bought the speakers. Mostly in Thai, but you can work out the specs:
https://www.lazada.co.th/products/i2743344860-s10801556294.html?urlFlag=true&mp=1

I wouldn't describe myself as an audiophile, but these guys seem to know their speakers. In addition, they have magnetic shielding so I know they are going to be safe near a CRT.

I assume that the silver cone bit is for high frequencies. It sticks out above the surface plane a little, so I had to be careful fitting them. The yellow "petals" seem to be some kind of silicon, and get some crazy vibration going when the bass kicks in.

I mounted the speakers into their faceplate. They are bigger than I anticipated (obviously they are 4" speakers, but they are fairly heavy and their butts stick out a lot), but will fit into the cab (barely!).








See how the metal sticks out a bit more than the wood? That is to accommodate the glass when fitted, the metal will stick out, giving a slot for the glass to slip into. The tape will be removed later, and of course I will eventually pull it all apart again to paint.
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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2022, 12:47:43 am »
I know you want more, so here is is.

I added the speaker panel onto the cab, slipped the glass in (5mm standard clear), and secured the control panel, so you can see how it will look  8)






The glass is very easy to install/replace, yet held very securely at both top and bottom. To remove just unclip the control panel from inside and fold it out, and the glass can be lifted up.

I've added some automotive rubber trim to the edge of the control panel, where it seals with the glass to prevent accidental moisture from penetrating. It is the same kind of trim that you buy for car door/window seals. This strip is not glued down, so I can remove it for painting and glue it in later. You can buy auto door rubber seals that come with an adhesive strip already in place, so installing it is very simple.





I mounted the speakers facing up/outward, rather than putting them up into the marquee cavity, facing down. This is a bit different to most Aussie lowboy designs. I did this, at least partly, because the speakers I wanted to put in would be too large otherwise. Also, I didn't want the speakers shadowing/interfering with the marquee light-box arrangement. Finally, I wanted the sound to "project" as much as possible, for better or worse.

On the other hand, the speakers will gather dust more easily, and use surfaces that could otherwise be used for art and/or instructions. Some will argue it would sound better if reflected off a flat surface. Well, whatever, they are now in and will be the way they are.

Because the speakers are quite heavy, so as a precaution I've added a wooden support underneath, just below the speakers but above the glass.  However, because the speakers butts are so large, I have to screw that in AFTER putting the speakers in place. Oh what fun!

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #15 on: June 16, 2022, 05:50:23 am »
Wow Zeb - this project is really coming along.  Absolutely love the metal work - it does look professional!  Iím also a huge fan of the overall shape of this cabinet - looks very comfortable to stand and play at.  The footprint looks a bit smaller than it otherwise would be with the monitor at less of an angle, which is awesome for home use. 

Have you made any progress on artwork?

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #16 on: June 16, 2022, 06:44:18 am »
Wow Zeb - this project is really coming along.  Absolutely love the metal work - it does look professional!  Iím also a huge fan of the overall shape of this cabinet - looks very comfortable to stand and play at.  The footprint looks a bit smaller than it otherwise would be with the monitor at less of an angle, which is awesome for home use. 

Have you made any progress on artwork?

Thanks! I've been trying to keep it to the pro standard of "real" cabs I've worked with over the years.

I've designed it with small people, younger kids in mind. It couldn't be too large and overbearing. Easily usable by a standing 8-14 year old (approx 160cm max). A little small for me, though I could sit on a stool.

Thanks also for raising artwork javery, I've just been discussing that (again) with my wife.

She wants side-art (dammit). When I ask her "what art?", she use to just say "Sailor Moon", as though that closed the issue forever. She now just says something like "Studio Ghibli", she enjoyed the cartoon novels as a kid. Fine, but "what art?", What images, appropriate high-quality images have you collected for us to work with, to think about, sort through? Nothing. At. All.

I feel that I will need to not only find the appropriate art myself, for a theme that is not of my choosing, but will regardless have to clear it past the committee first. Ho-hum.

On the positive side, we seem to have located a local business capable of appropriately printing the art... once we have it.

My cynical self's rough plan for the marquee, for now, is to write "ARCADE" with a magic marker across the paper protecting the plexiglass. Until I think of something better and get it past the committee anyway.

In the meantime, I am maintaining my optimism in the face of apathy and progressing as though all will magically fall into place. So I have been figuring out how to prep/smooth off the plywood surfaces for painting or art application. Unfortunately, all that woodgrain will eventually be lost to time, like flowers that are beautiful but not last, or tears in the rain...

<Zeb releases dove>
« Last Edit: June 16, 2022, 06:47:04 am by Zebidee »
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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #17 on: June 17, 2022, 05:41:30 pm »
If you want to have artwork and keep the grain, you could maybe use the 'ink transfer to wood' method, which is basically printing the artwork to something that doesn't absorb the ink, then press that to the wood, thereby transferring most of the ink to the wood. There are plenty of youtube vids that show you how it's done.

On my pinup cab, I transferred the artwork to the wood, masked it off, put a coat of clear lacquer on it and the stained the wood. Came out great.



The same lady stained:



                  

Zebidee

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #18 on: June 17, 2022, 07:54:48 pm »
That's a great idea yamatetsu. I like what you've done, looks good on your cab, will keep it in mind for the future. However, the quality of the woodgrain in this plywood is "marginal", not like on your cab. With a bit of putty, love and some teak oil it would look OK, but it isn't like an oak or walnut veneer.

I've also made choices along the way that have made painting/artwork the only option. Unlike the neat classic "Tully" cab design, the only way I could cut all pieces from a single sheet of plywood was to "flip" one side (blame the bit that sticks out to accommodate the control panel). So the right side looks a bit crappy.

I made that decision to flip a side over three years ago. Interesting to note that at the time, I was cutting the sheet under our house, where I have very limited headroom. This low headroom and tight space made it basically impossible to even turn the 1200mm x 2400mm (4'x8') plywood to inspect, so I just assumed both sides were more-or-less the same and it wouldn't matter (and in any case, I was assuming paint/print for the side art). It was only after this that I realised just how crappy the other side looked, but ah well it doesn't matter.

Anyway back to the present, and yesterday I think I may have talked some solid sense into my wife. I explained that it would be better to keep it simple, as will be in the house. Too much fancy graphics is not so good on something that is essentially furniture. I like simple elegance, I like things that are designed and fit for specific purpose. So, I wouldn't want to apply art that does not reflect that specific purpose, if you know what I mean. Some random Studio Ghibli cartoon print (what wife was suggesting) on an arcade cab does not reflect purpose.

I did propose some game-related art, say Tetris (she likes that game), but she rejected that.

So, currently I am thinking to paint (or cover with sticker/laminate!) the sides in solid pastel magenta. A mid-deep blue with a touch of pinky/purple. Would be attractive to little kids (target audience). Easier to do. Simple, neat, elegant, fit-for-purpose, not distracting.

The metal parts (e.g. speakers, control panel) will just be black with a semi-gloss finish. That's great because, again, I don't have to do any art, just prep the surfaces and spray. There will be some space above the control panel, about one inch high, where I can put simple instructions (under the glass). The monitor well will be matt black too (I need to make a bezel!).

There is enough room between the speakers to put some kind of art/print, but for now I will leave it black and art can come later.

I already have some decent art/files for printing up some generic marquees. I'll just use one of these for now, unless wife wants to make up something else.

NEXT: Front cabinet door
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yamatetsu

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #19 on: June 18, 2022, 05:49:24 am »
My cynical self's rough plan for the marquee, for now, is to write "ARCADE" with a magic marker across the paper protecting the plexiglass. Until I think of something better and get it past the committee anyway.

So, currently I am thinking to paint (or cover with sticker/laminate!) the sides in solid pastel magenta. A mid-deep blue with a touch of pinky/purple. Would be attractive to little kids (target audience). Easier to do. Simple, neat, elegant, fit-for-purpose, not distracting.

That reminds me of a lowboy that I found while looking for inspiration way back in '16. Simple, yet elegant.



Zebidee-style:

                  

Zebidee

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #20 on: June 18, 2022, 11:09:31 am »
 :laugh2:  I love it!  Very similar, nothing fussy  :cheers:

Today I got busy making a back door for the cab. I want to test out the speakers in situ, but they won't sound good until I get the back door in.

However I didn't take photos, as back doors are not terribly exciting. Is really just a rectangle of plywood and some blocking pieces. I got it about 90% done before I had to eat/sleep.

EDIT: This "Holden" Aussie lowboy project from 15 years ago is one of my inspirations:
http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?topic=54567.0
« Last Edit: June 18, 2022, 11:14:28 am by Zebidee »
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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #21 on: June 18, 2022, 04:25:26 pm »
It really is a cool form factor.
Funny that a bunch of the 4 player games that I like (Gauntlet, TMNT, Simpsons, etc.) have a similar vibe in screen angle, overall cabinet shape and depth, and such.
I always felt like the screen angle was a bit too on the sore C7 pitch but I may need to rethink that!

Also, Andrew gets extra points for poetic flourish in previous post and yamatetsu for superior marquee graphical representation.
 :lol
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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #22 on: June 18, 2022, 06:52:54 pm »
It really is a cool form factor.
Funny that a bunch of the 4 player games that I like (Gauntlet, TMNT, Simpsons, etc.) have a similar vibe in screen angle, overall cabinet shape and depth, and such.
I always felt like the screen angle was a bit too on the sore C7 pitch but I may need to rethink that!

Also, Andrew gets extra points for poetic flourish in previous post and yamatetsu for superior marquee graphical representation.
 :lol

One of the great things about this basic design's form factor is that you can adapt it in several ways.

First, you can make the marquee higher and lift the screen, including making the angle steeper.

I have already cut the sides for an adult shmup variant of this Aussie lowboy along these lines! Taller, CP bit higher, and screen angle higher.

Second, you can make  it wider for a more relaxed adult streetfighter-type setup (check out cab third from left on my signature, the yellow laid-back cab, it is an example of this).

Mix and match as you wish.

My intention is to use this first cab as my prototype. Then to pump out 6-10 of them (powered by GreenAntz) for various purposes.
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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #23 on: June 19, 2022, 05:00:32 am »
The inspiration is awesome.
I won't live long enough to make what I want to!

Thanks Andrew- on numerous fronts.

CP height at 37-38" is a requirement at this point (shorter people can get a step-stool) as I build for myself.

If I make more than 2 of anything it is because I found somebody to fund an arcade/roller-rink venture out here!
Relax, all right? My old man is a television repairman, he's got this ultimate set of tools! I can fix it.

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #24 on: June 19, 2022, 03:15:22 pm »
Lockup stage!

I got the front door fitted today. I also fitted a simple panel to close up the back (not pictured). As a tribute to yamatetsu, I got the magic marker out :D  8)





While I was there, I changed the hex-head bolts for the control panel for carriage bolts, to match the ones used on the door. In case you are wondering, I used a small chisel to carefully square the top of the bolt holes.

I am starting to think I will leave the carriage bolt heads chrome, instead of painting them black like I was thinking a while back. Once I put a bit of colour on the door/sides, I think they will "pop" nicely! A little bit of bling doesn't hurt.

You can see here how the door hinge will just sneak in below the T-molding! More on this in a moment.


 


Here is how the door looks before installation:

FRONT:





BACK:





For the door hinge, I used the same technique as already used on the control panel - and welded an L bracket onto one half of the piano hinge. This got a little trickier though, because I used a larger piano hinge for the door.

The large hinge, and needing to sneak it in under the T-molding, created some issues. The L-bracket came out too far from the door! Of course, this only became glaringly apparent after the welding.

Another issue was that the welded hinge was a little off a proper right angle. So I fired up the table saw, angled the blade very slightly to match the angle of the hinge, and shaved a little off the end contacting the hinge.





To pull the hinge in, I used some washers to "shim" out the hinge, at back, to the right position. You could also cut a piece of wood to size, but throwing the washers in was easy. Oh, and the carriage bolts I bought were too short now, so I had to buy longer ones! Ah well. I got to use the shorter carriage bolts for the control panel anyway.





Now this may shock you - I plan to cut a hole in that door! I want to put a mini-control panel in there, maybe about 4" x 6", which will accommodate credit/pause/admin buttons, a volume control and USB ports. Maybe headphone port too! More on that later.



The inspiration is awesome.
I won't live long enough to make what I want to!

Thanks Andrew- on numerous fronts.

CP height at 37-38" is a requirement at this point (shorter people can get a step-stool) as I build for myself.

If I make more than 2 of anything it is because I found somebody to fund an arcade/roller-rink venture out here!

You inspire me too mate. I'm particularly impressed with how quickly you can whip up a quality cab, and your work with materials like fibreglass. I'm slow, spend too much time thinking/planning, though I speed up when I get a fire in my belly.

Interestingly, even though this cab's designed for smaller folks, the control panel is still at about 36". There isn't really a lot of difference, comes down to just a few inches. Stools are great equalisers.

Ultimately, like many of us, I'd like to have a handful of cabs to cover off most of the games we like to play. Also would like some "dedicated" cabs, or at least plain JAMMA, to run my boards in. We often have guests here (we run a guesthouse) so want that available for them. Would also be great to make some extras to sell and recoup my costs!

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #25 on: June 20, 2022, 03:32:14 am »
As a tribute to yamatetsu, I got the magic marker out :D  8)




Nice! Next time, use a neon marker to give it that 80's vibe...
                  

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #26 on: June 21, 2022, 06:23:12 pm »
Hm. I guess my sneaky pic was a bit too sneaky. Or not worth a comment. Oh well.
                  

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #27 on: June 21, 2022, 08:34:28 pm »
Hm. I guess my sneaky pic was a bit too sneaky. Or not worth a comment. Oh well.

:lol I love it of course. I just hope that is a heart <3
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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #28 on: June 22, 2022, 02:42:56 am »
I was concerned about what the image on the screen might be, but was more concerned that if I said something that the real answer might give me bad dreams.
 :)
Relax, all right? My old man is a television repairman, he's got this ultimate set of tools! I can fix it.

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #29 on: June 22, 2022, 03:39:45 am »
I just hope that is a heart <3

Errrm, no. I looked at the speakers and the monitor and saw a face going 'O', so I added a tongue sticking out. I guess it isn't as obvious as I thought.
                  

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #30 on: June 22, 2022, 04:27:30 am »
Cranking up the silliness a notch.

                  

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #31 on: June 22, 2022, 06:27:37 am »
Crikey! Now I get it.

I was only slightly concerned, because I thought it looked a bit like a butt. Butt (sic) then I thought a "heart" was a better interpretation.

If you look carefully at my pic of the amp, you can a faint heart there. That is because I plopped it on top of a swim lesson plan I'd done earlier (breaststroke). The heart (or is it a butt?) is to describe the shape of how you move your hands/arms for the pull. When teaching, I prefer to think of it as a heart, so that is where my mind was at :D

There you go, a bit of Freudian interpretation to enlighten your day.


 
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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #32 on: June 30, 2022, 12:31:09 am »
I installed speakers and a chassis for the CRT, and tested the sound system.

Sounds bloody awesome! The speakers benefit a lot from being in the cab, it gives them some resonance.

Now, two key things.

First, I need to paint. So I need to pull stuff apart again and prep surfaces.

Second, I've been thinking to put a mini-control panel into the front door. USB ports, volume control, buttons for pause/credit/admin. I've done these plenty of times before on other cabs (some low-res examples are in my sig), mounting them behind the coin door hole of rennovated old cabs. A little bit fiddly, will take me some time. Think of it as a replacement for a coin door.

That means routing out a hole in the door. I'm kinda doing this is the wrong order, probably should have done the door hole before mounting the hinge but oh well, here we are.

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #33 on: June 30, 2022, 01:52:08 am »
Are you talking about hanging a bracket inside that door to keep the look outside so clean?

If you are essentially gutting it for paint then you can always tip it on its back to make the cutting process easier.

What size/ shape hole and will it too be hinged?
I love these little re-engineering/solution based bits.

Since the Paperboy I have been making my kickpanels removable (screwed onto 1" thick braces carrying the panel from the inside) so that at any point in the future I can change my mind about coin door- or not.
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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #34 on: June 30, 2022, 06:46:36 am »
I mean cutting a hole into the door, and mounting a mini-control panel in there.

I've done this many times, though it has been when rennovating old cabs for home use. However, in all those cases, the hole has already been there in the door - I just removed the coin mech and installed a custom control panel.

What is new this time is that I will have to cut the hole! I haven't done these kinds of cuts with a router before. Still, nothing too complicated, should be straightforward.

I'm going to follow up by attaching a bunch of pics of old work that I've done. Hopefully they are self-explanatory.

To start with, here is one of my cabs, with a small front door (loved the woodgrain on that one):









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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #35 on: June 30, 2022, 06:51:26 am »
Moar mini-control panel porn for your enjoyment
« Last Edit: June 30, 2022, 06:56:53 am by Zebidee »
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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #36 on: June 30, 2022, 07:01:03 am »
This one has a DVD player built in!

I case you are wondering, no glue and the whole thing comes apart easily. However, when assembled, you can lean your entire body weight on the DVD cage and it won't move!

You can tell I did this a long time ago, back when people still cared about DVDs!

I used an old dinner place mat for the face piece.
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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #37 on: June 30, 2022, 07:03:23 am »
On this one (Mortal Kombat themed), it already had a door. So I installed the DVD player inside!



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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #38 on: June 30, 2022, 01:48:21 pm »
I get it now!
Hadn't realized there was that much going on in those.

I need to rethink my concept of admin stuff now.
 :)
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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #39 on: June 30, 2022, 03:05:55 pm »
I get it now!
Hadn't realized there was that much going on in those.

I need to rethink my concept of admin stuff now.
 :)

Thanks!

I haven't seen anybody else do admin or mini-control panels like this! Most people seem to be happy with a coin door. That's great for replica arcade cabs, but for a true home "games system" cab you don't need a coin door. But you do need some extra control panel space for those "admin" functions.

As the mini-control panel is mounted BEHIND the hole, recessed, you won't really bang it with your knees either (I try!). I paint the exposed insides of the hole with multiple coats of Japan Black stain, until the wood won't take any more, then sand it smooth and give it a little more.

The black face plates I fashioned with 5mm high-density MDF craft wood, but the final look and feel is more like light steel or hard plastic, like a control panel should be. There are about a dozen layers of paint! Would also not be hard to fashion them out of cut sheet steel. I may try that this time.

In most cases I mounted the USB/audio PCB (often removed from the PC front panel) by taking some scrap plywood and carefully making a slot by removing one or more ply layers. The the PCB just slides in neatly.
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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #40 on: June 30, 2022, 08:52:24 pm »
Would be pretty easy to fab a raised bezel that would keep one from accidentally whacking a MAME admin button even at knee height on the kick panel.
Even more fun maybe if it could be disguised as a legit coin door, maybe via one of those faux 3d printed ones-

The next cabinet I build is one that could benefit from such a layout.

Hmmm...
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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #41 on: July 11, 2022, 03:22:07 pm »
I've been suffering decision paralysis with this cab for a while.

But then, a few days ago, I had a revelation.

I was thinking about the mini-control panel, thinking about cutting the hole in the door, thinking that this cab already looks pretty good WITHOUT that hole or mini-CP, and I realised...

I can put the admin and pause buttons up under the marquee, behind the speakers, left and right sides. It will be all black in there. Make the buttons black, and nobody will ever see them.

Volume control can be mounted between the speakers, in line with the top of the speakers. It will also be black (with white indicator), so you'll barely see it, it won't distract your eyes.

Credit button (lit) can go on front of control panel, between P1 and P2 start buttons. Still no solution for USB ports, but they are not essential, and I can always add them at the back.

So it looks like I can leave the mini-CP out this time. Which is good, because while they can look cool 'n all, it takes a lot of fiddly work that I'd rather avoid.

The best part about this is, now I know what I'm doing, I can move on and start prep for painting. My decision paralysis has lifted.

Will post some painting prep shots later.
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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #42 on: July 11, 2022, 03:47:27 pm »
I'm with you on less is more.
My builds keep getting more streamlined as I go.
The hidden in plain sight thing is a great plan.
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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #43 on: July 11, 2022, 04:24:34 pm »
Bobby, your threads have inspired me.

Beyond  rattle-cans, I haven't done spray painting since school, and that was with the little pen-gun for sci-fi space-painting kinda stuff.

So I ordered a cheap, local, Chinese, ubiquitous paint sprayer for about $15. See how we go.

Already have the air compressor.

I've been hearing and heeding that any moisture *at all* getting into the gun = bad.

So, also ordered a couple of those water/oil filters to keep any crap out of the air lines, with the quick-connects. One for each end of the hose.

One filter has a gauge built in, so I'll always know what pressure I'm working with. That will go on the gun end of the hose.

Local paint store should be good enough for paints/solvents. They probably sell spray guns too for that matter, hmmmm.

While I'm waiting for the gun and other bits to come, I can get busy gutting the cab and prepping surfaces (bit like when you catch a fish?).
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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #44 on: July 13, 2022, 06:59:08 am »
I think well placed black admin buttons in the speaker panel is a great idea.

Need to come up with some solutions for my current monstrosity.
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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #45 on: July 13, 2022, 07:06:55 am »
I use a wireless keyboard for admin stuff.

It cost 11 bucks or something like that.

It is about the size of an Xbox controller.


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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #46 on: July 13, 2022, 11:24:00 am »
I think well placed black admin buttons in the speaker panel is a great idea.

Need to come up with some solutions for my current monstrosity.

Thanks - though I often waste a lot of time thinking about these things, usually the simplest solutions are the best.

Many of your cabs are designed around a single game, which means you may not always have the same needs for extra buttons. You really want to think about how each cab will be used, and what you will be running inside it.


I use a wireless keyboard for admin stuff.

This is the way to go for keyboards, I should buy a few - for same reasons, USB ports on this cab would be unnecessary, extravagant.

However, will still need the discrete "admin" and "pause" buttons. Just realised... I haven't given any thought to where the power button should go! Golly gosh, wife will want that.

This cab will be primarily for others to use. My wife, smaller kids. Paying guests (we run a guesthouse). I don't want them to have to deal with a keyboard, even a wireless one. Don't want people calling me, out of my batcave, because they want to change games, ho-hum  ::)  Will keep a keyboard inside for use when "servicing" it.

Gutted the cab yesterday and started working on some surface prep today. This plywood is mediocre quality, sometimes has open gaps internally and can be quite flaky in parts, and can come up from the edges easily. Initially I used some PVA wood glue (Titebond II) to seal around the edges and gaps and prevent further flaking. The PVA glue will also help prevent moisture getting in the edges and ruining paintwork (humid climate). Then a tougher acrylic wood putty, designed for large cracks and edges (Agnew's, an Australian brand I had stashed away, powder mix with water).

Made up a couple of small batches of putty to start with. Being acrylic, it dries quickly so you need to work fairly fast. Been a while, years, so my first attempt applying the putty was quite kludgy. More sanding back I guesss   :-\

Then I found my plasterer's groove (literally, the T-molding groove!) and the magic started happening.

Worst parts for the flaking are around the T-molding grooves, in particular that top-left curved edge where my bro-in-law's wandering hand kept feeling the unprotected curve, as he walked past several times a day (until I covered it with tape). Can't blame him though, my own fault really for leaving the cab half-done for 2-3 years, I guess.

I admit there is something quite satisfying and almost irresistible about running your fingers along that curve. Maybe I just like curves ;)
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Zebidee

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #47 on: July 13, 2022, 02:01:05 pm »
Pics, I know, pics or it didn't happen.

I neglected to take any "before" shots. It was messy. Main objective here was to fill gaps, restore and seal edges. hopefully to get that nice curve back too.

The left side was the worst, but it looks a lot better now.

 


Looks OK, not great IMHO. Much better than it was. T-molding will hide many of my sins. However, I may hit some spots with a little putty, one more time.

I need to make up another batch anyway - for the door.

Here is the acrylic putty I used:

 

For each batch I used around 2 desert spoons of powder. Start with one, make a little hole, add a little water, mix. Add second spoon/water as needed to make right "doughy" consistency. In fact, you make dough mixing the same way. This Agnews putty is easy to clean up too. At the end of my last putty session it started raining here (wet season), so I just scraped the big bits off and left my mixing stuff (bucket and stick) in the rain (not the metal scraper).

I couldn't find anything obvious for a putty mixing plate, but I found a standard old 20 litre PVC paint bucket. I wanted the lid, but no lid. So I turned the bucket upside-down, cleaned the bottom off, and used that to mix on! I was elevated about 50-60cm so I didn't have to bend down much, and I used so little water that it didn't run off

After 6-8 hours drying time, putty was easy to sand. After 24hrs or more, probably not so easy.

Only tools used were a 20cm wide metal plasterers spatula, a mixing stick, a damp rag, and some sandpaper.
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bobbyb13

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #48 on: July 13, 2022, 02:23:15 pm »
I use a wireless keyboard for admin stuff.

It cost 11 bucks or something like that.

It is about the size of an Xbox controller.

Need to look into this too.
Relax, all right? My old man is a television repairman, he's got this ultimate set of tools! I can fix it.

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #49 on: July 13, 2022, 02:56:23 pm »

Zebidee

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #50 on: July 13, 2022, 03:43:07 pm »
Every "mame" cab, or Pi or Mister etc. should have one. No cables, no fuss.

You can use velcro tabs to stick it somewhere inside your cab.
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bobbyb13

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #51 on: July 13, 2022, 06:43:00 pm »
Here's the mini keyboard I bought for my bartop:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B079L2C7J1/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

That's awesome Gil- thank you!
I was worried about dropping the mouse pad that I've had in my full size ones to get that small of a form factor.
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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #52 on: July 13, 2022, 10:05:42 pm »
I was worried about dropping the mouse pad that I've had in my full size ones to get that small of a form factor.

I keep a few USB trackball (marble) ergonomic mouses, which I use for doing most setup stuff on my cabs. Used to get carpal tunnel syndrome, and found a trackball mouse much easier to use. Can use entire hand, in any position, no mousepad or surface needed.

Once most stuff is sorted out, can swap back to normal mouse or wireless keyboard/touchpad as convenient.
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Zebidee

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #53 on: July 15, 2022, 09:29:18 am »
Redid my puttying. Especially on the left side curve.

Got my ski-slope curve back. Added the before shot (right, after first round of putty) for comparison.


 



I like a small mix. Bottom of this paint bucket is perfect for mixing on.





Back to more puttying

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Zebidee

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #54 on: July 17, 2022, 03:39:09 pm »
I lost most of my original side panel plan/cut photos with my old phone, but I found a few shots on my newer phone of how I cut the front curve. Some highlights below.

After experimenting with several techniques, I settled on using my trusty one metre long metal ruler to make the curve. I used a total of four small nails, barely tapped in, two nails each end, to hold the ruler in place while I marked the cut in pencil. As the cut would take out the nail holes anyway, there was no need to worry about filling later.

In the last photo, back of the ruler, you can see the second nail on the other side, around 4-5cm further along. This was enough to stop the ruler from springing out.

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #55 on: July 17, 2022, 07:25:55 pm »
Fill work makes me nuts.
Unless really heinous I often skip it.
 :)

Nice idea on the metal ruler!
Relax, all right? My old man is a television repairman, he's got this ultimate set of tools! I can fix it.

Zebidee

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #56 on: July 17, 2022, 09:40:47 pm »
Fill work makes me nuts.
Unless really heinous I often skip it.
 :)

I have noted that too, and do sometimes ask myself why I am bothering so much.

It is like this: it is my art, and I don't want to do ---steaming pile of meadow muffin--- art. ---steaming pile of meadow muffin--- art is not really art, it is just ---steaming pile of meadow muffin---. Anything worth doing is worth doing well - or not at all.

On the other hand, my old man (who himself was a great artist and an art master/teacher - seriously. You can look him up in encyclopedias and his works hangs in major galleries) taught me that if you are working on a piece, and you are fundamentally unhappy with it, then just scrap it and start again. Don't look back.

Thus, I tend to vacillate between being really fastidious about getting something right, or taking to it with a sledgehammer, petrol and a torch.

Nice idea on the metal ruler!

Thanks!
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bobbyb13

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #57 on: July 18, 2022, 04:10:27 am »
Quote of Grandaddy of mine is "If it's worth doing at all, it's worth doing properly."
I take that one to heart, however...

For me at least I have adopted my approach to surfboard building to suit most other things.

I recognize my shortcomings, realize that I will make more of these superfluous things and simply use lessons learned on current iteration to make next better and press on.

Goal is to play the games on these.
I have a bunch more I want to play again before I'm dust and that means I have at least four more cabinets to build.

And that's just for me
 :)

I do admire your fortitude though!
Relax, all right? My old man is a television repairman, he's got this ultimate set of tools! I can fix it.

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #58 on: July 18, 2022, 09:46:30 am »
Here's the mini keyboard I bought for my bartop:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B079L2C7J1/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I've used these mini Rii keyboard/mouse pads for years for various things and love them.  I second the recommendation.

To Zebidee, if you cut a thin strip of wood you can use that as a curved bending form as well.  If you cut the wood with even thickness you will get an even curve, if you cut it tapered you will get a curve favoring one side. 
« Last Edit: July 18, 2022, 09:48:23 am by EvilNuff »

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #59 on: July 18, 2022, 03:30:40 pm »
... if you cut a thin strip of wood you can use that as a curved bending form as well.  If you cut the wood with even thickness you will get an even curve, if you cut it tapered you will get a curve favoring one side. 

Nice to know! Sounds a bit too advanced for me at this stage though!

Expect I'd probably just end up with lots of small broken bits of wood.

For me at least I have adopted my approach to surfboard building to suit most other things.

I feel that God or whatever gives all of us special talents for certain things. To deny that to the world would be a sin! So get out there and do it, be creative and productive.

Quote
I recognize my shortcomings, realize that I will make more of these superfluous things and simply use lessons learned on current iteration to make next better and press on.
...
I do admire your fortitude though!

Good principles, and thanks!

This cab will have to look good. It will go into the main house, replace the huge hulking hunk of arcade cab I have there now.

We often host our guesthouse visitors there, so it has to look attractive, neat and tidy, but not overbearing.

Therefore, it will be showcasing my talents (or otherwise), so I don't want to do a "meh" job. Not that I ever want to do meh jobs, but ya'all know what I mean :D

Spray painting will be fun I'm sure  :o

Not a lot of experience with the pressurised gun, so things may get messy. :scared

May start with the removable back access panel - if I screw up, nobody will see it anyway   :cheers:
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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #60 on: July 18, 2022, 04:33:15 pm »
A test panel is of course the best approach.
The good thing about painting is that you can always sand out your drips and sags and hit it again!
Relax, all right? My old man is a television repairman, he's got this ultimate set of tools! I can fix it.

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #61 on: July 18, 2022, 04:56:37 pm »
I've just been shopping online for some leveling legs and fixed 2" wheels.

I found some wheels in a colour similar to what I want to paint with! So that is a plus.

I want a small person to be able to tip it back, onto the wheels, to move it around.

Will take a little engineering, but I remain optimistic.

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vertexguy

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  • ...but this one goes to 11.
    • forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php/topic,161694.0.html
    • V E R T E X G U Y - The Online Portfolio of Chris Kline
Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #62 on: July 18, 2022, 11:27:46 pm »
I dig those castors!

Zebidee

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #63 on: July 19, 2022, 06:10:49 am »
These are the kind of gaps I find in this plywood. Completely hidden from above, big hole with only a sliver of wood hiding it. This is on the back side of the door.

This hole was only revealed after I took the metal hinge off. I didn't notice it earlier, but the wood might've been loose and just fell out. I've already gone over all the other exposed edges with wood glue, but this was covered until now.

There was a larger hole like that on the left side curve, which only got worse by bro running his finger along it, absent-mindedly picking off loose bits.

This one will obviously need a bit of putty. Ho hum.
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Zebidee

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #64 on: July 20, 2022, 07:59:21 am »
Practiced by putting a thin layer of topcoat plaster over the back parts. Hard to convey in a photo, but it really looks totally shmick now, feels solid and smooth as, totally different to the uneven crumbly plywood.

Forgot to do the little "ears" sticking up - will catch them on the next round.

No paint as yet!

Gotta finish the topcoating first. Now going to go over the front panels and door.
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Zebidee

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #65 on: July 20, 2022, 10:17:22 pm »
Did topcoating on the front & inside & door panels last night.

Was too humid, and started raining towards the end. Then continued to rain all night. Next morning I was rested and ready to sand, but is still wet. Hurrr, oh well.

At least I had enough smarts to move it away from the hole in the roof (where that tree, behind top/right, pokes out).

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bobbyb13

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #66 on: July 20, 2022, 11:36:18 pm »
Getting closer!
Lots of fill work though, wow.
Man, I need to be more grateful that I can get decent quality ply here.
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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #67 on: July 21, 2022, 08:07:11 am »
Plastering is a bit like potato chips. Once you start you can't stop!

For the front parts, I went around the edges with putty first. Later, some sanding, then filled the middle with topcoat.

Those front bits are all done now, all smooth and shiny.

This second pic is where I am up to now, with one side. No putty this time, but I did use some topcoat around the edges. I then used a bit more topcoat (whatever I had left on my trowel, more or less) to cover the middle parts with a very thin layer (a little thicker in the middle-middle).

I did it this way because the area is quite large - if I try to plaster it all at once, I will just be moving sludge around and making a mess.

The edges, and the thin layer in the middle, will help the next layer of topcoat to stick and hold properly. ultimately I should use less plaster and get better results this way.

We'll see :D
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EvilNuff

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #68 on: July 21, 2022, 12:10:05 pm »
...
Man, I need to be more grateful that I can get decent quality ply here.

Same here, it just cost a stupid amount!  I picked up some 4x8 melamine the other day for an epoxy table pour form and really appreciate all the variety available.

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #69 on: July 21, 2022, 12:24:10 pm »
Blue castors arrived.

I'm wheelly excited!

[EDIT: updated pic]
« Last Edit: July 21, 2022, 11:12:01 pm by Zebidee »
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Zebidee

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #70 on: July 22, 2022, 07:32:58 pm »
So, I finished putting a very thin plaster layer on that side, a couple of nights ago.

However, it is rainy season and it rained all night. The plaster simply refused to go off/set/dry. Even with a fan on.

With morning temperature 24C at 6am, it starts to think about hardening.

It only really started to set close to midday, with temperature above 30C.

However, just as the plaster was starting to set, wrinkles appeared in two spots.

Press gently on the spots and you can feel it bounce slightly - there are gaps in the wood below, underneath a very thin outer veneer. Would be similar to a pic I posted earlier, large gap inside the plywood. That veneer got slightly wet from the plaster all night, then cracked and warped as the plaster dried. Faaaarkn ---smurfy--- plywood.

Would look something like this inside:





So I had to sand back and go over those spots again. Mounded up the plaster slightly. Another night, more rain, still not dry. Waiting until midday :/  Hoping it doesn't crack/warp this time. Taking too long.

Worried that I will have to wait for this persistent rain to ease up for painting (it is wet season)!
« Last Edit: July 22, 2022, 07:35:56 pm by Zebidee »
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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #71 on: July 23, 2022, 06:24:28 pm »
What about something like bondo in the trouble spots so you don't have to wait for the plaster?

bobbyb13

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #72 on: July 23, 2022, 10:25:33 pm »
My guess is that the bigger issue with plaster in regard to those mystery voids that sneak up on you is water content.
The polyester in bondo probably would not bubble up those thin veneers hanging over air as readily I imagine.

Wish I could offer first hand plaster advice, but I've only ever used my secret sauce epoxy concoction- and I know not everybody has 2 part aluzine and microballoons just laying around.
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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #73 on: July 24, 2022, 04:41:43 am »
I know Bondo is popular on BYOAC, but it is not ideal for wood. It is more for car smash repairs.

Unfortunately, Bondo creates issues. Like, it is inflexible, and won't expand or or move as the rest of the cab moves/expands/changes. Bondo won't work happily with the acrylics either.

Because Bondo is impervious to moisture, I expect the variable humidity (wet/dry seasons) would eventually make it crack away or even come out over time too.

Plaster is easy to work with and easy to sand. It breathes moisture like the wood. Easy to paint. Non-toxic. Easy to clean up (some water) and the waste can go to the garden. I don't get crap stuck to my fingers either (not much anyway).

With the plaster I can quickly go around the edges (I used acrylic putty around edges the inside/front panel edges, but mostly only used plaster on edges of the outside of the side panels) and a bit in the middle. Wait for that to dry off a bit, then put a thin layer of plaster across the rest, to fill in any tiny bumps. You don't have to be terribly precise or even level - it is easy to sand back, so you can build it up a little.

Don't think you can do all that with Bondo.

As I've progressed, I've been using less plaster. Fussing less. For the last large/outside side panel, I deliberately skimped on plaster in the middle parts. All I need is a thin layer fill the tiny gaps in grain of the plywood.

Where that bubble-up happened, I just sanded it back a bit and put a bit more plaster over top, another sand and it all seems to have settled down properly now.

I'm don't have huge experience with plastering, just know the principles.

I once sat down and shared some beers with a pro plasterer, while he was doing a small cash-job for me (plastering a wall).  Watching him work was amazing. He was lightning fast compared to me. He didn't even need to sand it back very much. I often find myself thinking of that time when doing such work.

Just finished - now to wait for it to dry (No rain today, but still humid). Then a quick sand and hopefully I can get painting tomorrow (have to buy paint!).

Will add pics if I can find my phone :P
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Zebidee

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #74 on: July 24, 2022, 04:54:36 am »
In the time it took my to write that post, the plaster has already dried off. So let's call that 45 minutes tops.

All thanks to lower humidity - not even that hot today.

Gotta go feed cats and a swim student will arrive soon. Hah, she will see me with plastered fingers!

Still can't find that phone
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Zebidee

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #75 on: July 24, 2022, 06:04:10 am »
Here we go - last side roughly plastered. You can see I was getting tired of it by the bottom part, pretty thin down there. Still, should be enough, no rough bits there. If not, another quick go-over.

There is a orange/black bug handing around on the plaster - I figured it isn't hurting anything so left it alone (I'm no entomologist, but orange/black is nature's way of saying "---fudgesicle--- off, I'll hurt you").

Anyway, I included this bug shot to give you a foreground subject, interest and context for the next pic, which hopefully indicates just how roughly you can apply the plaster (before sanding).

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EvilNuff

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #76 on: July 24, 2022, 09:14:52 pm »
I know Bondo is popular on BYOAC, but it is not ideal for wood. It is more for car smash repairs.

Unfortunately, Bondo creates issues. Like, it is inflexible, and won't expand or or move as the rest of the cab moves/expands/changes. Bondo won't work happily with the acrylics either.

Because Bondo is impervious to moisture, I expect the variable humidity (wet/dry seasons) would eventually make it crack away or even come out over time too.
...

Shouldn't have any problems with bondo in plywood.  Real wood yes definitely!  :)

Zebidee

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #77 on: July 25, 2022, 02:29:10 am »
Shouldn't have any problems with bondo in plywood.  Real wood yes definitely!  :)

Plywood is real wood too! If I find something I can't fill with acrylic putty, then I'll give it a go ;)

I've done some great repair work with acrylic putty. Looking just at my sig, the red cab and both yellow cabs had some serious dings and some chunks missing when I bought them. The repairs are hard to spot.

On the other hand, I've seen some Bondo repairs that stand out like sore thumbs. Not much one can do about it either. Maybe those guys just had no skill  :dunno

Here's a neat acrylics putty tip for you. You can mix acrylic paint (moderate amounts) with the acrylic putty! Colour will usually be lighter than original as putty dilutes it. However, it makes it much easier to match original shades when painting later, adding colour "depth" and helping with the blending. This is even easier when dealing with primary colours as no colour mixing required. Note: too much paint will degrade the integrity of the putty, add in moderation.

That woody "Princess" cab, 4th from left in my sig, was literally junk when it was given to me. Many deep scratches and gouges, stinking of rats ---steaming pile of meadow muffin--- & piss (had been a rat nest), water damage. I repaired and restored the wood laminate using acrylic putty and it is like new again. My repairs are invisible.

I mixed putty with the right shade of brown - for best result, choose the lightest shade commonly present in the woodgrain. Fill the big bits first. Then just apply very thinly, just to fill any cracks/holes. Very light sanding, use fine/old sandpaper. Then tung oil, couple of coats applied with a soft cloth (rub it in, no brush).

I got that woody Princess cab for free, restored it as above, put in an old 20" Teac CRT, put on some fresh art, threw in an ancient IPAC and a lovingly-made VGA-SCART cable (for the TV).  Flipped it quickly for $500, but people kept contacting me. Maybe I should've asked for more! Or kept it.

Pics for interest:

 


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Zebidee

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #78 on: July 25, 2022, 05:00:08 am »
Had just done the last post, then flipped my Aussie lowboy around to check to other side, the one with the vertical cracks appearing...

and more of the same. These cracks appeared late, after I had sanded and moved onto the other side.

May be that the wood on this side is sucking the moisture from the plaster too hard, and/or the plaster layer is too thick.

In which case the only solution is even more plaster - but need to keep it thin.

Just redid it, very thinly - then realised I forgot to take pics of the cracks again.

I think I recall my plaster mate mentioning this, and the need to avoid it (like, by using thin coats and not doing it on wet days). I dunno, was a long time ago.  :dunno

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #79 on: August 03, 2022, 10:04:05 pm »
Prepping is done. Those cracks I dealt with. Just needed some very light plaster over top, some patience waiting for it to dry, and some sanding

Had to put-off spraying because we have had many guests (guesthouse) and then I don't like running the compressor or other power tools (we offer "peacefulness" here, rare thing these days). Also, raining most days, and often the heat (or humidity) is just too much for both the paint and me.

While I was waiting, added a few holes for fan, vent, power inlet.

Did a little work on mounting the wheels and back legs.

The best times are mornings, so up early.

I decided to go with acrylic paints in the end.

I am currently test-painting. So far, so good. Theory is: many light coats.

More pics in a moment.
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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #80 on: August 03, 2022, 10:07:16 pm »
Spray paint testing and practice.

I used an offcut piece of 5mm plywood, sanded it down a little, then got into it.

Many many many very very light coats

Hope you like the colour  8)
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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #81 on: August 08, 2022, 04:03:37 am »
Nearly finished the magenta paintwork.

The "exposed" middle parts are all complete and looking good. Except for the actual door, I haven't done that yet (ooops!).





I've had to scuff back a little for some minor issues on the out-sides, both left and right. However, I can't do the final spray until the sun comes out for a bit.





One issue has been the return of those darn cracks, or wrinkles may be a better word - this happens when painting while it is raining or just too humid, like it has been these last couple of days as I was pushing to finish it off. Big mistake. I'd take closeup photos, but I always think of it after I've sanded them back, and I can't seem to get a decent pic anyway in this crappy rainy day light.

So I just have to wait for the sun to come out, as we don't have even a single heater.

Another (rather weird) issue has been chickens. We have too many. Anyway, sometimes a hen comes into my workshop area, looking for a place to lay an egg. Apparently this pink arcade cab is just the right place. So they come and climb over it with their claws, ripping absent mindedly into the nice finish. I've literally turned my back to talk to someone, turned back to find a chicken on top! Occasionally I spot the hens lurking around, waiting for an opportunity to sneak in.

maybe they just want to play Joust and Flicky?

So, unless I want to be constantly sanding out their claw marks I need to keep it covered when not working on it.

In the meantime, I've started spraying the control panel. This is just black lacquer paint from a rattle-can, onto steel, so the humidity doesn't really affect it.

Hope you like my spray booth:





After a quick spray (I usually do six even passes, about 1/2 second each, with the can), I close the flaps to discourage dust (and chickens).


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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #82 on: August 08, 2022, 05:10:22 am »
Good spray booth.
Less is more!
Relax, all right? My old man is a television repairman, he's got this ultimate set of tools! I can fix it.

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #83 on: August 08, 2022, 05:51:28 am »
Good spray booth.
Less is more!

Thanks! When not in use, my cats love playing in that spray booth box!

They interpret all the blackness as endless possibility and curiousity.

Because our cat like to race outside the house as you open the door, I put that box in front of our sliding doors, on the inside, facing into the house. When I open the doors, cat races into the box thinking there must be away out, through the box, past the doors  :laugh2:

Endless fun  :lol

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #84 on: August 20, 2022, 07:44:45 am »
Major developments so far!

I finally managed to complete the spray painting. Complicating things, it has been raining almost continuously here! This causes problems spraying with acrylics onto this crappy plywood, especially "ripples", cracks, wrinkles, whatever the word, as a thin layer below pops out with the humidity. Eventually I got there.

Some eye candy:

 


Front and back:


 
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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #85 on: August 20, 2022, 08:05:36 am »
In other news, I also added some feet and wheels today!

I started this cab a long time ago, at the time I wanted to add wheels but wasn't really sure how. I decided I should angle-cut the base at the back, which left me with this:







In practice, this made the cab a bit wobbly and relatively easy to push over backwards. Something had to be done about it, so I got some adjustable feet. I got the T-nuts separately.







To add the feet, I needed to secure them to the floor of the cab. However, I also needed to add a angled piece of wood across the back, to support the wheel. The compromise was that I had to cut holes through the angled wood to let the feet poke out!






The wheels themselves are simply screwed onto the angled wood. Normally the wheel won't touch the ground. However, when the cab is tilted back a little, the wheels engage.






Next:

- some more paint around my new feet and wheels
- fit some handles to the top/rear of the cab to help with wheeling it around
- start filling it back up again with CRT, sound system and PC!
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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #86 on: August 20, 2022, 09:16:32 am »
I found some old retro-handles I saved from a kitchen renovation in another lifetime. Now these handles have found new life on my cab!

Now it is super-easy to move the cab around to anywhere needed.

My baby looks half-naked, so time to put some T-molding on her.

Do people use glue when installing T-molding? If so, what glue? Or do you just shove it in the gap and hope it holds? I guess a lot of people do that too.

Any thoughtful advice welcome.
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bobbyb13

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #87 on: August 20, 2022, 02:05:34 pm »
Only ever needed a mallet myself but that slot looks to be a lot wider than the standard 1/16"

Getting closer!
Relax, all right? My old man is a television repairman, he's got this ultimate set of tools! I can fix it.

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #88 on: August 20, 2022, 03:21:52 pm »
Thanks.

Would have been a 3/32" slotter (about 2.4mm).

I can't remember all my reasoning back then, is a few years now, but I did my research and purchases. Seemed like a good choice at the time.

It was my first time cutting T-molding slots, so not to terrible I hope

Planning to go around each side 100%, joining at bottom.

See how we go!




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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #89 on: August 24, 2022, 02:47:54 am »
Just finished off the T-molding.

With the wheels mounted she is easy to move around the workshop area. So I wheeled her outside for a nicer pic.





Mostly it went without issue, despite the slot being 3/32" instead of 1/16". Next time I will try it with 1/16". Thanks for the tip Bobby.

I note that the tongue has a central spine which is exactly 1/16" thick, with branches sticking out around another 1/16" or so. It all holds in pretty well.

I did the routing before I bought T-molding, so was guessing a little based on desktop research (googling).

Anyways, it all looks good now.



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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #90 on: August 24, 2022, 09:05:17 am »
I did a bartop with 3/32" once and the T-molding never held well.  I tried gluing it in but it ended up being a big pain.  Fast forward a couple years later I forgot about those issues and I cut another 3/32" slot on a full size cab and immediately discovered the T-molding not holding well.  I bit the bullet and filled in the entire slot with Minwax 2-part epoxy wood filler and went out and bought a 1/16" T-slot cutter.  I've learned to cut a scrap piece and test it first after all my trouble.

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #91 on: August 24, 2022, 11:02:57 am »
I did a bartop with 3/32" once and the T-molding never held well.  I tried gluing it in but it ended up being a big pain.  Fast forward a couple years later I forgot about those issues and I cut another 3/32" slot on a full size cab and immediately discovered the T-molding not holding well.  I bit the bullet and filled in the entire slot with Minwax 2-part epoxy wood filler and went out and bought a 1/16" T-slot cutter.  I've learned to cut a scrap piece and test it first after all my trouble.

Useful experience :D

Mostly the 3/32 held well - the big problem areas were unavoidable, like where the plywood had hidden gaps/holes that opened up parts of the slots.

The front curves were a another problem area, as the tension along the T-molding does nothing to hold it in there. Also, where the T-molding takes a sharp corner, would tend to have issues.

I thought about using putty, but it would have taken too long to dry properly, more work to re-rout the slot (I've finished painting already!), and I was impatient. As it happens, plumbers tape seemed to do the job.

I used a fair bit of plumbing tape, pushed into the slots, to help fill up the gaps and give the tongue something to grab onto.

Also, on the sharp corners, I cut small "V"s out of the tongue to avoid distortions when compressing the tongue.

After doing the second side, I pulled out the first side and did it again! Much better now. By the time I was finished redoing the first side, the T-molding was almost 1cm too long, I had to cut it back again. Which tells you how much slack I managed to remove.

Next time I'll use 1/16" - I will be banging harder, but it would be worth it.



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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #92 on: August 24, 2022, 11:18:00 am »
Looking good!
Gil is spot on with test piece technique also.
I route a slot, turn the test piece over and make sure the tool just drops into the slot again, and then I know it is centered really well.
I use a dead blow mallet, a pair of side cutters for trimming spline where necessary and a fresh razor blade for end cuts.
Other handy tip is to go through the slot immediately before trying to bang the t-mold in and make sure that you have cleared every last bit of dust and wood chip out.
I use a hand saw that happens to have a blade just shy of 1/16" and pulling that through the slot all around is really effective at clearing debris.
Relax, all right? My old man is a television repairman, he's got this ultimate set of tools! I can fix it.

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #93 on: August 24, 2022, 12:15:29 pm »
I know most people can't do this suggestion.  Routing the slot before you assemble the board is a lot easier.  I've used the T-slot cutter bit in a CNC and then did the middle test Bobby just described to make sure I had the height right.  With the CNC it was easy to send gcode commands to change the height.  Then once its correct I leave it running near the middle of the table and then feed the board into it.

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #94 on: August 24, 2022, 08:15:21 pm »
This is good stuff guys! I wish I'd been able to find a thread like this before starting. Your experience is valued.

Installing T-molding seems straightforward, and most of this stuff is just good common sense, but all these little details matter.


I use a dead blow mallet, a pair of side cutters for trimming spline where necessary and a fresh razor blade for end cuts.


Aha! "Spline" is the word I was looking for. Yes, indeed I did it just like that, mallet, side-cutters and fresh craft knife blade.

EDIT: Another tip: If just using mallet alone, it it can feel a bit bumpy. So, use a small offcut piece of wood with a flat edge, and hammer that along the edge afterwards to help make it flat.


Quote
Other handy tip is to go through the slot immediately before trying to bang the t-mold in and make sure that you have cleared every last bit of dust and wood chip out.
I use a hand saw that happens to have a blade just shy of 1/16" and pulling that through the slot all around is really effective at clearing debris.


Yeah, last minute check essential, there is always some bit of crap you miss. I used the end of a metal ruler.


I know most people can't do this suggestion.  Routing the slot before you assemble the board is a lot easier.


Absolutely agree! I wouldn't even attempt to do the T-mold routing after assembly.

Having a CNC is nice  8)

In other news...

Did some touch-up paint for the extra board at the back/butt, where the new wheels and feet are mounted, now her collars and cuffs match!

I will be a little busy with GreenAntz units the next few days, but will find some time to reassemble the door and control panel soon.

Then I will work on the speaker mounting panel (black metal above monitor). Drill a couple of new holes in the middle for a volume control and an on/off switch. And paint it (black, of course).

You can have any colour you want, so long as it is black. And magenta   :cheers:
« Last Edit: August 24, 2022, 09:16:59 pm by Zebidee »
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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #95 on: September 13, 2022, 04:30:41 am »
Some updates. Lot of good progress over the past two weeks or so.

I will make a few posts, so please be patient and hang in there.

First, the front door. Painting complete.

Once the paint was fully dry, I reassembled the hinge.





You may recall that I used a bunch of metal washers (four for each bolt) to get the hinge into the correct position.

This time I decided to use a piece of scrap wood (same thickness as four washers) instead.


 
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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #96 on: September 13, 2022, 05:07:43 am »
Before mounting the door, I was going to fit a slightly larger CRT. Previously there was a 20", new CRT is 21".

I component-modded this TV one evening, two or three weeks ago. I was very impressed with the picture quality, so wanted to use it. The modding went exactly like this thread I wrote up late last year.

This new TV, like the old one, will be powered by a GreenAntz transcoder.

First thing to do was to make some new holes for the T-nuts. The new holes are approximately 1.25cm away from the old ones (1/2 inch).

You can see here why I prefer to support the CRT with two wooden brackets, top and bottom. Because they are separated, I can slide them up and down to match the CRT.

Hopefully you can also see here why I prefer to make the brackets with an angled inside edge about two inches long. This gives me the flexibility to accommodate tubes of different sizes. Having said all that, this 21" tube is about as big as I could ever fit into this cab.

You might notice that I have already fitted a 12v 3" fan in the back. I got this out of the way first because, after I've fitted the CRT and the speakers, I won't be able to get in there to install the fan.


 


After taking these photos and mounting the CRT, I realised that the top of the screen was now too high, it was going to sneak up under the speaker panel. So I had to lower both brackets by around 1.5-2cm. This was pretty easy though, I just had to unscrew them and slide them down.

You can see the remote control board for the TV mounted on the right side. It is convenient for now, but may go somewhere else once I get a bezel on.

You can see here how I put the screw in the T-nut the wrong way (deliberately). While I'm sorting the cab out the CRT may come out for various reasons, so I prefer to leave it like this until I'm done working on the cab. When done, I'll switch the screws back and bolt it all down.


 


NEXT: DISASTER!!!
« Last Edit: September 13, 2022, 07:31:58 am by Zebidee »
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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #97 on: September 13, 2022, 05:54:13 am »
Reassembling the door and control panel took me a two or three days, because nothing fitted back as well as it did originally.

Part of the problem was the paint thickness. Where the CP used to just barely slide past the paint on the inside of the CP area, the panel was now scraping paint and making a mess.

The only practical solution was to get my big-ass file and carefully grind about 0.75mm off the right side/front. I had to be careful to not damage the paintwork, but I got it done. Then I also had to repaint the parts scraped by the CP.

Once that was all done, it was time to re-fit the CRT. This is when disaster struck   :hissy:

The TV chassis had been sitting on my electronics workbench for a couple of weeks while I was sorting the paint and other things out. So I grabbed the CRT and chassis, mounted it all into the cab and fired it up, but ...

It wasn't working right. The TV wasn't switching into YUV mode (which I need), and in fact the TV/AV button on the remote was not working at all. Some buttons on the remote did not seem to work, or worked only intermittently. I went into the menu, then I saw this (below/left):


 


The menu did not look right, and furthermore there were these garbage characters along the bottom line.

I did manage to get into the service menu and was looking to see if there was a reset or something (there isn't). Then I was at the screen you see (above/right), and changed the value of "64PIN SET" from "0" to "1" (default value, according to manual), and about 2 seconds later the TV just turned itself off.

That was it. The TV wasn't coming on anymore. Off on holidays.

I spent a day looking through my other CRT TVs to see if there was one suitable for this 21" tube, which I liked and had already mounted. After going through about eight TVs, but there was no easy match.

My first theory was that the 64-pin jungle chip, which controls the remote among other things, was either dead or corrupted. This is not a good thing, as changing a 64-pin chip is never easy.

The problem with that theory is that the jungle chip doesn't actually store any data. So how can it get corrupted? The more I thought about this, the more I thought there must be something else going on.

So I had another really good look at the chassis, and finally noticed this little 8-pin IC sitting quietly in a corner (circled in yellow, below). I had no idea what it was, initially I thought it might be a video amp as it was near the cable that takes RGB up to the neckboard. So I looked at the numbers, "HK24C08", and googled it.

Turns out HK24C08 is an EEPROM chip! It must service the jungle! I confirmed this by finding the traces to jungle chip serial data lines.

Unfortunately no way to properly test the IC. Corrupted data != shorts.

So, I took a huge gulp, girded my loins, and removed the chip. I replaced it with an identical chip I pulled off a currently not-working but nearly identical TV chassis. I fired up the TV again aaaaaaannnnnndd.........

It worked!!!!!

That is probably the most ballsy repair I've ever done. Pure hunch/theory.

I had to spend half a morning rejigging a lot of values via service menu, but now it is working and looking 100% again :D


 


Naturally, you are all asking "HOW DID THE CHIP GET CORRUPTED?". Well, it can just happen randomly. However, my theory is that is is because of chickens that occasionally infiltrate my shed/workshop area, like commandos on a mission, looking for somewhere to lay their golden bounties (eggs).

On at least two occasions I had to chase chickens off my electronics work table, where the chassis was, while I was getting the paint done (outside, of course)

If anyone wants some chickens, come get them (free).

NEXT: The Phoenix rises
« Last Edit: September 13, 2022, 06:10:27 am by Zebidee »
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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #98 on: September 13, 2022, 06:56:30 am »
With the door, control panel and CRT (repaired) and properly fitted, time for some gratuitous cab shots!


 


I have impressed even myself with how good the silver bolt heads and piano hinges look! Combined with the black and magenta colours, they really stand out.

Fitting the door and control panel properly took a lot of time and patience. However, it has paid off. Now they both open easily and freely (mostly). This will make accessing and servicing the cab much easier.

More gratuitous pics:


 


Because the CP just "flops" out, wiring the joys and buttons will be a cinch. Also, fault-finding will be easy, no tools required for access.

The door and CP do not touch, even when flopped out like shown.

I did get some small dimples in the CP paint, where it rests against the carriage bolts when open. I've decided not to worry as they are barely visible. In any case, nothing practical I can do to stop it from happening again.

Time for some control panel close-ups.








You might notice that I've chosen to put the dust covers/washers under the control panel. This is a much better look than on top. It also means that the dust covers won't scratch the paintwork.

To install the dust covers under the CP, I had to install some washers (about 1.5-2.0mm thick, the same ones I removed from the door hinge) to shim the joystick downwards slightly, allowing room for the cover to move freely. I've gotta say I am very impressed with the look. Also, there is absolutely no chance anyone could get a finger caught in it. Very slick, if I say so myself.

The blue credit button will eventually be lit with an LED.

Some final pics, a screenshot and the power button. Note that the power button (which is difficult to photograph properly when lit against a black background) will eventually change to be blue. In fact, the new buttons arrived while I was writing this.

In some of the other pics above, you might notice there is a small hole above the power button. This is where I'll mount a volume control (eventually).


 

 


EDIT:  I may have forgotten to say that the sound is awesome. More on that later.

NEXT: Lot of things to do still
- control panel wiring
- installing power input
- setting up PC
- volume control
- fan(s)
- marquee
- bezel
- everything else I haven't thought of yet


« Last Edit: September 13, 2022, 06:00:26 pm by Zebidee »
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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #99 on: September 13, 2022, 11:41:06 am »
Gotta love a hinged CP.
I was thinking a limiting chain but then remembered that panel is metal- so not as easy to implement.

Coming along nicely.
I like the not-standard color concept!
Relax, all right? My old man is a television repairman, he's got this ultimate set of tools! I can fix it.

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #100 on: September 13, 2022, 01:09:57 pm »

NEXT: Lot of things to do still
- everything else I haven't thought of yet

Bezel.
                  

Zebidee

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #101 on: September 13, 2022, 07:06:50 pm »
I did get some small dimples in the CP paint, where it rests against the carriage bolts when open. I've decided not to worry as they are barely visible. In any case, nothing practical I can do to stop it from happening again.

Here is what I meant by dimples.





This photo, with the right light, picks up all little imperfections. Here I can even see the paint scrunched a bit around the carriage head bolts too, but it is less than it looks and again it isn't worth worrying about. I've decided that I can live with the dimples as they are not so bad, and almost impossible to see without getting up close. I only noticed them when reviewing pictures for these posts.


Gotta love a hinged CP.
I was thinking a limiting chain but then remembered that panel is metal- so not as easy to implement.

Coming along nicely.
I like the not-standard color concept!

Thanks! I want it to look fun and attractive to both my wife and kids. Then I can use it to replace the streetfighter-type cab I currently have in the house. Everyone will be happier.

We run a guesthouse, so we often have families coming through.

Limiting chain is a good idea. However I think I'd have to weld on a ring/hook or something, and I can't weld without ruining the rest of the finish.

For next time, I can think of two other elegant solutions.

#1  Let the CP hinge poke out a few millimetres more, so that it will sit OVER the bolts heads when open

#2  Pre-drill holes where the dimples would appear, and put rivets (or more bolts) in. Then the bolt heads would rest against each other when open.

If careful, I could even implement #2, the holes/rivets option with this CP. Not convinced it would look good though, with all the extra metal studs I might confuse it with a modern teenager's face. Will think about it a bit over next few days.


Bezel.


Thanks. Added to list. I thought of this too while getting ready for bed.

I was impressed with Bobby's bezel work. However, I've never used fibreglass before and really know nothing about how to do it, or where to get the stuff I'd need.

Have you got any good tips Bobby, on how to do some simple fibreglass work? I guess I should go back and re-read your posts.

I could ask around and, if I'm really lucky, find a surfboard shop or something. Yeah right, here in rural Thailand, only nine hours drive to the ocean   :laugh2:

Think I'll just make one up with cardboard first and see what happens.
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Zebidee

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #102 on: September 15, 2022, 09:50:15 am »
I moved on to the LED marquee light today.

My idea was to use some IKEA LED bench lights, that we bought ages ago but never used. We have three, and one of the LED strips was just the right size for the cab.

I got it out and tested. To my dismay, very bright. I could not imagine playing a game with this bright light blinding me, even with marquee art in place. I wish I could take a picture to show, but it would just swamp the camera CCDs in the iphone.

However, I found a neat solution, based on some educated guesswork. Here are some pics. It is hard to convey that they are the right level of brightness, but you can see it isn't swamping the pics.


 


First, I observed the specs. 24v, 5.3W, 66 LEDs. With this information, I can calculate the current (~220 milliamps) and overall resistance (~ 110 ohms).

I estimated that each of the 66 LEDs has a matching resistor of ~6K ohms (far right)


   


First thing to note is that I didn't use the IKEA 24v power supply for the LEDs. I saved it for the remaining, unused LED strips. This cab already has a 24v PSU for the audio amp, and it has plenty of capacity left over for LEDs. So I will need to hack a connection.

I also want it less bright, so I need to limit the current. I did this by putting a 470 ohm resistor (3W rated) on the 24v input. This limits the current to about 1/4 of what is was before. Maybe 1/5 (depending on how your measurement assumptions).

Total power is now a snack under 1W (vs 5.3 before). Note that the resistor is 3W rated.

In the pic below, please note the resistor on the left is doing nothing at all - you can see I completely bypassed it with a wire. I was only interested in using it to physically help plug into the female connector.

The resistor on the right is the 470R 3W I added (470 + 110 already there = 580). This is doing the work, limiting current. Total power passing it is only ~1W, and it is handing it well. Finger on, it is slightly warm.

The pic below is for testing and demonstration purposes only. I will soon tidy it all up by cutting some wires, removing the unneeded resistor, adding some heatshrink etc.


 






« Last Edit: September 15, 2022, 10:45:44 am by Zebidee »
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bobbyb13

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #103 on: September 16, 2022, 01:55:44 am »
I like the marquee light adjustment!
I'm beginning to get less scared of electronics recently so this is fun to think through.

Oh man, the fiberglass thing-
It is a rabbit hole.
You would want to warm up to it by just laminating some flat things before you work your way into stuff with compound curves and hard edges.
Cloth weave bias and weight alone will give you headaches until you have it sorted, never mind mixing ratios and temp and humidity effects.

Maybe I should work on a legit glassing tutorial?
Would be fun to do if I can make the time.
For a simple polymerization reaction the whole thing goes pretty deep.
But I can take a shot at it (or at least answer questions?!) if ya really want!
Relax, all right? My old man is a television repairman, he's got this ultimate set of tools! I can fix it.

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #104 on: September 16, 2022, 06:03:51 am »
I like the marquee light adjustment!
I'm beginning to get less scared of electronics recently so this is fun to think through.

Thanks :D

I learned almost nothing about electronics at school.

Instead, much of my electronics knowledge has been from applied learning, mostly gained while doing arcade stuff. Guess I've learned a lot, but even so that barely scratches the surface.

I also taken the time over past decade or so to learn stuff from youtube, going through online courses, reading books(!) and stuff like that.

All of which means there is hope for you Bobby, because if I can learn then anybody can.

Didn't you say your old man was a TV repair guy? It is in the genes ;)


Quote
Oh man, the fiberglass thing-
It is a rabbit hole.
You would want to warm up to it by just laminating some flat things before you work your way into stuff with compound curves and hard edges.
Cloth weave bias and weight alone will give you headaches until you have it sorted, never mind mixing ratios and temp and humidity effects.


I'd be willing to give it a go, though I'll probably start by getting the cardboard bezel right first. Then I can start practicing with the fiberglass, eventually progressing to destroying a few cardboard bezel templates along the way!


Quote
Maybe I should work on a legit glassing tutorial?
Would be fun to do if I can make the time.
For a simple polymerization reaction the whole thing goes pretty deep.
But I can take a shot at it (or at least answer questions?!) if ya really want!


I think there would be a fair bit of interest in it.

First steps might be listing the basic materials, cloths, tools, solvents etc. needed to get started. We then go get it!

Then do something simple, like a flat piece. Working up to a bezel is a good target as very useful for people here.

Original arcade bezels were often made of fibreglass.

If I can learn electronics, maybe there is hope for me to learn fibreglass too!



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Zebidee

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #105 on: September 17, 2022, 04:27:18 am »
So, I've been tidying up the LED connection with the 470R 3W resistor in place.

I've also found some old white ceiling paint, and slapped that around inside the marquee lightbox. Not a pretty paint job (the old paint is nearly dead), but it doesn't need to be.

About to install the LED strip. I've prepped some marquee art already. Hopefully will get it printed tomorrow.

I've been thinking more about those dimples I mentioned above. I think I'll drill holes and install some M5 or M6 black hex head screws. These will cover the dimples, be barely visible yet look appropriate, and their heads will sit against the carriage bolt heads when CP is open (thus preventing any further paint damage).

I can't think of a neater solution.

Here are those dimples again:





DB25 connectors arrived yesterday. I will use these to connect the CP controls to the IPAC.

Am thinking better try drilling those holes for the dimples first, before doing the wiring.

Thoughts?
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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #106 on: September 17, 2022, 06:05:00 am »
Installed the (tamed) LED strip into the lightbox for marquee.

Getting these shots with iphone was hard - even with the LEDs dimmed.

Before installing the LEDs I roughly painted inside of lightbox white. This helps diffuse & spread the light, meaning brighter & more even illumination of marquee.


 
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bobbyb13

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #107 on: September 18, 2022, 01:44:31 am »
Unless YOU will lose sleep over them, just leave the dimples.
Trying to get rid of/mask then will take more effort than it is worth and opens the potential for drama!
Relax, all right? My old man is a television repairman, he's got this ultimate set of tools! I can fix it.

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #108 on: September 18, 2022, 02:44:43 am »
Unless YOU will lose sleep over them, just leave the dimples.
Trying to get rid of/mask then will take more effort than it is worth and opens the potential for drama!

You might be right, but I may be silly enough to have a go anyway.

To avoid thinking too much about it, I've been trying to get my head around Attract-Mode as a front end. It is very powerful but not very intuitive (not to me anyway). I am trying to convert my old MameWAH based front-end system to AM.

I've gotten MAME working with it, and I've managed to get my music playlists working too. Now I have a headache!
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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #109 on: September 26, 2022, 05:09:04 pm »
Although I haven't been posting, I've been busy.

Have spent past couple of days making homebrewed cables.

First, I want a detachable front control panel, so decided to wire it all up to DB25 headers. Used old CAT5e flexible network cable for the job. Needed three pieces of network cable (8 wires each) for each side, plus a separate ground wire.

Network cable is OK, but the insulation is not designed for soldering so keep that in mind if you use it. Use lower temperature, don't let the iron "dwell" on the wires for very long.

Second cable featured here is a MOLEX extension cable (1.4m long!) to take 12v up to the fan and power button LED. It must be long enough to reach from PC at bottom to the top of the cab. Must also be long enough so the PC can be pulled out for servicing.

This MOLEX cable has a short 5v extension to a 3-pin header, which will power a 5v relay (attached in photo). The relay will auto-switch on 220v power to the rest of the cab (TV, LED marquee, sound system).

More on that auto-switching later.

The third and fourth cables are for the power switch: one for on/off signal (grey-green/black) and an extension for the power button LED to get 12v (connects to the 3-pin alt header on fan, which is in turn powered by the long MOLEX cable).

These cables all need to be long enough to pull stuff out for servicing, but not too long. They also need to be easily detachable, so parts can be easily pulled off as needed.

Make sense? Good :D

I also changed the fan. The one I put in originally has bright blue LEDs in it, and I decided that would be distracting. So I replaced it with an old PC case fan, no LEDs (tested first, runs nice and quiet). Note that I fitted bug mesh behind the fan (tropical climate, bugs and geckos are a big issue).

Unfortunately, to change the fan I had to detach and remove the CRT. To remove the CRT I also had to remove the glass, the speaker panel, and unscrew two batten timbers. What fun!

Pics:

 


« Last Edit: September 26, 2022, 06:02:19 pm by Zebidee »
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Zebidee

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #110 on: September 26, 2022, 06:59:59 pm »
Getting the audio amplifier the cab needed an little extra work, as there was no easy way to screw it down to something.

My plan is to mount both amp and IPAC onto a separate board, making it easier to access and remove for servicing (as required).

So cut out a bit of 5mm plywood from some scrap, and sprayed it with black from a mostly used rattlecan. Probably should've gone with the magenta, but nevermind.






To screw the amp down, removed the bottom faceplate and flipped it around 180 degrees. This gave a small part that sticks out at the front nearly 1cm. I used that free space to drill a couple of holes for screws.

The other end was trickier - I selected a spot at the bottom that was well away from any electrical components. Not that there is any real concern, the amp components are all on the other side. The bottom is all ground plane only, just a few vias from components above accessing ground.

Spent a bit of time going through my tiny screw collection to find four suitable. Using neoprene grommets to add 2-3mm spacing and act as shock absorbers.





The  faceplate is just aluminium so (very) easy to drill. Got it all mounted. IPAC included for demonstration purposes. This accessories plate is now ready for installation (screw onto inside of cabinet), just need to get the control panel wired in. 





Here is a profile pic of the amp mounted. There is plenty of space between screw heads and the PCB base, at least 1mm. Note how the bottom faceplate is offset slightly (because I turned it around 180).

Raising the knobs like this makes it easier to adjust volume/bass/treble, more room for your fingers.


« Last Edit: September 26, 2022, 07:03:31 pm by Zebidee »
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Zebidee

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #111 on: September 27, 2022, 02:14:37 am »
This morning I finished rigging the AC power coming into the cab.

I put it all onto a separate piece of scrap 5mm plywood. This way I don't have to crawl around inside the cab to wire everything. Now it is done, I can simply screw it onto the back of the cab, next to the PC-style AC inlet plug ("IEC connector"). I put an extra PC-style AC in plug there to the left, facing front, so you can see how it looks.

The AC plug includes a 10A fuse and a rocker switch for on/off.

AC Power is supplied to the PC and relay from the left 4xterminal gang.

When the PC is switched on, 5v will be supplied to trigger the relay. Then AC will pass through the relay to the 4x terminal gang at the right, for the CRT TV and 24v PSU (not shown).

I didn't draw a schematic for this, it is all in my head. If you are interested, let me know and I can draw/write something down.

I haven't installed or tested anything yet either, so wish me luck :P


 
« Last Edit: September 27, 2022, 09:46:44 pm by Zebidee »
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bobbyb13

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #112 on: September 27, 2022, 01:29:03 pm »
Looks like it should work to me!
Your wire colors are funny.

Foreigners...
 :lol
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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #113 on: September 27, 2022, 09:46:06 pm »
Looks like it should work to me!
Your wire colors are funny.

Foreigners...
 :lol


Glad to see someone is actually awake!

I used international convention for the wire colours, and recycled most from old Australian wiring. red/brown for live, blue for active and green/yellow for earth.

For DC I try touse yellow for 12v, red for 5v, , black for ground, like most PCs. The fan came with red on the 12v wire  :dunno

Anyways, I made a small mistake. Forgot to carry the neutral (blue) wire up to the switch, so that the built-in LED can light up.

I added it, and photoshopped the pic above to show where it goes.



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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #114 on: September 28, 2022, 01:59:53 am »
THere was a track I couldn't follow but I didn't notice that part!

We silly Americans (who foolishly buck reality in the rest of the universe apparently) still use black, white and green for main AC wiring!
 :lol
« Last Edit: September 28, 2022, 02:02:08 am by bobbyb13 »
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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #115 on: September 28, 2022, 04:27:41 am »
Oh yeah. I recall reading that here and there. Just makes things confusing!

When it comes to wiring colours, never assume  :o

Just finished hacking the 3" fan (on cab top/behind)!   ;D

It wasn't overly noisy, but I could hear it slightly so it annoyed me slightly.

So figured out, after a little experimentation and good-old maths, that a 120R*, in series on the 12v input, would cut the voltage in from 12.1v to 8.1v, making the fan slower but still moving air ok, and effectively silent.

It is a 3-pin fan and therefore has some speed control available via software, but who wants to bother with such boring matters (or making the long signal lines)? Also,  I follow a modularity principle (you should be able to replace components, like the PC, and it all just works). I want to "set-and-forget".

What I need is constant airflow that draws heat out from the top (where it collects naturally). Slow is fine.

My single 3" fan came off a dead PC case. Pics later.

EDIT: * resistor used was 3W rated, but 1W or maybe even 1/2 watt would be OK. 1/4 watt is asking for trouble :)
« Last Edit: September 29, 2022, 06:56:17 am by Zebidee »
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Zebidee

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #116 on: September 28, 2022, 06:57:36 pm »
As promised, pic of fan mod.

The 120 ohm (3W) resistor is that lump on the red wire, under the heat shrink. It barely even gets warm :)





I took measurements with my multimeter before (12.1v, 45mA) and after (8.1v, 33mA).

Here is the math. Note that while voltage dropped by 1/3 and current by 1/4, total power dropped by over 1/2 to just over 1/4 watt.

Also note that the "resistance" drops a bit as voltage and current drop. This is expected, as fans are basically a pair of inductor coils designed to create alternating magnetic fields and spin the fan. Inductors resist (impede) more as current increases.

I used the Digikey Ohms Law calculator:


 
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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #117 on: October 02, 2022, 12:45:04 am »
Significant progress since last report.

I finished up with the AC wiring. Everything setup and working nicely. Had it all nice and neat and tidy!

Then I decided to put everything else in and test. Now there is another disorganised mess of cables n stuff on the inside floor (VGA/component/audio signal/power/speakers, IPAC, GreenAntz).


 


There are no powerboards/smartstrips anywhere. You plug in a standard PC power cable, even this grotty one (pictured) will do. Power to the entire cab is controlled by the PC power with a single button (that blue lit one), via a 5v relay. All the AC intake/switching is stashed away up the back.

I will soon cut out the cable mess in front by:

- using a shorter and less chunky VGA cable
- running component cable directly out of TV (saving about 1 - 1.5m of extra cable/connections)
- mounting the Greenantz/audio/IPAC against the inside wall.

Have also been doing some work on the controls wiring.

Here the flip-out control panel design shows its value, easy servicing:





Best thing, it all worked first time! Here is a closeup if you like.





Did the whole thing just sitting in a chair at front, which I'm sure all of us over 50 years old can appreciate!

Finally, here is a pic of how the CRT chassis is mounted (to the right inside).





It is just screwed onto the inside, using some PCB legs. Mounted the CRT mains switch there with some scrap wood, so you can turn it off separately from the computer (if needed for some reason).

That cream retro-looking light switch, at top right, is for the marquee LED, so you can turn it on/off separately as desired. I recycled it from something.

The long PCB hanging below is for the TV front menu panel. Mostly useless now, just screwed it in somewhere to stop it dangling about, will sort it out better later :P

The IPAC/audio amp plate will be screwed in somewhere on the sides eventually too, probably under those TV/light switches. This will leave the floor free (for relevant storage, backup keyboard/mouse etc.)





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Zebidee

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #118 on: October 02, 2022, 10:12:42 pm »
Finished all the IPAC wiring, closed it up and played a few games!

Still lots of little things to do like pause & admin buttons, tidying up wires, touching up paint in a few spots.

The control panel paint finish is continuing to give me headaches. After playing for a bit my hand has already significantly scuffed the paint at the front corner/edge. This is a problem of my own making, as I have already applied too many coats, so the paint has "skinned" and can move around with pressure. I hoped with time it would harden and settle, but seems not   :cry:

For time being I'm going to ignore it and move on. I could sand the bloody hell out of it and re-paint (again). Better option is probably to just apply a vinyl overlay. 

Also need to setup a proper computer to use with it - currently I just have my main test PC in there. Easy enough to swap though, nothing custom, just plugs in.

Pic for attention
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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #119 on: October 05, 2022, 06:08:05 am »
Good to see you have it working!

While sorting the PC you could always...

Pull the CP, remove your controls and put the thing in the oven on low for a while!
Or on the dash of the car with the windows shut on a sunny day?

A little tropical sun goes a long way in hardening paint.
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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #120 on: October 05, 2022, 08:01:07 am »
Good to see you have it working!

While sorting the PC you could always...

Pull the CP, remove your controls and put the thing in the oven on low for a while!
Or on the dash of the car with the windows shut on a sunny day?

A little tropical sun goes a long way in hardening paint.

Bobby! That is a good idea! Thank you :D

A while back, after 2 days drying, I tried baking the panel in the sun, next to our swimming pool for a few hours...

Somehow, some dust and bugs managed to impact the paint! I had to re-sand and refinish...

This happened twice, because I somehow could not believe it the first time.

And those dimples at the front? Well, I drilled holes to put black M6 nuts there instead, except some of my drilling got hot and caused the paint around the holes to bubble.... So more re-sanding/re-painting.

One good thing is that the M6 nuts are effective, look good and prevent the dimpling. After that repaint, I left it about 2 weeks to dry off. Still not good enough.

For the record it had been raining solidly for about 2 months. May have something to do with it. Humidity sux.

I've wasted so much time on re-painting that panel, it makes me depressed thinking about it.

Anyway, your idea to put it in the oven is a good one. I will sleep on that. If I can stomach sanding/painting another time. I've been wanting to put a bar heater on it but we don't have one. Oven, yes!




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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #121 on: October 06, 2022, 04:57:08 am »
Where on this great planet are you located Zebidee?
My previous projects:

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #122 on: October 06, 2022, 05:48:53 am »
Greenman, good sir, I am from the Wonderful World of Oz-tralia, but am in the Land of Smiles (Thailand).

When I said 2 months of solid rain, I may have underestimated. It has been a long wet season, prolly more like 4 months with occasional periods of sunshine.

Australia has been getting more than their fair share of liquid gold too. Lately is just flood after flood after flood.

I just swam back from the shops with some more sandpaper and black paint. We all know what that means... :D

That means I want to re-do this control panel and get it in the oven (hopefully before wife comes back from Bangkok and freaks).
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bobbyb13

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #123 on: October 07, 2022, 04:20:13 am »
Has hardly rained at all at my house in 8 months.

A triple dip La Nina will not be doing well for our precipitation levels at least.
Lots of great surf from the west with little wind probably, but squat for rain.
Time to up the ante on irrigation for the goats!

Hope you get your CP baked before you are in trouble.
I warm our oven to 175F, turn it off, put the item to be gently roasted in there with the door ajar and then wait until it has gone ambient temp again.

Works great for drying out recently washed pcbs too!
Relax, all right? My old man is a television repairman, he's got this ultimate set of tools! I can fix it.

Zebidee

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #124 on: October 07, 2022, 09:14:44 am »
I measured the oven and it was at least 8cm too short, even diagonally.

On local online market I found exactly one variety of small double bar electric heater (2x300W), no fan! Perfect. Cost about US$10, awaiting delivery!





Some parts of Thailand do get a little cold in the cool season.

On other news, am going to have to upgrade the relay in my power distribution arrangement. Seems that the amp + 2x50W speakers is causing the cheap Chinese $1 10A relay to get a bit stressed, especially when I turn the volume up. 10A should be more than enough for the whole system, which should not draw more than 5A max, but who knows for sure about long-term performance and on/off current peaks etc.

In addition, the Chinese mechanical relay often sticks ON when I turn power off, meaning residual current is still generating enough voltage to spark across the relay contacts as they are released - and then making them stick again, something like welding. You can gently tap it loose with a screwdriver. Anyway, the issues will only get worse.

I could install a "snubber", but I suspect that won't solve all the issues.

So I'm going to try replacing it with a solid state 40A relay, similar to this one. More on that next time :D

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Zebidee

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #125 on: October 07, 2022, 09:22:56 am »
A triple dip La Nina will not be doing well for our precipitation levels at least.
Lots of great surf from the west with little wind probably, but squat for rain.
Time to up the ante on irrigation for the goats!

Yeah there are some weird weather cycles going on.

That La Nina brings repeated flooding to Oz, droughts to the other sides of the pacific.

There was a hurricane off Vietnam couple weeks ago, and all the rain depression from that came over Laos and then our place here. It really isn't that far! We didn't get the winds, just the rain.

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Zebidee

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Re: Aussie lowboy with hinged metal control panel
« Reply #126 on: October 09, 2022, 05:36:02 am »
So I'm going to try replacing it with a solid state 40A relay, similar to this one. More on that next time :D




So, I replaced the relay with the new solid state 40A one (~$2.50), and so far it is working well, much happier than the cheap Chinese 10A one (<$1).

Unfortunately, the 24v power supply had partially failed. Possibly because of the cheap relay? Maybe. I was only getting about 6.8v out of it, enough to run the audio amp but not the LED strip.

So I pulled the PSU apart and had a good look, nothing unusual. Checked all the diodes (OK), then checked the big and small transistors (all OK).

Finally I got out my Dick Smith ESR meter and went over all the electrolytic capacitors, and found one 47uF 50v capacitor that looked normal, but with ESR way high out of range! I pulled it and measured with DMM, was only reading ~30uF. It was obviously on the way out.

This cap is on the controller chip Vcc input. If it doesn't get charged, the IC won't turn on, and the secondary stage of the voltage conversion won't happen. Which is why I was getting 6.8v, not 24v.

I replaced it with a Rubycon cap with same specs. Now all is good again :D

Very happy to have been able to diagnose and fix that problem for myself. If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, I found this video very useful. This dude has a very strong accent, and an amusingly intrusive cat, but knows his stuff and is very informative:





Another issue is with shared grounds between 24v PSU, PC and IPAC via audio ground.

I was seeing pause and admin (<SHIFT>/enter) "get pressed" repeatedly... especially when playing music.

At first I thought there was a short in my wiring, checked everything I could, but both buttons are way up/back in the marquee area. I've already cable tied it in, I didn't want to rip it out needlessly. Good thing I didn't.

I am now 99% certain it is ground loop related. If I pull out the audio input from PC to the amp, the button problems magically go away.

So I ordered a 3.5mm plug-in audio ground isolator, see how that goes in 2-3 days time.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2022, 05:46:08 am by Zebidee »
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