Sunday, August 14, 2011

I eat Green Berets for breakfast. And right now, I'm very hungry!

It's been far too long since my last update. The cabinet was playable (albeit without any artwork) for quite a while. What's the best thing to do when your cabinet is in a perfectly playable state?

Tear it apart and redo parts of it, of course.

The original planning and design on the control panel was done quite backwards. Instead of properly laying out the control panel in a digital template and then drilling from there, I drilled and worked backwards. This created a number of accuracy issues.

Close probably won't cut it if I decide to get artwork done, and then spend a hundred dollars or more to print it. With that in mind, I spent close to a month playing around with different layouts to ensure I could still fit 3 trackballs on the control panel.

It initially started out as a way to find a better design, and resulted in a significant reduction in the size of the massive control panel.

I shaved 8" off the horizontal and more than a full foot off the vertical. It should still provide more than adequate shoulder room for playing, while bringing the panel in closer to the monitor.

It keeps the same general feel of the panel, but removes a lot of the empty space. It also reduces the feeling of being oversized.

My friend did a great job of a very precise fit and finish to the panel and the panel box. At one point he was 1/16" out on one of the sides and scrapped the entire side. I probably would have been fine with it, but his attention to detail shows.

Once I got it home, I taped it and prepped for painting. I used a roller and a brush to apply multiple coats. Bondo was applied at any imperfections.

The finished look is a nice smooth matte without any brush strokes showing through.

I've managed to move over all the controls and as of this date I'm 50% of the way through wiring. The wiring turned out to be a bit of a headache because I didn't do a proper wire map to begin with.

Fortunately I followed the Mini-Pac wiring guideline in order, which maintained my sanity if a connection had pulled loose and I wasn't sure where it belonged. More updates as it is completed.