Assembly and Party
Well, this update comes rather late I know, but I ended up having a very long few days and needed some rest. The assembly on Thursday turned into a lot more work than I anticipated. My friend from work came over to help me, but he did not end up making it over until mid-afternoon and stayed helping me until 5 am. I went to sleep at 6 and got back up at 9:30 to keep working. In the end, it was not nearly enough, and I did not finish in time for the party. However, I did get it presentable so we could still give it to my dad. Now, it is sitting back in my garage for me to finish up. It was so hectic, I didn't get many pictures, but I will try to take some pictures of some of the things I did while I work on it this week.
Earlier in the day Thursday, I tried to get everything organized and ready to go. I also went ahead and applied the marquee graphics to the plexiglass. I measured and marked my wood for where I needed to cut it. I waited on my friend to get there to cut it because he was supposed to be bringing a circular saw for me to cut it with. Unfortunately, he couldn't find it and looking for it only made him later getting there. I ended up using a jigsaw I have to cut all my panels and it turned out pretty well actually. Here is my wood-working station. Lots of sawdust by the end of the night.
Next we put the panel in place and mounted the monitor. After a few times of redoing the placement of the mount, we got it in place - only to realize later that we leveled it to the floor, not the cabinet. But redoing it again had to wait. It was good enough for now.
This was kind of our central station for the night. It really captures some of the desperate insanity that began to take ahold of us as the night wore on. Okay, it was mostly me that was beginning to lose it.
Next up came the control panel and wiring. That's where the real problems began. The control panel was not yet built since I'd just cut the wood for it. So, while I started on that, my friend went into the kitchen and set up his stuff to start preparing the wiring. Glad he came to help or I would've been lost. I will share more of what he did for me this week in another update. (I did supply him with a few of the Monster's to keep him going throughout the night.)
The first thing I did was lay out the control panel art work on the wood and trace the outside so I could get the curves cut right. It might would've been easier and left cleaner results if I'd used my router, but I'm not as experienced with it and it tends to jump sometimes, so I kept using the jigsaw. I also had to use the jigsaw for a few angled cuts, mainly on the back sides of the control panel against the monitor glass. It wasn't perfect but it got the job done. While I had the artwork on the wood, I also used my center punch to mark where to drill the holes for all the controls. Unfortunately, I only had a circle cutter, not a hole saw.
This turned out to be a much bigger problem than I thought it would be, and I wish now I had just gone and purchased a 1" hole saw like I thought about doing. The circle cutter worked pretty well if slowly, but it was not meant to cut that deep or for that many holes in such a short time. I was also using my cordless drill which I kept having to change out and recharge batteries on since the circle cutter took so long. If you are planning on doing anything like this, get a hole saw. A circle cutter is a great tool for some things, but not for cutting lots of holes through 3/4" MDF.
Slowly, but surely, I finished getting all of the holes drilled for the controls. I also put in under-mount hardware for all the joysticks and the trackball but I forgot to take a picture. I'll take one and post it later.
One of the last things I did for the night on the control panels, was to cut the slot into the sides for the t-molding to go into. In this case, I actually had the right tool, and it went amazingly smooth. I put the slot-cutter router bit into my router and carefully zipped it around the edges of both panels leaving a nice, almost smooth groove. I did pull the router a little a couple of times, but the t-molding will cover it.
Before I went to bed I laid out the various wood pieces, such as the supports to raise the second control panel above the first, and spray painted them all black. I forgot to take a picture of this as well since it was very late and I was very tired.
Friday was a flurry of work with a lot of visible results but not much to show along the way for progress. Meaning, I was in a really big hurry and didn't take any pictures. I will try to get some close ups later and show some of what we did. First I finished assembling the control panels, applying their vinyl overlays, and attaching the entire unit to the cabinet. We hurriedly put in all of the joysticks, buttons, trackball, and spinner. Next, it was all hands on deck to get the vinyl artwork and t-molding on the sides. Some of the t-molding would not stay and will have to be glued into place. Then we packed the cabinet into a truck and took it over to our church where we had the party.
Here's a few shots of some of the decorations and stuff from the party.
Unfortunately, I didn't get to enjoy most of it, because I wanted to make sure I could at least turn the cabinet on when we gave it to my dad, even if none of the controls were wired up. So I spent the entire first part of the party in a separate room desperately getting the Raspberry Pi hooked up to the monitor, power, and speakers. I also put the bezel artwork on top of some cardboard and wedged it under the monitor plexiglass, and I quickly put the coin door back in its hole in the front. I didn't even get a chance to test it before we rolled it out and presented it to my dad. Here is what he saw.
He was completely shocked and all he could say was "Wow . . . Where am I going to put that thing?!" He loved it and I was very excited to see it even though I was disappointed that I couldn't finish it in time.
The good news for you is that this build log gets to go on a little longer. Now I can finish it without the pressure or need to rush. I have to wire up all the controls, finish the bezel for the monitor, and redoing the front panel with the sheet metal and artwork. I hope to finish the wiring over the next week or so, then I'll work on the last of the cosmetic stuff.