Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Behind The Front Panel VII

After mounting the monitor, the last thing left to do was take care of the volume knob area. I cut the circle out behind the volume knob where the circuit board of the Griffin PowerMate will be installed using my drill and a foerstner bit. I also managed to remove 1/8" of material around the top of volume knob using the circle cutting jig.

I'm a little nervous about how everything is going to fit together. The cutout for the circuit board intrudes on where the monitor will sit as you can see. I cut the hole 1/8" oversized and the area for the monitor may be a bit oversized too so hopefully there is room for everything but it is going to be tight. I guess I'll know more when I actually try to stuff everything in there.

Well, that's it for this thing - finally. Time to start the back panel! I've got a couple of cool ideas for it but it shouldn't take nearly as long as the front panel did (I hope)...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Behind The Front Panel VI

After countless hours of tedious work the monitor mount is finally complete! I was able to remove the remaining material behind the Plexiglas so the monitor would lie flush (well, offset by 1/8"). It is now ready to be installed!

This was by far the most complicated thing I've ever had to figure out on any project. After I finished routing out the material so the touchscreen glass would fit into the rectangular hole, I traced the irregular shape of the outside of the touchscreen. Then I had to freehand with the router to remove more material (leaving the 1/8" for the glass to sit on). Once that was done I had to roughly figure out where the Transducer Wedge would sit and remove additional material down to the Plexiglas.

Check it out:

The strip of exposed Plexiglas you can see on the side and bottom is where the Transducer Wedge will sit. Here are some rear shots of the monitor mounted into place. I had to remove 1/16" of additional material along the top and bottom for the mounting brackets.

Yeah - it's kind of overkill but the more pictures the better I guess. It helps me to see things from all angles. Here is a closeup of the side with the wire sticking out. My wife thought I messed up the cut when I showed her the back panel without the monitor in there!

Here is a good shot so you can see just how thin the monitor is. There should be plenty of room in the jukebox shell for the computer components and adequate airflow/ventilation.

Finally, here are some shots of the screen installed! There is a 1/8" gap between the monitor glass and the Plexiglas which will be filled with some black foam weatherstripping when it comes time to install the monitor permanently.

The next step is to remove the material around the volume knob area as well as bore a hole for the volume knob circuit board and a through hole for the shaft of the knob itself. Then I'll spend some time polishing the beveled edges of the Plexiglas with some sandpaper and Novus polish. Finally, I can glue the front panel to the shell!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Behind The Front Panel V

Well, I'm getting there. Last night I removed quite a bit of material from the back of the front panel. This was done so the monitor will be able to sit almost flush with the Plexiglas. I say almost because of the 1/8" space needed for the "Transducer Wedge" on the front of the monitor.

This process was really no different than what I have been doing to remove the material behind the Plexiglas. I measured the distance from the edge of the monitor picture to the edge of the glass on all 4 sides (with the monitor on, of course). Then I laid out the lines, set up my router and a straight edge and cut out the rectangle so the glass would sit in the routed area.

Check it out - I am getting tired of photographing this thing!

These close-ups give you an idea of how I am setting the router at different depths to get the screen positioned as close to perfect as I can. I should also note that the cutouts here are not symmetrical. As you can see, I left 1/8" of material for the screen (glass) to rest on because I have to compensate for the "Transducer Wedge" located on the bottom left side of the monitor.

The red area I circled shows the Transducer Wedge - it sticks up approximately 1/8" from the glass. I am going to have to route down to the Plexiglas in this corner in order for the monitor to sit as close to flush as possible. The wedge will be against the Plexiglas and the 1/8" of MDF remaining will provide support.

Finally, I couldn't resist placing the screen behind the front panel and putting the volume knob in place for a quick picture. This gives you a really good idea of what I am striving for.

The next step, with the monitor in place, is to trace around the edges with a pencil. There are a lot of weird shaped wires and stuff that stick out on all 4 sides. Once that is done I'll freehand with the router until I am able to fit the entire monitor into the routed area. Finally, I'll trace the tabs that are on each side which hold the screws that will secure the monitor in place so I can route out a shallow area where they can sit.

I anticipate the monitor mount being completely finished by Saturday night! Now I can start thinking about artwork for the marquee area above the volume knob... and start trying to find a Photoshop expert to help me out!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Behind The Front Panel IV

I made a bit more progress last night. I managed to remove 3/16" of material around the speaker opening. This should allow me enough room to put an aluminum grill in front of some speaker cloth right up against the Plexiglas.

My goal this week was to have the front panel completely finished and glued to the shell but I still have a lot to do.
  • remove material behind monitor opening to mount monitor flush
  • remove material behind volume knob
  • remove material around top of volume knob
  • cut speaker grill and install
  • cut speaker fabric/material and install behind grill.
  • cut marquee pattern out of 1/4" MDF
  • polish edges of marquee, monitor and speaker openings
It's almost overwhelming. I can't believe how long it takes. I'm hopeful that once I am finished the rest of the project will come together quickly.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Behind The Front Panel III

Well... not much progress tonight even though I spent about 2 hours working on it. I used my razor to clean up the contact cement and the thin layer of MDF that was left on the Plexiglas after routing around the monitor opening. It is obviously quite time consuming. The contact cement is kind of rubbery and didn't want to come off unless I painstakingly picked at it with the razor.

Tomorrow I will remove 1/8" of material around the speaker opening. This should allow me enough room to put an aluminum grill in front of some speaker cloth right up against the Plexiglas. After that is finished I can finally mount the monitor into final position!!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Behind The Front Panel II

Last night was productive... I guess. It is going very very slow. I was able to remove 3/8" of material behind the Plexiglas all the way around the monitor opening. This 3/8" strip is for the black foam tape/weatherstripping which will be installed to bridge the 1/8" gap between the monitor glass and the Plexiglas bezel. The monitor cannot lie flush with the Plexiglas because of the 1/8" tall "Transducer Wedge" (basically some wires) mounted on top of the glass which is what makes the touchscreen work properly.

These diagrams from the touchscreen manufacturer should give you an idea what I'm dealing with:

I will be doing pretty much what is shown in the last two pictures on the right. I cannot believe how much work is involved in mounting the touchscreen properly! I hope I can have it finished by the end of the week...