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Worklog: Arcade Stick

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Heh... while I'd like one, I'd not really need it most of the time, and there are too many things that I need/want more for that kinda money... I think I can get by with the circular saw for a while... I'm sure I'll have a real pillar drill, lathe, bandsaw, drop saw, milling machine, router, etc. later in my life... I'd need to fix up the garage a bit first though lol...


I think I'd like a tool chest first, I've got way too many toolboxes and numerous tools without cases!

The unfortunate thing about good tools they cost a bit of money. I am lucky enough that my grandad was a carpenter all his life and now I have access to a lot of quality tools including a drop saw with a long sliding cut 500mm and another drop saw no slide however it flips over and is a table saw.


Tool chests or rather cabinets if it can be a permant fixture in the garage are a must. Oh and nice jig for the miter cuts.

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Redwood sides - recessed USB holes


Right then, so continuing with cutting the bevelled redwood lengths into front/back and left/right sides, with mitred ends, I took one of the long pieces and set up the Forstner bit in the drill. I've never used this type of bit before, and the way they work is they cut around the perimiter of the hole first, and then the inside of this circle groove is then shaved off. This results in a flat, clean cut bottom of a recessed hole.





I used the depth gauge on the drill stand to get approximately near a 16mm recess, this would leave 4mm of wood behind the hole to enable the USB panel mount socket to be secured to the back redwood side. I then gradually eased the drill down and shaved a bit of material off and then measured the actual depth with the metal ruler part of my new combination square. This method worked very well and I ended up with a really clean hole. The edge of the hole is a bit rough, but the design has a rounded radius around this, so it'll be sanded smooth anyway.





I then cut the through hole part using a 16mm brad point wood bit. It was a little difficult to center the hole exactly since the Forstner bit has a large centre point, but I managed to get it pretty close.





A little test to see how the panel mount socket fits, and yes, fits very well, with just enough exposed threaded body on the other side for the plastic nut to secure the socket in position.





I mentioned last time that I had to cut out a section of the jig in order to be able to use it at all, so here's what it looks like now.





Ok, so after a lot of careful, precise mitre cutting, I have two sets of redwood sides, complete with recessed holes for the USB socket.





Next, I'll be setting up another jig, this time for positioning the sides at 45 degrees, below the drill, so I can drill all the dowel holes, ready for gluing together into a frame. I'll be adding the inner lip for the control panel and bottom panel to attach to, before gluing the two halves of the frame together. So far, the side pieces look to be cut pretty accurately, and they form nice square angles with the mitred ends mated into a corner. But, I'm sure there'll be a fair amount of fine sanding to get them to all mate seamlessly, and perfectly square, in a complete frame. Can't be as tiring as 3+ hours of heatsink/CPU lapping though lol! :lol:

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Redwood sides - dowel holes


Well, there's not much to show today, but hey, it's some progress nonetheless. I looked through the article/photoset about the dowelled mitre joint and it seemed like the key was simply to set up a 45 degree support for the mitred pieces in order to drill down perpendicular to the mitred face. So, riding on the success of the mitre jig, I thought I'd cut up some more plywood and redwood and make some sort of 45 degree support.


I used the combination square in the 45 degree position to mark some lines on the plywood, both to roughly cut them to shape, and also to precisely position the hardwood section at the 45 degree angle. Three screws on each side holds it together.





Once again, the jig ended up being a snug fit on the mitred pieces, so much so that it pretty much held the piece in position without any clamping.





I marked out three hole centres, at approximately 15, 35 and 55 mm across (it varied slightly as one of the lengths was ~69mm and one was ~68mm), so the "35mm" mark was central on each piece, with the other marks 20mm either side. The points were also 7mm away from the inner edge of the mitre/corner. This should work well with the 6mm dowelling I'm going to use.





So, 48 holes later, I ended up with a bunch of mitred ends that look like this.





I drilled down ~10mm deep, which should provide enough dowel space (~20mm) to give decent reinforcement at the corners. I'm sure there'll be a bit of dowel sanding and hole filing to get them to fit together and align exactly, but I think the dowel fit isn't too critical, just the fact that there are three dowels strengthening each glued mitre corner is essential I think (rather than each dowel/hole being a perfect snug fit).


Unfortunately, that's all I got done today... I think I might start sanding next...

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a lot of crap came up like I had to mend some fence panels and repaint them... the frame/band clamps I ordered got delayed by 2 weeks... I've actually glued the outer pieces of wood into the frame shape now, with ledge section ready to glue and secure the plywood and first MDF section... but visually it's hardly any progress... I've ordered some smoked acrylic for the bottom/underside panel because I couldn't find anywhere selling A4 size 3mm MDF sheets, and I can't be bothered to set up a rig to cut a board down to size... so yeah... smokey black/grey tinted acrylic instead


updates to come soon (like this week soon, not imminently soon)... need to find my AA battery charger for the camera lol

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i bet if you lean up your place you will find it under a to go food box :whistling:

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:lol: it's more likely to be under a pile of socks or something

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Putting the frame together


Ok, so it's been almost a month since the last update. Real life and postal delays happened. Anyway, so last time I starting sanding the mitred corners lightly until I realised it was basically impossible to sand the mitred faces completely flat (by hand with a sanding block), and I was actually making them worse. Most of the mitre cuts are near-perfect anyway so I figured I'd just go ahead and glue them together and clamp them really tight.


Before assembling the frame, I meticulously cut some wood strips to the right height to provide a ledge for the control panel to sit on, and the base panel to fit on the underside. One of the sections near the small button area needed a hollow cutting for a touch more clearance, but apart from that it was just a case of cutting them to the right length and positioning them, gluing, then piling a massive stack of wood and books on top to hold them in place while the glue set.


For assembling the frame, I checked out the prices of some long sliding clamps and basically gave up as the cost was enormous for something I hardly ever use. I decided instead to get some band clamps (also called frame clamps). These have four corner pieces and a strap that can be tightened to clamp the corners down with a decent amount of force. I bought two, to provide more force, and so the corner pieces didn't indent the wood (turns out that wasn't possible anyway since the strap slips above a certain amount of strap tension). I put some wood glue on the mitre faces, the dowel pieces and the dowel holes, strapped them together, used some of the MDF pieces to check squareness of the frame, and then left them for about a day to set and bond.





I like to dry-fit and check stuff as I'm building and this point was no exception. It turned out that although I'd left enough space for the USB panel mount socket to pass through the hole, I'd overlooked giving clearance for the securing nut. So, I cut out a section with a holesaw to make it easy to get to the nut. Also, while I was at it, I decided that I would cut out the section around the LEDs, as it was not really providing any extra rigidity or support, and would really complicate the wiring assembly, and installing the sub-panels. Just a couple of quick cuts with the jigsaw.





So here we've got the plywood base of the control panel, with the stick in position. Four holes will need to be drilled so that I can secure the stick in position using machine screws, washers and nuts... or maybe wood screws... they'd have to be fairly decent wood screws to provide a secure and long-lasting hold... I'll probably just go for the bolt-through screw-washer-nut option for peace of mind. It isn't hard to drill four holes anyway!





I thought the first MDF sub-panel didn't really need the row of LED holes either and cut them out with a jigsaw too.





The second MDF sub-panel I just left it how it was since the polycarbonate top is only 2mm, so the LEDs could do with a bit extra support in that area.





With the top sub-panel in place, the resulting sandwiched control panel is reassuringly weighty and rigid, with only a tiny amount of flex at the centre of the main button area. I'm confident that this area is strong enough to forgo the need for a central support column, especially since the buttons could be pressed by a tentative stick insect.





I flipped this partial assembly upside-down to check the internal clearance and decide on a place to mount the project box that will house the PS3 SIXAXIS PCB and battery. It's pretty tight, and would probably have been better if the internal ledge section along the front was just two short sections at each end, so that the middle area is open up to the front "wall"... but hey-ho, it fits, and the switches will fit, with possibly one of them needing the solder tabs bending over.







The cutout for the USB socket's nut was probably a bit larger than necessary, but the extra finger/wrench room is what I was most concerned with.





So anyway, back to the frame-carcass and, as expected, some of the mitre joints have a slight gap due to the slight variation in cutting angle, and the hand sanding I shouldn't have done. I had some wood filler left over from renovating the main bedroom floor, so I decided to use it. It says it's "antique pine" colour and basically looks like the colour of orange sand, quite a lot darker than the wood, but you're supposed to use a darker shade of wood filler, so that when the wood darkens as it ages, the filler looks natural, and not lighter than the wood.





I used a dinner knife to try and convince the filler into the cracks. It's not pretty, but the entire frame-carcass is going to be sanded, and will probably need a touch more filler, then a bit more sanding, etc.





I know the sanding and varnishing of the wood is going to take a while, so I'm gonna carry on with the frame-carcass, and then that way I can be working on the electronics and wiring while I wait for endless coats of varnish to dry lol.

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