20 Jan 2013

Control Panel

The layout is going to need three control panels. I have decided to make a start on one (the one for the fiddleyard and junction) before I progress with the next bout of woodwork.

The electronics are the easy part (remind me I said that later) I am going to use two CML DTM30 boards in a single box. The box will have approx 25 point/route setting push to make switches and around 70 LEDs to show occupancy and point / route setting.

My main concern being a messy sort who has little design skill or flair for such things is how to make the panel look acceptable.

I have started by drawing up the panel I want on Excel and the printing that to pdf for an A3 size sheet. Then I have sent the pdf off to a printer to print onto some tough waterproof paper (£2.50 per sheet). Here is a picture of the diagram...

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I had considered sandwiching that between an aluminium base and a perspex top but I found that the perspex was too tricky to drill without it cracking. I could perhaps do ten successfully but here I will need to do a lot more than that. So I have just gone for waterproof paper on a 1.5mm aluminium base -

Here is how the paper arrives through the post...

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And here it is after I have cut it to size and drilled some holes in it. I found that using a wood drill the 7mm holes for the switches came out neatly - but the smaller ones for the 3mm leds tended not to cut so neatly so I will drill those after I have stuck the paper to the aluminium.

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Drilling the switch holes in paper and metal separately means I have to try and be fairly precise I expect this will need some adjustment as even with the pillar drill I can see I am slightly out in places. Anyone got a handy CNC machine?

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