New paint on the sides? Check! Routed plexi top? Check! Giant furrow in panel? Check! Wait! Urghhh…

Posted: 2010.11.16 in DOOMED!, General

I felt really proud yesterday, when I completed the paint on the sides of the control panel. The sides of the panel need to be gray, while the rest of the panel remains the nice, deep red. I started by running a nice, straight line of painter’s tape along the red sections to protect them, and once done, I laid another line of tape to hold down some newspaper to cover the rest of the control panel. I was surprised at how well it worked, and the sides painted up really, really well.

When it dried, I removed the tape and it looked amazing. The lines were crisp and clean, and the paint was smooth and glossy. I figured I was really ready to do some final wet sanding, and then lay down the few layers of clear coat that would seal everything in, and bring this part of the project to a close.

That’s when disaster struck. This disaster is called ‘User Error’. I call it such, as I have limited experience with my router, and obviously, I made some type of mistake.

I had bought some clear plexi to lay on the top of the control panel to protect it from fingers, scratches, and damage. To match the shape of the panel, I clamped it to the top of my nearly complete panel (tell me when you figure out my mistake) and adjusted by flush-trim bit to only cut the depth of the plexi. The cutting portion of the bit would not touch the panel, and the bearing would roll along it’s length, setting the cut up so that it followed the shape of the panel. I did my first test along the back, where the panel would attach, as any mistake would be hidden. This cut, was smooth, clean and quick, with no damage to the panel at all. The bearing rolled along the panel, and the cutting bit above did it’s job. In two passes, I had cut the plexi to the appropriate size.

Then, my first tooling failure occurred. I rechecked the depth of the bit, and it still looked fine. I made no adjustment, and started on the front of the control panel, to cut the shape of the ‘wings’ into the plexi. As the router moved across the face of the panel, I didn’t notice that somehow, it was cutting a deep (in my opinion – others might call it a scratch) furrow into the face. I stepped back, looked in amazement, and became overwhelmingly sad at all the work I had just thrown away. I cut into the side to complete the plexi, with a similar result. I looked at the depth – again – and still could find no issue. I still have no idea why there is a cut in the side of my control panel.

Here is a picture of the painted side that I DIDN’T destroy with the router… I’m very proud of the work completed here. I am totally surprised by how nicely it came out.

You’ll note in the pic above, the large furrow down the front. Here it is, in all of it’s ugly glory.

Router Mishap!

The marks you see on the far right are actual plastic from the plexi that melted right to the control panel.

It’s been an uphill battle on this, but I’m learning as I go. It’s certainly a labour of love, as I’m still excited to continue, given the setbacks so far. I know it will turn out great, as I won’t accept anything less than my vision come to life. As I said to my Wife, “This is my own, personal version of ‘art’. Some people can sculpt, some can paint, but I’m building an arcade game that’s never existed outside of in a video game. That’s my art.”

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