Arcade Cabinet: Side Panel Cutouts

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Weekend #1:

Using my original SketchUp drawing, I saved a 2D PNG version looking directly at the side panel.  I scaled this up in GIMP to the actual dimensions at 72dpi, saved as PDF, and printed it at full scale on the plotter at work.

I then cut out the pattern and taped it to a piece of 1/4" 2x4ft MDF.

Paper pattern taped to 1/4" MDF.

Using a jigsaw, I cut around the template, making sure not to cut over any of the lines.  I occasionally had to stop and re-tape the pattern as I cut across the tape originally holding it in place.

1/4" MDF cut to shape with jigsaw.

Once the template was roughly cut out with the jigsaw, I got out a straight file and filed the edges straight & flush with the lines on my paper pattern.

Smoothing the edges.

After lots of filing, I removed the paper, and used a pen to trace around a metal washer at all of the sharp corners in the pattern.  Then I filed the corners round using the lines as a guide.

Completed wooden template for top section of side panel.

Weekend #2:

I clamped my template to the top half of a 2 x 6ft sheet of 3/4" MDF. (This sheet is the product of Lowes cutting a 4 x 8ft MDF sheet into one 2 x 4ft sheet and two 2 x 6ft sheets for me so I could fit them into my car).

I traced around the wooden template and removed it.  I then used a straightedge to continue the incomplete straight line down from the bottom-front.  I cut around the outline with my jigsaw, leaving about 1/2" of space between my cuts and the lines I'd drawn.  I left that extra bit of space between my jigsaw cuts and the final edge, because I couldn't make a true perpendicular cut with a jigsaw if my life depended on it.  That's where a router comes in.

Once I had my rough cutout, I reattached and securely clamped the top-section template.  I used a duplicating router bit to cut the side panel to match the template (see the photo at the top of this post for how it works).

Top two-thirds of cabinet has been cut using duplicating / template bit on router.

When I got to the bottom 2 feet where the wooden template stopped, I just flipped the template over, re-clamped it, and used the straight edge on the back as a guide.

Using the back of template to complete cutting the bottom-front section of the side panel.

With one side completed, I repeated this on the second side.  This time, I used the first side as the template piece.

Using the first completed side panel to create a duplicate panel.

Once I got the sides cut out, just for fun, I clamped them to the frame so I could get an idea for the eventual scale and look of what I've been working on.

Side panels clamped to the frame.

2 comments:

  1. Any updates? Have been enjoying reading about this build. Also, I love the circular saw guide you made!

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    1. Thanks! I'll have some more updates in the next week or two.

      I think I'll be doing a lot of assembly this coming up weekend. I basically have all of the separate components cut out and tooled. Now it's time to put them all together.

      In the meantime, I also have some more recent progress here.

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