Had the whole day today to work on the panel, got a lot done! Considering I had zero
metal working experience before this project, there have been a lot of surprises. For the most part, everything I thought would be easy has been hard, and everything I thought would be hard has been extremely simple.
For instance, I assumed the step bit and hole-saw holes would be cake, but they were very fiddly to do right. I spent most of my time setting up for holes rather than drilling them. In contrast, I thought the freehand holes (square and rectangular openings) would be very hard, and they were cake. I mean, a breeze. I had psyched myself all up that the jigsaw work was going to be hard and it wasn't at all.
A few random bits of wisdom I picked up today the hard way;
- Don't misinterpret the speed chart on your drill press... I was running my step bit at ~1k rpm, when I should have been at 400. 400 works much better!
- People say use plenty of cutting oil. What they mean is, use cutting oil multiple times per hole.
- Solid clamping is key. It was very hard to properly secure the work for each hole, so I ended up with a lot of "wood sandwiches", keeping everything in place. They don't show in the pictures, but the parts being drilled are nearly always backed by chunks of 2x4.
Drilling the clearance hole for the electric element in one of the element boxes. This picture is here mainly so that everyone who has proper drill press clamps can marvel at my ingenutiy in the face of having the wrong clamps
It was impossible to layout the 1/16 DIN and meter openings with pencil or marker - the margin for error is just too small. So I dropped tape on the surface, did my layout on it, and then razor knifed the layout at the exact locations of the desired cut, and removed the tape where the cutout should be. This made for very easy to follow contrast while running the jigsaw.
Fully laid out panel, ready for cutting.
The first meter in place! I was paranoid, so I undercut. If you do the same thing and need to enlarge the opening - don't be scared - use the jigsaw to open it up. Just follow the edge and carefully angle the blade to open the cut rather than work at it with a file. I found the file ineffective for all but the smallest errors. The meters are all snug - you can't get a sheet of paper into the opening next to the device. Waterjet cutters, eat your heart out
An in-process shot of the 22mm holes. This took hours - much longer than the square/rectangular openings.
The cut front panel.
Components all test fit. The extra blue mark is because I modified Kal's panel layout.
Top of panel ground and sanded.
Bottom layout for receptacles.
Bottom holes all milled.
And I'll leave you with a "Kal Style" shot, in respect for the man