13 April 2016

Front panel

I've finally completed the front panel layout for my development controller. In the end I decided to go for a completely symmetrical layout, consistent with the fact that effectively all VFOs are created equal in the Flex world.

The picture shows the cutting layout and was a bit of a sod to get right. The main problem is the mix of units: component pins are on 0.1" spacing, whilst virtually everything else is in metric. The result is a lot of to-ing and fro-ing between the inches and mm. At least Visio makes that relatively easy to do!

The final front panel cutting layout for the
G3WGV Flex controller project
The large rectangle in the middle is the 5" TFT touch screen, which is really the centre of operations.  Around that are two banks of four pushbuttons and eight rotary shaft encoders. Either side of the central assembly are the two VFOs, each with their own set of pushbuttons and Tx/Rx LED switches, a la FT5000. To the far left are the power switch, paddle input, headphones out and microphone connectors.

The next task is to get Visio to create an AutoCad file, which I shall e-mail to my friendly CNC milling machine owner tomorrow. It'll probably be next week before I can get the panel to him and as he always seems to be ridiculously busy it might be some time before all those holes are cut. At least sending him the file gets it in the queue...

After that, it'll be into the local paint shop to be sprayed dark grey with a matt finish. I think I've more or less decided that the small amount of silk screening is probably not worth bothering with - as virtually all the controls are "soft" and can be reconfigured at will, there is no value in labelling them. Instead, the display will show what the various shaft encodes are configured to do.

I'm holding off cutting the rear panel for now. I don't have clear visibility of what will be needed on the rear and even less idea what would be a good layout at this stage. As it's the back panel and it will certainly be much simpler that the front panel, I shall probably do the metal bashing for that myself.

For the moment, I've rather run out of things I can do. It's supposed to be a nice day tomorrow... aviating beckons, I think.

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