Good grief! Things are positively racing along here in Max's World (where the colors are brighter, the butterflies are bigger, the birds sing sweeter, and the beer is plentiful and cold). In my previous post on the Bodacious Acoustic Diagnostic Astoundingly Superior Spectromatic (BADASS) display, I described how I was starting out by creating a paper and cardboard prototype.
Well, I'm happy to report that the front panel is coming along in leaps and bounds. I've routed out the plywood (which will be stained to look like old wood) to accommodate the hardboard display and control panels (which will be painted to look like antique brass). In fact, I've been beavering away doing a whole bunch of things, all of which will be revealed in future columns. For the moment, however, I have a bit of a poser to ponder.
In order to give the whole thing more visual interest, the inner hardboard panels will be attached to the main plywood panel using brass acorn nuts. Also, each of the 256 tri-color NeoPixel LEDs in the main display area are going to have an associated brass surround.
Originally, I'd simply planned to use regular, flat brass washers, but then I started to think that these might be a tad boring and let the rest of the presentation down. Then, much to my surprise, I ran across some gorgeous countersunk brass washers as illustrated below:
Oooh! These look so tasty. I couldn’t resist them. But now I have a problem -- how am I going to attach them to the front panel? In order to understand the issues involved, let's first consider the cross-section shown below:
This is just a quick sketch I threw together in Visio, so it's not to scale. I've shown things as having sharp corners and suchlike. In reality, everything is sumptuously smooth and curvy. However, there are two problems (sad face). First, I have some thin sheets of translucent white plastic -- about the same thickness as a piece of paper -- which were kindly donated by my chum, Rick Curl. The image below shows a piece of white paper at the top overlaid by a sheet of this translucent white plastic film at the bottom.
Although it looks like you can see right through these sheets in the above image, they appear to be opaque when whatever is behind them is dark. My plan is to cut discs out of these sheets and stick them behind the central holes in the washers. The thing is, I don’t want to see any glue from the outside of the assembly as illustrated below:
The next problem will present itself when I attempt to glue the washer-film combo to the hardboard panel. Once again, I don’t want any glue to be visible from the outside of the assembly as illustrated below:
My concern is that -- although the wall of the brass washer is reasonably substantial with regard to its structural strength -- it's really rather thin when it comes to sticking it onto a flat surface. When we are talking about having 256 of these little rascals, we obviously want to have really solid bonds. The last thing I need is for them to be dropping off all of the time.
So, the bottom line is that I need some method for attaching disks of the translucent film to the inside of the washers, and for attaching the washers themselves to the main panel, all without seeing any glue, which would totally ruin the effect.
It probably won’t surprise you to hear that I already have a cunning plan. Indeed, it's a plan of such awe-inspiring cunning that we could pin a tail on it and call it a weasel (as the Black Adder would say in the UK television sitcom). However, it may well be that you have a plan that is even more cunning. If so, now would be an excellent opportunity for you to share it with the rest of us.
— Max Maxfield, Editor of All Things Fun & Interesting