Sunday, March 30, 2008

NES coffee table update 3: Making the D-pad

The hardest to make so far on the NES coffee table has been the D-pad.
Because it's multi directional, it can't just be a straight push button like the others, this brings up a few complications, mainly with friction and bits rubbing together.

To actually model the D-pad, I started by cutting out the pattern on the top in some of the 4mm MDF, again using a blunt graphics scalpel (I really should have invested in a good Stanley knife or something).

I glued it onto a cross I cut out of the 18mm MDF.

Then took to it with some sanding paper and gap filler to give it a nice curved look to it.

As I mentioned, actually making it work was the difficult part. I started off just like the other buttons, with one bolt on each arm, a spring on each bolt and a washer to act as stoppers for the springs.

For the backing plate I put a screw through the centre for it to rock on, and so opposite directions couldn't be pushed down simultaneously.
I also had to drill the holes a lot bigger to accommodate for the distance that the bolts will travel when they twist and rotate (that's why I needed the washers, because they would otherwise fall straight through these holes).

Here is the the prototype I made before making the actual button.

It is able to rock from side to side, up and down, and diagonally as well. It also seems to be very sturdy and ready to take a beating.

This is the final button, constructed.
Next step for me to do is to mount the buttons in the lid of the coffee table and make sure they don't rub or catch on anything.