Pat's Log
Sun, 11 Mar 2007

Final Word on PDP-8 Switches
20070311 Last week I got to try out how the switches turned out. Installing them was somewhat difficult and time consuming, as slipping in the switch into the brackets is made difficult by the hinge pin and limited space around it.

The final result is good. The switches do not align perfectly, but I'm not certain they ever have. They do toggle very nicely, and the panel certainly appears complete. I would say the project was a success. Now, we just have to make the electronics actually work. That should be easy. Or not.

I bought a new time-waster this weekend. Both GTA: Liberty City Stories and GTA: Vice City Stories were marked down, so I got them both. GTA is my favourite game universe, so it is surprising that I held out this long without buying them. Perhaps it is because they are only for PS2, and I find it really difficult to use that controller. Also, compared to my PC, the resolution, framerate, and responsiveness are low. Still, the games are good.

[] | posted @ 23:42 | link
Mon, 05 Mar 2007

Update on PDP-8 Switches
20070304 Over the past few weeks I have been working on-and-off at producing the switches required to replace the ones broken on the PDP-8 at Carleton. And they're done.

Of the 26 toggle switches on the panel, only three were still intact. Ten needed new hinge rods, which I produced out of stainless steel. A total of 13 needed to be replaced altogether, eight brown and five gray. I made a two-part mold using Alumilite's rubber, and then cast the switches using their quick-set resin. There were a few bubbles, but only the visible ones were filled. The 1/16" stainless steel rods used for the hinge pins, 12mm long, were cast right into the resin.

This weekend was spent finishing them off. I primed with Krylon. For the brown switches, I found that Testor's "1166 Flat Brown" enamel was a perfect match. This is in the small, cheap bottles. The gray switches were a little harder; I started with Testor's ModelMaster Camouflage Gray and tinted with the brown paint until it matched the original switches very closely.

The finish is not perfect, but when mixed up with the original switches as in the linked photo, the copies are hard to pick out. "Good enough" is good enough.

[] | posted @ 04:48 | link

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