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ROTATING CONTROL PANEL - IDEA FOR A 4-WAY ROTATING PANEL
This is not the control panel setup I built. To see what I actually built go back to the Rotating Controls page. This is an idea I have for a way to make a 4-way rotating control panel - what I built was a 3-way rotating panel. In case you are interested, here is my high level plan for a 4-way. If you attemp to build something similar to this please let me know!
The 3-way panel I acually built rotates away/towards you (like if you held a pole through the sides of the panel setup and spun it). I thought about adding a 4th panel to this, making the sides look like a square instead of the triangle look of my 3-way. The problem I found with a 4-way/square setup is that the monitor gets in the way, as well as the front of the cabinet. So I went with a 3-way... I found it to be clean and easy, just pull out the locking mechanism, spin it, then lock it back up. That said, I still have the following idea for a different 4-way panel setup. There are still issues with clearance of the cabinet which aren't taken care of as gracefully as how my 3-way works, but may be something people might like to investigate.
This 4-way panel design spins clockwise/counter clockwise, more like a steering wheel. The basic idea is that each of the 4 panels are connected to each other at their thinner ends, to form a square. Each control panel is shaped like a rectangle (like most standard control panels). The shorter side of each of the control panels would be attached to the shorter side of the panel next to it, forming a square. See the following picture for an idea:
As you can see from the picture there would need to be "doors" on the left and right sides of the cabinet that open to allow the 4-way panels to spin. This is what I mean by it not being as graceful as my 3-way (I have no doors to open with the 3 way). But it really doesn't seem that bad if it was built right... Just pull out a licking pin from either door (these locking pins would lock the doors closed as well as the 4-way panel in place), lower the doors, spin the panel, close the doors and replace the locking pins. Here is a side view:
Now it would be possible to make the cabinet wider than normal, to give the 4-way panel setup clearance to spin without having any doors to open on the side of the cabinet - but I would think the cabinet might look a bit funny, not having that "classic" look anymore. I see the entire 4 way panel thing looking like a square dresser drawer, having 4 outer sides (the 4 control panels) and 1 "bottom" side (like the bottom of the drawer). This would sit sideways though, so the "bottom" side would actually be parallel with the front side of the cabinet. On this side would be a good sized lazy susan in the middle, this lazy susan would also be attatched a piece of wood inside the cabinet (meaning the "bottom" of the drawer would closer to the inside of the cabinet - so if you didn't have a front side of the cabinet, you could see the inside of the 4-way from the front, but from the back of the cabinet you would just see the "bottom" wall of the 4-way). The whole thing would then spin on this lazy susan. Like with my 3-way, you would have to install a stop so that the 4-way could not keep spinning in the same direction (which would tangle up all the wires), you could only go from panel 1 to 2 to 3 to 4 and then stop, then be able to spin it the opposite way 4 to 3 to 2 to 1 and stop. All the wiring would be fed out the middle (through the middle hole of the lazy susan (this is how I do it with my 3-way). Access to the inside of the 4-way to fix any wiring issues would either be done by removing the 1 control panel you need to work on (my 3-way is like this), or you could also make the front panel of your cabinet hinged like a door, so you could just open that and see the insides of all 4 panels at once (while this would make it easier to get to the wiring, I am not a big fan of doing it this way. You don't have to get to the wires that often, so ease of access isn't that big of a deal).
Everything else about it would be the same as my 3-way, so look at those pages for construction of the panels and hooking up to your computer. Feel free to email me if you have a question about this 4-way idea.
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org