With the installation of the fascia's going nicely it was time to produce the first layout fascia panel. Now this actually took a little while to get the design the right way, and one that I would be happy with.
I had a few good suggestions from my operating/wiring team about some items needed on your fascia panels from an operations perspective, and I had seen some great ideas from panels on other layouts. So after a solid month of designing, redesigning, and multiple copies I was happy with the final panel that I made.
The panel diagram is designed in Microsoft Excel and is printed on plain paper on a laser colour printer, it is the laminated to protect it.
The idea with the placement was to install the panels in the lower half of the layout fascia, this was due to the fact that the top half is actually solid bench work and I would have to remove bracing to install them. I settled on a set dimension for the panels and started by locating the most appropriate spot for the the first series on the centre peninsula.
The photo below shows the location of where the fascia panel needs to be located because of the bench work.
The panels need to be located in straight sections of fascia to make installation straight forward, but also be in a logical spot so they are also near to the area of track work they are controlling. Most of the initial time designing the panel was actually figuring out where to start and stop the individual panel sections.
The design of the fascia panel box is fairly straight forward, a small pine surround (25mm x 18mm) with a 3mm MDF backing to secure the panel diagram and for drilling holes to locate and hold the push buttons for the turnouts. The fascia is then cut out so that the panel surround can be screwed from the front to the fascia.
The first panel will be changed slightly as I'm increasing the thickness of the surround so the screws securing it to the fascia are not as close to the edge of the cut out.
The recessed nature of the panel will allow for uncoupling picks to be placed on the small shelf too, eventually I'll run a small LED strip on the top section of the surround so that the panel can be lit for nighttime operations. The first test will be Friday night when the guys come over again and see the first lot of panels in the flesh.
So far I'm very happy with the installation and the look of the fascia panels, they really make a huge difference to the look of the layout.