Hey @jakeferguson (from discussion at Local Motors Projects website), the Apollo control panels were big inspirations for this thing, as a matter of fact! Equal props to the 747 nav panels and such. I would have packed in more switches per inch, but I couldn't come up with enough functions to do that AND I really wanted to avoid having non-function stuff on the panel. I wanted all buttons and switches to do something... Anything! :D
Yeah, the whole panel lifts up and one bracket is short, allowing the whole panel to swing open to the left. It's crude, but it was quick, easy and cheap to fab. Not the best solution and not my original plan, but good for a first try. Here are some shots of it in action-ish:
As you can see, I had to sand/grind off the powdercoat that wasn't supposed to go all the way down the pillars. :( It's cool, though. I would have sanded them a bit to make the fit not-so-snuggly.
Above is a close-up of my amateur grinding job.
This is the longer, left-hand side bracket. It's super-simple. Works pretty well. The whole thing doesn't lift up or slide in as smoothly as I'd like, but for prototype purposes, it's good enough.
The right-hand side is shorter. I think I need to shave off another layer and give both pillars another shot of lubricant to make it a little easier to get in and out.
You do have to lean forward a bit to get at the controls, which I noticed I did anyway when driving it, so that doesn't seem to be too big a deal. The design issues I have to work around mostly relate to operator leg room. The pillars are a little too long, at the moment, because I wasn't quite sure during the design phase how long I would need them to be, so I had the fab guys just make them "this" long. I wanted to be sure the whole thing was roomy enough for your legs. I can chop the ends of the pillars off as needed.
I have a number of cooler ideas for getting in and out of the chair quickly and making the panel swing away easily. I'm hoping at the labs there we can fab a better mounting system and retrofit the panel to it.
Also, also, the chair, as you know, is very comfy, but it isn't really conducive to this nutty of a control panel unless the panel is mounted up in front of your face. :) That would be funny, but not safe or practical (like this whole thing has more than a few ounces of practicality).
We're getting sooooo close to you guys getting to test drive it!