Build the "X"

Getting Materials

First cut your metal. There is quite a bit of thin sheet metal in this project, so you will need to get a roll of the stuff. I managed to pick up a 50' roll at my local Ace Hardware for $0.97. I'm pretty sure it was mis-priced. Anyhoo- To cover the metal squares you will need 5 pieces of around 14"x14". It needs to be large enough to wrap around the wood. You will also need 8 pieces of around 9.5"x9.5" to make the 4 foot switches. They need to be small enough to fit within the confines of the 11"x11" switch. Make sure you have a good pair of tin snips for this job, and be careful not to cut yourself.

Here are the 5 pieces of 11"x11"x3/4" plywood. I'm fortunate enough to have a 14" bandsaw, so cutting them quickly and accurately is a breeze. If you don't have a bandsaw you can either get one (they're great) or do it tough with a circularsaw, sabresaw or (ahem) handsaw. Any way you do it, keep it accurate- it will make your future work easier.

These are the metal brackets that are used to hold the metal/plywood squares together. Actually these are the 3" size, and I ended up using 2" size- but the packet looks the same. 2 brackets per packet, 16 brackets total = 8 packets needed. You can find them at Home Depot.

Build the Metal Squares

We want the sheet metal to be perfectly flat and smooth on the plywood. If we just wrapped the wood, the metal would tend to pop-up. We can't have that, so we glue the sheet metal to the plywood. Wood and metal- a tricky gluing problem? Not really. I tried Liquid Nails and Elmer's Ultimate Glue. EUG won the taste test. It goes foamy when it cures but when it comes to sticking metal and plywood, its the stickiest thing since sticky the stick insect got stuck on a sticky bun. We also clamp the pieces together while they cure to ensure a nicely laminated result.

Gluing time is over. After scraping off any surplus glue, the corners of the metal squares have been cut off and the resulting tabs tightly bent up around the edge of the plywood. On the other side they have been held in place with tacks. I haven't bothered with any additional glue, as the tacks do the job nicely. This is the center square, so the 8 metal brackets for this piece have been attached with suitably long wood screws.

And here is the front side of the whoopi-goldberg. The metal brackets have been mounted flush with the metal surface. Notice also how smooth the metal surface is. Sweet!

Assemble the "X"

At this point the X is assembled and I check for squareness. Let's see each square is about 11"x11" ( plus a bit for the metal covering), that makes the square 33" on a side. Now sqrt( 33^2 + 33^2 ) = 46.67. I have 47"- Mr. Pythagoras is right (haha) again!

And the other diagonal is also 47". Mr. Euclid is also pleased.

And here we have it. All five metal/plywood squares have been screwed together in their final configuration. At this point the assembly is somewhat fragile with the wood screws of the center piece taking any bending moments. Be gentle. Now its time to fill in the empty squares with the foot switches.