My upcycling project was made both to fulfill the assignment requirement of this class and to be a part of a personal project I have. I created a switch panel for mounting multiple toggle switches. The switch panel is intended to be installed on a wall.
If you read my previous upcycle project design process post you may recall that I wanted to make a messenger bag strap out of a seatbelt, but was unable to find the old seatbelts I had. I did eventually find the seatbelts, but chose not to go that route for my upcycling project because it seemed too simple. All I would really need to do is attach the seatbelt sections to a bag using carabiniers or something. I probably still will do that project some day.
I made my switch panel out of an old HVAC duct piece. An unused piece of fresh sheet metal was also at my disposal, but that seemed to defeat the purpose of an upcycling project. This was one of my first times working with sheet metal. Looking at the final product it is evident that I am not an experienced metal worker, but I am still pleased with it. Here are some photos of the build process and some of the tools I used.
It took two attempts to make the main switch panel housing. A back plate was also made.
I would have really liked to use old-school-style toggle switches, but would have have to buy them brand new. The switches used instead I got at a Radioshack “going out of business” sale and they were super cheap. Even though they are unused, it felt more appropriate to use them in this project than to go out and buy more switches.
I put aluminum trim around the edges of the switch panel. This was also an upcycle material. In a previous life it was the metal strips on a bus floor, sometimes known as runners.
The paint color I chose inspired by the cockpits of Russian aircraft. Fighters, freighters and airlines have a blue-green painted cockpit. This is supposedly because the color was calming to pilots and kept them awake.
Embossed labels were used to label each switch. The embossed labels, toggle switches, and blue-green paint all contribute to an airplane cockpit aesthetic.
Overall I am happy with the outcome of this project. I think it did a good job of reusing materials, achieves the usefulness goal, and bears the desired aesthetic. There is, however, room for improvement. It would look more professional if edges were straighter and if surfaces were flatter. As mentioned before, the older, all metal toggle switches would be cooler. The biggest flaw is the aluminum trim. It is not straight or even. I shaped and cut it using only pliers. Better tools probably would have made it look nicer. It also is not evenly spaced. If I had taken more time to line it up properly it could have looked better. I will probably do this before installing the switch panel at its new home on the wall.