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What tools and skills do I need?

Here are just some of the things you’ll likely need to build a simulator like this, off the top of my head.  Yeah, be prepared because all of these were needed at some time or another during this build.



  • High quality soldering iron (like a Hakko) and a wet sponge.  Don’t skimp here!
  • High quality 60/40 solder.  I prefer thin strand solder because it’s easier to work with on small parts.
  • Solder Remover (for those soldering mistakes)
  • Flux (optional but recommended)
  • 24 gauge wire of various color.  I stuck with a standard color scheme that seemed common.   This is the general wiring scheme I used.  Use whatever works for you:
      • White: Toggle Switches
      • Red: Indicator LEDS
      • Purple: Rotary Switches
    • POWER (22 Gauge):
      • Yellow: 12v
      • Red: 5v
      • Orange: 3.3 v
      • Black: Ground
  • Electrical Tape
  • Adhesive cable organizers (LOTS of them!)
  • Cable/Zip ties (LOTS of them!)
  • U shaped and push-on Wire connectors (LOTS of them!)
  • Wire labels (you should get in the habit of labeling EVERYTHING!)
  • Various size barrier blocks and jumpers for electrical distribution
  • Heat Shrink tubing (a LOT of it!)
  • Hair Dryer (to heat up shrink tube)
  • 12v LED lighting strips for back lighting (if your panel is back lit).  5v would work too.  Up to you.

(if you go this route)

This is all going to depend on your design.  I originally went with 3/4″ square dowels for my overhead rails but later found that was too thick and found 5/8″ to be better, such that two panels could butt up against each other leaving enough space for screws without breaking the sides of the dowels, and yet still strong enough to support the panels.

  • 5/8″ square wood dowels (as many as needed) for panel rails
  • 3/8″ wood sheet (for side panels)
  • 1/4″ wood sheet for the bottom flooring

(if you go this route like I did)

  • Mitre Saw
  • Belt Sander
  • Table Saw
  • Hand Saw
  • Dremel Tool (definitely a must!).  Cordless is best.
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood screws
  • Wood Glue
  • Two Part Epoxy

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