The Apollo Education Experience Project

Acrylic Panel Overlays

I finally completed a number of “cut and etch” files to send to S&T GeoTronics ( ) so they could make panel overlays out of the acrylic from Johnson Plastics Plus ( ) I gave them some time ago. Those files are so time-consuming to produce due to having to trace sometimes intricate shapes and numerous openings as well as add tons of text and markings. I also have to ensure that they are the correct scale so that the finished overlays properly fit on the actual panels. Because they’re so time-consuming, I had been putting the work off in favor of other work on the CM, but, now that the time is approaching when I can actually install panels in the CM, I couldn’t put it off any longer.

I met with Marc Tessier of S&T GeoTronics this morning as he passed through the Atlanta area to pick up the completed panels. WOW!! These things are GORGEOUS! At the risk of sounding like an advertisement, if you ever need laser work done on acrylic, please consider S&T GeoTronics first – their work is absolutely superb!

I still have several “cut and etch” files to produce, but I now have all the panels from all the files I’ve finished so far. All of the panels I received this morning are pictured below.

This first group consists mostly of panels that will be installed in the equipment bay half of the CM. Several are circuit breaker panels, but others are control panels and the panels for the suit hose connections.

Acrylic panel overlays produced by S&T GeoTronics.
(Photo: The Apollo Education Experience Project)

This next set of panels is different from any other panels in the CM. These belong on the navigation station – the sextant/telescope/IMU (Intertial Monitor Unit) system developed and built by MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). In addition to looking a little different, the various panels fit together like puzzle pieces. One of my favorite panels in the entire CM is part of this lot – the list of “Noun 70 Codes” that includes the different stars that can be entered into the AGC (Apollo Guidance Computer) via the DSKY to calculate orientation by triangulating on the stars. S&T GeoTronics produced this panel beautifully!

Overlays for Panel 122 on the Navigation Station.
(Photo: The Apollo Education Experience Project)

Finally, although I’m not quite ready to build the main control panel, I did create the files to cut/etch some of the overlays for it. Here are the two large overlays for panels 1 and 3 of the main control panel as well as some smaller pieces – these are stunning!

Several acrylic overlays for the Main Control Panel.
(Photo: The Apollo Education Experience Project)

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