Spline slot cut into the bottom rail

Novena Heirloom – LCD panel/bottom rail alignment

The LCD panel on the Novena Heirloom is made up of a wood composite panel of my own design with solid wood rails and stiles forming a slot around the panel to receive the LCD. As discussed in a previous posting, an aluminum hinge plate has tenons machined into it to fit into the slots at either side of the assembly.

The hinge plate transfers the torsional forces from movement of the LCD panel to a pair of torque hinges specially manufactured for the Heirloom.  A wooden lower rail attached to the hinge plate assembly meets the bottom edge of the composite panel as the two slide together to capture the LCD. The place where these two meet required a special solution to maintain alignment after screwing the hinge plate to the composite LCD panel.

I looked at a sample assembly with a set of of screws across the front face of the hinge plate, but the effect was a bit heavy on the hardware look. After exploring several alternative ideas, I decided to use the CNC mill to cut a slot into both surfaces into which an aluminum spline would fit. This allows the panel and hinge plate to be pulled apart in the future for either LCD or hinge replacement. Then only two screws are needed – just above the hinges.

Space between bottom rail and LCD panel
A woodruff cutter moves in this gap to cut opposing slots

The simplest way to accomplish this while maintaining proper alignment between the bottom rail and the composite panel turned out to be running the job on the CNC mill with a small Woodruff cutter. A bit of manual g-coding produced the desired result.

The last step will be to fabricate the aluminum splines to fit the matching slots.

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