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PICList Thread
'"Neat" Panels?'
1999\08\25@163554 by PJH

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PICers,

Following on from that thread about
stick-on PCB patterns, has anyone
got ideas about producing "neat"
looking front panels for project
boxes. You used to be able to get a
sort of photosensitized aluminium
sheet. Can't remember the name.

The idea was you made a
photographic (-) & put it over the
panel, gave it a blast under a UV
lamp, developed it somehow and  the
exposed bits stayed on. It allowed
you to produce a reasonably
professional looking panel with
printed labels for switches,
buttons, logo etc.

Haven't seen anything like that in
the electronics shops for years. Is
there anything on the market that
might do the trick?

Cheers - PJH

1999\08\25@165823 by Richard Prosser

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Try 3M "Dynamark II" or possibly "Scotchcal" (?)

We used to use it and believe it's still available from the 3M agent

Richard

> {Original Message removed}

1999\08\25@170442 by Andy Kunz

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>Following on from that thread about
>stick-on PCB patterns, has anyone
>got ideas about producing "neat"
>looking front panels for project
>boxes. You used to be able to get a

I use cut vinyl.  I have a Roland Stika cutter for this.

Works great for my logo and such.  I still use rub-ons for labeling buttons.

FWIW, you can sand/glass blast a polished sheet using the vinyl as a
"resist" to get a really cool-looking custom panel.

Andy

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1999\08\25@174227 by paulb

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PJH wrote (somewhat narrowly):

> Following on from that thread about stick-on PCB patterns, has anyone
> got ideas about producing "neat" looking front panels for project
> boxes. You used to be able to get a sort of photosensitized aluminium
> sheet. Can't remember the name.

 There was an article about this in the last year or so in one of the
local electronics mags.  Look it up in the library.

 The conclusion IIRC was to either print a panel label onto (permanent-
grade adhesive) label stock (non-slit) using a good toner density, then
(spray) lacquer it, or to print on plain (bond) paper, laminate it
either yourself or commercially, apply a non-soaking adhesive uniformly
(spray adhesive was strongly recommended) and apply.
--
 Cheers,
       Paul B.

1999\08\25@182840 by Keith Doxey

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I remember seeing presensitised panels like you describe. The panels were
Matt Black Anodised and coated with UV resist. After exposure to the artwork
the anodising was etched away revealing the silver aluminium underneath.
There were also bottles of some kind of organic dye in Red, Yellow, Blue and
White which could be used to permanently stain the etched aluminium. Like
you, I havent seen anything similar for years but I am now considering a
quick search to see if I can find it.

If I remember correctly the name of the product I saw was "GEDAKOP" or
something similar. Sounds as if it could be of German origin or some other
European country. Languages never were my strong point :-))

Keith Doxey
http://www.btinternet.com/~krazy.keith
Krazy Keith's World of DIY HomeAutomation


> {Original Message removed}

1999\08\25@193347 by Tony Nixon

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PJH wrote:
>
> PICers,
>
> Following on from that thread about
> stick-on PCB patterns, has anyone
> got ideas about producing "neat"
> looking front panels for project
> boxes.

This is a method I use. It works as long as the front panel is not going
to be subject to too much abuse.

Celcast make an opaque A4 copier film with an adhesive backing, which
you can use in a laser printer. (Stock ST300)

Use any art package to draw the details you need. I use Protel for a lot
of stuff that just requires lines and letters, as it is easy to line up
with pots, switches etc on a PCB pattern. When you have finished, just
print it onto the copier film. The background in this case is see
through. You can also print the artwork as a negative. ie the letters
and lines are see through and the background is black.

Paint the panel some bright color before sticking the artwork to it.
Yellow is a good contrast. If you printed negative, the letters and
lines etc will become yellow.

To cut any holes out neatly, poke a small hole through the film and then
use a round needle file and rub it gently against the edges of the
holes. Use a small flat file for square holes.

Another method is to print artwork onto paper and laminate it for
protection. Then stick this to the panel with some adhesive.

--
Best regards

Tony

http://www.picnpoke.com
Email salesspamKILLspampicnpoke.com

1999\08\25@205431 by William K. Borsum

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At 06:30 AM 8/26/99 +1000, you wrote:
>PICers,
>
>Following on from that thread about
>stick-on PCB patterns, has anyone
>got ideas about producing "neat"
>looking front panels for project
>boxes. You used to be able to get a
>sort of photosensitized aluminium
>sheet. Can't remember the name.

SCOTHCAL--available through most Scotch (3-M) distributors that sell
printing supplies.
Great stuff!
Need a good NEGATIVE film, and a means of exposing--sun will work sort
of--best to make friends with your local printer and use his
plate-maker--Scotchcal is basically the same stuff lithograph plates are
made from


Or:  Get a sheet of unperforated label material that is compatible with
your printer.  Print the label-color or monochrome--and place a layer of
self-adhesive laminating film over the top.  Rub down good and hard to get
out all the bubbles, and cut to size.  Instant (almost) full color labels.
Use Mail-Merge for generating serialized labels, etc.

Warning--they don't like to get wet, and will delaminate.

3-M makes some great double sided adhesives and mylar films used by the
professional label shops.  $5 a foot for 4" wide material--NOT cheap.

Enjoy
Kelly

William K. Borsum, P.E. -- OEM Dataloggers and Instrumentation Systems
<.....borsumKILLspamspam.....dascor.com> & <http://www.dascor.com>

1999\08\25@205434 by William K. Borsum

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At 05:02 PM 8/25/99 -0400, you wrote:
>>Following on from that thread about
>>stick-on PCB patterns, has anyone
>>got ideas about producing "neat"
>>looking front panels for project
>>boxes. You used to be able to get a
>
>I use cut vinyl.  I have a Roland Stika cutter for this.
>
>Works great for my logo and such.  I still use rub-ons for labeling buttons.
>
>FWIW, you can sand/glass blast a polished sheet using the vinyl as a
>"resist" to get a really cool-looking custom panel.

So how does this Stika cutter work?  by hand or in a pen-plotter, or???
Kelly


William K. Borsum, P.E. -- OEM Dataloggers and Instrumentation Systems
<EraseMEborsumspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTdascor.com> & <http://www.dascor.com>

1999\08\25@212838 by Brian Kraut
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Check out Don Lancaster's site at http://www.tinaja.com.  He has written
several times about the photometal process.

I personally silk screen mine.  It is easier and costs less than you
might think.  I can post a tutorial if enough people are interrested.

PJH wrote:

{Quote hidden}

1999\08\25@213456 by David Covick

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Brian,

Would be very interested in seeing your silk screen tutorial.

TIA,

David

----- Original Message -----
From: Brian Kraut <engaltspamspam_OUTEARTHLINK.NET>
To: <@spam@PICLISTKILLspamspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Sent: Wednesday, August 25, 1999 9:39 PM
Subject: Re: "Neat" Panels?


{Quote hidden}

1999\08\25@214246 by Nick Taylor

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Brian Kraut wrote:
[snip]
> I personally silk screen mine.  It is easier and costs less than you
> might think.  I can post a tutorial if enough people are interrested.

Brian - -
Please do post your silk screen tutorial.  I'm very interested.
Thanks,
- Nick -

1999\08\25@215146 by Brian Kraut

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I've gotten two responses in 10 minutes, so it looks like I am writing a
tutorial this weekend.  It is nice to be able to give back to the list I
have taken so much from.

Nick Taylor wrote:

> Brian Kraut wrote:
> [snip]
> > I personally silk screen mine.  It is easier and costs less than you
> > might think.  I can post a tutorial if enough people are interrested.
>
> Brian - -
> Please do post your silk screen tutorial.  I'm very interested.
> Thanks,
>  - Nick -

1999\08\25@220952 by Brent Brown

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Hi all,

Over the years I've tried heaps of methods for making neat looking
panels so I'd thought I would dump my experimenters brain here in
the hope that people might gain something useful from it. Should
be relevant for hobbyists, prototypers and small run manufacturers.

Firstly I used colour inkjet printouts on paper. Spray it with an art
protector lacquer that gives UV protection. The paper soaks this up
and becomes a little more opaque, but much more hard wearing
and a semi-waterproof. A sheet of double sided adhesive tape on
the back (or spray adhesive) and stick it on the panel. Paint the
panel white first if necessary to improve the appearance. Where
possible a sheet of 1mm polycarbonate over the front, held in place
by switches, pots, terminal posts etc makes it look professional
and wear well.

Variation: For all my prototype stuff now I make my panels as
above but I go down the road to the local colour copy centre and
get my print-out plastic laminated to make it look/last a little better.
These laminating services often give gloss one side and matt on
the other, so matt is what you want for a non-glare finish. Cut out
any windows for LEDs and displays before laminating.

Next method: Laser print or ink jet print on transparency. (Must be
the right type of material for your printer). Flip your image upside
down before printing, so it gets viewed through the transparency.
Now scratches won't wreck it! Spray over the printed side with
gloss white enamel, and back with a layer of double sided adhesive
tape. I initially used white undercoat as it covers better, doesn't
peel off easily, and didn't affect the toner (some enamel paints did),
but it is less white, somewhat hydroscopic (moisture soaks in from
the edges and wrecks inkjet printouts) and tends to discolour a
little with UV and age. For black and white laser prints you can use
any colour paint, even fluorescent and metalics! These labels, the
laser printer ones anyway, are really quick and easy to make,
robust, and stay looking good for ages. You can get clear windows
for LEDs and displays by masking before painting.

Other: Professional screen printing companies use scratch
resistant polyester with that nice textured finish. They can now
supply you with a specially coated thin version of this polyester to
put through your ink jet printer. You stick on a white backing sheet
supplied, over the printing, and add double sided tape. This is a
really promising system but the downsides are: ink jet only, water
ingress from edges spoils them, hassle cutting out white backing
sheet for windows.

Production: Ultimately (traditionally?), professional quality overlays
use screen printing on the back of polyester substrates and involve
expensive setup costs. Polycarbonate is cheaper but lower quality.

Tips for windows: For display windows you can cut out your overlay
right out and use a piece of clear polcarbonate or filter material
behind it. Let it overlap behind your overlay so that it sticks to the
adhesive to help hold it in place and for sealing. For LED windows
you can get away with not cutting out the adhesive, this adds a
little diffusing to the light which may be desired.

Tips for switches: All the above methods work well for tactile
switches mounted behind the overlay. The switches feel better if
they are not adhered to by the adhesive backing. A good idea is to
put a piece of thin plastic on top of the adhesive, between the
overlay and the switch. This makes it better wearing too.

Another option: A sign company here has a machine called Gerber
Edge. Its looks to be a kind of a thermal foil transfer printer, 300dpi.
It prints onto the reverse side of a range of available substrates
including one called lex-edge, which is similar to polyester
overlays. I needed 3 professional quality overlays sized 135 x
80mm, 4 colours, in a hurry. They did the job for NZ$70 (US$30).
Quality as good as screen printing except for alignment of colours
not as precise. Minimal setup costs, artwork supplied by me on
disk straight into their software, looks cheaper than screen printing
for quantities up to about 100.

General: You can learn heaps by experimenting. There are many
different materials/processes you could use so don't be afraid to try
some crazy combinations, and don't listen too seriously to people
who say you can't do it that way.

Oops, didn't mean it to be such a huge essay,
comments/questions/opinions welcome.

Brent Brown
Electronic Design Solutions
16 English Street
Hamilton, New Zealand
Ph/fax: +64 7 849 0069
Mobile: 025 334 069
eMail:  KILLspambrent.brownKILLspamspamclear.net.nz

1999\08\25@225837 by Gabriel Gonzalez

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This is something I've been wondering for a lon time but I thought it ws
expensive, please do post the tutorial.

Gabriel

{Original Message removed}

1999\08\25@234456 by Glen

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circuit components have some different ways to do it.
ask for doug rees
doug rees <RemoveMEcircomTakeThisOuTspameasy.com.au>
*****************


"Paul B. Webster VK2BZC" wrote:

{Quote hidden}

1999\08\26@004510 by William K. Borsum

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At 02:03 PM 8/26/99 +1200, you wrote:
>Hi all,
.>Other: Professional screen printing companies use scratch
>resistant polyester with that nice textured finish. They can now
>supply you with a specially coated thin version of this polyester to
>put through your ink jet printer. You stick on a white backing sheet
>supplied, over the printing, and add double sided tape. This is a
>really promising system but the downsides are: ink jet only, water
>ingress from edges spoils them, hassle cutting out white backing
>sheet for windows.

Do you have trade names and sources for this stuff--our local label
companies don't want to tell for obvious reasons.

>Tips for switches: All the above methods work well for tactile
>switches mounted behind the overlay. The switches feel better if
>they are not adhered to by the adhesive backing. A good idea is to
>put a piece of thin plastic on top of the adhesive, between the
>overlay and the switch. This makes it better wearing too.

How about a quick tutorial on making your own tactile switches?

Now, how about a nice laser for cutting out the labels around contours--and
trimming my resistors?

Kelly


William K. Borsum, P.E. -- OEM Dataloggers and Instrumentation Systems
<spamBeGoneborsumspamBeGonespamdascor.com> & <http://www.dascor.com>

1999\08\26@013446 by Brent Brown

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Kelly,

The special ink jet film is made by Folex and is called something
like:-  GO-DE/GSI - UV graphic overlay film for ink jet printers.

You should be able to get it from a commercial printing supplier.
I've been told its about $NZ300 per box of 50 A4 sheets. A local
label company wants $NZ30 per A4 sheet printed on this stuff (or
something very similar).

I use PCB mounted tactile switches (that's what I call them) behind
the labels. The switch contacts built in to labels I call membrane
keys. I'm not keen to try making them myself.

You might be onto something there with the laser - could it cut out
a stack of labels 50 deep? How about printing with it too, like on
the key caps of some PC keyboards I've seen lately. Throw some
cyan, magenta, yellow, black chalk dust over the label alternately
and blast each dot into the polyester sheet. Then use the same
technology to apply the worlds fastest tattoos :-)

Brent


{Quote hidden}

Brent Brown
Electronic Design Solutions
16 English Street
Hamilton, New Zealand
Ph/fax: +64 7 849 0069
Mobile: 025 334 069
eMail:  TakeThisOuTbrent.brownEraseMEspamspam_OUTclear.net.nz

1999\08\26@085718 by Andy Kunz

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>So how does this Stika cutter work?  by hand or in a pen-plotter, or???
>Kelly

Think of it as a plotter which has a knife instead of a pen.

Andy

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1999\08\26@091436 by Adam Davis

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I've seen one of these at work.  Very cool.  Think of a plotter, where the paper
moves (from a roll) under the pen, and the pen moves perpendicular to the
paper.  So now you have a 2d plotter.  The pen is not much more than an x-acto
knife blade, attached to a motor/servo/stepper of some kind so it can rotate, so
it is always cutting straight.  It is neat to watch the blade swivel as it goes
around curves and other such features.

-Adam

Andy Kunz wrote:
{Quote hidden}

1999\08\26@110133 by eplus1

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<BLOCKQUOTE AUTHOR="Brian Kraut">I can post a tutorial if enough people are
interested.</BLOCKQUOTE>

Please.

James Newton, webmaster http://get.to/techref
(hint: you can add your own private info to the techref)
RemoveMEjamesnewtonspam_OUTspamKILLspamgeocities.com
1-619-652-0593 phone

1999\08\28@145138 by John Griessen

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What kind of polished sheet works well sandblasted?  Sounds like a
very good looking see-in-the-dark control panel!  Ordinary Lexan?
polyester?  how about super-tough polypropylene??

John Griessen
Cibolo Metal Works  http://www.aus-etc.com/~cibolo
Austin TX

> {Original Message removed}


'"Neat" Panels?'
1999\09\02@220956 by Andy Kunz
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At 01:50 PM 8/28/1999 -0500, you wrote:
>What kind of polished sheet works well sandblasted?  Sounds like a
>very good looking see-in-the-dark control panel!  Ordinary Lexan?
>polyester?  how about super-tough polypropylene??

Mine are aluminum (Aluminium for those of you who just _think_ you speak
English <G>)

Andy

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1999\09\02@225849 by Dennis Plunkett

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At 22:04 2/09/99 -0400, you wrote:
>At 01:50 PM 8/28/1999 -0500, you wrote:
>>What kind of polished sheet works well sandblasted?  Sounds like a
>>very good looking see-in-the-dark control panel!  Ordinary Lexan?
>>polyester?  how about super-tough polypropylene??
>
>Mine are aluminum (Aluminium for those of you who just _think_ you speak
>English <G>)


What do ya mean. I speak English, but make every attempt not to use some of
that barstadised stuff that comes from that place with only two coast lines :)

Dennis

{Quote hidden}

1999\09\02@234722 by l.allen

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>
> >
> >Mine are aluminum (Aluminium for those of you who just _think_ you speak
> >English <G>)
>
>
> What do ya mean. I speak English, but make every attempt not to use some of
> that barstadised stuff that comes from that place with only two coast lines :)
>
> Dennis
>

Dennis.... Australians in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

_____________________________

Lance Allen
Technical Officer
Uni of Auckland
Psych Dept
New Zealand
_____________________________

1999\09\03@072729 by Andrej Nemec

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> Following on from that thread about
> stick-on PCB patterns, has anyone
> got ideas about producing "neat"
> looking front panels for project
> boxes. You used to be able to get a
> sort of photosensitized aluminium
> sheet. Can't remember the name.

"GEDAKOP" a Swiss product (among the others).

Cheers, Andrej

1999\09\03@101625 by Andy Kunz

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>What do ya mean. I speak English, but make every attempt not to use some of
>that barstadised stuff that comes from that place with only two coast lines :)

What place is that?  The US has quite a few coasts, so I know you aren't
talking about us!  There's the Left Coast (California/Oregon/Washington),
the Arctic Coast (Alaska), the East Coast, the Gulf Coast, not to mention
the Continuous Coast (Hawaii).

Andy

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1999\09\05@180501 by Dennis Plunkett

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At 09:55 3/09/99 -0400, you wrote:
>>What do ya mean. I speak English, but make every attempt not to use some of
>>that barstadised stuff that comes from that place with only two coast
lines :)
{Quote hidden}

Got me Andy!
I forgot about the place you brought, but the "Left coast"?...

Dennis

1999\09\05@183833 by Andy Kunz

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>I forgot about the place you brought, but the "Left coast"?...

<flame suit on>

That's what we call the area which is inundated by lefties, most of which
seem to originate in California and spread their perversion from there.

I believe the term originated on the Rush Limbaugh radio talk show.

<flame suit off>

Andy

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