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'[EE]: Light bars with words?'
2002\07\05@032911 by Pic Dude

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Know those small red lighted words on some displays?  I'm
trying to reproduce that for my latest PIC project, but
getting poor results -- I used some light bars, and placed
reverse transparencies (clear lettering w/black background)
over them, but I can still see the light thru the blacked-
out areas.

My transparencies are probably not the greatest in the world,
but there's gotta be something better out there.  Anyone
know where I can get some made with custom lettering?

Thanks,
-Neil.

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2002\07\05@083124 by Roman Black

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Pic Dude wrote:
>
> I used some light bars, and placed
> reverse transparencies (clear lettering w/black background)

> My transparencies are probably not the greatest in the world,
> but there's gotta be something better out there.


Many PCB manufacturers will make "brass etchings"
to your spec, with writing etc. Normally these are
used as stencils for solder mask or solder paste.
Typical 0.2mm thick brass, any shapes you want, and
there are a couple of fonts specifically designed for
cut out stencils. :o)
-Roman

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2002\07\05@190812 by Pic Dude

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Nice, but does not sound like something they would do
(cost-effectively) for low-volume hobby use.  So then my
question would be:  how can an end-user like me reproduce
this?

My thoughts:

- Use multiple transparencies and line them up very
carefully.  Ugh!

- Etch the words in a thin copper sheet (like a PCB).
I know that chemicals are available for end users to
make regular copper-clad PCBs photo-sensitive.  Perhaps
I can do that to a plain copper sheet.

- Etch on a PCB and "peel" the copper off, though it
seems very well glued on.

- Final thought is to use a plastic or other template with
the words cut out, lay that over a copper sheet and etch,
but the plastic template with the words cut out is the
same problem

Cheers,
-Neil.




{Original Message removed}

2002\07\05@200917 by Jinx

face picon face
>
> - Etch on a PCB and "peel" the copper off, though it
> seems very well glued on.

Could you glue copper foil to 1mm acrylic (ie rigid base) then etch ?

==================================================

The problem areas are those little islands in the middle of letters
like O and A. Assuming you started with rub-on transfers, the aim
is to add to everywhere except where there's transfer material. If
you want to keep the base that the transfers are on it doesn't leave
many options. The only mechanisms I can think of for adding material
to specific (dark) areas in the negative is to try and make those areas
conductive. You need continuity for electroplating (that is, those little
islands will not get plated), so that's out, but maybe there's a chance
if you could electrostatically charge it with a corona wire, like a copier
does, and then add material from a very fine spray gun

===================================================

If you lay down the transfers on laminate then put a coat of epoxy
over them (epoxy won't stick to laminating plastic) you could then
lift off the whole and remove the transfers with acetone. This gives
you a clear epoxy mould of the lettering. What the hell you do with
it after that, I've got no idea ;-) Perhaps roll ink onto it ? Might work
if you use a double or triple layer of transfers to give their impressions
in the epoxy some depth. A hard inflexible roller might be able to get
ink on the flat epoxy surface

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2002\07\05@201958 by Jinx

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> if you use a double or triple layer of transfers to give their
> impressions in the epoxy some depth

Just thinking, as I'm wont to do on special occassions - if
you could put down and etch a reverse image on a PCB
(perhaps one with a thick copper foil) then that would give
you a flat epoxy face on the front with the lettering right way
around, which hopefully you can ink. This is then your front
face which you could mount behind the protective front plastic.
This has the advantage of having the lettering as far forward
as possible

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2002\07\05@202413 by Brendan Moran

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Why not make a cutout from cardboard and spraypaint the acryllic black?

--Brendan
----- Original Message -----
From: "Jinx" <EraseMEjoecolquittspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTCLEAR.NET.NZ>
To: <PICLISTspamspam_OUTMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Sent: Friday, July 05, 2002 5:20 PM
Subject: Re: [EE]: Light bars with words?


{Quote hidden}

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2002\07\05@214726 by Jinx

face picon face
> Why not make a cutout from cardboard and spraypaint the acryllic black?

How would you do the holes in letters like "a" "b" "d" "e"..... though ?
Stencils have links to hold the holes or "counters" in place, and that
wouldn't be a good look for most fonts. OK if you're in the army or
labelling crates

Here's a very good tutorial/database about font structure and
some ideas about which fonts are best used where, for example
signage

http://desktoppub.about.com/cs/typeanatomy/

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2002\07\06@051427 by Peter L. Peres

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On Sat, 6 Jul 2002, Jinx wrote:

>> if you use a double or triple layer of transfers to give their
>> impressions in the epoxy some depth
>
>Just thinking, as I'm wont to do on special occassions - if
>you could put down and etch a reverse image on a PCB
>(perhaps one with a thick copper foil) then that would give
>you a flat epoxy face on the front with the lettering right way
>around, which hopefully you can ink. This is then your front
>face which you could mount behind the protective front plastic.
>This has the advantage of having the lettering as far forward
>as possible

You can thicken standard PCB by electroplating copper onto it then you can
use whatever you need (masking, photoresist) to mask and etch. The
vertical edges of the thicker features will not be straight.

Peter

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2002\07\06@052447 by Geo

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On 6 Jul 2002, at 12:09, Jinx wrote:

> Could you glue copper foil to 1mm acrylic (ie rigid base) then etch ?

Just found some 5mm wide (.2") self adhesive strip which might do?
(I have not used it and dont know if the adhesive would survive the etch.)

http://www.kanga.demon.co.uk/copper.htm
"Our copper strip is 5mm wide PCB-grade copper with a self-adhesive back
which can be attached to any clean, dry surface. Simply cut to length with
scissors, peel off the backing paper and press the strip into place. The adhesive
resists heat so the copper can be soldered. Use it for making simple "printed"
circuit boards, screening plastic enclosures, etc."


George Smith

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2002\07\06@062745 by Jinx

face picon face
>
> Just found some 5mm wide (.2") self adhesive strip which might do?
> (I have not used it and dont know if the adhesive would survive the etch.)

I reckon that would do it. Paint the plastic before putting the foil down
(so you don't see the copper) and after etching use solvent to remove
the expose glue and paint. Hopefully the glue that holds the foil down
will last long enough to get the paint out. If it's contact glue like F2 it
should be OK, and it must be pretty tough to take soldering

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2002\07\06@122504 by Jim

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Ocean State Electronics sells pcb making supplies and alleged easy to use
kit that can be used to make
negatives of pcb layout or what ever.
http://www.oselectronics.com

Jim

{Original Message removed}

2002\07\07@030121 by Pic Dude

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So yes, I can definitely glue to the acrylic and then etch,
once I find out for sure that the etchant will not destroy
the acrylic.  I'm using a red acrylic filter over the whole
thing, so I would just glue the copper to that (on the inside).
Also, I need to know that whatever glue is left under the
etched-out parts of the copper, will be easily removeable.

Again, the problem comes to laying out the pattern on the
copper, but I guess I can just do that the same way that
a regular copper PCB is made photo-sensitive.  Just need
to figure that out.

One option I'll try prior to that is to see if I can get
a darker print using an ink-jet printer.  I just picked up
some "Ink-Jet Window Sticker" film -- it's transparent and
has one sticky side.  If this works, it'll be a really
simple process.

The next 2 options you mention sound soooo complicated.
I think before that, I'd just go to a printer and get some
sort of rubber stamp made.  After all, "pad printing" is
just a rubber stamp, right?

Thanks,
-Neil.



{Original Message removed}

2002\07\07@044319 by Jinx

face picon face
> So yes, I can definitely glue to the acrylic and then etch,
> once I find out for sure that the etchant will not destroy
> the acrylic.  I'm using a red acrylic filter over the whole
> thing, so I would just glue the copper to that (on the inside).
> Also, I need to know that whatever glue is left under the
> etched-out parts of the copper, will be easily removeable.

Cool, hope it works. I've half a mind to see if the local stained
glass supplier has adhesive copper and try it out myself. I have
splashed FeCl on acrylic - doesn't even stain it, doubt if you'll
have any problems

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2002\07\07@044523 by Geo

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On 6 Jul 2002, at 22:22, Jinx wrote:

> I reckon that would do it. Paint the plastic before putting the foil
> down (so you don't see the copper) and after etching use solvent to
> remove the expose glue and paint. Hopefully the glue that holds the
> foil down will last long enough to get the paint out. If it's contact
> glue like F2 it should be OK, and it must be pretty tough to take
> soldering

Or - how about a non-electronic approach - photograph your text
(using real camera and black print on white paper) and use the
35mm negatives behind the plastic?


George Smith

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2002\07\07@053004 by Jinx

face picon face
> Or - how about a non-electronic approach - photograph your text
> (using real camera and black print on white paper) and use the
> 35mm negatives behind the plastic?

Oh that's faaaaaaaaar too easy ;-)

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2002\07\07@073122 by Bill & Pookie

picon face
Or hae a silk screen made.

Bill


----- Original Message -----
From: "Pic Dude" <spamBeGonepicdudespamBeGonespamPILOTTOOLS.COM>
To: <TakeThisOuTPICLISTEraseMEspamspam_OUTMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Sent: Saturday, July 06, 2002 11:56 PM
Subject: Re: [EE]: Light bars with words?


> .......... I'd just go to a printer and get some
> sort of rubber stamp made.  After all, "pad
printing" is
> just a rubber stamp, right?
>
> Thanks,
> -Neil.
>
>
>
> {Original Message removed}

2002\07\07@110144 by Matt Pobursky

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I've been following this thread for a while now and had forgotten
one method I've used successfully in the past.

Print your artwork as Postscript print file at 1:1 scale.
Take/send the print file to a graphics art supplier that has a
Laser Phototypesetter (some call it a Linotronix machine, which
is one manufacturer of them). It will produce a 2400 dpi or
greater piece of film artwork suitable for photo-reproduction.
You'll get a piece of B&W film that's photographically developed
and the black will be *extremely* dense. Trim your artwork to
size from the film sheet and you should be good to go.

I've used this to block the light in front of light bars. You can
also align this film in front of a colored "overlay" if you want
a colorful front panel.

The film usually costs about $10-15 for a 8" x 11" sheet, or
thereabouts. You may have to search around a bit, but most cities
have businesses that have this equipment and service. They can
give you more details about what print file format they want,
pricing, etc.

Just a thought, it's got to be a lot simpler and less costly than
most of the alternatives that have been discussed here.

Matt Pobursky
Maximum Performance Systems

On Sun, 7 Jul 2002 01:56:59 -0500, Pic Dude wrote:
>The next 2 options you mention sound soooo complicated.
>I think before that, I'd just go to a printer and get some
>sort of rubber stamp made.  After all, "pad printing" is
>just a rubber stamp, right?
>
>Thanks,
>-Neil.

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2002\07\07@121443 by Pic Dude

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That test is in progress right now, and I'm using clear
acrylic instead of the red filter so that I can see any
discoloration easier.  My guess is that it will not
dis-colour the acrylic, since I've been using one of the
drawers from my parts cabinets as an etching tank when
I make PCB's.

As Arnold said, "I'll be back".
-Neil.



{Original Message removed}

2002\07\07@121501 by Pic Dude

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Ooooohhh ... and out of the box thinker.  Must go find the
primitive photographing device, since I've gotten too used
to digital cameras lately.  Only concern here is that it
will take some experimentation to get it to the right size,
and each test will require developing the film.

Cheers,
-Neil.



{Original Message removed}

2002\07\07@121507 by Pic Dude

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face
This was a very early thought, and I had searched the
web for a silk-screening how-to, but did not find much.
Any idea where I can get some info on DIY silk-screening?
I hadn't bothered to contact any companies on this, since
my guess is that it was fairly expensive, hence the move
to pad-printing by a lot of companies.

Cheers,
-Neil.




{Original Message removed}

2002\07\07@121637 by Pic Dude

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Ahhh... now we're talking.  Will have to make some calls
tomorrow.

Cheers,
-Neil.



-----Original Message-----
From: pic microcontroller discussion list
[RemoveMEPICLISTspamTakeThisOuTMITVMA.MIT.EDU]On Behalf Of Matt Pobursky
Sent: Sunday, July 07, 2002 9:58 AM
To: PICLISTEraseMEspam.....MITVMA.MIT.EDU
Subject: Re: [EE]: Light bars with words?


I've been following this thread for a while now and had forgotten
one method I've used successfully in the past.

Print your artwork as Postscript print file at 1:1 scale.
Take/send the print file to a graphics art supplier that has a
Laser Phototypesetter (some call it a Linotronix machine, which
is one manufacturer of them). It will produce a 2400 dpi or
greater piece of film artwork suitable for photo-reproduction.
You'll get a piece of B&W film that's photographically developed
and the black will be *extremely* dense. Trim your artwork to
size from the film sheet and you should be good to go.

I've used this to block the light in front of light bars. You can
also align this film in front of a colored "overlay" if you want
a colorful front panel.

The film usually costs about $10-15 for a 8" x 11" sheet, or
thereabouts. You may have to search around a bit, but most cities
have businesses that have this equipment and service. They can
give you more details about what print file format they want,
pricing, etc.

Just a thought, it's got to be a lot simpler and less costly than
most of the alternatives that have been discussed here.

Matt Pobursky
Maximum Performance Systems

On Sun, 7 Jul 2002 01:56:59 -0500, Pic Dude wrote:
>The next 2 options you mention sound soooo complicated.
>I think before that, I'd just go to a printer and get some
>sort of rubber stamp made.  After all, "pad printing" is
>just a rubber stamp, right?
>
>Thanks,
>-Neil.

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2002\07\07@200042 by Bill & Pookie

picon face
Art stores should have books and supplies.  I even
got a four inch square silk screen frame at one.

The problem would be making the mask for the
screen, and again you may be off to a professional
service.

BTY, my silk screen frame was never used.  but it
is one of the few things that I know where it it's
boxed.

Bill

----- Original Message -----
From: "Pic Dude" <EraseMEpicdudespamPILOTTOOLS.COM>
To: <RemoveMEPICLISTEraseMEspamEraseMEMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Sent: Sunday, July 07, 2002 9:10 AM
Subject: Re: [EE]: Light bars with words?


> This was a very early thought, and I had
searched the
> web for a silk-screening how-to, but did not
find much.
> Any idea where I can get some info on DIY
silk-screening?
> I hadn't bothered to contact any companies on
this, since
> my guess is that it was fairly expensive, hence
the move
> to pad-printing by a lot of companies.
>
> Cheers,
> -Neil.
>
>
>
>
> {Original Message removed}

2002\07\08@065258 by Michael Rigby-Jones

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> -----Original Message-----
> From: Pic Dude [SMTP:RemoveMEpicdudespam_OUTspamKILLspamPILOTTOOLS.COM]
> Sent: Friday, July 05, 2002 8:26 AM
> To:   RemoveMEPICLISTTakeThisOuTspamspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU
> Subject:      [EE]:  Light bars with words?
>
> Know those small red lighted words on some displays?  I'm
> trying to reproduce that for my latest PIC project, but
> getting poor results -- I used some light bars, and placed
> reverse transparencies (clear lettering w/black background)
> over them, but I can still see the light thru the blacked-
> out areas.
>
> My transparencies are probably not the greatest in the world,
> but there's gotta be something better out there.  Anyone
> know where I can get some made with custom lettering?
>
Could you perhaps use thin PCB material, etch the letters out and shine
light through the fibreglass backing?  I know you can get very thin PCB that
would be fairly translucent without the copper.

Regards

Mike

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2002\07\08@134110 by Pic Dude

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Awesome... I'll have to go search sometime today.

BTW, the etchant DOES NOT destroy/tarnish/tint clear
acrylic.... after 24 hrs.  And using it would only
require 15 mins.

Cheers,
-Neil.





{Original Message removed}

2002\07\11@064616 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>- Etch the words in a thin copper sheet (like a PCB).
>I know that chemicals are available for end users to
>make regular copper-clad PCBs photo-sensitive.  Perhaps
>I can do that to a plain copper sheet.

You could use copper, but you are probably going to be able to source brass
a lot easier from a model or hobby store, especially if it sells model
railroad stuff for the discerning hobbyist. Typically 10 thou and under
sheet stock should be available. Then search the web for "brass etching" or
"chemical milling" or some other combination of these to find lots of info.

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