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'[Fwd: "Neat" Panels?]'
1999\08\26@160700 by PJH

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From: "John" <>
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Subject: "Neat" Panels?
Date: Thu, 26 Aug 1999 21:03:28 +0200
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Dear PJH (?name? I'm sure you have one!),

Please favour me and send this on to the PIClist.
For some unaccountable reason,  my posts to the list have been getting
<if you like, you can hazard guesses to me about why this could be>


Hello PIC.ers & PJH,

I've been tackling this, and can short circuit your design effort a lot.
This is just a good chance to give something back to all the other PIC.ers
who've selflessly passed on so much hard-won experience to this
great list, mostly rewardlessly.
BTW I'm using this in PIC-based stuff, b4 anyone complains about OT....

I use an Epson Stylus 400 colour printer in the office, I'll just suppose
you have/have access to such an inkjet printer.
I don't think it can make much difference which make or model you use.
After researching the local paper distributors, I found a large concern that
didn't mind giving me 1on1 advice re. which paper to use, how to setup the
printer for the likeliest best results, etc., etc.

I bought some paper from them, it was a high quality gloss - I'm using
Fasson Permanent SuperGloss Print cc2361.
It has a sticky backing, called `crack-back', which allows you to plant the
finished piece onto the panel by pealing pre-cut strips off  the backing a
bit at a time, so you can cover a large area without creases and ripples in
the finish.

The stuff comes in 700x1000 size, you have to take care in handling it,
don't roll it up, etc.
Cut a size from it that will overlap by ~25mm. the dimensions of your panel,
on all 4 sides.

Use a graphics package capable of fine and accurate dimensioning of the
final printout.
I'm happy with an old version of  MicrografX Charisma 2.1 , but I'm sure any
other decent package would do.
Draw your intended layout, accurate to within a mm. or so for all cutouts
and switch positions.
If you have panel LEDs to show, you may locate them *behind* the paper,
without any marked position, the LED just shines thru the metal/plastic
panel hole and onto the paper.
It's a nice effect - esp. if you use a high output type.

You'll have to experiment with the printer settings to get the best result,
my setup works with high definition (720dpi), gloss paper box checked, etc.
After printing, the paper is laid directly onto the pre-cut-out panel,
but it would have no durability against wear, dirt, fingers, water and
general environment unless you:

1.   Make a 3mm. thickness perspex (methylmethacrylate) to cover it, but
      this is a lot of work to do nicely. For anything other than a 1-off,
      this is a no-no, so instead  :-
2.    As this above process is dirt-cheap you can afford to make a number
      of printouts in excess of the number you actually need for your
      production run.
      Do so.
      Then take the bunch down to your high-street printing shop and get
them to hot-laminate them.
Laminate always seems to be PVC, and generally 125 micron thick.
Ask the shop to lam. your prints in *TWOs*, I mean two at a time back to
back, with the print facing outwards.
When they are run thru the machine, both pieces get laminated but each one
only gets PVC on it's front face, none on the crack-back peel-off side.
(... are y'all still with me on this one?....  )
After this you just use a scalpel (or scissors) to cut around the periphery
and separate the pair.
Each of the two is ready to go on a panel.

Remember the 25mm excess border?
This border is also sticky-exposed after you've spread the lam./paper
picture on the panel.
DON'T cut it off.
You need this to be wrapped onto the back of the panel, so that the
lam./paper doesn't peel off the panel later,
---which it *will* , if you don't do the next.....
The lam. can be wrapped over the edge of the panel and then held there.
You'll want to cut away the corner pieces, to stop any overlap & crumpling
in these zones.
..... & this...this folks... is the piece-de-resistance....
Pinch the steam-iron from the kitchen...  (be sure the wife is out, first)

Iron the PVC/paper into place, the heat will plasticise the material very
nicely with care.
It helps a lot to have a heated-up *ironing-board* underneath. Clean piece
of mild steel plate does well.

I've got a number of products out in the field (and I mean, *Field*), with
so-far no complaints.
To consider:-
1.   The paper must be the highest quality you can get, so exposure to air,
light will not degrade it quickly.
It is still cheap in comparison to your total product costs, unless you're
gearing to put 10^6 gizmos in Christmas crackers or something.....
2.   The printing shop will -unintentionally- screw up some of your prints
in the laminating machine, so you must give them enough
excess pieces to get your run quantity.

The method is not only cheap and easy, it works for large runs too, and you
don't need rocket scientists to assemble your enclosures.

best regards,   John

{Quote hidden}

e-mail from the desk of John Sanderson, JS Controls.
Snailmail:          PO Box 1887, Boksburg 1460, Rep. of South Africa.
Tel/fax:            Johannesburg  893 4154
Cellphone no:   082 469 0446
Manufacturer & purveyor of laboratory force testing apparatus, and related
products and services.

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