Professional Front Panels

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Robert Reed
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Professional Front Panels

Post by Robert Reed » Sun Mar 12, 2006 2:27 pm

I have been laying out and finishing my own front panels for years.My panels are Stainless steel (when available) or painted aluminum. For quite a period, I had the use of a Hermes engraving machine. This was used to cut beautiful hi- grade plastic tags, which were subsequently staked on to the front panel. This gave the project a very professional look. Unfortunately, I no longer have the use of this machine. Since that time, I have been labelling my panels with rub-on lettering and then spraying with a coat of clear Krylon Kamar finish. These look very good, but oh what a pain to get it right. My latest endeavor was to use the free front panel designer (from one of the advertisers in N&V). Panel locations can be precisely located with this program. One problem is that it has limited fonts and colors. I then print this out in glossy hi quality photo paper.After adhering to the front panel, the mounting holes are cleared out and controls installed. The beauty of this program is the precision of location and colors can be added. The downside is as mentioned limited fonts and colors. I also do not know how well the photo paper will hold up in the long run. I would like to hear from all you out there what your techniques and experiences have been.

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Chris Smith
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Re: Professional Front Panels

Post by Chris Smith » Sun Mar 12, 2006 8:46 pm

Robert

Perhaps a clear plastic spray coating afterwards, varathane, exoxy,.... and does your program accecpt extra fonts?

Also a simple acrylic or poly carbonate sheet plastic overlay?

Glued or non?

<small>[ March 12, 2006, 08:48 PM: Message edited by: Chris Smith ]</small>

Robert Reed
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Re: Professional Front Panels

Post by Robert Reed » Sun Mar 12, 2006 8:59 pm

Chris
Most of the "clear" coatings I have tried tend to have an amber cast to them. Krylon Kamar finish is about the only one I have found that is truly clear. But most finishes on photo paper seem to have a somewhat negative reaction. I experimented with clear poly sheets, but try as I may they don't quite lay flat, and even a few thousaths of an inch ripple gets magnified under different light angles, giving it a somewhat amateurish appearance.

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Chris Smith
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Re: Professional Front Panels

Post by Chris Smith » Sun Mar 12, 2006 9:19 pm

Robert

Have you tried acrylics and poly carbonate,... under sheet.

You get a thin sheet of poly and scribe it directly or add a printed transfer sheet of paper/ acetate to the under lining by "wetting" it under your label to the plastic?

You can also dremel /tattoo it and then black in the scribe trenches.

Back in the 80s my favorite panel was a sheet of acrylic, pressed onto a printed sheet of paper, and then sandwiched and sealed,....WAY back before common or professional fonts and printable’s were available from the home printer. [dot matrx]

Also Use a poly carbonate with printable vinyl acetate print sheet.

If you can vacuum seal a printable acetate sheet over a poly sheet, no glue is almost needed.

<small>[ March 12, 2006, 09:20 PM: Message edited by: Chris Smith ]</small>

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philba
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Re: Professional Front Panels

Post by philba » Sun Mar 12, 2006 9:32 pm

Are the krylon and similar varnishes UV blocking? If not, you will get fading.

I've not used this stuff but it seems to be worth a closer look: http://www.pulsar.gs/DecalPRO/Vertical/ ... rview.html however, it is pretty pricey for the kit.

there are other transfer papers that might work. google finds many of them. I searched for "transfer decal". I suspect the pulsar kit just contains these.

Robert Reed
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Re: Professional Front Panels

Post by Robert Reed » Sun Mar 12, 2006 10:11 pm

Philba
To my knowledge these are not UV bocking. My experience with UV inhibitors that they add even more of an amber cast to the finish .The extra tinting accomplishes UV block. As far as UV damage goes , most of these projects do not see a lot of intense light in their useful life, so thats not much of a concern. Kamar has been on some panels for 20 years with only slight fading. I beleive in time any finish will eventually fade, though. Laquer would have been my first choice, but is much too reactive for the sufaces applied on. Will check out your web site tomorrow (its getting late here in Ohio) and your right, it looks pricey!

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Re: Professional Front Panels

Post by dyarker » Sun Mar 12, 2006 10:31 pm

I read about this somewhere, but haven't tried it myself -

Do the labeling in a CAD program. Then horizontal flip it (mirror), and print on a clear sheet. When the clear sheet is applied to the panel so the lettering is right-way-around, the ink is between the panel and the sheet and can't be rubbed off. (custom membrane switch labeling too)

Is there a spray-on colorless adhesive to make this work? If there is, then this method gives protected labling on a single sheet with no clear coat sprays.

Cheers,
Dale Y

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Chris Smith
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Re: Professional Front Panels

Post by Chris Smith » Sun Mar 12, 2006 10:36 pm

Robert

The newer Varathane’s are much more UV resistant.

A good seal is best achieved by applying a vacuum much like the glass industry does to laminating.

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Re: Professional Front Panels

Post by Colinr » Mon Mar 13, 2006 5:36 am

Robert

have you looked at useing a plastic laminateing the printed sheet. Thease machines are available at low cost from statonary stors once the page is laminated it gains stifness and is more durable.

One thing to rember is not to forget to leave some of the plastic laminate areoud the edgw of the paper or the front face will pull away.

Colin

Robert Reed
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Re: Professional Front Panels

Post by Robert Reed » Mon Mar 13, 2006 9:04 am

Dale Y
I had this thought about mirror imaging, but do not know how to do this in Word Perfect (my only word processor).Don't know about clear adhesives, but I could research this.
Chris
As mentioned UV resistance is of little concern here.I have seen vaccuum laminating done in the wood industry for veneering. I wonder if I could accomplish this with a plastic bag and a good shop-vac ?
Colin R
Could this laminating be done at my local office store? Would save the cost of purchasing a machine, considering it is only occasional use.

Colinr
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Re: Professional Front Panels

Post by Colinr » Mon Mar 13, 2006 9:46 am

Robert

i can not help you on that being resident in the UK. The machines are not expencive I was able to pick one up new the other week for £13 about 22$us at the current exchange rate. i suggest that you try a shop that provides photo copying services or a photo lab as they may be more likley to offer this service.

Colin

Newz2000
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Re: Professional Front Panels

Post by Newz2000 » Mon Mar 13, 2006 8:39 pm

Robert,

I printed out a landscape for my son's rail-road track. It was glued to a piece of 'hardboard' that was clean and perfectly smooth. It looked beautiful.

After about a month the paper began to curl around the edges.

I used Super 77 spray adhesive and then, to reattach the edges, a standard glue stick.

Regarding fading... I've noticed there are two types of photo papers: those with a glossy or matte finish that are all paper, and some that have a layer of plastic attached to them. For example, I have some HP 4x6 photo sheets that have the plastic. When you tear them, you can actually peel the plastic finish right off. I have no idea what that does to the product's durability and longevity though.

Engineer1138
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Re: Professional Front Panels

Post by Engineer1138 » Tue Mar 14, 2006 8:41 am

Along these lines, has anyone tried using an inkjet printer to print on any of the 3M adhesive backed vinyl stock? I've been thinking of doing this for front panels, but don't want to splurge on an inkjet unless I know it's likely to work.

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haklesup
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Re: Professional Front Panels

Post by haklesup » Tue Mar 14, 2006 11:48 am

Clear mailing labels from Avery should work out well. not quite invisible though.

Avery 8665 is a full sheet for ink jet printers. They also have smaller labels and some for copiers and for laser printers (different surface to take the toner and heat). Just over $1 per sheet

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philba
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Re: Professional Front Panels

Post by philba » Tue Mar 14, 2006 1:46 pm

One thing about inkjet ink - it is usually water soluable. You'll need to fix it some how. If you don't mind black, just use a laser printer/copier. Most of the inkjet labels work in laser printers, by the way.

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